Financial Advisor's Summit speakers urge focus, authenticity -- and avoiding clichés. Don't say: We offer peace of mind.

August 17, 2010 — 9:10 PM UTC by Mike Byrnes, Guest Columnist

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Elizabeth’s note: Mike Byrnes has written about increasing sales without being too “salesy” for RIABiz before.10 advisors explain how they build sales without getting 'salesy’. In this piece, he’s back on the same topic, offering tips from marketing and sales experts who are well known in the business. It’s interesting to note that one of the common themes is that less is more: You don’t have to be over-the-top to establish a successful marketing campaign. You do need to be persistent, strategic and honest. I also suspect that as the economy forces advisors to work harder to increase their AUM, we’ll see more attention paid to selling and marketing strategies.

Annette Bau draws top speakers in the business of increasing sales for advisors at her Financial Advisor’s Summit. Bau’s company, Million Dollar Practices, offers the summits for free if advisors watch in real time. She charges advisors $97 to listen the presentations after the fact. There are three days left in this six-day event: today, Wednesday and Thursday. To sign up, register here: Financial Advisor’s Summit.

I listened in on the first four days worth of sessions, to speakers who emphasized how important it is for advisors to be authentic and honest. On one of the first days, Maribeth Kuzmeski of Red Zone Marketing emphasized that advisors must learn to speak their clients’ languages. For example, they shouldn’t use industry terminology like, “I offer clients peace of mind.”

Why not? That’s what all advisors say. It’s a cliché.

“To be effective, advisors need to put their solutions in the words of the clients. ... The words we use are so valuable,” says Kuzmeski.

I’ve pulled together some other tips from speakers at FA Summit about strategies to grow your practice.

• Ken Varga,
Because many prospects need at least five marketing contacts to take action, communicate with the same group on a consistent basis. That means you don’t have to buy a list one week and another list the next week.

• Sid Walker,
Take a relationship-building approach, so that selling becomes a problem-solving process. When the clients open up, you can build rapport by sharing feelings. By finding out what is the most important thing to your prospects, “the close” becomes a formality.

• Marie Swift,
In an environment where clients fear a double-dip recession, or the next scandal, it’s crucial that advisors come across as authentic and trustworthy. That means looking inside yourself to come up with a brand identity.

• Bill Cates,
Advisors can be proactive without asking by planting “referral seeds.” Bill gave an example of using the line, “Never too busy to see if we can be a resource for other people you care about.” Another idea is, “Don’t keep us a secret.” He also advised letting your clients know what happens if they identify a referral, so they feel comfortable with confidentially issues and the process. Once you get a referral, make sure to send a thank you note and consider taking both people to lunch.

• Bruce Wright,
Advisors are probably working more hours than they would like to, so the idea of adding more clients is unattractive. If advisors can lovingly let go of 50 C clients, they can make room for one A client, which will have much higher profitability than the smaller relationships. Let C clients go easy by providing a soft landing; don’t fire them. Introduce them to advisors within the organization or outside that are better suited.

Among the speakers on tap for today and in the next two days:

Annette Bau,
Presentation: The Fast Track to Double Your Income and Success
Lew Nason,
Presentation: Questioning Techniques to Grow Your Business & Improve Your Results
Richard Weylman,
Presentation: Understanding the Affluent Mind
Mike Byrnes (that’s me!),
Presentation: How to Grow, Even When the Economy Isn’t
Barabara Rozgonyi,
Presentation: Savvy Social Media
Mitch Axelrod,
Presentation: Success Secrets of World Class Producers
Wendy Weiss,
Presentation: Recession Prospecting: How to Build a Strong Sales Pipeline in a Weak Economy

Mike Byrnes founded Byrnes Consulting in April 2008 to provide business planning and marketing strategy consulting services to help advisors become even more successful. Read more at

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Stephanie Sammons said:

August 18, 2010 — 12:48 PM UTC

These are great tips, and interesting enough many of them can be facilitated through a professional, integrated, smart blogging and social media strategy! Especially during difficult times, financial advisors need to have an opinion and be sharing their thought leadership in a way that can grow influence and reach.

Stephanie Sammons

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