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Niche Marketing and Social Media for Financial Advisers

Forbes conducted a social media usage survey within the financial planning industry in 2017 and found that 85 percent of advisers use social media to grow their business and connect with prospects. Of this percentage, the majority said that using digital media shortened the buying cycle.

Like its counterparts in the digital realm, social media stands as a strong arm of the inbound marketing umbrella. However, much of it is still misunderstood, largely due to the variety of platforms and their general target markets. Depending on your particular niche, you may do much better on Facebook than Twitter, or perhaps even Pinterest or Reddit.

Here is a quick check-up guide to help you determine where you should be on social media, what times you should post based on that platform, and, as a bonus, some tools to help you manage your social media presence.

Before You Pick a Platform

We’re really big on niche marketing at the CWA Network, so much so that our founder John Enright did a full personality test to best determine what profession he should seek clients within—so that’s exactly what I suggest you do for your business over all—know your demographic inside and out. Unless you have a foundation set in your business plan (your ideal client profile, mission statement, etc.) then it doesn’t matter where you post your content if it isn’t geared towards the right people. This seems like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised how many advisers don’t “niche themselves” and cast an incredibly broad net.

Is Facebook for Me?

If your business plan is heavier on the 401k/retirement side of things, Facebook is your goldmine. Aging boomers spend a decent chunk of time on Facebook. The best part of Facebook advertising (should you go the paid route) is that it’s much cheaper than advertising on Google Ads. The amount of targeting options available is incredible. For example, you could set up an advertisement that targets 45 to 65-year-olds who live within 30 miles of your office and have interests that are directly related to retirement.

Best times to post on Facebook: Saturdays and Sundays around 9 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3 p.m., times that all have higher engagement according to a study done by CoSchedule.

Is Twitter for Me?

One of the best strategies for advisers on Twitter is simply to curate content. Sure, you could engage with potential clients (and profiles they may follow), but Twitter is a fickle and fast beast. If you don’t have the time of day to actively engage in ongoing conversation, the content curation route may be best for you. Of course, feel free to post your own content but gathering up articles and links of interest to your demographic is a solid strategy.

Best times to post on Twitter: Wednesdays at noon, but this could vary depending on your niche.

Is Pinterest for Me?

If your demographic is over 80 percent women, then you’ll want to spend some time on Pinterest. Creating content that is geared specifically towards personal finance and budgeting will go a long way. Just be careful to utilize a keyword strategy so that your content doesn’t fall into the incredibly broad “penny pinching” and “thrifty” categories.

Best times to post on Pinterest: Pinterest varies wildly from its counterparts because it’s an image-based platform like Instagram. However, there is a consensus that “pinning” is usually done on Saturdays between 8 and 11 p.m., but 2 a.m. and 4 p.m. any day is also considered fine. Avoid work hours.

Is LinkedIn for Me?

If your client profile has a heavy professional element to it (and it most likely will), targeting business pages where they hang out is a good strategy to have. Creating a Company Showcase page for your practice is the first step as a passive and constant place to show your content, but actively seeking out groups related to your demographic is highly recommended.

Best times to post on LinkedIn: Midweek (Tuesday through Thursday) from 5 to 6 p.m.

Is Google+ for Me?

It’s very unlikely that you’ll find your traffic on Google+ because it’s viewed as one of the less active (community-wise) platforms. CoSchedule found that 90 percent of users on Google+ are lurkers and won’t interact with your page. However, from a SEO perspective (see my last Practice Management Blog post), having a Google+ local business page is incredibly important. Firstly, it helps validate that you are, in fact, a real business. But it also will help prospects find you on the map, contact you easily from their mobile devices and give you that very important validation that being on a Google listing brings.

Is YouTube for Me?

We believe that advisers need to first educate their clients and not worry so much about selling to them. Our job is to help them buy. That said, if you fancy yourself in front of the camera and want a more personal face-time approach to finding and interacting with your clients and prospects, then having regular content uploaded to YouTube is a great idea. Bonus; Like Google+, having a YouTube channel helps with SEO.

