and Create Prosperity on Purpose
Ellen Rogin, CPA, CFP®
If you’ve been in business for a while you’ve likely used and mastered the traditional, tried and true ways to grow your practice. Maybe you started out by making cold calls, going to networking meetings, hosting seminars, and schmoozing with centers of influence. If you haven’t upgraded your approach in a while I suspect you’ve seen your results suffer. Truth is, it’s not that networking doesn’t work anymore, rather the way you go about networking needs updating. The same is true for working with COI’s and offering workshops; time for a refresh!
Maybe it was always currency, but no longer will people tolerate referring business to an advisor who is, as Adam Grant author of Give and Take calls it, a taker or even a matcher.
Clients, referral sources, and staff want to do business with authentically good people who are doing good things in the world and are generous with their advice, their network and their resources. Need some inspiration to boost the velocity of your generosity?
Remix your strategy with these 25 ways to grow your business based on generosity.
- If you want more referrals, give more referrals. What goes around comes around and not always from the same individual. Be the person people go to when they are looking for a referral. Go beyond the traditional attorney, CPA and mortgage broker referrals. How about including massage therapists, decorators, nutritionists, counsellors, coaches, and personal trainers? You get the idea.
- Mentor another advisor. If you want to really grow your skills, and your business, help someone else grow theirs. Mentoring isn’t “giving back” a term I personally don’t like. It’s about giving forward. You can be a mentor at any stage in your career. Maybe you rock at using video and webinars to attract prospects and a more experienced advisor has no clue about this. You can mentor them on these strategies. And maybe you need help in dealing with staff issues and someone with more years in the business can help you.
- Take a colleague (notice I didn’t say competitor) out for coffee. There is plenty of business to go around. Making friends with other advisors in your area just may bring more referrals your way. Every client isn’t a good fit. When you can refer to an advisor who might be a better fit everyone wins. You may have the perfect skill set for a prospect that an advisor in your network can’t serve.
- Start a study group. Find other advisors you like and respect and create a study group. This can be virtual or in person. You’ll be able to share best practices, marketing ideas and be there to support each other when business gets complicated.
- Step up to be a leader in a professional organization. Supporting organizations that you participate in is a great way to meet other professionals and show them what type of professional you are. When you do an excellent job as a volunteer in a professional organization not only are you helping the group, but also evidencing your skills. This is a good way to create a professional glow and be top of mind for referrals.
- Send thank you notes … every day. When you sincerely thank someone for how they’ve helped, inspired, and supported you you’ll make the recipient feel like a million bucks. Handwriting the note will set you apart and make a big impression. If you just won’t do that, email is still a great way to acknowledge someone important to you. Actually, pull out your phone right now and send a text thanking someone you know for their awesomeness. Guaranteed to make you both feel great.
- Be a generous listener. Are you truly giving your full attention when clients, team members and your family talk to you? Or, are you like most people and while people are talking you’re thinking about: what you’re going to say next, making a judgement about them, or something totally unrated like what’s for dinner?! Giving another person your undivided attention is a beautifully generous act.
- Make a charitable donation. Loosening your grip on money will allow more to flow your way. Having a discipline around your charitable giving will help you to be more deliberate about how you support causes you believe in. One of the best strategies I know is to set up a separate account earmarked for giving. Take a percentage of your income each month or quarter; put it into a separate account. Yes, it can be a donor advised fund but it can also just be a separate money market or saving account. Once I started doing this my business grew. Do I know why? Not really, but studies have shown that people who give more make more.
- Introduce two people you know can help each other. This isn’t about inserting yourself into an introduction – it’s about making connections for your connections. This will eventually come back to help you. Be patient and trust.
- This is obvious, but crucial. Spending time volunteering has so many benefits including helping you grow your business. And while it’s not the reason to volunteer, you just might meet people who can refer to you. Being a valuable member of your community will help put a corporate halo around your firm. This is not only helpful for bringing in business, but almost required these days for recruiting new team members. 64% of millennials take corporate social responsibility into account when deciding where to work.
- Donate to your client’s favorite charities. When my practice had its 20 year anniversary we sent letters to all of our clients offering to donate $100 to their favorite charity. They loved this and we did too. Not only did I celebrate this milestone in a positive way, but I also learned about my clients’ favorite causes. Terrific information to have to acknowledge them going forward.
