I’ve been thinking a lot about competition in the advice/planning sector over the past couple of weeks.
It all started when one adviser said to me: “No IFA has competition”.
A few days later, and in stark contrast, another said to me: “The competitor analysis (you did) was really insightful and made us feel more positive about being able to stand out from the crowd”.
It’s fascinating how two people in the same profession can have such different views. So in this week’s blog, we’re going to explore two things:
- Are advisers/planners really competing with one another?
- How does the answer affect your marketing?
And, at the end of this blog, be sure to request the two freebies we have for you this week.
Like it or not, you’re in competition
The only question is, how much?
The earlier someone is on their journey to your door, the greater the competition. That’s because consumers often have a list of advisers/planners on their radar, perhaps after asking several trusted sources for recommendations or running multiple searches on Google, Unbiased, VouchedFor and so on.
Then, to decide who they’ll contact first, consumers will:
- Search online for the firms, or the individual advisers/planners, on their shortlist
- Review their social proof (remember 87% of consumers used Google to evaluate local businesses in 2022 and 1 in 3 new clients say they read the adviser/planner’s VouchedFor reviews before becoming a client)
- Visit their website.
Don’t believe me? Two stats to support that hypothesis:
- Our research shows that 52% of clients have recommended their adviser/planner to someone in the past 12 months
- But further research shows only around 20% of those people ever contact the adviser/planner they’ve been referred to.
Of course, there are many reasons why a prospect doesn’t make contact and goes in a different direction, but competition is certainly one of them.
Competition is invisible
As we’ve demonstrated, competition happens early in the journey someone takes to your door.
It’s also invisible because you don’t know who is looking you up online, which perhaps explains why many advisers/planners don’t believe they’re in competition.
If you’re one of those advisers/planners, I’ve got two bits of news for you:
- The bad news: You’re in competition.
- The good news: You can do something about it.
Action #1: Understand your competition
We know that:
- Many consumers want to deal with a local adviser/planner
- Most prospective clients will check out advisers/planners online before contacting them
- They might consider multiple firms at this stage.
Combined, those three facts mean you should aim to have more social proof than your local peers and worthy rivals (thank you Simon Sinek for that phrase!). So, here’s a five-step process to check them out.
Step #1: Click here to request our free competitor analysis template
Step #3: Enter your postcode
Step #4: Look at the firms within a 10-mile radius
Step #5: Complete the template you’ve requested from us and categorise each firm as either a “threat” or “opportunity”
Threats: These are firms who look more impressive to a potential client than your business – you need to catch these firms up by improving your social proof.
Opportunity: Firms which don’t look great and wouldn’t impress a potential client – by collecting more social proof you’ll put clear water between you and them.
Going through this process:
- Helps you to understand how you’re doing against your peers and competitors
- Motivates you to improve your social proof.
Action #2: Review the digital journey prospects take to your door
To impress prospects and maximise the chances of them contacting you, and not an alternative firm, you must get your online presence right.
- Dominating the search results page when someone Googles you or your business
- Ensuring that all links on the search page are up to date and none of them portray negativity
- Impressing prospective clients with your online reviews (ideally on Google and VouchedFor
- Making sure your website is an impressive shop window for your business.
So how do you know whether you’re impressing prospects on their digital journey to your door? You take our free online scorecard:
- 3 minutes
- Completely free
- Personalised results, and recommendations to improve, sent instantly.
Click here to take the scorecard now.
Competition happens, so you might as well impress
It’s a fact of life that consumers consider more than one adviser/planner before engaging.
To maximise the chances of a prospect choosing you means recognising that competition is invisible, learning more about how you compare and then improving your online presence.
And our two freebies will help you do just that.
When you’ve completed the competitor template and tested yourself with our digital scorecard, we’re here to help you improve. Email email@example.com or call 0115 8965 300.