A Warm Welcome to People Inquiring About the Company Who Used Internet Based Searches to Find the Company
Using Search Engines
Many people use Internet search engines to find Investment Advisors and Financial Planners and other professional services. Obtaining a professional service by searching for and reading a web site is something that you should feel comfortable with.
What difference does it make whether you dropped into an office and asked for a brochure, or telephoned “cold” to ask for one or downloaded all the pages of a company’s web site? Choosing a professional service by getting a referral from friends may feel warmer than calling “cold” to people you found on a list of members of a profession, however, today things are different. In the old days people had more time to shop in person, and glossy paper brochures were harder to update, and professional services were simpler (less micro niches, etc.) so it was more practical to ask friends for a referral. Today you may find your friend’s favorite Doctor, CPA, Attorney or Investment Advisor serves a micro niche that is not suitable for you, so the solution is for you to survey the Internet to find the right match. So relax and enjoy searching for a local financial advisor on the Internet. May I suggest that you search the websites of the organizations that I am affiliated with? These are National Association of Personal Financial Advisors (www.Napfa.org), the Certified Financial Planner Board (www.cfp.net/search/), the Financial Planning Association (www.FPAnet.org).
Keywords to Use
Search engine parameters should be key words such as “fee only” (not “fee based”, which means some commissioned products will be marketed to you), the name of local city or county, words or acronyms like NAPFA, CFP, independent, investment advice, financial planning, flat fee advice. Avoid firms that advertise on search engines. If they are attractive then they don’t need to advertise. Wall Street giants spend an incredible 25% of revenue on ads, far more than other industries. Does your Doctor, CPA, and Attorney advertise?
I have chosen doctors for myself for a foot operation and a wisdom tooth removal based on searching a list rather than getting a personal referral. The operations were done to my complete satisfaction and no surprises.
Judging Companies by Their Website
What can you sense when you look at a company’s web site? A company that has an easy to navigate, fast loading, detailed web site that clearly explains the company and its policies demonstrates that they are more professional than a company whose web site is only a few pages long and has vague, superficial information, and that has not been updated for many years. Many small companies lack the time to develop their website and then make the mistake of using a “canned” site that has a tacky, synthetic look that was developed by someone else. Gigantic firms with very high costs may have developed a beautiful web site but their agenda is to “sell you” the idea of paying their excessive fees. So hopefully this website is in the middle range of websites: not too big and slick and also not amateurish and superficial.
In the 1990’s the Internet was a innocent new democracy where in-depth information about a small business with low costs could be found. Gradually the Internet began to be dominated by giant corporations with very high costs. This made it harder to find small business professionals on the Internet. Fortunately some search engines make it possible to find small businesses with good quality services.