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What Do People Say About You Behind Your Back?

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What Do People Say About You Behind Your Back?

Truth is stranger than fiction.  Put yourself into this situation.  What would people say about you?

Tales from the Turtle Soup Set

On Friday night, Jane and I were having dinner at a swanky restaurant with another couple.  A guy comes over. (We’ll call him Dr. Smith for confidentiality’s sake.  His name was more distinctive.)  He said “I recognized you from Church.  I’m Dr. Smith.  I just wanted to say hello.”  He went back to his seat.  The other three people at the table asked me: “Who is he?”  I said “I have no idea.”

On Saturday night, I arrive at Church early.  I talk to the ushers and the other folks that make things happen behind the scenes.  They explain: “Dr. Smith.  Attends the 8:00 AM on Sundays.  Sits front row, right hand side.  Doesn’t sing.  His wife does, but not him.”  I explain: “He must recognize me from the 5:00 PM on Saturday.”  They said:  “Probably not.  But he may have met you at the gala in February.” (I was one of many, plus I was wearing a mask.)

Nice Story, But Why Is This Relevant?

Today, you expect every prospect to check you out on social media.  They will do an Internet search on your name.  They will visit BrokerCheck.  But most important, they will ask around: “What do you know about this guy?”  What will your friends and clients say?

1. Do your friends even know where you work? Everyone needs to know Who you are, What you do and Why you are good.

What to do:  The best way to get this across is to extend the same courtesy to them.  Sit down.  Draw them out.  Learn about their job and career.  They will probably reciprocate.

2. Do clients know what you do for them? We all have short memories.  When the market is doing well and they are making money, you are “Just doing your job.”  If the market declines and they are losing money, obviously it’s your fault.   Frequent contact and scheduled progress to goals reviews positions the relationship like a journey on a ship.  They are an active, involved crew member or passenger, but you are the captain of the ship, trying to keep on course in all weather.

What to do:  Keep things in context.  “This is our 2nd quarter phone review.  We’ll plan a face to face review towards the end of the year.”

3. Do clients remember that really big problem you solved for them? Their spouse died.  That was the person who handled the family finances.  You stepped in, doing your part to get securities transferred into their name.  They wanted a steady monthly income.  You made this happen.  They needed help in budgeting.  You were there to help.  Thanks to auto bill pay, most of their monthly expenses are paid through their account.  You can help other people in similar situations.

What to do:  They might thank you from time to time for helping them.  Reminding them with expressions like “People who lost their spouse and need help figuring out their finances” lets them know specific scenarios where you can help.

4. Do you drip on people? It sounds creepy when you say it that way.  When people ask: “How’s business?” do you share anonymous success stories of how you helped people?  Do you share other anonymous stories about how you helped stop a person from making a mistake involving money?

What to do:  “Consider every time someone asks “How’s business?” as a way to share how you help people.  Be low key, tactful and keep it brief.

5. What does your sales assistant say? A friend calls your office.  You’ve got a client with you.  They tell who is calling, in case it’s a critical call.  You explain you are helping a client setup college saving plans for their new grandchild.  You’ll call back shortly.  Does your assist relay the “Helping someone with a college savings plan” message?  Over time, this communicates how you help people.

What to do:  Work this sequence out with the person who covers your phone.

Related: Why Advisors Should Use Multiple Marketing Channels

6. Can your friend recognize opportunity when it’s knocking? The other person might not ask about you directly.  They might sound like that HomeAdvisor ad on TV when the guy says: “I’m thinking of putting in a bar.  Know any good contractors?”  Can they concisely explain “Here’s the person you should call…”

What to do:  Let your friends know situations where you can add the most value.

7. Do they know you are adding clients? Do they even bother to bring up your name?  Do they assume you have a completely full practice?  Remember when some popular mutual funds were “Closed to new money?”  Do they think that describes you?

What to do:  Tell friends when you’ve added a client and the source.  “I took on a new client today.  They just moved in.  Their neighbor sent them to me.”

You can’t put words in their mouth.   You can’t write scripts them.  You can let them know what you do in simple terms that are easy to relate.  You can keep them up to date on developments, like how you’ve helped people.

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