todd greiderThe advent of social media, cloud computing, the paperless office and even the iPad may revolutionize your practice, but if you don’t plan for these changes properly, they can distract your office and take it off track. What will your digital office look like? To help you, I have broken down your potential needs into two key areas: your online presence and software applications.

1. Your online presence

  • Website: Many advisors design their office carefully to appear inviting and make clients and prospects feel comfortable. Their websites, however, take a different turn. Outdated websites can leave the wrong first impression on a potential client and can do more harm to your business than not having a website at all. You can bring additional value to your web presence by creating a Google Profile with basic company information. The result will be a more searchable business online.
  • Social media: Tools such as LinkedIn, Facebook and YouTube may not be at the top of your to-do list, but each one offers unique ways to build and strengthen relationships with your target audience. Talk to your staff. They may be your most valuable advocates for building relationships with clients online. Work with them to develop a marketing strategy that fits your goals and implement it. While slow to adopt the use of social media, advisors across the country are finding success when using these tools. If you are a registered rep, check with your broker dealer to ensure you are compliant with their social media policy before diving into your next LinkedIn group or launching a Facebook page for your practice.

2. Software applications

  • CRM: Finding the right client relationship management (CRM) solution can improve your efficiency and allow you to capture important information about your clients in one central location. Careful consideration should be given to the size of your business, how quickly it may grow and how you will access the information before selecting a CRM. Two common CRMs used by financial advisors are ACT! (software and web-based) and Redtail (web-based). Implementing your CRM is a fairly laborious process, so this will be an important decision you won’t want to make again anytime soon. Choose wisely.
  • Applications and efficiency solutions: Using software such as Laser App can help you save money and time spent filling out forms and result in a shorter paperwork process. Have you ever left for an appointment and realized you’ve forgotten some documents? Tools like NetDocuments allow you to pull your files from any location with Internet access.

Remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day, so take it one step at a time. Focus on your immediate technology needs, develop a strategy and implement it, using the strengths of your staff to help you along the way.

For more on taking your business digital, see:

Tools to help you navigate social media

Some rules for financial advisors using social networking

Five strategies to get links to your insurance Web site