If there’s one goal I hear advisors talk about more than any other, it’s the desire to double their business, and understandably so. Doubling your business is certainly a worthy goal, and in our experience, one that almost every advisor has the potential to achieve.
Still, most advisors struggle to understand how to bridge the gap from knowing that they should be able to double their business, and knowing which specific strategies to implement to get them there.
There is a prevailing myth that if you want to double your business, you have to double your marketing spend. Whether or not you’ve been told this directly, most of us act as if this is true. But it’s not. In fact, in almost all of the cases we’ve seen, doubling the amount of money you spend on marketing produces only incremental growth.
To make matters worse, those who’ve tried “doubling down” on their marketing budgets usually end up feeling that the goal of doubling their business is always eluding them, or worse yet, while they may increase production, their overhead and costs increase just as quickly. They will never actually get there.
The truth is, you can double (or more) your business if you focus on the following nine business development leverage points.
More traffic means more prospects. (Photo: iStock)
1. Double your traffic
In marketing, traffic usually refers to the number of prospects who visit your website. But we’re talking about something much broader. Doubling your traffic could mean getting twice as many prospects to visit a seminar registration page, download a white paper, click to watch a short video or even simply to read a blog on your website. Simply stated, doubling your traffic means doubling the number of prospects who take the first action in your sales process, typically once they’ve become aware that they have a need.
The fastest way to double your traffic is first to get crystal-clear about whom you want to attract, then to making sure you’re speaking to that market specifically. In other words, you have to stop talking to all prospects the same. The reality here is that only a small portion of a really broad message is going to resonate with any one prospect. It’s a case of one-size-fits-none.
But, if instead you focus on making one big, bold promise to a smaller segment of the market, you’ll see a dramatic increase in the total amount of traffic you generate.
Give prospects something they want to turn them into leads. (Photo: iStock)
2. Double your leads
Once you’ve increased traffic, it’s time to create a game-plan for converting that traffic into leads. One way is to pair a high-value offer with an extremely low-commitment call to action.
For example, if you mail thousands of direct mail pieces asking people to attend a live seminar, you’re asking for a very high commitment from a very cold audience. If, however, you offered prospects something of value, something they want — say, a valuable case study or free report — in exchange for something that’s easy for them to give — their name and email — you can dramatically increase the total number of leads you generate from each marketing campaign.
An automatic system to set appointments can help turn leads into clients. (Photo: iStock)
3. Double your number of appointments
Once you’re generating lots of leads, the next step is to convert them into appointments. This is where a lot of advisors become quickly overwhelmed, because the only way they know to do this is to pick up the phone and start dialing.
If you dread making calls the way I do, or you don’t have the time to spend on it, your leads are going to end up wasted. Sure, they’ll sit on your desk for a week or two, while you tell yourself you’re going to call them, but after enough time has passed they’ll eventually end up in the proverbial “trash can” (if not literally).
There’s got to be a better way, right? Right.
To make this stage of appointment conversion easier, you can leverage automated campaigns using a combination of emails and video, sent to each lead you generate, offering them the option to simply click and schedule their own appointment on your calendar.
Regardless of how you handle it, set up a system that can automate this process for you so that every lead generated receives follow-up contact, multiple times, and is given the time they need to warm up to you and schedule an appointment.
Sometimes appointments don’t show up. Don’t lose momentum. (Photo: iStock)
4. Double your number of kept appointments
Let’s say your marketing is working pretty well, and you’re generating leads predictably and consistently converting them into appointments. But you begin to notice a large number of these appointments are not showing up. Not to worry. It happens. But rather than letting it suck the wind out of your sails, recognize it as just another challenge to solve on your way to doubling your business.
The best way to solve this is to eliminate any momentum killers, which happen when time lapses from when the appointment is scheduled to when it occurs. You can eliminate these momentum killers with a pre-first-appointment engagement campaign.
Let’s face it, sometimes prospects can get cold feet and second-guess their decision to consult with someone they’ve never met. Sometimes they even simply get distracted and forget they scheduled the appointment. An appointment nurture campaign addresses this head on by building anticipation leading up to the appointment with a steady stream of value-added content and resources nurturing the initial interest and reason for coming in to see you.
Follow up with hesitant clients. (Photo: iStock)
5. Double your closing ratio
If you’re already a pretty good closer, you might think there’s little room for improvement here. But if you were to add up all the first appointments you have in a year, then look at the number of new clients you close annually, I’d guess that you’re closing three or four prospects for every ten first appointments you schedule.
