How to get off to a prosperous start on social media in 2015

How to get off to a prosperous start on social media in 2015

We have previously discussed various ways to further engage your clients and grow your business. Now that the new year is under way, it is time to revisit some of those strategies (along with a few new ones) and outline solid, measurable goals around them.

In my coaching practice, financial advisers often come to me with stagnant businesses — having grown extremely slowly (if at all) over prior years. When I take a close look and explore what strategies they implemented, I typically find they had no measurable goals, and if they did, they had not outlined strategies designed to get them there.

As you dive into 2015, here are a couple of areas on which to focus, the strategies to get you started and the measurables around each.

Ramp up network activity

We have frequently discussed the importance of engaging your network on social media. After all, your very best clients are another adviser’s top prospects. Here are the top activities to perform in the coming month to ensure your clients have no reason to take another adviser’s bait.

1. Make sure you are connected via social media (LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Google+) to your clients, as well as to your centers of influence and your top prospects. While this may seem like a no-brainer, I find that few of the advisers I work with have actually completed this very basic step. Further, make it a practice each Friday to reach out to any new prospects or connections you met during the week.

2. Commit to reaching out to your top 20 clients in the month ahead. Take time to review their social media profiles to determine what newsworthy and exciting events have occurred in their personal and professional life. Then, connect with them — online, by phone, with a handwritten note or in person — based on your relationship with them and the updates you discovered on their social media profiles.

3. Develop a client engagement plan or service matrix. Set a specific number of clients you will reach out to each week or month and establish a method of tracking to ensure this gets done. Outline a written plan to connect with or “touch” each of your AA+ clients throughout 2015. While you should be connecting with all your clients, the top tier advisers we work with have detailed, written plans outlining how they will engage their AA+ clients on a much more strategic basis — both scheduled and spontaneous interactions (in-person meetings, handwritten notes, e-newsletters, direct messages via social media channels, spontaneous and planned gifts, client events, etc.). Use February to outline your plan, making sure to include frequency, timelines and accountability on your staff.

Expand your network

Servicing and strengthening relationships with your existing client base is paramount to your success, but bringing new clients into your practice is equally important. Here is one specific strategy to work on in February to get a jump start on the year ahead.

The vast majority of advisers I encounter are a bit gun-shy about asking for referrals. Most resort to the widely used “Who do you know?” or “Don’t keep me a secret” language.

While these are certainly popular, it puts the task of coming up with a name squarely on your clients’ shoulders. To easily combat this and make sure you do the work of prospecting (as well as ensure you are referred to exactly the type of prospect you’d like to meet), take a look at the connections of your top 20 clients and identify one person each who fits your A+ client profile. Then, simply ask for an introduction to this individual. When you have done a good job for your clients and are actively working to keep them engaged, they will not mind making a simple introduction, particularly when you are only asking to meet one very specific person.

While these strategies are only the tip of the iceberg, they will ensure you get off to a great start this year. Track the completion of these activities each month as well as the results you see from implementing each strategy.

Not understanding your weaknesses

I am a huge fan of the Strengthsfinder series of books, and in so, feel it important that we all know and focus on using and developing our unique strengths. At the same time, it is critical we know the things we are NOT good at. Not so we can work on our weaknesses (I am of the school of thought that if you work on your weaknesses, at the end of the day you will simply end up with a stronger weakness….it will likely never turn into a strength).

The more important thing is for us to KNOW where we need help – and to be vulnerable enough to ask for it! Truly authentic leaders have a very good handle on what they are good at, and what they are not — and they hire to and surround themselves with people who are a compliment to that.

Letting egos get in the way

I know I will tick some people off with this one, but it’s time to put on your big boy (or big girl) pants and deal with the fact that you are, in fact, NOT perfect! And, that is OKAY! It saddens me how often I see egos getting in the way of doing what is right for clients, or companies. Often this ties into the fact that someone does not want to admit they have a weakness, or that they may not be the “best” person for the job.

If you hear yourself repeatedly saying “Oh, I can do that” or “Why do we need him/her?” (when you know it’s not an area of strength for you) — then chances are your ego is starting to creep in! OWN UP to the fact that maybe, just maybe, it is in a clients best interest to let someone else step in. Always look for the best possible outcome – not just the one that involves Y-O-U.

Afraid to give feedback or to challenge people when needed

Some are hesitant to give feedback or to challenge someone, especially if that person is “higher up” than they are. The key is to CARE enough to deliver sound feedback in a way that is constructive, and not made to put the recipient down.

I am a super busy business woman…I don’t need or have time for a “yes man.” I need someone who will call me on my bullshit & keep me moving towards growth. And, most authentic leaders feel exactly the same.

Being too pragmatic

Often, professionals say or do what is required to continue moving up the ladder, or to not upset the apple cart. This isn’t authentic….this is being a puppet. Ask yourself — how fun is it going to be spending the rest of my career holding everything in?

While all should be aware of the what it takes to get to the next level in our business or career, this should NOT be done by compromising our beliefs, or concealing our feelings.

Authenticity begins by knowing ourselves – what we excel at, and where we need help. How we communicate and how we can best interact with others. It means knowing what we believe in and not compromising on those things.

Above all, authenticity means letting people see and get to know the real you. Give it a try – it’s far better to be hated for who you are than loved for who you’re not!

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