Communicating Change: Planning Essentials to Capitalize on Opportunity
Change is the only constant in life, and the financial industry is certainly no exception.
From market volatility, tax code and legislative overhauls, to internal business changes including mergers and acquisitions, partnership developments (or splits!) and similar—top industry leaders are those who embrace and thrive in this environment.
How can you prepare for and maximize business opportunities during times of change?
Establish and maintain a current database of contacts
Why is this so important? Imagine your company faced a major personnel change, whether a business partner, BD, corporate restructuring or similar. Do you have a system in place to quickly and effectively notify all of your important contacts?
The most basic, fundamental and perhaps valuable asset any business owner possesses is an organized database of current contacts. Ideally, this should include the following in order of importance:
- Functional, current email address
- Contact type (client, prospect, center of influence, and similar – the more you can create relevant segments within your list, the more personal and effective you can be in your communications)
If you do not already have all this information, or you are not sure if it is current, develop a plan with your team for capturing, organizing, storing and maintaining this data as a top priority for 2020. This could include having your staff call out to clients gather data and incorporating a discussion as part of your prospecting, onboarding and annual review processes or other upcoming gatherings.
Know your message and be proactive
Just as segmenting your list is important, adapting your message based on the audience is critical surrounding any kind of change. Consider what questions and concerns they may have, and develop a proactive timeline for notifying applicable groups, which may include:
- Self/Leadership Team: Effective messaging starting with knowing your own story! Be sure all leadership parties are a united front. If this change is something related to the industry, get the best and latest professional education to become a leader and expert on the topic.Communication Method: Whenever there is more than one leader involved, develop, refine and agree upon key talking points as an executive team as the starting point for all other communications. What are the top 3-5 takeaways you want people to know about this change? These messages will likely vary in terms or importance and phrasing among each of the following audiences.
- Staff: From encouraging employee retention to preparing them as the frontlines answering incoming questions, getting your team on board and on message with your change is critical.Communication Method: When possible, team meetings can be an effective forum to notify your full team and field questions to help avoid rumors, which may be more likely in less personal communications such as an email announcement.
- Clients: Clients should definitely hear the news about a change from you before anyone else; identify positive aspects of the change that they can embrace and make personal outreach to these key relationships.Communication Method(s): Multiple methods of outreach can be helpful to ensure your clients actually receive and understand the message. This may mean sending a letter and email, as well as making phone calls to top clients. A webinar or group event may also be beneficial for more involved changes, such as planning strategies and updates related to the SECURE Act, for example.
- Prospects: Change often opens up new opportunities, either with prospects who previously weren’t a fit, or new demographics entirely. Take time to define and capitalize on these developments!Communication Method(s): The sky is the limit! Refer to this past blog on advertising to help keep in mind opportunities that will provide you with the most meaningful, trackable and targeted connections with your ideal prospects.
- Centers of Influence: Brainstorm additional relationships, from membership organizations to business affiliates, who will benefit from or be impacted by your changes.Communication Method(s): Whether you send an email, make a call, or connect at a networking group, give these people the tools and information they need to be an advocate for you! From print marketing materials to articles you have written or other relevant information, they will likely be happy to share anything that will add value to their own client relationships.
- Media: If your change is newsworthy, maximize exposure by crafting a story that is relevant and timely for your local media.Communication Method: Big changes often warrant a press release, which can also be a great resource to add to your website or put out on a newswire to help with additional SEO benefits for your news.
Have big plans for change in 2020?
At AdvisorPR, we regularly develop communication strategies addressing each of these areas, helping you think through the various implications, opportunities and ideal messages for your needs. Contact us to discuss how we can be of help.
Courtney Browning, vice president of marketing for AdvisorPR, is an experienced financial marketing professional having established integrated marketing communication plans and provided consulting on coordinated marketing and branding initiatives for hundreds of financial advisors over the past decade, as well as firsthand experience as an insurance and securities licensed advisor. Established in 2005, AdvisorPR is a branding, marketing and public relations firm dedicated to providing custom and turnkey marketing communications solutions exclusively to financial professionals and the corporate companies that serve them.