The Keys To Finding New Prospects
October 5, 2015
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.
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Is it possible for the average advisor to find new prospects? Most business comes from referrals, but that’s not what I am considering. Can I find prospects without cold calling or running an advertisement, both of which are time consuming and expensive? Are there areas and places where an advisor can find new prospects? I’m a younger advisor and am expected to do this, but I think it is an exercise in futility.
You are raising an issue we see frequently in the industry right now: new younger advisors are expected to just “find” new opportunities. You aren’t trained as a broker with a calling list, and the lead advisors you work with aren’t willing to share their contacts for referral purposes. You didn’t say these last two points, so I am conjecturing. But this is a story I hear a few times a week.
You are absolutely right – most new business for advisors comes from either client referrals or from relationships with centers-of-influence (COI). That said, I posit that the referrals from COIs are actually “new” business to you and to your firm. That’s the best area of focus for you.
However, you might raise an obvious question: what’s a seasoned COI going to need from a younger, less experienced advisor? There are challenges in pursuing this avenue, so I recommend a few things you will want to do before you launch an aggressive effort (and you will need to launch aggressively at some point):
- Be sure you are confident and comfortable describing what you do and what your firm offers. What stories can you tell? What markets do you best serve? How would you describe the process and the results?
- Work with your lead advisor, if possible, to identify COIs who might be “friends of the firm” already. Then, find the younger COIs on their staff. They might be professionals also looking to build their practice, so you could have common ground.
- Think about your target markets. Are there specific COIs who work with the kind of people you serve well? Navigate to connections that fit nicely with your existing market
- Think outside of the standard COI definition. It’s not just attorneys and accountants. Could you find a business consultant or M&A expert who might work with people who are in need of financial advice?
I believe the COI route will be your best opportunity, at least initially, to make connections for new prospects. The other area could increase your own public “brand” in the market. Do a few “free” sessions at local organizations or clubs to offer insights and information. The more you are known as an expert, the more you might draw people who hear you speak – especially the next generation for whom your style will resonate.