Blockbuster. Kodak. Circuit City. What do they have in common? In addition to being companies that the next generation will only know about as a history lesson, they are also companies that got left behind. And it’s because they didn’t innovate.
Think about it. Blockbuster was replaced by Netflix and Redbox — both companies that embraced new technology and offered innovative solutions to meet clients’ needs. Kodak stuck with film when clients were ready to go digital. And Circuit City, a technology company, chose out-of-the-way locations, didn’t embrace the gaming boom, and missed out on in-store promotions. In other words, they just didn’t have effective leadership. Each of these companies was an expert in their industry. Yet none of them kept up with innovation.
Your challenge, then, is to avoid becoming an obsolete brand in the financial services industry.
We are experiencing a huge shift from the workforce to retirement. Your clients need you now more than ever. And they won’t stick with you if you aren’t keeping up with new solutions. They need different services now than they did during their working years. It’s time to think about income and not just focus on the rate of return. Look at new ways to create income more efficiently.
In only 15 minutes you can take the Income Alpha challenge.
You’ll provide your clients with a higher probability of success, more income and a larger legacy. And you’ll experience more growth in your business. It’s time to innovate. To think ahead and get in front of the competition. An Income Alpha strategy is an excellent way to do that. Ready to get started? Just reach out to our Annuity team to get started at 800-589-3000. And, to learn more about what Income Alpha is, check out our case study. Starting the Income Alpha challenge is your next step to turning your business into a High Performing Practice.
Call today to put an Income Alpha strategy in place.
Your clients aren’t the only ones transitioning to retirement.
Our industry is also experiencing a shift as many advisors think about transitioning their book of business to the next generation or to an outside financial planner. With so much transition, how do you drive value to your business? How do you maximize it and increase revenue?
As we’ve talked about before, increasing clients and assets under management are the first options that most of us consider. And it’s true that increasing clients and AUM will increase growth. But there are some other effective options you should consider.
Let’s start with cross-selling. Expanding your portfolio to include life insurance, asset-based solutions, annuities and other products that produce a recurring trail of renewals. Just like diversifying client portfolios, you can diversify your streams of income, and you can do it by tapping into your existing clients.
In addition to providing a stable base for your revenue, cross-selling will also help build your brand, which is the second solution I want to discuss when it comes to growing your business. More than anything else, YOU are your brand. You are the reason your clients chose your business. When it comes time to pass your business along to the next generation that brand will be a big part of the value. You don’t want your clients to feel abandoned. Planning ahead to include a two- or three-year consulting agreement with the new owner after you sell can help with the transition.
Before you begin any transition, think of where you’d like your business to be in five-10 years. More and more clients are retiring as we witness the greatest shift from workplace to retirement our country has ever seen. Most Americans are relying on their accumulation of assets over the last 30 to 40 years — accumulation that won’t just be AUM after they retire.
So, when a potential buyer for your book of business is projecting the value of their recurring revenue, they’re going to see a steady accumulation. An Income Alpha strategy can help. (Check out a case study here.) It allows you to look at how guaranteed income might be able to help you sustain your book of business and increase the value of your recurring revenue by as much as 23% to 36%.
Cross-selling, planning for transition and a sound growth strategy are all effective ways to not only grow your business to a High Performing Practice, but also add value to your clients. It’s a chance to set both you and them up for success.
Grow your business and add value to your clients now. It’s the perfect way to start planning for your own transition into retirement when then the time comes.
Referrals. They are arguably the fastest way to grow your business. But it can also be one of the most awkward parts of your relationship. Most of us can think of any number of things we’d rather do than ask our clients for a list of names of friends and family that might benefit from your services.
But referrals make sense. After all, the easiest way to grow your business is by finding more clients that have the same characteristics as your current A-list clients. And who knows people with those same characteristics? Your A-list clients of course.
So now you’re walking the fine line of trying not to put pressure on your best clients while still asking them for referrals. It’s tricky.
So, what can you do to make yourself more referable? Let’s look at advice from two industry experts. I’ve talked before about the Go-Giver series by Bob Burg and John David Mann, and specifically about their concept of the Law of Influence. In case you missed it, the Law of Influence states that your influence is dictated by how abundantly you put the other person’s interest first. In other words, you focus on your client’s interests, not your own. Treat everyone like the influential critic you want to impress by anticipating their needs. You need to think of everyone is an ambassador to your practice. Everyone you meet on the street could be a possible referral partner. This includes your A-level clients’ centers of influence. It’s important to understand where they are and what their challenges are today.