Best times to upload a new video: This one is up to you, depending on the content you’re sharing. If it’s more educational in tone, uploading on Mondays generally gets better viewership. If you’re trying to get a call to action completed, try for Thursdays. Industry tip: the same rule applies for sending out emails to your list.

Tools You Can Use

Content scheduling tools can help free up your time to do your client work and analytics tools can help you find out if your efforts are worthwhile. Here are a few:

Content scheduling and engagement
Sprout Social
Social Pilot


Simply Measured
Google Analytics

An Important Note on Compliance

You know there are rules for traditional marketing. Rules also apply to digital marketing ventures. If you need to know more, make sure to review what FINRA and the SEC says, or check in with your compliance officer before any design or piece of content goes to the cutting room floor.

Kristina Rocci

Kristina Rocci is the web content manager for the CWA Network, a Rochester, N.Y.-based financial adviser coaching business that has developed a turnkey practice management business plan for the high net wealth, 401K and Mass Affluent/Gen XY markets. She originally hails from the fin-tech world in Toronto with 7 years of digital marketing under her belt. You can learn all about how the CWA Network can help adviser and planners alike at www.cwanetwork.com.

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3 Signs You’re Barking Up the Wrong Tree with Your Marketing

It’s been said that the definition of insanity doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

Are you going a little insane with your marketing efforts, trying the same things over and over but not getting anywhere (and have no idea why)? The problem might not be you—and I doubt you’re truly insane.

You just might be barking up the wrong tree. And in that case, the solution is simple: find a different tree!

If you’re finding yourself in any of these situations, it may be time to hit pause, return to the drawing board and consider another, more effective approach so your marketing gives you better results.

1.) You’re Trying to Convince Your Target Market They’re Wrong

Try this fun little experiment: get on a social media network, any social media network and espouse your political opinions to the world. See how many people who fundamentally disagree with you show up to argue about your opinions.

Then try to convince all those people they’re wrong.

You can also try this at your next family get-together or holiday. Or not, because you know how that ends.

So why are you trying the same thing in your marketing?

I’ve worked with financial planners who, when I ask them, “What does your target audience believe about money?” respond with, “Well, they don’t think they need a financial planner.”

Those firms used their marketing to try to convince that particular market segment that they were wrong. It didn’t work.

You need to understand your audience and meet them where they are and work with their beliefs, not against them. And if a client persona you want to market to fundamentally disagrees with your business or your services, you need to go back and redefine that target market. 

2.) You’re Focusing on Your Weaknesses

Most of us feel that to improve personally and professionally, we need to identify our weaknesses and strengthen them.

I’m not sure what the thinking behind this is, but it seems a little backward to me—especially if you’re just starting out. Why double down on what you know you’re bad at, when you could really use all the help you can get to gain traction and grow your practice?

I don’t mean to suggest you should never identify a weak spot and attempt to improve or correct it. But I do mean to say the time to do that is not when you’re trying to grow, you’re struggling to hit goals or you’re not on track to the kind of success you want.

Focus on your strengths instead so you can start making progress and seeing results.

How does this apply to marketing? Here’s a simple example: if you’re a terrible writer but a great speaker, don’t blog. Try video or podcasts, seek out phone interviews with journalists, or apply for speaking gigs as you primary marketing channels.

Or record yourself talking and hire someone to transcribe that into a blog post for you.

3.) You’re Appealing to Reason

Many planners make rational, reasonable appeals in their marketing messages and their content. They logically explain their services and why they’re objectively better than the next firm down the road.

The problem? People aren’t rational.

People don’t make rational decisions. People don’t choose a product or service because it’s objectively better. People make decisions based on their emotions and their feelings, on their worldviews and belief systems.

We all suffer from a number of cognitive biases that lead us to make irrational or illogical decisions. That doesn’t mean we always make bad decisions or choose the wrong thing.

But we tend to believe we’re making logical choices when in fact we’re highly influenced by a number of things at a subconscious level that have nothing to do with logic at all. We’ll do mental back flips to justify our decisions as perfectly reasonable and rational.

The solution? Stop appealing to reason and start appealing to emotion—or even to those cognitive biases themselves.

You can do that through storytelling. You can do it through great copywriting. You can do it by understanding some basics about human psychology and understanding how people—including yourself—think and make decisions the way they do.

