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Current news and trending topics for sales and financial industry professionals


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Ready To Jump On The Social Media Bandwagon?

As social media has taken a front seat for many advisors, there is still a high percentage  not taking advantage of this prospecting tool.  Many advisors simply don’t have the time, knowledge or staffing to implement a social media platform.  The benefits of having a social media presence will out-weigh the efforts you invest  developing your prospecting strategy.

The fundamental element needed to implement a successful prospecting plan at your firm is to systematically position your practice to attract new clients.  Choose activities that will put you at your best in order to invoke natural enthusiasm with the purpose of cultivating trusting relationships.  Within  your marketing plan, you will need to develop a comprehensive prospecting strategy appealing to new clients.  Begin with the 7 strategies  Ironstone recommends as your foundation.  If you missed our blog, “How to Write a Prospecting Plan for Your Firm,” https://aeschlapia.wordpress.com/2012/04/05/learn-how-to-write-a-prospecting-plan-for-your-firm/you can read it here.

Top financial advisors have one common denominator:

  • A marketing plan and a follow-up strategy

 The biggest difference in this  common denominator is what is within the marketing plan and how committed each firm is to their follow-up strategy.

Adding Social Media to Your Prospecting Platform

Ironstone suggests starting small and simple.  Establish  your social media goal.  Don’t feel you need to take on the world.  Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Blogging are all easily managed social media channels  you should be using; START TODAY!   By using social media, you will gain:

  • Name recognition
  • Establish credibility
  • Client acquisition and retention
  • Deepen existing relationships

 Follow Ironstone’s simple guidelines to get started with your social media presence.  By following these basic steps, your social media goals will be easier to reach and more rewarding.

Create Basic Profiles on the Social Media Channels You Wish to EngageYou must realize  social media is an active exchange of information.  In order to establish relationships, you must engage in and actively participate in discussions.

Add Your PhotoUse a professional photo.  If you don’t have a professional photo, make the investment to have one taken.

Be YourselfEngage in social interaction.  Relationships are developed when you allow others to get to know you.  Talk about your family, your interests and things that will interest them. Consider scheduling random posts or blogs about health and wellness or other generalized topics that pique interest levels.

Target MarketPick a small niche.  Remember, you don’t need to take on the world.  Find out where your target/niche market hangs out online.  You might find your COI’s on Linked In while retirees are making posts on Face Book.  Connect with your clients in these various social media channels.

Provide ValueBeing the solution to a prospect is the key to landing new business.  Provide information that will genuinely help others.  Review profiles;  find out the interests of your clients and prospects.  Gather relevant content  you can post and distribute on your social media channels that are devoted to your target market.

Provide A Capture FunnelAdd a form that is short and simple to capture information from readers and those who are downloading your content.  Do not simply ask readers to call you;  they are online and that is where they want to stay for now.  An Ironstone best practice tip is to provide a capture form that leads readers to valuable and relevant information; example:  “The Top 5 Ways To …………..”

Manage TimeDefine your own unique publishing schedule and pick a specific time to post and read updates from those in your network.  Make adjustments as needed,  test different times and days.    If you find  you get more interaction on certain days and times, stick with it.  Maintain a continued presence online, but be cautious of overdoing it!

Follow-Up – It is imperative and courteous that you follow up with those who have accessed your information.  Be ready to provide them with additional information that will be useful to them and offer a solution to their needs.

Ironstone can assist you in developing a social media plan for your firm.  Let us know how you are using social media in your firm!

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


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Existing Client Workflow – Don’t Just Manage Your Client Experience, Enhance it!

You Must Keep One Thing In The Front Of Your Mind,

“Relationship Building Is A Process”

In our blog about New Client Workflows (https://aeschlapia.wordpress.com/2012/04/24/workflows-how-they-enable-execution-of-your-business-strategy/), we explore the details that you need to consider while building the strategies to acquire and interact with new clients.  Existing clients need just as much time and attention in order to remain clients.

In general, a client experience is the knowledge and understanding that clients gain as a result of their interaction with your employees, brand, web site, customer applications, office space, point of sale, or any other touch points.  The following factors are the essential ways in which you have control over how good or how great your client experience is:

  1. Define Your Client Experience: This is a series of decisions about which services to automate, which to drive manually, when to schedule reviews, when to prompt client interactions or service reminders, and what information to store.  Establish processes unique to each channel since an in-person experience will differ considerably from an online experience.
  2. Collect Client Details: The ability to effectively extract relevant details about clients is one of the most potent advantages one can have during the sales process.  Our recent blog about Client Management Databases (https://aeschlapia.wordpress.com/2012/05/08/client-management-databases-use-them-to-your-full-advantage/) describes what information to capture in your CRM.  However, consider going beyond the norm.  Collect information that may be considered trivial or irrelevant (for instance, travel preferences) and use your CRM to process this data and recognize patterns in order to help develop personalized offers.  When meeting with clients and prospects, learn as much as possible through a truly meaningful interview by engaging in conversation that will not only strengthen and enhance your relationship, but allow you to find out how your practice can improve their experience.  Some topics to ask questions about, are:

 

  • Family and Relationships – issues with family members that may impact planning?
  • Lifestyle and Hobbies – What are you most passionate about?  In what ways do you participate?
  • Value and Concern -How do you define quality of life?
  • Career – Are you currently working?  How long do you plan to work?
  • Business Ownership – Describe how selling or retiring from your business will affect you.
  • Assets – What is your strategy for saving or setting aside money to invest?
  • Legacy – What causes/organizations/charities, etc. are you and your family passionate about?
  • Developing a Team – What are your best and worst experiences with an investment advisor or financial planner?
  • Service Expectations – What can our firm do in order to provide you with the ultimate client experience to gain your trust and loyalty?

