Fostering Business Relationships

March 8, 2018

Whenever you think of building relationships so that people can trust you, and so that your relationships grow, do you think of business? If you don’t, you should. Relationships are something we do want to grow in our businesses. Especially if you’re a financial advisor and you want your clients to trust you. Why are they important? Think of all the referrals you’ve received last year from your best clients. Some of those were probably your biggest sales. Now, try to quantify that number. Once you realize the importance of how you make your clients “feel” as you build those relationships, that in return could be helping your business grow.

We’ve discussed the benefits of building business relationships, now let’s focus on how we should go about doing so. When you first attract a possible client, here are a few things that will go through their head: Can I trust this advisor? Will they understand my unique situation? And, will this advisor’s advice be unbiased? The goal for you is to triumph all of these questions. Do so by being transparent in your process, empathize with their situation, and trust them back.

Following these guidelines will not only increase trust with your potential clients, but also develop those business relationships. In return, both the client and you, as a business professional, are better off.


Are Your Clients Talking About You?

January 11, 2018

Word of Mouth Marketing (WOMM) – you participate in it daily. “So have you heard about that new iPhone X? It recognizes your face!” Rather you are recommending your favorite leadership book or your friend convinced you to switch gyms because the one your friend attends is “better,” WOMM affects us on a daily basis. WOMM has been around way before social media existed. It’s one of the first forms of marketing and is one of the most valuable. A study conducted by The OECHSLI Institute on the power of WOM influence for financial advisors states that 92% of clients found their financial advisors through word of mouth influence. 60% of clients say that the main reason they chose their financial advisor was due to word of mouth influence. So, the question here is how do we go about increasing WOMM in the 21st century? Here are some methods that you can implement into your marketing strategy:

  1. Ask top clients to share testimonials/reviews. If you have a website, this is a perfect addition. In fact, 79% of people report trusting testimonials and online reviews just as much as word of mouth recommendations.
  2. Offer an incentive. You’re probably thinking, “My client is super busy and doesn’t have time.” However, people are more likely to do things when receiving something in return. As you reach out to your top clients for either testimonials, reviews or even for your marketing campaigns, offer discounts or services as an exchange for their participation and referrals.
  3. Organize a formal referral program. This will make the process for your clients fast and easy. Additionally, this will allow for you to measure the results.
  4. What is your story? As always, ensuring your website is up to date and interesting is important. But what will increase WOMM is sharing your unique story, right on your website. Why did you start your business? What drives your business? Whenever you give people something memorable, they will share it with the people around them even if you don’t ask them to.

If you have a great example of successful WOMM for your firm, share in the comments below!


5 Ways to Improve Communication Through Listening

March 2, 2017

Business skills come down to the basic skill of communication. And what makes someone good at communication? Being a good listener. If you can show someone, whether it be your boss, employee, coworker or client, that you care about what they are saying, it will get you a long way. Here a five tips on how to become a better listener:

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  1. Show your engagement. This includes nonverbal communication. It’s not only about what you say, but your body language as well.
  2. Ask questions. This will not only show the other person that you are listening and paying attention, but that you really do want to know what’s going. If you didn’t hear something, ask them to repeat.
  3. Acknowledge feelings. This is important, especially when you don’t necessarily agree with what they have to say.
  4. Keep eye contact. It shows that you are listening and engaged in what they are saying instead of being distracted by things around you.
  5. Just listen. By this I mean don’t interrupt, don’t rush them and don’t try to offer up a bunch of solutions. Be present in the conversation and just listen.

4 Things to Learn Online Today

November 10, 2016

No matter the field you are in, the internet is your friend. It is your number one resource, so use it! There are so many skills and programs you can easily learn with the click of your mouse so why not take full advantage. These are just a few of the things you can learn.

