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Agile Computing: Article

Will Social Media Replace the Need for In-Person Meetings?

Are in-person meetings being rendered obsolete by social media?

Remember, we're human beings and after all isn't that what this social media thing is all about? Isn't it about connecting people to people? Connecting people to you, your product, your service, your solution? And what will happen in the future? It will be about connecting clients to clients where they will discuss you, your product recommendations, your service standards, and results of the solutions you recommended.

How will you ever provide this high level of connectivity? Will it come through B2B, P2P, LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, some "killer apps" or F2F meetings? Finally the correct answer is ALL OF THE ABOVE - IT'S ALL INTEGRATED! And YOUR's is the FACE of the new emerging integrated approach to customer connectivity.

So you're frightened of this new world of connectivity, that's human. You want things to remain the same, that's human. Before you take the new connectivity paradigm plunge you may want to ask, "How have we done without B2B, P2P, LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, some "killer apps" and mostly F2F meetings connecting advisors and their clients?"

Well, according to a just released research report, Capturing the Hearts & WalletsTM of Peak AccumulatorsTM, investors aged 28-52 feel very much alone as 54% find it "difficult" or "very difficult" to "find the right resources for getting help with financial questions." Only 18% work primarily with a financial professional, such as a broker, registered investment advisor, insurance, banking, and mutual fund or on-line brokerage representative the report states.

This means a full 60% of the investment industry's focus is concentrated on near- and post-retirees while 57 million households in the 28-52 population with more than $5.2 trillion in investable assets are ignored. Some estimates have the number at over 60% of the near- and post-retirees who haven't been contacted by their advisor in the past 18 months.

So, now, how do you think the industry has done without B2B, P2P, LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, some "killer apps" and mostly F2F meetings connecting with clients?

With this bleak assessment of connectivity with Gen X and Younger Boomers as background, "How do advisors change the connectivity paradigm?" How do advisors provide customers the ability to connect to them, their product set, service model and solution set? That's easy - you fire them!

At least that's what my friend Scott McKain told me he would do - and here's why:

1) You don't have the time or resources to create Ultimate Customer ExperiencesTM for everybody. If you sharpen your focus by "thinning the herd," you can devote your attention on those bringing you the most business.

2) Ever notice that bad customers complain more and take up more time than great ones? Why give your time and emotion to customers who make up a small part of your business? Center your efforts on those who are already fans...and help them grow to another level.

3) Do you have customers that - by the very fact they are doing business with you - creates bad impressions about you and your organization? Once, I was booked by a speaker's bureau to address a well-known and respected company. Until the company found out the bureau had shady practices. They canceled the speech...then, refused to work with me, assuming that "birds of a feather..." Are you doing business with someone that casts a negative light upon your organization?

4) Bad customers cause stress that you don't need at levels difficult for you to manage. I once had a customer that made my blood pressure spike as soon as I heard she was on the phone. We would jump through endless hoops to try to keep her happy, and she stressed all of us beyond description. I fired her. I told her that we did more for her little bit of business than we did for our best four clients combined...and that was not going to continue. We were choosing to devote that effort for our best customers.

Guess what? The productivity of our team was enhanced...our best customers started getting even better service and increased their business...and the bad customer came back to us and asked what they needed to change so we could continue to work together.

That accomplished F2F, it's time to create and implement an F2F connectivity paradigm strategy with your customers. You may consider adopting a version of what the Financial Times did this week. They are asking readers to contribute to future leader columns. You read it correctly; readers will be able to help shape the paper's editorial line through its Arena blog joining FT writers in online debates about topics for upcoming leader columns.

Might an advisor blog help connect people to you, your product, your service, your solution set. Remember, in the future your clients will be connecting to one another to evaluate you.

According to the Capturing the Hearts & WalletsTM of Peak AccumulatorsTM, study 78% of middle-aged investors consult friends and family at least "sometimes", but only 28% say "my friends seem to know how to invest".

This is a situation ripe for an "Integrated Solution Suite". The study has identified a need, appropriate solution and target audience. The advisor solution leverages information from their blog, e-mail, the firms, personal, and solution provider of choices website, LinkedIn, Twitter, marketing materials and F2F meetings.

And by the way, nothing's changed - it's still YOUR FACE as the FACE on the new emerging integrated approach to customer connectivity - F2F.

More Stories By D. Bruce Johnston

D. Bruce Johnston, President | COO, CaptureTrackConvert is regarded as a high-energy, results-driven Financial Services Distribution Executive. His 30+-year career has been distinguished by an impressive record of accomplishments, contributions and winner of the Institutional Investor Fund Marketer of the Year award. CaptureTrackConvert (CTC) provides easy to use, powerful enterprise level marketing automation software to fast growing SMBs. CTC is dedicated to helping SMBs maximize their marketing resources, improve the effectiveness of their marketing campaigns and generating more sales ready prospects thus dramatically improving sales and the bottom-line.

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