My pastor uses Twitter to announce his sermon topics and share scriptures. My daughter’s Girl Scout Troop uses Facebook to post upcoming events and share pictures from camping trips. My wife’s hair stylist posts new styles and creations on Pinterest. What about my financial advisor? Does he need to use social media?
More financial advisors and wealth managers are beginning to embrace social media as a valuable tool to connect with their clients and generate new leads. Almost 75% of advisors use at least one social network for business. Of that number, 91% use LinkedIn, 32% use Facebook and 22% use Twitter.
However, as I facilitate training workshops and webinars across the country, I regularly hear three concerns:
- Am I maximizing my efforts?
- How do I get started?
- Will I get in trouble?
What the Pros Do – Look at the LinkedIn profile of Michael Kitces or Bill Winterberg. Even if you can’t add publications or conference presentations to your profile, include your work experience, a detailed summary and a professional picture. If you have a regularly published blog, add that to your profile. Be consistent about tweets, shares and posts. Connect with and follow the companies or groups you respect.
Getting Started – Talk to other professionals in your industry and find out what platforms they are using. Before you commit to a particular channel, do some research and learn the pros and cons. Once you have decided, pick 2 platforms and dive in! Many organizations and companies offer webinars on effective use of social media. Participate in a few of these to learn special tips and tricks.
Policies and Procedures – I’ve talked to some people who are afraid to add a picture to their LinkedIn profile because they fear they will get in trouble with their legal department. Ouch! A safe rule of thumb for social media is to not publish anything that could not be on the cover of the New York Times. Tweet publicly available information. Tweet pictures and data from a conference you attend. Post and share interesting pictures and articles. If an investor has a detailedquestion about the information, set up a meeting or phone call.
Statistics show that 78% of sales people who use social media will outsell their peers. However, it’s not a popularity contest. Don’t just use it because everyone else is doing it. Choose the social tools that will work for you and allow you to effectively communicate with your audience. Your clients are already out there talking; join in the conversation.
Scientifically Speaking, of course.
Microsoft and other organizations have had a practice in place to eliminate the low performing people in their organization – the annual running of the pink slips. Management makes it clear that the lowest performing 5 – 10% of employees will be let go. This practice breeds mediocrity (as long as I’m not at the bottom, I keep my job).
However, how do retain and encourage your top talent? Denzil Crooke, Founding Partner of Incentus Global says, “Your top salespeople are not encouraged by money alone. Anywhere they work is going to pay them well. They need other incentives to drive their performance.” These top performers are not the 20% of people who are doing 80% of the work. These are the top 5% of your employees who your competitors would love to hire. What should you do to make them want to stay?
Challenge: Insure your top talent has top projects. These rockstars are the people who would climb a mountain just to see if they can. They want the tough accounts and the difficult to accomplish tasks. They fell asleep in algebra; reward them with calculus.
Reward: There is nothing wrong with financial incentives; they just can’t be the only thing offered. When top performers succeed, they should receive cash, stock options and raises. They need something they can take (or drive) to the bank.
Recognize: PDRs (i.e. – Public Displays of Recognition) make people feel good. It shows that they (or their team) worked hard, put in more hours and reached their goal. Will other people get jealous? YES! The goal is to help kickstart their drive for recognition.
Promote: I remember the first time I was promoted from Specialty Sales Executive to Senior Sales Executive. It was my first promotion. From that moment on, I worked harder. I lead more teams. I took more responsibility. As Jack Nicholson said in As Good As It Gets, “It made me want to be a better man.”
Opportunity: I was doing well in engineering when I approached my boss about moving into sales. That lateral move was one of the best of my professional career. I learned skills I had never developed in engineering. That opportunity kept me with the company…for 7 more years.
All employees require coaching, mentoring and a path to success. The challenge for the great managers with great employees is to develop different paths for everyone. There is not a “one size fits all” for talent management – especially for your best employees. Create special incentives for them. Your organization, your clients and your employees will appreciate it.
Scientifically Speaking, of course
I’m working at least 14 hour / day. I’m conducting research. I’m finding new clients. I’m responding to email – A LOT of email. When it’s time to make money, I’m the one who stands in front of the audience and speaks. It is an exhausting process!
One day I analyzed the most time consuming aspect of my business: finding and qualifying new clients. This process involves: social media posts, email marketing, video shoots, strategy and planning, online research and a healthy desire to close deals. I need help!
I spoke to a friend of mine who runs a successful software start up and asked him how he knew it was time to hire his first employee. He said, “When I realized I was the one slowing down the business, I decided to hire someone.” Being right out of college and strapped for cash, he initially thought he could do it all himself. When he realized he couldn’t, he set very wise limits to his hiring process. “I decided I would bring someone on board for a period of 6 months. If sales grew to a point where the company could survive, I would keep going. However, after that 6 months, if revenue did not increase substantially, I’d be out of cash. That’s how I’d know it was time to quit the business.” Wiser words have never been spoken. How will you know it’s time to hire your first employee?
- You Can’t Do It All - Similar to my friend, I realized I can’t do marketing, sales, business development, human resources, research, design and administration. I started by outsourcing the things I’m not good at (graphic design). Then I hired for the the aspects of the company that could be designed as a process (lead generation, qualification). My job is to manage “all of the moving parts.”
- Problems Arise - This situation is the worst to be in. If clients start to complain, deadlines are missed or errors are frequently occurring in your work, bring someone on to help with some aspect of the business. You may need help with managing your email, calendar or professional contacts. Virtual assistants can be a great help at a relatively low cost. Hire someone before problems affect your clients’ needs.
- You See Potential - As I noticed market potential in various industries for my company (e.g. – education, social media, real estate, active adults, etc.), I realized my real job was to manage a talented team of people who could help with this process. Other areas are begging for our help everyday. A team could help me meet those needs…and drive revenue.
I recently hired two interns to help me drive my business development efforts, and I love it! Having trained them for the early aspects of lead generation, I am free to do more client services and closing. I’m also starting projects I put off for the last two years! I can finally focus more of my efforts on building relationships and expanding the business. Management is fun; revenue is even better.
Scientifically Speaking, of course.
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