You know that business development is a full-time engagement. Keeping your pipeline filled with qualified prospects fuels the P&L. However, the frustrating question for many is how to accomplish this on a consistent, automated, predictable basis for prospects who are not swayed by the latest digital marketing trends?
The answer is simple, but the implementation is multi-layered, time-consuming, and ultimately worth it to onboard the best clients.
To create a pipeline that predictably attracts qualified prospects requires a targeted digital marketing strategy and relationship touchpoints that are guided by a repeatable process.
That's the simple answer.
Here's how to do it in four high-level steps:
STEP 1 – Be Visible
Guiding prospects into your world requires online and offline visibility. The higher the engagement, the more affluent the client, the more you need to show up digitally and physically.
It's not either a website or a direct mail campaign - it's both - in a strategic manner that doesn't break the bank.
Let's be clear about what visibility is. Visibility is your -
It reflects your company's sense of quality, taste, expertise, service, and style (or not).
Value-infused blogs, articles, and videos increases the perception of expertise and visibility.
3. Search Engine Rankings
The difference between Page 1 and Page 2 of Google is the difference between being a hunter and being a scavenger.
4. Social Media Profiles
Especially LinkedIn if you want quality prospects. Goolge Adwords and Facebook are strategically important as well.
5. Being a podcast guest
Experts write. Experts talk. Experts share their knowledge with such clarity they can't help but attract curious minds.
6. Local and industry events
Sponsorships alone are not enough without some audience airtime.
7. Direct mail to your existing clients
Touch is powerful. It anchors and bonds us to people, places, and things in ways digital has yet to replicate. Mail something your clients will want to hold on to.
8. Direct mail to targeted prospects
Separate your business development efforts from your salesy competitors by mailing prospects something of value, first!
9. The book, case study or white paper you've published
It's worth repeating - Experts write. Experts talk. Experts share their knowledge with such clarity they can't help but attract curious minds.
10. Online reviews and testimonials
Yes, FINRA has its communication rules to follow.
However, did you know there's a hidden-in-plain-sight way to get online testimonials and reviews to benefit your firm?
Don't think in terms of investment advice or portfolio results, think in terms of customer service.
All these components can be structured into a repeatable process so that your business development efforts are consistent, targeted, efficient and productive.
There's nothing worse than ad-hoc marketing that's untargeted, inefficient, and reaks of desperation because the pipeline is drying up.
STEP 2 – Be Helpful using Inbound Marketing
Your firm solves financial problems.
Given your experience what are the common questions nearly every prospect or client asks?
Did you know answers to common questions are prospect magnets that can be leveraged to increase engagement and interest in your services?
Did you know that if the information you provide is valuable enough prospects will effortlessly give you their contact information so you can follow up to help solve their problems?
Proactive Inbound Marketing is about being helpful, valuable, and guiding your prospects in a no-pressure, non-salesy way towards deciding if your services are the best solution to their challenges.
The more clear you are about the challenges you solve, the aspirations you help create, the value you help build, the easier it is for the right prospects to gravitate towards your offerings.
STEP 3 – Be Proactive using Outbound Marketing
For the early bird to get the worm, it has to go out hunting.
Waiting around for prospects to magically show up after a few networking events and some sporadic social media posts is a recipe for disappointment.
Even referrals require action from a client or strategic partner. Waiting around for this event to take place gives credence to the saying, "goals without action is only a wish."
Don't wish for clients.
Don't wish for more quality prospects.
Go. Get. Them.
(Strategically of course).
Before investing in a direct mail or ad campaign, first, find out where your prospects reside digitally. It's a more efficient, cost-effective and manageable to test your strategy.
Then develop a process to nurture the lead from stranger to interested prospect to client.
This daily relationship building process will take you at least several weeks per person to cycle through.
Rest assured, most of your competition has no interest or discipline to carry out this strategy.
Looking for the fast win means you will quickly succumb to what everyone else is doing - generating noise.
Fortunately, those of us focused on the long-win with right-fit clients will have a clear advantage because we concentrate our efforts, our messaging, and our conversations on building a relationship beyond the transaction.
STEP 4 – The Compounding Interest of Consistency
You already know the wonders compounding interest has on your client's portfolio.
It seems almost effortless, but you're fully aware of the dedication, consistency, and adjustment that had to be made to ensure every penny is earning its maximum potential.
Your business development efforts are no different.
You can't "set it and forget it."
You can't buy a few ads, mail a few letters, publish a few social media posts, show up to a few networking events, or upgrade your website and expect to land that "major" client who will catapult your revenues into infinity.
Business development - which is the intersection of marketing, branding and customer service - is fueled by strategic, consistent processes, smartly applied to the right target audience.