5 things advisors can learn from the OscarsArticle added by Robert Sofia on March 6, 2014
Robert Sofia

Robert Sofia

The Villages, FL

Joined: September 21, 2010

Did you watch the 86th Academy Awards ceremony? Whether you're an occasional theatergoer or an impassioned movie buff, you can learn a handful of useful lessons from the Academy Awards that can help you improve your practice. Here are four lessons financial advisors can learn from the film industry's most prestigious honor.

1. Know your category

It's not just one Oscar that gets awarded. There are awards for many categories, like best makeup, set design, supporting roles, screenplays, etc. Do you know which category you occupy in the minds of prospects and clients?

Investment News recently published an article that highlighted Mackenzie Martin, who built a client base of over 300 families by carving out a niche for herself by helping veterinarians with their financial planning. Your category doesn't have to be limited to the types of clients you serve, as in Martin’s case. It can go beyond who your clients are and be more about how you work with them.

Take a look at the types of events you put on, your style of working with clients, or even your approach to managing money. Look closely, and you will begin to find common threads within your practice. By having a keen understanding of your category and working to improve its strength, you will be better able to set yourself apart.

2. Be smart with social media

This year's Academy Awards host, Ellen DeGeneres, shared a star-studded picture on Twitter. It received so much engagement from users (over a million shares in less than an hour) that it crashed the website temporarily.

It's true. Some experts have overhyped aspects of social media, but you should not ignore it. It is here to stay, and it is a powerful tool that can be used to create connections with others. Rather than blasting out "me too" marketing messages, use social media in a manner that creates value, is interesting, keeps you top of mind, and shows that you are up-to-date.

3. Be human

In your interactions with clients, it is important to abstain from being too stuffy or formal. Don't be afraid to show you have a sense of humor either. An appropriate, well-timed joke helps put people at ease and builds rapport.

People like to see that you are a real person. Although the Oscars is a formal tradition going back over 80 years, it doesn't take itself too seriously. Sometimes, the stars mix up their lines when reading from the teleprompter, or award-winners stammer during their speeches, but the ceremony still goes on. They are forgiven. In fact, some winners trip over their words, while others literally trip, like Jennifer Lawrence did last year. She handled herself with poise, laughed it off, and garnered even more favor from the public.

Cultivate sincerity and empathy, seek and train for it among your staff, and you will be able to build more loyalty among your clients.
4. Shoot for top of mind

There are a couple reasons why most of the movies nominated for Oscars are theatrically released later in the year. For one, the films are more likely to still be in theaters after the awards are given out. More importantly, if a film is released earlier in the year, the buzz surrounding it is more likely to die out when it comes time to nominate Oscar contenders. The lesson here is simple: Being top of mind makes the difference.

Stay in contact with your clients. Make sure to be consistent with your marketing and follow-up communications. People are busy. If you fail to keep yourself in front of them, they will forget about you.

5. Craft an experience

Why do we watch movies? People watch stories unfold on the big screen for a chance to experience and feel something. Whenever you interact with prospects and clients, you have the opportunity to make them feel and experience something. It can be great, horrible or so-so. Which experience are you creating?

Think about how you and your staff handle clients. Take note of the stories you tell to help them understand ways their wealth can be affected. Be aware of the length of time they're kept on hold on the phone or left waiting in the lobby. Make sure to pay attention to the experience you provide for clients, and work at crafting the best one possible.

And the winner is...

Here is an extra lesson gleaned from the Oscars, and it's probably the most important. Great financial advisors embrace one fact more passionately than mediocre ones: They know who the real star is, and everything they do reflects that.
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