Financial products can be a tough sell: there is fierce competition, the subject matter can be dry, and products are hard to differentiate. This is why relationships with investors are the most prized asset a fund management firm has. This month’sProFundCom webinar, hosted by sales and marketing guru Richard John, gives some tips on starting conversations that can lead to fruitful relationships, and explains whyemail marketing is an effective medium.
Here is a round-up of John’s advice from the webinar:
1) Think about the language.
Sales literature. The words don’t inspire much excitement. John advocates a more personal approach, which involves being brave and abandoning standardized, emotionless “marketingspeak”. Instead, he recommends using language that is evocative.
“If you want to have a conversation with someone, use the kind of language that is really going to get them to start thinking,” says John.
2) Don’t shy away from things people don’t want to hear.
Differences, confrontation and tension are at the heart of lively conversation – and genuine relationships. Standing up for things, and having a clear identity, are essential to being memorable in others’ minds.
“If you’re choosing to have conversations with people you need passion,” says John. “You need to write passionately, and you need to be prepared to talk to some people who are going to get very upset.”
3) …but that’s okay. There are many people with many different views.
Some will make good prospects, others won’t. By the Pareto principle, most firms get around 80% of their revenue from just 20% of their clients. Likewise, a minority of clients are usually responsible for the majority of hassle. Writing engagingly means turning some people off, and that’s okay because if a firm communicates its product well and someone unsubscribes, they are probably not the right client.
4) Write well, write often.
According to John, building relationships is like developing a six pack: it doesn’t happen from one burst of effort, but sustained effort.
5) Tell a story.
Factual conversations stimulate certain parts of the brain, but large swathes of it are turned off. On the other hand, when someone hears a story, and when they use their imagination, the whole brain becomes stimulated and they connect emotionally.
Aside from his top marketing tips, John busted some common myths about using email as a marketing tool.
“Email marketing doesn’t work anymore…or does it”
Email marketing does work, says John, because a lot of people spend a lot of time on email.
“People hate unsolicited emails”
People like receiving messages, as long as they are interesting. They like messages that make them laugh or make them think.
“Email marketing isn’t ‘permission marketing’”
While some say email marketing doesn’t fall within permission marketing, email allows the receiver to read the message when it suits them, and they can also choose to unsubscribe. It gives people control.
“Email marketing won’t work for my customers”
Making assumptions like this about customers based on age or other criteria is a mistake, he warns. Also, all customers like to receive attention.
“My customers don’t like being sold to”
Everyone wants to be sold things that will make them richer, happier, better looking and slimmer, says John.
“Email marketing is possibly okay, if you do it infrequently”
“If you write good copy, if you write creative emails, you can write as often as you want,” says John.