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Forward Thinking Magazine : April 2011
32 cORINNe GePP corinne Gepp runs a small, emerging sole practitioner financial planning business with an insurance focus. After she suffered a serious bike accident during training for a triathlon, Gepp needed help and strategic advice to refocus on her business and its future. “Our aim with Corinne is to help her achieve clarity on her income goals and time horizon to achieve these goals, the types of clients she wants to attract to the business and what she can offer them in terms of services and pricing,” says Fiona Mackenzie. “We then modelled exactly how many clients she needs to achieve her goals and how many leads she needs to identify to hit her target client numbers.” A focus of the plan has been to identify and leverage referral sources that will deliver business to Gepp’s practice over the longer term. “Macquarie really helped me to put my business under a microscope,” says Gepp. “The team grilled me about what I want to achieve with the business, who my potential referral sources are and how to develop good relationships with this group. Financial advice is all about relationships, not impersonal marketing tools, and my strategy is all about winning good clients from trusted referral sources. Through this process I’ve realised I’m surrounded by high quality referral sources and what’s important is properly managing those relationships.” An important aspect of her plan is setting aside time each week to maintain referral relationships and make sure they know she’s hungry for new business, as well as the types of clients she wants to attract. “This process has made me much more consistent in my contact with referral sources. It will ultimately lead to better quality leads and eventually to my ideal practice comprising clients with a particular amount of funds under management and risk profile,” Gepp explains. “We worked with Corinne to devise referral strategies and helped her develop a weekly sustainable, achievable ‘training plan’ to keep her focused,” Mackenzie explains. As a triathlete, this approach resonates with Corinne, and the plan maximises periods during the week when her energy is highest. It also ensures she can have every second Friday free to focus on life outside her business. It includes clear actions such as scheduling three new business phone calls each Wednesday so Corinne knows exactly what she needs to do to achieve her goals.” As Linco’s webinar experiment has progressed he has learnt more about how to engage the audience through polling viewers and allowing them to dial in and ask questions, making the format similar to a radio show. Says Linco: “Talking with no-one in front of you makes you really understand the skill of radio announcers but we’ve become more comfortable with this format as time has moved on.” To attract attention to the webinars, Linco also produces short You Tube videos that drive traffic to his website and preview content for each webinar. At the same time, he uses an email marketing campaign to tell his clients and prospects about upcoming webinars. “The email marketing tool we use has excellent analytical functions that allow us to see who has opened the email and what they viewed. We can also benchmark our statistics against the industry average,” he says. Linco has also tried popular social media tools such as Facebook and Twitter but says the most effective tool for his business so far is LinkedIn. “We use it as a front office for clients in addition to our website. Around seven to 10 per cent of the webinar audience comes through LinkedIn,” he says. This year, says Linco, the business will start to release short podcasts that are summaries of the hour-long webinars. The podcasts will be distributed through iTunes. He’s also revamping his website to include the digital content he has developed over the past two years as a further value for time-poor clients and prospects. “We’re also going to focus on measuring new business that has resulted from the webinars and other social media tools,” says Linco. “My advice to other firms thinking of going down this path is to try different things and see what works. It’s been a great initiative for getting our messages out there because it allows us to reach clients right around the country and it’s very time efficient – in an hour- long webinar I get the chance to reach 100 people, making it a very effective marketing and client education tool.” caSE STudiES