Marcus Sheridan of The Sales Lion claims that 70% of people who contact a company already know they’re going to do business with them. That’s because they’ve done their research online prior to contact; even if they’re looking for a financial advisor. Therefore, having an effective, optimized online presence is required in order to compete these days.
Today’s empowered consumer has changed the way companies are acquiring leads, prospects, and clients. This also holds true for financial planning companies, whose legacy sales methods have been based on word of mouth, face-to-face networking, and traditional advertising. But, while many financial planners and advisors feel that their businesses are still driven solely by legacy sales methods, the data shows that their target clients are researching online.
- Studies show that buyers go through about 57 percent of the purchasing process online before ever talking to a salesperson, as they research a product or service.
- 70% of Ultra High Net Worth Individuals use some form of social media, and 55% have a Facebook account that they check at least once a day.
- 31% of Ultra High Net Worth Individuals are on YouTube, and 49% of those watch commentary by financial experts.
- 26% of High Net Worth Millennials connect with their advisor on LinkedIn.
- 66% of High Net Worth Generation X’ers claim that advisor social media profiles are influential in their decision-making.
Financial planning and advising businesses are powered by relationships. But, what savvy financial advisors understand is that the relationship with today’s consumer begins with the awareness stage of the buyer’s journey, and that stage usually begins with a consumer search online. And, contrary to popular belief, this holds true with the Baby Boomer generation as much as it does to their younger counterparts.
Financial advisors who understand the buyer’s journey of today’s consumer have taken steps to learn and embrace inbound marketing methodologies. Inbound marketing is the process of acquiring leads and prospects online by positioning your business to be found when consumers are searching for solutions to their problems. With effective keyword research, search engine optimization (SEO), social marketing, relevant content, and blogging, potential clients are drawn to the sites of advisors who are well positioned.
Once at an advisor site that has embraced the inbound marketing methodology, consumers will find the answers to their questions, watch engaging videos, read interesting and current blogs, and have the ability to take action and acquire more information that will help to lead them through the buyer’s journey. Eventually, this journey should include personal interaction with the advisor, but it’s only when the time is right and the consumer is ready to listen, on their terms.
Networking and word of mouth will always be an important part of the client acquisition process in financial advising. Financial advisors who understand and embrace inbound marketing and combine that with legacy strategies, though, are far better positioned to keep feeding the pipeline of leads, prospects, and clients.