 

  1. Narrow Your Client Focus: A well planned questionnaire to collect information will help you identify which target market your client/prospect should be cited in for future campaigns.  This will help you create your ideal customer profile and essentially your niche target market, as well as provide the structure you need to define your client segments and service matrix.
  2. Engage Your Team Members:  It is critical that all levels of the team are involved in this process in order to promote clarity and consistency.  Ask your team if they understand what is expected of them.  Review and refine all tasks in order to communicate transparent expectations that can be attained.  Beware of heavy restrictions and rules that might hinder the ability to create positive client outcomes.  Define specific innovation objectives and rewards for improving the customer experience. This will inspire an unrelenting commitment to exceeding client expectations.
  3. Engage Your Clients: Customer engagement materializes in a conversation that leads to a greater level of interest from both parties.  Be the voice of your client and ensure that you are addressing their emotional needs better than your competitor can.  Know your client’s alternatives to make sure you can deliver on the promise of being better.  This leads to the voluntary involvement of the client rather than a sale on the premise of desperation and lack of alternative options. Once you’ve engaged customers with personalized offers, it’s time to entice them.  This means the perfect combination of essential value, amenable feelings, and perfect timing.  Practice showing genuine interest through key points that you have learned, in order to show that you have a valued interest in your client beyond the transaction.  By adding a personal touch to your client conversations now and in the future, you are most likely to make your clients feel important and special.
  4. Measure Your Client Experience: The measurement stage is essential to any process.  It provides new insights on how to improve and provides empowerment as a result of the successes that are revealed. A good evaluation system is first and foremost regular.  It encourages internal feedback as well as elicits feedback from clients to ensure consistency.  It may even be beneficial to test a process with trusted clients before the official launch date.  Collect feedback through surveys, focus groups, visual tracking aids, and offer incentives for volunteering opinions.

Workflows ensure consistency and the delivery of promised value.  The practice can rest, assured that things aren’t falling through the cracks and there are no missed opportunities.  In essence, workflows aid in creating exceptional client experiences, which results in client retention and ultimately client referrals.  While clients can’t always tell you what will exceed their expectations, they notice it when it happens and they tell others about it.

Ironstone can assist you in developing the strategies and tactical questions to gain meaningful insights that will strengthen client relationships and assist you throughout the process.  By seizing control over the factors above, you will move from a buyer/seller relationship to sharing common interests with your clients and prospects.

Contact us for assistance in starting and improving your Existing Client Workflow.  We want to hear from you!   Share your best ideas here!

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

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

 

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Learn How To Write A Prospecting Plan For Your Firm

To accomplish overall marketing goals, many advisor firms need to include a plan for prospecting that includes the strategies and tactics to reach their desired results.  In our blog, “Learn The Fundamentals Needed For Your Marketing Plan”   https://aeschlapia.wordpress.com/2012/03/22/learn-the-fundamentals-needed-for-your-marketing-plan/    we reviewed critical steps to include in your plan, which are the same for your prospecting plan.

How do successful firms prospect?  Top financial advisors have one common denominator– a financial advisor marketing and follow-up strategy.   A rule of thumb to remember when prospecting is:

40% is preparation, 20% is presentation, and 40% is follow-up

Ironstone suggests implementing the following seven strategies in your Prospecting Plan

1. Provide a Personal Touch – Focus on the value and benefits to your prospects and clients.  Clients want attention and care.  Make use of public seminars to deliver solutions to clients through the benefits you can offer them.  Include hand written notes on mailings to add a personal touch that prospects will notice and appreciate.

2. Communicate Your Unique Value Proposition (UVP) – Differentiate yourself from the competition.  Keep your name in front of prospects to retain and acquire new business.  Your newsletters are an easy way to provide information about your firm or explore the potential of getting published.

3. Choose a Niche Market – Identify the clients you want to serve, you can then find out everything you need to know to dominate that market.

4. Share Your Referrals with Reciprocal Referral Partners – One of the easiest methods for receiving highly qualified referrals is from reciprocal referral partners who serve the same niche market.

5. Maintain Consistent Frequency of Follow Up – It takes about 6 – 15 “touches” for someone to start working with you. Plan a strategy that will allow you this opportunity.   You might include phone calls, mailings, emails, and events as a part of your “touches” strategy and tactics plan.

6. Leverage Your Time – The most successful advisors automate and systematize as much of their financial advisor marketing strategy as possible. Social media and e-prospecting are useful tools to employ.

7. Increase your Retention & Relationship – It is critical that you include relationship building in your plan.  Networking is the best place to start.

Remember:

  • People buy from those they know and trust
  • Prospecting is not easy unless you focus on helping, not selling
  • People who trust you give referrals
  • Referrals take the burden of prospecting off the salesperson

Ironstone will help you implement a successful prospecting plan, identify gaps in your existing plan and collaborate with you developing a solution to achieve the results you are looking for.  We will work with you on creating detailed goals that go deeper than the surface and assist you in planning the strategies and tactics needed to reach your goals.

Contact us for assistance in starting and improving your prospecting plan.

We want to hear from you!    What strategies does your firm use for prospecting?  Share your best ideas here!  We always love hearing from you!

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:  Operational Effectiveness-Service Matrix