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rawpixel-com-274858 Everybody likes to think they’re open-minded. But what if you’re really not? As I said last time, there’s no point in paying for outside advice if you have no intention of listening to it. But all of us have trouble admitting when we’re being stubborn or dismissive. That’s why, at FiComm, we’ve learned to look for certain telltale clues that suggest an advisor may not be emotionally ready to trust an outside professional. Whether you’re a vendor or advisor, watch and listen for these statements coming out of an advisor’s mouth. They could express perfectly legitimate sentiments—but they can also signal that the time isn’t ripe for working with an outside agency.

nik-macmillan-280300 Have you ever wondered, "Do I really need a Marketing or PR agency? Can’t I just do everything myself?" If so, this posts—and the next four that follow—are for you. Last week, I was on a call with an advisor who asked me those exact questions about working with a PR agency. He told me, he could just write his own press releases and send them out across the wire himself. "I can do the same thing you do," he said. I told him: No, you can’t.    He took some convincing. Until that phone call, the only things he had ever seen coming out of a PR agency were poorly written press releases sent over for his approval. We gave him a glimpse of what really happens behind the scenes. We had to show all our work: the messaging, the strategizing, nurturing relationships with reporters, outreach, follow-up, and then more follow-up. Eventually, I did convince him, but the conversation was exhausting. Surely there’s a better way.

loic-djim-69263 Right this minute, we are watching the collision of two forces that are shaking advisor firms to their foundations. The first is the commoditization of advice, driven in part by technology. Face it: investment performance is no longer a credible differentiator. Between the popularity of passive investing and the convenience of robo-advisors, few prospects are likely to be persuaded that your firm is really, truly, reliably a better stock-picker than your competitors. Most advisors recognize this fact, even if they aren’t sure what to do about it.

ayla-den-ouden-119906 This is the story of how we lost an account. It was a painful lesson, but one that’s worth reading whether you’re an agency, vendor or advisor—really, anyone who’s invested in the growth of advisor firms. Of course, I’ve changed the story to the point where it’s now completely fictional and no longer resembles anything that happened in real life. Only the lesson remains the same.

saksham-gangwar-159647 Why did you go originally into business with your partners? And as a follow up: how long did it take you to think of an answer to that question? I’ve worked with some advisor teams that seem like a natural fit. They finish each other’s sentences. Complement each other’s expertise. And even use the same words to tell their story. It’s usually a clean, simple story, too. One was a quant head, the other a people person, but they both served the same kind of clients. Or maybe they both have a special interest in eldercare issues, SRI or some other specialty. It’s relatively easy to walk them through the process of developing their brand and honing their value proposition. They already believe in their purpose; they just need help articulating it. Then there’s the other kind of team.

amelia-lego-67856If you want to build your business, become a Ghostbuster. I’m not referring to the movie, exactly (I didn’t even see the sequel.) I’m talking about the theme song.

If there's somethin' strange in your neighborhood 
Who ya gonna call? Ghostbusters!
If that song were a real advertising jingle as opposed to a fictional one, it would rank right up there as among the best of all time. Its message is simple. If you have this specific problem—say, a slimy green ball of ectoplasm living in your fridge—then you know exactly whom to call. The song builds an instant connection between a customer need and a brand. You couldn’t ask for better marketing.