- Write LinkedIn Testimonials. I know as an advisor you might not be able to receive testimonials on LinkedIn, but you can likely give them. Support people in our network without being asked. This can include COI’s, friends, speakers you hear at conferences (believe me this is greatly appreciated) and people you personally do business with.
- Give some social media love. Go ahead and give them a dopamine hit. When you like, comment, or share a post you’re supporting someone in your social network get their messages out to more people. This will help them and give them a jolt of feel good chemicals in their brain as well.
- Share your favorite podcasts and blogs with your clients and peers. We are all overloaded with information. When you can curate great sources of information for people in our life they will be so grateful to you. Shameless plug alert: You can start by recommending Horsesmouth and Horsesmouth Advisor Radio!
- Write a heart-felt gratitude note to someone who has helped you grow professionally. Think back about who has been so inspirational and influential in your growth and success. Take out a note card and write to them about the impact they’ve made on your life. Share a specific memory with them. Seal the note, and mail it.
- Don’t be shy about your volunteerism. Hopefully you are involved with charities to support a good cause as opposed to impressing your clients or friends. But you don’t have to be silent about your good work. Remember, people want to do business with good people. You can be subtle about this. Perhaps putting a picture up in your office that spurs a conversation, or mentioning your work as you are catching up with clients. This picture of our daughter Amy on our first trip to Ghana was in my office for a long time.
- Contribute your time and talents during Money Smart Week. In our local area there are lots of events going on for Money Smart Week. In the past I’ve done pro-bono consultations to people in Chicago. Not only did I feel like I helped people out, but also connected with other advisors in my area.
- Donate business clothes to a charity that will pass them on to people in need.
Here are some ideas where to donate: https://www.thebalancecareers.com/where-can-i-donate-business-suits-i-dont-need-525594 and https://jailstojobs.org/free-interview-clothes/
- Memorialize a time of connection by sending a photo post card to a client or colleague. https://sincerely.com/ink Here are some examples I’ve sent:
When I connected with dear friends and women I’ve mentored at a conference
When a friend of mine spoke at a big meeting and rocked the stage!
- Send an “I’m thinking of you” email to a client. Don’t ask for anything. Don’t make it about business. Just let them know they are important to you and you’re thinking about them. Maybe send them a wonderful quote or a funny joke (just make sure they will think it’s funny too.)
- Throw a great event for your clients. Show them how grateful you are by throwing a party in their honor. This isn’t a market update; it’s fun, entertaining or interesting. A wine tasting, a talk from a local celebrity, or even a magician. You know your clients. What do you thing they would really love?
- Give generosity focused party favors at your client events. Perhaps cookies from a bakery that supports developmentally disabled adults, candles made by refugees, fair trade gifts or gifts made by Global Mama’s bring a fair wage to women in Ghana. Please stop giving mugs with your company logo on them – nobody wants these.
- Meditate regularly. There are many studies on how meditation reduces reactivity, stress, and increases the ability to take another’s perspective. What could be more generous to your clients, team, and family than you being calm, a better listener, and less reactive?
- Do pro-bono consultations or teach a course. Could your knowledge be helpful for people in your community or for a local non-profit? Local organizations such as women’s shelters, YMCA’s, local high schools, etc. would love your knowledge. You can also find opportunities through The Foundation for Financial Planning.
- Surprise your team with a special day out or a special day in. Let your team know how important they are to you on a regular basis. I’ve done spa days (always a fan favorite), and also brought massage therapists into the office. Pick something they’ll just love and they’ll likely love you and their job. And that shows! Not only will your team be appreciative, but your clients will notice as well.
Here are even more ideas for ways to be ridiculously generous in all areas of your life. And when you are, watch what happens to your business growth! Remember, generosity is the new currency in business.
Ellen Rogin, CPA, CFP® is the co-author of NY Times best-seller, Picture Your Prosperity: Smart Money Moves to Turn Your Vision into Reality. As a former top producing financial advisor, Ellen is an internationally-known expert on building wealth. She consults and speaks to the financial services industry on growing business and working in the women’s market. Ellen is also a host of Horsesmouth Advisor Radio. To learn more and to sign up for Prosperity Tips visit www.ellenrogin.com.