You can get empathetic with your audience and really take the time to understand what they care about and respond to, and what does or doesn’t matter so much to them.

Only by doing that work first can you create compelling content that resonates with the group of people you seek to serve.

 Kali Roberge is the founder of Creative Advisor Marketing, an inbound marketing firm that helps financial advisers grow their businesses by creating compelling content to attract prospects and convert leads. She started CAM to give financial pros the right tools to build trust and connections with their audiences, and loves helping advisers find authentic ways to communicate in a way that resonates with the right people.

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Disrupting Distribution: How Financial Planners Can Take Advantage of The Golden Age of Distribution 

Back when “Will and Grace” was first broadcast by NBC back in 2006, there were only three ways that someone could catch an episode. Viewers could use their antenna (remember those?), they could tune in via cable or they could have a satellite dish service like DirectTV. Plus, you had to tune in Thursday nights ‪at 8 p.m. to see it. If you got home late from work that night—at say ‪9 p.m.—there was no way to see that episode again.

When NBC rebooted the sitcom in 2017, they launched the show with more than 100 ways to watch a single episode. Sure, there’s still tuning in Thursday nights ‪at 8 p.m. to NBC, but if that were the only place they broadcast the show, they would lose out on more than 90 percent of the audience that wants to tune in. Today viewers can watch that exact same episode on NBC Digital, on demand, tapped via your DVR, on DirectTV, with skinny cable bundles from YouTube TV or Sling, catch clips on Facebook and YouTube, through Hulu—and that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

Financial planners are faced with the same distribution issues. Do you tell your clients, prospects and market about your new product, news or updates via an email, a newsletter, via a video on YouTube, a photo on Instagram or a status update on Facebook? The correct answer, much like “Will and Grace” discovered, is that you use them all.

This is both good and bad news for financial advisers. It’s bad because we have limited time and resources and simply cannot be in all places at all times. It’s good news because it gives us even more outlets to share our content, our ideas, our products and our services with the people who need them.

Enter into The Golden Age of Distribution

In this Golden Age of Distribution there are four key things you need to do in order to seize this opportunity and start getting more attention on you and your financial business.

1.) Create weekly episodic content. One thing we can all learn from our favorite TV shows is their frequency. Most are weekly and draw us back in to watch next week and then the next week. When you create weekly episodic videos you are giving your community a reason to keep paying attention to you. If creating a new video or episode of your TV show intimidates you, record them in batches. Spend one ‪Monday morning every month filming four episodes that can be spaced out throughout the month. Our clients create 10 to 13 episodes in one day, providing them with weekly episodes for an entire quarter.

2.) Connect with media brands and platforms that need great financial content. Local media brands understand that they need to create a massive amount of content to remain relevant. They also know that they cannot profitably afford to staff in house video teams and staff writers to supply them with enough content to satisfy the demand necessary today. This is your opportunity to partner with them and get them to distribute and share your videos and episodes. This is something we have done with ‪Entrepreneur.com, which shares our weekly show, “The Ambitious Life” with their millions of readers and social media followers every week. This gives them a highly produced and valuable show to share with their audience without having to fund the production and it exposes us to their audience. You can do the same thing locally, nationally or internationally with media outlets that have the attention of your market. Make a list of all the media outlets your target market consumes and tell them you want to create a show for their audience that you will pay for and produce. You’ll be surprised how many will take you up on that offer. (Editor’s note: FPA members can take advantage of FPA’s Media Training program to help them learn to do this. Sign up today for upcoming media trainings here.)

3.) Re-package content for different platforms. The reason you can see episodes of “Will and Grace” on a hundred different platforms is because people are choosing to watch content where they want, when they want. My mentor, Dan Kennedy, has always taught me to sell in a vacuum, but that is becoming more difficult with our “on demand” world. Today I still prefer to sell in a vacuum (in a sales environment I have control over), but I want to push out my content into as many channels as possible to start the conversation. Taking a page from “Will and Grace,” every time I film an episode of my own weekly show, I post it to Facebook, YouTube and LinkedIn. I send it to my email list, I share it with Entrepreneur, and then also distribute it to Apple TV, Roku, Amazon Fire and other platforms. This type of distribution model allows you to be everywhere your market is watching content.

