In life and in business, all we have is our reputation. It’s the glue that can either make or break us. By understanding how you can optimize and enhance your local community and digital reputation, you can increase your inbound referrals, strengthen client relationships and create stability within your business. As you know, building a quality reputation takes time, but it is well worth the investment. If you want your business to survive 5, 10, 30+ years into the future, your reputation is a cornerstone to your business’ success and livelihood.
As we transition back to normal life, in-person meetings are making a comeback. Face-to-face meetings and events are resuming. The resilience of humanity is shining through. And most likely, your clients want to see you. They miss you.
Whether it is picking up the phone or sending an email, be the first to do something. Reach out to your current clients and centers of influence and ask how they are doing. If you are both comfortable, invite them for a cup of coffee or a meal to catch-up. So much has happened in a such a short period of time. Now you can learn all the ways that the pandemic has changed their lives and reestablish your face-to-face bonds.
Taking your outreach a bit farther, have you considered a client event? Why not use these nice weathered months and organize a local community event, not only to reconnect with your clients but to boost your professional reputation?
Whether it is a barbecue, beach day clean-up or something else, a community gathering is a great way to strengthen your local reputation because everyone loves good people, food and worthy causes.
Here’s an example:
Ultimate Barbecue Cook Off Competition Get your community involved by inviting your clients, COIs and warm prospects to a charity BBQ cook off.
Don’t sweat the details, we’ve got you covered:
- To enter, it’s $50 and all proceeds go to charity.
- Pit masters will battle royal for the title of Grill Champion.
- Ask three of your favorite people to be BBQ judges.
- Host it at a local park or outdoor space (for social distancing and fresh air).
- Take lots of pictures at the event.
- After the event, send a recap email with information about the crowned Grill Champion, donations raised and any additional fun tidbits.
By doing good within your community, you shore up relationships and generate goodwill. In the long run, both will enhance the speed at which you onboard new prospects and help you retain existing clients.
With reputation, also comes your online presence. As our cell phones become like third hands, your online reputation is just as important as your local community reputation and it can either play against or in your favor. Let me show you an example.
A center of influence enthusiastically recommends you to a local plan sponsor. The employer has heard of your firm and initially feels confident. They proactively type your name into Google. The first search results in a Google review with 1 star. Their confidence immediately fades.
Same story, your COI recommends you as a retirement plan advisor. The prospect Googles your name, but this time the top search results in your LinkedIn profile. They click on it and notice a professional headshot, regular postings about plan sponsor topics and see you have 5 mutual connections. In this example, their digital experience strengthens their confidence to meet with you.
Your prospects are going to look you up in advance of a conversation, so take the first step and make sure that your online presence aligns with the reputation you want to be known for. Otherwise, your business could suffer as your “should-be” referrals are quietly closing their internet browsers and moving on with their days.
PRO-TIP: Open an incognito webpage and Google yourself, your business and your team members to understand what the internet says about your reputation.
Turn Up the Volume
When you combine a quality local and online reputation, this is where the magic happens. When your clients and COIs are happy, they will talk about and recommend you. When your prospects look you up online and see outstanding digital results, it boosts their confidence to move forward. And - when you combine them - this is where your business can achieve lifetime sustainability.
Related: Marketing Secret Weapons