It’s certainly hard to grow your advisory practice when you’re stuck in the operational weeds of running a business, especially considering all of the compliance hoops through which we must jump as an industry. Much of the success of an advisory firm depends on growth, considering revenue is tied to the lives of individual clients. Competition is fierce, so while the stability and profitability of your practice are important, advisors must always have growth in the back (or forefront, depending on goals) of their minds.
Are you spending your valuable time on tasks that grow your business? If not, while those tasks may be important, they’re losing your business money. Focus on what moves the needle, and consider outsourcing the rest.
If you have great, trusting relationships with your current clients, they’re far more likely to refer you to their friends and family who could benefit from your services. It’s not rocket science. Go so above and beyond what clients are expecting that they can’t help but brag about you to their network. Tell them how much you appreciate their business (you are, after all, running a business). If clients aren’t offering up introductions on their own, though (and you’re providing them superior service), it may just not be top of mind for them. At the end of the day, certainly do not shy away from reminding clients that referrals are one of the ways in which you grow as a business.
Let’s be honest: Most RIAs do the same thing. The services offered are very similar, but where you can differentiate yourself is in the client niche you establish. If you’re a client, why would you want to work with a generalist if you could work with a specialist who has dealt with problems and issues very similar to yours again and again? A niche also makes the sales and marketing process much more manageable for advisors, and provides you with an opportunity to become the “go-to” financial advisor for a particular segment of the population.
Do not give out discounts left and right. It’s an OK practice in one-off situations, but doing so regularly shows that you do not believe you truly deserve what you’re charging. It demeans your value. Review your value add as often as appropriate, and adjust your fees accordingly. Obviously you would like the client to feel they are getting a solid deal and for you to feel you’re being fairly compensated. Show clients how you’ve arrived at their fee calculation and be transparent about the value they’ll receive in return.
In an ideal world, your online presence would be so clear and convincing that prospective clients would be able to qualify themselves for your services, and an actual human would only need to come into the sales process mix if and when necessary to “win” the business. On the client side, their experience with a financial advisor can never truly be replaced by a computer, but there are certainly many parts of the process (rebalancing, reporting, etc.) that can be automated. Time is money. Embrace technology to grow.
Make sure your brand is consistent, including brand representations such as your website, social media pages, blog, and other marketing materials. Sending mixed messages can confuse prospective clients and be embarrassing for current clients because it’s perceived as a lack of professionalism. As we mentioned before, most financial advisors provide the same services. So, in order to successfully market your advisory firm, you’ve got to portray the idealistic relationship your client will receive with you. You’re not selling investment performance… you’re selling knowledge and trust. You’re selling a shared mission. This is how you can attract a like-minded network. Feel free to place ads on platforms like LinkedIn and Facebook, but make these efforts extremely targeted to really get a bang for your buck.
Financial advisors are no longer solely competing against each other, they’re now competing against robots, as well. A solid growth strategy is more important than ever if you want to stay competitive and ultimately do your best for your clients.
Contact AdvicePeriod today to see how and why advisors are plugging into our network and getting all our back-office support, so you can do what you do best: servicing clients and finding new ones.
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