SCOTTSDALE, ARIZ. -- Holistic wealth management is the future of financial planning, but advisors have to provide it in a seamless and proactive way with clients to effectively grow their practice, according to Ron Carson of Carson Wealth Management.

Carson said clients with an effective long-term plan will remain clients for life.

“This is not an easy business,” Carson told an audience of over 500 advisors at the 24th Peak Excell Meeting on Thursday. “It is a rewarding but difficult business … and we have to constantly reinvest and reinvent.”

Over the past 25 years, Carson’s business has grown from $140,000 in annual revenue to over $15 million through constant reinvention.

Carson said that a successful, scalable financial advisory business begins by building a systematized business so every client has a consistent experience. He began in 1989 by using “love affair” marketing, account minimums and consistent sales presentations to increase revenue from $140,000 to $998,000 over the course of two years. Then, from 1992 to 1993, he hired “A+ staff,” launched an advisory counsel and created results-based pay for his team to increase revenue from $1.05 million to $2.4 million.

Carson said a successful practice really begins by “hiring the brightest people you can, and getting out of their way,” but this is becoming more difficult.

“Great employees are becoming more and more scarce because young folks don’t perceive [financial planning] as a ‘cool’ career,” he said.

From 1997 to 2000, Carson Wealth increased revenue from $2.4 million to $5.8 million as he began to use “passion prospecting” to gather new clients.

It hasn’t been all success for Carson. From 2001 to 2002, revenue declined from $5.8 million to $4.3 million. He said he realized “what got me here, won’t get me to the future” and he began to revamp and reinvent his business. He changed how he was servicing clients and developed models to better scale the business.

Through this, Carson Wealth increased revenue from $4.3 million in 2003 to $10.74 million in 2008. But, Carson admits that by 2008, he was worn out.

“It was the first year in a long time that I didn’t do anything,” he said. “I left work early and got up late. … I really believe the snooze button is an early warning sign about enthusiasm.”

In 2010, Carson began revamping his business again. His firm develop an app, changed its morning meeting routine and developed trade notes for advisors.

Carson said the app is really designed for the next generation of clients.  He said advisors have to be “bifocal,” they need to constantly examine how they service existing clients, but they also have to be ready for the next generation too. He said 89% of children that are inheriting wealth, plan to change advisors because they want a digital experience.

“The opportunities in this business have never been greater, but so are the distractions to fail,” he said.

Carson said the time is now for advisors to compete for additional market share. He said advisors need to add staff and resources and take advantage of every opportunity to expand their business.  Advisors need to spend time being the CEO of their business, which means rainmaking. “Build an ensemble practice and you can really move the needle,” he said.

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