December 6, 2018
Often times when we think of leadership, we think of managing and delegating tasks. We think that managing is all about telling people what to do, so that profitability continues to increase for the company. However, leadership is much more than that. Nowadays, it’s as important to connect with your employees as it is to increase profitability for your company. Focusing on building strong relationships with your team will develop trust. Not only does connecting with your employees develop trust, but it also provides a space for them to listen to your ideas, say yes to them, and follow through. Additionally, they are less likely to disappoint you.
Creating warmth, understanding, and connections will allow for your employees to work better, therefore leading to profits. The question is: how would you go about creating and cultivating this atmosphere?
- You could change the dynamic of the interaction with your employees by simply smiling. This is the most authentic way to go about creating warmth and most of the time they smile back. Constantly smiling creates a warmth in the atmosphere and allows for your employees to feel comfortable.
- Ensure that you are constantly practicing active listening. It comes off as rude when you are interrupting or not letting your employees finish their thoughts. Active listening helps develop trust.
- Use positive body language to show interest and once again, warmth. Try to avoid crossing your arms and leaning back too much during meetings and interactions.
Have suggestions on ways to connect with your employees? Let us know in the comments below!
November 15, 2018
Whenever you own a business, there is a highly stressed importance on obtaining clients. You go out and prospect, conduct various marketing events, network and meet as many people as possible. You find people who are interested and you showcase your services to them. If you’re a financial planning firm, you might develop the perfect financial plan for your new customer and send them on their way. However, I think we often forget the importance of maintaining our relationships after the customer has bought our product or service. Whenever you strengthen your relationship with your clients, it increases their loyalty to your services and increases referrals. As a result, this helps and grows the business that you have worked so hard to develop.
Now, I also want to talk about the importance of strengthening relationships between your clients. Whenever your clients feel connected with each other, they will definitely feel more connected to you. How should you go about connecting your clients? I have a few pieces of advice for you!
Firstly, think matchmaker. How could your clients benefit one another? There is a possibility of them becoming business partners, friends, and even golf partners. Approaching this idea could be as easy as saying to your client, “I am planning a fundraising event for a cause that you and another one of my clients, Becky Jones, care strongly about and I think you two should connect regarding ideas!”
Another way to connect your clients is through intimate events that are frequent, preferably every month. The events could range from small dinner parties to golf outings. Also, local events such as running races, yoga events, or wine tastings are a great way to gather your clients. Consistent events will bring your clients together and develop strong relationships.
Have other strategies to grow and strengthen customer relationships? Let us know in the comments below!
October 25, 2018
In 2017, the financial planning industry revenue was $56 billion. However, in order to be successful in the market, financial advisors need to be able to establish themselves as trustworthy. In order for an advisor to be established as trustworthy in the industry, it all starts with their chosen marketing tactics and strategies. We constantly read on ways to market our business, but how can we make it creative and fun? I’ve got just the advice for you!
- Develop an interesting and relatable hobby. Have you ever wondered what you should talk to your prospects and clients about? Sometimes when finance and investing is your only topic, it could intimidate your prospects and clients. When you develop an interesting and relatable hobby, rather it is golfing or fishing, it creates trust between you and your clients. This relationship-building strategy could differentiate you big time!
- Start podcasting! As of 2017, 73 million people are listening to podcasts monthly. It has made a major comeback and customers truly value this medium for ways to gain and expand their knowledge. Creating a podcast could not only provide financial value to your clients and listeners but also show off your personality.
- Create a monthly company newsletter. This could be one of your many tactics, that is also inexpensive, to keep your clients and prospects engaged and aware of your practices. Simply create a brief monthly newsletter and send it out to your email subscribers or post it on your website. Don’t forget to focus on sharing your expertise.
- Host local conferences. Rather it is is in your local libraries or senior centers, this could be a great way to get your name out there. You could host a local conference to give advice on 401(k) plans, budgeting, savings, etc.
Creating marketing tactics to spread the word about your business doesn’t have to be boring! What are some of the creative marketing tactics you have used with your business?
September 27, 2018
Referrals, referrals, referrals. We constantly hear how important they are and how it’s one of the best ways to obtain new clients. But, how exactly do we achieve as many referrals as possible? What can we do to differentiate ourselves to ensure that we’re receiving those referrals? One thing I want to discuss is the importance of providing exceptional customer service. If you switch your focus from trying to obtain referrals from every client you see to focusing on providing the best experience possible, your referrals will come naturally. In fact, just one happy client could result in 9 referrals for your firm. Whenever a client feels that a financial advisor is making a genuine effort to understand the client and provides valuable recommendations, they’re more likely to spread the word about you. Therefore, a positive experience is a must when trying to obtain referrals. With that being said, I’d love to provide some basic tips on ways to enhance the customer experience that will result in more referrals for your firm.
Don’t forget the little things about your clients. Is today your client’s daughter’s birthday? Send a birthday card! Keeping the little things in mind will make the client feel special and cultivate a healthy, engaged relationship.
