At the Oechsli Institute, we’ve been researching financial advisor marketing for the past 20 years from two perspectives:
- Financial advisors
- Affluent investors
What we’ve found is that financial advisors who are successful in acquiring affluent clients ($1 million-plus) are employing the same marketing activities that affluent investors have told us they respond favorably to. In other words, our research has been able to establish validation from both the advisor and affluent persectives.
There are a lot of false prophets perpetuating financial advisor marketing myths as if they’re tried and tested truisms. Beware! Ask to review their research. You want empirical data, not anecdotal success stories. You wouldn’t undergo a medical procedure unless it had a proven track record, and neither should financial advisors waste their time and money on marketing campaigns without a well-documented track record of affluent acquisition success.
The following are four proven successful financial advisor marketing activities, as they have been validated by both rainmakers and affluent investors. What you’ll find is these are familiar activities, but they require consistency and skill sets.
1. Personal Introductions
This is not the same as asking your client for a referral. Our research continues to tell us today’s affluent don’t like being asked for a referral, but if their financial advisor did a little homework and identified a person in their spheres of influence, approximately 80% would be happy to facilitate a personal introduction.
This has been the No. 1 ranked financial advisor marketing activity targeting affluent investors for the past two decades.
2. Referral Alliances
This marketing activity is so close to ranking No. 1, and at times it did. You could make the argument that referral alliances are the most powerful financial advisor marketing activity.
CPAs, attorneys, bankers and other professionals with an affluent client base are a gold mine for financial advisors who understand how to unlock their potential.
The requirements are fairly straightforward, you must:
- Be a first class professional
- Develop a relationship with this professional
- Showcase your practice to this professional (show them how professional you are, don’t tell them)
- Refer your clients to this professional
- Stay in close contact
3. Unsolicited Referrals (Word-of-Mouth-Influence)
Our research has identified word-of-mouth-influence as the umbrella under which all the high-impact marketing activities reside. If it wasn’t so nuanced, it would easily rank as the most important financial advisor marketing activity. Unsolicited referrals are the result of word-of-mouth-influence.
That said, our recent research has identified what stimulates these unsolicited referrals—and it goes beyond being a first-class financial advisor—today’s affluent expect that. It requires expanding the relationship to include a personal component that establishes an emotional connection.
When this happens, unsolicited referrals and personal introductions increase threefold.
4. Strategic Networking
Here’s something to chew on, 85% of today’s affluent clients are willing to introduce their financial advisor to someone they know at a social event. Any type of nonbusiness event. The secret is knowing what events are coming up, who’s attending and scheduling your time for those events where an affluent client and someone they know that you’d like to meet will be attending.
Once again, this requires doing some homework.
Matt Oechsli is author of How to Build a 21st Century Financial Practice: Attracting, Servicing, and Retaining Affluent Clients. www.oechsli.com