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Power and Pitfalls of Digital Marketing

Building a positive professional reputation is a journey. Fortunately, digital media marketing has facilitated this process. The rapid advancement of website development allows you to launch a professional and beautiful website quickly. Social media marketing enables you to push out coordinated messages across many social media platforms—LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, etc. In addition, social media publishing websites like Hootsuite, allow you post on multiple platforms at once. Even more, people are now able to find you easily and quickly. The ubiquitous Google search reveals loads of information, and there’s the rub!

A 2018 Pershing study of investors revealed that one in three investors searched advisers on Facebook and over 50 percent decided to reject the adviser based on their personal Facebook, not their LinkedIn profile or their website. Wow! This is a sobering reminder that everything impacts your success. Even lack of presence affects your brand; not having a presence can be as damaging as having the wrong kind of presence.

I recall coaching a father and son team together. The father was actively resisting a digital presence. His son was unable to persuade him of the importance of having a digital brand. When I explained that having no digital presence was the same as having no business card, no brochure, no sign on the office door and no listing in the phone book, the father immediately became an enthusiastic devotee of digital marketing.

Given the power of the Internet to enhance (or diminish) your professional reputation, guidelines are helpful. I recommend the 3 D’s of digital communication: discreet, diplomatic and dignified.

Deeper Dive into the 3 D’s

Discreet: Discretion was revered at one time. It was considered boorish, rude and self-centered to endlessly disgorge personal details. This is particularly true for older clients and prospects. Discretion will only enhance your brand.

Diplomatic: Children are taught to be considerate and not hurt other people’s feelings. That’s diplomacy in a nutshell. Some clients will not care about your personal social and political views, but others will. Aim to be a Rorschach test. Allow them to interpret you, from their point of view. Everyone likes their viewpoint affirmed.

Dignified: Self-control, moderation and honorable behavior are hallmarks of being dignified. Dignity wraps us in a pleasant, peaceful and respectful aroma. Can you imagine if everything posted on the Internet was dignified? How delightful that would be!

The 3 D’s of communication protect your reputation from the damaging 3 I’s of the Internet, the mundane posts that are inane, the strident that are irritating and the belligerent that are insulting.

Resources for Planners

Since a major tenet of social media marketing is sharing valuable content, there is a great deal of good guidance available from industry experts. Start with the eye-opening Pershing study: “Advisor Value Propositions: How Advisors Showcase Their Value to Investors—and What Investors Secretly Think.”

Then ask peers and business advisers for more resources to build your brand. Five favorite resources recommended by marketing gurus include:

  1. Social media management: Hootesuite and top 6 alternatives for 2019
  2. DIY beautiful websites: WIX or SquareSpace
  3. Logo and marketing design: 99Designs
  4. Freelance marketplace for hiring pros: fiverr
  5. Self-publishing for e-books and print books: Amazon-owned Kindle Direct Publishing (formerly CreateSpace. Amazon merged KDP and CreateSpace in 2019.)

Feel free to check out the articles and tools at Barbara Kay Coaching. Even better, reach out and I’ll help you connect to the right resource for your interests.

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Barbara Kay, LPC, RCC, president of Barbara Kay Coaching, is a business psychology and productivity expert who coaches and speaks nationwide. She specializes in growth, productivity, teams, clients, change, women and leadership. Joining the FPA Coaches Corner in 2019, she now offers free coaching to FPA members.


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Your Service, Your Story, Your Value

A financial planning practice must be able to articulate and demonstrate a planner’s value, story, service menu and deliverables—these remain the most fundamental elements of your business. After all, if you can’t convey and verbalize what you do, how will you attract people to your business and grow? And, if you don’t consistently deliver your value, how will you retain clients and sustain success? As we enter the fall, it is a good time to go back to the basics.

How well can you—and every team member regardless of role—answer the following fundamental questions?

Positioning: Who are You?

  1. What is your identity as a business? How does your community perceive who you are and what you do?
  2. Do you go beyond your title and firm name when someone asks you what you do for a living?
  3. Do you have a differentiating and intriguing story? Does each team member articulate a cohesive message?

