Despite the volatile markets and other challenges we are all facing right now, there are several steps that advisors can take to survive and even thrive, according to executives at fintech firms LifeYield and SmartAsset.
The four key takeaways they provided Tuesday during the webinar “How Advisors Can Attract and Retain Clients in Volatile Markets” were:
- Now is not the time to stop prospecting for new clients.
- Advisors should adjust their messaging to the news.
- Advisors must shift their mindsets to lead productive conversations.
- Advisors should leverage social media and other technology to tell their stories.
“Every industry out there is being affected by the coronavirus, but advisors in the investment industry are especially susceptible” because of the high percentage of revenues at most advisory firms that are “driven by asset management fees,” according to Chris Sonzogni, director of advisor marketing at SmartAsset.
“One of the best ways to shore up your position is to continue to grow and reach new prospects,” he said. Most advisors tend to rely on in-person events to grow their businesses and “social distancing obviously puts those marketing efforts at risk,” he pointed out.
Advisors may need to rethink their marketing mixes, he said, noting social media is the “only online marketing channel that’s really gained traction with even a plurality of advisors.”
He suggested that advisors “think about the lines of communication that you’ve already opened with prospects that you might be able to leverage.” And a good place to start might be social media, he said, noting many advisors have social media accounts but rarely post on them. “Now is a good time to start thinking about new ways to potentially reallocate your marketing budget or look at new marketing channels,” he said.
Then comes the question of what new prospects are looking for from an advisor. “Prospects as well as clients are pretty concerned about how well their portfolio is performing [so], at the end of the day, they’re looking for assurance and advice,” Sonzogni said. One big mistake that advisors often make when they start talking to a new prospect or start posting on social media is they “immediately default to talk about markets and performance,” he said. They should instead “start talking about the human side of financial planning,” such as stories related to the local community or smart money moves that investors can make, he suggested.
He also stressed the importance of quickly contacting new leads, pointing to data showing firms that contacted a lead within the first five minutes were seven times more likely to convert the lead than those that replied even one hour later and 60 times more likely than companies that waited 24 hours or longer.