As you wrap up the year, you should already be thinking about your 2021 business strategy. But as important as it is to plan and set goals, you need to do this in a state of mind in which your brain can be most creative. That requires rest.
To that end, my biggest piece of advice right now would be to finish up 2020 business and take the last week of the year to wind down and rest your brain. Good, bad or otherwise, the year is over. The best thing you can do is take some time for R&R and get ready to come back at the top of your game!
Each January is an opportunity to start over. We do this in all areas of our lives. Let’s face it, which one of us hasn’t made an exhaustive list of New Year’s resolutions?
But for many of us, by the end of January, most of our resolutions have gone by the wayside. Why? When it comes to our business resolutions, most are unrealistic and typically don’t have a plan to accompany them. Ironically, our business is planning, yet we do so little of it ourselves.
SCHEDULE YOUR RETREAT
Here are a few planning strategies that have worked for me and so many other advisers I have trained. First, if you haven’t already done so, set aside two days for your retreat within the first couple of weeks of January to come up with your plan for 2021. I focused on this in my previous InvestmentNews articles, which you can refer to for a recommended agenda.
Your two-day retreat should mostly be centered on your prospecting and marketing plans for the new year. COVID is likely going to be with us for a while, so your 2021 plan should focus heavily on how you are going to market and meet virtually.
Because most people have gotten accustomed to virtual communication, a plan to dominate your marketplace should be exciting and very doable. A year ago, it would have been unheard of to invite people to a virtual event. Now, it’s the norm, which works to your advantage.
I recommend that at the very least, you schedule four events: one each quarter. They can focus on topics relevant to that time of year or current economic conditions. If you can do more events, that’s even better. That said, there are also a few things to remember in the world of virtual marketing.
BEST PRACTICES IN VIRTUAL EVENT MARKETING
One, you need to be the star, not an invited guest. Outside speakers work well for client events but not events designed to bring in prospects. If a prospect attends, he or she is evaluating you as their potential adviser so do not defer your credibility to anyone else.
Second, it’s important to market and deliver online programs that are so different and so engaging, your prospects and your clients will not only attend, but will invite their friends and their family members to attend as well. How do you do that? By delivering content that is very different from your competitors.
Most advisers tend to talk about the economy and how various scenarios could potentially impact the markets, or they talk about specific investment or life insurance products. More often than not, these topics don’t evoke the emotional response you need to get a prospective client to engage with you and your firm.
Ultimately, your success in converting attendees at these virtual events into clients will be your ability to 1) tell stories that resonate with your audience and 2) unsettle or disturb them by highlighting risk management areas that have likely not been addressed.
DISTURBING YOUR PROSPECTS IS GOOD
In my more than 30 years of working with clients, I have seen that it’s the risk side of the balance sheet that moves prospects to action. Why? Because the fear of loss is always a greater motivator than the opportunity for gain. Always.
Inviting a prospect to an event focused on “unforeseen risks that could ruin their day” might actually get them to sign up and take a chance on spending time with you. In your event invitation, highlighting the risk topics you’re going to discuss will certainly result in more attendees then focusing on how great your manager selection process is!
Remember that most people’s No. 1 fear around money is losing what they’ve worked so hard to accumulate. That’s especially true for women, and it extends to people regardless of their net worth.
As advisers, our first duty to our clients and prospects is to point out potential vulnerabilities that may exist in their lives. Once we’ve identified points of weakness or vulnerability, it is then our duty to help fix them. You can do that as easily on a Zoom call as you can during a live event.
So get planning. Your clients and prospective clients need you now, more than ever.
Erin Botsford founded Botsford Financial Group and The Advisor Authority. To learn more about planning and growing your business in 2021, register for her webcast “Unstoppable” on Jan. 11 at 2 p.m. CST.
As our second lead editor, Cindy Hamilton covers health, fitness and other wellness topics. She is also instrumental in making sure the content on the site is clear and accurate for our readers. Cindy received a BA and an MA from NYU.