Client Attraction: Is it part of your everyday activity?

Financial Professionals Client Attraction

Clients do not arrive at anyone’s door without us attracting them. They don’t. So what do you think attracts clients to work with you and is it an intentional part of your everyday activity? [The operative word being “intentional” in the question.] If you hesitated to answer, then check this out.

First, let’s define the subtle differences in Push Marketing vs. Pull Marketing:

  • Push Marketing is a strategy intended to sell you something outright. You set-up a direct-selling environment to be face-to-face in sales with a client.
  • Pull Marketing is a strategy which involves motivating a client to seek you out of the crowd. You get the client to come to you.

Both push and pull marketing strategies are an important part of a marketing plan for any business. Push marketing, however, seems to be more natural for many of us in financial services to do and today, I’m will share three ways you can be  more intentional in implementing push marketing tactics for client attraction:

Giving Away Value

Free. Zilch. Zip. You simply give value away. Sounds crazy, right? I know some of you are thinking, “Sheryl, giving away my craft doesn’t pay my bills.” Think about it this way though. You’re at the cash register paying for your groceries and your favorite baseball team has a pocket takeaway for you to have a list of all their games right in your wallet. You grab it and go.

…that was pull marketing through giving away value.

What can you give away which would attract people to your business? Could you:

  • …give a class at the local library on debt reduction?
  • …become a JA teacher for a local school and teach kids about finances?
  • …write a weekly column for your local paper about money?

Be intentional about what you plan to give away and make it something of real value to someone. Don’t go into this thinking you’re going to only give half of something away and make them work for the other half, it doesn’t work like this and you’ll be perceived as a jerk. Give away value and you will attract clients to your practice. If you give value away every day, people will have even more reason to do business with you.

Social Media Amplification

You know I have to get social media in this! Salesforce reported 70 percent of brands are increasing their social media spending in 2015. (I’m sure it’s more for 2016!) Today, it’s easier to connect with our clients via social media and make better purchasing decisions.

Any pull strategy requires a highly visible brand and social media helps amplify it. Your clients expect you to entertain and inform them. As mentioned above about giving away value, this is no longer considered “courtesy”, it’s an expectation. Clients also expect to find this value through social media.

Using the local library class as an example, you could:

  • …invite clients to attend the class and bring someone else would benefit from the material by posting this on Facebook and Twitter.
  • …with your class outline create a small graphic with some key points by using a cool tool called Pablo (found at and talk about the material with your followers.
  • …connect on LinkedIn to the program director at the library and ask them to share your invite with their community.

Have social media do the legwork for you. It has the ability to amplify far past what you can do by one-by-one. Social media is one-to-many. Leveraging social media is a smart marketing strategy with any push or pull marketing plans and it should be a part of your everyday activity.

Word of Mouth Referrals

This is the holy grail of pull marketing and some of the most effective ways to grow your business. Too often we wait until after the sale to ask for the referral. Instead, when the relationship is full steam ahead and clients are happy, why not ask during the process? You must have a specific process in place too. It might be filling out a form or sending them a question in a survey.

Going back to the giveaway, what if you gave your current client a 30-minute consultation to give to a friend who would benefit from similar services? My trainer, Chris Meier, recently gave me five business cards with one free workout to give to friends. It took me less than 2 hours to give those away. Doing something unexpected goes a long way with clients referring you!

How are you handling birthdays and thank you notes? I tried for one year to send out handwritten notes – I couldn’t do it. I have more than 3,000 connections and it was not feasible. However, I had time to send a thoughtful email or order a Starbucks gift card with a note and send it out. I had a much higher return on those than the handwritten note, which I still send out about 400 per year. When advisors have been referred to me, many have come with the set-up that I’m thoughtful and incredibly thankful for business, which I truly am. I’m intentional in making time for this every single day too.

So what are you willing to do TODAY to attract clients to your business? What new habit are you going to begin working on TODAY to invite new people to learn about your practice? Client attraction must be an intentional part of your day-to-day duties.

Write back and share with me. Any questions, I would love those too!

Be bigger, better and more BIONIC today!

Sheryl Brown | @BIONICsocialite






What can #FinServ expect in social media marketing for 2016?

