Your firm offers a solution that people need.
So why don’t you have a line of people out your door, begging to work with you?
For one, people don’t know what you know—if they did, you could look out your window right now and see a crowd of people clamoring for your attention.
The job of good marketing is to communicate your value to people who would make excellent clients for your firm—and to do so in a way that resonates with them.
Pro tip: that might require that you talk more about your problem than your solution.
But let’s assume you’re already doing that. Let’s say your marketing does an excellent job of communicating the right message to the appropriate people at a time when they need what you offer.
Yet you still fail to get new clients in the door. What’s going on?
The Main Reasons Your Perfect Prospect Walks Away
There are countless reasons people make the decisions they do. Some are obvious and overt. Some are more subtle and harder to understand.
The first reason we, as the people making the offer, often jump to is, “people just don’t know about me yet.” Or we say, “people just don’t understand the value of what I’m offering yet.”
Those are easy. Sometimes it’s true. But many times, they’re more like excuses for yourself than reasons people don’t hire you.
If people just don’t know about you, go place advertisements in your local paper or pay to rank for important key terms like “financial planner in [your town],” or “fee-only CFP® for doctors.”
When people still don’t hire you, you can no longer say it’s because they aren’t aware you’re there for them.
When it comes to the financial planning industry, we need to dig deeper to find the main reasons people don’t work with your firm (even when it would be to their own benefit to hire you as their planner).
Here are some of the real reasons perfect prospects choose to walk away from your ideal solution for their needs.
They’re afraid of change. Going from the state of being that is called, “I don’t have a financial planner or a financial plan,” to “I have a financial planner and plan” requires a change. Some people get overwhelmed by that change.
It’s human nature to be afraid of change before you have to go through it. There’s a big unknown on the other side—even when that change is probably going to be good for you.
So we get stuck or refuse to take action, because we don’t want to deal with the discomfort of altering our current state of being.
When you market your firm, consider how you can make that change less scary. Usually, that means eliminating uncertainty and making it very, very clear what’s involved with the process.
They have a problem different from the one you’re trying to address. When you market your business, you need to understand what problems and challenges people have. Then you can offer a solution or provide relief.
The thing is, understanding the root of someone’s problem is really hard. It’s more art than science, and requires a little bit of research, a lot of empathy and a dash of guesswork.
As we discussed a few months ago, you can (and should!) ask your audience what they want from you. But you have to do that knowing people:
- Might not know what they want.
- Don’t want to tell you what they want.
- Can’t articulate what they want.
In identifying someone’s problem—even when they explicitly tell you what the problem is—there is always room for error. You might misidentify the problem. You might misunderstand it and represent it the wrong way in your marketing.
As a result, your perfect prospect is going to walk away thinking, “this firm doesn’t understand my actual challenge.”
Always work to hone your message and your market research. Obsess over understanding your market and take consistent action to get deeper and more accurate insights on how they think.
They don’t trust you. When it comes to the financial industry, this is the reason of all reasons that a prospect won’t work with you. They just don’t trust you.
They don’t trust that you have their best interests at heart, they don’t trust that you’ll deliver on your promises, they don’t trust you can do what you say you can do… the list goes on.
It’s a very simple problem that can feel impossible to solve. It’s going to take time and a lot of effort—but you can win people’s trust before they work with you.
Here are a few ways to do it:
- Always be authentic. Strive for transparency and full disclosure.
- Use content to show people who you are (don’t just tell them). Share personal stories and experiences. Deliver that content as if you were sharing it with just one person (so be personable; don’t act like you’re delivering an address full of facts to a faceless crowd).
- Make it easy for people to learn more about you and understand how you work before they have to commit.
- Don’t carefully guard your processes, knowledge or ideas. Share them freely and distribute them widely. People who are open and generous with their knowledge attract far more paying clients than those who are mysterious, secretive and stingy.
If you’re struggling to get clients in the door, don’t just assume it’s a failure on the part of your target market—like a failure of being aware you exist or a failure to understand how fantastic your firm is.
Consider taking responsibility instead. Consider if one of these reasons might be the cause. Doing so will lead you to far more productive action than just shouting louder for attention, or arguing more aggressively to make your case that you’re better than the other guys.