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Attract Ideal Clients with Authenticity

All financial advisors want to know how to connect with their ideal clients online. There are countless strategies and technologies to help them with their marketing, some useful, and some not so much. But there is one technique that has always worked: authentic marketing. Be genuine with your ideal prospects, and they will soon be your ideal clients.

Financial advisors can authentically market themselves by:

  1. Defining brand benefits and values.
  2. Demonstrating expertise.
  3. Authentically engaging their audience.

Define Your Brand Benefits, Express Your Values

As an investigator begins to look around for a financial solution, they will try to find an advisor that provides the services they need. They also want to find someone who aligns with their deeper values. As people scroll through articles, posts, and tweets, they continuously compare the values presented against their own. When the benefits you offer match a prospect’s needs and your values mirror theirs, the chance of engagement is very high.

Allow people to get to know you and your company, the REAL you and your company. One way to establish your values is to identify experiences where you felt your company succeeded; what were the values that made that success possible? Identifying these values can take time and is an ever-evolving process. It is, however, the first and most crucial step in achieving authenticity.

Virgin CEO Richard Branson said,

“Too many companies want their brands to reflect the idealized, perfected image of themselves. As a consequence, their brands acquire no texture, no character.”

It is essential to make sure that the language you use to express your value attracts the ideal searcher. Think about what a potential client would type into a search engine. What words would they use? What topic would be most important to them? Or even better, imagine what they would ask a digital assistant like Siri or Alexa. How would they phrase their questions and concerns?

Demonstrate Your Expertise

One of the main benefits of authentic marketing is how it helps financial advisors establish relationships of trust. When you use your online engagement to demonstrate your knowledge and expertise, your audience will come to see you as a thought leader in your field, and you will become an influencer to those most interested in what you have to offer.

Research company, Edelman, reported,

“53 percent of respondents say ‘whether you trust the company that owns the brand or brand that makes the product’ is the second most crucial factor when purchasing a new brand. Trust is second only to price (64 percent)

The secret to becoming an authentic thought leader in your marketing is consistently delivering valuable insights. Giving away useful advice can sometimes be a challenging exercise for an advisor whose primary product is advice. It feels a little bit like giving away the milk for free.

In deciding what level of insight to use in your marketing, it can be tempting to hold back the good stuff. This is generally a mistake. There will always be proprietary information you only share with clients, but try and provide as much as possible.

On top of the reputation-enhancing benefits of such content, valuable insights delivered through your marketing material can also have an incredible effect on your search engine optimization or SEO. Over the last decade, Google has worked hard to hone its algorithms to reward copy that provides a rich user experience.

Authentically Engage Your Audience

Possibly the best thing about authentic marketing is it makes your job more meaningful. By capturing why you do what you do and sharing that with your audience, you reconnect with your own reasons for becoming a financial advisor in the process.

As you interact with your audience and develop deeper connections, the lines between your job and life might start to blur.

Marketing guru, Gary Vaynerchuck, said of authentic marketing,

“True success lies in telling your story. In authenticity, hustle, and patience. In caring fiercely. In valuing legacy over currency. There no longer has to be a difference between who you are and what you do.”

Your authentic marketing must extend across all aspects of your ideal prospect and client interactions. Once you have established yourself as an expert who shares significant value with your audience, it is essential that you then live up to those standards. If your advisory behavior is not consistent with your marketing, you will soon feel a backlash.

Authenticity is not a static concept. By focusing on your brand value and demonstrating your expertise, you can continue to attract your ideal clients through authentic marketing.

How to Conduct Self-Care During COVID-19

Like everyone across the world, financial services professionals have been inundated with stress, restrictions, and a flood of grim news thanks to the COVID-19 situation. It’s more important than ever to focus on caring for your personal needs, so here are some tips to conduct self-care during COVID!

