Published August 15, 2018
There are countless studies done about top performing firms or elite investment advisors. The conclusions eventually arrive at the same place—these firms make a conscious effort to do just about everything at a higher level than their peers. While this conclusion may seem obvious or overwhelming, I’d like to focus on three areas of your business where you can learn from these financial firms and make strides to raise your game.
Branding and Marketing
Elite investment advisors have a clear message and value proposition. Communicating how your firm is truly different and better than your competition is critical to growth and success. This takes time, effort and deep reflection.
Begin with your website. A DAC Group study found that “71% of purchases begin with online search” and “57% of the purchase decision is made before contacting you.” What this means is you’re missing a lot of potential opportunities if your website is not completely up to speed. As you take a critical look at your website, ask yourself:
- Am I using language that connects with my audience and is free of financial lingo?
- Do we provide fillable web forms or incorporate interactive questionnaires/surveys?
- And, most important, does our website make it easier for visitors to move forward with action?
Elite advisors take the time to make sure their online presence offers the same experience to visitors as the physical office. If it’s time to update your website, assign a staff member to become the project lead and get familiar with the features and benefits of the latest web trends. Determine what internal and external resources are required for design, photography, copywriting, etc. Plan for 2-3 months to complete the entire project.
For 7 key insights on RIA marketing, check out to my recent interview on the Belay Advisor podcast The Surprising Marketing Strategies That Are Crushing It For Financial Advisors.
Elite investment advisors focus on leveraging technology. Tech presents a big opportunity for advisors to up their game. Elite advisors are very deliberate and, more often than others, take the time to carefully evaluate their choices. They’re not so focused on investing in the “latest and greatest” and are more likely to favor proven technologies over newer, not-yet-proven systems. Additionally, they focus on how tech will improve their clients’ experience and satisfaction as well as support new client acquisition. To a greater degree, delivering a positive client experience can help generate referrals that could eventually lead to new business. It’s important to align technology with your strategic growth goals. Also, keep in mind that technology can have a great impact on improving the client experience, but it can also be a huge business disruption if not planned carefully.
When it comes to tech, workflows are a great way to get things done by illustrating a series of steps that need to be completed sequentially in a diagram or checklist. To better understand workflows, read Michael Kitces blog Creating Advisory Firm Processes And Workflows – Tips and Best Practices
Elite investment advisors develop future leaders. Because firms are growing at such a rapid pace, today’s CEOs need to look toward those who share a common vision and passion for the firm’s culture. Your success in this business is found in the people who work for and with you.
A good place to start is to develop or enhance your intern program. Whether you plan to have a team of interns or just one, prepare a curriculum that really focuses on providing the intern(s) with a rewarding experience. Things to consider are:
- Assigning a specific project that has a clear, achievable purpose and objective.
- Taking the time to have interns meet, engage, and learn from all the firm’s business leaders.
- In addition to a direct report, interns should also be assigned a mentor who they can meet with on a regular basis.
- Most importantly, help interns feel welcome and affirm their value. During their brief time with you, that they’ll be a contributing member of the firm.
When considering potential intern candidates, research colleges and universities on Financial Planning magazine’s annual list of 95 top schools for financial planning.
In summary, Elite investment advisors owe their success to their ability to not only have an eye towards the future, but also a clear and actionable plan. This plan assesses all areas from growth to succession and everything thing in between, to make sure they get to the top.