With a business that is fueled primarily by networking and referrals, it makes sense that independent financial advisors need to consistently look for ways to stand out in front of their clients and prospective clients. Being proactive means more than just providing excellent service. It means looking for creative ways to stay in touch on a regular basis.
Social media has created a huge opportunity for financial advisors to develop, connect and improve relationships with prospects and clients. It makes sense that financial advisors integrate LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter as part of their marketing program. These sites are widely embraced for professional networking online. But advisor beware: while the SEC has put in place regulations with plenty of flexibility, it is ultimately the guidelines and regulations of your firm that you must adhere to.
Other ways to get creative in the digital world include meeting with busy clients virtually through Web-X on a regularly scheduled basis. If using a tablet during a presentation, be sure to create attractive presentations. And for out-of-the-box creativity, think about designing custom apps that can be available for free or purchase. These apps might be as simple as a portal to push out information or as complex as a budgeting or planning tool. It’s a big bonus if you can gather prospect information with your app, so that users are engaged and immediately qualified. The key here is to get your company name in front of as many clients and prospects as possible. If you also do marketing events, this is a great way to engage prospects and demonstrate that you offer something different than most financial advisors.
In addition to the latest technology, every advisor should have a well-designed website. The website offers an opportunity to engage with clients and prospects. Keep in mind that many people make buying decisions online before they’ve met in person. The site should offer high-quality, valuable content, such as press releases, monthly or quarterly newsletter, blog and industry news. Consider sending email on a regular basis to keep in contact. By sending out a series of messages or a newsletter, you can offer people additional products and services. And since you are in control of how or when you email, you can send out information as needed. While blogs are time-consuming and require a constant source of fresh content, they can help maintain contact and increase communication with your clients. Video content, like presentations you have given at seminars, is also a great value to add to the website. Offering free membership enrollment for a newsletter or to an event calendar is also a great way to stay in touch.
As technology and design continue to evolve, the shift to mobile is happening at great speed. According to internet newsblog Mashable.com, tablets are expected to exceed 100 million this year – industry analysts predict that more than 800 million tablets will be sold by 2015. As the demand for tablets rise, so does the demand to consume mobile content. Proactive independent financial advisors will benefit jumping onboard now instead of later.
It’s also important that financial advisors get out from behind the computers and smart phones and attend professional networking events and participate in their clients’ community and professional events. Professional avenues also exist with clients, such as guest speaking at a client’s networking group or speaking to a client’s employees on the importance of managing their financial affairs.
Lastly, don’t forget about the phone and meeting in person. Try going outside the office, say for drinks or lunch. Make it a point to meet in person at least twice a year to review the business at hand. Schedule phone time on a regular basis to check in and give clients market updates and to see if there are any issues that need to be addressed. Touching your clients in as many ways as possible allows you to stay competitive and stand out in front.