The other day I was speaking with an FMO client about their new campaign with us. In looking to differentiate them, I asked the president of the company to tell me what they have to offer agents that none of his competition can match. He responded, “We have great agent training.”
My reply to this business leader was something you might not expect. I told him that at least five of his top competitors are not only able to say the same thing, but they already are!
This example, I’m afraid, is all too common. Business owners and even marketing professionals do not take the time to look at what the competition is saying before developing messaging. This is a dangerous path to take and one that usually leads to lost sales opportunities.
A “me too” message tells your audience you are the same as your competitors. You don’t want to be the same. You want to be better. So how do you avoid the “me too” trap?
Differentiate, Differentiate, Differentiate!
Talk to your agents and find out what’s important to them. Ask them why they contracted with you; after all, that’s what counts.
When they tell you what it is, you might say, “But everyone does that.” It may be true, but if your competitors aren’t talking about it, this gives you an untapped benefit you can present to your audience to set your business apart from the masses.
Here are 5 simple questions to help you find your unique marketing message:
- What are the main reasons advisors/agents contract with you? (If you don’t know, conduct a free survey using SurveyMonkey.com or simply poll some of your biggest producers.)
- What do you offer that no one else can compete with or isn’t promoting?
- Look at your success stories. What do you provide that makes it easier for agents to write more business?
- What has worked in the past? Analyze your most successful marketing campaigns to see if there are any constants.
- Dig deeper! Maybe training is your uniqueness. What specifically about your training works better than anyone else’s? Drill down to the specifics to tell YOUR story differently.
Now Prove It
Now that you’ve zeroed in on what makes you unique in the marketplace, it’s time to back it up with some proof. Proof comes in many forms, including cold, hard facts/statistics, case studies and agent testimonials.
You can take it one step further by recording a video testimonial or crafting a testimonial-style marketing message from the agent perspective. (Click here to see the “Why I Stopped Selling Annuities” ad we created for Peak Pro.)
Not only is it important to have a unique marketing message, but providing proof validates your claim in the minds of your target audience. Agents want to hear how other agents like them have experienced success with your company and it gets them envisioning their own.
Most sales and marketing professionals realize it takes 7-10 impressions before a prospect will take action. So stick with your messaging! A one-off marketing approach wastes time and money and isn’t effective.
We advise our clients to run a campaign for at least 3 months. It takes patience but believe me, you’ll get tired of it long before the advisors you’re trying to reach do.
The cure for me-too marketing is in 1) finding your uniqueness, 2) backing up your claims with proof and 3) using consistency to get your message to stick in the minds of your target audience.