Predictions for 2016 Social Media Marketing for Financial Services Professionals

I’m not a fortune-teller and I haven’t met anyone yet who can accurately predict the future.  However, I do watch trends in social media marketing and feel it’s important that I share this information with the financial services markets so we aren’t so far behind!

Social media has been a tough place for our industry.  Whether you want to say it is compliance or the overwhelming nature of data itself, as a community of professionals we must pick a few areas and really go for it…especially in 2016.  You see, it’s getting to the point where catching up is extremely difficult.

I believe 2016 is a make it or break it year for us.

This is the year where we play or get played.

So why not try concentrating on one [or all three] of these areas as part of your business plan for 2016?  If you need help or have questions, please contact me!  I want to see you be successful!

Here are my three big predictions for 2016:

Video Killed the Radio Star in 1979 and still today in 2016.1.  Video Killed the Radio Star in 1979 – – and still is.  You can’t go anywhere online without a video playing.  When Buggles sang the song “Video Killed the Radio Star” they could not have possibly been able to predict how true that would be in 2016.  Some 37 years later and we are using video for damn near everything.

Video has lead to live streaming with tools such as Meerkat and Periscope, but I don’t see the financial services market jumping on that bandwagon quickly (compliance!!) but these tools are invading our everyday space.  Did you see the story of the police who caught the woman who live streamed her drunk driving?  The police (a lot like financial services) didn’t even know what Periscope was and after people called in to report the young woman, they had to figure out how to download the app and find her.  Video is powerful, folks.

Who would have thought YouTube would be considered a dinosaur of video…but it is.  When is the last time you went on Facebook without seeing a video auto-playing? Realize you are competing with videos from big brands too – so make ’em count!

One company in Indiana is doing it right for financial service professionals too.  Covideo in Indianapolis, Indiana has figured out how to make video for email easy and affordable.  You can turn your emails into a tool for face-to-face and just-in-time interactions with your clients.  If you’re a financial services professional and want to use video in 2016, I have an affordable arrangement set-up with Covideo to have access to their Enterprise account at the Premium account price.  Contact me for more information and to get started.

Email - it's not just a fad, I promise!2.  Email – – it’s not just a fad, I promise.  There was a smidge of sarcasm in my lead-in as I remember the days of people who said email would never stick around.  How many of you remember getting your first email address?  AOL?  NetZero?  Yahoo?  Yep – those were the days!

Today, though, email has taken on a different look and feel.  You want your email to be more original, incorporate video (see #1 above) and provide value to the person it’s bugging (and that’s all email is – a disruptor, stop trying to make it something more than it is).  Andy Crestodina of Orbit Media is quoted as reminding that quality projects are a must!  He’s right – we have to up our game!

Send me a sample of an email campaign that you’ve done – I will critique it. You want to build influence with your email, provide help to challenging situations, all the while funneling your audience back to a site where you can convert them.  It’s not an easy task.  If you’re trying to do this as a financial service professional, you might need some help…I’m just saying!

For example, are your emails visually appealing?  Do your emails look different on a desktop vs. a mobile device?  Are you using a quality (yet affordable) email provider to build campaigns that are trackable and provide feedback?  If you want, I can help you dig deeper and better understand this.  Emails should help build the Know-Like-Trust factor.  They shouldn’t be something self-serving and bothersome to your readership.

Content and Context - it's not for the faint of heart!3.  Guess what – content AND context are king!  Content with context is not for the faint of heart.  I recommend those who want to move the needle in 2016 as a thought leader to get real with their audience.  Stop being polite and get to the point of what you want them to know, learn, experience, feel and share.

Content with context lets you take your relationship-building to the next level.  My friend, Neal Schaffer, of Maximize Social Business, says it best, “I am going to be investing more in technology to help me expand relationships that I have created online.”  You can only have the right conversations with the right people when you stop being a robot and start being a human being.