Take Up a Safe New Hobby

Though we have to be more careful when leaving home, there are still plenty of hobbies that can be conducted safely. This is the perfect time to take up a new hobby that you’ve been eyeing, or to invest more time in the things you enjoy. Physically active hobbies that are conducted outside are a great way to boost your mental and physical health while limiting contact with people, which is why I’ve started mountain biking a couple of times a week!

Be Patient with Yourself

Like most people, you’ve likely been feeling run down, isolated, and lacked your usual motivation, and that’s okay! Be patient with yourself and allocate more time to complete your essential tasks. Remember that everyone across the globe is experiencing the same anxiety, so don’t beat yourself up if you need to take more breaks or slow your pace throughout your workday.

Focus on What’s Working

Throughout the pandemic, you may have found some coping strategies that help get you through the day. Whether it’s working on your laptop on your patio, going for a run in the morning, or bribing yourself with some homemade baked goods, indulge in what helps keep you motivated throughout the day.

Find Ways to Socialize

The lack of socialization is the largest challenge during COVID-19, so set up weekly video calls with friends and family. This will support a huge boost on your mental health, as well as remind you that everyone else is facing the same challenges. For added fun, plan out a theme, trivia game, or special event that everyone can participate in from afar!

The COVID-19 pandemic presents a challenge for everyone, so it’s important to indulge in self-care. Remembering to be patient with yourself, take breaks, and squeeze in some fun to help you remain productive and happy!

Tips to Support Your Mindset This Summer

Maintaining your motivation throughout the year is always a challenge, and the COVID-19 situation can enhance the already existing challenge to losing focus. To ensure you’re bringing your best work to the table, you should take a few hours a week to focus on your mindset and encourage positivity. Here are a few tips to help keep you motivated!

Break Tasks into Manageable Chunks

When the weather outside is perfect, it can be difficult to stay inside staring at your computer. Rather than take a personal day, instead break your work into manageable chunks. By following a two hours on, mini break pattern, you can maximize your focus while still taking advantage of the beautiful weather. You can also follow a more task-based approach, completing two or three items on your to-do list before enjoying your well-earned break. Brew up some iced tea and sit on your porch to reward yourself for your hard work!

Express Gratitude

There have been a lot of doom and gloom stories that have arisen from the pandemic, so it’s more important than ever to focus on the positive. Though a lot is going wrong, there’s also quite a bit that has worked out for humanity and helped us unite to tackle this problem. For example, we live in an extremely connected time, which has made it easier for people to work remotely and entertain themselves without leaving the house. To distract from the negativity in this challenging time, take a few minutes every morning and write down 10 things that you’re grateful for!

Take Control of Your Business

One of the central stressors for business owners this year is feeling the lack of control, so it’s the perfect time to work towards optimizing your strategy. Take the time to evaluate where you’re at, build a strategic plan, and adjust what hasn’t been working. By taking a few minutes to build out your plan, you’ll feel more in control and help minimize this stressful situation.

Build New Partnerships

Another helpful strategy to make you feel more in control is to reach out to experts in the business field who can help guide you through these complicated times. If you’re unsure about your next steps, consider reaching out to a professional coach. We are focused on supporting financial services professionals who are looking to grow their business during these tense times by offering free Breakthrough Coaching sessions.  If you’re interested in transforming your results, I invite you to schedule a meeting with one of my coaches today!  Email me at susan@susandanzig.com to set yourself up to win. Taking the time to talk to an expert can help restore confidence in your business plan and provide clarity for next steps to optimize your business!

Self-Care

Being stuck inside can feel like a punishment although treating yourself to something special can help minimize constricted feelings. Splurge on yourself a little and order something you’ve wanted for a while, or something that will help entertain you during the months inside. Whether you opt for a new skincare routine, a stationary bicycle, or something new to support your favorite hobby, it’s the perfect time to treat yourself to something nice.

Conclusion

This is a difficult time for everyone including financial services professionals.   By committing to self-care, optimizing your business plan, and expanding your professional network, you can help relieve the frustrations of the last few months and restore a sense of balance.

