I’ve been marketing and writing for financial services professionals for many years, notably those in the insurance, accounting, wealth management and investment advisory professions. The acquisition of new clients is always a major objective. Another objective is to sell more stuff to existing clients.

These are wildly competitive fields, especially for the independent practitioners. They all have impressive data that shows aging individuals the dangers of what might happen if they do not plan their finances properly, for example:

  • You’ll outlive your savings, at which point you’ll starve and die.
  • You haven’t saved enough for retirement. You’re going to be old, sick, poor, and then die.
  • Not able to retire? You’re in big trouble, because you’re going to get sick and won’t be able to work and you’ll be a burden to your family who can’t afford to put you in a home.
  • Bad people are going to break into your  home, steal stuff, and burn it down. Then there will be a flood and you’ll lose everything.
Yes, these are serious considerations, and people need to be aware of the consequences of their actions, or inactions. But I advise against using people’s fear as a reason they’ll do business with you. Here is why:

People are scared already. I know I don’t have enough money to retire. The vast majority of people my age (boomers) are unprepared for retirement. I, personally, have read scores of articles that tell me I’ll be living in poverty when I’m old. I get it. I’m terrified. You know what I need? A big hug, and words of encouragement from a caring financial advisor who isn’t just in it for the commission. Give me solutions, not ulcers. Relieve my pain, soothe my fears, even if I’m not a client—yet.

People don’t trust you.  It takes a long time to cultivate trust. You’re not going to touch my money unless I’m sure you’re not the boogey man. Be the person who gives me valuable information and acknowledges my pain without asking for anything in return. Show me you’re an expert, and that you’re a likeable human being. Teach me what I need to know. Otherwise, you’re just looking for a commission and I delete you as spam.

People are forgetful. I’m not ready to select an advisor, yet. But I’m so scared and worried that I think about it often. But who will I select? It will be the people who are in my awareness at the time I make the decision to pull the trigger. You’re going to need to be a nurturing presence within my sphere of consciousness so that I’ll select you at some vague, indefinable time in the future. You need to have a warm, professional presence on a consistent basis, or you won’t be on the list of choices.

If I had a nickel for every time a pro has asked me to create messaging that will scare prospects into action, I could retire comfortably. But again, it’s not a “why to buy” for you. I’m buying you, not a commodity.

In the old days, we’d use marketing to attack people’s weak spots in order to sell products or services. In my experience, such negative messaging is actually a turn-off. I keep going back to the mantra I learned many years ago. I forget who coined it. To wit: “The purse strings are connected to the heart strings.”

Warm my heart—don’t stop it.