It’s no secret that your potential clients are surrounded by opportunities to connect with financial advisors just like you every single day. The market can often feel oversaturated, and if you’re not taking steps to develop your personal brand as a financial advisor, you may struggle to grow. With radio and television advertising, social media ads, and even local publications in your area showcasing local advisors, the competition for business is fierce.
But too many advisors, and even businesses as a whole, spend money on advertising and marketing without any clarity on what makes them different, and why prospects should choose them over their competitors. They are essentially throwing ideas at a wall and hoping something sticks, and it’s not a good way to run anything – let alone your business. If you do this, you’ll spend too much money on advertising and the ROI will be abysmal.
Your Success is in Your Story
I mention my story in several other articles, webinars, and trainings because it’s what differentiates me from my competitors. There are a lot of business trainers out there promising to show advisors how to reach new levels of success, but how many of them have actually done it themselves? How many have built a wildly successful seven figure firm that runs without their day-to-day involvement, and achieved a Barron’s Top 100 designation in every category? I share my achievements not to boast, but to help my students understand that I’ve been where they are and I’ve developed keys to conquer any obstacle they may encounter.
As you encounter prospects, what story do you tell? I’m not talking about your business achievements or industry accolades. Rather, it’s important to share the story of why you became an advisor. Was it like mine, where you learned the pain of poor planning early on and vowed never to let it happen to another family? Is a parent or relative an advisor and you wanted to carry on the legacy?
Each of us has a unique story to tell, and prospects want to work with advisors that are relatable on a personal level – those who understand and can articulate the reasons why they do what they do.
Your personal brand as a financial advisor is paramount. It is essential to differentiate yourself from competitors. This is different from your logo and colors and slogan. This is your story, your vision, your philosophy, and what you stand for. These difference are easy to understand when you think about similar retail stores. Walmart and Target, for example, have very different branding.
While they both serve the general public and offer nearly the same items at similar prices, which one do you prefer and why? Which one do you feel reflects your values better? Which retailer gets more of your money?
Your prospects experience the same comparison when reviewing financial advisors, insurance agents, CPAs, and attorneys. They want to work with the advisor that communicates his or her brand and unique value best, Specifically, advisors whose values reflect their own. So let’s review 5 ways you can develop your personal brand as a financial advisor.
Declare Your Vision
What type of future do you help your clients envision? What outcome do you want to help them achieve? How do you help them see their futures as bigger than their pasts, even in times like this where there is so much uncertainty?
When you declare your vision in your brand, you differentiate yourself. After all, two advisors at the same firm may have vastly different visions for how they approach prospects and how they run their businesses. One may focus entirely on providing investment advice and their advisor/client relationship will be based on how close the clients’ outcomes match the proposed returns.
The other may use a more wholistic approach, creating comprehensive plans and providing safety nets within the plan that allow clients to reach their goals with fewer bumps along the way.
In either case, your vision for your business and how you articulate your value proposition to both prospects and clients should be at the core of everything you do. As a professional, you are not an order-taker. You’re an advisor. Declare your vision for your business and what you want for your clients… and keep it front and center.
Identify Your Strengths
We are all different and offer different strengths. Some are gifted speakers and storytellers. Others are incredibly detail-oriented and will not rest until every last detail is uncovered. Most of us, however, are a blend of several different strengths. Just like identifying tasks that you need to delegate so you can focus on the more important things, another way to develop your brand as an advisor is to identify your strengths.
What are you keenly good at in your business? Typically, what you are good at is reflected in the fact you enjoy doing those activities – they give you energy. What skills or methods do your clients appreciate already? Why would a prospect agree to work with you?
One of my students last year (Richard) is a wonderful example of using strengths to grow exponentially. He was concerned and struggling to grow because he isn’t a powerful communicator, often stumbling over his words and having trouble keeping up with his competition. After we identified his strengths (attention to detail, thorough, no-frills honesty, and his personal story), he shifted his messaging.
Richard’s business took off because he was no longer trying to compete with other advisors by imitating them. He was speaking to his strengths and showcasing his story, and clients starting coming on board.
Identify what you do well, and articulate why it’s something you and your clients value. Make that strength part of your brand messaging.
Create a Clear Position
You must make the differences between you and competitors clear to your clients and prospects. If they don’t notice a difference between you and the other guy, what is the incentive to go with your business?
What do you stand for in your business? Are you the advisor for millennials – the one that helps them start small and build a solid retirement? Or are you the one that helps those on the cusp of retiring make the best decisions to keep their money flowing smoothly? Maybe you’re the one that helps the recently divorced create a new plan for the future.
Whatever you choose, make sure it resonates with you and differentiates you from your competitors. Plant your flag as the advisor who…. (fill in the blank).
Be Visible and Accessible
No matter how great your mission, vision, and values are, they will not help you if you are not visible and accessible. To develop a successful personal brand as an advisor, you want to make sure your prospects and clients can see you in their communities (online or physical) and can reach you easily.
This may sound silly, but some advisors (and companies) try to operate completely behind the scenes. They have almost no web presence, no community presence, no mention on social media, and barely a listing on Google.
Almost more importantly, those that do have some presence have incorrect information posted. It could be an incorrect phone number or bad email address, or the information posted goes to a corporate call center to hopefully be routed to the advisor. This is always a mistake. If prospects have to call an 800 number to be routed to you, they’re simply not going to to do it.
Make sure you have a presence online and in your community, and that your prospects and clients can reach out to you directly. You are to driver in your business so make sure people can reach you on the road.
Become a Follow-Up Fanatic
The fortune is in the follow-up, right? Wildly successful brands have a bulletproof follow-up process to make sure no prospect or client is left behind. If you meet with a prospect, immediately follow-up with a thank you note. When you meet a client at Starbucks, while you’re in the parking lot, send a message their way and mention how great it was to see them – mention something about them that reminds you who you’re looking for in your next client (to invite a referral).
Follow up with every interaction you have. Become the advisor that has such a powerful follow-up process that other advisors mention it to their own teams. When you consistently provide prospects and clients with touches and value, you stay on their radar. Sending one message and hoping it works to get them interested is not enough. Take action, be consistent, and provide support, and your sales, referrals, and business will grow.
We Can Help
Sometimes developing your personal brand as a financial advisor involves simply making tweaks to your mindset and your messaging. And other times, it involves reviewing all your processes and rebuilding your offers and position from the ground up. As a student in the Elite Advisor Program, you will get all the scripts, systems, and setup you need to develop and enhance your personal brand, no matter what your current level of success looks like.
If you’re interested in learning how to reach the next level in your business from a Barron’s Top 100 Advisor, I would love to have you on our next live call. Learn more about the program and enroll here.