To help you follow up on some of the ideas we discussed, here is a summary of our discussion and some resources for you to use.
There’s a disconnect in your communications and branding strategy. The value you provide to clients – when you are at your best – is not what you are conveying to the outside world. On our websites, we brag about having great client service, educating our clients, and being objective, creative, and putting clients first. While all of that may be true, this message fails to stand out from the competition.
Can you stand out?
Large brokerage firms used to have the edge in our industry, with advantages in size, name recognition, product availability, and technology. These competitive advantages have either disappeared or been squandered. Just think – when is the last time “proprietary products” had a good headline? This is the final battleground: our communication.
Through your marketing and communications strategy, it’s possible to stand out from the competition and build your client base. And it’s easy, inexpensive, and won’t take a lot of time. The key is – don’t just tell your clients about your value, but actually show them your value.
DON'T TELL THEM, SHOW THEM!
Too often on our websites the focus is on “I, me, we, us” when we should be focused on showing (not telling) our value to the client. Here are a few examples and tools you can use to embrace this opportunity:
Maybe your economic commentary (which no one reads) and blog (which hasn’t been updated in 9 months) aren’t getting through to your clients. Rather than advertise “we educate our clients,” share your ideas with the world in creative ways.
It’s not necessary to hire new employees to have your own creative department. Websites like Upwork and Fiverr are teeming with freelancers who can assist with graphic design, technical writing, web development, and other specialties.
You’ve likely drawn the same diagram countless times to illustrate a concept to clients. Why not hire someone to design that diagram professionally, or better yet, create powerful infographics you can use on your website?
Lots of firms in our industry stress the importance of being a fiduciary. Well soon, the “F” word might not be such a big advantage as the DOL ruling comes into play and confusion ensues. But there are other ways to show your objectivity.
Ian Altman, author of Same Side Selling and host of the GrowMyRevenue Business Cast, suggests an unconventional strategy: on your website, show examples of clients you don’t want to work with. By showing who’s not a good fit, and doing so in an objective way, you further reinforce the idea that you truly can provide value to the clients you do want to work with.
We took this a step further and listed our favorite competitors directly on our website.
Do you have a fun company culture? Why not share that with the world and exemplify your culture in your actions.
Something as simple as an out-of-office message is an opportunity to interrupt the pattern of daily communication in a refreshing, authentic way.
What it Feels Like to be a Client
How many advisors offer their clients comprehensive, flexible performance reporting? This is a huge advantage over traditional brokerage firms, yet few of us share this capability with the world.
Every touch point you have with a client, whether it’s through email, phone, direct mail, or in person, is an opportunity to turn them into a raving fan. For those looking to revolutionize the client experience, take a look at Joey Coleman’s three-day course, the “First 100 Days.” To see an overview of Joey’s philosophy, watch this video.
How your Growth Benefits Them
If your firm is growing, share with your clients how that growth benefits them. How are you investing for the future? Are you bringing on new advisors and more talent to serve your clients? Show them that.
Why not create a timeline of the biggest milestones your firm has experienced? And no, I don’t mean “we won Southeast Wyoming Magazine’s top advisor award.” Show the investments you’re making in research and technology to benefit your clients.
You Put Clients First
Too much of our communication is focused on “I, we, me.” Next time you’re about to send a message to clients, count how many times you talk about yourself. Then compare that to the number of times you mention “you, clients, investors, people.”
Put clients first in your communication to make each message more personal.
EXTRA TOOLS TO USE
Often the employees and principals interacting with clients are not the same individuals implementing your marketing and digital strategy. It is essential to educate and empower your team to effectively leverage your time and build key contributors within your organization.
This is a fantastic resource for video tutorials and online training on a wide range of software and technical skills – with thousands of courses on everything from how to learn Excel to how to leverage social media in your marketing strategy.
Start with a 10-day free trial before diving into a subscription that costs $29.99 per month.
Google News Alerts
Google alerts allow you to monitor the web for new content related to specific keywords. There’s no better way to monitor the media and your competitors than to automate the process.
Have any company executives as clients? Set up alerts for those companies so you know when big events are happening in your clients' lives.
You can connect Google Alerts to a Gmail account or Outlook to seamlessly receive email notifications about new activity. If you’re concerned about alerts flooding your inbox, set up rules to route these emails to a specific folder.
Many companies have Twitter accounts that are scarcely used. This conveys inauthenticity, especially when we promote our Twitter account in our email signature and then never tweet!
Instead, use Twitter as a way to monitor what’s going on in the industry and see what thought leaders are talking about. Follow industry leaders, and look at their profiles to find “Lists” that others have set up. These lists contain feeds of specific curated content – and the best part is, you don’t have to set them up yourself. Simply subscribe to the preexisting lists of others.
Next time you want to share something interesting with your team (or with a client), why not send a video? Snagit is a powerful tool that allows you to capture what you’re viewing on your computer screen and share it.
Snagit can capture still shots, snipits, and entire videos of your screen, along with audio recorded from your computer or microphone.
Ian Altman is the author of Same Side Selling and is an innovative thinker with a wealth of refreshing ideas about kick-starting revenue growth in a variety of organizations. Ian helps his clients win new business by becoming a trusted advisor throughout their sales process.
He also runs a podcast – the GrowMyRevenue Business Cast – in which he speaks to leaders in the professional services industry. Listen and learn about how to show potential clients you’re on their side.
John Ruhlin is an expert in the strategy of gift giving. Rather than give your clients a sweatshirt or tchotchke with your logo stamped all over it, why not give them something they’ll actually enjoy, use, and truly remember you by?
His book Giftology can change the way you give gifts, cut through the noise, and build relationships.
Marcus Sheridan is the author of They Ask, You Answer and founder of the Sales Lion, a sales and marketing organization founded on the art of content marketing and inbound sales. Marcus teaches companies to show the world what problems they solve and be truly helpful, rather than just boasting about awards or trying to sound intelligent on their websites.
The Sales Lion has a comprehensive Learning Center with articles, podcasts, eBooks, tutorials, and interviews with marketing industry leaders.
James Altucher is an entrepreneur, investor, and fund manager who has started numerous companies and written 11 books. His podcast The James Altucher Show brings a refreshing perspective on everything from investing and business to psychology and history. Past guests include Mark Cuban, Tim Ferriss, Jim Cramer, and more.
Gary Vaynerchuk is the author of Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook: How to Tell Your Story in a Noisy Social World, co-founder of Vayner Media, and aspiring owner of the New York Jets. "Gary Vee" is a big believer in building businesses through authenticity and straight-up hard work. Watch his YouTube Channel to get a sense for his contagious personality.
To learn more about Glassman Wealth Services and the problems we solve, click here.