The ubiquity of the internet and social media in our modern lives gives each of us the opportunity to share something about ourselves with the wider world. We share with the hope of finding common ground and common beliefs both with the people we already know and new people we want to connect with.
But sharing our stories online mostly requires putting our thoughts and emotions into words. That is not my forte. In actuality, I struggle with it but work very hard to get better at writing. I am a much better speaker than writer, but I also recognize how valuable it can be to write down my ideas in a format that I can share with you.
For one, writing sharpens my thought process. Finding the right words to describe the philosophy behind the work I do allows me to think about the reasons that motivate me every day. I can become more precise about explaining the work we do, why I think it matters to me and to my clients, and how it adds value to our relationship.
Two, I believe it is important that clients know what my opinions are and how I arrived at them. As a financial planning firm, the decisions we make on behalf of clients don’t come randomly—each of us invest a lot of time and care in making recommendations for your financial future.
We don’t arrive at these conclusions quickly or easily. You should see the thought process we follow—and putting that process in writing is an ideal way to share it with you. Plus, a client who has a better understanding of what I stand for as their advisor will have a greater sense of ownership in our relationship, and ultimately in their financial plan too.
Of course, I don’t expect every client to agree with me. My intention is not to persuade but to inform. I may not see eye to eye with every investor who comes into my office for an introductory appointment. That’s important to recognize up front—as a client, if you don’t share the same conviction in the decisions we make, it will be difficult to form a lasting relationship. It is better to discover any differences sooner rather than later. This is something I can do easily by sharing my thoughts out in the open.
There’s also a matter of authenticity that clients should understand. As a financial advisor, it’s easy for me to find canned content on a wide range of financial matters that I can share on my blog and on social media. I think this is a disservice to clients—if you are looking to start a lasting relationship with an advisor, it’s important that you understand who they are and what they believe is important. Those beliefs can emerge through writing, but if I write honestly and openly.
Relying on canned content from anywhere doesn’t convey honesty or openness. There isn’t anything authentic about using someone else’s words as your own, especially when other advisors can easily adapt the same canned content for their own use. Similarly, clients are also shortchanged when a financial advisor tows the company line in their communications. Where’s the original thought? Where’s the personality and the human touch that is essential in a relationship? As obvious as it is to say, authenticity can’t be faked.
That’s another reason why I choose to put my thoughts and ideas into words—it brings my humanity to the forefront, so clients can come to understand the real me and decide for themselves if they want to open a relationship and work together to secure a stronger financial future.
To me, there is value in writing with my own voice, my own words. That value comes in the way it strengthens my relationships with clients. It helps me build a financial practice for the long haul, and it helps my clients build confidence in their financial plans.
I believe so much in the importance of authenticity that I encourage my small business owner clients to follow the same path, to bring their own voice and words to the communications they share with clients.
I’ll write more about my thoughts for business owners in my next blog post. The more you can be open and honest and authentic with clients, both current and prospective, the better relationships you will build. And client relationships are the foundation for any successful business in our modern, socially-focused age.