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  1. Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Of all the skills you can learn this is easily one of the most important. You can boost your sales and customers will be sent to your website left and right. Here are a couple resources.
  2. Languages. This may not be something that would immediately come to mind, but in this day and age so many things are international. If you are new to the job market or simply looking to expand, honing a second or third language will put you far above the rest.
  3. Copywriting. Copywriting is another skill that is of high importance. Being able to write copy that sells people on whatever goods or services you are providing will be a huge success factor.
  4. Web Development. Your website will connect you with the world around you. Being able to create your own design and brand is a great skill that can be carried with you throughout your career.

What skills have you found the most useful in your career?


5 Ways to Standout from the Crowd

August 20, 2015

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Why blend in when you can stand out? To set yourself apart from your competitors, it’s important to advertise your differences and benefits. Your customers won’t know how innovative and successful your business is if you don’t tell them. So don’t be afraid to show it off! Here are 5 ways to standout from the crowd.

  1. Become a thought leader. Your industry could use one more thought leader, so make sure it’s you! Publish your content on a blog and create a newsletter to get your name out there. Meaningful and relevant content go a long way.
  2. Raise the bar. Do some research and one-up your competition. Make your business the standard in your industry and leave the competition playing catch up. Position yourself as cutting edge.
  3. Go above and beyond. Going the extra mile for a client can make all the difference. Show them you care about them as an individual. They’ll take notice and recommend you to their connections.
  4.  Focus on the experience. From the first time the client looks at your website or social media sites, to the follow up survey they take after you have done your job, it’s important to make sure the customer is having a good experience. Every time the client comes in contact with your business it affects their overall perception of you. Make sure it’s a good one.
  5. Make them look. Be creative with your marketing. Think outside the box when it comes to email newsletters and traditional mailers. Think about what will get their attention and put your business in their head first.

Don’t get lost in the crowd of businesses, standout! Your clients will thank you, your employees will thank you, and your industry will thank you.

 

How do you standout from the crowd?


4 ways to grow your business

July 23, 2015

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Are you looking to grow your business? Well you’re in the right place. It can be hard to get out of your routine and try to expand your talents. So to help, we’ve put together 4 easy ways to grow your business.

  1. Do your research. If you’re reading this blog, then you’ve already started #1. Research how other people are growing their businesses; there’s no need to reinvent the wheel. If you can come up with some ideas, great. But remember there are a lot of people out there with great ideas they are willing to share.
  2. Target new markets. A great way to build your business is exploring different markets for your business. Think about opportunities to reach out to a different group of people. You never know who’s out there with a need for your product.
  3. Develop your website. We can’t emphasize this enough. Having a professional, updated website is crucial for growing your business. This is how many new clients will discover your business. You want your first impression to blow them away.
  4. Set goals. Make sure your goals are S.M.A.R.T:  Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timely. Having SMART goals will keep you on track for building up your business. Without set goals, it can be hard to accomplish what you want.

Your business is fine, but you want it to be great. Use these tips to build your business and grow into whatever you set your mind to.

 

How did you grow your business?


Why marketing tips aren’t enough

June 25, 2015

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You want to market your small business. You don’t really know where to start, so you ask the internet for help. After reading countless articles called “Tips for Marketing your Small Business” and “10 Tips you Need to Read” you feel prepared to take on this task. But are you really ready? To be successful in marketing, you need more than tips. You need a plan.

  • Just add water. Unfortunately, one good marketing idea is not going to cut it. There isn’t an instant tip that will increase sales in your business. You can, however, make a strategy to incorporate long term and short term marketing goals (check out this article we posted) and your target audience.
  • Step by step. List out all the steps you need to take in order to reach your goals. This is where tips can come in handy. Your tips will allow you to make the steps to your strategy more effective. It may seem tedious, but it will really help you in the long run.
  • Practice makes perfect. Eventually, if you continue your marketing strategy, it will become second nature. You’ll know exactly what you have to do to get a new client or make another sale. And you’ll have a step by step list to refer back to if need be.

Creating a marketing plan isn’t easy but it can (and should) be done. Take all the tips you’ve collected and use them to strategize your marketing. You’ll be glad you did.

