Whenever I’m working with advisors one-on-one or chatting after a speaking engagement, they usually ask, “How do I find better clients?” Typically, that question translates to “How do I find people with more money?”
My first thought is to caution that type of thinking. Just having money doesn’t necessarily make that client the right client. A lot of frustration comes from having a lot of clients but being narrow in product mix. For example, only having assets under management will leave you with a low-margin business. When you add more clients, you are also adding more service, which could mean you’re not as profitable.
We want to make sure that when you grow, you grow profitably. I want you to change your philosophy from “I need to find clients with more money” to simply, “I need to find the right client.” And the right client is defined by where you want your business to be in the next five to 10 years. If that remains assets under management, that’s fine.
But if you want to move to a High Performing Practice, you need to find more of the right clients and then develop a deeper relationship with them. That’s how you’ll remain relevant in this great shift from the workforce to retirement—one of the largest shifts the United States has ever seen.
There are three things you need to be thinking about:
By focusing on patience, understanding your market inside and out, and creating a campaign designed to nurture your clients, you can delve deeper into their concerns and interact with them in the style they prefer. If you do that, you will transform your business to a High Performing Practice with better clients.
Prospecting is the most difficult task when it comes to building our business — especially if we’re trying to figure out how to do it with more clients.
I was reading a book over the weekend called The Distraction-Proof Advisor by Paul Kingsman. He talks about how he prepared for the Olympic Games. As a swimmer, he said, training was simple, but it was not easy. A lot of people ask me, “How can I make prospecting easier?”
The answer is that we need to shift our focus like Paul Kingsman did. We need to talk about simplicity, not about making it easy. Paul talked about how training was simple. He had to be in the pool a certain number of hours. He had to lift weights a certain number of hours. He had to eat right to fuel his body. That’s not easy. But it is simple.
The same is true with prospecting. Let’s think about how we can make it simple. There are three steps to take:
Use the next week to focus on developing a solid referral track, learning about how automation can help nurture client relationships and using today’s technology tools to enhance your reach.
Keep it simple.
Our day-to-day activities pull us in different directions. Sometimes we feel like we are going 100 mph in a 55-mph speed zone and getting no where. We are servicing clients, preparing and monitoring financial plans, and listening to rapidly changing market conditions on the television in our office. We suddenly look up at the clock and the day is over. Repeat that often enough and we will look at our business in a couple of months to find that we don’t have any new prospects. Or a plan to grow our business.
We must always be finding ways to recruit new prospective clients if we want our business to grow. We need a consistent pipeline of individuals that have a problem that our expertise solves. Because we are already so busy with running the existing business, we don’t find time to devote to the key metric in our business – marketing. And, if we find the time to think about it, the marketing efforts we implement are general and not specific to a targeted audience. In some cases, we know that recruiting is such a vital activity that we outsource it to a 3rd party to “get me in front of more people.” We end up with the wrong clients and therefore compound our day-to-day activity problem. At the end of the day, we should be choosing whom we do business with instead of the other way around.
There has to be a better way. I suggest three simple changes to create an ongoing flow of high-quality people that want to speak to you due to your expertise.
1. Clarify your message. People make decisions on initial reactions. They don’t take the time to research anything about the quality of person behind the story. You must be crystal clear on what you do and for whom you will help.
2. Use technology properly. We all have websites. Even if there are chock full of pleasing graphics if they don’t produce results or show up in search engines they aren’t serving their purpose. Figure out how to use your existing email lists better while you clarify your message to your targeted audience. This saves time, money, and effort on your part. Don’t waste time weeding through everyone to get to the truly high value prospective client.
3. Make referrals a part of your presentation. Whenever you meet someone, you should ask what a good prospect looks like for them. In doing so, you have created value that will reap benefits down the road. Create a closing script that includes this verbiage to separate yourself from any competition.
It’s not easy to be clear and concise, especially in a complex financial services practice. However, if you follow our guidance using the StoryBrand seven-step framework, you can create an environment where you become a magnet instead of a megaphone. Stop wasting time and money on the outdated marketing strategies of yesterday. Instead, use a plan that brings the people that need you the most to your doorstep. Automation allows you to continually prospect, even during your busy day-to-day activities running a financial planning practice. The consistency of your message combined with automation lifts you to new levels, helps more Americans, and adds time for you to do the things that are important to you.
Transformational Tactic: Use technology and the right words to create a consistent flow of prospective clients to your firm.
At every sales meeting, my staff talks to me about concerns that our advisors have in trying to build their business. Our industry has a nearly unlimited opportunity to help American families retire and protect their wealth. With the number of financial professionals today plus the erosion of talent over the next 20 years, it’s easy to say that every planner has enough prospects to help grow their business.
So, why is it such a problem to grow the number of clients in your practice?
The problem is building your practice in a way that doesn’t overwhelm you and your staff, do it profitably, and have a higher performing practice than when you started. Most people tell me that having a higher performing practice means adding new clients. That solution works well if you truly need to add more clients, potentially add assets under management or new sales, and achieve more revenue. But, just adding more people might not create the leverage you need to make a high performing practice.
Adding more clients also means more service, more plans, more time, more effort, and more costs. That means a similar level of profitability, less time with your family, and most likely less enjoyment out of your business. You have to pay attention to how your grow your business and with whom you grow your business. If adding more clients is your solution, you have to be deliberate in the clients you choose to add.
This critical choice boils down to these key points:
1. Define your target audience.
2. Be as specific as possible.
3. Determine the #1 value you bring to that group.
It’s that simple. While we all feel a responsibility to help as many Americans as possible retire more securely we must make the careful and diligent choices that make a difference in our clients’ lives. And in our own lives as well. You must have a plan to grow your business purposefully. You may feel that you will project a negative impression by not working with everyone that comes your way. Or, you might feel that you could lose a potential sale by referring a prospective client to another person. What’s important is to understand your purpose, of your business, and to your client. You have to define your value.
Your value starts with understanding what you can deliver to your potential audience. By choosing the processes, products, and services that you specialize in, you can better articulate your value to your intended audience. And, remember, there are plenty of people that need our services for you to be laser-focused on your audience. That’s the key. Understand your audience better than everyone else and you are likely to win the client. Speak in their terms empathetically and authoritatively to demonstrates you can deliver on their needs, dreams, and goals.
Understand your target audience better than anyone else.
© 2018 Ash Brokerage LLC.