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  • Home>Practice Management>Practice Builder>Make the Most of Your Online Presence

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    Make the Most of Your Online Presence

    Here’s how to turn cold online prospects into clients.

    Helen Modly, CFP, CPWA and Barbara Ristow, MS, CFP, 04/12/2017

    Brick-and-mortar storefronts are shutting down as online shopping takes over the retail world. And everyone is an expert with instant access to search engines.

    As a result, the old way of acquiring new clients--via warm referrals--is becoming “old school” for many advisory firms. Most advisors have an online presence, and many are actively engaged in social media.

    The internet allows advisors to cast a wide net as we search for prospective clients who fit our specific niche. But it also presents its own challenges.

    How do you stand above the crowd while presenting yourself, your firm, and your services to a cold prospect online? You no longer have the luxury of a warm hand-off, mutual connections, or a shared interest over which to form a bond. Instead, you’re now on the cat walk (along with your peers) at the beauty pageant.

    Online Presence
    You’ll want to begin by evaluating your online presence and compare that to your competitors.

    You may have set up your online profile at any number of industry websites, such as the Financial Planning Association, CFP Board, or National Association of Personal Financial Advisors. In addition, you may have subscribed to commercial lead generating services, or perhaps you were profiled on websites and magazines. Ask your support staff or a family member to run an online search to see your profile as an external viewer. Set yourself an annual calendar reminder to update your profile at any services that you have subscribed to.

    Next, run a planner search using all the above tools for your area. Review the results and consider how each advisor compares to you. It’s worth your time to at least review their websites for comparison. Now ask yourself, why would someone want to use your services instead? Document those reasons.

    Last, check your online presence again to see how you compare to your competition. Which boxes did you check to create your online profile? Do they tie out with the services that you offer your current clients? Is your minimum AUM or fee still accurate and easy to find? Are your designations current and complete? What impression have you created? Is it consistent with your website? Is it clear why someone would want to work with you?

    Helen Modly, CFP, CPWA, is a wealth advisor with Buckingham Strategic Wealth, a fee-only Registered Investment Advisor. The opinions in this article are the author’s own and may not reflect the opinions of Buckingham Strategic Wealth or Morningstar.com. The author may be reached at nova@bamadvisor.com.

    The author is a freelance contributor to MorningstarAdvisor.com. The views expressed in this article may or may not reflect the views of Morningstar.