Wow. What a year. We accelerated the technology adoption and service model evolution we thought we “should probably get around to” over the next five years into a matter of months. Many financial advisors adapted quickly. Those who were prepared moved virtually and seamlessly around the imposed boundaries and not only expanded how they work with their client base, but also created opportunities to prospect and connect with potential clients.
Successful advisors realized quickly that fast action would protect their client base, revenue and profitability. As we know, all of this leads to higher business value. Smart advisors are always thinking about this.
Many advisors have admitted to me that they are struggling to generate new business without the ability to sit across the table from a prospect. It makes sense; establishing trust and developing rapport in a virtual environment is admittedly tough.
Then again, I hear from several advisors that they are having their best year ever. The number of financial plans written has never been higher. Investors have a little more time to focus and think about their financial futures. Savvy advisors have taken advantage of this.
It’s also important to remember that investors were put in the same situation as financial advisors. They, too, sat in their socially-distanced bubble trying to figure out how to communicate with the outside world -family, friends, and those responsible for managing their finances and retirement dreams.
There is a huge opportunity for financial advisors to show investors what the future of planning and advice looks like.
Here are the top 7 ways you can go on offense now to generate business:
1. Pick-up the phone
Search your CRM and make a list of opportunities lost over the past 12 months and reconnect with these prospects. Have a plan on what to say — make it friendly. “How is your family? Is everyone doing okay?” Feel free to script a few sentences about how well this year has gone for your firm and express your sincere wishes that their businesses are finding ways to be successful as well. If they are seeing success, ask why. You may learn something, and THEY may ask for your learnings as well. Build rapport in being successful.
2. Create a YouTube Channel
Create a set of three five-minute videos on your firm’s specific areas of expertise and the market. Be dynamic! Provide an idea and tell the viewer why they should care. Tell a story about it. You can record yourself on Zoom or Microsoft Teams. Many of you saw what John Krasinski (of The Office fame) did in the early days of quarantine when he created SomeGoodNews. Its magic was firmly rooted in the fact that it was home-cooked, honest and overwhelmingly positive. It also had a logo created by his kids – a perfect example of how time has given us all permission to be creative, nimble, and not overly concerned with being perfect. Remember that it no longer matters where clients are — there are no borders. Your prospecting playground just expanded beyond your wildest dreams. Video travels.
3. Holiday Service Calls
Have your staff call clients and check in with potential needs (small and large) for the holidays and just to say hello! While everyone else is hunkering down, your staff is proactively reaching out to clients. This is sure to impress them, and it will create buzz for potential referral talk amongst friends in a time when people connect more than any other. "My advisory team called me out of the blue and did this…”
4. Create a White Paper on Why Investors Need Advisors
Become an authority. Sound old school? Not if you atomize the content into articles, a podcast, a video, an infographic and social media posts. Investors need education on our industry — provide it. Make yourself an authority. Create content and get it published on your site and others — Be a thought-specific leader, not just a thought leader.
Sound difficult? It’s not. There are freelance industry writers all over the country who can help you with the white paper and the atomization of it. Ask a financial media outlet for subject ideas AND how to publish your completed content.
5. Offer Fee Audits.
Investors seldom understand the total cost of advice. Offer prospects who are on the fence a complete fee audit on their entire portfolio and plan. Ask for their information from the last five years and look at every fee they may have paid. Show them their return on the investment they’ve made in advice. The benefits gained will be much greater than a number — the learnings and understanding achieved will be immense. Trust will be established — which leads to comfort in your advice. Delivering peace of mind is priceless.
6. Be Extra Social and Kind
We are in the midst of a pandemic. That said, people are venturing out for groceries, holiday shopping, and other errands. Your attitude is everything out there. People in your community know you. How you hold yourself, how you interact with everyone, even your facial expressions, is seen and measured. We’re living in a time when attitude is everything.
Don’t want to go out? Use this time to organize festive online events. You can set up a gathering with friends over Microsoft Teams or Zoom and have them invite others. Create online wine parties, book clubs, trivia parties, cooking demonstrations, dinners, or topical discussions. Opportunities will fall into your lap, be ready for them.
7. Develop a Strategy to Connect with the Next Generation
The next generation may not have a ton of money now, but it will fill your pipeline, enhance your business and increase your enterprise value. Talking to them will also energize you and give you new ideas. Use this time to get your team together, ask for input, come up with a plan and execute it. Make it your great give-back.
You may also want to consider creating an online session on the basics of personal finance for your clients’ and prospects’ young adult children, most of who are home from college until the end of January or looking for their first jobs. Providing advice to help young people establish good financial habits helps them appreciate the value of advice early, and builds your value in their parents’ eyes.
The future of advice has never been more at the fingertips for you and your team. It’s up to you to execute. If you do, you’ll enrich what you already have, while growing your client base, revenue and profitability.
Oh yeah, all of those things lead to increased business value. Happy Holidays.