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6 Ways To Expose Your Differences Through A Capabilities Proposal

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Are you using your capabilities presentation to its full capability?

Providing solutions and differentiation to clients and prospects are vital components of your firm’s capabilities presentation and should be a fundamental element in your business development strategy for 2013.

Your capabilities proposal should target your niche markets concentrating on challenges and obstacles they are facing in today’s economy and the solutions you offer. You will also want to include the benefits of working with your firm along with a call to action.

In our blog, A Capabilities Presentation-A Vital Piece In Selling Your Firm, Learn How to Create Your Story & What To Include, we reviewed how to create your story and what to include in your presentation. Now that you have created your story, is it in alignment with your firm goals and strategically placed to educate existing clients and attract new ones? Advisors should focus on the following 6 ways to expose differentiation from competitors and to increase client acquisition.

Implement your capabilities presentation through:

• Print marketing materials
• Networking and one-on-one interaction
• Build a strategic alliance program
• Increase online and social media presence
• Develop connections through media
• Provide education to organizations and businesses

Your goal is to spawn new connections, referrals, introductions and contacts by earning trust and sharing your expertise consistently through all marketing and new business development opportunities.

Print marketing materials
Include your capabilities proposal in your core marketing pieces. This may include a marketing brochure given to prospective clients, a 1st appointment brochure or a single brochure dedicated to your firm’s capabilities proposal. Fact sheets are another resource to include in your marketing strategy. Typically a fact sheet is one piece of paper, highlighting services your firm offers or your investment strategy.

Networking and one-on-one interaction
Get out of the office and play a bit. Become involved in community events to interact with COIs, community officers and key board members. When networking and interacting one-on-one, YOU are your capabilities presentation. Before anyone becomes a client, trust needs to be earned. Make certain you don’t become impatient waiting for relationships to evolve. Trust and the relationship sell, not the service or products.

Build a strategic alliance program
Work closely with a select group of partners such as CPAs, Attorney’s and Estate Planners. Lay the foundation by identifying specific goals. Educate your alliances about your firm and provide them with resources and small displays including firm brochures, white paper studies, articles and links to your online presence making it simple to refer clients to you.

Increase online and social media presence
Most firms fall short in recognizing the potential of expanding their capabilities presentation to an online presence. Be certain to include your story on your website along with PDF files that can be downloaded of your firm brochures including links to blogs, market research or other feature articles important to your target market. Statistics provided by HubSpot, reveal that 78% of Internet users conduct product research online. That means your website stands a good chance of being a prospect’s “first impression”. That also means your new business card isn’t a business card—it’s Google.

Develop connections through media
Build a list of local media connections and identify which reporters and editors specialize in industry news. Establish yourself as a local expert by providing proactive information through articles, reports, press releases and interviews with an emphasis on solutions you provide to the needs of your market.
Provide education to organizations and businesses
Offer workshops, seminars or panel discussions to charitable organizations and businesses within your target. Groups are always looking for industry experts to provide interesting and pertinent information.

Strengthen your presence through these initiatives by providing strategic financial information as a solution to your target market needs. Providing consistency throughout each interface will reinforce your capabilities proposal and put your firm in position for growth.

Read more about Capabilities Presentations:

Mistakes In Your Capabilities Presentation-Avoid These
A Capabilities Presentation-A Vital Piece In Selling Your Firm, Learn How to Create Your Story & What To Include

Ironstone’s Vision is to forge and guide the personal and professional lives of entrepreneurs and business professionals alike to realize their full potential. Coaching and consulting allows us the opportunity to form an environment where success happens and goals are reached.

Read more about our coaching and consulting program here >>

Start your transformation with Ironstone as your Partner for Performance
Contact Ironstone with your questions & let’s get started!

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How do you promote your capabilities presentation? Share your ideas!

• Email us at info@ironstonehq.com
• Call our office at 800-917-8020
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Does Your Niche Notice You?

Answering the question, “Does Your Niche Notice You?” may give you true insight to the effectiveness and impact of your marketing strategy.

Being all things to all people is impossible in personal lives and in your business life.   I suggest relying on the old 80/20 rule. The message of the 80/20 rule is that it reminds you to focus on the 20 percent that matters. 80% of your potential target market probably won’t buy from you.  Choosing a target or niche market is tough, but identifying the 20% who are most likely to become clients will give your firm a laser-like focus.  Without that focus, you expose yourself to presenting a message that is full of fluff to 80% of your market.

 Identifying Your Niche

Start identifying your niche with a narrow focus, but remain flexible to expand as new business is generated.  Define a high degree of specialization in order to differentiate your practice.   Avoid placing limitations on your firm and turning away business by defining your market too rigidly.