4.) Drive people back to your media platform. If there is one thing I have learned above all else, it’s that with everything you do, you want to lead interested prospects back to the media platform that you own and control. This can be your email list, your newsletter, your magazine or any other media that you own and control. Every video and every piece of content you distribute online should point people back to your website, a landing page or opportunity to work with you. You are not in the business of getting ‘Likes.’ You’re in business to help people create their financial future. Your content and episodes gain you attention, trust and influence, but none of that feeds you. Turning this attention to dollars is what really matters. Never forget that and never forget why you are investing time and money into video content.

Right now, you have an opportunity to enter the Golden Age of Distribution. This can only happen when you film episode 1. When you share it, market it and distribute it. If you don’t, your market has plenty of other options to watch videos from your competitors and more than 100 different ways to watch their favorite sitcoms. Why not make their new favorite show your own?

Greg Rollett.jpg

Greg Rollett is an Emmy® Award-winning producer and founder of “AmbitiousTV,” an online TV network that gives a voice to small business owners. To learn more about working with Greg to create your own online TV show, or a video marketing strategy for your financial practice, visit http://ambitious.com/financialtv or send an email to greg@ambitious.com.


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Taking Control of Your Business

More and more people seem to describe life today as feeling like the roller coaster ride that never ends. Between political polarization, market volatility, bizarre weather, daily scandals of one sort or another, it seems as if disturbance is everywhere. In a world where pessimism may seem to be at every turn, it’s time to seek ways to regain a positive approach to your practice, your clients, your family and your community. You must maintain perspective, both personally and professionally, and draw inspiration from various sources. It’s time to take charge of that which is in your control—step up to that plate, lead by example and make a difference!

Take Control of Your Time

Time seems to have become the most precious resource. Adding more hours to the day is not a viable option, so you need to manage the time that you have. Get organized and engage in the activities that will lead you to achieving your goals. There is no single, right organizational system, but find one that fits your practice and works with your team. Don’t set yourself up for frustration; ensure that your daily activity plan is realistic and don’t let others take control of your day. And, be sure to include your personal or family activities in your organizational system. Define what’s important and make it your reality by creating and executing a balanced calendar. Take a look at our Time Study activity in Coaches Corner to help you get started.

Engaged team members need to know how they influence the success of the business. (2)Take Control of Your Communication

Lack of communication remains the No. 1 client complaint in our profession and miscommunication is typically what fuels personal relationship issues. This should be an easy item to fix but clearly this is not the case. When the markets take a wild ride, financial professionals must proactively communicate with their clients. No hiding in your offices and asking your team members to take a message. Get out there and let your clients know that you are actively taking care of their financial situation. When there is downbeat news that needs to be shared, delivery is key! It is important to not only use the right words, but also to deliver the message with the right tone. Perpetuate the positive and remember the difference between being realistic and being negative. Also, this is not the time to skip your team meetings. Be authentic and transparent with your team and be sure they have a voice within the practice. When internal team communication falters, errors, stress and dissatisfaction all increase. Likewise, while at home, be sure that you are listening and sharing with all members of your family on a regular basis. Check our Coaches Corner for a checklist and article on communication. And, if you’re interested in learning more about preferred communication styles, ask us about our MapMyStrengths.com assessment tools.

Take Control of Your Client Service

In a commoditized industry, the service experience you offer your clientele is fundamental to retention. Clients are also more susceptible to the attention of other financial professionals during times of financial, social or political uncertainty. We recommend that every financial planning and advisory practice build a service model that articulates, demonstrates and validates the value that your team offers. You need to take the time on a regular basis to let them know how important they are to your practice. Simple thank you cards, personalized notes and small tokens of appreciation can make a big difference to them personally and also to your client retention ratio. Exceeding clients’ expectations from a service standpoint will make a huge difference, especially when performance expectations may not be met. Service is more important today than ever. (If you are interested in learning more about developing client service models, ask us about our book, Know Service.)

