A poll recently conducted by the SEI Advisor Network found the top priority for advisors in 2010 is to “create new initiatives to increase sales and grow business.” The second most important priority is to communicate with clients and prospects more frequently, no small order given the level of client fear over market uncertainty. Improve office efficiency through technology and invest in staff round out the top four.

Of the four priorities listed, investing in staff was the least popular option. Only 6% of advisors said that staff investments – including new hires and professional development – are a top priority. Additionally, nearly three-quarters (70%) of advisors selected this option as their lowest priority of the four choices.

Among the other findings:

? Nearly all (90%) advisors believe they can learn best practices from their peers

? If given a choice of a professional coach, 55% of advisors said they would want advice on new business development

? The top 3 business growth strategies were: use client referrals, solidify professional relationships for referrals and create a marketing plan

? The top 3 strategies for improving communications were: increase frequency of outbound communications, increase frequency of client review meetings and create new approach to client review meetings

According to SEI, the results of this poll illustrate that increasing the book of business is a key priority for financial advisors. Overall, the recent market turmoil of 2008 and 2009 has had a lasting impact and the desire for advisors to grow their business and the need to increase client contact are two direct outcomes. Additionally, it’s particularly significant that nearly all advisors value knowing what their colleagues are doing to run their businesses more efficiently and effectively. The key will be to determine what practices of their peers work best for their individual business.