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      professional development
     How should advisors find clients today?
by Susan Goldberg
Seminars, referrals, cold calls, letters and emails: in
the age of Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, these “classic” prospecting tools can seem as relevant as a DVD player.
But advisors shouldn’t jettison old-school approaches in favour of an entirely new-media marketing strategy.
“The old methods of hand-to-hand combat still work,” says Richard Heft, president and co-founder of Ext. Marketing Inc., a financial services marketing firm with offices in Toronto and New York.
“But the new-media methods are very good ways to fortify those old ways and get them working better and smarter for you as an advisor. Why not leverage them to build out your reputation as a thought leader?”
The key, he says, is to combine old and new approaches: use new media to promote and repackage seminars, for example, and to target and reach clients at a time when the white pages are less helpful.
Heft jokes that advisors should take an “environment- ally friendly” approach of reusing and recycling.
“If you give a presentation on estate planning, take that content and recycle it: repackage it into a white paper. Use it to create a series of blog posts. Pull out some facts and create an infographic that you post on your website. Use micro-points in a series of Twitter posts.” You could even post the presentation on YouTube, or repackage it as a webinar.
These approaches help time-strapped advisors gener- ate relevant content on a variety of platforms, he says.
Similarly, new media can make “cold calls” more targeted and effective. LinkedIn’s geotargeting feature allows advisors to search for the niche audience they’re seeking within a given city — such as teachers, small business owners, or dentists — and then reach out via the platform’s messaging feature, he says. For a fee, LinkedIn’s sponsored content feature can help put an advisor’s content (e.g., an article, interview or webinar tar- geted to that niche audience) in front of their prospects.
But it’s not just the delivery method that’s changing. In an age when people can get a wealth of generic financial information online, today’s advisors need to engage with cli- ents and prospects in ways that go beyond the basic “how
Want instant engagement? Talk up TV
So, you’ve found your niche target market in a group on LinkedIn or Facebook. Want instant engagement? Start a conversation about a television show related to that niche — for example, Grey’s Anatomy with nurses. Whether they love it or hate it, people will chime in with their opinions, says marketing expert James Pollard of It’s a great way to start conversations.
to make the most of your RESP contributions,” Heft says. Rather than pushing products, advisors should be providing information that addresses prospects’ more personal needs.
“What people really want to know is if and how they will be able to afford to send their kids to school, retire more comfortably earlier, leave something to the next generation, pay down debt, take a vacation or give to charity in the most efficient manner possible,” he says.
Certified financial planner Sandi Martin, chief operat- ing officer and partner at Gravenhurst, Ont.-based Spring Financial Planning, uses a number of prospecting channels. She’s active on Twitter, contributes regularly to Spring’s blog and monthly newsletter, and co-hosts the somewhat irreverent “Because Money,” a biweekly podcast on finan- cial planning now in its sixth season. Her firm also has a presence on LinkedIn and Instagram.
The platforms introduce prospects to her and her col- leagues. Martin mostly tweets (and retweets) about finan- cial planning and investing, with the occasional nod to pop culture and the regulation of financial advice. Increasingly, she says, the firm is finding clients through these channels.
“A not-insignificant number of new clients have said, ‘I found out about you on your podcast,’ or ‘Oh, I’ve fol- lowed you for years on Twitter,’” she says.
These new-media referrals come pre-screened: her listeners and followers already have a sense of the firm’s philosophy and what Martin describes as her “sort of strange personality.” Existing clients are kept engaged with these platforms as well as by Spring’s blog and newsletter, all of which cross-promote content.
How can advisors maintain a regular, not to mention

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