I’ve been thinking about a session I had with an incredibly talented professional recently, and reflecting on how easy it can be to lose a prospective client. I can’t help but draw parallels with some client experiences we’ve seen in advice businesses.

SEO. Search Engine Optimisation.
I know of the term SEO and what it is supposed to do for you (get your website on page 1 of Google searches), but until recently I hadn’t invested a great deal of effort or focus on it. How does this compare to financial advice I hear you thinking? Well, like your potential clients, I had a few thoughts already in my head about this particular service, but I wasn’t totally convinced about it. Kind of like:

And so it happened that through our co-working space, I met an expert in SEO and sat down to discuss it with him. In part, for our own website, and also so I could learn more about it to assist our advisers. I made it clear that I felt it’s important to be able to measure (and achieve) tangible results – a rule I’ve always held for any spend in marketing. I was also wary of the ‘black magic’ that is the Google algorithms, and the potential for people to be sucked in with promises from a provider who uses jargon and smoke and mirrors to pretend they have the ability to manipulate something that cannot be controlled. After the initial ‘high-level’ chats, we discussed my website assets, and what I was wanting to achieve from them.

Suddenly I could see what I was missing…. he could show me exactly how many times people were searching for our services, how many hits our website was getting, and how well it was performing in the eyes of Google (and therefore anyone who sits in front of a computer looking for services).

Through this exercise, my thinking quickly went from ‘this is a thing I’ve heard about but we’re doing okay on our own’, to ‘I’ve heard about this and I need to get some help with it’, to ‘Now I can see what my site is doing without help, I can see it’d be worth getting help’. Consider your first meetings with a prospective client – they’ve either used an online calculator and learnt they need help or they won’t meet their goals prior to finding you, or through your first meeting, you’ve demonstrated that you care, helped them articulate what they want more and less of in their lives, and hopefully used some form of simple outcome modelling software to identify the gaps in their situation…

As I spoke with my SEO guru it became quickly apparent that he knew an awful lot about the subject and while he was incredibly generous in sharing a lot of his knowledge with me, I got the sense that I was still barely scratching the surface of his knowledge – my thinking turned to “he is the guru and I want to access his expertise”.

Then as he shared more and more, my eyes started to glaze over, and I knew I was in unchartered waters – I knew that he knew the terrain but I was way out of my depth. The more he talked the more disconnected I felt…

When I consider this process, there were two fundamental challenges…. he kept talking long after I had ’emotionally bought’ his skill and expertise, and he had no clearly defined way to engage him – no defined process we might follow and price point or quote. Because there was no clear path in how I could engage him – “it will cost this much and I will take you through the following steps”…I was the one who had to think about what I could get him to do first and how I could engage him, as well as considering if the ROI would be worth the exercise.

So…. how can you as an adviser get the first four thoughts and engage the client before their eyes glaze over and their anxiety levels paralyse them into inaction and sticking with their status quo?
If you can tick these boxes, you’ll be doing okay:

In the end, I was able to find a way that I could engage my SEO guru friend, and he has been tremendously helpful for us. When I think about how close he came to talking me out of doing business with him, I reflect on how many advisers have also lost the opportunity to change the lives of their potential clients. The art of winning new clients lies in the process you take them through, and not only what you say to them, but also in knowing when to stop saying anything at all.

If you haven’t followed us on social media, be sure to do so, so you can catch the next few Moments with Sue we’re releasing. Some great ideas from all sorts of people, from advisers, award winners, tech people, to a physio!

Warm regards,
Sue

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