From the March 2011 issue of Investment Advisor • Subscribe!

Ten Marketing Strategies for New Advisors

Times are tough, but these real-world strategies can help get a new—or struggling—practice off the ground

There seems to be a split perception on how “good” it is to be in the business right now. The strongest advisors are getting more successful, and the weakest advisors are getting out.

More than 65 million baby boomers are or will be retiring, and trillions of dollars in cash will be flowing back into the financial markets. I’ve found most industry experts believe that, in the next 10 years, the remaining advisors may generate double the revenues they enjoyed for the previous 20 years.

On the flip side, the credo now ruling the minds of many investors is “don’t lose my money.” Because of this, most are incredibly reluctant to trust their assets to a relatively inexperienced advisor who has yet to prove himself or herself.

I would initiate the following strategies if I were to enter the business today.

COLD CALLING
Obviously, you can’t call consumers on the Do Not Call list, so the remaining options are business owners and executives of public companies. This strategy should only be attempted if you are very competent, confident and resilient. Crushing rejections and voicemails are likely to occupy your time.

CANVASSING
Knock on every residential and business door. Introduce yourself as the local advisor who will be there for them whether they want to open an IRA, trade a stock or purchase term life insurance.

PUBLIC SEMINARS
I’m very fortunate in that I have strong speaking skills, so I would hope I could build enough credibility to convert prospects into clients. However, it would cost between $5,000 and $10,000 per seminar—and the room may not fill in the current financial environment.

COMMUNITY OUTREACH
Hold an event each week that connects you with the community, such as a free child fingerprinting for parents or workshops on identity theft protection. The challenge in this strategy is coming up with a system to then convert attendees into clients.

NETWORKING
This strategy will definitely work, but it could take between six and 24 months before the first clients are generated. Target groups comprised of your ideal clients. Get contact information and put everyone you meet into steady e-mail and direct mail campaigns.

PRIVATE SEMINARS
Although much more cost effective than public seminars, private seminars are more difficult to come by. The group is created for you by a company or association—all you must do is show up and speak.

SMALL SALE/BIG SALE
Rather than leading with a complicated sell, grow a clientele with a small product or service that everyone needs. This could include tax preparation, life insurance, homeowner’s insurance or health insurance.

PURCHASE AN EXISTING PRACTICE
Obviously, this strategy is going to require some capital. Find an aging CPA or estate planner who wants to sell their practice, purchase it and hire a CPA or estate planner to do the work while you market and sell an integrated approach.

TAKE ON THE C, D AND F CLIENTS OF OTHER ADVISORS
Join a broker-dealer that has created a strong presence in your area, then call every registered representative within a 20 mile radius and ask them for their C, D and F clients. Many will give them away gladly. Others will ask for a commission split. Take on every client, then give them unparalleled service.

PARTNER UP, BECOME A SUCCESSOR
Join forces with an advisor who is 65 or older without a succession plan. This is easily the most ideal path. Once again, join a broker-dealer that has created a strong presence in your area, then call every registered representative within a 20 mile radius and ask them for a 15 minute meeting. In that meeting, explain that you are new in the business and looking for an advisor who doesn’t have a succession plan—do they know anyone?

With each strategy listed, I’m sure the risks will be immediately clear. Like I said, this is the greatest time to be an advisor, but perhaps one of the most difficult times in history to be starting out in the business.

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