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Today’s Growth Mandate
By Rita Robbins
“Life is growth. Business is growth. You grow or die,” is the famous quote from former Nike CEO and founder Phil Knight. Knight’s message of continued growth is more important than ever in the ever-evolving wealth management industry.
The latest industry stats prove there is a considerable slowdown in growth for financial advisors after a long period of market expansion. According to recent studies , despite an increase in the number of advisors, overall assets have fallen by $14 trillion, the first decline since 2008.
What can advisors do now to reignite their growth? Based on our work with nearly 100 forward-thinking advisors in the Affiliated Advisors’ community, we have found that it often comes down to a handful of actionable strategies, beginning with a new way to think about client referrals.
One prominent industry expert proclaims that if more than 30% of your new clients are from referrals, you should reconsider your marketing plans. Being too dependent on referrals can be a red flag, as a successful referral must be someone who is in need of financial advice exactly at the time the introduction is made, as well as being a good fit for that wealth management firm in terms of not only investment minimums, but financial planning needs and cultural “fit” – a rare combination of attributes.
Firms that focus solely on referrals might be ignoring other growth opportunities and not dedicating resources in areas that can have as big or even bigger impact on the future growth of their business. Too many advisors have no social media presence showing them interacting with their clients, communities, and families. Investors are looking for an advisor who truly understands them and can help with their personal needs. As a result, these prospects will immediately move on from even the most glowing personal recommendation if they do not see those human attributes reflected in the firm’s digital presence.
Another key area to super charging your growth is to look no further than your existing client base. “Less is more,” which can be applied directly to the number of client relationships an advisor has. Industry experts all agree that the ideal number of relationships for a senior advisor is somewhere around 100-120. Yet, almost 30% of senior advisors are juggling more than 200! This alone could be the reason for stalled growth as client satisfaction declines when advisors are spread too thin, resulting in a corresponding decline in new assets, account consolidation and referrals. Being capacity constrained by working with too many clients means advisors have even less time and energy to devote to business development and marketing, further limiting growth potential. We have successfully assisted advisors in selling a portion of these clients to a junior advisor. The results have been enormous growth for both the senior advisor and the junior advisor as well, enabling more attention to all clients making it a win/’win for everyone.
Ultimately, defining the gaps between critical drivers of growth and how we spend our time is the biggest distinction between firms that achieve their growth goals and those that don’t. Creating the change we desire is all about the actions we take and the modification we make in our behavior. Without a plan, our goals will remain elusive. So, don’t wait – make growth a priority today and ensure the long-term health and vibrancy of your firm.
Rita Robbins is the President of Affiliated Advisors
Securities offered through Osaic Wealth, Inc. member FINRA & SIPC. Osaic Wealth is separately owned and other entities and/or marketing names, products or services referenced here are independent of Osaic Wealth.