The one question that continually gets thrown to me is
Every so often one is willing to share their trade secrets, and this is how one leading financial planner that I know gets his business, and that he was happy to share:
He works a self-employed planner within a national brand. That is; he is building his own book of business and pays his own costs but works under common branding and systems with other professionals. Despite the enormous effort that has gone into creating a superb corporate brand, with multiple offices nationally, very little lead generation occurs as a result of the corporate branding apparently.
A perhaps lower than usual proportion of new business comes from existing clients – but this practitioner is an excellent technician as well as being a superb relationship manager. Frankly, most clients give him all their business so there is not usually too much that is held back at the beginning for him to pick up later. What extra business he gets from those clients in subsequent years tends to be genuinely new money or new problems being introduced into their lives.
His 2 primary sources of new business have been seminars and a deliberate strategy to market his specialist skills to other financial advisers.
The seminars are educational and informative in approach, and explore in detail the areas that the adviser is an expert in rather than being broad brush “try to cover as much ground as possible” seminars. The result is that he is clearly positioned as a credible and engaging expert, and he talks about issues that people care deeply about, such as what to do with that once in a lifetime inheritance.
For this planner a good year is 20 new clients. He has clear objectives, and a clear target market, and strong positioning. To get the number of new clients he needs he does not have to maintain a lot of strong referring relationships with his COI’s – being other financial advisers – just a few relationships which are excellent. He aims for 5 referrals p.a. from each COI – and gets them in the main. There is no commission or fee sharing either.
As an aside; this is also an excellent example of how multiple COI’s from within the same sector (they are all competitors with each other) can work extremely well.
Perhaps the thing which is most surprising to other advisers though is that this planners main COI’s are in fact other financial advisers. That is the advantage of having a narrow focus with vast depth of knowledge in that area: he is a specialist that other advisers turn to happily. In return of course, he is not delving into areas which are their core business….a genuine win for each adviser and a genuine win for the clients.
The key lesson when it comes to prospecting though?
If you are aiming for high value clients then a few high quality referrers that you work very hard to maintain great relationships with and to understand and drive their business needs will produce good results for you. If you complement that by providing informative and relevant content to the target market that cements your position as a credible expert, then you will get the new business results you need.
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