The Five Biggest Wastes of Money
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If you are paying for any of the following garbage, get the scissors and snip it out of your budget.
- Lead-generation services
Lead-generation services stink for these reasons:
Semi-false data. People fill out lead forms lie because they don’t want to turn over their personal information to a website.
You may have to waste a ton of dough before you are convinced of this. Some people have had success, but usually it’s after they spent multiples thousands per month. This has a low conversion rate and is only for people who have lots of money to spend on marketing.
The lead is not for you exclusively. The sell the same lead to a gazillion other advisors who then bombard the prospect within three seconds. As a result, prospects seldom respond because they are overwhelmed.
It’s one step above telemarketing. You’re paying $200 for a completely cold lead, and you are starting from a position of total distrust.
Instead, do this.
Make a list of every single past job you had.
Contact every single person from that job you met who thought you were cool. Everyone you ever had a meeting with or went to lunch with.
Find them on LinkedIn and ask them to connect.
After they accept, ask them how they are doing. But whatever you do, don’t pitch coffee and IRA rollover. Talk to them about their lives using the non-pushy or sales-focused methods described here in this blog about LinkedIn messaging. They may not become leads, but what you’re doing here is building an online community. If you play the LinkedIn game right, that can generate new clients.
- Automated email sequences
I recently expressed an interest in an event a religious organization is holding next year. I unfortunately gave out my email.
One day later, I received a “welcome” email thanking me for my interest. (Fine).
Two days later, I received a promotional email telling me more about the event, as well as others the organization is offering. (Meh).
Four days later, I received an email prompting me to register, showing me testimonials from past attendees, and urging me to take advantage of early bird pricing. (Irritating)
Automated email sequences are for the birds. Can we give bombarding people’s inboxes a rest? Any marketing person who tells you that you create urgency in the mind of the buyer this way is wrong.
Go deeper, not more frequent, with your newsletters. The more relevant the information, the higher the impact. In the example above, it would have been more useful to receive a list of commonly asked questions about the event along with the welcome email instead of two more newsletters.
Less, not more, people – and make it be about them!
Them not you.
ThEm NoT yOu.
them not you.
Did I make it clear?
Another way to go deeper is to follow up on your email newsletters. Call or send them something in the mail instead of beating their email inbox to death. But nobody ever does this; everyone wants to remain anonymous in the age of digital. Be the brave one.
- Paraphrased (copied) economic updates
People lose their minds when I say this.
Taking the Credit Suisse Q3 2023 economic outlook, making a feeble attempt to put it into your own words, and sending it out as your own is, well, obviously fake.
I would rather have you say, “Please find below a PDF of the Credit Suisse Q4 2023 outlook. Enjoy.” Don’t even bother trying to put it in your own words, just send them the original source you are (kinda) copying from.
Each day, write down the most interesting question a client asked you. At the end of the month, you’ll have great newsletter ideas. Write a two-paragraph response, entitled, “Client question of the month,” and send it instead of your copied economic review.
Can we all agree on one thing here?
Nobody needs more useless crap in their house.
It would be one thing if you were sending them Bertrand Russell books, a copy of The Odyssey, or a History of the Peloponnesian War. But the monogrammed water bottle? Your prospects can do without it. And the same goes for the expensive wine and cheese platters.
Send a handwritten note that expresses a sincere sentiment. People are starving for this. It can even be, “I appreciate so much that you always answer my phone calls and call back the same day.”
Boom, see there you go. Two sentences. They’ll love you forever.
- Lengthy presentation decks
Look, 0% of people have an attention span longer than three minutes. If you are talking for longer than it takes to heat up a cup of tea, you are losing people.
How can you focus on the audience’s needs if you’re busy reciting a novel’s worth of (probably irrelevant) information? A jam-packed presentation deck is a crutch for the presenter and it shifts the focus to dispensing information rather than:
- How well you are delivering it;
- How much of the information people are receiving;
- Their questions;
- Their body language; and
- If they even give a care about what you are discussing.
Focus on topic selection, and the presentation takes care of itself. You won’t even need the slides.
Because the audience will be firing questions at you right and left.
The best presentations I ever gave were when the topic was a tight fit. Times when I picked the right topic, my queue was packed with questions, so much so that we didn’t even have time to get to them all. I didn’t even use a deck.
And I need everyone reading this to understand one thing:
If the audience has no questions, you did a lousy job.
Okay, I’ll say it differently:
If nobody asks you any questions while you are presenting, you talked about what you wanted to discuss instead of the issues that are on everyone’s mind.
Most people go into presentations with zero understanding of how badly the audience wants to hear what their slides contain. If you need a crutch, create a deck with three slides showing the audience the talk’s title and main points, as well as your contact information.
I have to put my kids to bed. One of them fell asleep next to me while I was writing this article, but the other three are bouncing off the bunk beds (yes, plural; I have two sets of bunk beds, one of which is a triple bunk) in the other room, so I have to go before they tear the house down.
I’m a consultant who helps people infuse creativity in their marketing. If you’re interested, please contact me.
If you are a flat fee advisor, advice-only planner, or just a believer in transparency, join our next Transparent Advisor Movement meetup.
Thanks for hanging tough with me, I’ll see you next month.
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