The Power of Discipline in Driving Results!

When I work with clients to help ramp up their business, I often see the same trend: They start out being extremely excited and involved for the first few weeks, and then something else comes up, and they begin losing focus. Being able to focus on the end result for months at a time is a product of more than just motivation or aspiration: It’s discipline. Read on for tips on how to build this discipline and make it work for you!

Set Incremental Goals

One of the biggest problems in setting a long-term goal is that it can take a long time to earn that feeling of accomplishment. By setting smaller goals along the way—and celebrating those wins—you can hold onto that motivation as you sprint to the finish line. In the business world, some good examples of small goals include a target number of leads, new clients, smaller content projects, and increasing overall traffic to your website. By creating these goals and working towards them, you can grow your business while still finding joy in your day-to-day work.

Celebrate the Unexpected

When working towards long-term goals, while an unexpected obstacle can suddenly come from nowhere and hijack your plans, it’s essential to keep on track and not let anything derail them altogether. And If your plans fail altogether, keep in mind the upside of your focus on your plans, you’ve tried something new and learned from the experience—both worth their weight in gold in the business world!

Don’t Get Discouraged

One of the biggest problems with lofty goals is that it can take too long to see results. Anyone who has started working out can attest to the fact that improvements at the gym can take months to attain, even if you’re going constantly. The same is true when it comes to the discipline of building your business, and it’s essential to adhere to the same schedules even if results aren’t immediate.

Change Your Perceptions

Ultimately, building discipline is about changing your frame of mind. Don’t think of your long-term goals as something to reach for, but rather as something that needs to be completed to give you and your family the lives they deserve. By making these goals one of your central focuses in life, you’ll be able to maintain your motivation regardless of what obstacles appear as if they are standing in your way.

As you work towards your business goals, it’s essential to bolster your motivation so you don’t lose sight of what’s important. By building attainable goals, changing your perception, and celebrating smaller wins, you’ll be able to create long-term discipline that will serve you throughout your career.

Use Personal Development to Grow Your Business

As business owners, it can be easy to focus on the work itself and lose sight of your own personal development, but self-improvement is just another part of expanding your company. By taking the time to focus on yourself, you can develop new ways to support your clients and market your business. After all, as Elise Buie says, “We can’t go any further for our clients than we do for ourselves.”

Consider Your Shortcomings

Even the most well-rounded person has room for improvement, so take an objective look at yourself and decide which are your biggest opportunities for personal growth. Is there a particular skillset that you have been wanting to enhance and haven’t got around to just yet? For example, is there a part of your life that is noticeably disorganized? An area of your work that refining a particular skill would make a difference? As you reflect on your day to day, you will be able to create a list of things to improve upon over the next year. You may be lacking a skillset such as communication skills (whether in a group setting or one-on-one conversation), leadership skills, or even personal discipline such as working out to improve physical fitness and energy level. All of these can contribute to enhancing your sense of personal empowerment overall and your ability to attract new clients.

Think Small

If you are struggling to get started with a large-scale project, it can be easier to pick up a small skill instead. Even something as minute as juggling gets your brain used to new tasks, and it can be learned in a single afternoon. Once you get those balls in the air (no pun intended) you’ll find the motivation to move onto larger tasks.

Look Online

No matter how obscure the skill, there’s a class for it online. From mediaeval sword making to personal organization, you’ll be able to find course materials and tutorials. If you browse YouTube, you can watch a few minutes of each video to find a teaching style that works for you, and then watch a new video every week to master the skillset. There are also sites like udemy.com and khanacademy.org that provide full online instruction, and these tend to cost around $60-100 per course. If you need structure and the ease of finding the next step in your education, these sites may be worth the investment!

