Six Steps to Making Conversational Marketing Work

Stop the sales pitches—engage with clients!

By Jonathan Powell

Key Takeaways:

  • Your prospective clients want to be engaged with knowledge and insight—not hit over the head with sales pitches.
  • The more you narrow down your focus to serve a specific type of client, the more opportunities you’ll have.
  • Find the largest concentrations of wealth in your geographic area.
  • Create content that allows you to start and maintain conversations with members of your niche.

Last week I wrote about a new approach to marketing called conversational marketing, which emphasizes information and conversation over trying to “hard sell” prospective clients. It’s a more thoughtful and ultimately more effective approach that elite financial advisors are using to build connections and create endless streams of ideal prospective clients.

This week I will cover the six steps to building and launching a successful conversational marketing strategy in your own practice.

1. Understand the fundamentals. Start by recognizing a simple fact: You can’t serve every investor whose path you come across—nor should you. The more you narrow down your focus to serve a specific type of client, the more opportunities you’ll have. If you target one group of investors, you’ll find it much easier to become the financial “center of the universe” among that group—a true expert—and the faster you’ll be able to start conversations with its members and generate new business.

2. Select a niche market. Pick the right niche market for your business using this five-step process. Essentially, you want to find the largest concentrations of wealth in your geographic area and identify a small handful that would be ideal for you to serve. They should be markets that you enjoy, that you feel passionate about and that consist of people you like being around.

3. Conduct market research. You’ve got to understand your chosen niche extremely well to market effectively to its members. To begin, look no further than your existing clients. If you have any clients who are part of your chosen niche market, ask for their perspective on their peers’ financial needs, goals and concerns. Next—or if you don’t have existing clients from your target niche—reach out to centers of influence. These are the leaders and figureheads in the niche who know the members well. Also take advantage of secondary research that exists. Google your niche. Review your competitors’ Web sites. Subscribe to the newsletters offered by the niche’s associations and read the trade publications that target your niche.

Why gather all this research? So you can create content that allows you to start and maintain conversations with members of your niche—articles, white papers, newsletters, blogs, webinars and even books that will draw the attention of your ideal prospective clients and get them talking with you and ultimately having a discovery meeting with you.

4. Define your ideal client. Once you really know your niche, go one step deeper and determine your ideal type of client from within that group. Bring your team into this part of the process so that everyone involved understands your new focus and so you can gain “buy in” from those around you.

Ask yourself questions such as:

  • Who are the ideal clients that you want to target within your market niche? Describe them in terms of whether they are working or retired, their industry and occupation, their specific company and job, their marital status, education level, age range and any other relevant demographic characteristics.
  • Where will your ideal clients be located? Most successful financial advisors focus on one particular geographic location market per principal.
  • How much will each ideal client have in investable assets?
  • What will be the minimum level of assets and minimum fee you will charge your ideal clients?
  • What are the key financial challenges of your ideal clients?

(For more, see my article on the ideal client profile.)

5. Implement your plan. Be clear on the goals and strategies you will use. Review your marketing materials and create a positioning package that communicates your unique value proposition and includes a call to action to work with you. Build your credibility within your niche by communicating to prospects through your Web site, your articles and newsletter and group presentations that you give to niche members. These interactions will start the conversations. Blogging and social media and webinars will further those conversations as you build a community.

6. Create a plan for long-term success. Your conversational marketing efforts should be informed by three main goals for success over the long haul:

  • Help the right affluent clients make informed decisions about their wealth, and have a great impact on clients.
  • Increase your net income and build equity that creates great value in your business.
  • Improve your quality of life.
Take action now

We live in a client-driven world, and your prospective clients want knowledge and insight—not to be hit over the head with typical sales pitches. Conversational marketing is the surest path to cultivating relationships with ideal prospective clients successfully and maintaining great relationships with ideal current clients.

About the Author

Jonathan Powell is a managing principal at CEG Worldwide, LLC in San Martin, California. Working with many of the nation’s top financial firms, he enjoys helping financial advisors transform their professional and personal lives by implementing CEG Worldwide’s research-backed principles.