Dan the Planner
How personal branding helps you expand your network and attract new business.
Project: Whether you are a business owner or you work within a company structure, your ability to achieve success depends largely on your ability to create and leverage your networks. Although an excellent financial planner, Dan was struggling to translate his skills to attract new leads at networking events. Personal branding helped him transform his identity from an invisible nerd to a purposeful advisor, boost his self-confidence as a marketer and surpassed his sales goals by $30K.
Dan is a financial planner for a major publicly-traded, asset-management company. He’s also your typical nerd.
And while this personality trait made him good at crafting solutions for clients, it proved a liability when it came to generating new business, which was essentially Dan’s job.
When I met Dan, he had exhausted his personal network and was struggling to attract new leads at networking events. Although he was a confident financial planner, he’d find himself either debating with someone incessantly about whether or not a particular stock was a worthwhile investment or stuck in a corner talking to no one at all. This wasn’t just awkward; it proved a poor strategy for attracting new clients to the business. And Dan certainly needed a strategy because there were often dozens of financial planners at these events competing for the same clients and he just simply did not stand out. In a job role where a strong personality is an asset, he was pretty much invisible.
Being able to attract clients online, rather than in person, was one way Dan might have been able to overcome his social discomposure. But he was limited in what he could do and say online because of his employer’s policies and government regulations.
Dan enrolled in my personal brand coaching program, where I helped him redesign his entire approach to networking. First, we defined what he actually does for his ideal clients. We created a personalized narrative about his work impacts his clients lives, both financially and emotionally. Then, I taught him how to take control of a run away conversation about investing and reframe it so his potential client could hear his advice and perceive him as an expert.
Then, there was his personality. To the casual observer, he was just a nerdy financial guy who was pretty boring to talk to. But, when I got to know him better I realized that his literal, analytical side could be quite funny, especially when he talked about golf. It's his passion. If Dan's not working, then he's golfing or dreaming of the day that he can retire and just play golf. So, I taught him how bringing his passion into his communication gives him more range of self-expression and makes it easier for others to perceive him as authentic. I branded him a "financial caddy" and taught him how to use golfing as a metaphor to relate to his potential clients and their challenges through this unique lens. This new awareness made it easy for Dan to connect with new people more quickly, set himself at ease and present himself with more enthusiasm.
Finally, he had a database full of past clients and contacts that he had lost touch with. He didn't know what to say to them or how to ask for referrals. I taught him how to apply the same techniques he learned at networking events to his email communications.
The strategy invariably led to stronger connections with potential clients, who began to see Dan as a professional whose expertise they could use. It allowed him to broker more appointments for initial consultations and later, invitations for follow-ups. Once Dan started putting into practice his personalized brand strategy, people around him began to relate more to him and take note of what he had to say. His confidence grew and eventually he was standing up at Chamber of Commerce events, making presentations that went something like this: “Investing is like golf; you need to assess the lay of the land before you can choose which clubs to use. Many of you have investments that aren’t being effective in today’s market. If you’d like to discuss your options, let’s talk.”
Within three months of working with me, Dan learned how to use networking as an effective marketing tool to grow his client base. His new confidence allowed him to more easily approach new people and engage them in effective conversations. And within six months, he had mastered the art of keeping initial lines of communications open with clients, learned how to make the transition from connection to consultation a natural part of his conversation style and created an effective lead-nurturing program to make sure he's top of mind with these new leads.
The way Dan describes it, working with me gave him the tools he needed to bring “all of myself” into a conversation, making it more fun to talk about what he does. Now, at networking events, his new level of confidence exudes an authority that allows him to grab the attention of potential clients -- not by arguing with them about investing like he was doing before, but by being fully present with them and their needs. Clients are no longer apprehensive, but excited, about following up with DAN because he is intentional in his communication. “My purpose is to inspire people to remember me, help them better conceptualize what I do and how I can help them master their money.”
Building his personal brand strategy has allowed Dan to see that he does more than just sell people investing products. He brings to the table over 20 years experience customizing financial plans to fit his individual clients’ needs. Not only do they get a good planner and wiser advisor, but they get a passionate teacher too. The work we did is a solid foundation for him to build upon in the future. He says: “The benefits of working with Jenn are easily worth ten times the cost. I met the three-month financial goals that Jenn and I set for me in two months. And best of all, I love to stand up and talk about what I do because I know people will remember me.”
Dan The Planner*, Your Personal Financial Caddy
*real name withheld for privacy