Say what you want about your business. Tell me you care. Tell me you have loads of experience. Tell me you will solve my financial problems, get me on a budget and ease my worries about retirement.
Tell me about your business until you're blue in the face, but I'm only really going to believe you when I hear someone else say it.
What other people think about you and your business -- that's social proof and it's the key to marketing your business and establishing trust with potential clients.
Three Steps to Social Proof for Financial Planners
Lucky for you, as a financial planner you have to establish social proof without client testimonials or direct endorsements of your services.
The good news is, establishing social proof isn't impossible for financial planners -- it just takes a little more leg work. At least your direct competitors face the same challenge and because few will go the extra mile, you'll have the advantage if you follow these three steps.
1. Be a Helpful Know-It-All
Establishing yourself as an expert in the financial field builds your credibility and reinforces your trustworthiness beyond what you can legally tell a prospective client.
Instead of building trust based on past results with other clients (an obvious no-no), promote yourself as an expert in your field.
Every time you speak or write about financial planning you borrow the credibility of the organization, such as a website or media outlet, that gives you a platform. You not only get access to the audience (hello, free time in the spotlight), potential clients will start to trust you as they will assume their favorite source of information only partners with top talent.
Look for trustworthy and established outlets to broadcast your expertise:
- Land interviews on podcasts
- Write for blogs and websites
- Teach a class or workshop
- Partner with other experts, influencers and business owners
2. Be a Good Person
Wouldn't it be great if you could just post a few reviews or reveal that you have a 97% satisfaction rating with your clients?
Since you can't, (holy cow, please never do - your compliance officer will have a heart attack or a worse, a field day) you'll need to prove yourself by generally being a good person. Consistently show up, follow through and establish trust in other areas of your life and career.
When you demonstrate you are committed and hardworking in non-professional areas of your life, potential clients assume you carry those traits to your profession.
- Keep your LinkedIn profile updated
- Volunteer in your community
- Regularly attended and support local business events
- Actively participate in professional networks or online groups
- Earn industry designations, recognitions and/or awards
3. Be a Light
People looking for a fee-only planner are likely jaded by the financial planning world or just don't know where to start. No one wants to step into the murky unknown. As you open the door to a working relationship with you, let light come pouring through.
Prospects need information to feel at ease and comfortable that they are making a good decision to trust you with their financial planning needs. Transparency in the form of information about yourself, your services, fees and process will be that light.
So give your clients all the information they need to make an informed decision. Keep them from scratch their heads and wondering what you are up to or what you are hiding. The more you tell, the more they'll trust.
- Let your personality come through on your website
- Blog about your process and the type of client experience you create
- Package your services and provide detail of all it includes
- Openly share your fees
- Disclose any outside manager's costs
Your Social Proof Is in the Pudding
Ultimately, with time and focus you can establish social proof without testimonials.
In fact, this kind of social proof, while a little harder to establish, is actually better. Instead of relying on other people's words, you sit in the driver's seat and get to show the best side of you, your expertise and your character.
About the Author: Natalie Gowen is a web designer and content coach for left-brain professionals. At Moxie Tonic she pairs creativity with strategy and builds sites that provide social proof, connect with prospects and grow practices.