Three Ways To Develop Magnetic Appeal

By: John Steuernol

Three Ways To Develop Magnetic Appeal - businessman pointing forward at a seminarThe lifeblood of any great investment advisory practice is the development of new client relationships. Clients come and go each and every year for a variety of reasons. Sometimes it’s your own fault and then sometimes it’s not, but then it doesn’t really matter whose fault it is because it’s just part of what happens to every business.

Once you have an established business you should target to bring in anywhere from 10 - 18 new relationships per year. This should be sufficient to replace any shrinkage that has occurred while adding a few more great clients to the business.

For many advisors, developing client relationships can be challenging but it need not be so. The key to getting all the new business you would ever want and having fun doing it is all about finding out how to give you and your business magnetic appeal. It’s about putting yourself in the zone, learning how to stay there and discovering how easy it is to attract whatever level of new business you desire.

Dr. Robert Cialdini, President of INFLUENCE AT WORK, Arizona State University Regents’ Professor Emeritus of Psychology and Marketing at Arizona State University and author of several books including Influence, The Psychology of Persuasion is considered a world authority on social compliance. In this book he discusses several laws or principles of influence and social compliance that if correctly applied would certainly give your business tremendous ‘magnetic appeal’.

In this article I’ll discuss a few principles that I have discovered can have a tremendous affect upon your business.

Principle #1

The first principle is always #1, and maybe because of that is the one most easily and often forgotten.

Unless you are a Mother Teresa type and most of us are not, then we need to remember that almost everyone will always seek first to serve his or her self-interests. It’s natural and instinctive and when we sense someone else is willing to assist us with the accomplishment of our self-interest, then we are more inclined to want to work with them.

Now this is not a difficult concept to understand but it is difficult one to remember. At the end of the day we are human and subject to human frailty, and part of that frailty is our natural instinct to serve our own self-interest first. Of course the advisor will want to feed and provide for his family, and enjoy some of the pleasures this earth has to offer. There is no sin in doing this. As a matter of fact you need to run a successful and profitable business if it is to have staying power. It is however a mistake to put your interest ahead of your client’s. For some advisors their desire to generate great fees and commissions is not in harmony with the best interests of their client. The moment your interest attempts to trump that of the client you’ve put yourself on the wrong path.

On the other hand, the moment you effectively set aside your self interest and direct all your energy and attention to that of the client you’ll actually end up serving both yours and theirs. It’s somewhat oxymoronic if you think about it. You’ll develop better, stronger and deeper relationships once the client sees that you are truly aligned with them.

There are lots of little things that can help:

  1. Offer a fee based option. Many clients can become suspect of commissions and wonder if a trade recommendation is more about commission generation and less about the merit of the investment.
  2. Have a discovery process that creates a deeper understanding of what your client is truly trying to accomplish. Too many client interviews are lop-sided and focused mostly on the investments at the expense of circumstances in the client’s life that may impact the overall investment strategy.
  3. Provide your clients with a written investment policy statement that clearly sets out the parameters for managing the money in all market conditions.
  4. Be absolutely transparent in all your work. For example, if you like new issues, be able to explain how they add value to the portfolio and fits into your overall strategy.
  5. Have a clear mandate for whom you will accept or reject as a client.

Remember every great business must remain profitable so you can continue to serve your clients for many years. Just make sure your on-going profitability is never at the expense of offering your clients the best advice you can muster.

Principle #2

One of the principles Dr. Cialdini talks a lot about is the Law of Expertise. Long before I had read his book I had coined my own phrase and talked about ‘the power of knowledge supremacy’. When you become an expert and develop superior knowledge concerning any aspect of what you do, you have given your business greater magnetic appeal.

People want to deal with an expert. They want to work with someone who really knows what they are doing because they are tired of dealing with amateurs. During my career I’ve come across a lot of bad advice giving. Many clients are not receiving the best advice, in part because the advisor has put their self-interest ahead of that of the client, partly because of poor diagnosis and in some cases because there was an absence of expert knowledge.

Once you begin to develop superior knowledge about investing, tax, estate or financial planning you are well on your way to having acquired Expertise or Knowledge Supremacy.

Decide now to become a life long student of the business and ultimately you will develop that expertise you desire.

Principle #3

This is one of my own making. Believe it or not I find advisors who have become bored with the business. They may be running an efficient business but have forgotten how to have fun and how to keep the business interesting, exciting or alive within them-self. They have lost their passion for the business and no longer find the business intellectually satisfying. This is truly a shame!

I knew an advisor grossing over $1,000,000 per year who was completely bored out of his mind. His business was quite efficient, perhaps too much so and as I spoke to him I noticed there was no sparkle in his eye. He had lost whatever passion was once there and sold the business six months later. Today he runs a little business making fine furniture. Shortly after this experience I spoke with another advisor who said to me: “If I have to speak with one more dumb client asking the same dumb questions, I’m going to shoot myself!” He also sold his business within the year and went to work for a ‘not for profit’ organization.

There is a very interesting thing that happens when you are working in a field that you find absolutely and totally intellectually satisfying. You become energized and passionate about what you do and clients can sense it. Do I know exactly how it happens? No! But I do know that the body is this most amazing sensing and feeling apparatus that senses our connectedness to that which we do. Maybe it has something to do with cranial nerve zero and it’s unique ability to register the pheromones of others. Maybe it has something to do with how our tone and inflection reflect our conviction and maybe it’s just that quite confidence that comes with being in the zone.

I celebrated my 36th anniversary in this business this past May 1st. Frankly I have been pleasantly surprised with my own staying power. One of the keys was discovering what parts of this business truly fascinated me. I built several businesses as a sales professional, then as a sales manager and for the last 11 years as a sales coach. It has been a wonderful journey of discovery. I encourage you to discover the source of your passion, become a life long student of this most amazing business and then go and find clients who truly appreciate the zeal and passion you have created within yourself and then perhaps you too will one day have a 36th anniversary to celebrate.

In future articles I’ll tackle a few more principles that can give you and your business great magnetic appeal.

John Steuernol
Your ‘At The Moment Coach’
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