Marketing Your Firm? Don’t Forget This Kind of Communication
We hear it all the time from our clients: The majority of new business at my RIA firm comes from client referrals. A tried and true way of growing a company – but if this is the main way of generating clients, you have to ask yourself if you are really feeding the beast.
When marketing your firm and aiming to bring in new investors, one cannot forget how important client communication is, for RIA firms and professional services companies alike. It all starts from within – servicing and clearly connecting with those who already do business with you. These are the people who are not only giving you business today, but will likely be the main impetus behind the work you get in the future.
Nothing is a better selling point than clients’ referrals. Having someone validate that their firsthand experience was exceptional will always be more compelling than a paid-for advertisement.
When marketing your firm and putting a lot of weight on client referrals as a lead generation tool, be sure to ask yourself the following:
Am I utilizing my media exposure to the highest level?
Similar to word of mouth being more valuable than paid-for ads, objective media exposure is priceless. Having The Wall Street Journal, Forbes or CNBC call on you for insight speaks volumes. Media exposure builds credibility, visibility and can positively (or negatively) change a person’s view on you and your firm in an instant.
You are spending time preparing for and taking part in media interviews and are proud of the results, but how are you leveraging this? A broadcast appearance or print article placement does not stop on the day it aired or in the issue it was printed – media placements have legs, use them. Here are few ways to:
– Include a media highlights section on your website and note this in your bio, too.
– Send out monthly or quarterly highlights of exposure to clients.
– Alert everyone in your database when you are appearing live on TV; send a follow-up email with the link after you appear.
– Create a visually-appealing, one-page sheet that pulls out top placements and place a stack in your waiting room for visitors to see.
Is my written communication frequent and informational enough?
Sending e-newsletters to your database is a great touch point. Since you are not talking to clients directly every day, it is important to keep communication lines open and written communication is an efficient and effective way to achieve this.
Take a step back and look at how you are compiling e-newsletters. Ask yourself:
– Is my firm generating authentic content that matches how we approach our business and what we promise to deliver our clients? Or, am I taking generic content “off the shelf” to cut corners in my dialogue with clients?
– Are these topics addressing real life issues (for example, the Federal Reserve’s latest move or the market’s continuous volatility)?
– Should I always be the voice? Or should others, also working directly with clients, be shown?
– Am I answering real client questions? If a trend is forming over a topic clients keep asking about, cover it. People will notice.
– Is collateral sent frequently enough? Of course an overflow of information would not be welcomed, but make sure you are touching base with clients semi-regularly.
Communication is a two-way street
Let your clients know that you’re accepting constructive feedback as much as a referral to a new client. If clients are unhappy, no referrals will come in. No RIA firm is perfect and it is better to make clients feel comfortable voicing constructive remarks than turning a cold shoulder to areas that might need improvement. Making clients feel comfortable that they can communicate with you, with the good and bad, will usually lead to a positive outcome.
Client communication needs to be on the frontline of your marketing efforts. Being open to listen and talk to clients, prospects and centers of influence is vital to your firm’s growth.