Financial advisors often work in highly saturated markets, leaving prospects unsure of why they should pick one advisor over another.
By having a personal brand, though, you’ll stand out from the crowd. A personal brand allows you to consistently communicate what makes you different from your competitors.
Because of personal branding, my business model shifted from a hunting model, where I spent lots of time prospecting, to an attraction model, which is where prospects contact me ready to buy.
In the attraction model, clients know, trust and respect you before meeting you. This greatly increases your chances of a sale. At the same time, you are also able to better attract your tribe — your ideal target audience — who you’ll enjoy working with.
Personal branding also forces advisors to think about how we can improve our businesses before shouting it out to our target markets. In other words, the thought processes involved for personal branding makes it necessary for you to identify and clarify what makes you unique.
When your personal brand is strong, it is also much easier for others to refer you, especially when there are multiple articles, videos and social media sources that showcase your brand.
Determining your personal brand
It took a lot of trial and error for me to determine my personal brand. To assist with this, I used several design-thinking processes. This is a nonlinear process that helps you grapple with problems that are difficult to define, such as your brand. Design-thinking processes help you in challenging assumptions, redefining problems and creating innovative solutions. There generally are five phases of the process, which are
My personal brand shifted over the years, which is natural. We grow in this profession. Previously, I was much more focused on myself as an individual financial consultant. Now that I have a team, our brand is “Give First. Do More. Be Better.” This summarizes our work ethic of putting clients first and focusing on the value we bring to them. It also means focusing on overdelivering and going one step further for clients. Additionally, we strive to be better individuals who work on our values on our character while pursuing learning.
I communicate this to my team, clients and staff by embedding this in our logo and constantly communicating it on social media. Furthermore, the team discusses the motto and culture we want to protect and project.
Applying your brand
Any element of yourself that you put out into the world is your personal brand. It may not be as clear as slapping a logo on your post though. Oftentimes, it’s more effective when it’s subtle, such as by sharing a reflective post about what you value in the profession.
My most successful marketing efforts are on social media platforms, such as Instagram and LinkedIn, where I explain why I joined the profession, what I do and what I have learned from what I do.
Offline branding includes putting my logo on collaterals or gifts, such as notebooks, files and water bottles, so I constantly remain top of mind.
Annually, I send thank-you cards to clients to share how I’ve grown over the years. In these cards, I emphasize trustworthiness, commitment and ethical operations by including lines such as, “Thank you for entrusting me to plan not just with you, but with your families too. This year, we have had XXXX number of recommended clients.” These messages are also included in social media posts.
An important note: A personal brand does not work if we don’t consistently and constantly shout it out. So, the power of your personal brand lies in the consistency of communicating it to others.
Joyce Chan is a five-year MDRT member from Singapore.
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