If you live in America, there's a 99.9% chance you know that the new Star Wars movie is coming out on Dec. 18. After all, TV commercials advertising "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" have been running non-stop since September. Even with a DVR, they're hard to miss.
But it's not just the movie's trailers that are grabbing the nation's attention. Actors from the new film are appearing on talk shows and toy shelves are being jammed with the latest Star Wars action figures and LEGO sets. Even department stores like Kohl's are getting in on the action with Star Wars-themed clothing and bedding.
Why do I mention this? Well, for one thing, you can learn a lot from how Disney uses different platforms and mediums to cross-market and cross-promote its movies and brands. But there is another, deeper reason for bringing up Star Wars: the story itself.
Behind all the hype and marketing is an incredible lesson that every financial adviser can learn from the basic plot of Star Wars and other similar Hollywood blockbusters, too. You see, one of the reasons Star Wars has been named one of the greatest movies of all time (#36 according to the BBC) is because it plays on common elements in our human psychology that draw you into the story.
Deep down, every individual wants to be the star of the show. We all want to be the hero or heroine who saves the day. However, here is where most companies and brands get it wrong. They try to paint themselves as heroes instead of their clients.
MAKE YOUR CLIENTS THE HERO
In a famous speech, Nancy Duarte, an American writer, speaker and CEO, talks about how powerful it is to make your audience the hero in the story you're telling. You see, everyone has the power within to be who they want to be. They simply need a guide to show them the path to getting there.
In other words, your job as a financial adviser is to be like Yoda, not Luke Skywalker. You want to be the guide and mentor who helps “Luke” overcome his obstacles and fulfill his destiny.
This is where we as financial advisers often mess up. We are so busy trying to show our prospects how smart we are, how many designations we have, and how we are the greatest adviser in our local market, that we fail to realize what our prospects actually want.
They want to be the hero.
If you look at the upper echelon of financial advisers, you'll notice they have already figured this out. They have created something unique and, in a sense, proprietary to their firm, and that allows them to market more easily how they can help their clients achieve their dreams.
Most importantly, this proprietary process, unique to each and every individual who walks through the door, empowers clients to get to where they want to go and have financial confidence in any economy.
You see, the adviser is not the hero, their clients are.
3 STEPS TO BECOMING 'YODA' FOR YOUR CLIENTS
1. Define your value — First, you want to define your value by naming and trademarking your planning process. This will help differentiate you from your competitors. You'll become less of a commodity when you clearly define how you help your clients get to where they want to be. To put it in Star Wars terms, make sure your clients know that “the Force” in you is strong and that you can teach them how to use it for themselves.
2. Empower your clients — If your clients have the courage to walk through your process with you, they will get much better results from their retirement planning. And just like the grueling training Luke had to complete with Yoda, it won't be easy — but it will be worth it.
3. Preview the reward — Many times advisers don't even know what their finished strategy will look like. If so, imagine how confusing that must be for clients. Make sure your clients understand the purpose of each meeting and that they have a clear picture of what they will get out of each one. Most importantly, tell them how this process will get them to where they want to be. Having a sample finished plan that outlines what they'll be getting, and can be laid out on a conference room table, is a must.
Remember when Luke didn't believe in his ability to raise his X-wing fighter jet from the Dagobah swamp? Yoda said, “Look at me. Judge me by my size, do you?” The 2-foot-tall Jedi Master then showed Luke what was possible with the Force by levitating the X-wing out of the swamp himself. Show your clients what is possible with your help.
Every financial adviser can benefit from these three steps. And the sooner you implement them, the sooner you will become the master adviser your prospects are looking for.
So if you take your kids or grandkids to see the latest Star Wars installment over the holidays, don't forget: There are valuable marketing lessons to be learned from the movie.