No one at the firm had ever met the young woman on the phone who had just sold her business for several million dollars.  “I have researched financial advisors and have decided I want to work with a CPA/PFS.  I have narrowed my list of choices down to two and Mackey Advisors is one of them.  I would like to set up a phone call to discuss your investment approach.”

Twenty seven years ago, I could not have imagined receiving a phone call like this.  This woman was not referred to us by someone in her community of friends or advisors.  But because we have created a culture and a brand, and made it highly visible in areas where conscious and forward-thinking people will see us, we now anticipate calls like this and are positioned to respond accordingly.

As a member of Vistage, an international organization comprised of many CEO roundtable groups, I “present” my business plan to my group about every eighteen months.  Transparency is a key factor, so everything is exposed, from financials to strategies.  I ask for and receive critical feedback, positive and negative.  At my last presentation, I posed this question to my group:  “How can we position Mackey Advisors to gain market share nationally?”

At the time, we used our delivery platforms to make our internal processes more efficient, but had never done business with a client whom we had never met face to face.  Over the past few years, we have been enhancing our web delivery mechanisms, anticipating that at some time in the future, our geographically-distant relationships might be a larger and more significant portion of our business. 

Interestingly enough, the answer my CEO group gave me was “It can’t be done.  You are in a relationship business and that requires face to face meetings to build trust.”  So where’s the disconnect?  My CEO group said it can’t be done and yet here was the call proving them wrong.  As I looked around the table I realized they are all like me: baby boomers.  Our generation may shop online, but my experience is that most have not sufficiently grasped the breadth and scope of the new marketplace paradigm.  I believe we must if we are to retain leadership positions in the marketplace of the future.

This is what Michael Schwartzman, Chief Applications Innovator of Enriching Spaces, calls market pull.  I love this term as it so accurately describes the new paradigm of “selling” in business.  You create market pull, and customers are drawn to you.

I find this the most fascinating topic in business today, not from a perspective of “Hmmm…isn’t that interesting” but from a “If I don’t get my head around this market trend, and become part of it, how viable will my business be in the future?” perspective.  For many baby boom entrepreneurs, your business represents your largest and most valuable asset.  Market pull may have more to do with your financial success than any other single focal point in your financial plan.  Have you considered this in your strategic plan?

If you want to learn more about market pull, here are some suggestions:

  • check out Seth Godin and David Meerman Scott on the web, as they are leaders in this field
  • hire a twenty-something to head up a social media initiative in your firm, especially if words like webinar, blog, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook are foreign to you
  • develop a twenty- something advisory board to educate and mentor you about the web
  • connect with me on Facebook, LinkedIn, my blog or Twitter and we will learn together

Certainly Mackey Advisors has a unique culture and brand. Our challenge is to communicate that brand effectively and to deliver web-based content in a variety of mediums so as to create sufficient market pull to deliver on our growth objectives.  Watch out, here we come!  2010 is the year of our new website and much more.  As always, we value and welcome your feedback.  Thank you for helping us to grow, learn, improve and continue to serve you better.