Six weapons of influence for Financial Planners
I had a fascinating conversation last week, during a strategic planning session with a client.
His business partner has been researching the science of influence and persuasion, and we spent a few hours debating how to incorporate these principles within a new marketing campaign.
The insights primarily come from the work of Professor Robert Cialdini, author of the seminal book Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion. If you’ve never read it before, I strongly recommend you pick up a copy.
Cialdini has defined six ‘weapons’ of influence, which we can use as Financial Planners to boost our marketing success.
1 – Likeability
It’s easier to say yes to someone if you like them.
The science of influence and persuasion suggests there are three elements to liking someone.
We tend to like people who are similar to us.
We also like those who pay us compliments.
Finally, we like people who cooperate with us and help us make progress towards common goals.
To put this weapon of influence to work in your marketing, you could identify areas of shared interests with your clients.
Make sure you give them (genuine) compliments, and then get down to business, working together towards achieving a common goal.
2 – Reciprocity
Human nature is a funny thing. As a result of social obligation, we are more likely to do something for someone who has already done something for us.
The best example of this is when your waiter or waitress gives you a mint with your bill.
A study found that leaving a single mint with the bill increased the value of tips by an average of 3%. Not bad for a small investment.
However, leaving the customer with two mints resulted in a 14% tip uplift.
Better still, if the waiter left one mint, starts to walk away but then comes back and says, “For you nice people, here’s an extra mint,” his tips increased by 23%!
What can you give your prospective clients for free, in a way that makes them feel special, so they feel socially obligated to do something for you?
3 – Scarcity
Another driver of human nature is wanting something more if it is scarce or even completely unavailable.
By limiting the availability of your service or special offer, you make it more appealing to the prospective client.
So rather than offering a first consultation (at your expense and without obligation), why not provide five initial consultations each quarter? And when they are gone, they are gone!
4 – Authority
Credible experts influence us more than less trustworthy advisers.
You can boost your authority by demonstrating your professional credentials.
If you’re a Chartered Financial Planner, for example, make sure that you mention it in your website profile, and you use the CII Chartered logo where appropriate.
This weapon of influence doesn’t stop at qualifications though.
Another way to demonstrate authority is to show your prospective client that you deeply understand the issues they face, and know how to solve them.
Content marketing plays a significant role here. By writing about pain points in blogs (or talking about them on podcasts or in videos), you demonstrate your authority to deal effectively with the subject matter.
We like PR as a way to demonstrate authority too; getting your name in the national or trade press, as a subject matter expert, is a very effective way to boost your perceived authority.
5 – Consistency
This weapon of influence takes time to build, but it’s well worth the effort. It’s also linked to commitment; gaining a series of small but increasingly growing commitments before building up to the big one.
The lesson here for Financial Planners is to stick to consistent messages, delivered regularly over a long period.
Don’t expect to get significant results on day one, or even month one of your campaign. Great things take time.
When seeking commitment from a prospective client, start small and build it up.
In building sales funnels for Financial Planners, a small commitment might be to sign up for a free email newsletter. This newsletter, delivered weekly, demonstrates consistency over time.
A slightly more significant commitment is to attend a free 45-minute webinar, addressing a particular concern of the prospective client (remember the ‘authority’ weapon of influence above?).
At the end of that webinar, offer one of a limited number (scarcity!) initial appointments.
6 – Social proof
If a prospective client isn’t sure about a particular course of action, they will likely look to the experiences of others before making a decision.
This social proof is a potent weapon of influence for Financial Planners.
In practical terms, it means gathering and sharing client testimonials. If people like the prospective client (likeability) have already experienced your service and liked it, then it increases your chances of engagement with the potential client.
Put a name and photo to every testimonial; we’re naturally suspicious of testimonials from Mr R in Surrey, who let’s be honest could be a fictional character as opposed to a genuine client.
You can take social proof to the next level by producing short video testimonials with real-life clients, talking about their experience working with you and how your service made a positive difference to their lives.
Other forms of social proof for Financial Planners include press mentions, winning industry awards, and client satisfaction survey results. It’s not all about testimonials.
Six weapons of influence and persuasion. How many of these are you using in each of your marketing strategies, and how could you boost your marketing success by adding some or all of them to your next campaign?