I’ve recently just published my first two articles on LinkedIn. I’ve been writing this blog for a number of years now, and LinkedIn has opened up their platform for people to publish articles directly, and I’ve held back until now.
In part, because we share our articles on LinkedIn anyway, so our target market get drawn to our own site, also in part because our articles are always for a very targeted group of readers who make up a very small percentage of LinkedIn members, and also due to some material I’ve read about SEO rankings.
So why have I broken my silence on LinkedIn publishing? Well, I figured I’d start with a message that my LinkedIn connections could easily share with their networks – one that had wider appeal than just to financial advisers. See, my first article published on LinkedIn is aimed at consumers, sharing the positive story about financial advice in an attempt to give them something empowering to read other than the negative press that bombards them on a daily basis. Seriously, if I were looking for quality advice and I didn’t yet have a great relationship with an adviser I’d be scared right now!
I’ve also published a second article that I’ve replicated here, to raise the call to those in my network who are financial advisers. Yes, many people who have not sought advice, or have had a poor experience in the past have a negative perception of financial advisers. Yes, I know that it can be easy to feel rather beaten-up and misunderstood at the moment.
So I put it to my network who are financial advisers – What are you going to do about it? You could spend your energy arguing the validity of various media statements and advice studies, or calling for someone else to stand up for financial advice, OR you could do your own bit to help people to see what great advice is really all about. I find that spending positive energy always results in a better state-of-mind, and usually a better outcome – and the choice is entirely yours.
What can you do?
I implore you to share with the world, the outstanding work you do. Speak with some of your favourite clients and ask them to help you re-educate people about what great advice really is. Share their stories – if they’re happy to disclose their identity, great – if they want to remain anonymous, that’s ok too. Select clients for whom you have made a tangible difference. Insurance stories are great – they’re the obvious ones…and there’s no shortage of those stories…also consider the clients who haven’t had such a spectacular moment….the ones who are comfortably living the retirement they chose because of the smart decisions you helped them to make when it really counted. Don’t forget those who are enjoying family holidays and seeing their children be educated the way they want to because of the structures and the behaviours you set up for them. These too are spectacular outcomes!
Write up their stories on your website and share them with people via email (both directly and by putting a link in your email signature), via LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter. State openly that you’d love for people to share the story with their networks so that people who need advice most are not frightened by the media stories about the small minority of advisers who don’t behave the way you and your peers do. Find media contacts in your area and share the stories with them too.
An easy share
If you like the message in my article about advice, share it on LinkedIn and Facebook, and ask your happy clients to make a comment in your post about the great work you’ve done together. Then ideally, encourage them to share YOUR post with the link, so that all of their friends can be warmly introduced to you by someone they trust.
I have been in this profession for over fifteen years – I’m a CFP myself and I’ve spent the past eight years at Elixir supporting advisers. I love financial advice. I know how powerful it is, and I know what a difference it can make for people. And I am tired of the minority representing the advisers that I know and respect. That’s why I wrote that article, to help raise your voice – I don’t provide advice to consumers anymore so I’m an independent third party extolling your virtues who is not in competition with you.
I am also a big fan (and help wherever I can), of the initiative started by @Melinda Houghton, to crowd-source funds for a campaign to share the positive stories about advice – keep an eye out for this initiative and get behind it! #PerceptionCorrection
In addition to publishing this post on LinkedIn, what do I do personally to help reverse this situation?
I’m sharing my knowledge and expertise to help the best way I know how… I know that when the right advisers run their business well, they are empowered to deliver better advice to more people. And I work with a team of expert coaches and strategists who help advisers to do this on a daily basis. We’re not in compliance (but we know how to work within it and find the very best experts for guidance). We’re not in advice strategy development (but we know how to find the best help and how to manage a business to ensure they deliver great quality advice to their clients.) What we do know a lot about…is how to run an advice business, and how to achieve the goals of the business owners, whilst doing the right thing by their staff and their clients. A win-win-win.
I’m not naïve enough though to see everyone through rose-coloured glasses. We can also recognise bad advice and bad business practice when we see it. Where it’s intentional, we’ll be the first to defend this quality profession and do what we can do put a stop to dodgy practices. Where it’s unintentional, we help those who seek our guidance to bring about whatever change is necessary to position the business for greater success for their clients, and as a result, for the business. I’m often asked to comment in the media, and I do my best to help people to understand how and why quality financial advice is essential, and how to find someone to trust. Most recently I did an interview with the ABC about how important it is to seek advice when implementing your personal insurances.
And my biggest call to every advice business reading this…is to take matters into your own hands. Don’t wait for someone else to defend you, or to find clients for you, or to fix the legislation so that your business of yesterday can continue to grow. Instead, take a good honest look at how you do everything in your business today, make a list of the things you want to achieve in the coming years, and how you will execute that list. To put it in business terms, write a fantastic business plan that details how you’re going to achieve your vision and then set about implementing it.
Make your plan, work out exactly what you want to achieve, how you will get there (how many client reviews is each adviser responsible for every month, how many new clients will you bring on, what marketing will you do, what extra education will you complete, etc etc etc)…and then track back against that plan every month without fail, to keep everyone switched onto what’s most important to you all.
If you want a small amount of help to just structure your thinking (or for the lowest outlay possible), we’ve released our Juice Console software that will guide you through how to do that and provide the frameworks to manage your business like a business…if you want some help, we have an outstanding team of consultants who do this all day every day…but at the very least take the bull by the horns and turn your business into one that you are proud of. Deliver outstanding advice to clients, change their lives…and don’t be afraid to share your good with the world! It’s about time we all contribute to improving the reputation and public perception of advice.
Here endeth the rant.
(Although I’d love your thoughts and comments!)
Sue Viskovic CFP is the Founder of Elixir Consulting; a sought-after speaker; a business coach; and author of a number of books and programs designed for advisers.
With over 15 years’ experience in financial services, with roles spanning banking, funds management, advice and licensee services, Sue has built her career and her business on helping financial advisers, accountants and risk specialists to improve the way that they run their businesses and deliver advice.