Don A. Connelly is a speaker, motivator and educator for financial advisors. During a career of more than 40 years on Wall Street, he worked for nearly 19 years as company spokesperson, senior vice president and senior marketing officer for Putnam Investments, in addition to holding positions as a stock broker, financial planner, branch manager, wholesaler and national sales manager. As founder and CEO of Don Connelly 24/7, he provides timely and provocative sales ideas to thousands of financial professionals, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

8 Tips to Revive Your In-Person Seminar Marketing

8 Tips to Revive Your In-Person Seminar Marketing

Financial advisors have long favored in-person seminars as an effective prospecting tool. That changed when the pandemic hit, forcing advisors to adapt, using online webinars and Zoom meetings. But, while online webinars have been helpful in broadening advisors’ reach, they haven’t necessarily led to more appointments for some Advisors—certainly not at the level of in-person seminars. If that is true for you too, with the pandemic receding, it may be time to get back to tried-and-true in-person seminars.

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How to Become Top of Mind with Your Clients and Prospects

How to Become Top of Mind with Your Clients and Prospects

As a financial advisor, you can’t always be there when a client or prospect has a need. You can only hope that you’re the first person they think of when they want to discuss it or when one of your clients is asked to recommend an advisor. That’s where top-of-mind awareness comes in. If you can develop it effectively, your name is more likely to be the first to come to mind when they have a need.

Chances are, when you crave a cola, you think Coca Cola. That’s because Coke spends hundreds of millions of dollars on advertising to ensure you do. You want that same reflexive thought to occur with your clients and prospects, but you don’t have to blow out your budget to create similar top-of-mind awareness. The objective of a top-of-mind strategy is to be remembered, and you can accomplish that with five easy steps.

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Why You Matter: Embracing the Difference Financial Advisors Make in People’s Lives

Why You Matter - Embracing the Difference Financial Advisors Make in People’s Lives

Allow me another movie reference because it’s crucial for the point I want to make. If you haven’t seen the movie, Oh God! or if you haven’t seen it in a while, I encourage you to track it down. The film is excellent – funny, full of life’s lessons and a joy to watch. But it’s the last ten minutes that is worth 100 times your time and effort in trying to find it.

You remember the story: Jerry Landers, an assistant manager of a supermarket played by John Denver, is convinced he has visits from God, played brilliantly by George Burns, who asks him to take on some worldly responsibilities.

Now, imagine telling your spouse, friends, and co-workers that you’ve spent a few hours talking with God, and you describe him as Jerry did, as a short, old man wearing sneakers, a fishing hat, and smoking a cigar. That his wife threw him out, his friends ostracized him, and his boss fired him shouldn’t surprise anyone.

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Priceless Lessons for Financial Advisors from George Bailey

Priceless Lessons for Financial Advisors from George Bailey

“Each man’s life touches so many other lives. When he isn’t around, he leaves an awful hole, doesn’t he?” Angel Second Class, Clarence

For many of us, it took these words, proffered by a fledgling angel to a despairing George Bailey, to realize one of life’s most enduring truths. The timeless movie, It’s a Wonderful Life, is full of valuable lessons. But its central theme – that each of us is a hero in waiting – should remind us that it’s through our challenges that our superpowers and unique gifts are eventually revealed.

For me, the essence of the story is conveyed in a scene not usually associated with the classic moments people remember about the movie.

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Only Elite Advisors Step Out of Their Comfort Zone—Do You?

Only Elite Advisors Step Out of Their Comfort Zone—Do You?

It’s human nature to seek comfort in familiar habits and patterns. When anything comes along to threaten the status quo, we naturally feel uncomfortable, even anxious. Most of us will take great pains to cling to our comfort zone just to avoid those feelings, rejecting change and its unpredictability. The inevitable result for many people is to languish in predictable mediocrity. While they may feel safe, they eventually slip into obsolescence.

In the financial advisory business, if you are not constantly working at getting better, you are getting worse. That’s because successful advisors always strive to improve, to find ways to perfect their craft, which often requires breaking from familiar habits and stepping outside their comfort zone. They know that if they continue to live inside their complacency zone and do what they’ve always done, they’ll continue to get the same results. As a financial advisor, that is ultimately a formula for failure.

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The Slippery Slope from Empathy to Role Reversal, and How to Avoid It

The Slippery Slope from Empathy to Role Reversal, and How to Avoid It

Successful financial advisors know that expressing empathy is critical in helping them to connect with clients and solidify their relationships. Clients need to know you understand their circumstances and what they may be going through at any given time. However, empathy taken too far can backfire when advisors find themselves sharing the same emotional distress as their clients, which can threaten their objectivity and compromise sound planning advice.