 

How did you create a marketing plan?


80/20 what?

October 2, 2014

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You may have heard in your days as a professional the 80/20 rule. But what exactly is this mysterious concept? How can I use it to my advantage. How can it affect me? First, let’s look at what the 80/20 rule really is. In 1906, Italian economist Vilfredo Pareto noticed that 80% of the wealth in a free market economy is held by 20% of the people. The 80/20 rule (or Pareto’s Principle) has since been applied to many other parts of business. For example, 20% of the work for a project would take 80% of your time. Pareto’s Principle basically states that 20% is vital, while 80% is typically trivial. So that’s all well and good, but how can I use this knowledge to further myself and my business?

  • Prioritize your day. Understanding the 80/20 rule lets you know that 20% of your day produces 80% of your successes. Figure out what that 20% is and really focus on it. Make sure that the important 20% gets done, even if you have to let some of the 80% fall by the wayside.
  • Know your markets. If 80% of your profits come from 20% of your customer base, maybe you can change that. Figure out where your niche is and possibly expand your market to the other 80% of customers. Creating a wide target market can be beneficial for your business.
  • Understand your investments. Specifically in marketing, about 80% of your results come from 20% of your marketing messages. Recognizing which messages people respond to will help you eliminate less successful campaigns.

These are just a few ways in which to use the 80/20 rule in your daily life. There are countless other areas where Pareto’s Principle can be applied, and you can find them! Keep the 80/20 rule in the back of your mind to strategize your day, or your business!

 

How do you use the 80/20 rule in your life?

 


An oldie but a goodie

July 24, 2014

In the age of social media and cell phones, we sometimes forget that there recordwere ways of communicating without pressing “send”. Back in the day, snail mail was the only way to reach business; but that doesn’t mean you can’t use it today. Traditional marketing is still useful and can be very effective, if done correctly. Here are some ways to make your traditional marketing relevant.

  1. Don’t bombard your clients. Sending out information everyday is unnecessary and costly. Make sure you are only sending out useful mailings that mean something. Too many boring letters and you’re sure to be ignored.
  2. Everyone is different. Make your clients feel special by using triggered mailings. Personalize your letters by automatically sending a birthday announcement to someone a week before their birthday. Try changing your message to suit your audience.
  3. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. It can be hard to think of new techniques to keep current customers involved and new customers interested. Sometimes all you need are fresh eyes to see what you’re missing.
  4. Balance is key. While traditional marking is a great way to promote business, make sure you aren’t ignoring the new developments of the future. Be active on social media, while also sending flyers out by mail. This way you hit every target.
  5. Try new things. Change up your current techniques, even if it’s only for a month or two. Try something different and it could pay off in the long run. Playing it safe in marketing won’t cut it.

How do you use traditional marketing in your business?


Word on the street is…

July 10, 2014

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What people say about you and your business is important. You want people talking about you (and how great you are) to all their friends, families, and coworkers. These people are your potential clients, and before you even connect with them, you want to come off in a positive light. This is where word of mouth marketing comes into play.

People trust their friends (and even strangers with the ability to write a review) to help them choose where they take their business. You want your company to be the first on their mind when they are giving suggestions to their friends. Word of mouth marketing can be tricky, mostly because it’s hard to control. There are ways, however, that you can help decide what people say about you and your business to their networks.

  • Make your current customers feel special. If you want people to come back with their friends, make people feel good about using your business. Make them feel like they are apart of something that everyone should be included in.
  • Social Media is your friend. Posting about your business on the countless social media sites available is a great way to get people talking about your business. Make posts sharable so that more potential clients can see what you’re all about.
  • Be someone they can trust. Current customers won’t feel comfortable recommending your business if you aren’t honest. Great customer service and a great product or service can get you far.

Word of mouth marketing can be a great way to market your business, if what people are saying about you is positive. Make sure clients have a good experience with you and your business so they spread the word about your business in a positive way!

 

What have you done to change what people say about your business?