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Don't Mail Postcards to Generate Appointments in Financial Services Direct Mail Lead Generation

Alan Sharpe

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I know a company that helps financial services professionals generate sales leads by hosting free financial planning seminars, usually with lunch or dinner included.

The company mails full-color postcards to consumers, promoting the seminar at a nearby hotel. “There is no cost or obligation for this informative workshop, and the delicious meal is free to all who attend, " promises the postcard copy.

Naturally, those who attend hear a sales pitch of one kind or another, and have a chance to meet some local financial planners face to face. The financial planners offer these free seminars as a way to get in front of a room full of potential clients at a reasonable cost.

The mistake this company is about to make is thinking it can set up face-to-face, private appointments with prospective clients using postcards as well. The postcards work well at filling seminars, so the company thinks postcards will work equally well at generating appointments.

This company is mistaken. For a number of reasons.

1. The number-one deal breaker for a consumer when looking for a financial planner is trust. Consumers want their financial planner to be educated, and have the necessary credentials and experience, but if they can’t trust the financial planner they won’t hire him. And they won’t meet with him for a sales appointment if they don’t know if they can trust him. The problem with postcards is you can’t use them to build trust. They look like they are mailed to everyone in the neighbourhood. You can’t build trust with “Dear Homeowner. "

2. Postcards by their very nature look like they are selling a product rather than a long-term relationship with a financial planner.

3. Postcards lack the intimacy and implied exclusivity that comes with a personal letter in a closed-face envelope with a real stamp.

4. Postcards are not confidential. Even the letter carrier knows what they are promoting. Financial planners shouldn’t use a postcard to generate a private sales appointment any more than they should mail a postcard to invite family members to a wedding. Wedding invitations are private and personalized. Postcards are public and generic.

Postcards work at filling seminar rooms because a potential customer who receives the invitation knows the event is public and that the prospect doesn’t have to disclose any confidential information. So attending sounds painless. The prospect will learn something, and get a free meal.

But a prospect who receives a postcard inviting her to a face-to-face meeting between her and an unknown financial planner is less likely to respond. She cannot sit at the back of the room. Or remain silent. She knows she will be required to disclose some confidential information about her financial matters. She might attend if the invitation she receives is personal and private. But she’s likely to toss it and stay home if it arrives looking mass produced, generic and impersonal.

About the author
Alan Sharpe is a direct mail copywriter who helps business owners and marketing managers generate leads, close sales and retain customers using direct mail and email marketing . Learn more about his creative direct mail writing services and sign up for free weekly tips like this at .

© 2007 Sharpe Copy Inc. You may reprint this article online and in print provided the links remain live and the content remains unaltered (including the “About the author" message).


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