“I don’t think I’ve ever seen a better time for client acquisition,” Mike (one of our coaches) tells me. He then says, “I’ve got advisors bringing in more assets than at any time in their careers.”
I heard from an advisor (Walter) recently that, “We’ve got $270 million of new assets year-to-date, but I want to step-it up in the 4th quarter as $400 million is now the new target.” He then went on to echo Mike’s sentiments, explaining why he’s raised his annual new asset goal, “It’s the perfect environment for bringing in new business.”
It was these two conversations on financial advisor marketing opportunities that prompted me to write this article. Over the past three weeks I’ve been in front of 300 or so veteran financial advisors who were interested enough in acquiring more affluent clients to devote a full day to training on the topic. Although these groups were eager to bring in new business, it was obvious that few of these financial advisors were capitalizing on the opportunities that Mike and Walter were talking about.
Between an unpredictable global economy, testy political environments, and the media fanning the flames of fear, affluent investors are on alert. This type of uneasiness often leads to people to consider changes they wouldn’t have considered in smoother times (i.e. changing financial advisors).
Now, why aren’t more financial advisors proactively taking advantage of this opportunity? Perhaps it’s a motivation issue. When markets are up, many advisors lose their edge when it comes to marketing. We’ll leave that as a topic for another day.
For now, I thought you might be interested in the high-impact activities Walter’s team was doing, as well as the marketing activities Mike was currently coaching. Model their actions and you will model their results. Much of this boils down to a combination of Relationship Management and Relationship Marketing.
Marketing activities vary slightly from elite advisor to elite advisor, but there is a lot of commonality as well. The following is a top five list (in terms of usage and results) for you to follow:
1. Social Prospecting
Put yourself in positions where you can develop connections with wealthy people. Work on your ability to convert social contacts into business opportunities. Get better at it by doing it repeatedly. Many advisors are scared of being “salesy,” but in reality they could ratchet up their assertiveness by 50% and still wouldn’t come across too bold.
2. Intimate Events
Host small events (fun or educational) for clients and their guests. Plan a series that your top clients would enjoy. Invite them to come and ask them to bring a specific guest. It works, but you’ve got to pay attention to the details.
3. Personal Introductions
Work to determine your clients’ connections. You can do this through conversation or through social media. When you find out who they work with and play with, Don’t be shy about asking them to introduce you in social venues. You’ll be pleasantly surprised at their willingness to help.
4. Referral Alliances
Find professional partners who get the idea of reciprocity. There aren’t that many, and that’s why this can be a frustrating endeavor. You’ll need to start with a broader list of professionals to nurture, then narrow it as you determine someone isn’t an ideal fit. If you find the right professionals, and develop the relationship much like you would with a top client, the results will come.
5. Generating Referrals
Getting referrals has little to do with investment performance. Our research shows it’s mainly a combination of treating clients well and putting them in situations where it’s natural to connect you (i.e. personal introductions and intimate events). When you know each other beyond business, you increase their desire to help.
In each of my past three workshops I’ve had advisors approach me and attempt to explain, in one way or another, why all of this is extremely difficult for them. In every instance, albeit the narrative was always different, the stumbling block was with their comfort zone.
Executing the above, taking advantage of this real-time financial advisor marketing opportunity initially requires you to step outside of your comfort zone, whether it’s delegating, socializing, asking for an introduction, segueing into a business conversation or asking for the business. Change is tough, but opportunities abound for those who dare.