Back in the summer of 2000, online dating sites were still pretty new and they certainly weren’t as widely used as they are today. But, nonetheless, I decided one evening in that fateful summer that I was going to join one.
Well, I could tell you that it’s because I’ve always seen myself as a pioneer. An early-adopter. Someone who’s ahead of the curve and who sets the trends rather than following them.
Or I could tell you that relying on the notion of bumping into Miss Right at the office or in the pub wasn’t really working out too well and so I thought “What have I got to lose?”.
I’ll let you be the judge as to which of those two versions of events is likely to be the must accurate!
By the way, there’s a parallel here between dating and marketing. You can be proactive and go looking for love, in the same way as you can proactively market your mortgage business. Or you just can cross your fingers and hope that the right girl or boy comes along in time - which is a bit like building your business purely on referrals.
Anyway, going back to the dating story, I decided to sign up to a site called udate.com.
Now the first thing you need to remember is that back in the year 2000, no-one had cameras on their phones. In fact, digital cameras barely existed. So that meant very few people on these dating sites of yesteryear had photos. and you had to pick potential partners based on things other than looks.
Initially I set myself some fairly broad parameters. Provided a girl was in the London area, was no more than 10 years older than me, and didn’t have too many weird sounding hobbies then I’d see if I could get chatting to her. (The term DM hadn’t been invented then - instead you had to send someone a “whisper” but it meant the same thing).
Up all night on Brighton beach
So how do you think my scattergun approach to online dating panned out?
Well, it certainly resulted in some “interesting” encounters. I remember one first date where we met in a bar in Covent Garden and the girl (whose name I can’t remember, so I’ll call her Emma and hope that she hasn’t since become a mortgage broker and ended up on my mailing list) suggested midway through our first drink that we do something really spontaneous and outrageous?
With a certain amount of trepidation, I asked her what she had in mind and she said, “Let’s jump on the Eurostar and go and have dinner in Paris!”.
I pointed out that this might not work as neither of us had brought our passport to this first date. But, not wanting to look like a party-pooper, I suggested we jump on the train and go to the first random place that popped into my head - which was Brighton.
So, long story short… we grabbed some cans of gin and tonic at Victoria station and caught the next train to Brighton. But the train was slow, and Brighton on a Tuesday evening shuts earlier than London. So by the time we got there we had missed dinner and, crucially, missed the last train back to London.
And so it was that we ended up spending an entire night walking up and down Brighton beach and chatting about pretty much everything before getting the first train home in the morning.
After our night of non-stop walking and talking, Emma and I arrived back at Brighton station shortly after dawn and caught the first train back to London.
I even managed to make it to the office, pausing only briefly to buy a toothbrush, toothpaste and a clean shirt, and then managed to put in a full day at my desk - such are the benefits of youth!
The scattergun approach to marketing
So, was there a second date with Emma?
And was it a success?
You see, it turned out we’d said everything we had to say to each other during that initial 12 hours together. And so the second date consisted mostly of awkward silences!
It was after this experience, plus a few other less eventful but equally unsuccessful first dates, that I realised what I was doing wrong.
I hadn’t taken enough time to figure out what sort of girl I was looking to meet through this online dating site.
Remember, what I said earlier:
Provided a girl was in the London area, was no more than 10 years older than me, and didn’t have too many weird sounding hobbies then I’d see if I could get chatting to her.
And that was where I was going wrong.
What I needed to do I now realised, was to stop casting the net so wide and instead be far more specific about what sort of girl I wanted to meet.
Time to get specific
So I logged back into the dating site and amended all my search criteria so as I was only going to meet people who had the right kind of interests, the right sort of personality, the right taste in music, etc etc.
And did it work?
Well, yes - because less than two years later, this happened…
(And yes, we're still together!)
How to find your ideal mortgage clients
So, what’s this got to do with marketing and lead generation?
Well, you’ll get the same success with your marketing - and you’ll see your business grow faster - if you apply the same principles as I eventually did with my online dating.
So, instead of being the mortgage broker who says their ideal client is anyone who owns a property or who wants to buy one...
Or rather than saying you're a financial adviser whose ideal client is anyone who wants to have more money in retirement...
...you need to get specific.
You need to ditch the scattergun approach that leaves your business in danger of being washed up on Brighton beach and you need to define really precisely who your ideal kind of client is.
I’ve talked about this in more detail and explained how you can do it really easily in this video:
If you’re single, I don’t promise that watching this video will help you meet Mr or Miss Right. But I can guarantee it will help make you a more successful mortgage broker or financial adviser.
Identifying your ideal client is the first of the three steps in my three-step lead generation framework:
You can click the links above to find out more about each of those steps.
And if you want my help to implement this framework into your financial service business then click here for details of my group coaching programme.