I wanted to start off talking about a subject that I still think is one of the best ways to make money, at the least, if not at no, cost…yet is overlooked or passed up by most of our members.
What am I talking about? How about:
Now, what does that mean?
Well, to give you the best answer I can, I’m going to give you an example and illustration that I hope will make the whole topic become crystal clear.
I will discuss the skill of getting outside professionals whose product or service relates to yours to work with you as a team to help your clients/customers/patients, and their clients/customers/patients, and the public at large. I’ll talk about to meet with outside professionals and how to see if they want to play ball, or play games.
See, many outside professionals have the disgusting tendencies to suck recommendations and clients/customers/patients out of you like a nursing calf, only to leave you dried out and empty.
I’ll talk about how to stop this horrible problem by pointing out that you are not in the “one way street” business, and that you like to give, and get, recommendations.
I’ll also talk about how you should show them your Unique Selling Proposition (strategizing, for example, or whatever) and marketing, etc., to try and get one or more of them to see the light.
“Wait a minute! I’m sick of hearing you tell us how easy it is to get other professionals to refer business to us! I’ve tried it a few times, and it never goes anywhere. They take my recommendations gladly and give me nothing but empty promises. So, stop making it sound like it’s so easy. These people just don’t want to help their clients/customers/patients, and that’s it!”
Hi, Mr Professional! I’m glad you popped in today. If you don’t mind, I’d like to ask you some questions, to see if I can’t help ferret out what’s going wrong. Okay?
“Sure, ask away.”
Thanks. I’d like to start off by asking you if you have a recent story about getting burned by one of these folks.
“Yeah, that’s easy. About six months ago, I met a solicitor at a Chamber of Commerce event. He seemed like an aggressive guy, and I followed your advice about inviting him over to my office to him what I do and explain how we could work together referring each other clients.”
Okay. You didn’t suggest splitting fees or commissions or anything, did you?
“No, no. I know that’s not legit, and I didn’t want to even mention anything like that.”
Okay, just checking. Now, when he came in your office, did you have anything on your walls
“Why? Who cares what’s on my walls?”
Well, I don’t, but this guy might have. Do you have any company sales awards, or coffee cups with a company name on it, or anything like that?
“Well, yeah. I have some of my trip plaques up…and my “Adviser of The Month” awards. And now that you mention it, my coffee mug I always use has a logo and name on it. Why does that matter?”
Well, all that stuff on your walls and mug tells this guy that you are a salesperson. Have you ever seen a CPA’s office with plaques from a trip on the wall? Have you ever seen a solicitor drinking out of a cup that had the logo of a stationery store on it?
“Well, no, now that you mention it. But I’m really proud of all those sales awards. I’ve earned them, and I like to show them off.”
I understand your need to show the recognition you’ve received. But right off the bat, you have to see how this looks to a CPA or solicitor. They just see a “financial salesperson” trying to win another trip to Hawaii.
“But I am trying to win another trip to Hawaii. That’s why I’m courting this guy. I figure one listing from one of his big-hitter, business-owner clients, and I’m off to Honolulu!”
I know you want to sell products. He knows you want to sell products. That’s not the issue. The issue he’s concerned with is, how you sell these products, and if your focus is on the client, or on the trip to Hawaii!! Let me ask you this. What happened after you met with him?
“He took a couple of recommendations from me that I had, people who needed legal assistance right away. And, he actually had me meet with him and a youngish retired couple who had just received an inheritance from the guy’s mum, who had recently died. They wanted to settle the estate and do something with the mother’s house.”
What happened in the meeting?
“I explained what I did, and gave them my personal resume, personal promotion brochure, and so forth. Then, I told them about my company and us being the #1 office of our franchise in the entire area, all the stuff you’re supposed to do at a planning presentation.”
Wait a second. You just said a “planning presentation”. Right? Why did you go into your presentation at this point?
“Well, I knew the couple didn’t want to keep the house. They needed to get that money out and invest it in some funds for their own old age. That was pretty obvious to me. Why do you ask?”
