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The Elite Financial Advisor of 2015

The Elite Financial Advisor of 2015

Most advisors would love to call themselves “elite,” placing them in the small cadre of advisors that do the right activities the right way and are seeing phenomenal results. But what exactly does this exclusive group look like?

The Oechsli Institute’s 2015 elite advisors study found that this group has loyal clients, losing no more than two clients last year.

They are also in constant growth mode, scooping up $1 million clients. Elite advisors bring in more assets from new clients and existing clients than the general population of advisors. In fact, over half of elite advisors (54 percent) acquired $20 million or more in new assets in the last year, and one-fifth acquired $30 million or more in new assets—all from new clients. Meanwhile, 59 percent of advisors in the general population brought in $5 million or less in new assets in the last year.

The elite financial advisor is also a forward thinker. They proactively engage the children of their affluent clients, and nearly two-thirds anticipate retaining most of this next generation as clients. Two-thirds have a succession plan in place for their business, and have incorporated social media—specifically LinkedIn—into their business.

Marketing Activities for $1 Million Clients

It’s no secret how these elite financial advisors acquire new $1-million-plus affluent clients. The lion’s share of their marketing strategy is centered on relationship marketing.

Elite advisors typically employ a variety of relationship-marketing activities. They are ranked based on how successful they were in acquiring $1-million-plus clients:

  1. Referral alliances (CPAs, attorneys, etc.)
  2. Receiving referrals without asking
  3. Personal introductions
  4. Networking/social prospecting (tied)

What is very apparent about these elite advisors is the role their reputation plays in their marketing success. It is a dominant factor. With the affluent investor “trust factor” still fragile, reputation is playing an increasingly more prominent role in how affluent investors select a financial advisor. Word-of-mouth influence remains the pre-eminent factor in the affluent consumer’s major purchase decisions. And elite financial advisors have this force working in their favor.

Frequency of $1 Million Marketing Activity Engagement

Are elite advisors acquiring more affluent clients because of their reputation, or is it due to the fact that they’re more actively engaged in relationship marketing activities that further enhance their reputations? The figures below tell us that elite financial advisors are far more actively engaged in executing these relationship marketing activities than the general population of advisors.

Referral 43% 26%
Networking/Social Prospecting 41% 21%
Receiving referrals without asking 32% 13%
Personal introductions 30% 21%

Granted, these top advisors have their reputations working for them, but the key takeaway is that they’re not resting on their laurels—they are active. Elite advisors recognize the importance of being “top of mind” and stimulating word-of-mouth influence by being in the presence of opportunities.
So how does an advisor go about mirroring the relationship marketing activities of an elite advisor?

Here’s the basic game plan for becoming an elite relationship marketer:

  • Engage in networking/social prospecting. Identify a civic organization or the equivalent and get involved. Your weekly objective is to be actively engaged at least two to three times a week in a social activity, charity event, civic organization, social lunch, dinner, etc. with top clients, referral alliances (current and potential), and prospects.
  • Strengthen and develop healthy referral alliances. While the end goal is to work with the affluent clients of these centers of influence, your focus should be entirely on the centers of influence themselves. Your starting point should be inviting them to your office, one at a time, and taking them through your client experience. Your next step is to do something social.
  • Get personal introductions. Set a goal to get a minimum of two personal introductions to a potential prospect, center of influence, or referral alliance every week—whether it’s at a fundraiser, a social or a private dinner. The more affluent people you meet, the more opportunities you’ll have to enhance your reputation.



Matt Oechsli is author of Building a Successful 21st Century Financial Practice: Attracting, Servicing & Retaining Affluent Clients.

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