Purpose: Why Do You Do What You Do?

  1. Why are you in this business?
  2. What is your vision? What is the team’s vision?
  3. Where are you leading the team? Where are you leading your clients?

Proposition: What Do You Offer and to Whom?

  1. Can you delineate the solutionsservices and deliverables that you offer to each client segment?
  2. What problems do you solve and for whom?
  3. What is your reactive service strategy? What is included in your proactive service matrix?
  4. How do you define and delineate the ultimate client experience?

Price: How Much Do You Charge for Your Deliverables?

  1. Do you consistently execute on your pricing model or are there more exceptions than standards?
  2. How transparent are you with pricing? Do your clients understand what they are paying and what they are receiving for that fee?

Process: How Do You Do What You Do?

  1. What is your defined process for working with prospects and clients and do you consistently execute it?
  2. Do your prospects have clear expectations on what they will experience when working with your team?
  3. How efficient and systemized is your business?

Differential: What Makes You Different?

  1. Can each team member answer the question, “Why should I do business with you?”

We recommend that you schedule quarterly off-site team sessions to focus on the strategic side of your financial planning practice. You should reflect and identify successes and challenges, and then look ahead and plan for the future. The questions listed above are a starting point. Consider the strength of your value today and what changes may need to take place as you head into the future.

Sarah E. Dale and Krista S. Sheets are partners at Performance Insights, where they focus on helping financial professionals increase results through wiser practice management and people decisions.

 

 


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Why Clients Choose You

Why would a prospect end up choosing you over another adviser?

There’s really only one thing that a prospect is looking for when they begin the conversation with you. If they believe you can provide it, it’s much more likely that they’ll become your client.

What Prospects AREN’T Buying

Despite what most advisers think, people aren’t working with them because of their:

  • Superior investment selection
  • Comprehensive financial plan
  • Account aggregation software
  • Years of experience
  • Credentials after their name, etc.

We’re all proud of those things and they play a role in the decision to work with you, but they’re not the reason people choose you over everyone else. Prospects aren’t buying the products or features you provide. They’re actually not buying the benefits either.

They’re Buying Transformation

The one thing that they are buying is the transformation that they believe they will get by working with you.

What do I mean by that? It doesn’t matter what people are buying. Whether it’s a candy bar or new car, we’re all looking for the same thing: we’re living in a current state and we want to move into a desired “after state.” We believe making the purchase i going to move us into that place we want to be.

Imagine what your prospect’s thinking. Why are they talking to you? Why are they looking for a financial adviser? I can definitely tell you that they’re not calling you because everything is perfect with their finances.

They’re calling you because they are discontent with some aspect of their financial life. They’re not completely happy with everything they’re doing. They have a problem that they don’t know how to solve and they may be frustrated, worried or confused. The fact is they’re looking for an adviser because they are in a place that’s less than ideal.

And that’s your ideal prospect. Why? Because you know that you have the solutions they’re looking for.

Where Do They Want Go?

If their existing state is discontentment, then they need to move into a place of contentment.

This is the entire value of your service business summed up in one sentence: you are helping people move from their before state to an ideal after state.

If you can clearly communicate this in a way that they understand, you’ll never have to sell anything ever again.

What’s The Next Step?

Take out a sheet of paper and write down answers to these questions.

  • Where are they now?
    1. What are their problems?
    2. Why are they looking for help?
    3. What’s their emotional state?
  • Where do they want to be?
    1. How will this change after working with you?
    2. What will they have?
    3. How will they feel?
    4. What will they leave behind?
    5. What kind of person do they want to become?

Once you’ve written these answers, you’ve taken the first step to discovering the transformation your ideal client is looking for. Start using these things you’ve discovered as you talk with prospects moving forward. Pay close attention as you talk about their desired “after state.”

dave-zoller

 

Dave Zoller, CFP®
Financial Adviser
Streamline My Practice
Warrenville, IL