Take Control of Your Perspective

When times get rough and you need something to get through the hectic day, gratitude and being thankful for every little thing in your life can help provide your fuel. Your clients, team, centers of influence, family and even smiling strangers can contribute substance and value to your life. Acknowledging others, performing random acts of kindness or giving small gifts to others, are great ways to put a smile on someone else’s face and provide a sense of fulfillment in your own life.

Instead of getting caught up in depressing headlines or non-constructive attitudes, create time to do something nice for others. Make a donation to a client’s favorite charitable organization. Take a team member out to lunch. Meet a center of influence for a coffee. You can also make an enormous difference in someone’s life by visiting a senior’s home, serving at the homeless shelter once a month or just listening when a person needs a friendly ear. Create a work and home environment filled with encouragement, recognition and the “pass it forward” concept. You’ll breed more loyalty along the way, feel good about yourself, and make a positive difference in someone else’s life. By focusing on things that are in your control, you will create a more pleasing environment for all around you.

Take Control of Your Actions

It’s very easy to get caught up and follow the crowd when you are surrounded by negativity. Don’t fall into this trap—dare to be different and unique. Avoid the water cooler conversations, turn off the TV and don’t take out your frustrations on others. Misery loves company—don’t accept the invitation! In your practice, focus on the long-term plan and objectives of your clients, not the idea of the day. Don’t worry about what everyone else in the office or neighborhood is doing; live YOUR dream, not someone else’s.

Is attitude everything? It may not be everything, but it is a good starting point. Without a positive mindset, we do nothing but perpetuate the cycle of negativity that surrounds us. Changing other people’s attitudes and actions is out of your control, but you can certainly respond in a more affirmative and confident manner. Always try to take the high road and, do everything in your power to create an environment that breeds encouragement, whether it is at work or at home. But remember, the only attitude that you really have control over is yours! So don’t let others bring you down, don’t follow the crowd and don’t ask “where did the fun go?” Take control and re-create it. Yes, financial services is a serious profession, but professionalism and fun do not have to be mutually exclusive. Make the best of your time, communicate often and effectively, serve others and appreciate the small stuff in life. Be sure to celebrate the good fortune that you have, laugh at yourself, deepen the relationships in your life and BE the difference!


Sarah E. Dale and Krista S. Sheets are partners at Performance Insights (performanceinsights.com), where they focus on helping financial professionals increase results through wiser practice management and people decisions. They are also coaches in FPA’s Team Development Coaches Corner.

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The Three-Step Formula for Business Fearlessness

In the financial services industry, advisers are surrounded by clients’ fears—fear of the market going down, fear of the economy not recovering and/or fear of making the right investment decisions, just to name a few. For some advisers, handling clients’ fears can feel like a daunting task while for others it’s all in a day’s work. For the latter, the formula for managing fear is increasing knowledge.

If this has happened to you, take comfort in knowing that your clients hired you because they like you, trust you and believe that you have their best interests at heart. Prove your clients right by believing in yourself, in your integrity, your honesty and your commitment to helping them. When you focus on things that you can control, you harness the power of belief.

Ralph Waldo Emerson said it best when he said, “Knowledge is the antidote to fear.”

So how can you face your fears, increase your knowledge and be the adviser that your clients want you to be?

Let’s take a look at a step-by-step approach for building up your “business fearlessness.”

Step 1: Acknowledge Your Current Business Concerns

The first step is to get completely honest with yourself by asking, “What am I most concerned about in this business?” Sit with the question for as long as it takes until you find a truthful answer. Next, ask, “What do I need to know in order to overcome this concern?” and “Who has the information that can help me?”

Take Michael S., a veteran financial adviser with five years of experience who had noticed he was holding himself back from working with higher net-worth clients. After he asked himself these types of questions he realized that he didn’t feel qualified to help them because he hadn’t done enough research on what product and services this niche demographic would be interested in much less had done some inquiry to confirm what issues/concerns they might have. Thus, he had spent five years building a business of hundreds of clients with very little in investable assets.

Step 2: Become the Expert

The next step is to do the research and make some calls to find out who could assist you in your desire to work with a new demographic. I have found that the best way to become an expert is to find a mentor in the office who has accomplished what you would like to accomplish.

