Financial Advisors, What’s Your Best Move?

by Shirley Hanson

If you want your financial advisory practice to grow, you may have been told you must reach out to new markets.

You may have heard that the women’s market is the place to be. Or you have been warned not to miss out on making yourself known to the up-and-coming millennials.

Right now you are hearing a noisy buzz around these two “underserved” markets.

Perhaps you ignored it because you’ve had a winning year.

After all, your practice may never have been more financially rewarding with average advisor assets at $97 million and average advisor revenue at $655,000(from the PriceMetrix annual State of Retail Wealth Management Industry Report for 2014 as reported in “Financial Planning”).

The sheer momentum of the marketplace has been good to you. But suppose you want more such as:

– Ensuring that you experience sustained growth through the inevitable gyrations of the markets or

– Beating the rap of being “average” and becoming extraordinary.

Yet . . . wouldn’t becoming a participant in the millennials’ or women’s market still make sense?

Maybe yes, maybe no.

Let me explain.

There is a more productive move rather than to grab one market or another because you’re caught by the insistent buzz about these opportunities.

Let’s Get Right To 5 Smart Keys to Growth

With these keys in place you’ll have a superior chance of sustaining your growth momentum no matter what’s happening to the markets and the economy.

1 – Identify Your Ideal Clients from Your Current Roster

Remember: Single out ones who are a joy to work with.

Create your detailed profile of your Ideal Clients. Likely you will discover more than one group that suits your practice.

Ask questions that cover both their vital statistics and their psychological traits and emotional states. A valuable question for you to be able to answer is “What changes will soon occur in their business or their lives?”

Also, create a list of ones who make your stomach churn at the thought of them. Then, drop these duds from consideration.

As we wrote in our book Marketing Power for Financial Advisors:

You will see a direct correlation between how well you know and understand the individuals in your target audience and how effectively you will be able to attract more of them . . . and convert them to clients.

2 – Recognize and Respond to Your Strengths

Don Clifton and Paula Nelson recommend in their book Soar with Your Strengths to “Focus on strengths and manage the weaknesses.”

Scrutinize your firm’s strengths. Take time to assess what you do well. And examine the power of your people.

Answer this question: Why do you do what you do?

Then, express your core values and principles. As the copywriting great Gary Bencivenga said, “Stand for something and you’ll never stand alone.”

3 – Expand Service to Current Markets

The MIT AgeLab (sponsored by Hartford Funds and reported in Forbes)) identified key practices and characteristics clients value in financial services. At the top was personalization or understanding their individual needs, followed by expertise and empathy.

How can you provide greater personalization to your clients?

“The Future of Advice” report by InvestmentNews Research and Cambridge Investment Research points out how much the concerns, interests, and behaviors of investors have changed.

As one example, many prefer to work with a full-service advisory firm providing — in addition to financial planning and investment advice — tax and estate planning services.

You can add these professionals to your practice. Or you can establish strong connections with these professionals.

Yet another example from a client with ultra-high-net-worth clients is to become a family office to strengthen relationships with clients and their families as money is being transferred to the next generation.

4 – Accelerate Growth by Adding New Markets

Look at your strengths and successes and ask, Where can we provide the most value? Your answer could be focusing on women or reaching out to millennials.

But maybe it lies somewhere else.

Here’s a possibility that may be just right for you — this one indicated by research for “The Future of Advice” report.

Consider the Do-It-Yourself investor.

The survey revealed that 54.2% were possibly open to working with an advisor. It also found that Do-It-Yourself investors are “active savers” and may have money stashed away in a variety of accounts.

They may be interested in services such as retirement income planning, financial planning, or cash flow planning.

Remember: Not every target audience is a good fit for what you do. Be strategic about who you want to work with today and in the future.

An all things to all people approach won’t help you grow. Be guided by your vision for your firm and select a few areas to concentrate on.

That’s how you will stand out as an expert with certain types of clients. And, in addition, being a specialist will help you become relevant to Centers of Influence to attract referrals from them

5 – Develop and Put Your Marketing Plan into Gear

Your plan will lead you to the few strategies that suit your strengths and connect with your selected audience(s). Your action guide (step 6) will set the course for activating your marketing plan.

We invite you to take advantage of the 7 steps to a winning marketing plan on our website. The steps are HERE:

May your next move be the best move for you and your firm,

Shirley Hanson

About Shirley Hanson

Co-Author "Marketing Power for Financial Advisors"
In 1991 Shirley Hanson co-founded the Hanson Marketing Group, a direct marketing firm. Since 2005 she has focused her work on helping financial advisors take advantage of the same strategies and tactics that high-growth firms count on year after year. Advisors are able to attract more of their ideal clients, reach a Category of One, and raise their production. She collaborates with advisors to unlock their vision for their practice sooner with less hassle.

Contact Shirley
Phone: 215-753-2620 | Fax: 215-754-4165
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