If you have been an advisor for more than, say, the last five years, then you probably remember “the good old days”—new business development was answering the phone! When a prospect did come see you, for the most part you were the only advisor they were meeting with and it was pretty easy to land them as clients.
With the slowdown in wealth creation and the tremendous increase in competition, those days are gone forever. Potential clients are more cautious than ever in the wake of large-scale instances of fraud (Madoff) and market and economic volatility (the financial crisis), so they now interview several firms before choosing one to manage their future and build their legacy.
To stay competitive, a firm needs the right reputation, credentials and ongoing marketing efforts to drive new business. But the tiebreaker, and still the best way to differentiate your firm, is to go above and beyond with a curated client experience that begins the moment a prospect walks through your door.
It’s hard to believe that only 20 years ago the independent advisor field was relatively new. That meant competition was sparse and marketing for most firms meant asking for referrals and then answering the phone.
As the market has matured and the financial industry morphed into a powerhouse, quality and standards went way up and credentials and experience became vital as clients became more discerning and cautious with their options. Times changed in what seemed like a blink of the eye, and the RIAs that rose to the occasion developed a sixth sense about where the market was turning.
Today, the firms that continue to succeed embrace change as if their lives depend on it—because they do. Building new business today means having the right combination of evolving talent, technology, social media prowess and a firm-wide sales-focused mindset. The secret sauce? Providing impeccable, consistent, personalized client service that not only runs like clockwork, but is also so inimitable that it functions as a fool-proof client retention strategy.
Why They Should Pick You: Making Initial Prospect Meetings Count
Your true first impression starts with the initial meeting with a potential client, and make no mistake—this is a beauty contest.