Why Is Online Reputation Important for Your Success as a Financial Advisor
As Don Connelly always says, only three things must take place for you to get a new client: that person must like you, trust you and think you are smart. But how could prospects like you, trust you and think you are smart if they never met you? How do you come across as likeable, trustworthy and smart if you have no prior relationship with them?
The answer lies in your online reputation.
What is online reputation
People talk. They have an abundance of information at their fingertips, especially in the twenty first century when the internet makes it easy for everyone to share their opinions, make recommendations or publicly critique one’s conduct.
Open Google. Now search your name. What do you see?
Now type your company or brand name. What do you see?
The search results will give you an idea what your online reputation is.
How you present yourself online through your LinkedIn profile, personal or company website, social media profiles, blog, and other online venues, combined with what people say about you online, is what comprises your online reputation. Your success more or less depends on it.
How your online reputation influences investors’ decision-making process
Clients want to do business with someone they can trust. For that reason, you should always give the perception that you can be trusted, at all times and about everything. Coffee cup rings on the tray tables and trash in the seat pockets may very well cause fliers to wonder about the dependability of the plane’s engines. When it comes to trust, perception trumps reality.
So what happens if a potential client Googles your name and sees a trashy comment from a client who left your office angry the other day?
They don’t call. They dismiss you as ‘not trustworthy’ and move on to the next person.
On the other hand, if all they see online about you is praise for your outstanding service, personal traits and commendable knowledge as a Financial Advisor, they can’t get enough of you. They pick up the phone right away and ask for an appointment because they can’t wait to secure the financial future they want and deserve.
Clients want a five-star experience. Many investors are content with average Advisors because they don’t know they can do better. They don’t want to rock the boat – after all, they may know nothing about investing their money, that’s why they hired an Advisor in the first place. The minute they cross paths with an Elite Advisor though, they realize how much more they can get out of the relationship. It’s not only about achieving their goals; it’s also about how they get there.
Service, good or bad, is what separates us from the competition and cements our reputation. When you make every visit to your office a five-star experience, your online reputation will thrive, thanks to the many positive comments and recommendations from clients online. All that positive feedback about you in turn will convince prospective clients who are searching online for a Financial Advisor, that you might very well be the right choice to help them achieve their financial goals.
Your online reputation is a reflection of your accountability, integrity and credibility.
You can’t control what people say about you online, but you definitely can control how they feel about you. And the latter pretty much defines the former.
Let’s face it. Establishing a reputation certainly takes time – everyone knows that. What many Advisors are missing though, is you can’t get away with telling the truth most of the time. You are a walking billboard.
Every word and every action contributes to your reputation, both good and bad. In one single instant everything you have worked so hard to build can be torn down. In an age of instant communication, one slip can undo years of work.
The key to building your reputation is to go to work every day and make the right choices, do the right things; to act like someone is watching you all the time.
But don’t be good to clients because you are afraid they will tarnish your reputation if you are not. Offer them high-five experience because you want to help them; because you care; because you are about to change their life for good – even if they don’t know it yet.
Next to the family doctor, you are the most important person your prospects and clients will meet. Act like it. Be honest and helpful all the time and the people you come in contact with will thank you by building your online reputation for you.
What can YOU do to build a good online reputation after all?
Even though you cannot control what people say about you online, you still have some control over your online reputation.
Start with your website.
If your Firm allows you to have your own website, does it reflect who you are? What about your company or team values? Does it give enough information to prospective clients searching for an Advisor?
Make sure your website is always up to date and serving one single purpose – to communicate who you are, what you stand for, and how you help your clients.
Then, move on to your blog.
Do you have a blog? If you don’t – don’t fret! It’s not the end of the world if you don’t publish articles online on a regular basis. But know that Advisors who do, have better chances to reach their prospective clients and win them over. Your blog will help you demonstrate your knowledge and skills.
Of course, people cannot make financial decisions based on your blog. But they very well may see who you are and what your views on certain topics are, which in turn will influence them in deciding if you are a person they like, trust and think is smart.
And what about social media?
Who has time for social media, right? And with all the compliance policies and rules, it may be even harder for an Advisor to be active on social media. Nevertheless, investors are on social media. So if you are too, you will have yet another way to reach out and stay in touch with prospects and clients.
Being active on social media is an easy, yet effective way to stay top of mind with your clients. This is also another channel where clients can share their positive feedback for the world to see – an added benefit for your online reputation.
And let’s not forget emails.
Whether we talk about the personal emails you write to prospects and clients, or your automated email marketing campaigns, those should all be a reflection of who you are, what you do and why you do it. Always be honest. Be considerate. Never pretend. Care more than people expect you to care. Be helpful, no matter if you have something to sell or not.
Some final words about your online reputation …
Make the best you can to represent yourself online the way you do offline during client meetings, networking events, on the phone – as a person who is smart and whom clients like and trust.
You cannot control what people say about you – in forums, in personal emails, in comments on websites, etc. – but you sure can control how you make them feel and thus, influencing what they will most likely be saying to their friends or in public about you as a person, and as a Financial Advisor.
Take interest in the other person, not because they might open an account with you but because you are truly interested in helping them achieve their financial goals. That will make it much easier for you to build a rock-star online reputation. The growth of your client base will follow.