Schedule It Out

Setting benchmarks is the best way to enact your plan. I invite you to create deadlines in your calendar throughout the year. Set reminders for when to start a new task, as well as when you intend to complete it. While you can adjust these dates as other appointments come up, create a rule that you can only delay each task by two weeks. This will ensure that you stay on track while still maintaining flexibility in your work schedule.

Though your work is essential, don’t neglect your own personal development! Your clients look up to those who have mastered many different skills, and you want to always strive to have one more skill at your disposal than you did the previous year. By showcasing your own personal development, you can enhance your attraction factor which will support you in growing to meet new needs of your existing clients!

How to Create Consistent Branding Throughout Succession Planning Process

As you continue your ongoing goal of onboarding new team members and expanding your book of business, it can be easy to lose sight of the initial values that
attracted clients to your company. Here are some of the steps you should take during the transition to keep your company on track with your marketing and branding!

Meet Internally and Craft a Plan

Before you reach out to any clients, meet as a team to discuss the best messaging for your first few interactions. Often, a business transition causes stress on the client side of things, so take the time to align your talking points and mirror their existing experiences with the company. As often as possible, involve their previous points of contact in the new discussions, as these trusted advisors can create a bridge between the old and the new.

Go Back to Your Roots

After you’ve completed the initial steps of your transition, take a step back and think about the initial plan for your company. If you have old emails or marketing materials, this is a great time to review them and look back at what helped your company to grow. Though your new round of marketing and branding materials don’t have to be a complete match, your existing clients may be more comfortable to see previous values communicated clearly in your new marketing.

Meet with New Employees to Communicate Values

To ensure that new employees will champion the standards of your brand, schedule an all-hands-on-deck meeting to explore the company values. What sets you apart from the crowd? What does your ideal client need from your team? How can you take your customer service to the next level? Bring these questions to the top of your employees’ minds so they are aligned with both the company’s origins and future goals.

Reach Out to Valued Clients for Feedback

While you should have already discussed the transition with your existing clients, you may not have had time for a post-mortem examination of everything they loved about your previous company. Take the time to ask what attracted them to your brand, what they need most from your new team, and if they would recommend any changes. Taking time to hear the feedback from your loyal clients will help you evaluate if any changes need to be made, or if you can continue the course with your existing branded strategy.

Be Open to Change

While many companies want to keep everything consistent during a major transition, it can also be the perfect time to shake things up. If you weren’t happy with your previous logo, slogan, or design, it’s the ideal time to meet with a specialist and ensure your company gives the best possible impression. Involve all of your team throughout these changes to accumulate multiple points of view and reach out to trusted clients for their opinions as well.

As you complete the transition of your company, it is essential to outline your branded messaging and keep all team members on the same page. Creating this consistent messaging will craft a smooth transition for all parties involved, including your trusted clients!

Best Practices for Acquiring a New Book of Business

For financial advisors, one of the quickest ways to grow your practice is to acquire an existing book of business from another advisor who is usually exiting the business. While this can be a huge boon for your business, you need to handle the transition delicately and create an optimal transition for your new clients. These tips will help you gracefully handle the acquisition and keep everyone happy and informed!

  1. Find the Right Fit

Before you even consider buying a book of business, take the time to examine what would be the ideal fit for you and your team. The easiest way to create a smooth transition is to find a business that is similar to yours in terms of ideal client, area of specialization, values, and business model. These mutual traits will be essential in smoothing out the transition, so keep these in mind as you explore different companies to acquire.

  1. Ask for Assistance

The biggest asset to help you smooth out the transition will be the previous owners, as they know the personalities of their existing clients. When signing a contract, you might ask to include billable hours for personal support, or perhaps dual meetings where they can introduce you in person. These introductions are invaluable and help create a feeling of teamwork with the new clients, reassuring that they’re in excellent hands.

