OMAHA - With most financial advisors mired in "analysis paralysis," adding new business can be difficult.
Unfortunately, there is no magic bullet to add clients and assets, according to Peter Montoya, a marketing expert for the financial services industry, but he offered six effective marketing methods to develop new relationships.
Generate Client Referrals
Advisors attribute 40% of new business to client referrals, Montoya said at the Peak Advisor Alliance Excell Meeting in Omaha on Thursday. Referrals come in three flavors:
- Solicited Referrals: By asking clients for referrals, advisors will generate more clients.
- Promoted Referrals: A client has passed your name to another prospective client.
- Spontaneous Referrals: Without asking, a new client arrives at your door.
Spontaneous referrals are the holy grail for advisors. To generate more spontaneous referrals, Montoya said advisors have to do a better job of branding themselves, targeting specialized groups, personalizing their existing relationship, and always providing "world-class service."
Generate Professional Referrals
Generating great referrals from accountants, attorneys and other professionals cannot be accomplished simply with quarterly emails, Montoya said, because these relationships requires intimacy.
Montoya suggested advisors create a network of 14 professionals to meet with for one-on-one lunches at least four times annually.
"These lunches will illustrate that you, as an advisor, are competent and knowlegable professionals," he said. "But more importantly, they will begin to spread the word that you are a 'good guy' to work with."
Build Better Networks
It is critical for advisors to belong to community groups, Montoya said, but most advisors pick the wrong groups.
"The right group must contain your ideal client, but your heart also must be in the group," he said. "If you aren't passionate about the groups that you belong to, you will not generate referrals. ...People can see right through you if you are just there to sell products to them."
Advisors should belong to two to four networking groups, according to Montoya. He said clients are a direct reflection of an advisor's networks. "If you want to change your clients, you need to change your network," he said.
Develop an Effecitve Website and Social Media Strategy
Having a strong website and a good social media presence on Facebook and LinkedIn are no longer a nice option; they are a necessity. A strong online presence gives advisors credibility, Montoya said.
"The first thing that your prospects do is search you out on Google," he said. "If they don't find you, they move on to the next advisor in a nanosecond. ... If you are not smart enough to have a website and a social media presence, they you are NOT a legitimate company. . Five years ago, maybe social media was for kids, but that has changed."
Montoya added, "maybe your current client are not on social media, but their kids are, your future clients are."
Social media is a critical client maintenance tool, Montoya said. He said Facebook is an excellent tool to follow clients and track their "successes and failures and provide congratulations and sympathies."
Advisors should be careful about what they post, he said, avoiding topics including sex, religion and politics, and writing more about friends, family and travel and providing interesting and relevant information for clients. "Facebook is not about posting, it is about listening," he said.
Maintaining an effective website is simple, Montoya said. A good website should provide an explanation of what an advisor does, simple personnel information and a brief description of products and services.
"You website should be of the highest quality and provide basic information rather than tons of content with low quality," he said.
Build Better Client Events
Advisors need to create social and educational events that will engage clients and friends of clients.
Montoya said the best client events are specific to your clients.
"The two reasons that people don't show up to your client events are simple," he said, "either your events are boring or you lack the 'friendship factor.'"
Montoya said if advisors increase contact with clients, they will show up to events. He suggested advisors host events on a quarterly basis.
Create Effective Client and Prospect Communications
Montoya said the average advisor sends about four email and direct marketing campaigns to clients annually. He suggested advisors need to increase that communication to a minimum of 12 annually, or as many as 60 to 100 annually.
Montoya said effective, weekly communications, whether that be a weekly commentary or a market update, will generate good referrals.
"To maintain a good relationship, it is critical to begin a good drip campaign," he said.
Montoya said a strong marketing strategy is not expensive and within six months to a year, advisors will begin to reap the benefits.
"The most important thing is to get started," he said. "By working this a little, every day, you will begin to see results."