How well do you manage your image as an IFA?
It’s said that ‘people buy people’ – but will they buy you? How many times have you walked into a room – perhaps at a seminar or dinner party to a see group of people that you’ve never met before in your life – only to make up your mind in an instant as to who you like, who you are not sure about, who you feel you can talk to and perhaps even who will become a friend. It only takes a couple of seconds to decide.
That first impression may in fact turn out to be incorrect – but what we see influences the likelihood of us interacting further with them.
And all too often we will leave a dinner party having barely spoken to one or two people. You know the ones – there’s a slightly awkward “Nice to have met you” at the end of the evening when in fact you hardly exchanged any words at all during the meal. The fact that you didn’t speak to them during the evening will have had a lot to do with your early perceptions – those first impressions.
It’s the same at seminars. Let’s imagine that you’ve inherited a lot of money and you’re attending a local IFA’s seminar because you want to get a feel for their services and the level of their expertise. As soon as you’ve sat down and the seminar has begun, the first thing you’ll decide is whether or not you like them. And you’ll decide that within the first 30 – 60 seconds.
Likeability is key – and for most people looking to engage the services of a financial adviser, it’s initially much more important in the relationship than your qualifications, expertise and experience. And online it’s even harder to get your ‘likeability factor’ across – or is it?
In fact, it’s quite easy. Your photograph is the key online. With more and more business people creating profiles on websites like Facebook, Ecademy and IFA Life – the people who will get the most attention from prospects will be those who have taken the trouble to add a good quality, friendly and professional photograph.
I can’t emphasise the importance of this enough – your image is everything and it’s what stops the casual visitor to your profile dead in their tracks. I stress that you don’t need to look like Brad Pitt or Angelina Jolie – but you do need to have a professional image that shows off you as a person. Yes, Brad and Angelina and countless other celebrities invest in their images, but so should you too – particularly in this Internet age.
And don’t fall into the trap of assuming that people over ‘a certain age’ don’t use the Internet! When my 80 year-old mother-in-law was looking for an IFA last year, we looked at the websites of several local IFAs to find someone suitable to advice her on her portfolio of investments. We searched Google and narrowed it down to six. They all had much the same qualifications and their websites all said the same thing.
So how did she choose an IFA to contact? His photograph – which was relaxed, friendly and showed that he was a human being and not a faceless organisation.
The financial advice profession has got far too hung up about examinations and experience – and has forgotten about the human factor. It should go without saying that qualifications and professionalism is important, but if we’re to improve the image of our industry to the investing public then we need to work harder on how we project that image. And it starts close to home with your own photograph.
Large numbers of IFA Life members have not yet uploaded their photograph to their profile pages and so are missing out on new connections and probably new business too. And whilst site visitors can see your qualifications, they have no idea what you’re like as a person.
Here’s a little test. Take a look at these random pages and decide which profiles you’re most likely to click on:
Simple isn’t it – and easy to see why it’s unlikely that anyone would click on a profile page which doesn’t have a photo.
People buy people – but will they buy you?
Need a photographer? Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll connect you.
Author: Philip Calvert
Posted: Tuesday, August 05, 2008 | 10:35:35 AM