  1. Tailor Your Messaging and Stay Personal

One of the biggest concerns that your new clients will have is whether you will deliver the same level of service that they have come to expect. 91% of prospects are more likely to engage an advisor who utilizes some amount of personalization in their communications. It’s essential to build your client relationships right from the start, so ask for personalized info on each client when acquiring the business. Instead of sending out a form letter, reach out to each client personally and invite connection, or ask them to come into the office for one-on-one meetings. While this will add to your workload at the beginning of your acquisition, it shows your new clients that you are committed to their satisfaction and start your relationship off on the right foot.

  1. Combine Your Messaging

While it can be tempting to completely overhaul your website and messaging, your new clients will feel more comfortable with gradual changes. Keep the existing style, messaging, and website for a short period of time while gradually combining your two businesses. People tend to dislike change, especially when it’s forced on them, so keeping things familiar throughout the transition is a respectful and comforting gesture.

  1. Continually Reach Out

After your initial introduction, stay connected with your clients by following up at four-week intervals to ensure they are happy with your service. Continue to emphasize your availability and willingness to meet and use similar messaging as their previous financial advisor to make them feel at home. Just by expressing your support, you can decrease client turnover and make an incredible first impression on your new book of business!

As you start to acquire new books of business, these steps will help ensure a smooth transition for your clients. Finding practices that have similar ideal clients, values, and business models will allow you to seamlessly combine businesses, and personalized touches and consistent follow up will seal the deal for your new clients!

How to Ensure You’re Hiring the Best Possible Candidates!

As you expand your team, you need to evaluate even more than the qualifications and certifications listed on a resume. Having a diverse staff that works well together and is united on common goals will eliminate stress and tension in your workplace and allow your business to succeed! Here are some tips to help you create the best hiring process and find unique qualities that will help your business shine!

Describe Your Ideal Candidate on Your Job Descriptions

While it is common to list out the roles and responsibilities of each job, you also want to explain what you’re looking for in terms of personality and fit. If your company has core values you want a candidate to espouse, include those in a short paragraph under the description of your role. You may also want to explain the culture of your office and what employees can expect from working for you. This helps you attract the right people and set expectations before the first interview even begins!

Monitor Your Social Media Presence and Reviews

The hiring process is a mutual agreement that will involve research on both sides, so make sure you know what comes up when a potential employee searches for your business. Sites like Glassdoor and Indeed are instrumental to showing off your workplace culture and benefits, so ask your happy employees to leave positive reviews if they feel comfortable doing so. You may also want to highlight parties and charity work on your social media profile to show off the fun side of your office!

Ask Existing Employees for Recommendations

A great way to find a cultural fit is to ask your existing employees for recommendations from their previous companies. This is an excellent way to find someone who gets along well with the personalities in your office and has a proven track record of hard work! You can also encourage your employees to share the job listing on personal LinkedIn and Facebook profiles to notify their friends and professional contacts about the new opening.

Reach out to Local Colleges

If you’re hiring for an entry-level position, be sure to post on job boards for local universities. This is a great way to onboard fresh new candidates who will be eager to learn. You can also directly email the office managers of specific departments to find recent graduates who come highly recommended by professors and staff.

Explore Social Media Profiles

To ensure that your candidate isn’t doing anything inappropriate on their personal time, you may want to examine their social media profiles and ensure they aren’t using profanity or engaging in illegal activities. This can help prevent any interpersonal drama in your office and keep your company’s image pristine in the public eye!

When you have a pool of similar candidates, it can be difficult to look past the stellar resumes and qualifications to find the best cultural fit. These tips can help you make the most of your upcoming recruiting process and ensure that the candidate your select will be a team player and a fitting ambassador for your brand!

Interview Tips to Find the Best Employees for Your Team

Especially for smaller companies, finding and retaining quality employees will make or break your business. It is essential to find team players that are bright, friendly, flexible, easy to work with, and dedicated to the success of your enterprise. To help narrow down your field of candidates, here are some creative solutions to introduce into your interview process.

