April 2009 :: You Don’t Need Compliance Approval to Listen

Talk about zigging when the trend is zagging.

Just about the same time that the proliferation of social/new media (SNM) tools was hitting the mainstream, the chief governing body in financial services sales brought about new regulations.

While the FINRA rules governing rep participation in chat rooms (same as public appearances), blogs (deemed advertising), group email (must be preapproved) is not new, the impact of the rules becomes exacerbated as the wave of SNM tools explodes.

How is a registered rep supposed to take advantage of the wealth of information and interaction available and not run afoul of the rules?

The answer lies in choosing the right SNM activity.

The technology of SNM is divided in three areas: Listening, Talking, and Collaborating.

While we are engaged in the business, with our licenses firmly affixed, the Talking and Collaborating technologies become so
burdensome that most broker dealers prohibit the practice.

The good news is you don’t need compliance approval to listen.

Listening refers to the overwhelming number of ways that you can get intelligence and education about your clients, prospects, strategic partners, vendors and competitors.

Real life example:

Daniela is a registered rep who works smart. She defines and penetrates selected niche markets and does so successfully, understanding that sharp focus is a key to winning.

Her goal is to penetrate a new recession-proof segment: Funeral Directors.

In order to get educated, understand the language of the industry, and the business challenges funeral directors face, she employs four (of many) SNM Listening technologies:

Google Reader – serves as mission control and allows her to set up RSS feeds to publications, blogs, search terms,
and news alerts that help her get up to speed and stay informed.

Google Blog Search – allows Daniela to research those trade organizations, influential leaders, and voices of the industry who are communicating via blogs.

search.twitter.com – here she can find individuals or organizations that are involved in the industry. She learned via Twitter that the NFDA (National Funeral Directors Association) is reporting that cremations are now 40% of business – how can she use that information when addressing business owners?

Google Alerts – delivered via email or via RSS. Daniela has set up industry-specific search terms and is alerted via email when these search terms have relevant content (as frequently as they occur).

If you want to get a one-click example of this technology in action, without the customization that we recommend, visit Addict-o-matic and put in the search term ‘funeral director’, or any other.

Armed with what she learns each day about her new target segment, Daniela is positioned far ahead of her advisor competition.

She understands how to speak the language of the segment and is quickly educated about the relevant challenges presented to these business owners.

With whom is a Funeral Director likely to have a conversation? The broker that is poking around in the dark?


It will be the informed, knowledgeable rep that separates herself from the vast sea of sameness.

Confused about Social/New Media technologies and how to apply them quickly and productively to your business?

Want to share this knowledge with your sales team?

Inquire about shorespeak’s new presentation: Social Media for Sales Professionals – Time Suck or Powerful Business Builder?

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