Two Things You Can Do that Other Advisors Don’t
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My last article for Advisor Perspectives focused on three ways to make yourself more interesting. As a coach for financial advisors, I see more independent advisors looking for ways to be different. This is a great trend for the industry. There needs to be more intention put into making yourself stand out.
Doing what others don’t do positions you as someone special. It gives you an edge. If done well, it will distance you from your competition. You’ll stand out in a positive way, making yourself more attractive and even magnetic.
Let’s take a look at two things you can start doing today.
Use your influence to offer support
As you know from your experience, your ability to develop strong relationships dramatically impacts your success. There’s no better way to deepen a relationship than to come to someone’s side when they need you. One way of doing that is to write a letter of support, leveraging your influence, in order to help an individual or a group. This is not a testimonial letter. When you use your influence and professional status to help someone with integrity and authenticity, your efforts will be noticed.
For example, imagine that many of your clients are small business owners of a specific area of town. You read about a bridge reconstruction project that is scheduled to begin in November and last through March that will severely impact traffic leading to your client’s establishments. You know that the anticipated loss of business, especially during the holiday season, will seriously diminish the annual revenues of your clients. You write a letter to the editor clearly outlining the economic impact and asking the government to postpone the project until spring. Several of your clients see the letter and call to thank you. In response you say, “It felt like the right thing to do. I’m sure your CPA would do the same.” This could open up a discussion about their CPA and potentially position you to refer one of your favorite CPAs. Beyond that, the other business owners in the area also see your letter and now know about you and your willingness to advocate on behalf of your clients.
When you hear an issue that affects your clients or others important to you, show your support by getting involved on their side. Use your influence and professional status to help them.
Hand write thank you cards
I hear some of you saying, “My handwriting stinks!” That’s okay; do it anyway. Print if you must. The point is that it comes from your hand to the receiver.
The old-fashioned, personalized handwritten thank you card almost doesn’t exist any longer. It’s been replaced by automation and email. Since no one else is doing it, you should. Remember how you felt the last time you received a handwritten note? That’s the exact feeling you want to impart on the person you’re sending it to. I received one recently and it stood out. I passed it around to show several people.
There are a few caveats with sending a handwritten thank you card. The first is a big one: Never, ever include your business card and by all means, never include two cards.
I know, everyone thinks you should, but don’t. Here’s why. The minute you include your business card, you change the meaning and intention of the card. It no longer is focused on being a genuine thank you to the person. Including your card(s) converts the card into a marketing tool and it instantly becomes about you and selling yourself. Not cool. Save your business cards for other more appropriate purposes and keep your thank you cards focused on thanking someone.
Make it easy for yourself. Buy a stack of blank note cards and keep them on hand and accessible to increase the likelihood that you’ll do it. Store blank cards and a pen in your desk drawer, in your car’s glove compartment, in your briefcase, in your purse, beside your comfy chair, you get the idea. Make them all pre-stamped and ready to drop in the mail. Look for time fragments in your day when you can whip out two or three lines on a card and send it off. Maybe you can steal a moment while you’re waiting in the doctor’s office, sitting still in a traffic jam, riding the train, eating lunch alone or watching your kids play at the park. Every time you make this personal connection, you’re deepening relationships and reminding people how different you are from everyone else.
There are tons of ways to make yourself different, more interesting and special. Doing what other advisors are not doing is very noticeable and memorable. Start today by purchasing some blank note cards and paying attention to issues that are impacting your clients or COIs and looking for a way to support them with your influence.
Michelle R. Donovan is a referral coach, speaker and partner of Productivity Uncorked LLC, a coaching firm that specializes in helping female financial advisors increase their referrals and get more done in their day. Michelle has written a Wall Street Journal Best Selling book, The 29% Solution (published in seven languages) and an Amazon Best Selling book, A Woman’s Way: Empowering Female Financial Advisors to Authentically Lead and Flourish in a Man’s World. To schedule a free 30-minute call with Michelle, reach out to her at [email protected] or connect with her on LinkedIn.