Just wondering. Now, what did you say about what you did?
“Same as always. I explained that I was a top producing financial professional, and that my job was to help people settle estates. I told them I have seventeen years experience in the business, and that I was a member of…???”
Anything else you explained about yourself?
“I also told them that my most valuable asset was my trust, and that they could count on me to provide the best service I could in order to gain their trust. I went on to remind them that I would help them find someone to sell the home, take care of all the negotiating details and closing etc. That I’d prepare a list of all the financial concerns that needed to be considered pronto.”
Okay, I get the idea. And then what happened?
“The solicitor asked me to explain how I get paid, so I did. I explained that I got paid in two ways,one from the commissions earned from whatever investments were made by the couple, and the other in the form of recommendations from satisfied clients. I told them that I also get the reward of seeing the smiling faces of clients when estates finally close.”
Did you ask them any questions?
“I was going to, but decided there was no reason to. They had a basically simple situation, I just thought, why waste the time. I could get things done now, get this whole thing moving. I could tell they didn’t want to go to a lot of extra trouble, and there was no need to create this long, drawn out ordeal of a meeting. These people don’t want to know every little thing works. They’d rather just sell the house, get their money, and invest it right away.”
I see. Now, what did the solicitor say besides asking you how you got paid?
“Not much. He did say that he thought they needed to update their wills, which were very old and out of date. He had gotten them as a recommendation from a CPA, and had not been taking care of their legal stuff until this inheritance came up. He didn’t say a lot more that I can remember. He asked me if I thought holding onto the home would be wise, given the higher interest rates and lowers prices lately…that, and the fact that the place was in a more blue collar type of neighbourhood.”
Now, what did you say when he asked you that?
“I told them there was no reason to want to rent the home. The hassle of renting – and all the headaches, and tenants, tax etc. No, I told them they should sell, and get on with enjoying retirement. Who needs all that aggravation anyway?”
“I said, if they could get at least $100,000 or so for the house, I could show them a number of financial products that would be good to invest in. I showed them our brochure, and they could see we had a lot to offer. I knew I was doing well, because they seemed very interested in what I was saying.”
Did you mention anything more?
“No, and I know you’re trying to see if I was selling or pushing. No. I did not mention any sales stuff. I kept it all totally non-sales, like you think we should.”
Okay, but I want you to understand that it’s not whether I think you should or shouldn’t do anything. You don’t have to get me to agree with anything you do. I’m only interested in the results. So, don’t worry about me. Worry about your business. Did you say anything else?
“I don’t know. I think the only other thing I said was that I have a deal with the paper, and would run more ads than anyone else would be able to. That’s it.”
Great. Now, tell me how you left the meeting. What happened after you said all of this?
“They told me that they were very interested, but wanted more information, and that they would be calling me for an appointment to take a look at the recommendations I had for them. I know I did a good job. I could just tell. They really liked me, and I could feel that everything was going to go well. I followed your system to the letter. And, the net result is that, even though I could tell things went well, I never heard from them or the solicitor again. How’s that for non-sales marketing? I do better when I use the “Godfather” tactics I learned at a seminar. I knew I should have tried to get them committed to selling that house and investing in a specific fund. They were ready, and I stupidly playing your game, and lost!”
You never heard from either of the prospects or the solicitor? Did you call them back?
“Yeah, I tried. The couple wouldn’t return my calls, and the solicitor did finally get back to me after I sent him a not asking him what he thought of the meeting.”
What did he say?
“He replied that the couple wanted more time to interview other people, and that they would get back to me if they had any more questions. That was it. I knew I should have pushed harder and closed them. Thanks for nothing.”
Well, everyone what do you think?
Why did this deal go south? Not only for that one client, but for the relationship with the solicitor?
Do you Marketing Maniacs know why Mr Professional blew this? Should he have tried to “sell harder” as he indicated? Why didn’t the solicitor ever get back to him again?
See, establishing real relationships with these outside people is going to be an absolute key to making the most amount of money at the least amount of expense. In order for you to move up to another level, you’ll have to get into a new level of perception with outside professionals. You don’t have a choice.