I recommended to Michael that he make a list of the most successful advisers that he knew (in his office or elsewhere) that work with high net-worth clients. Then, approach the one person who he felt closest to and ask if he could take that person to lunch or for coffee to understand more about how he/she had grown their business. Take notes about their process and research all the types of products and services they mention. Michael did this and was ready for the next step. 

Step 3: Be the Message

The final step is get your message heard! It’s one thing to know what to do but it’s another to be doing it. That’s why you need to take deliberate action steps.

Once Michael got direction from a mentor in the office, we mapped out what to say to potential clients, how to frame it, how to handle objections, what the first appointment process as well as the second appointment process. We did all of this before he ever picked up the phone to make his first prospecting call. As a result of his due diligence and efforts, within weeks he had built a huge pipeline of qualified prospects and now has a thriving practice.

Why Being a Wealth of Knowledge Works

The foundation for making any sound recommendation is based in the amount of information or knowledge that you have for your clients. The more informed you are, the more confident you will be when sharing those recommendations. Clients need, want and deserve a well-informed financial adviser. So the next time you find yourself with fearful clients or faced with fears yourself, take the time to query the reasons for your decisions, support them with facts then share this insight with your clients and watch their fears (and subsequently yours) subside.

If this blog resonates with you and you would like to have a free consultation with me to see if professional coaching is a fit for you, email Melissa Denham, director of client servicing for Advisor Solutions at melissa@advisersolutionsinc.com.

Dan Finley
Daniel C. Finley is the president and co-founder of Advisor Solutions, a business consulting and coaching service dedicated to helping advisers build a better business.


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The Power of Niche and Intentionality

Adam Kornegay of Pathfinder Strategic Solutions knows of a highly successful personal trainer who specializes in getting brides into shape for their big day.

“He built a little niche for himself in that area and what happens is when people get married, they will have a friend that’s getting married and then say, ‘Oh, you need to go see Harold, he’s the one who made me fit for my wedding day,’” Kornegay said.

A common marketing mistake among financial planners is that they try to be all things to all people. Instead, planners should specialize in their strength areas.

“Rather than being a generic financial planner, having a very specific niche gives your clients a way to talk about you to their colleagues and friends,” Kornegay said, adding that doing so will likely help generate referrals.

Once you’ve established your niche, being intentional with the type of content you create to serve that niche is imperative, says Sonya Dreizler, CFP®, of Solutions with Sonya.

“Marketing should be intentional,” Dreizler said. “It’s not something that you should just do. If you want to do it well, you should spend time with it.”

Create a plan, decide what type of content you’re going to generate, and tailor your message to your specific audience.

Zoë Meggert, founder of Perfectly Planned Content, says a mistake she sees financial planners make frequently is that they don’t tailor their messages.

“They’re talking about really general financial topics and they’re not addressing a niche,” Meggert said.

If it’s too general, it feels like a textbook and could turn off potential clients. Identifying a specific niche and being intentional about crafting content specifically for that audience helps prospects better connect with you.

For Kali Roberge, founder of Creative Advisor Solutions, marketing is simply communication.

“It’s how you share or tell a story to a group of people who have a problem you can solve,” Roberge said. “The fundamental skills you need to market well have nothing to do with tactics or tools. You need to be empathetic to other people.”

FPA members can listen to an on-demand recording of the July Journal in the Round titled “Marketing Fails to Learn From” for more tips on how to avoid the common marketing mistakes planners make.

Ana Headshot

Ana Trujillo Limón is associate editor of the Journal of Financial Planning and the editor of the FPA Practice Management Blog. Email her at alimon@onefpa.org. Follow her on Twitter at @AnaT_Edits.

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Lessons from Loving: How to Move the Planning Profession Forward in Terms of Diversity

EP 004_Ajamu Loving.pngAjamu Loving’s dad, who was a financial services professional, used to frequently make house calls to meet with his clients. It was back in the 1980s where everything was done on paper. So he’d haul his suitcase full of papers to each meeting with him.

One of his first clients gave him a shopping list before they’d even met. He agreed, reluctantly, to pick up the items for her.

“I said, ‘So what did you do?’” Loving, Ph.D., assistant professor of finance at the University of North Texas at Dallas told Rianka R. Dorsainvil, CFP®, in an episode of the podcast 2050 TrailBlazers. “He said, ‘I went to Jewel [a Chicago-area grocery store] and I picked it up!’”

