Saturday, 23 May 2009

Lead generation in a highly regulated market

One of my clients is an Independent Financial Advisor working here in the UK. His current focus is on Pensions, which is probably one of the most highly regulated products in the history of humankind.

As you can imagine, regulation tends to put a dampener on lead generation activity. My usual approach to writing ad copy isn't all that useful when there's a stern-looking Regulator peeking over my shoulder and tutting into his tea!

Lead generation in a highly regulated market requires extra care, and a lot of creative thinking. As it happens, I've been in this situation before. Between 1995 and 2000, I was the Direct Marketing Manager for a New Zealand investment company. A large portion of my time was dedicated to finding new ways through and around the quagmire of restrictions the government enjoyed imposing on the industry.

In this case, my client is interested in talking to people able to withdraw cash from their UK pension. Up to 25% can be withdrawn, tax free, if the pension holder is over 50. As you can imagine, this is quite an attractive proposition for people with sizeable sums of money.

But there are several potential problems these people face, and they're often not even aware of the fact. And where there's a problem, there's a way to generate leads.

The approach I've developed essentially obtains the prospects interest by pointing out these problems in the form of questions (the trick is to do so in a way the prospect understands).

Most people in the target market won't have thought about such things as the future tax implications of withdrawing 'tax free' pension cash, how their actions will affect their standard of living after retirement, or what they'll do with the remaining 75%.

This gives me a way in, and allows me to generate leads using a 'smart' application I wrote last year. The application asks a couple of questions, and presents a custom report back to the prospect with information that explains the nature of the problem s/he could face.

This information can be fairly sobering. It quickly becomes clear that expert advice is essential, to ensure the prospect makes the best decision given the facts at hand. As this realisation dawns, my client is in the right place at the right time to provide that advice. Add some lead generation magic to overcome human inertia, and he'll find himself with an ongoing stream of serious business enquiries.