Choosing to specialize in a niche will allow you to:

  • Use your time more effectively
  • Provide better service to existing clients
  • Differentiate your firm

Navigating Your Niche

By placing focus on the niches you have identified, your ability to hone in on select groups and provide specialized service will open the door to more referrals. Existing clients and your strategic alliances will be more inclined to refer new clients in your direction.  Remind them of the ideal clients you are looking for.  Providing specific descriptions, such as “retirees between the ages of 55 and 70”, will make it easier for others to identify connections they have in a specific group.  When you simply ask for a referral without providing a descriptive landscape, it is hard for others to refer the ideal and compatible potential client. They may refer their next door neighbor who is in their mid 20’s, just starting a family…. It is your responsibility to steer your clients, alliances and COIs in the proper direction with a clear and concise description of the type of client you are looking for.

Get Your Niche To Notice You

Avoid aiming for an undecided percentage or portion of the already saturated broad market.  This will place your firm with every other financial advisor in your area and provide no means of differentiation.

By identifying a market position or niche, you will be on the path of instilling operational effectiveness, success and a clear vision for you and your firm. Your service and product offerings will be aligned with your niche, thus providing a solution to client’s unique needs.

When you identify and market to a niche, your firm is:

More likely to have an impact – strong positions in a target market provide your business with identity.

Able to stand apart from competitors – your firm is positioned to connect and engage in meaningful solutions to specific needs.

Positioned to grow organically – by providing laser-focus service, your clients will be marketing your firm for you.

There are a plethora of niches you can choose from.  Choose niches that you have a genuine passion for and reap the benefits of being viewed as an expert in your field. You need to work with clients you are comfortable with.

 “Please all and you please none.”   -Aesop, Greek Author

We are curious! Who are your niche markets? How is your firm benefiting from niche marketing? 

 Learn more about how Ironstone can impact the operational effectiveness of your firm!  Read more at www.ironstonehq.com

 Follow us as we explore each of Ironstone’s Fundamental 4™!

  • Strategic Planning
  • Business Development
  • Operational Effectiveness
  • The Human Element

Coming up next, Operational Effectiveness & Your Client Database

 

 

• Email us at info@ironstonehq.com
• Call our office at 800-917-8020
• Connect with us:


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Annual Client Appreciation Events Are Great, But Your Firm Can Do Better!

An annual client appreciation event is great, but…you can do better than that.  Why wait to say thank you once a year?  One of the most important components of your business plan and strategy is to continue to find ways to strengthen client relationships.  Implementing this practice on a daily basis will set your firm apart from the competition and create an experience for your clients that won’t go unnoticed.

Financial advisors know a rule of thumb asserts, “it costs five times as much to attract a new client as it does to keep an existing one”.  A comprehensive marketing plan will include a client a marketing strategy targeted towards existing clients.  The benefits:

  • Foster, strengthen and maintain relationships with your best clients
  • Increase the percentage of wealth you manage for your clients
  • Generate referrals
  • Defend your position with competitors

In our blog, Foster-Strengthen-Maintain-Relationships Through Client Appreciation Events,   https://aeschlapia.wordpress.com/2012/05/18/foster-strengthen-maintain-relationships-through-client-appreciation-events/  , we reviewed strategies and ideas for holding client appreciation events.  More importantly, let’s not forget the daily acts we can implement in our firms to escalate a continued expression of appreciation for our clients.

Is your firm currently practicing daily and random acts of appreciation with clients?  If not, now is the time to start and if so, how can you take those acts to the next level? 

Implement a client appreciation program by identifying the outcome.

The underlying success of your program hinges on the ability to create an authentic client experience. Client retention starts when your firm recognizes the fact that the client should be acknowledged, thanked and recognized for their loyalty and trust they have placed in your firm.

We all have a natural tendency to take things for granted.  Don’t wait for pivotal moments to appreciate your clients.  By showing daily appreciation to each client that you come in contact with, your firm will stay on the path of acknowledging the benefits each client provides and will cultivate positive thinking in your office.

To have an impact, you and your team must be inspired to say “thank you”, not compelled or with lack of passion.  As you are developing your marketing strategy for 2013, incorporate ways to increase client satisfaction by using gratitude in your firm; e.g implement a Gratitude Project and track your successes.

