When potential clients search for a financial advisor, they should not make a selection based on some arbitrary factor, such as the location of the office. They should make that critical decision based on an advisor’s personality, strengths, value, communication, and vision. If you want to attract your ideal client, it’s imperative that you harness the power of your personal brand.
Standing out from the crowd of advisors can be challenging, but if you take the time to develop your own personal brand, the results are extraordinary. Advisors who create and communicate their brands experience business growth, more referrals, higher visibility, and increased confidence.
The key is identifying and promoting your unique characteristics in order to attract the clients with whom you want to work. The following steps comprise a part of the personal branding process that we go through with our clients. Taking the time to focus on these simple yet critical elements of your personality and activities can make a tremendous impact on your business.
1. Identify your strengths
The first step in building your personal brand is determining what sets you apart from other advisors. Characteristics that determine your edge include your strengths, motivations, and values.
When working with advisors, I ask them to make a list of their strengths. They often reply with “I don’t really know,” or even complete silence. They take for granted the things that they do the best because it’s second nature.
Next, I tell them to ask five other people to provide them with a list of strengths that they observe in them. This group of people should include a coworker, a client, a referral source, a family member, and a close friend. When all of the lists of strengths are gathered, we put them side by side and look at the similarities. We often notice language that includes “solutions-oriented,” “good listener,” “ability to make complicated things easy to understand,” and other similar phrases.
The insight into other people’s perspectives of you is powerful! Rarely do we have such insight as to what others think and feel about us. These strengths can be used in communicating your value, and these words and phrases can be used in marketing materials.
Now that we have a set of characteristics that uniquely describes you, it’s time to move on to the next step of the personal branding process.
2. Create your power pitch
Some call it an elevator speech or a 30-second commercial, but it’s really a power pitch. A power pitch explains four critical things:
- Who you are
- What you do
- How you do it
- Why you love it
I’ve seen advisors who have used this process to communicate their value dramatically increase engagement, confidence, and referrals.
If you simply introduce yourself by name and position as a financial advisor, you aren’t giving anyone anything to remember except those facts. In addition, it’s important to know that the term “financial advisor” is intimidating, similar to doctors, dentists, and attorneys. You want to be approachable and reduce a person’s hesitancy to engage with you so that they become a client and/or a referral source.
Consider this example:
“Hi, my name is Kate Thompson. I am a financial advisor.”
I once had an advisor tell me that when she simply states her name and her title like this, it’s like a mic drop. Dead silence, no feedback. Also, if you stop there, you haven’t given the person or group of people any information regarding what you really do. So it’s important to add how you do it.
“I meet with clients to understand what is important to them, and what their goals are. We then create a plan that helps them to achieve their financial goals.” For potential clients, this example explains your process.
Some people have never had an advisor, and some have never had a good advisor. The more that you can explain your process, making it understandable and interesting, the more likely you will have the opportunity to attract clients and referrals.
Finally, who doesn’t love working with someone who loves what they do? Our loyalty to businesses is oftentimes based upon the people who work there. They can make us feel important and create a positive and lasting experience because of their passion.
So think about why you enjoy your career as an advisor. Go back to that list of your strengths, and find the words that define your competitive edge or differential advantage.
“I love when my clients are able to enjoy the results of our work together.”
When you put the four elements of a power pitch together, you communicate your value, process, purpose, and brand.
Create it and practice it. Wait until you see the difference it makes in your business!
3. Focus on your target market
When Financial Advisors begin their careers, they often accept any and all clients as part of the process of building their businesses. In order to create not just any business but the business you want, it’s important to identify your target market.
That process is easy. Look at the demographics of your top 25 clients. Are your current clients married couples, single, widowed, divorced? Are most of them men or women? Is your book of business younger, older, or somewhere in between? Are most of them from a specific geographic location? Next, look at how they became your clients. Are they referrals? Did you inherit them? Did you meet them while attending networking events?
Now, code these clients the following way: green (if they have referred you), yellow (if they could refer you but have not done so yet), or red (if they are not in the position to refer you).
Repeat this same process with a list of the clients with whom you love to work but may be outside of your top 25 in terms of investible assets. These are the people with whom you look forward to meeting regardless of the profit potential.
The fusion of these two groups represents your ideal client profile. You speak the way that they listen, and your brand is exactly what they need.
With this information, you can now focus on that target market and go find more of those ideal individuals!
4. Strategic networking
We tend to become more like the people with whom we spend most of our time, so make your decisions, contact, and time count.
When asked about networking and community involvement, I often hear advisors say that they belong to as many as 12 organizations, betting that their efforts are bound to pay off in the form of business growth. Their thought is that the more people they meet, the more clients they will get. It’s the classic strategy of casting a wide net applied to networking. However, instead of spending countless hours hoping that your attendance will result in business, try the following strategy that works wonderfully for my clients.
Make a list of all of the organizations to which you belong. Include work-related, community, religious, school, fitness, and social groups. Separate the lists into two columns: personal and professional. It’s important to list all groups that, in some way or another, use up your time.
Take time to analyze the list. Ask yourself if you are currently benefitting from each of these organizations. Sometimes it’s great to belong to an organization because it simply makes you feel good. Don’t give that up, but cross off the ones that offer no benefit to you.
Next, look specifically at the column of professional organizations. A valuable professional organization should benefit you in at least one of the following ways: obtaining clients, obtaining referral sources, learning new skills, and/or offering the opportunity to highlight your business. If an organization doesn’t do any of these things, cross it off. If you are unsure about the benefits of a certain group, it’s time to test it out. Go to the next meeting with a goal in mind. Ask someone for a meeting, a referral, or an opportunity to present to the group. If you go to three consecutive meetings without any results, it’s time to move on. I compare it to baseball: three strikes and you’re out!
Strategic networking should always result in increased business and visibility. Be sure that your efforts are time well spent.
Personal branding, like corporate branding, creates powerful outcomes. If you take the time to analyze what makes you different from other advisors, you can attract the clients that you want in your business. Make the time to develop and promote your personal brand. It is key to standing out from the crowd.