Have you created a marketing plan for the coming year? It’s not too late. Use the agenda below to develop a succinct, actionable plan to bringing in new affluent clients. Creating a lengthy plan might be a great intellectual exercise, but it rarely results in action. The best plans get to the point. They establish goals, initiatives, and action steps. This is a document that should sit on your desk (or in the cloud, Millennials) and be referenced throughout the year.
Kick Your Own Rear End (10 Minutes)
Be brutally honest about the good and bad of last year’s marketing activities and results. What level of new business did you bring in? Where did this new business come from? Were you consistent with your marketing activities?
Think Big, But Not Too Big (10 Minutes)
Setting a strong client acquisition goal gives you focus. Stay away from total AUM or total revenue goals; focus on a metric like new affluent clients, net new assets or something else that’s completely within your control. In terms of size, make this goal tough, but realistic. New advisors tend to set goals they couldn’t hit in three lifetimes (de-motivating). Veterans tend to set really small goals (not enough to stimulate action).
Decide on the Tactics (10 Minutes)
What actions will need to be taken throughout the year to hit your client acquisition targets? The activities from our research that are proven to be most effective are relationship based:
- Personal Introductions – Uncovering names of client connections and asking for social introductions
- Unsolicited Referrals – Providing service and services that lead to your clients wanting to refer you.
- Intimate Client Events – Hosting small scale, fun events that build loyalty and attract new business.
- Referral Alliances – Developing meaningful relationships with accountants and attorneys.
- Strategic Networking – Getting involved in the community and developing relationships.
At this point, be thinking about which activities you are good at, which aren’t for you, and which should be a big part of next year’s marketing.
Create a Fixed Routine (10 Minutes)
Instead of making generic (uninspired) plans like “we should increase our focus on referral alliances,” make plans like “CPA social lunches – one per week.” If you commit to a handful of super-simple, fixed marketing activities and stick to them, you will bring in more new business. Consider the following:
- 1 sourced name per day (uncovering a client connection)
- 1 intimate client event per month
- 1 social lunch per week (proven to drive more introductions/referrals)
- 1 LinkedIn introduction per week
Cut the Bologna (5 Minutes):
Take a few minutes to cut, edit, and rephrase your plan into the simplest, most action-friendly language. Ideally, you end up with a one-sheet marketing plan with three very simple headers:
- 2016 Goal
- Marketing Tactics
- Fixed Activities
That’s it…except for one critical piece. Share your plan with your spouse, manager, and trusted colleagues. Share it with conviction - in a way that it will be embarrassing if you were to fall off track early in the process. With personal fitness, if you tell five people that “This is going to be a big year for me. I’m going to exercise five days a week and eliminate fast food.” Wouldn’t you think twice about going for the cheese fries instead of the elliptical?
Stephen Boswell and Kevin Nichols are coaches with The Oechsli Institute, a firm that specializes in research and training for the financial services industry. @StephenBoswell @KevinANichols www.oechsli.com