Strategies to Grow Your Client Base in 2019

Strategies to Grow Your Client Base in 2019

It’s hard to believe it’s time to plan for next year already. You might think it’s early, but completing the planning process now, at the start of the fourth quarter, gives you an advantage in a couple of ways. First, you can start changing your habits so you hit the ground running on Jan. 1. And, when you have more time to think about your business instead of work in your business, you tend to make better decisions.


One decision you should consider in 2019 is how you will grow your client base. Gaining clients is always a challenge for planners. It was a challenge at the start of this industry. It’s a challenge today. And it will be a challenge in the future. Why? Here are three reasons:


  1. Your competition is only growing. When prospective clients search Google for financial planning, they will find millions of wealth managers and online tools to help them make more informed decisions. Many of those resources are very inexpensive and easily accessible via technology.


  1. Consumers don’t wake up needing financial planning services. They have their sights on other tangible purchases and plan for retirement less than they plan for vacations.


  1. Our industry works on the most complex problems for our clients: retirement and longevity. There are so many potential solutions and changes during a 20 to 30-year retirement that clients become frustrated with the planning process. It doesn’t help that it’s very hard to do business in the insurance industry as a whole, due to regulations and paperwork.


No matter the challenge, acquiring new clients is the single most costly activity in your business. Which is why you should focus on ways to make it better.  


One of the more efficient ways to attract clients is to look deeper within their family – they have a higher trust factor because they know someone working with you. Marketing to family members might provide a better return than investing in mail campaigns, seminars or referral materials. Remember, billions of dollars will transfer from one generation to next over the next two decades, so you’ll want to follow those assets.


In order to connect with the next generation and start your relationship on a positive note, here are some ideas you should consider implementing as part of your marketing strategy next year:


  • Beneficiary reviews on all life insurance, annuities and Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs). There are so many horror stories around the lack of a proper beneficiary designation that causes family strife, unintended tax consequences and funds going where they are not supposed to go.   


  • Harvest the cost basis on nonqualified annuities. While the tax law reduced the tax brackets, passing an annuity with embedded gains to the next generation forces the beneficiary to pay higher taxes at time of receipt. There are mechanisms to obtain the cost basis first and the gain second, which is completely opposite of most death claims in annuities.


  • Pass along family values with family wealth. Establish an income stream for the life of grandchildren that includes handwritten notes from the grandparents at special birthdays or events. You can gain a deeper understanding of the family dynamics by having this conversation.


So, if you want to increase your clients next year – and everybody does – consider looking within your existing base. Develop a specific marketing strategy to consistently and thematically talk with your clients about adding value for their family.


When you deliver value, relationships tend to follow – like lightning and thunder.


Winning Strategy

Look inward first. Your existing clients can provide the key to future growth through their children and grandchildren. Develop specific marketing strategies around the value you can bring to their entire family.


Winning Strategies

Craving More?

Face it. These days, your phone changes faster than you do. Continuous improvement is the name of the game. If you’re standing still, you might as well be walking backward.

Special guest Scott Fergusson joins us to talk all things innovation and how you can easily upgrade your business. Not just to keep up with the industry, but to get ahead of your competition

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About the Author

Mike McGlothlin is a team leader, retirement industry activist and disciple of Indiana Hoosier basketball. In addition to being EVP of retirement at Ash Brokerage, he is a sought-after writer and speaker. His web series, “Winning Strategies,” provides insight and motivation for financial advisors in many forms – blogs, books, videos, podcasts and more. His latest book, “Free Throw for Financial Professionals,” will be available in October.