Would you believe that the success or failure of a business may come down to the humble newsletter?
Don’t believe me? Read on!
We live in a world of constant change so I think it's fair to say that reviewing business practices isn't something that's done only when you have the time.
Just as we must keep up with legislative changes, it's important to keep a close eye on what's going on in the world outside our office so we don't get left behind.
With the added pressures of maintaining an advice business, it's easy to get distracted with the urgent, only to forget the important. No matter what stage your business is at, there comes a time when the question “why are we doing this?” needs to be truthfully answered.
Your business might be on track, or you may be loving your job, yet something is still missing. How will you know what it is if you don't ask, "why are we doing this"?
The “why question” should evoke a heartfelt response.
It helps to recreate focus, which could be the catalyst for a very big – and hopefully good – change.
Once you have the big picture answer to this question, take a bit more time to drill down to the details – the various tasks that you have been just “doing, doing, doing” on a daily/weekly/monthly/quarterly, even annually, basis.
When life is good some of us tend towards complacency. We find comfort in the routine of doing the same thing over and over, never stopping to question if it is still effective or not. (Does “This is the way we’ve always done it,” sound familiar?)
Reviewing your practices at the very least every year is a crucial aspect of management (just like regular financial plan reviews are for your clients).
Given that it’s our specialty, I’m going to focus on client education and ask if what you’ve been doing is working for you.
For example, when was the last time you questioned the purpose of your client newsletter?
Is it because you're constantly told that you "should" have a newsletter? (Not a good start...)
Is it to stay in touch with your clients, so they know they’re being looked after? (That's better!)
Is it to educate your clients to help them make more informed decisions, turning them into better clients? (Aaahh, now that's an excellent purpose!)
But go one step further - if you get down to basics, your newsletter is primarily a relationship-building tool.
And when done well and consistently, it can weave pure magic for your business.
Your newsletter will first ATTRACT INTEREST to what you do and how you do it.
As you continue this contact, sharing your expert knowledge will start to CREATE SOUND RELATIONSHIPS with your prospects until they become your clients.
It doesn’t end there, the next stage, which is probably your newsletter’s most important role, is to BUILD TRUST AND CREDIBILITY with your clients to maintain long-term relationships.
Your newsletter is a key tool in building and maintaining relationships, which is fundamental to the long-term success of any business.
Not convinced? Heard all that before? Okay, let me put it another way.
Get ready, I'm going to be bold...
In addition to client work, you are constantly bombarded with service offerings from people: investment products, research, software, etc.
Dealing with all these has to fit into your busy schedule - a schedule which usually includes publishing a monthly or quarterly newsletter - but there are too many "more important" tasks so you miss one or two editions (or a whole year of them!).
When your clients stop hearing from you - particularly in uncertain times - they forget the value of your wonderful financial advice and think they can do it better themselves - or they receive another adviser's newsletter from a friend. So they leave.
Without regular communication you lose clients.
Without clients you don’t need products, research, software, etc.
Without clients you don’t have a business or a job!
So you see, communication is just as important as all of those other services. If you think that's a bold statement, take another moment to chew on it.
Financial Writers Australia has based its life on helping advisers stay in regular contact with their clients and potential clients.
We've been doing this since 2000 and during that time we have witnessed one consistent pattern – those advisers who give their clients interesting and relevant information on a regular basis, are the ones who succeed. That is a fact.
Now you know the real point of your newsletter...
How's your next edition coming along?