I rarely find an advisor who is not trying to grow his business. Despite the assets under management or number of clients advisors serve, most are always striving to build something bigger. Client demographics, technology, and marketing have changed so much in the past 20 years that many veteran advisors are confused and frustrated today. Aiming at business growth, they often misdirect energy on tactics that waste time and money. Through the process of working with hundreds of advisors, I have identified four common traits of advisors who are growing their practices year after year, traits that seem absent in advisors who are losing ground.
He Believes in His Value
You can tell right away when you speak with an advisor who honestly believes that he gives his clients more in value than he takes in compensation. His worldview is that of abundance, and he knows that if he loses a client, there are plenty other folks out there who would benefit from his services. He says things like “I only take on new clients who I can help,” or “I can only serve 100 families, so I use discretion when bringing on someone new.” This type of advisor works with optimism in his referral process and calm confidence in his value. His concerns typically are surrounding business efficiencies and finding referrals to high net worth clients. Believing in his value helps him attract new clients and close business if the client is a good fit.
He Invests in Technology and Marketing
In working with various diverse groups of advisors, I have found that all advisors who are growing their businesses invest significantly in technology and marketing. Of advisors who are increasing AUM, over half use RedTail CRM, eMoney and FMG Suite. The correlation makes me wonder about causation. Did they grow their business because of their technology? Or, are they able to invest because their revenue is consistently climbing? I suspect their business growth is because they have a systematic and disciplined approach to investing in their technology and marketing. Some cite numbers, such as 3% of revenue earmarked for marketing efforts. These investments result in more efficient and productive business models and make finding new clients easy. You would never attempt to run a marathon without food and water, yet trying to grow your business without fueling your technology and marketing engines yields the same miserable and painful result.
He is Comfortable With “Good Enough”
The greatest threat to effective marketing is perfectionism. Many advisors never launch their website because they can’t get comfortable with each word on the site. They fail to see the credibility hit they take by not having a website at all. The same is true for perfectionists when it comes to blogging. In attempts to increase blog accuracy, advisors conduct painful rounds of edits to their blog posts, decreasing their posting frequency and killing their enjoyment of the process. What they don’t realize is that most readers don’t care about detailed facts and figures. People read your blog because they want to hear your general opinion on a topic.
Blogs are a place to share ideas, a living breathing conversation, not a scientific journal. The goal is to deliver insightful ideas with a personal touch. Advisors who have business growth stick to a schedule and get their content out no matter what. The most successful advisors recognize the power of consistent marketing so they delegate or outsource their efforts.
He Ponders the Client Experience
I love it when I am talking to an advisor who uses language describing how his clients experience the services, marketing, and communication from his firm. He says things like “When my clients sit down at their computers, they have 30 or so marketing emails. I want ours to feel different.” This shows that he has taken the time and effort to visualize how his clients spend their day and is sensitive to their plight. How do they feel when they receive a communication from him? Is his firm’s technology easy for them to use? Does it solve problems that concern them? When an advisor shows he has visualized his clients’ lives, I know he is making the most the client experience. There is no substitute from pondering what your clients value and how to make their lives easier.
Most advisors long for continued, sustainable business growth year over year. They want to serve more clients, grow their firm, and create a lasting legacy. However, they worry that service levels for existing clients may suffer, and they don’t want to work more hours. I believe the trick to accomplishing this lies within embracing technologies in client service and marketing. Then, by changing your marketing mindset from “advertising” to “helping people find you when they need you most.” By understanding your clients and prospects, you can provide solutions and services they value. With disciplined marketing efforts, you will consistently reach clients you can help to guarantee you will serve more of them each and every year.
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