8 Reasons You Need To Become An Authority
When I left the big boys to start my first firm, I made the decision to continue to court the dozen or so mega companies where I had built strong relationships.
It was a calculated investment since my two-year non-compete precluded me from earning any revenue from it and I wasn’t sure if they’d buy from a tiny firm. But they were people I’d deeply enjoyed getting to know and wanted them to stay in my circle.
Just when my two-year moratorium was up, one of my favorite folks was getting ready to solicit bids on a project right up our alley. It was big. I figured we had the inside track since I’d already done the preliminary work and had proven I knew how to navigate their intricate business unit decision-making process.
And then I got the call. My best contact there—the one I’d nurtured for close to ten years—let me know she wouldn’t be asking me to propose. Why? Because she didn’t want the internal political risk of choosing a firm that didn’t have a national brand name attached.
It was a big ouch (it STILL smarts when I think about it), but an exceedingly valuable lesson.
When you have a small firm, you need to become an authority—if not THE authority—in exactly the right niche for your expertise and your brand + business.
Here are eight reasons why it’s worth investing the time to get yourself there:
- You become a “must”—someone your sweet-spot audience simply must hear from before deciding how to proceed.
- You build trust exponentially—the more you know and share the more believable you become.
- You attract a constantly expanding circle—people who want to learn from you, buy from you, maybe even work for you.
- Your content draws more interest—your email list grows, your conference sessions or keynotes attract more people and media coverage.
- You grow a community around you—engaging your tribe on multiple platforms in ways that suit you.
- Your social networks grow faster—as your target audience reads, watches and shares your content.
- Media folk start seeking you out—which means you spend less time and money trying to reach them AND you get to choose where you most want your wisdom to appear.
- You make more money—you spend less time on front-end selling (because your authority is working for you) and more time closing business at price tags your less well-known competitors can only dream about.
And—it’s fun. Seriously.
It goes beyond ego. Watching your brand of expertise unfold and transform lives is nothing short of breath taking.
Solving Your Biggest Client Issue May Be at Your Fingertips
Written by: Shileen Weber
When the American Funds’ Capital Group asked 400 advisors last year to name the biggest issues they face in their businesses, it wasn’t the DOL, market uncertainty or the economy that sat in the center of the idea cloud of answers.
It was client issues.
At a time when regulatory concerns and market turbulence would seem to be at all-time highs, the advisors who answered the survey were most concerned about servicing their clients as well as ways to find new ones and grow their businesses.
It’s one of the ironies of the business, that the things most people find so hard to manage – creating financial plans, managing assets and staying ahead of events – are what advisors find to be the easiest parts of the business. Marketing - the business of selling themselves – can be the area advisors find the hardest elements to master.
In this age of instant communication, it can be even more intimidating to market your practice, especially to younger clients for whom many traditional methods like newsletters, postcards and phone calls don’t work anymore. For them, email is the preferred way to get information, and, if it’s important, they are more likely to respond to texts, not phone calls.
But, it doesn’t have to be that hard. The digital age gives you access to ideas and content of all kinds you can use to touch your clients in a way that positions you as a valuable resource. The key is to keep it simple, stick to some basics and create consistent outreach that clients and potential clients are interested in and will appreciate you sharing with them.
Here is a common-sense approach you can take that will not require you to hire an expensive agency or take valuable time away from managing your clients’ assets and running your business.
Content is King
Create a content calendar for the year: Think about reasons to touch a client 13 times during the year – that can be once a month and on their birthday. (The common rule of sales is that it takes at least 7-13 touches to make a connection.) The number is limited and keeps you from inundating the clients who likely already feel inundated with content. You can take the seasonal approach – tax planning in the fall, January for account review content, college financing in the spring – and supplement it with topical events during the year. Creating a calendar will help you stick to a plan. Here’s one resource for a content calendar.
Review what content is already available to you: Basically, this means finding the resources you already have and determining what pieces will be most valuable to your clients. Start first by checking out content your broker-dealer already generates that you can personalize. Many firms have economists who write regularly about the market. That’s content you can pass along to keep clients up-to-date they would not have access to anywhere else. In addition to your broker-dealer, mutual funds, your clearing firm, and money managers are all excellent sources of informative and even analytical content.
Personalize the content you use: Add your name, the client’s name or some way to avoid making it feel like canned content that you are using just to check the outreach box. See what capabilities your email program may have to help you.
The birthday strategy: One advisor used clients’ birthdays in a new way. Instead of the card or lunch date, the advisor asked the client’s spouse for a list of friends he could invite to a birthday lunch and made it a memorable event that was also a soft approach to getting referrals.
Become a curator of good content: What your review will show you is that you don’t have to generate the content yourself. You can point clients to pieces you find insightful. You are likely already doing this every day just to keep yourself informed. The next step is to compile it and send out the very best pieces to your clients, again, with a note with your own thoughts about why you found it valuable.
Find out what is working and do more of it: Use your client interactions, in-person and online, to find out what types of content clients liked and any they didn’t. You can use tracking on your emails to see how many were opened as a measurement tool, but the personal interactions tend to provide more insight than raw data.
Be disciplined about your execution: Get help from an office assistant or schedule the time each month to do the content development and outreach. As any good strategy, if you make it a habit, it won’t seem so hard.
Most importantly, be yourself and be personal: You may want to regularly get personal by talking about your family and hobbies. The ultimate is if you can provide content that is personal to your clients, not just about their investments – they get that from their statements, apps and online portals. Think alma maters, hobbies, children and parents.
Of course, as a disclaimer, you have to make sure all content and communications are complying with regulations and the rules of your own broker-dealer.
The process of creating a plan will get you thinking about your clients in a new way. That exercise alone can re-energize your business and get you seeing marketing opportunities in places you may never have seen them before.
Shileen Weber is Senior Vice President of Marketing and Communications at GWG Holdings. She was previously Director of Online Strategy and Client Experience at RBC Wealth Management, where they placed first in two JD Power and Associates U.S. Full Service Investor Satisfaction Study (2011 and 2013).
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