5 Ways Financial Advisors Text Compliantly with Clients
You’ve built strong relationships with clients, and now they feel comfortable texting you. That’s great, except you have to deal with FINRA (and possibly a compliance officer).
Texting is the #1 form of communication today, it’s the most requested channel for financial services communications, and it’s how your clients are already choosing to communicate with you.
It’s crucial for financial advisors like you to meet clients where they are, but it’s just as important to be compliant. I’m going to show you how to do both. You’ll also learn how to increase your number of prospects and connect with more people faster.
How can financial advisors text compliantly with FINRA?
We’ve talked to FINRA directly, and they’ve given us the thumbs up on everything included in this page. If you want to read the FINRA regulations on text messaging for yourself, they’re right here. Below are the Cliff Notes.
- Have a 1-on-1 text conversation with any client
- Share facts about account balances and performance
- Advertise you text on your website, social media, and emails
- Text one message to multiple clients at once
You can not:
- Send promotional materials that are not pre-approved
- Give financial recommendations without including your disclosures
- Share speculation on account or fund performance
- Messages to more than 30 investors at a time need to be approved, documented
- Every text sent or received must be permanently recorded, searchable, and “property of” the advisory (i.e. personal cell phones are not compliant and archiving is huge)
- Sending pictures of pre-approved marketing materials is an easy way to share details while remaining compliant
So how can you apply all of this to your financial advising or broker-dealer business to make your life easier and more profitable?
How Financial Advisors Succeed by Texting Clients
1. Schedule appointments with ease.
You want to review things with clients at least once a year, if not every six months or quarterly. The trouble is scheduling all those meetings.
Clients don’t answer phone calls, emails, or voicemail, so you (and maybe your assistant) spend a lot of time trying to connect. You’ll save time and hassle by texting as a communication channel.
Because the average response time for a text is only 90 seconds! Here’s an example:
“Hi [Mr. Hollingsworth], it’s been [a year] since we last saw you. What times do you have available next week for us to review your portfolio?”
You can send messages like these whenever you want to book a client meeting, and you can also send these messages to several (or dozens) of clients at once.
Let’s say you want to ping everyone you met with in October of last year. Using our Merge Messaging, you can just copy and paste all those contacts into a BCC group message. Every client on your list will think that text was personalized just for them. It’s a great experience, and you’ll book all the meetings you want.
You can even schedule messages like these in advance. It's perfect for mass client communication!
2. Convert new clients from your website.
Prospects are searching for your services online, finding your website, and wanting to text you. Why not make it easy for prospects to message you from your website to book meetings and ask questions?
That’s exactly what SMS Chat does.
SMS Chat is a live chat widget that goes on your website. Prospects can chat in from any device (laptop, smartphone, etc.), but every message comes to your business number as a text.
You do not need a live representative always available for SMS Chat to work. To respond, you can either (a) have an auto-response instantly texted to the person saying something like “we got your message, we’ll respond ASAP,” or (b) follow up personally when you have a moment.
We actually recommend you do both—that drives the most conversions.
SMS Chat is proven to start conversations earlier in the customer journey, and to increase the number of prospects that convert, mainly for two reasons:
- 9 in 10 people want to text businesses like yours
- Up to 50% of deals go to the first person to respond
SMS Chat gives you the power to capture leads before your competitors, and to close the deal before competitors have a chance to reach out. That’s incredibly valuable.
3. Increase your online reviews (and inbound leads).
Online reviews may be the most important piece of your sales and marketing. In fact, the business with the most online reviews is the one who wins the most new prospects and clients.
Because people want to know they’re going to have a good experience before they even reach out, and 85% (or more) of people trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.
Texting provides an easy way to get reviews and feedback from your clients. All you have to do is ask:
“[Jeremy], we’ve loved working with you. Like you, we’re always trying to grow. Would you please leave us a review on Google? It would help us a lot google.com/reviewpage Thank you!”
Including the link to your review page in a text is huge. 99% of texts are read, and they have about a 50% click through rate. That’s why other businesses who text for reviews tend to see 600% more reviews through text than through email.
4. Be there for the big moments.
So much of your work centers around building quality relationships. As today’s most personal channel for communications, texting gives you and your advisory a chance to strengthen relationships whenever opportunities come up, like:
- Anniversaries (client, wedding, etc.)
- News coverage
- Promotions or job changes
For events you know are going to happen regularly, just schedule a text in advance. E.g.:
“Happy Birthday, [David]! I hope it’s your best one yet. 😁🎂”
Other situations will be more off the cuff, like:
“[Cynthia], saw [your company] in the paper this morning. Good work! I’m glad things are going well over there.”
On top of being kind, moments like these often spell the difference between having loyal client relationships (and getting referrals) and having clients leave you for competitors. Employee retention is everything, and texting can help with your overall client experience!!
5. Share picture messages of marketing materials.
Clients and prospects are reaching out for your guidance. Then they ask, “Can you send me some information?”
Of course you have something you can send, but what about your disclosures? It’s a common problem, but the solution is simple.
Text a picture of your approved marketing materials, like below.
You get your message across, disclosures are included in the images, and your client gets the details they need. If you don’t have any approved marketing material images on your computer, and don’t have any physical ones around to snap, you can always share a link to a page on your website to accomplish the same goal.
6. Provide better customer service.
Your clients have questions all the time, whether it’s about a letter they got or just some idea they had. Being able to shoot a quick question to your office is much better than trying to call in or hoping you see their email quickly (especially since these questions tend to pop up after hours).
So have them text your office line, either through SMS Chat or by having your number saved in their phone.
Do you know if you can receive texts through your office phone number? Check below to find out!
7. Use a compliant dashboard.
The big trick to texting is doing it compliantly, right? Personal cell phones won’t cut it, but that actually creates a great opportunity for you.
You need at least three things:
- A permanent record of all messages
- An easy way to search messages by keyword, date, etc.
- And a secure platform from which to text
You need a software to cover those three basics, but that also opens you up to many advantages. For instance, if there are multiple advisors in your firm, you can each text from separate lines under the same compliant account. If you have an assistant, they could text from your line (or their own), too.
You also get a ton of features:
- Multi-user dashboards
- Keywords (for subscriber lists)
- Scheduled messages
- Typing alerts if someone else is responding to a text
- BCC group messages
- SMS Chat
- Integrations with your CRM, and more
How can your financial advising business start texting?
Step one is determining the ways you want to text.
Next, you need a business communications tool that empowers you to do it. If you want to see how Text Request can help you and your team, click here to schedule a quick demo.
If you have any questions, use the SMS Chat in the bottom right corner to reach us!