Growing Your Business and Attracting Clients through Customization

With over 7 years of experience teaching FMT Solution’s Retirement Planning Today®, financial advisor Vince Tortorici of Financial Service Group Inc. has a wealth of knowledge of how to take educational marketing material and truly make it your own. We were so excited to have him come talk with us about his experience as an educational marketer and how customization is key on the latest episode of our Leading with Education webinar series.

Don’t be Afraid to Customize Everything

When it comes to teaching your class and presenting your information, Vince’s biggest piece of advice is to customize everything. A great way to do this is by using the provided modules as more of an overall outline than a step-by-step prescriptive text. Don’t be afraid to pick and choose the information that makes the most sense for you and your target audience, and don’t be afraid to change material so that it better fits your brand and ideal client.  

For example, intermingled throughout your class provide examples from your own firm that further illustrate what you’re teaching.

“By introducing examples like reports or checklists from our firm we’re bringing all the information together for the attendees and showing them how this information works in real life with clients. It brings life to the concepts that are harder to understand, helps us with our branding, and helps attendees understand the work we do with our clients so they can picture what it would be like to work with us,” Vince explains.

Another great way to customize your class is to provide supplemental materials. As part of Vince’s classes, he offers complimentary books on topics like social security. He also supplements with worksheets for attendees to take home to further engage with the material taught in class.

Addressing the “Elephant in the Room”

One of Vince’s biggest pieces of advice is to just be comfortable with “the elephant in the room” concerning the marketing aspect of your class. “People are joining this class because they want the education, but they also know that the people teaching this class are likely doing it to market their own services. And so, during the beginning of our second session, we ask ‘What are you planning to do after the class is over? What's next?”

Vince sees attendees falling into two main categories – the do-it-yourself type and the delegator. If an attendee is a do-it-yourself type, then he lets them know that’s great and that the class has given them some great resources to use to ensure the work they’re doing for themselves is aligned to what they need to be doing. On the other hand, if they’re delegators, Vince lets them know how they can take these resources to a financial professional like himself for further guidance.

“By approaching how you do your work as a financial planner in an educational way, providing them their various choices for after-class options, it attacks the elephant in the room. Yes, those of us leading the class do this work, but it’s educational. While the class is an important part of our marketing process, it’s done in the spirit of educating our community. By getting everyone on the same page about this, it frees them up to listen intently to the rest of the class by knowing we’re not just trying to sell them something – we’re genuinely interested in their financial education.”  

This approach enables Vince to address fee transparency and eliminate conflict of interest from the very beginning, so the true focus of the class can be on financial education with attendees that feel comfortable in class and confident in what they are learning.

Differentiating Yourself in the First Meeting

When that first 1-1 meeting gets booked after a class session, Vince stresses the importance of using that time to connect with the prospective client and determine if they are ideal for your practice or not. For Vince, differentiating himself and his firm is a key part of this first client meeting. In his process, he doesn’t even look at “the numbers'' during that initial talk – instead, he and his team ask three questions from George Kinder’s Financial Life Planning:

  • Design Your Life: What would you love to do if you had unlimited resources and unlimited financial assets? How would you live life differently?
  • You Have Less Time: You’ve just visited the doctor and he’s told you that you’re going to be perfectly healthy for the next five years, but at the end of those five years, like a light switch, you’re out. What will you do with the remaining time you have to live?
  • Today’s the Day: Instead of five years to live, the doctor has told you that you have one day left to live. Pay attention to the feelings that arise when you confront this idea. What dreams will be left unfulfilled? What do you wish you had done?

As you can imagine, Vince gets some emotional and raw answers to this questionnaire, but this is precisely what enables him to get to the heart of what matters to his clients and provide a deeply customized financial life planning experience for them.

Make it Your Own

Throughout his conversation with us, Vince came back many times to the practice of making the course material your own. By creating a tailored class that truly showcases the work of yourself and your firm, you enable yourself to really connect with attendees – not only providing them valuable financial life planning knowledge but helping them to imagine just what it would be like to work with you to ensure a truly fulfilling retirement experience.

Don’t forget to keep up to date with our Leading with Education Series to learn even more about how our advisors use education to grow their practices and create meaningful client relationships! 

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