This article was originally published on Think Advisor, March 17, 2023.
Ever hear the expression “One-man band?” When I started my business, I would describe my job to others as “my firm’s worldwide marketing department.”
There are many individuals seeking to build their own personal brands and reputation. If you are an insurance agent, financial advisor or real estate agent, you know what I mean. How do you do it?
1. Social media. “On the internet, no one knows you are a dog.” That expression originally referenced anonymity, but it also means there are few clues to the scale of your operation. Hire a coach or buy a program showing how it is done. You can produce YouTube videos, host podcasts and write articles, positioning yourself as a subject matter expert.
2. Focus on a niche. This can be defined in many ways. It can be a geographic niche. You are the real estate agent specializing in houses in one large development. It can be a cultural niche aligned to your own background. You can work closely with people in a specific profession. As a financial advisor you understand teacher retirement plans.
3. Get on TV or interviewed in print. By hiring a public relations firm to do the legwork, you could become the financial advisor who is a frequent face on TV explaining what the stock market did today. You could become a resource for reporters writing articles about your niche. In professions like financial services, you need approval before you talk with the press. Your content needs to be vetted.
4. Join an organization. Get to know everyone. You are an attorney. You join the local country club, get active and get into a gatekeeper rule like serving on the membership committee or welcoming new members. You attend every meeting and event, trying to be as charming as possible. If you serve on the board, you let your patron know you respect the rules but are interested in adding new clients. How do they think you should proceed? They will likely have a quiet word with a few people, sending business in your direction.
5. Are you a great golfer? One financial advisor met was a former golf pro. He would invite a client to play a round at his club. He would ask the client to bring along two friends. The client and the pro would suggest a little competition, with those two playing against the invited guests. The client and advisor would beat the guests because the client was a former golf pro. The advisor would contact each of the guests afterwards, suggesting they repeat the process with the advisor’s new partner inviting two different guests.
6. Advertising. Most metro areas have some lawyers who advertise extensively on TV. They might be ads for personal injury lawyers or calls for people to join a class action suit based on product liability. They use billboard advertising too. If someone asked you to name three lawyers, at least one of these names should make your list.
7. Be recognized as the best. At least two publications in our area do people’s choice awards. The nonprofit where I volunteer has been entered in the Best Charity and Best Community Event categories. We are one of many, but the idea is to get the word out to your membership and encourage them to vote for their favorites. People like independent third-party reviews.
8. Does everyone you know understand how you help people? This approach is so obvious, it is often overlooked. A NYC financial advisor once explained: “Your friends may have wanted to do business with you for a long time. The thing they don’t know is why they need you.” You might assume your friends know what you do and vice versa. The problem develops when we make broad assumptions like all lawyers do the same thing or financial advisors are stockbrokers who sell stocks and bonds. The best way to find the opportunity to tell your story is to approach each friend and take a sincere interest in what they do. They should return the favor.
Disclosure: Information contained in the materials included are believed to be from reliable sources, but no representations or guarantees are made as to the accuracy or completeness of information. This document is provided for informational purposes only and should not be construed as individual investment advice.
Bryce Sanders is the president of Perceptive Business Solutions Inc.. Dunham & Associates Investment Counsel, Inc. and Perceptive Business Solutions Inc. are not affiliated companies.
©2023 Dunham & Associates Investment Counsel, Inc. All Rights Reserved
Dunham & Associates Investment Counsel, Inc. is a Registered Investment Adviser
and Broker/Dealer. Member FINRA / SIPC.
Advisory services and securities offered through Dunham & Associates Investment