In my last blog, we explored strategies that can help drive a greater share of wallet from your existing clients. Now, we will take a look outside at some potential strategies to drive “inorganic growth” by bringing new clients into the firm. Before you turn your eyes outside to the challenge of acquisition, there are two critical areas that will require a significant amount of strategic thought: your value proposition and your niche.
The Hunt for New Relationships
Although we’ve spoken at length about both, it bears repeating that without a compelling value proposition – one that differentiates your practice and resonates with prospects – your acquisitive success will likely be limited. No matter how comprehensive your marketing strategy or how adept you are at advertising, public relations, seminars, events and social networking, if you can’t clearly and simply articulate what services and value you provide to your clients then you will never be able to create a genuine connection with people. Furthermore, without a tightly-defined niche that describes precisely the kinds of clients you are most suited to help (e.g., corporate executives with highly concentrated company stock positions, liquidity issues and excessive portfolio risk) you run the risk of wasting considerable marketing resources reaching the wrong types of clients.
Best practices in acquisition
We reached out to our clients in an effort to uncover a wide range of successful real life client acquisition best practices. We asked clients to identify any and all strategies that were effective in achieving a simple baseline objective: acquiring three or more $1MM household relationships over a period of 12 months. The list of strategies we compiled proved to be extensive – some simple and some highly creative – which we’ve published in a booklet entitled 99 Ideas for Acquiring New Clients™.
Yet despite the litany of acquisition strategies available to explore, the most successful advisors in the business time and again turn to two principal sources for developing new client relationships – Loyal Client Advocates and Professional Advocates.
There’s no question that identifying high-impact clients (e.g., those with extensive personal and professional networks), conditioning them to understand the true value of your advisory practice, getting them fully invested in what you offer, and turning them into loyal advocates requires a considerable amount of effort. But from an acquisitive value perspective, it will be by far the best “bang for your buck.” And on the professional advocate front, we’re not merely referring to the creation of COIs with attorneys and CPAs. Instead, you should strive to really expand your value proposition and deliver on it by partnering with other professionals to deliver on the promises you are making to your clients. Find the best and brightest deliverers of ancillary wealth management services that your clients may need (e.g., mortgage brokers and realtors, commercial lenders, business valuation specialists, business brokers) and cultivate relationships with them. Not only will they help you deliver a more comprehensive, holistic offering, they’ll eventually become a tremendous source for new relationships with their existing clients who need your services.
Coaching Questions from this article:
What is your growth goal for the coming year? How much of that needs to be generated through new client relationships?
Take a look at your current marketing strategy. Can it be more optimally aligned to achieve your acquisition goals? How might you better use social media as a prospect outreach platform?
What strategic steps could you take to more proactively engage deeply loyal clients and begin laying the foundation for developing them into advocates?
Think about what third-party services would most benefit your existing clients. How might you go about identifying other local professionals to partner with in delivering those services to your clients?