2020 has opened my eyes to a startling contradiction. In talking with our coaches, who speak with dozens of advisers every week, we’ve noticed a duality unfolding in our profession: advisers who are having their best growth years and those who are floundering. There seems to be a secret formula that one group recognizes and the other has yet to stumble upon.
So why does this year seem to be a year of extremes, between the successful and the stagnant? It may come down to what is hiding in plain sight.
An adviser recently went in to get a golf lesson, and the instructor asked, “What is it you do again?” The adviser smoothly transitioned into talking about his value proposition and his planning process.
This well-prepared explanation didn’t take more than 90 seconds to deliver. He used most of the time to learn more about the golf pro and the country club he just inherited.
Turns out, the golf pro had no money or adviser. Until he did. With a casual conversation and simple yet compelling story at the right time, the golf pro — and his newly inherited $12 million in assets — found a home with this adviser. Just like that. No complicated digital marketing process. No impressive tech tools on display. Just an authentic conversation with a powerful value proposition.
We’ve heard so many of these stories lately. A random act of kindness for a client going through a tough time that builds immeasurable loyalty and trust. A small tweak in the way an adviser explains their planning process, leading to $75 million in net new assets year-to-date. Real stories that are telling us something profound: Sometimes, advisers who stick to the fundamentals of organic growth are the most fortunate.
One of our advisers wisely put it this way: “I realized a long time ago the best marketing I can do is with my existing clients.”
It’s a surprisingly simple concept that has proven itself exponentially in adviser ROI. The advisers who are hitting all-time highs in net new assets are those who believe in improving their IQ, or implementation quotient. They execute the little things. They understand the most effective growth tactics right now also happen to be the most elementary, things like:
- Establishing holistic, outcome-based planning.
- Strengthening their value proposition with a clear, authentic story.
- Mastering the art of asking current clients for referrals.
- Listening to clients and prospects, either through advisory councils or other virtual avenues.
- Capturing more wallet-share from clients by reeducating them on adviser value.
- Conducting proactive outreach and client communication.
- Educating clients on why they like you, as they’re the adviser brand ambassadors.
- Hiring a great team that cares.
- Remembering why they’re in the business — to help people.
Clients should love you now more than ever. No excuses. Regardless of the restlessness and apprehension created by the more complex environment, advisers have the same opportunity they’ve always had. Some just don’t want to block and tackle. They’d rather let apathy take over than reinvent themselves. They’d rather coast through the slump than lean into their clients. They’d rather get distracted by new, shiny objects than reflect on what has worked in the past.
There are two axioms in financial services that are truer than ever. One is that this is still a trust-and-relationship business. Second is that execution wins. Strategy is easy; it’s the execution that is hard. Those who embrace this will have the lion’s share of opportunity in the months ahead.
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As our second lead editor, Cindy Hamilton covers health, fitness and other wellness topics. She is also instrumental in making sure the content on the site is clear and accurate for our readers. Cindy received a BA and an MA from NYU.