What makes you different from your competition? Surefire ways to stand out

By Mark Mersman

USA Financial

Most advisors think they are different. In fact, I’ll frequently ask a group of advisors “What makes you different or unique?” I always here the same thing:
  • “I specialize in retirement planning.”

  • “I focus on IRAs and income distribution.”

  • “I manage assets with certain risk management strategies…”
Blah, blah, blah. It’s the same thing. There’s nothing unique about them. If you want to be different, you must be different. One way to do this is to conduct seminars that are different than your competition. Mix it up a little. Step outside the box of stretch IRAs or annuities.

Yes, those topics have merit, but the invitation isn’t going to distinguish you one iota from the guy up the street who is talking about the exact same thing.

As a matter of fact, we recently introduced a brand new, FINRA-reviewed seminar on a topic that nobody else is talking about in their area. How do I know this? The first time we ran this seminar, it generated 204 RSVPs from a 5,000 household mailing. And it has continued to churn out the same results in subsequent mailings all around the country. Do the math – that’s a 4 percent response rate. If everybody else were presenting on this topic (and marketing it effectively), I assure you we wouldn’t get a 4 percent response rate. When’s the last time you’ve got a 4 percent response on a seminar mailing?

Want to know what’s even better? We mailed only to age 60-65 and screened for investable assets of $250k+. How’s that for a sweet spot, age-wise? People in transition looking for an advisor who can help them with their retirement income planning.

Why did this happen? It’s all about message to market match (that’s a fancy marketing term). There is an old direct mail marketing formula known as the 40-40-20 rule. Forty percent of the success is derived from the right audience (i.e. lead list), or “market.” The next 40 percent of your success is determined by an attractive offer (message). The final 20 percent is all the other stuff. The trouble with a lot of marketing efforts is that people spend 80 percent of their time on the 20 percent that doesn’t matter as much. Focus on a unique message to the right market, and you’ll be in much better shape.