When he got to the Chicago apartment building with the items, he realized she lived on the third floor in a building with no elevator. He walked up all the way to the third floor with his briefcase, all his papers and the client’s groceries. He was feeling somewhat disappointed and a little frustrated.

“When he knocked on the door and she opened it, she was in a wheelchair,” Loving said. “He’s not the only one who’s had that experience of meeting clients, going that extra step to meet their needs … even when they might seem unreasonable, you see at the end why it was worth it to do it and why it was the right thing to do.”

This is where financial planners come in in transforming people’s lives. Going the extra mile will make the difference in making diversity and representation matter in this profession. Eventually the profession will see why it’s worth it.

“If we can recognize that level of servitude in our professional side of things and we can translate that to our efforts with respect to diversity, I have all the confidence in the world that we are going to be, as a profession, ready to meet the needs of an increasingly diverse America,” Loving said.

There are several things we can all do to move the needle forward.

Meet people where they are. The financial planning profession is made up of kind people who genuinely want to change people’s lives for the better. And likely increasing the diversity of both planners and clients is something most want to participate in. But what if those people who want to help are afraid to misstep? Say something that could be construed as racist or could be considered a microaggression?

Dorsainvil says planners need to start meeting clients where they are—no matter their social or economic background, personal finance knowledge or their fears.

“I would love for us to start meeting our colleagues and our peers where they are as well and understand that we all have different backgrounds,” Dorsainvil said.

One action item, she noted: “When you go into a room where you see someone who is the only one who looks like them, just know that there is a level of discomfort and you can be that person that walks up to them to say, ‘Hey, my name is such and such, and I’m so happy that you’re here.’”

Find diplomatic ways to educate. Part of meeting people where they are is knowing those growing pains are going to happen. We are all going to have uncomfortable conversations.

Once a client told Loving, when he was a young professional, that he watched a documentary on slavery, and had a question: if people owned a good horse, why would they want to whip it?

Loving took a moment to respond in the most diplomatic way he could: “I looked at the gentleman and I said, ‘I think that the deep tragedy here is that any human being would ever be treated like a horse to begin with,’” Loving said. The client nodded in agreement and they moved on in what Loving called a “productive direction.”

“I think if we can have productive direction conclusions to all of the inevitable awkward moments that are going to come … if we can keep our heads focused in that direction, we’re going to be alright,” Loving said.

Loving said that particular client didn’t come from a place of malice, but ignorance.

“He was legitimately curious and also legitimately ignorant about slavery,” Loving explained. He understood what he was trying to say, took the empathetic route and redirected the conversation to educate the client in a diplomatic way.

Learn More

Loving will present at the FPA Annual Conference on Oct. 4, from 9 to 10 a.m. on the current state of diversity in the profession. The session, titled “Economics of Diversity” will discuss research that aims to assess the value of diversity in business and how this relates to the planning profession. Register for the conference before August 17 to save $100.

But one thing to always keep in mind if this topic is important to you:

“You want to treat this situation the way that you’d treat a client scenario,” Loving said. “Think about how you’d be proactive in solving it and working towards what it is that we want to accomplish—a more inclusive financial services profession that is really servicing the needs of our evolving and developing country as it’s growing.”

About the 2050 TrailBlazers Podcast

Dorsainvil began streaming episodes of 2050 TrailBlazers in March 2018. FPA is one of the sponsors of the podcast that is sparking conversation on diversity and inclusion in the financial planning profession and attempting to address issues of recruitment and retention of professionals of color.

This podcast highlights ways to increase diversity in the financial planning profession. Listen to the podcasts by a previous FPA Diversity Scholarship winner during your commute and check out the show notes for more information about the people and topics covered. Subscribe on iTunes and Google Play or visit the website. Interested in the FPA Diversity Scholarship? Apply today to be considered.

Ana Headshot

Ana Trujillo Limón is associate editor of the Journal of Financial Planning and the editor of the FPA Practice Management Blog. Email her at alimon@onefpa.org. Follow her on Twitter at @AnaT_Edits.