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Meet Potential Clients Where They Are — Online

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Written by: Bruce Milne | Socialware

Looking for answers, suggestions and solutions online has quickly become the norm in the digital age. People place pizza delivery orders through apps rather than calling the store, and they order new phone and cable services through online accounts rather than customer service. Most consumers will do whatever they can to avoid being forced to have a conversation with a salesperson. Except when it comes to money matters.

A recent Wells Fargo/Gallup Investor and Retirement Optimism Index survey conducted in July showed that even though U.S. adults spend almost five and a half hours a day online, investors still feel more comfortable working with a dedicated personal advisor than getting investment advice online from a financial website.

The survey was based on a national sample of U.S. investors with $10,000 or more in stocks, bonds, mutual funds, or in a self-directed IRA or 401(k). People in this demographic are typically well versed in online activity, yet they continue to opt for a real human relationship to determine where to spend their money. Clearly, when it comes to money, trust wins. Plugging your information into an online algorithm engine, which could very well be the same one used by your advisor, is all well and good, but people feel better having a human explain what it all means.

So investors want human advice, yet they spend a large portion of their day online. What does this mean for today’s advisor? Some online channels can be a great way to build that trusted relationship that investors are seeking. It’s not about the cold call or the hard sell. It’s about warm introductions, getting to know your clients and sharing thoughtful information. An advisor can use social media to make the connection, but then nurture that connection in more traditional offline means. The two methods work hand-in-hand.

Social media networks, particularly LinkedIn, provide the perfect bridge between the online world and the human connection. Advisors can use these platforms to share quality content, engage with their audience and look for warm connections. The goal shouldn’t be to use LinkedIn to connect with and subsequently scare off strangers. On the contrary, it’s about establishing trust, educating your audience and building relationships so that clients feel good about choosing you as an advisor when the time is right for them. You never know how people might notice you when you start showing them the right mix of personality and quality content.

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