The ability to be both efficient and effective weighs heavily on the success of your practice.

Think about how effective your seminars are these days. I bet they are not nearly as effective as there were five years ago. How much did it cost you to get that get that one potential client? You probably spent a few hundred dollars for just that one prospect. So your next thought is closing and retention. This brings me back to why I recommend a Web site that is also your primary marketing tool. This will give you all the tools to have a successful drip marketing campaign to constantly keep you in front of your clients and prospects.

Here are some other ideas to hold yourself above and beyond all the other advisors in your market area. I think there are a couple of things you’ve got to do.

The first thing is to immediately join the Better Business Bureau. The other thing is to join your local Chamber of Commerce. Both of those organizations give you third-party credibility, something potential clients find far more convincing than your own sales pitch. Most importantly, join the National Ethics Bureau (full disclosure: Steven McCarty, executive director of the NEB, writes a column for SMA). The NEB is designed with this industry in mind. Through its extensive background check procedures, it gives consumers the reassurance that the advisor they are thinking about working with is legitimate. In the 1980s, it was all about the bling; today, it is all about being transparent. Clients want to know exactly who they are dealing with.

We are proud of the fact we have belonged to the BBB for the past 10 years. If somebody wants to check us out, they can. And believe me, consumers check out financial advisors all of the time. Your local Chamber of Commerce mixers are the best place to interact and meet other business people. It also can open opportunities and get your name out there so people will know who you are and what you do.

Last year, my three largest new clients used NEB to check out my background. Each placed more than $1 million with me. I don’t think I would have had any of those clients without the NEB, the BBB, and the Chamber of Commerce, which all gave us positive reviews.

Again, if you want to hold yourself above your competition, sit down with your client and ask, “Is that person you are dealing with rock solid and involved in the community like we are?” Now is the time to step up your ties within your community. These are some things I think everybody should work toward. Volunteer to join a couple of local committees in your community and get involved. Remember, when push comes to shove, the more you are involved in your community the more credibility you have.

The difference between $1 million-a-year salesperson and $100,000-a-year salesperson is only razor thin. You need all the tools and ammo available to you. So get on the stick: join, get involved, volunteer, donate, and stand out.