Financial Adviser Marketing – How LL Bean Eliminated Marketing Barriers
What are the marketing barriers that keep you from reaching your vision for your financial advisory practice?
Maybe you’ve been in practice for 10 years, or more, and you’ve reached a plateau. No matter what you try you stay stuck at the same level.
Perhaps, you are in your first years in practice and you seem to be floundering. You don’t see a clear path to building your practice. Or, possibly, you are committed to marketing, but you find yourself spinning your wheels.
If anyone had barriers to business success, it was L.L. Bean. Yet he became wealthy and made his heirs rich.
L.L. Bean’s Unlikely Beginning
In “L.L. Bean: The Making of an American Icon” (from Harvard Business School) Leon Gorman, L.L. Bean’s grandson, tells us about this unlikely beginning.
As a child L.L. Bean had few advantages because he was orphaned at 12 and left school after the eighth grade. And in L.L. Bean’s telling, nothing happened before he was 40, in 1912, when he invented a better hunting boot. He loved it! In his excitement he wanted everyone to own one.
So he borrowed $400 from his brother to print a 3-page catalog. That sold 100 pairs of boots. But when 90 of the first 100 sold were returned because they fell apart, he refunded the frustrated hunters’ money.
That could have been the end, but wasn’t. He was encouraged by the 100 pairs of boots he did sell — and his brother must have been, too, because he lent L.L. $400 more to build a better boot.
That $800 founded a company that reached $1,000,000 in sales in 1937 during the depression, and it prospers today.
4 Paths Around Barriers
The L.L. Bean story shows financial advisors 4 marketing paths around obstacles and barriers. Warning: They may sound plain and simple, but they helped to catapult L.L. Bean from a daunting beginning in 1912 to the in-a-class-by-itself business it is today. And they work best if you follow all 4 paths.
Path #1 – Build On A Base Of Quality
L.L. Bean learned his lesson from the shoddy boots. After that fiasco he vowed “to sell fully-tested, high-quality products of best functional value.”
Quality is vital for Financial Advisors, too. Be certain the products and services you provide (and those your associates provide) are first rate even if it demands extra effort on your part.
Path #2 – Call On Your Passion And Vision
L.L. Bean’s passion was Maine’s outdoors. His vision was for everyone to experience the joy he knew. Simply, he shared his happiness with prospects and customers.
There are many ways to develop your financial advisory practice. L.L. Bean’s lesson is to create yours around work you truly care about. That means to have a vision. Then, keep in front of you the picture of how your work enriches your clients’ lives.
Path #3 – Be Your Unique Self
According to firsthand accounts L.L. was buoyant, energetic, and excited about the outdoors and products that could enhance his customers’ joy in the outdoors. It was said, “All he really had to do was be himself and his customers became fans.”
Often, financial advisors hide behind a barrier of so-called “professionalism.”
Instead, come to grips with your uniqueness as an individual. No one can bring to your prospects and clients your particular fusion of talents and strengths, your special outlook, and the just plain living that’s yours alone.
Lesson #4: Live By Your Story
The quirky retail store in Freeport, Maine, the products sold, and the words in the catalog all told a single story.
When you bought from L.L. Bean, you felt that you were buying his personal judgment. An article in the “The Saturday Evening Post” had this explanation: “L.L. sells only what he likes and likes everything he sells, and wants everyone to know it.”
Financial advisers, fortify your story and bolster your core message with a strong, singular focus. Remember, this focus carries over to your website and web marketing. Advise Marketing.