Now, some of those prospects that don’t close may not be qualified, while others may not be a good fit. But more likely than not, there is probably a percentage of those who don’t close that simply thank you for the information and promise they’ll get back to you, but of course never do. The challenge with these prospects is to continue to follow up and advance the conversation, understanding that they may not make a decision for many months.
Here, we recommend a long-term nurture campaign; one that will continue to nurture the specific interest the prospect indicated when they chose to meet with you. And the best part is, because the campaign can be automated, you can rest assured it’s running in the background without worrying that anyone is falling through the cracks.
Don’t settle for only selling one asset. (Photo: iStock)
6. Double your average revenue per client
As advisors, we’re usually pretty good at identifying a prospect’s primary interest or “hot button” in the first meeting. Afterward, though, we tend to quickly forget that there may be other “hot buttons” or issues they need help addressing.
Rather than continue to work with the client on these additional areas, we often retreat back into prospecting mode, sifting through stacks of cold leads looking for yet another new client.
What a missed opportunity. Think about it, how many times have we been told that we rarely, if ever, get all of the assets the first time around?
More often than not, clients typically have more than one need when it comes to financial planning, and many of us have a number of products and services that we can offer to solve these different needs. The problem is, we don’t always know how to re-engage existing clients after we’ve closed the initial sale.
One of the fastest ways to solve for this is to set up a pre-determined track of automated educational content focused on each area of planning that you specialize in. A few weeks after you solidify a new client relationship, introduce your client to a new “funnel” designed to educate them on additional areas of planning.
When done correctly, they will have the ability to “self-select” and schedule another appointment to discuss this additional area of planning. At worst, they get some great additional education, and at best you’ve just opened up another opportunity with a client that already trusts you, and it cost you nothing. Either way, you’ll be offering multiple products and services to all of your clients, increasing the total lifetime value of each new client relationship.
Make the referral process easy. (Photo: iStock)
7. Double the number of referrals you receive
We all know referrals make the best leads, yet many of us hesitate to ask for them consistently. We have our reasons of course: We don’t want to put our clients on the spot, we feel awkward asking and we feel awkward cold-calling our clients’ friends and colleagues.
The good news is, if you’re willing to get strategic about how you ask for referrals, you can remove the pain of the referral process for everyone and position yourself to receive many more referrals in the process.
One way to do this, is to send clients an email linking to a form they can populate with their referral’s name and email as well as a personal introduction inviting them to opt in to receive one of your helpful resources.
This gives your client some space to think of whom they may want to share your content with, and it also allows the individual they refer the chance to decide whether or not to opt in without the headache of being hounded by a salesperson calling them unexpectedly.
And the best part is, you get to ask all of your clients for referrals, multiple times a year, all with just the click of a button!
Don’t forget about existing clients. (Photo: iStock)
8. Double your client retention
Retention is important to all of us, but especially for fee-based advisors. Every year a client stays with your firm, you reap the reward of residual revenue. And yet, less than 10 percent of advisors have any strategy at all for client retention.
Finding a new advisor is a painful process for clients, and if we will simply stay in touch, keep them informed, and continue to deliver value, they are likely to stick around for years to come, regardless of the market’s performance.
One example of automated client retention is to develop a 12-month track of ongoing educational content that you can deliver (in stealth mode of course) via online video. Your clients will love it because you’ll be following up and delivering more value than any other advisor they’ve ever worked with, and you’ll love it because you’ll see an increase in retention without a lot of manual ongoing effort, leaving you freed up to focus on other revenue-producing activities.
Focus on quality rather than quantity of marketing. (Photo: iStock)
9. Cut your marketing budget
That’s right: Not increase your marketing budget — but decrease it. The goal here is to focus on marketing effectiveness, and profitability, not just growth of gross revenue. Take a look at what you’re spending, measure it against the return, and ask yourself if you could be doing a better job and generating a higher response with what you’re already spending.
By marketing more strategically, it’s extremely likely that you could double the number of leads you’re generating for the same amount of money, or, if you prefer, maintain the same number of leads but cut your marketing spend in half!
Remember, it’s not just about doubling growth, it’s about doubling profit.
In summary, while we’ve talked about these nine strategies as leverage points for doubling your business, the reality is, the total growth potential of your practice is much higher. If, for example, you were to double all nine leverage points, that would represent an 18X potential increase in your business!
Now, obviously you’re not going to be able to double all nine, but if you commit to focusing on all nine, imagine if you doubled even two or three. All of a sudden, the prospect of doubling your business becomes not only doable, it’s almost certain.
Now that we’ve looked at the nine leverage points above, take a hard look at your business and ask yourself this question: If you could only focus on doubling one of these leverage points, which would give you the biggest reward in the shortest amount of time? Once you have the answer to that question, it’s time to get to work!
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