This is why your referrals don’t pick up the phone
When we commented recently on research which found 14% of advisers don’t have a website, there was a recurring theme in the comments section.
(Yes, I know, we should never read the comments section!)
‘It is now essential for advisers to have a comprehensive digital presence.’! utter twaddle. many firms have excellent client bases, only accept new clients by referral from existing clients and have no interest in plastering themselves or their clients (and their personal finances) all over the internet.
No client has EVER asked me if I’m on Twitter! Though several have passed sneering comments about it.
This response to the suggestion that a digital presence is essential for business success in 2019 is something we hear regularly.
We accept that lots of Financial Planners generate the majority of their enquiries from referrals; from their existing clients and professional contacts.
Where referrals are the primary source of new client enquiries, a comprehensive digital presence is no less essential. Here’s why.
What a referral does first
Before picking up the phone, the first thing a referred prospective client will do is enter your name into Google. Other search engines are available.
What they find (or fail to find!) during this search will inform two things.
Firstly, whether or not they pick up the phone.
Secondly, whether or not they will be receptive to your proposition as they enter the first meeting.
The search engine results we see, which come from a variety of sources, make the difference between a referral picking up the phone to arrange a meeting, or going elsewhere.
Search engine results
There are three possible outcomes of this referral search activity.
Best case scenario is the referral finds several pages worth of recent content, professionally-presented, demonstrating your expertise and experience in core advice areas.
These search results in the best case scenario are likely to include your website with recently updated blog posts, social media posts with your views on topical personal finance issues, a news item or two where the journalist asked you to comment on the story, professional images, and some videos giving the referral an insight into your personality.
That’s the best-case scenario. There are a couple of alternative possibilities.
One possibility is the referral searches for you only to find…nothing. Nada. Zilch.
Little is more unnerving to a prospective client – referred or not – than the complete absence of a digital footprint. To update Descartes, I’m on Google; therefore, I am.
In this age with concerns about online security, it’s perhaps unsurprising that some of us choose to ‘go dark’ on the web, with no social media accounts, website profiles or mentions of our names in online publications.
And by the way, it won’t reassure the prospective client who finds no digital footprint when you tell them you comment anonymously on New Model Adviser as ‘darkhorseifa8923’.
The other possibility is the prospective client finds negative search results.
These unflattering results could include Ombudsman rulings or regulatory sanctions, 1-star reviews from disgruntled clients, out of date content, dubious personal hobbies or pastimes, or anything else that could place you in a negative light.
Within your control
The excellent news about search engine results is, they are mainly within your control.
If you create and publish relevant content on a regular basis, which is well optimised for the search engines, then what your prospective client will see will be in line with the best-case scenario described above.
Which raises the question; are you currently doing this?
Are you publishing a new blog post on your website at least once a week?
Are you speaking to personal finance journalists from the trade and national press?
Do you record podcast episodes or YouTube videos to share with your audience?
Is your website up to date and built to the latest modern standards?
Are your various social media profiles consistently designed and regularly updated with topical content?
If your answer to any of these questions is ‘no’, we should chat.When a prospective client searches for you on Google, what do they find? Click To Tweet