When we asked some of our members this question, one of you answered it best. It cut through all of Mr Professional’s rubbish and got to the heart of the matter of why Mr Professional blew that deal. Here’s her response to the contest.
“Mr Professional made a lot of mistakes in that meeting. First of all, since he was referred in by the solicitor, he should have done some homework before the meeting. He should have gotten as much information about the people as he could, and he would have impressed the solicitor with his thoroughness.
He should not have had all that sales award type stuff around the office, either. It gives the impression that all he’s after is sales. (Which, in his case, is true!) CPA’s and solicitors and some financial planners, are turned off by sales awards. They want to feel the advisor is a service motivated professional, like they perceive themselves to be!
He made another big mistake by assuming the couple wanted to sell the mother’s house right away. He didn’t even bother asking! He was so busy pushing his interests by making the decision to sell as opposed to rent, the people couldn’t help but being turned off!
He didn’t bother to discuss other options. Things like renting on a short-term basis, for instance. He had his mind made up he was going to get any easy sale, and no one was going to tell him any different.
He also brought a brochure in, with all the usual propaganda. All that “we’re the best” marketing stuff really turned them off even more.
The bottom line was that he offended the couple, offended the solicitor and made himself appear to be a greedy salesperson. Which is exactly the opposite of what would make anyone feel like they could trust him. He should have brought no sales materials to the meeting. He should have asked the couple what plans they had made, or if they wanted some advice as to different options available to them. He should have asked the solicitor what tax issues were involved, and perhaps, offered to interact with a CPA at a subsequent meeting, if necessary.
If Mr Professional had taken the time to counsel these people instead of selling them on his products and image, he would have won the trust of both the lawyer and the clients. No, he went right for the jugular, and the only blood spilled was his!”
Was that a great answer of what?
See how they have thought through this whole issue of working with outside professionals? I couldn’t have said things better myself! You guys are really seeing the picture very clearly.
(Unlike our struggling friend, Mr Professional. He just doesn’t seem to get it. He wants everyone to accept his predetermined agenda. Here, he wanted people to sell because he was ready to sell…instead of getting the right information and building up the trust needed that would have allowed the people to do something when they were ready to do something! The amazing sales trainer Bill Brook’s line, not mine.)
Marketing through professionals is no different than marketing to anyone. See, you’re marketing through them on the surface. What you’re really doing is marketing to them. Just like you do with everyone.
Whoever you market to, there is always some end result in mind. For strangers, the goal is for them to want to come in to see you. So your marketing focuses on the hot buttons that will get them in for an appointment. For professionals, your end goal is to get them to refer people to you, and/or to let you do seminars or whatever else for their clients/customers/patients, and/or have them help you with the cost of marketing.
So, your marketing must focus on their hot buttons that will get them to refer people to you! Not on your hot buttons!
Let’s look at what gets other professionals excited and interested in working with you.
See what’s going on here? Do you see what these people want?
They want you to be an asset to them and their clients/customers/patients. An asset that is dependable, trustworthy and a totally creative Marketing Maniac!
These people need new business just like you do. But you are going to have to bring more than marketing to the table. They want you to bring new business in, but they want it to be accompanied by a solid, trustworthy professional.
How do you blend these two things together?
How do you work with them, and get a lot of new clients/customers/patients with little or no money?
Keep in mind that all these strategies we’re going to be talking about require little or no money! Marketing with outside professionals can not only bring you new clients/customers/patients, but in some cases, you can get them to participate financially!
(By the way, when we recommend things like cost-sharing, we’re only making a suggestion, not providing legal advice. Any time you enter into a new area, you should have a solicitor review your ideas to make sure they don’t violate any local laws or code of ethics!)
Let’s first talk about a simple, yet effective, technique for, say, a financial agent to approach an accountant. You could call one (or many) and ask them something like the following:
“Hi! This is Deborah Richman from ABC Services, and I have clients that need specific advice from time to time. I was told you were a good accountant. Are you looking for new clients to be referred into your practice?”
