Every advisor would like business to come to them. That is possible. There is a way: Simply be the lowest cost provider. You’ve seen this when shopping on the Internet. You see it on hotel booking ads on TV. Wal-mart prides itself on being the lowest cost provider. Most advisors do not want to go that route. They want people to pay the going rate. You need to ask for the business.
Let us look at eight reasons you need to be proactive.
1. I was waiting to be asked.
An advisor in the Sacramento area approached a fellow club member about business. The fellow was thrilled and ready to hand over his money. He explained he was “waiting to be asked.” The advisor wondered why he didn’t make the first move. The fellow explained: “I thought I was too small.”
Rationale: The advisor did a great job of raising his visibility. His clients talked about him. The set of clients this fellow encountered all came across as wealthier. He assumed he was never approached because he wouldn’t make the cut.
2. Situations change.
Everyone has been told “I already have an advisor.” We are making plenty of assumptions if we walk away forever. That advisor is immortal. They will never retire. They are experts in every area.
Rationale: You might remember they said: “I’ve got an advisor” but they probably won’t remember you explained you were in that business. If they have an advisor, by definition they are a fellow investor, a kindred spirit. It is fine to ask how they are doing in the market from time to time.
3. Relationships get reviewed.
If your client is a professional, middle manager or business owner, they review vendor relationships regularly. They (or someone in their firm) is looking to get the best deal, possible. Utilize that logic.
Rationale: Remind them you know they work with a competitor. They told you. When do they review their relationship with (firm). Are they open to hearing from someone else at that time? That’s the process they use at work before they renew contracts.
4. Boosting referrals.
If you have a client who is open, yet uncertain about referring business, it might be they do not know how to send the other person in your direction. Meeting them might be the easiest way to make the connection.
Rationale: An advisor outside Boston would get to know other parents through school sports. As an advisor he would position himself as working well with “Moms, pops and families.” He was saying “I’m just like you.”
5. I have money now.
It is unrealistic to assume everyone you approach for business is sitting on idle cash. Who has idle cash? A friend might say: “I’m interested, but I don’t have money now. I’ll call you when I do.” They will likely not remember.
Rationale: You need to keep your ear to the ground for life changing events. If they are talking about changing jobs or houses, there is likely money in motion.
6. Death in the family.
When a spouse dies, conflicting emotions enter the picture. You know there is opportunity for business, yet you also know you should respect their privacy. You need to position yourself as a resource. You know they are going through a difficult time. There will be questions involving money. They may not know where to turn for answers. This is an area where you have helped others in similar situations. You might be able to help them too.
Rationale: Pushing for business is predatory. Offering to help is compassionate.
7. Assuming a need.
Sometimes people do not ask for help. They have a problem and do not know where to look for advice. They may not consider you an expert in that area. You are. You might have a relative who spent their career at a public company. They are in middle management. It’s a safe assumption they own lots of their company stock. That’s a concentrated position. Have you ever asked them about it?
Rationale: Asking politely shows you have given it significant thought. They might say they have realized it’s a concentrated position and didn’t know where to get advice. You mean you know something about that?
They may not bring up business because they don’t know your track record. Maybe they think you talk about your clients because many other industries do. They are a private person.
Rationale: You might respect their privacy yet introduce the idea of doing business. Bring up their privacy concern. You are bound by confidentiality. Lean on your past history. They have never heard you talk about a client before. You aren’t going to start now. That includes them, if they want to do business.
You need to stay on the radar. This means asking for business periodically.