Financial service professionals have mastered the business persona.  We know all the right answers for asset management, wealth creation, income protection, legacy planning, etc.  Those are very important issues, but I guarantee Grumpy Cat is going beat you out every time because the stuff we talk about isn’t fun or funny.  So, how do we change this?  For one, we start being more like Brittney Castro of Financially Wise Women.  She’s not afraid to be as silly as she is serious about money and financial planning.  She has the content WITH the context – – that’s the secret sauce, folks.  (Go follow her too – she’s pretty cool!)

Understanding that consumers are in control now is vitally important.  They pick what they want to see (to a large degree, at least).  They pick what they want to talk about.  They pick what will be shared.  Their expectation is about a relationship, some recognition, and a conversation.  The question you need to ask yourself is, “Am I providing this to my clients?”  If you have to think for more than one second how to answer this, then you’re not doing your job right in marketing your business correctly.  That’s 100% your fault, but in your defense, you’ve never had to spend so much time thinking about this question.  That’s why there are marketing folks out there you need to work with to help you out.

Any questions – let me know how I can help.  Make 2016 your year!  Stop being behind and get out in front of the pack!  You got this!

Be Bigger, Better and more BIONIC today!

Sheryl Brown @BIONICsocialite


…and the standing ovation goes to @FMGSuite!

Financial service professionals: If you’re tired of me telling you to do social media, then maybe you’ll listen to Craig Faulkner of FMG Suite!

I had the good fortune to visit with Craig Faulkner last fall at his office in San Diego – wow!  I was blown away!  Craig has an AMAZING staff that really care about financial professionals and their social image.

Recently, an article written by Craig was published by about the advisors who are still not using social media.  I still don’t get that – say what?

Craig addresses 5 major theories on those who are not using social and I want to reiterate and support his thoughts because I run into these every single day at Ash Brokerage:

  1. Huh?  Advisors just don’t get it.  Gary Vaynerchuk of Vayner Media reminds us that we didn’t come out of the womb driving a car, we learned how to do it.  Well, social media is no different.  Pick something and go!
  2. Compliance.  I think Craig was kind when he said advisors ‘explain’ their fear of compliance.  I’m just going to say it’s an excuse.  Compliance has become a crutch for some advisors to create an excuse not do something / anything.  Find out from your compliance officer what is allowed.  If you can’t decipher the mumbo-jumbo legal jargon they send you, partner with someone (or contact us at Ash Brokerage) to help you with this.
  3. NOW!  One thing some advisors do is try to put me on the spot about how they haven’t gotten any traction on social media, yet they’ve had a LinkedIn account for 6 months or have a Twitter account they’ve never tweeted from.  Just like anything, social media takes time.  I remind often that the ROI of social media is Return on Impact…if you’re not putting fair impact into your social, then you’re not going to get a fair return on it either.
  4. Ain’t Nobody Got Time For That!  C’mon!  Anything good takes time.  You nurtured a relationship to become a marriage.  You nurtured a child to become an adult.  You nurtured your education to graduate from college.  Marketing is the same thing – you must put time into it to get something out of it. Make the time!
  5. Ch-Ching!  Most social media platforms are free.  There are costs associated with keeping them compliant.  Put the cost in perspective of keeping your content compliant and meeting new clients though.  Craig is right when he points out these are a fraction of your marketing budget.

So what are you waiting for?  Join others – stop being social media averse and embrace learning a new skill.  There are lots of us that want to help you succeed!

I can’t let Craig one up me though!  Ha!  I did a video with Craig where I offered 5 social media marketing tips and we would love for you to watch it!  Just click here: 

Let’s get social – feel free to connect with me, Craig and others online!

Be bigger, better and more BIONIC today!

Sheryl Brown / @BIONICsocialite

What @PennHolderness and @KimJDean are teaching us about creativity through #JammieTime

I admit when I’m wrong – and here I am…eating crow about the Holderness family.

Last year, I was a little turned off by the #JammieTime YouTube video where this very creative family with Penn Holderness and Kim Holderness featured their kids, where the lived, etc. in a Christmas video that went viral.  Truly, I approached my concern from a space of worry about their kids and any weirdos out there….but that worry has now turned into marketing jealousy on how such the simple idea (notice I didn’t say “easy” because there is nothing easy about making a video, I know this!) of changing up a well-known R.E.M. song to provide a glance back into their lives has once again gone crazy well.  Well done, Holderness family!

