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.
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.
As I said in an earlier post: when you sell to advisors, you have to be authentic to your own product. If you’re not, you’ll eventually be exposed as a fake. It’s inevitable. Still, people keep trying to fake it anyway. Think of all the vendors who position themselves as "partners" or brag about their "consultative approach." (By the way, who doesn’t have a consultative approach these days? Can you think of any providers who advertise their "arrogant dictator" approach or their "we-don’t-listen-to-you" approach? It’s meaningless jargon at this point.) Okay. So this joker is now your partner. Try calling this new "partner" of yours for help solving a specific, real-world problem in your own business—say, performing an advisor practice valuation or recruiting a Millennial woman. Chances are, you’ll get to watch them twisting in the wind until they finally admit they don’t actually do any of the things they talk about on their website. They just put the content up because they know you want to read it.
In my last post, I talked about why your story needs a good villain. About why you need tension, and conflict, and a reason for your clients and prospects to cheer for you. Now I want to share two examples of relevant, real-world companies with stories that feature great villains.