“Next year, I’m going to <insert resolution here>.” Who hasn’t done that? We all look ahead to a new year with the best of intentions, but it’s not often we take that next step and actually *plan* how we’ll make it happen.
If one of your resolutions is to focus on growing your practice, how about some help?
We’re hosting a webinar on Monday, November 28 at 4 p.m. ET called “Breaking Through in 2012.” In it, we’ll give you tools to:
- Develop goals with a clear purpose
- Identify proven, high-value marketing activities
- Involve your team by getting their skin in the game
We’ll also give you something that people always ask for when we talk about planning – an easy-to-use plan template. Because nobody wants to start with a blank page.
The webinar will only last an hour and the registration is free. So make yourself a turkey sandwich (you know you’ll still be eating leftovers then) and join us — it will be time well spent and could help make 2012 a great year.
It’s officially Fall. With the change of season comes a renewed sense of focus — vacations are over, kids are back to school, and hopefully, you’re taking a fresh look at your business . Now is the time to concentrate on deepening client relationships and executing your Fall marketing campaign to build your pipeline of prospects. Priority #1 should be closing out 2011 on a positive note – and it’s within your grasp.
Today’s Cup of Links has tips on getting media exposure to promote your business, using seminars to grow your practice, and using storytelling in client discussions. So sit back, enjoy the articles and get planning.
Grabbing Media Exposure Online – By Bill Bongiorno in OnWallStreet
Here’s an excellent article on advisors getting published in newspapers and magazines. Key tips include targeting local media, writing letters to the editor, and writing bylined articles. Positioning yourself as an expert on the economy can lead you to getting media exposure– and potentially, new clients.
The Art & Science of How One RIA Grew Assets 125% by Springing for Several Hundred Steak Dinners a Year – by Gerri Leder in RIABiz
If you think that seminars are a thing of the past, read this article. Despite the down markets, the profiled advisor has continued to invest heavily in his Fall marketing campaign – including scheduling 12 to 15 seminars in the fourth quarter of this year alone. His advice to other advisors looking to test seminars as a means for prospecting:
- Be in it for the long haul
- Have a consistent process
- Immediately follow up with prospects
He shares some of his secrets, too (like the best days to have seminars and on what subjects), so check it out.
Tapping into the Power of Three – By Dan Richards in Advisor Perspectives
Trying to become a more effective storyteller? Richards suggests that you provide three examples when discussing situations with clients – it will convey that you’ve done your homework and have evidence to support your recommendations. Remember this tip when you’re in your next client review meeting and discussing the markets and whether or not they’re going to recover (hint: they will).
Educational Events Take Advisors “Back to School” with the Three Rs: Retention, Referrals and Resources
Last Wednesday was the first day of school for my sons (kindergarten and first grade) and this morning, I was almost hit by a school bus while out on a morning run. This time of year, you can’t go to a store, read a newspaper or watch TV without blaring ads that say “BACK TO SCHOOL”.
Since the country is already thinking back to school, why not hold an educational event for clients and have them invite a friend as well? I can’t think of a better time to hold an event than right now! The kids are putting on their thinking caps, sharpening their number two pencils and thinking about the three R’s (readin’, writin’, ‘rithmetic). We can hold an event for our own three Rs – retention, referrals and resources.
Reinforce your value to retain clients
Over the last few months, your clients have seen some daily dramatic swings in the markets and are being subjected to depressing economic news. Hopefully, they already associate you with more than just investment performance. But an educational event is a great reminder of the other things that you do for them. Showing value beyond the things you can’t control (like the markets and economy) is a great way to validate their decision to hire you and your firm.
Encourage clients to bring guests for referral opportunities
By being proactive in this market, you are setting yourself apart from your peers that are staring really hard at their phones waiting for that new prospect call. Use this event as a proactive referral campaign; encourage your clients to bring a guest or invite prospects so they can see you in a non- threatening way. They get to see you adding value to your clients’ lives. What better way for them to test the waters and meet you than in an informal setting?
Keep it simple with these resources
Planning an educational event does not have to be hard or time consuming. And the best news – it doesn’t have to cost much. For simple event planning, I would suggest the following as a resource:
1. Secure a location. While the lowest cost may be your office conference room, think outside the office with more of the classroom theme, like a local junior college or a library meeting room.
