April 5, 2011

What's an Advisor's Top Communication Concern? Not Enough

Frequency was the most common concern, more than worries about being timely or concise

How often do you communicate with your clients? An SEI Quick Poll released Tuesday found nearly two-thirds of advisors don't think they communicate often enough. In fact, frequency was the most common concern, more than worries about being timely, concise, or easy to understand.

John Anderson, Head of Practice Management, SEI Advisor NetworkJohn Anderson (left), head of practice management for the SEI Advisor Network, told AdvisorOne that advisors should take a "multi-pronged" approach to communicating with clients, "whether that's sending them an article or commentary that's relevant to their situation, or the obligatory birthday card." On that note, Anderson suggested emphasizing "milestone" birthdays, like 55 or 60. "Not only does it show you're thinking of them, but it's a time when they're thinking about retirement," he said.

Social media is catching on as a prospecting method. About 20% of advisors said they've used a social networking site to introduce themselves to at least one prospect this year. Anderson noted that a lot of advisors may be frustrated with social media. "They've tried it and it hasn't worked," he told AdvisorOne. "Some advisors may expect referrals to roll in. Social media is a tool to help with introductions and mine data of existing clients to look for people to get introduced to."

Almost half of advisors aren't asking enough of their current clients for referrals. "Advisors should ask everyone who fits their target client for referrals," adding that, hopefully, that's a majority of their clients.

Cold calling was roundly forsaken; none of the advisors polled said they used this method. While many advisors may have started out using this method, in the past 10 years, according to Anderson, advisors moved to using seminars. "There was a seminar almost every night," he said. Today, advisors are using "social marketing," though, by asking for introductions rather than referrals.

"A referral puts all the work on the client," Anderson said. "Advisors need to take a proactive introduction approach versus a reactive referral approach."

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