Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Personal Branding That Works 24/7

My expert interview today is with Michael Roby.

With 40 years of experience in sales and marketing, he's forgotten more than I've learned about how to grow your business. Michael has been a sales and marketing coach, and a speaker, serving professional service firms such as broker dealers, banks, credit unions, and insurance companies.

And you're going to love his advice in my transcript of our interview:  personal branding that works.

Michael Roby, welcome!

Michael: Kevin, it is a privilege.

Kevin: Let’s talk about personal branding that works. This is an intriguing idea. Branding seems to be done to death by a lot of experts.

Tell us first of all, please define personal branding. Then, let’s talk about how it can really work, and maybe include some success stories.

Michael: Kevin, branding is poorly defined in a lot of cases. We’ll hear branding as logos or slogans, or we hear about the infamous elevator pitch. Here’s the challenge with that. Most people that I talk to -- and I’ve talked to a lot of financial advisors -- can’t even tell me what they do.

If people ask you what you do, what they really want to know is, “What’s in it for me?”

“I” is the single most dangerous word in sales and marketing because it’s not about you, it’s about them. They don’t want to hear you say, “I do this,” or, “I do that.” They don’t want to hear your title.

When I hear things like, “I’m a financial advisor,” my response is, “Really? I’ve never met one of those.” There are only 500 in my building. Or I’ll hear things like, “I’m a wealth manager.” Really? How much wealth have you managed people into in the last ten years?” I’m just asking.

People don’t care about titles. They don’t care about what you do.

People have always been coached that you should have an elevator speech. An elevator speech is about 30 seconds long. But here’s the challenge. Research shows that people make up their mind to listen to you in the first seven seconds. If you lose them, you are done. In fact, if you do lose them, in captive audience studies, they have found that people take an average of two minutes and 20 seconds to reengage with you.

What do we want to do in that first 7 seconds? Here’s the answer. We call this a 24/7 personal brand because you can use it anytime, anywhere. You can use it in copy. You can use it in personal conversation or marketing pieces.

The 24/7 personal brand is this: 24 words, in 7 seconds. Here’s what to do ...

First, identify your constituents. Second, give them the benefit of doing business with you. Third, give them a couple quick answers to make them ask a question.

Kevin: That’s a lot to do in 7 seconds!

Michael: It is. For financial advisors, who are the constituents? Most people, if you talk to them about the fact that you’re in the investment business, they’ll smile and they’ll be nice, but they’re not thinking investments. What do they do think when they hear the word “investments”? They think risk.

And if they think risk, they may be smiling, they may be nodding a little, but they are tuning you out. What you want to do is identify yourself as doing business with conservative investors. The conservative investor piece may be the way you lead. 

The 24/7 personal brand may go something like this: “Conservative investors choose to do business with me and my firm because we can help people reduce the risk associated with saving, investing, and managing money.”

Kevin: Intriguing.

Michael: Let’s unpack that ...

Conservative investors. When you’re talking about your target demographic, you want to go the lowest common denominator. Sure, you’re going to talk to people that like to speculate, but most people just want to save and invest for a comfortable retirement and send their children and grandchildren to college, create a legacy for future generations, transfer business.

Next, choose to do business with us. Notice I didn’t say, “I work with” – or, “My clients are,” because it’s not about me. It’s got to be about them.

Next, we can help people reduce the risk. There’s a pain point. And it’s related to the final part: associated with saving, investing, and managing money.

For most financial advisors, that’s the bulk of what they do. It’s saving, investing, and managing money. If you package that together -- conservative investors choose to do business with my firm because we can help them reduce the risk associated with saving, investing, and managing money -- most people on hearing that will ask something like this, “How do you do that?”

Kevin: Exactly. I know you have a winner there, Michael, because the first thing I thought of was, “Tell me more.”

Michael: When people start asking you questions, the game is over. The deal is done. Then you can dig a little deeper into the benefits and follow up with features. Say something like, “Because Mr. and Mrs. Client, we don’t advise based on prediction. I can’t tell you what time the sun comes up but we use principles."

“We use principles that always work for helping people achieve their long-term financial objectives.” Then you can talk about those things. See, we have them asking questions now. Then after making that secondary statement, I can say, “How do you feel about risk as it relates to your money?” or, “What keeps you awake at night when you think about your finances?”

Now we’re engaged in a conversation. I’m not pitching; I’m advising. I’m not selling; I’m interviewing. I’m having a conversation with my new best friend.

Kevin: Terrific. Just quickly, before we go, you mentioned earlier, there are advisors gross one to two million dollars using this formula?

Michael: Absolutely, because it’s simple. It’s simple and it’s a chain reaction type of marketing. You identify the constituent, hit the pain point, give them a couple of examples, and the conversation builds from there.

It’s conversational, it’s repeatable. It’s something that their clients will tell other people, “Hey Kevin, you should talk to my financial advisor.” “Why?” “She’s helped me reduce risk in my portfolio.” “How does she do that?” “Well, you need to talk to her.”

Kevin: Michael, that’s outstanding. Thank you! Before we go, how can people learn more about the 24/7 formula?

Michael: Send us an email at info -at -michaelroby.com. We’ll be happy to help people any way we can.

It’s interesting because while I work with a lot of really, really large firms. But I’ve been given some fabulous mentoring over the years, so I’m happy to share my ideas with people who need to do a better job at delivering products and services.

Kevin: Thanks, Michael. You’ve been great.

Meanwhile, if you want to more clients like your best clients, my free Client Cloning Kit can help. Grab your free copy now, while they last.

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