[vc_row el_class="post-content"][vc_column][outlined-text outlined_text="The No. 1" outlined_text_color="white" outline_color="black" normal_text="Mistake" normal_text_color="black" heading_tag="h1" extra_class="post-heading"][vc_column_text el_class="post-subheading"]
Vendors Make About “Cool Factor”[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text][get-user-data][/vc_column_text][vc_column_text el_class="post-body"]Like most people with a social media account, my feed is oversaturated with random acts of content – written pieces without any strategy or value – and so I’ve become very selective about what I allow onto my reading list. There was one headline, however, that I think is worth discussing: Is Indianapolis Cool Enough for Amazon?This piece in the New York Times defends the Midwestern city as a headquarters choice for the media and distribution giant. As someone that works in content, this immediately spoke to me because the word “cool” has layers of meaning. Cool factor can mean how Instagram-worthy something is, or how much it appeals to the Millenial audience (both major issues in current-day marketing). But in this case, I took this article as Indianapolis’ attempt at a rebrand of the city. They are trying to change public perception.
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.
These days, every advisor is looking to buy a marketing tool. Which explains why every vendor is trying to sell one—whether they actually have anything to sell or not. As I’ve written before, the whole industry now understands that the golden era of organic growth has come to an end. Advisors know they can’t sustain themselves on referrals alone. Any firm that sticks to its old formula of rainmaking, pressing the flesh and relying on word of mouth is going to find itself eating the dust of its faster, more modern competitors. Digital marketing is critical. This is why advisors are finally, finally investing in future growth and ramping up their marketing budgets.
I know, I know. Your integrations are real. Not like those other guys. You integrate with more vendors, or you have more APIs, or you’re the one who’s really seamless. Tough love moment: Integration isn’t a differentiator anymore. It’s just a buzzword. Jargon. In the past few years, media fatigue has completely drained the word of any meaning or importance. At this point, it’s simply expected.
If you sell to advisors, you’ve probably experienced at least one deal that seemed like a sure thing—but you just couldn’t make it happen. You hit it off with the advisor. He or she seemed to really get your message. But the sale just petered out, leaving you to wonder why. On the other hand, maybe you had a client relationship that inexplicably soured. You lost the account without ever understanding what happened.
At FiComm, we attend conferences with a certain passion that can only be explained by our fangirl/fanboy like view of the independent wealth management community. We love the energy, the people, the networking, the content, and the access that we get at the conferences we choose to attend every year. But we often hear from fellow industry vendors a different tune. Generally speaking, hard working sales teams show up at conferences tired from all the travel, completely disenchanted, and wondering why they bothered to show up in the first place. They ask us questions like, "Why do we keep wasting our money, year after year, expecting different results but getting the same-old same old?" One answer to this question, as the Millennials say, is FOMO: Fear of Missing Out. We worry what might happen if we don’t show up this one time. People will talk! Or what’s worse, they won’t talk. They’ll forget about us. And so, once again, hope triumphs over experience, and back to the conference they go, setting out the collateral, putting on lanyards, and smiling. There is a better way. Here are some ideas to make your next event pay off:
I know you love your product. I probably do too. But advisors just don’t.
I understand how you feel. It’s frustrating to work day and night to stay on the cutting edge of technology to realize advisors aren’t interested. When I worked as the right-hand person for owners of advisor firms, I was the one coming back from conferences excited about something new and cool. And the advisor would say, “Why should I care?”