Four insights from the Mindshop Advisor Training Round 4, November 2018

Are you practising authentic authenticity as a business advisor?

Are you walking the walk or just talking the talk? A flashy marketing campaign to convince quality customers of your transparency and genuineness is doomed to failure. Mature clients have a well-honed radar and will disconnect if they sense even a whiff of disingenuousness.
So how do advisors convert clients no longer buying into spin? James Atkins and Jason Langford-Brown both long standing Mindshop members and successful business advisors delivered four key insights to achieve greater marketing cut through during the global Mindshop Advisor Workshop round this November.

 

1. Marketing for engagement

‘Experience is the new product and time is the new price’ was an idea that resonated throughout the workshops.
For professional service firms, providing a fantastic experience for customers across all touch points, from the sales process, onboarding and delivery through to billing is essential to generate referrals – still the strongest advisory lead generator. The key idea being that marketing is no longer the sole responsibility of a few key people and that clients are willing to pay for ease of engagement.

This whole-of-business approach to marketing requires thinking, acting and communicating from the inside out, starting with the organisation’s ‘why’. Ask your business some fundamental questions: ‘what is your purpose, your motivation and what you believe?’ This will frame ‘how’ you go about engaging with clients – your process, specific actions, and then finally framing the ‘what’ – what do you do?

2. The need to be more authentic

Balancing what you say, versus what others say about you is the key to authentic engagement. An advisory brand is an articulation of who the organisation is, what they believe and what they do, if it does not reflect the expectations and experience of customers and public reputation, you’re at risk of lacking authenticity. Do you know what clients are saying about you and your reputation? If not you need to ask both those you have won recently and maybe those you have lost?

The sweet spot of authenticity is the intersection of your brand, reputation and fit with customer needs.

To be authentic you need to be trusted, and to be trusted you need to be transparent.
Think of your marketing as a pyramid, from the basics of your website up to nurturing campaigns and sales engagement techniques. All these building blocks need to be authentic, aligning to your ‘why’ at each stage of the sales cycle and beyond. Here’s a practical tip – why not try harnessing the power of video, the shorter the better, using unscripted language to tell stories of how your customers have experienced success using your services?

3. Engaging through influence

B2B selling is complex, the likelihood of a purchase drops sharply when the number of decision makers involved increases. Today’s empowered customers are on average 57% of the way through their purchase decision by the time they engage a supplier . Therefore, engaging through influencing decision makers can be a powerful tool.
Advisors can implement the seven principles of persuasion to assist in the B2B sales process

1. Reciprocation – prospects will have a feeling of obligation if you provide something of value first
2. Social proof – we tend to be more trusting of things that are popular and have been endorsed as quality by others we trust
3. Commitment and consistency – asking your prospect to start with small agreements makes it harder for them to say ‘no’ in the long run
4. Liking – we’re more likely to submit to requests made by people we like and who like us in return
5. Authority – we’re more likely to agree with those who have perceived authority
6. Scarcity – we’re drawn to things that are hard to get and in short supply
7. Unity – people need to feel they belong to something greater than themselves

These principles are not about ‘trickery’ and need to be applied in an authentic way. How can you weave them into your advisory offering, marketing and sales?

4. You’ve got them, so how are you going to keep them?

The quality of your service model and ability to deliver a high value outcome for clients is obviously key in the retention of clients. If you’re not offering services that provide ongoing benefits, rather than one off project-based activities you will constantly be searching around for new clients.

Does your advisory model hit a sweet spot? Your offering must meet three marketing fundamentals:

a) Be digestible
b) Solve a problem, and
c) Link to a clear competitive advantage

Your advisory model needs to tell a great story about how you will work with clients to achieve their goals.

Here are three advisory services that will cut through with clients in 2019 and improve your likelihood of client retention:

1. Online coaching and training – deliver the triple play of benefits – leverage (more clients, more often), improved customer experience (just-in-time support) and cost reduction (less reliance on heavy travel schedules to maintain face-to-face contact)

2. Initial business reviews – help clients focus attention on where they are now and where they want to be in the future, use tools such as a Growth and Profit Diagnostic, Now Where How and financial dashboards

3. Half day strategic plan re-sets – time-poor clients want a simple strategic plan review to get them back on track. Use One Page Plan, Now Where How, Sustainable Competitive Advantage, Mindmap and Pareto to achieve a clear plan in a short period of time.

Good luck with implementing some of these ideas, the achievement of authenticity through your marketing, sales and advisory offering will set you apart from those who are just ‘talking the talk’.

Want to learn more about being an agile advisor or how Mindshop helps build high performing advisory businesses? Click here.