Think Outside the Box

Let’s face it, we’ve all prepared our answers for the basic interview questions and rehearsed scenarios that make us sound like complete superheroes carrying the entire workload on our shoulders. To get an honest answer out of your candidates, try asking one or two unusual interview questions. Even twists on classic questions like “What movie character are you most like at work?” or “What’s an unusual aspect of your personality?” can get an honest answer our of your candidates, as opposed to a pre-planned speech.

Ask About Their Passions

This is one of my favorite questions to ask my interviewees, as you can see their eyes light up as they talk about what matters most to them. It can also give you a glimpse into what their life looks like outside of work, and whether their hobbies will allow them to fit in with the company culture. If they are interested in volunteer work, it can also indicate that they will deeply care about your clients and put in the extra effort to make them feel supported.

Do a Brief Office Tour

One of the best ways to evaluate how a candidate will mesh with your team is to do a complete walkthrough of your office. Introduce them to your employees and see how their personalities interact, and make sure the interviewee is engaged and curious about the roles of his or her future coworkers. Above all, ensure that the candidate is respectful and kind to every person that they encounter, regardless of their job title. This is the best way to preserve the harmony of the office!

Go Out to Lunch

Another way to shake up the interview process is to treat your candidate to lunch on the second or third round. While at the restaurant, pay close attention to how the candidate treats the wait staff and other diners. Are they conscientious of other people’s space? Do they hold the door open for other diners? Do they smile and make eye contact with the hostess and wait staff? If they treat everyone with kindness and respect, they will likely get along with the rest of your team.

Get Multiple Opinions

It can be difficult to ensure you’re getting a rounded view of a candidate, but asking for a second opinion can help you collect varied opinions. When interviewing, invite other colleagues into the room and give them time to interact one-on-one, then have an internal meeting to ask what everyone thought of each applicant.

As you go through the hiring process, you want to ensure you’re looking at more than just the basic certifications and experience required for that position. Finding someone who is a great fit for your team, will care about your clients, and will get along with your other employees is worth taking extra steps to vet the candidate in unusual situations.

Essential Strategies for Succession Planning: Navigating the Transition

As the moment you’ve been planning for approaches, it’s natural to feel anxiety and trepidation, but having a comprehensive plan in place will keep you organized and motivated throughout the business transition. Here are some of the steps you should take during the transition to keep your company on track!

Check in With Your Attorney

While you should talk to your attorney throughout the process, this is where their expertise is vital to ensure a smooth handoff. Have them draft a contract that outlines your responsibilities throughout the transition, and when tasks should be passed off to the new owners.

Meet with New Employees to Communicate Your Brand

To ensure that everyone is onboarded efficiently and will maintain the standards of your brand, schedule a meeting or two to educate your team about the branding and company values. Setting these expectations early will emphasize the tone of the company and prevent any future inconsistencies, so don’t skip out on this vital step!

Communicate Clearly with Existing Clients

While you may have already discussed the transition with your existing clients, reach out to them again to confirm that the transition is underway and outline the timeline. Give them plenty of time to discuss potential changes and express any concerns they may have. I recommend that you send official notifications via snail mail and email.  You may want to also schedule a conference call with your top clients to give personalized attention, introduce them to the new team to further support a successful transition.

Establish a Consulting Timeline

If you plan on staying on to assist after the transition, work with the new owners to outline your responsibilities and time commitment. Having these parameters in place will help you manage expectations while still guiding your team towards success. In your agreement, outline the number of hours you’d prefer to work each week, the days you will typically be available for consultation, and whether you want a trusted team member to monitor your emails to bring urgent items to everyone’s attention. Reviewing your personal preferences ensures everyone is on the same page moving forward!

As you complete the succession planning transition for your company, it is essential to outline your next steps and set expectations for the future. Creating this roadmap and including the new owners in on your game plan ensures a smooth transition for all parties involved, including your valued clients!

FAST Track Your Business

Discover the 7 steps to attract your ideal clients and grow your book of business.