Triad advisor Laura Schilling, who represented the 30’s and 40’s age group on the Women of the Ages panel, has found the best employees are women who want to work part-time so they can be available for their kids. They are paid hourly and can work from home if they want, using a Citrix connection. Some come to the office but being a flexible employer is key. She also asks each of her employees, “What would make you feel appreciated – spas, retreats, time with the team, time for yourself, time with the kids? I look for what motivates them, and not only find but keep incredible women this way. Most of my staff comes from staff. They are extremely loyal and hard-working,” Schilling said.
BUSINESS BUILDING TIPS
When asked how she attracts new business, Kim Kropp, a Securities America advisor in her 50’s, said she does no direct marketing. Everything hinges on the soft sell. She gets all the business she needs through referrals from existing clients. As an example of how she builds relationships, Kropp talked about the holiday open house she’s held at her own home for the past 32 years. 100 people, mostly family and friends, came the first year. 400 people came through in 2011, many of them clients and their friends. She makes all the food, drinks.
But her main marketing initiative is Christmas in July. Sixteen years ago she delivered a special surprise to her top 30 clients, with her kids as delivery helpers. Now her staff goes out and delivers to 400 client homes and offices. The surprises are different every year. Pies. Cinnamon rolls. Magazines. Popcorn. Tortes. She tries to find specialties made in Omaha, where her office is based. She says it’s about getting into their homes. Seeing what their life is like.
“I try to touch everyone I meet in some way,” Kropp said. “They become friends first then find out I’m a financial advisor and come to me for that.”
Violeta Salud, an Investacorp advisor in her 60’s, lives in a small town, Lake Wales, Florida: population 15,000. “If you really want people to know who you are,” said Salud, “you have to get out there and repeatedly say who you are. I try to get free publicity every chance I get. I’ve been the PTA president, the chairman of the board for an organization that serves people with special needs, and so forth. I am very active in civic and community activities. I try to get in the headline as much as possible.”
Salud has held client appreciation events for 15 years but became bored speaking about investments, so started entertaining her clients and their friends. Changing from education to entertainment works for her gregarious personality and brings more clients to the fold. Examples: she brought in a dance troupe from Tampa; she collaborates with local colleges and the music departments to help them fundraise.
Like Salud, Kropp has also held women’s events—one where everyone gets a mani/pedi; and family events such as a ball game that’s open to family and friends. Kropp holds five educational events a year; for instance, she brought in a motivational speaker to talk about dealing with stress and sent everyone home with a long-stemmed rose. She hosted a Medicare event and asked clients to bring friends.
LOOKING TO THE FUTURE
“The steering committee and I thought long and hard about the agenda for this conference,” said Desmond in her closing comments. “The feedback we received from the advisors attending was been overwhelmingly positive. Some of you are asking for an annual in-person forum, much like this one, and have given us your wish list of sessions for next year. In addition, many of you have expressed a strong interest in using digital communications such as webinars, teleconferences, a community discussion board and video, to keep the conversations and connections alive between institute meetings. We are extremely pleased with this response and will, as a steering committee, be discussing next steps,” Desmond said.
As I was finishing up this article for Financial Planning (some 34,000 feet high as I wing my way to another conference), I received an invitation from the committee. I’m happy to report that I’ll be one of the first webinar guest speakers for the Ladenburg Women and Finance Institute in 2013. My topic on the February 12th webinar will be “Demystifying Social Media and the Digital Reality.”
As always, if you’ll be attending any of the conferences below, tackle me and let’s chat. Otherwise, you can post your comments on the discussion thread below or interact with me on Twitter, LinkedIn or Facebook.
- Jan. 28-30: FSI One Voice in San Diego
- Jan. 30 - Feb. 2: TD Ameritrade conference in San Diego
- Feb. 6: Sourcemedia private client event in New York City
- Feb. 11-13: T3 Technology Tools for Today conference in Miami (use code T32013IC to save $50)
- March 27: FPA Kansas City social media workshop in Overland Park, Kansas
- April 9-10: Tiburon CEO Summit XIV in Manhattan, New York
- May 14: National Trust Company of America conference in Las Vegas
- May 19-21: Investacorp national conference in Puerto Rico
- June 9-12: Securities America national conference in Washington, D.C.
Marie Swift is a communications consultant in the financial services industry. Learn more at www.ImpactCommunications.org. Follow @marieswift on Twitter, “like” ImpactCommunicationsInc on Facebook, or search for Marie Swift on LinkedIn.