Pete Matthew explains the most effective approach to take when ‘wooing’ your clients with the help of social media.

    I’m not an anthropologist by any stretch of the imagination. All I know about prehistoric humans comes from Captain Caveman and those guys from Night at The Museum.

    But there’s a cliché about cavemen that they used to bash cavewomen over the head and carry them back to their cave to become their mates. That may or may not be true, but I think everyone would agree that this is not an appropriate method of finding a life partner in the 21st Century.

    In the same way, hard-sell techniques and assumptive closes are a thing of the past. These days, to win a new client, there must be more compelling reasons for them to move in your direction, let alone take the step of instructing you as their adviser.

    These days, so much of the courtship is done online, and can be divided into three main stages: Awareness, Following and Engaged.

    Awareness

    “The goal of being on social networks, is to get the prospect to follow you.”

    This stage is where your company name is beginning to filter into your prospect’s consciousness. In an offline world, this is achieved through sports sponsorship, radio and print adverts, civic involvement etc. Online, the primary tools are the social networks.

    Here it is important to know who it is you’re trying to attract - your ideal client avatar. When you know this, you might have some idea as to where they hang out online. Is it LinkedIn or Pinterest? Facebook or Twitter? Each of these major networking sites has a primary demographic, though some, like Facebook, now seem to cater to everybody.

    You need to learn to speak the native lingo of whatever site you’re on, crafting your message to suit the audience. The whole purpose of the exercise, the goal of being on the social networks, is to get the prospect to follow you.

    Following

    In order for a prospect to follow you actively, there has to be reason for them to do so. People come online to learn, to connect, to find the next step. Prospects of financial advice firms are probably looking for answers to their primary financial questions, such as how to pass on their business to their children, how to arrange care fees for their elderly parent, that sort of thing.

    Your wooing of the prospect in the Awareness phase needs to lead them to discover your content back at your website. This content needs to do three things: Educate, Entertain and Empower to action.

    When prospects realise that you are consistently offering something of value to them in their situation, they are likely to get to the stage when they offer up the first sign that they are thinking about committing. They will hand over their email address.

    Engaged

    Yes, our email inbox is a sacrosanct place. We all get so much email that we’re wary of adding to it with unnecessary froth. But you have proved your worth by providing great, insightful content which answers many of your prospect’s questions.

    Now that you have a pass to the holy of holies, you need to honour that privilege by creating even more value to the prospect. If your process for capturing their email address is effective, you will know where they signed up and what their primary financial issues is. You can then confirm their decision to engage with you by providing even more value, with targeted emails offering deep support of these issues.

    When the time comes for them to make a decision to see an adviser to actually move forward in addressing their needs, who do you think they will call? They won’t be reaching for the Yellow Pages; you’ve already proved your worth.

    Of course, the romancing doesn’t stop there. Like any healthy relationship, the courtship should continue indefinitely, long after there is a commitment from both sides. If there isn’t, then eventually resentment will sour the relationship, perhaps irreparably.

    I’ll deal with how to continue the romance in another article, but for now, it’s time to go a-courtin’!

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