From the October 2006 issue of Boomer Market Advisor • Subscribe!

The most important item to consider when making a change

In fact, in a recent article on moving to a new broker/dealer, the author made the contention that a firm's product list was the most important factor of all.

Without question all of these factors are important, and they all must be carefully considered, but in my mind the most important factor is revenue generation.

The broker/dealer that will to do the most to help you generate revenue for yourself and your firm is the one to join, so long as they are ethical and law abiding.

Personal branding expert Peter Montoya asks the following question at presentations and conferences; which is more important, sales or marketing? The answer is always marketing. A mediocre sales person will sell far more if they are a strong marketer, with more potential clients to sell to, than a great sales person who is a poor marketer with few prospects.

It follows then that a broker/dealer that can help you truly market yourself within your local community would be the one to help you significantly increase your level of revenue.

Some would ask if this is really important to a top advisor, one that is making more than of $1 million a year in revenue. These professionals, they argue, instead want excellent service, good back office support and their commissions/fees paid in a timely manner. True enough, but in my experience, top advisors were always interested in growing their revenue first, and never satisfied with their current level of revenue.

And it will take more than boilerplate advertisements to successfully market yourself an your business, since each of advisor is different and works a different niche. Look for a broker/dealer that will help you to develop a local marketing program that is customized to your practice and your particular niche. This doesn't mean you should turn complete control of your marketing vision over to someone else. Quite the contrary, the last thing you want is for someone else to tell you what your market and niche are. No one knows your practice, your clients and your prospects better than yourself. Begin by getting ideas and concepts down on paper. Once this is done, look to your broker/dealer to help refine the message, edit text and help with graphic design.

Also consider how you intend to mass market, without necessarily mass marketing; in other words, how you intend to mass market within a focused or limited scope. For example, seminars and client receptions have long been a great way to send a focused and specific message about the services you provide. Both seminars and client appreciation events are an outstanding opportunity to market to new prospects as well as existing clients. Your next broker/dealer should have programs in place to help you with client and prospecting events.

Accurate client feedback is also critical to a successful marketing campaign, and your next broker/dealer should have a program readily available for you. I'm repeatedly amazed that more advisors do not contract with a third party to perform annual client surveys. They not only gauge your client satisfaction rate, but they also help to uncover new, ancillary opportunities in which you could be of service.

In conclusion, when looking for a new broker/dealer, choose the one best positioned to help you expand and generate new revenue - one that will help take you and your practice to new and exciting levels. All of the usual areas - insurance, back office support, transition support - still apply, but a broker/dealer's ability to help you market and grow your practice is the most important factor of all.

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