Business Growth for Financial Planners in Five Easy Steps

Attracting new business: sometimes it happens by luck, sometimes by referral. Trouble is, "sometimes" just isn't often enough.

So, if you want to add new clients more frequently than sometimes, you'll have to try something else. And with a few common-sense, do-able, and easy steps, any financial planner can build business ? without resorting to lavish, costly marketing efforts or tasteless promotional hype.

Here is a five-step process that is affordable, sensible, and do-able. Make it part of your routine over the next several months, and it will become a second-nature, autopilot system that builds business steadily.

This process builds on my core practice-development premise: the professional knowledge and information you possess is also your best marketing tool. You can use it to get prospects' attention, because you're talking about something they care about ? their finances ? rather than touting yourself.

1. Build a good database of prospects and referral sources. A prospect is anyone you've met (this is key; names on a purchased list don't count) who could become a client one day. Anyone who has ever sent you a piece of business, or even just recommended you, also belongs on your list A database is a computer-stored list with all contact information for each person: mail and email addresses, phone and fax numbers. Missing any of these elements will deprive you of a valuable tool to reach your database. Computerizing is essential: it allows you to readily sort your list by categories. Software programs like ACT are best for smaller and mid-sized businesses: they offer the right mix of power, ease, and flexibility.

2. Use your database: communicate regularly with your prospects and referral sources. The key to building business is to remain constantly front-of-mind with the people most likely to hire or refer you. If you've been paying attention, those are the same exact folks who now populate your database. How to stay on their minds, without those pestering phone calls or scheduling 27 lunches a month? By sending them something useful, regularly. Monthly or bi-monthly is best. (This, I promise, it is do-able because creating the piece is going to be simple. See step 4?) And let's avoid that "What's the best way to send something?" trap that stalls many would-be marketing efforts. The truth is: some people prefer email, some snail mail, and you'll never know just who likes what. So we'll cover all bases by rotating the delivery means: an e-mail this month, an article in an envelope next time, an occasional faxed piece.

3. Make them want your messages. The way not to do this is to send them ads, promotions, or self-congratulatory pieces. Instead, send them meaningful messages with valuable information. A heads-up on a new mutual fund offering, perhaps, or a general suggestion for a new retirement planning strategy. Something based on substance, and that spotlights your expertise on the subject. Whether or not they need this particular bit of information right now is irrelevant. Your message reminds them you're out there, thinking of them, and that's all we want to accomplish.

4. Keep it simple. Your messages should be brief ? two or three paragraphs is enough. More detail than that is counterproductive ? it wastes your time, and the reader doesn't need it. If it's still a struggle to write it yourself, verbally brief a staffer, or whoever helps you with marketing, or a freelance writer, on the information. Have them create a first draft. It may not be perfect ? but you can then edit and hone it ? probably in a few minutes. Make this process uncomplicated because that is the key to getting it done.

5. Become a resource ? go to the media. With the steps above, you've become a resource to your prospects. Next, widen your scope by going to the media for free publicity. Media exposure puts your name, face, and expertise in front of new prospects, and it heightens your credibility and market value among those who already know you. Don't be discouraged that you are too small for the media to care. And don't think that you need to spend big bucks, or hire a costly firm. All you need to do is become a resource for reporters, too. Offer to explain the new tax law, or to share your year-end strategies with them. Send an email or make a call, suggesting a specific topic that you've been talking about with your clients lately. Chances are, it's a potential news story. With a little planning and luck, one that quotes you prominently.

Ned Steele works with people in professional services who want to build their practice and accelerate their growth. The president of Ned Steele's MediaImpact, he is the author of 102 Publicity Tips To Grow a Business or Practice. To learn more visit http://www.MediaImpact.biz or call 212-243-8383.

In The News:

This RSS feed URL is deprecated, please update. New URLs can be found in the footers at https://news.google.com/news

The Verge

How Facebook's crisis PR firm triggered a PR crisis
The Verge
In time it will come out that this response including hiring a public relations agency whose work includes what is euphemistically referred to as “opposition research” and is more commonly understood to involve smear campaigns. These campaigns target ...
Facebook hired firm with 'in-house fake news shop' to combat PR crisisNBCNews.com
Facebook, Facing Backlash, Fires PR Firm It Hired To Discredit Soros, Other CriticsForbes
Facebook accused of dark PR tacticsBBC News
Daily Beast -Variety -New York Times -Facebook Newsroom
all 1,454 news articles »

Forbes

Why Purpose Is Important To Your PR Strategy
Forbes
While pursuing B Corp status aligned with our overarching goal of having a purpose beyond profit, it also became our most important and highest performing public relations (PR) story of the year. Many of the major travel outlets, and even business ...


Forbes

How To Reframe The Perception Between PR And Ego
Forbes
But here's the thing: Your content never changes, and PR should really be about connecting with the media to share the value you can bring to their audience. Therefore, it's really important for you to shape the context and your view of how you're ...


The Verge

Facebook-linked PR firm Definers pushed criticism of Apple, Google, and Bird
The Verge
As Facebook reels from a bombshell New York Times report published this week, much of the focus has been on a controversial public relations firm hired by the company. Definers Public Affairs, a DC organization, pressed reporters with information ...
Qualcomm reportedly hired crisis PR firm behind Facebook ...Engadget
Facebook's former PR firm seeded fake stories about bias at Apple NewsTNW
It's not just Facebook. GOP-linked firm “brought oppo research to Silicon Valley”Fast Company
CNBC -Yahoo Finance -Branding in Asia Magazine -New York Times
all 29 news articles »

Irish Times

Facebook's new PR disaster shows it has a lot of growing up to do
Irish Times
This came after it was revealed in a New York Times article that the company had hired a PR agency to discredit its critics by claiming they were agents of the billionaire George Soros, a frequent subject of anti-Semitic conspiracy theories, which are ...