What #JammieTime taught me was to stop worrying so much and let my creativity flow…yes, even in the conservative world of financial services.  I write differently a year later because of folks like the Holdernesses who empowered me to be real and tell the stories as I would when speaking on stage.  If someone is a naysayer, who cares?

Watch the video – relish in the fun this family is having – clap for their successes and then apply their lessons to your practice.  How will you be different this year?  Is fear holding you back from being a little more creative?  Where can you make some tweaks and keep true to your message?

I’m Holderness-ing your feet to the flame in 2015!

Sheryl Brown / @BIONICsocialite

Why #FinancialServices needs to pay attention to the latest @TakenMovies LinkedIn disruption

How many times have people said to you, “Financial advisors have no reason to be on Twitter…you won’t meet anyone there.” or “Financial advisors don’t need to learn about Instagram…it’s a complete waste of time.”  I’m here to tell you, phooey on those people!  You don’t need that kind of negativity in your life!!

Recently, Mashable wrote about a very different kind of disruption on LinkedIn.  ‘TAK3N’ with Liam Neeson is a movie running a promotion through LinkedIn and it’s really nothing short of brilliant:  You simply go to their LinkedIn page, follow their page by Dec 23 (2014) and you will be entered into a contest to have your skills endorsed by the movie character, Brian Mills, as well as having a video recorded that you can put on your LinkedIn profile.

Crazy?  Absolutely!  Irrelevant?  Absolutely not!

For many in financial services you might not be able to add the endorsement due to compliance, I get it.  I’m talking about the disruption part of this social media promotion; that part you might be able to get around.

All too often broker-dealers and compliance officers are talking to advisors about all these approvals that are needed on financial articles to make sure they are consumer-approved.  I also get this too, but what if you could post non-financial related matter in real-time without approval?  What if you disrupted your own postings to be more human-like and shared content on occasion that disrupted the norm?

That’s all this movie promotion is about and you can do the same thing.  This is completely scale-able to your unique audience, offering and value proposition.  What if you put a video on your LinkedIn page of you going crazy at your favorite football team’s game?  That isn’t what someone expects to see on a profile – and that’s the whole point of disruption!

How could you be different (and still be compliant)?  Maybe it’s changing your LinkedIn profile picture every month with a different hat or background that featured a prominent holiday?  Seems silly – but probably very memorable.  What if you started sending video messages to your clients instead of a regular email?  Why not be different?

Different is a good thing.  Disruption is an exceptional thing.

Sheryl Brown / @BIONICsocialite

We’re only human…it’s amazing what happens when marketing remembers this

I travel a lot.  In 2014, I spoke in 10 different states and drove or flew through more than 20 different states in my travels.  For all the people who trek through airports, you would think humans matter quite a bit to them, right? Nope – we are just a form of luggage, carted from vessel-to-vessel without a lot of thought being put into the money we spent to travel, the experiences for the first time travelers, the families or friends we left behind.  Up up and away, blech!

Then Schiphol and KLM came along and in this 2 minute video you are quickly reminded that human connection can happen not only for this carrier, but it’s possible for all industries.  When the airline stopped and remembered these are human beings, look at what they were able to accomplish?  As this Convince and Convert article reminds, “The best stories are often deeply personal.”

As you look at the business you’re working on now and in the new year, how can you make it more personal?  I mean, we are already dealing with client’s families – businesses – finances – futures, but dig deep:  How can you make this a real experience for your clients?

One of the things I’m deeply guilty of is talking about financial services too business-like.  I have this deep-rooted due diligence that keeps saying, “Be businesslike, Brown!” but everything else in me screams “They’re just people!  Knock it off!”  The trials and tribulations of an independent insurance advisor!

Ask your most loyal clients why they stay?  Survey them and get to the meat-n-potatoes of why they choose you, why YOU?  Then replicate that experience with others but remember to customize it to each client to meet their need.  Unique touches makes your business offering unique.  That’s stickiness, but it starts with remembering we are all just a bunch of humans exchanging experiences.  Don’t over think it or make it more complicated.

Human business – what a concept, right?

Sheryl Brown / @BIONICsocialite