I have had many calls with financial advisers during the past few weeks, and the biggest question they always have is, how are other advisers generating new business in this environment?
I took that question back to my colleagues and experienced advisers, and we all agreed that generating new business today boils down to generating new LEADS:
- Leverage your existing client base;
- Engage the next generation;
- Adapt to technology;
- Dive into your numbers; and
- Seize the opportunity to add value.
Let’s look at each letter.
Leverage your existing client base
How well do you know your best clients? Have you segmented your book of business and are you giving your best clients the service they deserve? If so, do you think your best clients know anyone that may need the help of a financial adviser at this time?
A great question to ask your best clients would be, Do you know anybody in your circle that may need to talk to me? I would leave it at that. You could also remind them that since they are in an advisory relationship with you, you are able to be a sounding board for anyone in their family that might need help. Empathy is the new currency in this world. You could also set up a virtual advisory board and see what other ideas or insights your best clients might have.
Engage the next generation
How well do you know the kids of your clients?
If the kids don’t need your help now, they never will. Two bear markets in 10 years? If you have been introduced to them, now is the time to call. If you have clients that are reluctant to give you this information, tell them you want to make sure their planning includes their children, because in the end their family is going to a big part of the plan. If your client is still apprehensive, invite them to share your contact information with their children.
One of my financial advisers has each of his clients fill out a family tree every year. Again, empathy is the new currency. When you call that next generation to just check in, explain to them that you are the sounding board for the family and are simply calling to see if you can help. Think of how many people are unfortunately getting laid off, having hours reduced or other impacts to their financial position or cash flow. Be the helper.
Adapt to technology
This could be looked at a couple of ways. Do you know how to use virtual meeting tools? You might think clients do not want to use this technology, but you may be wrong. They may embrace it as a way to connect with others while sheltering in place.
Here are some things to keep in mind. For prospecting, do you know how to use LinkedIn? How does your LinkedIn profile look?
If you are already on LinkedIn, are you connected with your best clients? If so, do you have any common connections with them? Can you look at their LinkedIn connections? If so, are there any ideal types of clients in their connections? How frequently do you post on LinkedIn? Do you share blogs or video updates?
Do the activity
I know it is hard, but there is no quarantine on from your clients. Don’t wait for your clients to reach out to you – be proactive. Whether it be an open client letter, phone calls, emails, video messages or meetings and invite them to engage with you.
Even in this time of lockdowns, there is still opportunities for new client growth. Advice businesses in growth phase all know how many appointments and prospecting calls need to be made each week to be successful. In this environment, we need to continue to hit those numbers in order to grow.
Working from home impacts people’s productivity in different ways. Make time for the important, not just the urgent – which have the potential to create longer-term value for your business.
Seize the ability to manage taxes
Don’t wait for your clients to contact you, build a pro-active engagement plan for you and your team to reach out and build connections. Be visible and make sure they know you are available to contact for whatever question or concern they may want to discuss.
Actively listen and empathise, and check-in to see their comfort levels. If they are worried – you have an opportunity to provide context and be a steady hand. If they are itching to take action – remind them of their long-term goals and the value of staying invested. If they are feeling overwhelmed – be the level head in your partnership and commit to navigating this together.
Through challenging times, your clients’ goals and priorities may change and therefore be an appropriate time to offer a re-discovery meeting. Even your longer-term clients who you may have known for many years could be re-evaluating what is important to them and need support in transitioning their plan to meet their new needs.
Now is the perfect time to re-articulate your value proposition and the benefits of your partnership to all your clients and their network. Add value through your service experience and expertise as a financial planner and their trusted adviser.
The bottom line
If you are sitting at home wondering what to do next, consider the L-E-A-D-S acronym and get moving. Using the top five actions outlined above can help you drive engagement, potentially boosting your book of business.
Neil Rogan, head of wholesale partnerships, Russell Investments
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