Keep in mind that accountants/life insurance agents/solicitors etc. are just as bad at marketing as other professionals. They haven’t got a clue about how to get new clients. An offer of having recommendations come into their lives without spending money should make them “all ears”. I can’t imagine too many of these men or women not wanting to talk to you.
Now, for reality, let’s say you run a lead generation ad.
So, you approach a CPA and show him/her your ad, and explain that you just got 34 leads, for example. You can show him/her the FREE report that goes out to the respondents. Then you explain the following:
“Mr CPA, I have a proposal of how we can work together to help lots of people we wouldn’t otherwise get to help, make more money for ourselves, and create a service opportunity that no one else in our area will be able to match. Here’s what I mean.
See, these people who are answering this ad are anywhere from somewhat, to very interested in managing their money better. It’s been my experience that people who are thinking about, or going through a big change, make great clients for accountants.
Just like me, your best clients are those whose lives are in upheaval. They have serious questions that need to be answered.
Things like, should they have more taxes withheld so that next year they’ll do a better job of beating the tax man? Should they try to find loopholes to save some money? How and where will they find them? Can they increase their tax deductions without giving away more money? What tax consequences will they face if they sell their house this year? What tax savings opportunities should they be implementing that they aren’t using already?
Tax issues are inseparably linked to all financial areas.
The people really want and need someone to give them sound tax advice, telling them what options they have available to them.
Don’t you agree this makes sense?
Here are a few ways we can work together:
- After I get clients from my ads, I offer to have a meeting with you to discuss clients’ overall tax situation, and in light of the things I just mentioned as probable concerns for people, I could give them a report you’ve written that explains some accounting and tax issues to them.
- Offer to people who really aren’t right for me, or people not ready to invest in any financial products, a meeting with you. While some of these leads won’t be right for me now, I’m sure plenty of them would want to have an objective tax planning done. If they really should be refinancing, for example, then they should meet with you before they do anything.
- Do joint seminars together to prospective them.
- Work on getting the friends and relatives of my clients to meet with you. Everyone can use some kind of tax advice, and in most cases, having them set up right, tax-wise, makes my planning more solid. If the clients find ways to get their taxes reduced legally and without a hitch because of your help, I can be more productive in getting their whole financial situation organised and under control.
- Have you share in some of these marketing efforts, since we both benefit. In some cases, leads generated this way will be poor prospects for me, but excellent ones for you.
- You refer to me your clients who want financial planning, and we work as a team to help them make the right decisions, investment and tax-wise.
- I have a solicitor and a mortgage broker I work with like this, and if we begin a joint venture, I would like you to meet them and brainstorm on how we can all work together. In fact, I have been looking not only for a CPA, but a property advisor to work with as well. Maybe you could introduce me to either of those types to pull together a financial “team” that no one else in town will even be able to get near!
- Possibly share or swap office space/and or conference rooms in each other’s offices.
See, I don’t want to, nor is it legal, for us to share in commissions from each other’s business. But our working together as a team would improve the service we can provide. It will help us both find clients in ways we wouldn’t otherwise. Does that make sense?
There you go. Something like that would be the way to approach these people.
Keep in mind that while these examples apply to financial sales people, the CONCEPT applies to any type of business, product or service! All you have to do is put YOUR products or services into the appropriate spots, and you’ve got it! These models have worked in DOZENS of different industries…and will certainly work in yours!
Will all of them you talk to you agree to go ahead? No. Will some of them be idiots? Yes. Does that matter? No!
Why? Because we want you to keep talking until you find the right person. Talking is free, (never waste money taking these people out to lunch!), and if you cannot get them interested with a quick phone call, forget it.
See, you have to make it easy for them to understand why they should participate with you, including financially.
You’re bringing something to the table that 99% of these guys don’t have…marketing that actually works.
And you will have to also understand, if you wait around for these folks to do something, your grandchildren will be attending their grandchildren’s university graduations before anything will happen!
