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Yes, Clients ARE Spying on You

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Aug 27 • Facebook, Internet Marketing, LinkedIn, Social Media, Twitter • 3062 Views • No Comments

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Editor’s Note: Spying has quite a strong moniker these days, but we live in an age of ever expanding transparency, possibly both a good and bad thing. From a business perspective, reputation management is more critical than ever. People still snap to judge on first impressions – and when it means managing finances and investments, even moreso, as Mr. Morua points out in his article. We would add one additional thought on due diligence. Don’t forget that often in the referral process, a prospective client’s children will be the ones who are savvy and performing the preliminary lookups online. Insuring you know your digital presence is strong is key here for that first impression. Especially insuring a consistent message, contact information and how you differ from competitors being evident on every online property where you’ve claimed your name and brand.

Word of mouth is still the most reliable way clients will find their future financial advisor. Existing clients chatting with their friends and family may bring up their advisor’s name during a conversation circling around money, investing, or the 2008 financial meltdown. Suddenly your name pops up, “Here is the name and number of my planner. Call her and tell her I sent you.”

In the past, which was not that long ago, people simply trusted someone’s referral, hoping the newfound financial planner (you) would do the right thing with their portfolio and retirement goals. The perfect storm of press coverage of the Bernie Madoff scandal, a global financial meltdown and regular media bombardment of financial ‘bad new’ has both created a heightened awareness of the need for more due diligence, as well somewhat muddying the waters of the public perception of financial professionals.

People are perhaps not as naïve (or you could call it innocent) as they used to be. Someone gets a referral but it’s no longer the client just calling to make an appointment with their future prospective financial advisor.

Hello Google! People will more than likely do some research regardless of the fact that they were referred to you.

Due Diligence

Of course the first place someone goes when looking someone up is a search engine. A prospect is likely to Google your name (or your firm’s name depending upon how they were referred to you). It is highly recommend you do this for yourself regularly to understand what someone sees on pages 1 and 2 of search results.

Being the digital era, it is also highly likely someone will use their preferred social network to look you up – likely what we call the Big Three – Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. If nothing else, be certain someone can learn enough about you on LinkedIn to move to the phone call or preliminary meeting stage.

They may also:

  • Search YouTube for videos and other interactive materials,
  • Search out each of the associate’s names they find on your website,
  • Explore third-party review sites like Yelp.

More formal steps exist that a prospect may follow, if they are informed about them, such as:

So this means an advisor can be easily investigated. Technology and various Social Media platforms have made it easier for people to research financial advisors. There are other websites for financial oversight of RIAs, CFPs, IARs and the like, but those listed above are probably the most straightforward vehicles of investigation. Certain things like Yelp reviews cannot be controlled but others can.  Think about the things you post on Facebook and Twitter. Or Blogs you write, or tutorial videos you post on YouTube. Also be aware of your current client relationships and know that if you do wrong, it can be a smudge, or permanent scar on your public records (yes, this stuff is easily searchable).

Prospective clients are watching.

Marty Morua

Marty Morua

I was fortunate to spend my entire 12 year career with TD Ameritrade working in the Institutional Advisor Services area. After the finalized merger in 2007 they moved the Institutional operations to Fort Worth, Texas. After receiving my severance I decided to help mange family wealth accounts here in New York City.

The tentacles of my background in financial services stretch deeply in the custody side of the business. I developed many specialties but what I enjoyed the most was the RIA relationship building aspect of my 12 year career with TDA. Some highlights are actively participating in RIA office visits rescuing troubled relationships, helping our sales team exceed their YOY targets for net new assets, reinforcing practice management and best practices to help RIA’s grow their business, and deeply engaging myself in the regional/annual conferences where I enjoyed interacting with RIA’s on our platform while courting the prospective RIA’s.

Preserving, growing and rescuing fragile relationships are my core specialties and this allowed me to develop a strong customer following.

The above article is for educational purposes only. Investment professionals should consult their compliance departments before accessing or implementing any of the marketing ideas, practices or advice found in the DigitalFA. Your use of the DigitalFA website tells us you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service.

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