New York Magazine

Facebook Can't Explain the Difference Between Its PR Operation and Russian Troll Farms
New York Magazine
That Facebook would hire a PR firm to protect itself is not that surprising. Mark Zuckerberg described it as a “typical D.C. relationship” in a conference call on Thursday and said he only learned about Definers from the Times' report. If Definers is a ...
Facebook is being accused of hiring a PR firm to smear its opponentsMIT Technology Review
Senators send letter to Mark Zuckerberg asking for more details on the opposition PR firm Facebook hiredCNBC
Breakfast Briefing: 5 (Facebook) things for PR pros to know on Friday morningPRWeek
Investing.com -IDG Connect (blog) -MuMbrella -New York Times
all 210 news articles »

New Zealand Herald

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange hires Kiwi PR guru Richard Hillgrove
New Zealand Herald
Controversial WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has hired a Kiwi PR guru to bolster his global image while he remains holed up in a London embassy. New Zealand publicist Richard Hillgrove, whose previous employers include Charles Saatchi, Dame ...
US Is Optimistic It Will Prosecute AssangeWall Street Journal
Julian Assange has been charged, prosecutors reveal inadvertently in court filingWashington Post
Court filing indicating possible Julian Assange charges - DocumentCloudDocumentCloud

all 2,037 news articles »

The Indian Express

Amid sting row, Chhattisgarh PR commissioner transferred
Times of India
RAIPUR: Just before assembly elections in the state, Chhattisgarh government has shifted out its commissioner for public relations Rajesh Sukumar Toppo, two days after opposition Congress complained to Election Commission demanding action against ...
Chhattisgarh PR Commissioner transferred amid sting rowAll India Radio
PR secretary Toppo relieved of responsibility on EC's instructionUnited News of India

all 24 news articles »

New York Times

A Fugitive Financier's Charm Offensive Has PR Firms Proceeding With Caution
New York Times
The owner of one public relations firm hired by Mr. Low's legal team, James Haggerty, said in one filing that he believed all of his work fell within the litigation exemption to FARA. But Mr. Haggerty, who is also a lawyer, wrote that he registered ...


PrinceGeorgeMatters.com

Prince George PR referendum ballots cast climbs slightly ...
PrinceGeorgeMatters.com
On Nov. 6, less than three per cent of Prince George had sent their proportional representation ballot to Elections B.C., but as of today (Nov. 16), there has been ...
Kamloops among top cities to return PR referendum ballots ...Kamloops Matters

all 3 news articles »
Google News

Time to Spruce Up Your Public Relations?

Better check out the public relations fundamental premise, then take... Read More

Publicity and Marketing Magic For Financial Planners: The Four Mores

Publicity will take your financial planning practice, your business, and... Read More

Getting Traffic Through Publicity

If your reading this, you must be online and most... Read More

Time Your News Release For Maximum Publicity

"Cindy, where's that story? I need it yesterday!""Coming right up,... Read More

Financial Planners, Follow These Guidelines to Get Free Publicity

Be a ResourceThe media people that are likely to want... Read More

What I Do

I believe this about public relations.People act on their own... Read More

Why News Releases Fail

Sorry about my otaku with this issue (otaku = more... Read More

How to Make A Great Press Kit ? A Musicians Guide

As an owner of an independent record label, I often... Read More

Grandma Says...

Southern grandmothers have often said, "there are only three... Read More

Press Releases

How do press releases or interest stories have an effect... Read More

Three Communication Secrets of The Great Communicator

I've worked in media and public relations for 20 years,... Read More

Imagine PR Like This Helping You

As the kids say, how cool is this?You're a business,... Read More

Using the Media - Five Reasons Why

The media has the power to shape public opinion and... Read More

How To Get Zero Cost Publicity For Your Business Part 1

Would you like to expand the volume of your business?... Read More

Managers: Heres a PR Template for You

Let's start out with a caution for business, non-profit and... Read More

Sending Samples With Your Press Release-- should you or shouldnt you? Heres a guide?

When you should send samples with your press release:1) When... Read More

Preparing For Your Media Interview

Media interviews are an important part of an overall public... Read More

Creating Event Magic through Planned Video Production

Once upon a time, there was a young, stressed out... Read More

Media Training 201: The Reporters Have Done Their Homework. Have You Done Yours?

Just about anyone who has been in the public eye... Read More

A Company That Doesnt Need Public Relations?

Really? You mean there are NO perceptions and behaviors peculiar... Read More

Achieve Media Attention for Your Business

Do you want to be quoted by the national press... Read More

Leveraging Your Reputation - Making PR Work for You

We rely on all kinds of tools and advice to... Read More

The 7 Deadly Sins of Press Releases

A press release is often your only chance to make... Read More

Are You Sure You Know What Youre Doing?

Because when it comes to public relations, non-believers can produce... Read More

Free Radio Publicity for Marketing-Minded Financial Planners

Radio is a powerful publicity tool. Most stations offer news... Read More