Clients. That’s the point. Bigger, better, more qualified, more eager to get started now, A+ types of clients. Branding is the bridge that takes you from a transactional salesperson always looking for the next person to buy your products, to a pursued, trusted financial consultant who brings value and purpose to a clients’ financial plan or investment portfolio.
So how do you make the leap from being the pursuer to being pursued? Well, once you have the psychology of it down (you can do it!), then there are a few steps to take to get to the other side. Here is what highly sought after financial advisors have that you don’t:
1) A hook
Ken Fisher hates annuities and so should you.
Call “Chuck” if you have an investment question that needs answered.
Ed Slott can tell you how to parlay your IRA to a family fortune.
Each of these examples has strong brand recognition with the public making it simple to understand the value that their expertise would bring to you. I’m not suggesting you go this large, but you do need a purpose and that purpose should resonate with your intended audience.
2) Street cred.
There is no replacing experience, but designations, licenses and related education do take a close second. Take for instance the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, Inc., running national commercials showcasing a DJ in a suit and tie who attempts to give investment advice: the question of education and qualifications is only going to become more prominent moving forward. Proper licenses are half the battle, and a clean brokercheck.org FINRA record will go a long way too.
But, if you can, pursue a credible designation or other form of related education. There are plenty of programs for busy professionals; UCLA has an extension program for certificates in financial services, CFP® has an executive program, and other training programs offer online or weekend courses.
While yes, it’s an absolute commitment of time up front, if you’re providing financial advice to consumers, the payoff can be substantial over the long run. As an added consideration, many media outlets are requiring certain credentials these days before agreeing to interview a resource, too. Which leads us to our next point.
3) Third-party validation:
High quality, high impact (positive) exposure will always pay dividends. Yes, most advisors aren’t in the position to run national television campaigns or write a best-selling book like those listed in the example above.
However, you do have an asset that’s in high demand: your knowledge and expertise. And that knowledge can certainly be leveraged through the media.
Prospective clients gain a sense of confidence if their selected advisor regularly appears in the local or national media. If the media has already vetted you and confirms you’re a good resource on the topic they’re covering, and it’s the service they need the most help with, then they’re likely not going to second guess your expertise on the subject.
4) A branded process.
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Top advisors have a signature process for driving traffic and taking them through the new business process. This creates value for a prospective client and exclusivity: you have something they want and they can only get it from you, so odds are in your favor — they’re going to come to you to get it. It becomes a no-brainer.
There you have it — four essentials to elevating your stature and building your brand.