If I were pressed to offer the one thing that can universally help an advisor build wealth — the silver bullet, if you like — it would be to improve one’s writing. Not closing, not prospecting, but writing. Before you non-writers cast me aside and move to the next article, please hear me out (or read me out). 

The late, great Jim Rohn, the master of persuasion and self-improvement, said it this way: “Clear writing is a sign of clear thinking.” Put another way, if you can write effectively, that must mean you’re also thinking effectively. After all, how can one communicate powerfully if there’s no cogent thought to be found behind the communication? If you haven’t invested the time to flesh out a thought or concept, the writing you produce will reflect that. So, by becoming a better writer, I’d argue that you must become a better thinker, as well.

Here, I’ll offer some ways you can use writing to build wealth for yourself, and for your clients. But first, let’s address a common objection that I hear. When I’m at conferences and other advisors find out that I write a monthly column for Retirement Advisor, a local newspaper column, two quarterly newsletters, and a weekly email newsletter to my clients and prospects, they scoff at the idea and say something to the effect of: “Good for you, but I could never do that; I’m a terrible writer.”

You may be saying the same thing to yourself right now. You may also be a terrible exerciser, marketer or friend, but does that mean we don’t put effort in to improve in those areas? Writing is no different than anything else. The muscles need constant resistance and training to improve.

For those who choose to lean into writing to become a better thinker and ultimately build more wealth for themselves and for clients, here are some suggestions:

Write a private journal: 

This is the low-cost, low-risk method to exercise those writing muscles. Nobody has to see what you write, but you’ll force yourself to become clearer on what you believe about your profession and the activities you do on a daily basis. For years, I had a file on my computer’s desktop called ‘Money Manifesto’ where I wrote my thoughts on various financial products, planning strategies, and practice management ideas. Not only did this help me reach greater clarity, but it ultimately became the basis for my published book, “OFF THE RECORD: Secrets to Building a Successful Retirement and a Lasting Legacy.”

Start a blog: 

Once you have your writing feet under you, consider going public with some of your work. By connecting your blog to your business’ website, you’ll increase your site’s Google search results, and possibly find prospects. For me, the blogging paid huge dividends, including being discovered by this very publication.   

Write a client newsletter: 

Our newsletter is the one marketing tool that I would keep if I could only keep one. Our newsletter has become the voice of our firm; it’s home base for our clients. It allows me to communicate our planning philosophy, serves as a tool for clients to introduce us to their friends, and also keeps clients informed on the timely topics that may impact their planning.

When we have education and social events, I can use the newsletter as a vehicle to communicate these events. As mentioned, I write quarterly newsletters that we have professionally printed, and I also write a weekly email newsletter. As you probably can guess, you need to have plenty of meaningful content to share to justify such a pace, but that’s part of the benefit to me; it keeps me fresh and always in research mode. That also benefits our clients in many ways.

Write ‘sales’ letters: 

Much of what we do as advisors is encouraging clients to take their medicine so they’ll maintain their financial health. That’s easier said than done. By crafting highly-persuasive sales letters, we offer people a chance to do what’s good for them, and feel good about it in the process. Using this form of writing to invite people to events and promote relationships with complementary professionals like CPAs and attorneys has had a huge impact on our firm and the firms of these other advisors. Also, clients win because they more often pursue tax and estate planning relationships that preserve and build wealth for them and for future generations. 

The power of the pen cannot be underestimated. Clients benefit because you become better at communicating complex topics more simply and effectively. You win because you have more educated clients that often are — or become — more wealthy clients. Future generations win when you help them prepare for building and receiving financial literacy and assets. 

So, will you practice the power of the pen? There’s a lot at stake, and the best next step may very well be to pause, gather your thoughts and begin writing. The benefits can be extraordinary.

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