I have been an independent financial advisor for more than 12 years. Our practice aims to deliver an exceptional wealth-management experience to financial-planning clients, with a focus on retirees. Several key factors have helped our practice successfully grow over the years, especially in the context of working with clients who are a good fit with our philosophy.
First, early in my career, I saw that many of the top financial advisors at conferences I attended had business coaches or consultants on retainer. I decided to invest in a coach. It was perhaps the best money I have ever spent. Two major takeaways stand out among the many areas I’ve explored with my coaches and consulting firms over the years.
One was developing a regimented sales and prospecting process. I learned how to effectively track initial contacts, appointments, follow-up appointments, and the eventual acquisition of a client. This helped me figure out where I needed to apply the most effort to keep the process moving along and productive. I also crafted an active referral process with an effective “script” for reminding financial-planning clients how we had worked together to address their specific goals. As we go through that discussion, I ask clients to brainstorm with me about who they might know who could have similar needs. This often leads to new prospects who will be receptive to setting up an initial appointment.
The second was developing my expert professional team, a robust network of third-party professionals who can provide specific guidance to my clients in their areas of expertise. We call this the “advanced planning stage” of our client relationship, where I can work with experienced professionals in the tax, insurance, legal, or health-care areas to brainstorm solutions for specific client needs. During review meetings with clients, I can introduce these ideas and suggestions from the team. If the client sees merit in an idea, we will add it to our list of action items. An important secondary benefit of this professional network is the ability to cross-pollinate our practices with valuable referrals from each other.
As my practice has matured, I have become more selective in identifying potential new financial-planning clients. I think this has been beneficial for the clients who come on board, for my staff, and for the health of my practice overall. It also makes the referral process very effective because what a client likes about me is often what their friends or associates will also be looking for.
We work with clients who have achieved success in their careers and have a “high-net-worth personality” compatible with my business model. They do not always have to be the most affluent people, but their mindset is that of someone who values guidance, is interested in growing and protecting their wealth, and is open to new approaches. Those are attributes that probably helped make them successful in the first place. During our discovery meeting, I ask certain key questions that help me determine if the prospect is the type of high-net-worth personality that I will enjoy working with, has some shared values, and that my guidance can really benefit. If they do not fit the profile well, I will do my best to introduce them to another professional in the area who might be a better fit for them. Frankly, everyone will be happier in the end.
- Invest in a business coach or consultant.
- Develop a regimented sales and prospecting process.
- Develop a robust network of third-party professionals who can provide guidance to clients.
- Work with clients who fit your profile and who you enjoy working with.
Disclosure: Securities and advisory services offered through Geneos Wealth Management Inc. Member FINRA & SIPC.
Photography by Karl Hugh
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