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What my fear of flying will teach you about marketing

Last Thursday, I flew off to Rome for a long weekend with my wife and daughter. That might sound like a pretty unremarkable thing to do (and a strange way to start a blog about marketing), but it’s a big deal for me because I suffer from aerophobia, a fear of flying.

I’ve never flown long haul.

It’s five years since I last flew.

I was 44 before I flew unaccompanied.

Over the years I’ve tried various remedies to cure my fear, from hypnosis and a fear of flying course to medication and, a couple of pre-flight pints. None of them worked particularly well. I was still very nervous when I flew and did everything I could to avoid it.

Over the years, my fear has become increasingly frustrating. There are places in the world I want to see, and I was denying my wife and children some great experiences. So, this year I resolved to go cold turkey, by getting on a plane, feeling the fear, and doing it anyway.

So, what does this all have to do with marketing?

There are times when advisers/planners’ fears hold them back from effectively marketing their business. This can lead to slower growth than would otherwise be the case if they could find a way to conquer their fears, or plough on regardless.

Let’s look at five fears in more detail.

1. “If I ask my clients to leave a review, they might leave a bad one”

Correct, they might, but it’s highly unlikely. Instead, the chances are you’ll get a bunch of positive reviews and comments that’ll impress prospective clients on their digital journey to your door. You can also use them in your wider marketing.

If you’re still worried, take comfort from the fact that we’ve never seen a client leave a negative review after they’ve been asked for one by their adviser/planner. Sure, we’ve seen scores of 4.8 or 4.9 out of 5 on VouchedFor, and the occasional 4 out of 5 on Google, but that’s fine. Remember, imperfection is authentic.

When it comes to online reviews, feeling the fear and doing it anyway is almost certain to pay off.

2. “I don’t want to bother my clients”

From online reviews to recommendations, I know many advisers/planners worry that asking their clients to share their positive experiences will, in some way, “bother” them.

When I gently challenge the adviser/planner for evidence that clients will feel “bothered”, they can’t produce any. The fear is entirely between their ears. Of course, much like my fear of flying, that doesn’t mean it’s any less real. So, we must deal with it.

Based on our experiences, clients are very willing to help their advisers/planners when asked. That’s not a surprise, as our research shows that 98.13% of clients believe that working with their adviser/planner has helped them to achieve their aspirations.

To put it another way, if you’re changing your clients’ lives, why wouldn’t they want to help you in return?

3. “None of my clients will appear on video”

We often hear this when the adviser/planner is worried about asking clients to appear on video. Instead of feeling the fear and doing it anyway, they unilaterally decide that none of their clients will agree to appear. Interestingly, we see the issue more often (although not exclusively) in multi-adviser firms.

The result? No client videos, which are a vital part of your social proof portfolio.

The fear is entirely unjustified. In our experience, if you ask the right clients, in the right way, you will get enough to run a successful video project. This will again help to impress potential clients on their digital journey to your door.

4. “I worry about investing in my marketing, what guarantees are there that it’ll work?”

We hear this a lot. It’s often from advisers/planners who have never invested in their marketing before, or those who have but chose the wrong tactics and failed to get the results they hoped for.

Of course, there are no guarantees. However, with one important caveat, this shouldn’t stop you from investing in your marketing.

And here’s the caveat: start by developing a marketing strategy, not by diving straight into implementing tactics chosen at random.

Developing a strategy:

  • Gives you a quicker route to success
  • Helps you focus on what’s important rather than ”shiny” new things
  • Makes it easier for you to monitor return on investment and whether you’re on track
  • Is more cost-effective in the long run as you won’t waste money on tactics which don’t work.

In contrast, diving straight into tactics means you’re marketing your business through trial and error. That’s expensive, time-consuming, and likely to leave you disappointed.

So, feel the fear and invest in your marketing. Just make sure that the first invoice you pay is for a marketing strategy, not one-off tactics.

5. “I’m worried (and my PI insurer is too) that if I run a client survey it’ll lead to regulated complaints.”

We’re hearing this more frequently. We can understand why an adviser, planner, business owner or PI insurer might feel nervous about running a client survey. After all, asking people for their views on your service is likely to make you feel anxious.

However, the benefits are huge. A well-run client survey will:

  • Show clients that you’re listening and care about their opinions
  • Help to improve your business
  • Improve your marketing.

Finally, if you ask the right questions, it’ll identify your advocates (clients who say they will refer on, appear on videos, leave reviews etc) and active advocates (who actually do those things), something that’s vital when you create your referral and recommendation strategy.

To put your mind at rest further, we have never seen a regulated complaint result from a client survey. We do see minor grumbles which can be dealt with before they turn into a major problem.

Surely that’s a good thing?

The solution to these five? Feel the fear and do it anyway!

I conquered my fear and enjoyed a fantastic weekend in Rome, creating great memories with the family by visiting the Vatican and the Colosseum, and enjoying our first-ever Bruce Springsteen gig.

When it comes to your marketing, if you feel the fear and do it anyway you’ll:

  • Improve your business
  • Develop some great social proof
  • Generate more referrals and recommendations
  • Increase enquiry numbers and take on new clients.

That long-term gain is certainly worth the short-term pain!

We’re here to hold your hand

If you need some help facing up to your marketing fears, we’re here to help.

We can help you:

  • Run client survey projects
  • Collect online ratings and reviews
  • Record and promote client videos
  • Develop a marketing strategy for your business
  • Increase the number of referrals and recommendations you get from existing clients.

If you’d like to know more email or call 0115 8965 300.

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