5 Steps to Take Your Financial Advisory Practice to the Next Level

The Case for Taking the Stairs to Move Your Financial Advisory Practice to the Next Level

Suppose you are looking to propel your financial advisory practice to a resounding new level.

Do you take the elevator or do you tackle the stairs?

Can it be as easy as hurrying into an elevator, hitting a button, and riding effortlessly and quickly up one floor to your destination?

Why Taking the Elevator May Leave You Behind

For a financial advisory practice, the elevator is the equivalent of searching for a retiring advisor’s book to buy in your area – one that just happens to match your target client base.  That’s an attempt to quickly increase your assets with the stroke of a pen.

It may sound easy but . . .

Let’s look at a typical multi-advisor partnership – one that became independent after the financial meltdown. The practice is successful and also well known in the area. They pruned their book when they left the wirehouse and took their better clients with them.

Let’s say they migrated from a Wirehouse Practice (we’ll call it Version 1.0) to a Basic Partnership (Version 2.0).

This Version 2.0 is an improved state.

After a few years, though, it is no longer new.

Cracks may be appearing in the foundation, showing up as:

  • an aging client basis,
  • the concentration of assets in a few large clients, or
  • an overreliance on market returns for revenue growth.

Taking the elevator to advance to Version 3.0 may be tempting, but generally you are better-off taking the stairs.


Taking the Stairs Can Build Version 3.0  – Your Next Level as a Financial Advisory Practice – with a Solid Foundation

Your practice could be poised for sustainable growth.

For next level thinking, let’s go through the process one step at a time.

Here is how you can avoid stumbling or missing an opportunity . . .

5 Steps to a Business Plan to Reach Version 3.0 – Positioning your firm for Sustainable Growth

Step 1 to Your Next Level:
  Define Your 3.0 Vision First


As management guru Peter Drucker said, “The best way to predict your future is to create it.”


Picture your next level as the next floor above you in the building, one that exhibits its unique attributes. For an advisory firm they include:

  • the client mix,
  • the team,
  • your investment and planning process, and
  • your supporting processes and technologies.

Step 2 to Your Next Level:  Start with Your Ideal Client Criteria; Don’t Just Settle for Current Segmentation

Most firms settle for simple client segmentation, looking at their current book and dividing it into A, B, C clients when creating their growth plan.  Then, they emphasize, “We need more ‘A’ Clients!”

This thinking is limiting.  

Your ”A” clients today may not be your “A” clients of the future.  And how these clients were acquired may have nothing to do with your client-acquisition process for the future.

Instead, start with your ideal client criteria expressed in examples of real personalities or composite examples of the types of clients your firm would like to acquire.

If possible, translate those criteria into one or more addressable markets.

Step 3 to Your Next Level:  Develop a Comprehensive Marketing and Communications Strategy for Your Financial Advisory Practice

The marketing strategy is your “what, where, why, and how” guide to how you will communicate with prospects and clients alike.

Your marketing and communications strategy, for example, could be almost entirely geared to attracting “A” prospects.

Don’t ignore opportunities to gain efficiency and effectiveness when it comes to communicating with existing clients as well.

You can leverage content marketing along with technologies and events as go-to strategies in your client communications mix as well.

Step 4 to Your Next Level:  Be an Independent Thinker When It Comes to Tactics and Channels

Yes, you do want to think “strategy before tactics” in marketing.

Let your comprehensive strategy drive the choice of marketing channels and media.

Avoid the temptation to pick the “flavor of the month” among marketing tactics.

Let your peers make that mistake.

For tactics, we have compiled a list of 111 marketing tactics often called on by advisory firms and advisors.

The secret to success is picking the right 3 to 5 – the best fit for your business, market, and objectives.

Step 5 to Your Next Level:  Target New Processes and Enabling Technologies

Many marketing technology implementations fall flat because they are selected and prioritized without benefit of the plan.

In addition, there may be no pre-existing processes within the firm to support these new technologies, which are a pre-requisite for success.

If online meetings, for example, are part of the qualification and sales process, then you may consider both a web meeting technology as well as webinars and an online event technology in your marketing process.

Finally, don’t be afraid to let go of habits that served you well to reach 1.0 and 2.0, but will hinder you in becoming evolutionary and creating sustainable growth strategies.

Once they successfully settle into Version 3.0, some practices may be inspired to plan their steps to climb higher yet . . . to set foot on the next level, Version 4.0.

For more on taking your financial advisory practice to the next level get Bob’s book, Marketing Power for Financial Advisors available in all formats from outlets such as Amazon.  Or contact him directly to request a no-obligation consultation at bhanson@marketingplanfinancialadvisor.com

About Bob Hanson

Principal, Client Attraction System for Financial Advisors
Bob Hanson has worked with hundreds of financial advisors, professionals, and companies to drive documented results of 300% in new prospect flow within a week, a 70% increase in annual income within 12 months, and a boost in sales of 5 times for a firm in a little over 36 months. In addition, Bob is a Webinar specialist, a White Paper expert, and an experienced Centers of Influence strategist who helps marketers tap the full potential of these powerful marketing tools.

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