The second expert I want to recommend is Ash’s National Director of Practice Management, Paul Kingsman. Paul is the creator of the popular Say It So it Sticks series. He has done a wonderful job putting together some talking points about how to ask for referrals, in a nonthreatening way. Start by making sure the client is comfortable, because it’s pretty likely they are just as uncomfortable as you are when it comes to having a conversation about referrals. And then you want to be upfront about your services. You and any new client are trying each other on for size. You might be able to help them, but it might not be a good fit. You’re reaching out to answer any questions they might have, whether or not they become a client. With this approach, you’re offering value to your existing clients while gaining introductions to your very best new clients.
Earning new clients and strengthening your relationships is exactly what every advisor needs to grow into a High Performing Practice. And now you have the tools to do just that.
Gain access to new A-list clients by asking for referrals in a nonthreatening manner. You’ll provide value to both existing and potential clients.
Sometimes you just need a pregame talk to keep going. A good pep talk gets you psyched up for the big game. It gets you focused. It’s exciting. It brings the team together. And it can be valuable for your business as well.
Tommy Amaker is the head coach for Harvard University’s men’s basketball team. A few years ago, he gave his team a pep talk before they took the floor against Howard University. He told his team that there are basically three things they each have control of:
It sounds simple enough, but it’s also extremely effective. For those Harvard basketball players, Coach Amaker reminded them about the opportunity they had on that night at that game. But it was up to them to maximize it.
When leveling up in the business world, those three points — controlling your time, controlling your words and controlling your opportunity — are just as important as they are in a game of basketball.
Control Your Time
A couple of weeks ago I talked about how to improve your time management and how to control the things you can. Specifically focusing your time on revenue-generating activities can give your business a lift. So, think about how you are controlling your time, and focus on making it as efficient and effective as possible.
Control Your Words
I’ve also talked about the importance of connecting with your audience, and the words you use are a big part of that. Every time you communicate, whether it’s a marketing message or a personal conversation, it’s vital to speak clearly and use terms your clients understand. Because if they don’t see the value you are providing, they will find someone else to help them, and you’ll have invested time and energy with no return. Simply put, if you confuse you lose.
Learn more about how to communicate by joining one of the StoryBrand meetings I am hosting throughout 2020. (Find out more about StoryBrand here.)
Control Your Opportunity
You’ve heard me say it time and again. We are experiencing the greatest shift from the workforce to retirement the United States has ever seen. You can remain relevant during that shift. Take advantage of this amazing opportunity by thinking strategically. Today there are more than $5 trillion in assets and brokerage accounts. And there more than $21 trillion in bank CDs and savings accounts, which shows the fear and uncertainty consumers have in the market due to the current pandemic.
Turn these seeming obstacles into opportunity. Help your clients change their thinking. Look ahead and create a strategy. By doing so you’ll be building a High Performing Practice that will be able to thrive —no matter what else gets thrown at us.
Give your business a pregame pep talk. Focus on increased growth by controlling your time, words and opportunities.
I’m an active runner. And I’m also not as young as I used to be. I notice that I get sore when I run. But I’m dedicated to improving my performance, so I get frustrated when I don’t hit my personal best. Recently, I investigated some new wellness options to ease my sore muscles. Specifically, I was interested in what a new wellness facility is doing with cryotherapy and compression therapy.
Before I visited, I did my homework. I learned about what habits I need to change and what the appointment entailed. After all, cryotherapy isn’t new. But the way they use it is different. And expensive. So, I wanted to make sure I was all in before investing in the treatment.
Most importantly, I knew what results I wanted to get. I had already formed my definition of success, and I knew how to measure it. My changes resulted in shaving 15 seconds per mile off my running time. I can see the improvement. I can quantify it. And I can determine if the results are worth the cost.
Success in business should be the same. It doesn’t make sense to change just to change. We need to look for purposeful change. Change that leads to success.
We are all accustomed to change. Every day we adapt. To economic conditions. To client expectations. To wearing a mask when we shop for groceries. The key is to look for a health change.
In my example, the change was amazing. More importantly, my legs felt good following day. Before continuing with treatment, I made sure that there was some level of defined success. That’s the same thing that we need to do in our business. We need to define what success means before we try new marketing. Before we try new client processes. Before we try something, anything, just because we think we need a change.
There are three major takeaways for meaningful change:
Considering these three points before making any major changes to your businesses or processes will help you focus on what’s important — remaining relevant as your clients shift from working to retirement — and not get bogged down in less meaningful actions.
Be deliberate when making changes. Know what you want to accomplish and how you plan to measure success.
© 2018 Ash Brokerage LLC.