2. Find a speaker. This is not a sales function; don’t invite a wholesaler to sell his or her product. Think about your client base and look for resources that will fit the demographic. Examples would include a representative from the Social Security Administration http://www.ssa.gov/organizations/ or a local law enforcement official to discuss identity theft.
3. Set up the room “classroom style.” They are here to learn, so you don’t need to go overboard with food or drinks when coffee and a cookie will do.
4. Invite all your clients and prospects and let them know this is not a “sales event” but a service that you offer. Encourage them to bring friends and associates that may be interested. This is not about you. Your role is short and only as host; you’ll provide the opening introductions and the closing remarks. Make sure you have some handouts for those that may be interested, but take specific questions about services and products offline.
5. Track and measure your success. I would argue that the first quarter and especially the third quarter are great times for these types of educational events. Track them to make sure they are working for you.
Now is the best time to be in front of clients showing value. Just stay away from those busses.
If you have other ideas on educational events, I would love to hear them.
The last few weeks have really been pretty crazy, to say the least. Alongside the very volatile markets and challenging economic news, someone decided to throw us an earthquake and a hurricane, too! No doubt the impact and usage of social media was in overdrive, as people are sharing their stories and commenting on the events.
As we all know, communicating quickly is generally a positive thing, but sometimes it creates unnecessary hype, panic and loss of focus on what truly should be the most meaningful message. I was pleased to see many of you reaching out to your clients during the last few weeks and it was great to see the messages of calm and reason. (I am cc’d on a lot of advisor communications, and “connected” with many more via LinkedIn. I would love to see more of your communications, too.)
Since more and more of you are using or beginning to experiment with social media, the following links provide some constructive tips on how to best use social media and in particular, leverage LinkedIn. Enjoy.
Three Ways to Use Social Media in Turbulent Markets – By Kevin Nichols in RIA Biz
In times of volatility and uncertainty (not including earthquakes), reaching out to clients and prospects only makes sense. Using social media as a secondary tool to communicate and calm clients provides a leverageable resource for all advisors. Also, being proactive to prospects when they are concerned can only strengthen your value in their eyes.
Making the Most of LinkedIn by Kristen Andree in Investment News
Two approaches to working with LinkedIn for your business – broadcasting and connecting. If you are going to use social media as a tool, then you have to have a strategy for its use.
When the market is bouncing up and down (along with the items on my desk this past week), that’s when growth advisors are contacting their clients. There are a lot of good tools out there to use and most of them are free. Start with a strategy and leverage the technology.
What are you doing to stay in touch?
Some advisors are leery of public relations (PR) – I think it has a lot to do with the perception that your message is not entirely in your control. But if you want your name out there, and believe you can establish yourself as an expert, then publicity is something you should consider. (And it’s a lot cheaper than paying for advertisements.)
Have a plan
- What do I want to get out of PR?
- How does PR fit with my overall marketing plan?
- Can I go it alone, or should I hire an agency?
- What specialty or expertise makes me worthy of being quoted?
- What do my ideal clients read? (Actually ask your clients this and see if they might even be able to introduce you to any potential publications.)
Identify media opportunities
There are several places where you have the opportunity to be published or quoted:
- Local newspapers and magazines – both online and print. Find out the name of the local business writer, read the columns and offer to take him/her out to lunch. Most of them now have Twitter accounts, so follow them on Twitter and when they ask for an opinion or have a question, tweet back if you have a point of view.
- Niche publications: Do you work exclusively with business owners? If so, the local business journal is a good place to start. If your niche is doctors, find out if they have a trade magazine that might be interested in having you submit a guest column. Look for organization newsletters or other publication that your best clients read.
- Other Professional Publications: If Centers of Influence (COI) are a main contributor to your business, then you should certainly find out what publications these groups have. For example, if you’re targeting estate planning attorneys, check out the National Association of Estate Planners and Councils.
You’re selling yourself
Have a press kit ready to give to writers, complete with your firm’s overview brochure, your biography, and if applicable, any other articles that you may have published. Get into the right publications, that reach the right people, and you just might find yourself overwhelmed with prospective client meetings. And wouldn’t that be a good problem?