The right tech tools can boost your marketing efforts and productivity. But how do you know which trends you should follow and which products to consider? We asked three tech-savvy advisors to tell us what they’re using in some key categories.
Over 120 million users log on to Facebook each day. LinkedIn, a business-oriented site, has over 50 million members. Is social media a useful tool for advisors? Helen Modly, CFP, ChFC, executive vice president with Focus Wealth Management Ltd. in Middleburg, Va., thinks so. She was initially intrigued by the idea that once she made a contact on LinkedIn she could see her contact’s connections. In a sense, she says, it’s an “invitation to browse through other people’s Rolodexes.”
Most of Modly’s business comes from attorneys, and she uses LinkedIn to see those attorneys’ connections to other attorneys. If an attorney’s expertise matches up with Modly’s business, she contacts them by e-mail or phone. It’s an easy way to make new contacts and expand her network. “You see that someone you know knows them and it becomes a very natural way to suggest introductions,” she says. Responses from attorneys she’s contacted have been very favorable so far, she reports. She also uses LinkedIn to seek out prospective clients who have connections to existing clients. LinkedIn updates allow members to share news about events like job promotions and job changes which indicate possible business opportunities such as 401(k) rollovers. When Modly sees that information, she asks one of her connections if they would provide an introduction to the other person.
There’s no excuse for being out of touch when you’re out of the office unless you choose to be. Joel Bruckenstein, CFP, is publisher of the newsletter Technology Tools for Today and co-producer of the annual Technology Tools for Today Conference. He travels frequently as a technology speaker and consultant while still working with a small number of financial planning clients. He notes that a growing number of broker-dealers and software vendors are developing iPhone apps and applications for other smartphone platforms to enhance advisors’ remote-computing abilities. In addition, the emergence of so-called “cloud computing” and inexpensive netbooks improves advisors’ ability to work remotely without sacrificing security or access to critical data and documents.
Bruckenstein travels with a Google Droid phone, a Verizon MiFi card and an Asus netbook. He prefers the netbook to a laptop PC for shorter trips because of its small size and light weight, but also because it’s much less expensive than a laptop. Given the high rates of laptop theft, that translates to a smaller financial and data loss if the netbook is stolen.
Bruckenstein also relies extensively on Web-based services like Google Docs and Evernote for information management and collaboration. “If you upload images, Everynote will OCR (optical character recognition) them automatically and capture all the text, the data, and categorize things for you,” he says. “You can even use your phone to take a picture of somebody’s business card and it uploads it, OCRs it, and you have all their contact information. It’s really a tremendous little resource and the basic version is free, so I use that.”