It’s no secret that most owners of independent advisory firms today want to grow their businesses. And you don’t need a security clearance to know that many their efforts aren’t very successful.
This is because the first step most owners take is to research “marketing” online. What they find are suggestions about creating a social media presence, doing podcasts, creating video blogs, etc. And owners typically get so overwhelmed that they simply make a few changes to their websites and see little to no results.
After a couple months or so, they decide they can’t handle these marketing efforts on their own, so they go to a “marketing firm,” which will suggest changes similar to what they read online and will charge an arm and a leg.
Having watched this scenario play out many times over the years, I’ve come the conclusion that for most advisory firms, there is a better way to boost growth — without spending a dime on marketing. The key is to realize that “professional services” businesses are different from the “retail sales” firms that business school marketing programs were created to help.
Simply put, retail sales are about products: cars, TVs, cell phones, etc. But as the name suggests, “professional services” aren’t about products; they’re about services. And services are provided by people — in this case, financial professionals. Selling professional services isn’t about the “firm,” it’s about the professionals themselves.
The best, fastest and most successful way to grow an advisory firm is to grow your “story.” Start by writing out how, when and why you started the business, what your core values are and what you’ve learned since you began your career.
Next, share that story with everyone in your firm and ask each of them to write their own story of why they are working with you. Also, have staff share these stories with the whole firm. By doing so, it will become clear who and what your firm is.