What Do Prospects Want From A Financial Advisor?

What motivates your prospects?

Your first impulse is probably to say “they want a good retirement” and while true, it’s not a specific motivation. You’ll get some clients with an understanding like that, but it’s the same motivation every other advisor is assuming, so if that’s as far as you go you’re going to sound like every other advisor. 

Which means you’re going to struggle like every other advisor. And use the same marketing, seminar, webinars, and downloadables as every other advisor.

Let’s face it, you didn’t start your own business to be “just like everyone else”. 

One advisor I recently worked with had the same assumption in one of their marketing campaigns that I started optimizing. As expected, the results were less than fantastic. It cost nearly $1,000 for each new client (read to the end and I’ll tell you what we’ve got it down to so far). 

We started doing research and really digging into what their target market really wanted. We wanted to know what was going to catch their ideal client’s attention and get them interested in starting a conversation..

We began by doing a lot of research on his target marketing (individuals with $250k+ in investable assets who weren’t fans of going to traditional dinner seminars).

We found that  the primary motivation of his target market was this: They were motivated to obtain self-paced, written educational information regarding how inflation would affect their retirement savings and actions they could take to mitigate those risks. 

Now THAT’S a motivation we can build an entire marketing campaign around!

It’s specific, so we know exactly what we should offer people to start building a relationship with them. But if we didn’t know that motivation, we might end up offering “free second opinions on your retirement plan” or we might have tried to send them videos on unexpected medical expenses or something else they didn’t really want and the entire campaign would be a waste of everyone’s time and money. 

If you understand what motivates your prospects, you can put something in front of them that satisfies that motivation and make an ask appropriate for their level of purchase-readiness. 

After you find a prospect’s specific motivation (like we did above), you need to figure out which stage of awareness your prospects are in. This is called the 5 Levels of Problem/Solution Awareness, and you should offer something different depending on where that person is at.

Unaware – The prospect doesn’t even know there’s a problem, or won’t admit there’s a problem. 

Example: someone was told by a friend that they should take social security at 62, but they are unaware that decision is going to cause a lot of problems for them. 

What should you offer: No cost information. Even the price of their email address for a whitepaper may be too much. Putting the article or video right in front of them as an ad is likely to be the best way to start the relationship.

Problem Aware – They know there’s a problem to solve, but aren’t aware of any specific solution.

Example: someone was told by a friend that they should take social security at 62, but after thinking about it they know that’s going to cause issues. But they have no idea where to even begin solving that problem, or if there is even a solution to be found. 

What should you offer: No or low cost information. Asking for their email in exchange for a whitepaper or guide is more appropriate at this stage. If you make a big ask, like a free consultation or for them to attend an hour-long webinar, you might be asking too much. 

Solution Aware – They know there is a solution, but they don’t know the specifics. 

Example: The same social security person knows they probably need to talk to an advisor, but they don’t know there are advisors who focus on social security, or that there are many specific financial products that could help them. 

What should you offer: low to medium cost information. Start building trust and displaying your competence in this area. Whitepapers, webinars, and seminars that are focused on their needs.

Product Aware: They know you and your products exist and can help them, but aren’t completely aware of the risks and benefits of doing/not doing business with you.

Example: The same social security person has gotten your information and attended a webinar, but doesn’t entirely understand why they can’t just do it on their own. 

What should you offer: Now you can ask for a call or consultation, as long as you give them a strong reason to do so. “Come in for a second opinion” or “to check things out” probably isn’t strong enough. The more specific this call to action, the better. If they’ve been looking at your social security content, then something closer to “find out if your social security plan will make or break your retirement at this free consultation” is going to hit home a little better.

Most Aware: They know of you and your products and what everything does, they just haven’t pulled the trigger on it yet.

Example: Someone has been through all your social security content, attended a seminar or webinar, and has maybe even come in for a free consultation. They’re educated and know the pros and cons of you and everything you offer. 

What should you offer: The most direct and easy “come in and let’s get this finished up” you can possibly think of. If they don’t say “yes” now, they probably won’t ever. 

It takes a lot of research, testing, and data to figure out where your prospects are, what they want, and the best way to satisfy those desires to convert someone to a client.

But if you put in the time and effort (or pay someone else to put in the time and effort), you’ll find the amount of time and money you spend on marketing drops to fractions of what you currently spend. 

Oh, and that person advisor I told you about that was paying $1,000 per client? We’ve got that down to about $200. Imaging getting 5x the clients for the same marketing budget you have now.  

That’s the power of research and understanding your audience.

About the Author

James Campbell

James Campbell

James is the Director of Marketing and Optimization for Next Level Advisors. He handles the paid media, analytics, and figuring out how to make things work better for the same price. He's most interested in understanding marketing as an ecosystem, not just a series of tips, tricks, and hacks to make things work. He also runs Next Level Optimization (still in production), a program focused on helping 7-figure advisors improve the results from their marketing.

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