For the month of February, we’re looking closely at some of the most widely utilized and heavily promoted marketing ideas in the industry and taking a hard look at some of the inherent flaws. While each of these marketing concepts have their place, as you’ll continue to see, some work better than others for bringing new prospects through your door.
This week, I want to address the idea of hosting your own radio show. I know there are several “gurus” in the industry today talking about becoming a star in your marketplace by hosting your own radio show. I have to say this can be a tempting approach to pursue, especially given the fact that it plays to some of our egos. At the same time, the thought of buying air time, reading some financial news, giving your opinion on products like life insurance and annuities, and then sitting back while the phone rings off the hook all sounds great. But let’s get real. Is it really that easy?
From experience, I can say that it’s not all that easy, but in reality it isn’t as hard as you’d think either. However, whether or not it’s hard or easy to pull off your own radio show isn’t the real issue. The real question is, what are you trying to accomplish by being on the air? I was a regular “expert” on the air in my market for a year-and-a-half. So some of the insights I’ll share this week are from my personal experience, and some come from what I’ve learned coaching other advisors that have hosted their own radio shows.
Brand Awareness or Client Acquisition?
In my opinion, this is the important question that advisors never think to ask themselves. “Am I trying to create brand awareness, or am I trying to get the phone to ring?” While it may be a bit of both, I’d venture to guess that the vast majority of advisors hosting radio shows do so with the intent to get the phone ringing with prospects on the line looking to talk to the “expert.” The strategy and thought process is very similar to direct mail seminars. Be the one on stage, or in this case on the air, hold yourself out as the local expert and you’ll gain instant credibility and become the one the listeners will want to work with. Sounds good in theory, but there are a few obstacles I’ve run into and seen other advisors struggle to overcome.
First and foremost, running a radio show is by its very nature a long-term general brand awareness strategy. Just because prospects hear you on the air, doesn’t mean you’ll instantly be recognized as the expert. In fact, many financial radio “experts” may have come and gone before you. It’s having the energy, budget and staying power that will eventually win you this kind of clout with listeners. The problem is, in this industry, everyone is looking for a quick fix. Most advisors I coach are looking for ways to bring clients in the door today. For a radio show to gain traction, I would suggest an advisor (depending on the size of their market) needs to commit to no less than two years on the air to begin to see some traction. In fact, many advisors would probably be much better served if they simply spent the money running frequent call to action ads on the air, rather than trying to build out their own show. I know when I had a radio show on the biggest AM station in my market, it was my ads I ran at the same time that actually drew a response and got the phone to ring.
So why am I spending all this time talking about this, when this blog is about forming strategic alliances with CPAs and other professionals? Simply because I believe if you look at what advisors are trying to accomplish with a radio show, I think you’ll find you can accomplish the exact same thing, much cheaper and with less time and energy, by simply forming an alliance with another professional.
Here are three things advisors hope a radio show is going to do for them:
- Build a base of potential prospects that begin to “follow them” on the air; thus, creating a pool of potential new clients.
- Give them credibility with this base of prospects by nature of being viewed as the expert in their industry.
- Ultimately, convert listeners into clients.
If you consider a strategic alliance with another professional, structured the right way, I think you’ll see as I did that you can achieve all three goals much quicker and easier that way than through hosting your own radio show.
By forming an alliance with the client’s trusted advisor (we’ll use the CPA as an example here), it’s that CPA who’s going to plug you into their existing following. There’s no need to spend the time, money and effort trying to build a following from scratch, when the CPA, like yourself, already has a loyal following–their existing clients. The key is to plug into their existing client base.
In addition, by forming an alliance with a CPA, you can position yourself in such a way as to have all the trust and credibility those clients have in their CPA transferred to you. By having the CPA position you to their clients as the expert in your field, you instantly gain the trust, credibility and goodwill of the CPA’s clients. You see, there are only two ways to gain someone’s trust. Either spend the time building the relationship over years, or have someone they already trust vouch for you. Personally, I prefer the second way.
Finally, when it comes to converting prospects to clients, by working alongside the CPA, it becomes much easier to convert prospects to clients since you now start from a basis of trust. The “transfer of trust” from one professional to another happens naturally when you’re properly introduced to the CPA’s clients. The alternative, as we’ve all dealt with, is to start trying to build trust with a prospect who doesn’t know you, doesn’t trust you and is leery of being taken advantage of. As we’ve all experienced, this is an uphill battle.
So here’s the takeaway this week. If you currently have your own radio show or are considering starting one, ask yourself, “Am I doing this to generate leads today or simply to create brand awareness within my community?” If the answer is to generate leads today, I suggest you save your time and money. A radio show should only be considered once you are established enough in your marketplace that you have excess revenue to invest in increasing your brand awareness. The things you’re looking for from a radio show can be attained much easier and quicker–and with less costs–through a solid strategic alliance with another professional.
In the coming weeks and months, I’ll be sharing with you methods and concepts I’ve used in my practice and now coach other advisors to use to help build these profitable alliances. In the meantime, check out www.WinningWithCPAs.com for more information, including tips and strategies on growing strategic alliances with other professionals in your community.