At Twenty Over Ten, it is a passion of ours to work with amazing clients to help them achieve the website of their dreams. We value our clients and love to hear about how each step of the process went. This week, we were able to talk with Dan Lohmar, CFP, RLP, Certified Financial Planner™ at United Wealth Management, LLC. Want to hear what he has to say about the web development process? Keep reading to find out!
First, tell us a bit about United Wealth Management and how you got started in the financial services industry.
Well, it’s very interesting how we got started. Alan and I are both full-time pilots for United Airlines. After 9-11 the airlines industry went through some pretty hard times which retested in United Airlines filing bankruptcy and the loss of the pilot groups pension. With the future of our careers looking pretty shaky, Alan and both took personal leaves from United and went to work for retail brokerage firms. I was gone for only about 5 months before I realized that exact field was not for me, but it exposed me to the industry. With Alan’s experience, he thought that rather than leaving United, he would be providing a better service to people if he bought the financial services to the pilots at United. And at that time it was desperately needed. The airline had just gone into bankruptcy and the pilot group’s pension was turned over to the PBGC. Our benefits package went from about 70/30 Defined benefit plan / Defined contribution plan to pretty much 100% defined contribution plan. Alan and I did not know each other at the time, but we met out of pure coincidence about 3 months after he started Untied Wealth management. Having similar backgrounds in financial services, I started working with him in 2005. Over the 14 years, we have worked together, we have evolved from simply picking asset allocations and mutual funds into comprehensive financial, retirement and life planning.
Your firm is extremely unique in that you serve a specific niche of United Airlines pilots. Tell us – how did you get started working with pilots specifically?
I think my answer to #1 explains that. We are also full-time pilots with United. We fly trips around the world with our clients and future clients. And even though there are over 12000 pilots at United, it’s a relatively tight group of people. 99% of our marketing is from word of mouth.
Working with a group like pilots whose schedules are incredibly busy we like that you offer the flexibility of being able to meet online or in person. How has this flexibility helped out with attracting more clients? Are there certain online meeting and scheduling tools that you like to use to help with double-bookings and to keep you organized?
Great question. We both use schedule once for scheduling. Our pilot schedules come out on the 18th of each month for the following month. I look over my schedule and see when I can meet on “days off” and if there are any layovers I will have time to meet on. Sometimes the time changes can be challenging, but we just put it out there and see what works for our clients. Occasionally we will fly trips with our clients and if the timing is right, we may do an annual review or something on the layover. Once we have laid out our availability for the next month, I will email my clients and prospects to let them know my availability for the month is updated and they can schedule a time if needed. We always let them know that if they need to call then just call. They don’t need to call with a question only on days I am “available.” We also have a full-time virtual assistant, Jan DePropero, out of Ft Lauderdale. She is available full time to take admin-type phone calls. The vast majority of our meetings are done online using Zoom. Alan and I have literally met with clients from all parts of the world, Asia, Europe, Guam, Hawaii – while we were on layovers. Sometimes the time change is challenging, but we make it work if that is what works for the client.
We are huge fans of the use of video! Tell us more about the video you created for your website about the background of your firm. Are there any tools you use that you would recommend that have made video creation easier for you?
First, of all…I’m a video geek. I’m way more into it than most advisors will be. The only video we have on our website at the time is one Alan had created by a local video firm. I have my own YouTube Channel and I will soon be posting those on 20/10. That is one reason we switched to 20/10 is for the ease of posting self-made videos. I am currently 5 videos into a 10 video series about retirement tax planning. I will be posting those in our “Vlog” shortly. High-quality video is easy to do nowadays. I use a digit SLR and record into garage band then sync them – that is overkill. Content is king – not production – when it comes to videos. But I will say that audio quality is more important than video quality – even in a video. It has taken me a while to figure out what I’m comfortable with and not spending days editing. You will see in my video series that I evolved into a short introduction and then a webinar-style presentation. I try to keep them as short as I can and try to keep the topics very specific.
We are so glad to see that you are leveraging social media in order to connect with others and grow your digital footprint. Can you elaborate on your social media strategy and how has it helped to grow your firm?
Alan has been running the SM side of things. To be honest with you we don’t have a really strong social media presence. We find our client group are not huge twitter and FB followers, However, the pilot group has a FB page and a discussion forum. We get on there and answer financial questions occasionally – that’s about the extent of our SM presence. Our business is very word of mouth driven that we’ve never seen a huge need for social media. That may change – I will be promoting my YouTube Channel a little more.
We know that you have plans to add regular content to your Vlog and Blog. What tools are you going to use to create your Vlog and what results are you hoping to achieve once you start updating those sections?
I am creating my own YouTube channel with financial related topics. My goal will be to post several series of videos – my first one being about retirement tax planning for United Pilots. there will be about 10-12 videos in that series. I will follow up with something like Understanding Social Security or How to create a retirement income from your portfolio…. I will then post these videos on our 20/10 website. My goal with these videos is two-fold: one, I want it to drive traffic to our site. and two, I want to get my own face out there more than I have in the past. Besides all that, it’s good content for the pilot group. Our union offers retirement seminars each year. I attend them and I listen to what questions the pilots are asking – but the Union presenters can go only so far into a topic before it crosses that “advice” line. That’s how I get my content ideas. I don’t offer advice but I get to offer more general expertise than what pilots are getting at the retirement seminar.
We are big advocates of including fees on your website. Since including your fees on your new website have you received positive feedback or found it beneficial to direct prospects there for vetting early on in the sales process?
I totally agree – I hate it when firms make you search for their fee structure – you’ve got to be kidding me. Our site has only been up for a few months so we have not got any direct feedback. We are just believers in being transparent AND besides that, if your value is more than your fee then there is no reason to hide them. However in full disclosure – we did not have them posted on our last site – but like I said, were are evolving also and feel it is a very valuable part of being upfront. I think it does two things: one, if a person thinks those fees are too high and won’t listen to our beliefs about our value, then it’s saving a wasted phone call. Two, people who agree with the value of it appreciate the transparency – it’s a part of building the trust that is required to providing that value.
We love hearing feedback from our clients so we can improve our process. Do you have any suggestions that you think would have made your site development process easier?
Generating the copy for our website was not as easy as I thought it would be. I worked with a person or two on initial copy and it just wasn’t our story. Plus the pictures offered by your providers were “Okay” – I knew what pictures would connect with the pilot group so I ended up spending a lot of time searching aviation picture sites for the right ones (which was an additional cost upwards of $1000). I ended up creating the copy and finding the right pictures entirely on my own, the web layout, the pages and everything. Having such a busy schedule it took me over a year to do it. Part of that time was spent having a new logo created by you guys – that was fine and we are happy with the cleaner look. One thing that would have helped (a lot) would have been to have access to the site for direct editing – like we have now. When I edited through Nick it was a 3 step process – I had to read the copy and find content that needed changing, changed, change it, highlight it, tell him where it is on the website, email it back to him. etc etc. I would be FAR easier to log on, edit it directly myself – which is what I do now that the site is active. Editing copy through a middle person is cumbersome and unnecessary. I can see someone doing the initial layout, but when a word is misspelled or something needs to be re-worded, the middle person creates far more work than required.
What is your best piece of advice that you would share with other advisors who may be considering redesigning their website?
Have a dedicated person to do it that knows your firm, your story and your clients as well as you do. If they create the site that truly represents who you are, pay them every penny they ask for. I did ours, but the fact of the matter is if we had that person, my time would have been better spent getting more clients or with my family.
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