OMAHA - Most financial advisors don't spend enough time on the two most critical tasks to help them grow their business: rainmaking and client interaction.

Ron Carson of Carson Wealth Management told a room full of more than 300 financial advisors at the Peak Advisor Alliance Excell Fall 2012 Conference on Thursday in Omaha that, according to a study by Cerulli, the average advisor spends only 13% of their time rainmaking and with clients. According to Cerulli, if an advisor increases that to 15%, they will grow their top line by 350%.

By spending more time with clients and prospects, Carson said advisors will develop deeper and longer lasting relationships.

To improve relationships, Carson said advisors have to improve both their "substance and their sizzle." He said advisors without "sizzle" lost a lot of clients at the market bottom in 2008 and those without "substance" had a hard time attracting new clients as markets recovered.

"Stand by the substance, work on the sizzle and you won't have to spend so much money on marketing," Carson said.

Ultimately, to add more clients, Carson said it is as simple as asking for referrals. According to Cerulli, only 11% of advisors ask for referrals at every opportunity. But 50% of clients come as a result of referrals.

Carson said advisors should be asking for a referral at the end of a meeting when a client says, "thank you."

He told advisors that it is critical to never stop learning. That means reading important books and listening to other top advisors.

"We all know the big things, but it is a matter of doing the little things exactly right that changes the world," Carson said.

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