At the extreme, this can lead to advisors relinquishing control of the relationship to their clients and acquiescing to their desire “to fix the problem” in the short-term at the expense of their long-term plan. This type of role reversal is not uncommon for advisors who become emotionally vested in their clients, wanting to do what they can to ease their pain. Suddenly, the relationship is no longer being guided by rational, objective advice; but rather the behavioral impulses advisors are supposed to prevent, such as selling into a steep market decline, or abandoning the long-term strategy just to alleviate the immediate suffering.

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Email Newsletters for Financial Advisors: 6 Tips to Engage Your Contact List

Email Newsletters for Financial Advisors - 6 Tips to Engage Your Contact List

With the heavy emphasis on social media marketing, many have said that email marketing, and sending email newsletters in particular, is outdated. That couldn’t be further from the truth. Why do I know that? Because the financial advisory business is a relationship business and there’s no better method for cultivating relationships in a digital environment than email marketing. Why? Because it’s inexpensive, easy to manage, gets quicker than most results, and it reaches your clients and prospects where they spend a lot of their time—in their inbox.

It’s also effective. According to Litmus, on average, for every dollar you invest in email marketing, you receive $42 in return. Can you think of anything else you could do to acquire more clients that generates a better return?

Of course, that also assumes that you are doing email marketing right, employing all the best practices to ensure optimal results. Executing an effective email marketing campaign is not rocket science, but it does require adherence to some proven techniques that involve some effort and resources.

Here are six critical elements of effective email newsletters and other email marketing campaigns.

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Use the Perspective of Time to Move Your Prospects to Action

Use the Perspective of Time to Move Your Prospects to Action

Undoubtedly, you are familiar with the theme: You have a prospect in front of you with a clear objective. After gathering all the facts and probing them on why it’s important to them to achieve the goal, you present an iron-clad solution that checks all their boxes, throughout which they nod in agreement. You lay out the steps to get started and ask them for their approval to move forward. When they shift back in their seats, you know what’s coming—the pause, the hesitancy, and the anxiety over making a decision, leading to the standard, “We’d like to think about it.”

After addressing their concerns, walking them through how your solution helps them achieve their objective, once again with approving nods, they again shift in their seats and confide that they just don’t think it’s a good time to start investing.

That’s a very good sign—a strong indication you’ve done your job—up to this point. But your job is not complete until your prospects take action to improve their situation. All they need now is a reassuring nudge. All they might need is some perspective—some time perspective.

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For Great Financial Advisors, the Profit is in the Relationship

For Great Financial Advisors, the Profit is in the Relationship

The industry pressures that have weighed on financial advisors over the last few years will continue into 2021 and beyond, especially with the lingering effects of the pandemic. Fee compression, increasing regulation, heightened competition, and the commoditization of services are all part of an inevitable trend that threatens the survivability of many advisors. From now on, advisors who fall short of clearly differentiating themselves will have a difficult time bucking the trend, and advisors who fail to put their entire focus on their client relationships may be doomed.

Unfortunately, many advisors learn too late in their careers what I have stressed numerous times—that this isn’t a money business. It is a people business! For the first several years of an advisor’s career, the focus is almost solely on acquiring product knowledge, investment expertise, and planning skills. While that is essential for building necessary competencies, too few advisors come to realize that money management is not the lifeblood of their business—their clients are.

For financial advisors, the profit is not in the financial analysis or the transactions they conduct; it’s in the relationship.

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Prospect Objections Are Often a Cry for Help. Your Job Is to Help Them.

Prospect Objections Are Often a Cry for Help. Your Job Is to Help Them.

As a financial advisor, you are valued for your expert knowledge, but you are only as effective as your ability to get your prospects and clients to act on your recommendations. If you can’t, their situations won’t improve, and neither will yours. Many financial advisors in that situation might chalk it up to them being “bad” prospects and move on, but aren’t they abdicating their role as an advisor?

Certainly, advisors shouldn’t use strongarm tactics to turn their prospects around, but shouldn’t they at least understand the reason behind the objection? Could they learn some valuable insights that would help resolve the issue, if not for the prospect in front of them, but for similar situations they encounter in the future?

In the financial advisory business, objections come with the territory. They’re often just knee-jerk reactions from clients hesitant to make a change. Prospects often don’t understand the real reason behind their objection—they’re just not comfortable moving forward. As an advisor, your job is to help them acknowledge the real reason so they can place it in the context of what you have offered them.

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