I used to get really annoyed when a financial service professional would pick my brain about increasing their online presence and yet, when I would follow-up they would say, “Well, so-and-so told me that it’s not a good idea so I’m going to just hold off for now.” Ugh – so frustrating, but I learned not to get aggravated with the advisor I was helping. They were doing what we all do – gathering insight from their circle of influence. What I needed to do instead was embrace the influencer.
What is an influencer?
If you are like me, I used to think someone who influenced another was generally very popular, maybe even an online YouTube person, etc. However, when Chewbacca mom (Candace Payne) went on Facebook to show off her new Star Wars mask from Kohls – she really didn’t mean to influence the sale of more masks. She was just being funny with her friends. However, her video went viral (almost 10MM views on YouTube alone) and just like that – she was an overnight sensation. She influenced the sale of more masks (they sold out of them in just hours).
Why are influencers so powerful?
When someone is authentic in their advice to someone, their influence in that situation can override even the most common sense solutions. They can sway someone’s thoughts one way or another based on their trust earned by peers alike. That trust is extremely powerful and it’s why I want financial service professionals to understand the importance of these influencers to your practice.
How do you embrace your influencers?
When you recognize a client who influences others (and we can reference them as COIs for those who are used to the term of ‘Center of Influence’) you need to stay in close contact with that person – and make sure they are a part of as many client-facing functions, as possible. If an influencer can be in a room and talk about your dazzling debt reduction plan, your frisky financial portfolio created, or your ready retirement tips which have helped them move closer to their goals, this is pure magic in your practice. Let them tell others how awesome you are!
Be a person of action – Go through your clients and find out who your real influencers are (and be honest with yourself…don’t just lump your best buddy or gregarious gal into the pot…REAL influencers only) and make standing dates with them on your calendar. Make sure their invitations to events are very special. Include them in asking for advice about your practice. Leverage that influence; don’t squander it.