In his seminal bestseller, "Getting Things Done” (Penguin Books, 2002), veteran coach and management consultant David Allen stressed the importance of having a proper strategy to accomplish all necessary tasks.

Those who deviate from the strategy can lose valuable time, business and money.

Likewise, advisors who are pitching a potential client can easily go astray if they don’t go beyond the primary point person and take the time to know all the influencers and decision-makers, according to Massey Quick.

The Morristown, N.J., wealth management and investment consulting firm advises high-net-worth individuals, endowments and foundations.

Joseph A. Belfatto, a managing partner at Massey Quick, and his team learned this lesson the hard way when they encountered a multi-generational family business looking for an advisor to manage the proceeds from the sale of their business. The sale would create a substantial liquidity event for all involved, and the family thought that the best approach was to engage a single financial advisory firm.

The family member appointed to lead the search had an existing relationship with Massey Quick, while other members focused on the sale of the business. He continually sang their praises to his sibling business partners and recommended the team move forward with Massey Quick as their advisor.

In the end, the other partners voted against Massey Quick.

“Sometimes it takes more than one meeting to make that connection,” Belfatto said. “It reminded us that the biggest influencers aren’t always in the room, and advisors need to make a point to seek out everyone involved in the relationship.”

Advisors, for instance, need to avoid ignoring women as influencers.

They must include both husbands and wives in any initial decision-making process, according to Fidelity Investments.

Women control 51% of wealth in the United States and are projected to control two-thirds by 2020, according to a Fidelity study.

Moreover, women tend to outlive men, and it is estimated that a whopping 70% of women change their advisor within a year or two after their spouse’s death.

“While most women do not have a gender preference in working with a financial advisor, research shows that many women have a strong preference in the way they receive financial advice,” said Alexandra Taussig, senior vice president at National Financial, a Fidelity company. “Advisors who recognize this and hone their engagement strategies at the outset with both their male and female clients may have a significant opportunity to grow their businesses.”

Bruce W. Fraser, a New York financial writer, contributes to Financial Planning and On Wall Street magazines

This story is part of a 30-day series on smart ways to grow your practice.

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