Is it Right to Bash a Previous Firm?

June 10, 2014

by Beverly Flaxington

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Beverly Flaxington is a practice management consultant. She answers questions from advisors facing human resource issues.  To submit yours, email us here.

Advisor Perspectives welcomes guest contributions. The views presented here do not necessarily represent those of Advisor Perspectives.

Dear Bev,

We are making a foray into retirement planning. One of our newer advisors is skilled in the industry and wants it to become more of a focus for our firm. He is talking about changing our website, updating our materials and repositioning to reflect this focus. I don’t agree that we should be profiling retirement planning when only one person in the firm is focused on it. I think we should wait until we see if this develops more fully. Who do you think is right, and how do we reach a conclusion when we disagree?

Bradley N.

Dear Bradley,

Wow – you have two very loaded questions here. First off, it would be a bit dangerous for me to claim that one is “right” and the other “wrong.” I think both of your perspectives probably have merit. I often write about our filters on the world – the views we have based on our life experiences, values, etc. Because we all have different filters, it’s hard to say who is more right in this circumstance – especially without knowing more about your firm and what’s in place today.

I am in favor of providing whatever tools and resources (within cost reason, of course) this advisor needs. The fact that he is willing to forge a new market for your practice is likely good for you! In terms of marketing tools, however, I agree with you that it is important to identify what’s necessary, know where and how resources will be used in the process and calculate your return on investment. For example, if the advisor is only focused on this project part-time, or of there isn’t a great deal of opportunity in your area, he might hypothetically close only one retirement client that will yield $40,000 in fees in the first year. That’s certainly not worth $200,000 in marketing materials! Aim for “high quality on the cheap,” which means identifying one or two things that you can do well – perhaps a one pager on your capabilities or a landing page on your website about your retirement focus. Let him take this into the market and see how much opportunity is there. You can build materials as the opportunity increases and he gains traction.

So, I think you are both right – he needs to be armed and supported in these efforts, but you don’t need to change all of your materials and invest a lot of money at this stage.

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