See, most salespeople and business professionals think about marketing for new clients/customers/patients in the old fashioned, out of date ways that afflict almost every industry. We’ve all been taught to be “professional” in our marketing, and if we do advertise, we’re told its wasting money.
If you bring a new knowledge base and a proven formula that actually gets any results at all…you’ll be a medal of honour winner to them!
Keep this in mind. You have to show them why what you’re doing is so effective, and why they’d have to be idiots to not hop aboard this bus with you.
And, if they are slow to react, or want to contemplate this issue until the next ice age, then blow them off and move towards the next one.
And, believe me, there are millions of them to choose from. So, if you get a “hard to get” player, skip the game and move on!
Now, this same philosophy holds true for all kinds of professionals. You have to use the same kind of approach with everyone.
You can make a simple call to see if they are looking to:
Expand their business or practice by accepting recommendations from you!
See, that’s the way to quickly and cheaply get the door open. If they bite on this, then make them come over to see you at your office. Don’t go to see them! Let me repeat. DO NOT GO TO THEIR OFFICE FOR THE FIRST MEETING!
Why? Because you have an incredibly powerful offer to make to them, and if they aren’t sharp enough, and/or interested enough, to come and see you, then they aren’t going to get to work with you!
See, you’re in control. You’re the fuel making this marketing/networking machine run hard and fast. If they are too lazy or complacent to not wish to come into your domain at the first meeting, I have only one thing to say:
Don’t get hung up on one person or another. Just blow them off like you would blow a fly off of your arm. Pay as much attention to the ones you blew off as you do to that fly. There are so many of them, two good relationships in each field to complete the circle and take care of your clients/customers/patients.)
See, the real beauty of all this, besides them giving you recommendations and paying for some, or all, of your advertising, is much deeper than that.
The real beauty is that your clients/customers/patients will be well taken care of!
Think about how unusual it would be for a client/customer/patient to have a team of dedicated professionals taking care of you in this holistic, client/customer/patient-centred manner, wouldn’t you? (By the way, one of the side benefits for you is that you will have this team to work on your own situation, usually at little or no cost. Often, you can set up an arrangement where these people will do work for free or at a discount for you! Of course, you should offer them help when they have personal needs, as well!)
Think about the Unique Selling Proposition you bring to the table when you are able to tell a new prospect how your team works together to maximise the efficiency of managing their purchase of your products/services.
Do you think this USP is a little better than what your former competitors say? (Or what you used to say at yours?)
But remember, you have to have a totally different attitude to make this work. You have to be coming from a place of service with a completely client/customer/patient-centred psychology.
For example, when you’re meeting with a client/customer/patient of an associate or whatever, and after listening to them, you know that they are really not ready to consider your product or service right now. Maybe later, but not now. In your heart, you know that you have to tell this person that he or she should really think about the future carefully before they pour all their money into whatever your offering is.
You know those situations.
So, do you do like our friend Mr Professional, and use all your sales and closing skills to get the client/customer/patient over the line? Do you “lead” him or her to the conclusion that doing what you say is the right decision…instead of telling the client/customer/patient to consider whether doing anything right now is wise?
See, if you ask the right kinds of questions, and listen to what people really tell you, you’ll always know in your heart what’s right.
And if you always do what your heart tells you is right, you’ll get more business than you’ll know what to do with, because of the positive energy you create when you do the right things.
Can you imagine the trust you build with an associate when you tell his client/customer/patient and him, that this person (or business) isn’t in the right position to buy just yet, and you advise waiting until uncertainties are resolved?
Do you see how that trust will be a bridge into the heart of not just the client/customer/patient, but the professional, as well?
Sure, appealing to a professional’s needs for more clients/customers/patients will get the relationship started. They’ll see you as a person who can help them solve their own marketing problems. But, after you’ve gotten in the door, so to speak, developing this trust and showing the compassion I’m describing will cement you into other professional’s lives and the lives of their clients/customers/patients!
And if they see you this way, you’re sure to work some arrangements that are both legal and helpful in financing the cost of your marketing and advertising!
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