Ironstone’s Top Ten Ways To-Thank-A Client

  1. Give a proper verbal greeting and farewell.  Use names when you can and ALWAYS thank them for their business.  Greet clients at the door – open the door for them when they leave.
  2. Write a follow up thank you note.  Make sure to hand write the note and let them know you appreciate their business. It provides a personal touch and carries much more meaning than a typed letter.
  3.  Make a phone call.  With technology it is easy to get lazy.  Call clients randomly just to say thank you.
  4. Make clients feel special.  Learn your client’s passions and what makes them excited about life.  People love to engage in conversation about their families, community contributions and their passions.
  5. Give clients a small token.   Have freshly baked cookies in your office or hot chocolate on a cold day.  Clients love token items, stock up on unique gifts that don’t cost a fortune- firm branded pens, pocket calendars, pencils, etc.
  6. Let them know they made your day.  Face it, clients are our bottom line-appreciate any small thing about them each time you see them- and thank them.  Tell them-“Thank you for making my day!”
  7. Introduce your clients.  Give your clients a tour of your office.  Introduce them to other staff.  It will give them an inside look at the operations of your firm and establish connections with other team members.
  8. Host small “fun days”.   Pick a day a month and declare it, “I’m Going To WOW My Clients Day.”  You can choose different themes and plan accordingly.  Keep it simple and fun – your clients won’t forget it and will probably share it with their friends.  (Best practice idea; take a picture of your clients and mail it to them in a few days with a thank you note)
  9. Acknowledge their comments or suggestions.  Let them know how much you appreciate their thoughtfulness and contributions.  Call them or write to them if you implement a suggestion they have shared.   What a great way to say thank you!
  10. Celebrate Life.  Call clients or invite them to lunch or coffee on special occasions; birthday’s, anniversary’s, retirement, etc.

Insist that your team start practicing the art of gratitude.  Be proactive as life happens rather than reactive when it may be too late.  To remain in a client’s mind, your firm needs to be “in front of them” as often as possible.  Your clients are giving you lots of opportunities to stay in their minds – let them know you appreciate them!

“As we express our gratitude we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.” ~ John Fitzgerald Kennedy

We are curious!!  What do you do at your firm to show appreciation to your clients?  Let us know!

Follow us as we explore each of Ironstone’s Fundamental 4™!

  • Strategic Planning
  • Business Development
  • Operational Effectiveness
  • The Human Element

 

• Email us at info@ironstonehq.com
• Call our office at 800-917-8020
• Connect with us:


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Business Plans -Creating A Roadmap For The Success Of Your Firm

The main objective of strategic planning in your firm is to create an uncomplicated plan that clearly defines the direction of your practice. A business plan embodies your set of business goals and how they can be attained. Overall, a business plan supports the business model and explains the steps to achieve the goals of that model. You will want to be as specific and detailed as possible in each area of your business plan.

The goal of your business plan should be to create a roadmap for the success of your firm.

Ironstone’s research has shown us that approximately 40% of financial advisors actually have a written Business Plan and even fewer have a marketing plan. Those firms that implemented a completed business plan have 50% more profits and revenue than firms without a plan.

Your business plan will help you:

• Evaluate your firm and your position relative to your competition
• Provide a laser like focus to your marketing efforts
• Support your infrastructure to provide for the needs of your firm
• Diagram a route for your success

Focus Areas To Include In Your Business Plan:

An executive summary – Include your unique value proposition, how you will obtain new business, client retention practices, and your competitive advantages.
Practice Overview – This snapshot of your practice includes how it’s organized, its essential purpose, and other formalities such as founding date, legal licensing, location, etc…
Situation Analysis – Interpret the state of the environment & describe your competitive position along with the operating & financial conditions of your firm. Use a SWOT analysis in order to define your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats.
Market Summary – Describe your niche markets.
Market Analysis – Stay abreast of new market strategies and understand the needs of your community. Research current trends and potential growth in your demographic area and industry to explain how you will improve your position in the market. Include statistical information showing your current position in the market share.
Market Needs/Service Offerings – describe what your firm provides to clients & prospects. Items to include are pricing, how you will meet the needs of your clients, advertising and client service.
Competition – Analyze your competition & how your processes outweigh your competition. Explain where you want to be in relation to your competition and how you plan to reach that goal
Keys To Success – Identify three or four areas that you will focus on for optimal success.
Critical Issues – Identify three or four goals or issues that your firm plans to achieve during the year. Develop a strategic plan of how you will obtain each objective
Marketing Strategy – Attach a copy of your marketing plan.
Marketing Objectives – List the objectives of your marketing plan.
Financial Objectives – List the financial objectives of your firm and include your sales and expense forecasts along with checkpoints that will gauge performance levels.
Exit Strategy – Outline your succession plan – timeline, person(s) to retain your practice.

Once you’ve developed your business plan, don’t file it away until the end of the year when you’re making the appointment to see your CPA.   Use your business plan as a GPS guidance system for running your practice. Update it often; real-time changes are ideal, quarterly at a minimum.  Communicate your business plan to your team in order to effectively bring it to life and track milestones to enhance your overall business focus.

As you begin to develop or review your business plan, contact Ironstone for tips and best practices that will assist you in taking your firm to the next level.  We have numerous tools and aides available for you and insight that will help you reach the goals you have set for yourself and your firm.
Follow us as we explore each of Ironstone’s Fundamental 4™!
• Strategic Planning
• Business Development
• Operational Effectiveness
• The Human Element

You won’t want to miss our next in the series: Business Development – Referral Networks
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