Consistency. Don’t tell the client you will follow up constantly and only do it once. If there is a mistake on your part, don’t continue making the same mistake. Consistency is key when working with clients.
Don’t be intimidated to ask. Of course, providing excellent customer service will be the first option for obtaining referrals. However, don’t ever be afraid to ask for it. If you have worked with your client for quite some time now, feel free to mention something like “If you’ve enjoyed my service and you’re happy with the outcome, don’t hesitate to tell a friend.”
At the end of the day, ensuring a positive customer experience will result in more referrals for your firm.
September 13, 2018
Ever noticed a new restaurant in your area and wonder what’s their future outlook is? All of the sudden, two months later, it becomes the new “hotspot” in town. You think to yourself, “What’s their secret? How did they market so well that they grew so much in just a few short months?” One thing that we know for sure is that their branding is strong and they know exactly how to express who they are. A company’s brand reflects their identity. Branding is what draws clients in and keeps them coming back for more. Here are three ways to get your branding noticed:
Be unique. I think within the financial industry, it’s easy to get stuck and do exactly as your peers. However, what’s going to differentiate you is your uniqueness. Often, something that doesn’t fit in will stand out. What are you doing that’s different in your industry?
Switch up your promotion techniques. Yes, having a billboard that some drivers will notice occasionally could serve as a form of advertising, but I always suggest marketing to your specific target market. Whenever you’re brainstorming ideas, think of questions such as:
- Where does my client spend their time when they’re not working? What are they involved in?
- How do my clients find their information? Is it via internet, books, magazines, etc.
Let’s say your client is an important businessman who spends a lot of his time attending networking events. Rather than purchasing a 30 second radio ad, you could purchase tickets to these events and invite your prospects.
Consider creative partnerships. Think of businesses that also cater to your target audience. These types of strategic partnerships are an essential component to differentiate your services amongst your competition.
In conclusion, dare to be different and see where it takes your business!
August 30, 2018
In today’s society, one of the best ways a company can be successful is to provide great customer service. But, is that really enough? Working in customer service goes deeper than just ensuring it is “good.” We want to make sure that we deliver a value to the customer through our services or products. Some of the best companies worldwide have developed a culture within the organization around the value they deliver to their clients; companies such as Apple, Ritz-Carlton, Disney, Amazon, and the list goes on and on. So, how should companies go about creating a culture focused on delivering value to clients?
- Customer knowledge. As you build your book of business, really get to know your customers and especially their expectations of you. A lot of the times we deliver our services but forget to check if they align with the expectations from our customers.
- Create a customer service strategy. Often different segments of an organization aren’t aware of the company’s strategy or their understanding of it doesn’t align with the company’s. Therefore, creating a customer service strategy focused on delivering value to customers and spreading it throughout the whole organization will allow for consistency.
- Listen to your employees. The employees are on the frontline of daily customer interaction. Therefore, they may have customer insights that could be valuable for your customer knowledge. It will also provide a framework of ways to develop your customer service strategy.
- Loyalty. Don’t say you’re going to contact a customer in a week and then never contact them. Follow through with your promises and check up on customers regularly. What this does is it creates loyalty which means that you have provided a level of customer service that has exceeded expectations.
Not only will these actions steps result in higher customer satisfaction, but it will also greatly differentiate your business from companies who simply “deliver” their services or products.
July 26, 2018
Through out our careers, we’re always taught to make sure our marketing is perfect. The right words, the right pictures, and the right advertisements. And this has been a safe approach for a lot of companies. However, when a customer visits your professional website, they rarely take a look at the content because they already feel like something is being sold to them. The more the marketing materials seem “perfect,” the less likely a consumer will purchase them. Instead, your marketing should be authentic and customized to who you truly are.
So what exactly is authentic marketing? This approach simply shares who you are and your business focus, all while utilizing your own words. I stress the importance of authentic marketing because if you are a financial advisor and you ask your clients to trust you with their entire life savings, they’d want to know who they are working with.
Some of the best ways to achieve authentic marketing is to share your companies personality through your website and marketing materials such as: pictures, videos, blog, etc. Consumers buy real and when you share with them who you really are, they are more likely to trust you.
June 14, 2018
In the business world, it seems that it’s always a company’s goal to be better – better price, better product, better service. However, that’s not always the best way to go about your business. Whenever a customer says “why shouldn’t I just go to the financial firm across the street?” and your answer is “because we’re better,” does the customer necessarily believe that?
What truly matters and what we should all be focusing on is being different. Think about what’s unique about your company. Most of the time, customers choose your business because of you, not knowing the products you offer because they loved what’s unique about you. If you look at really successful companies, they didn’t become successful because they wrote “WE ARE BETTER THAN THE OTHER GUY” as their headline. They outlined what’s unique about them and shared it with the world. And people bought their product because of them.
So, you’re probably wondering: what’s something that could be different about your firm? The people, your leader, and staff. No other firm has the same people as yours does, and that’s one of the best ways to describe your uniqueness.
I’d like to leave this post with a few questions for you to think about:
- What’s something that you are doing that your competitors aren’t?
- What are you doing that’s exactly like your competitors that you could change?