For most investment advisors, a first objective to grow clients and assets was undoubtedly set at the start. Growth is the common goal and personal commitment most advisors make to themselves when they begin their careers in the financial services industry. Growth, is the “why” and “what” investment advisors focus on as a matter of course, each and every day and represents the primary measure of both personal and professional success.
While there is an implied understanding that business growth will occur organically by managing existing assets with sound investment principles, patience and above benchmark performance that generates referrals, the challenge for IA’s looking to move their practice to the next level, usually lays in breaking through the self-induced inertia that often accompanies past success.
For many advisors the growth-fulcrum of developing new clients while developing assets often tilts exclusively to the latter in time. Pro-actively trying to generate new business is relegated as a non-critical activity and by and large, the net effect for many advisors is the experience of “plateauing” as a result of the inevitable slow-down in acquiring new clients.
To be sure, passive prospecting activities like networking, attending speeches at the chamber of commerce, joining a Harley owners group or volunteering at Variety Village, offer opportunities for IA’s to forge new business relationships. But with social norms that dictate non-assertiveness as part of the relationship building process, the time required to develop qualified prospects can take years and not months, routinely achieved by pro-actively engaging a defined prospect market.
While social media is rapidly deconstructing traditional modes of advertising, for those IA’s focusing their efforts on high net-worth clients, the obvious should be obvious; - Affluent people generally have a lot of “friends” in real life and usually are not in the market for new digital ones, making its utility a non- sequitur for those advisors looking to connect with high-value business prospects.
It may sound trite, but even in an age of great transformations arising from the popular adoption of digital media, past convention still holds true; -- “analog” cold calls remain the most cost-effective way to reach suspects, generate prospects and get the process of developing new clients started. Ubiquitous, universally accessible, tried and true, for IA’s looking to build their client base, telemarketing should always be considered a viable way to catalyze growth, especially when the objective is aligned to providing wealth management services.
Times however have indeed changed and the ways and means of what worked in the past, generally speaking, do not cut mustard today. The illusory one-call close has gone the way of unicorns and leprechauns in today’s hyper-competitive financial services market. The pitch of offering a free seminar has gone stale, very stale in fact. And to assume cold calling will get you face-to-face with a prospect first-time out, is a notion filled with a heaping measure of hopa-hopa.
Instead, when considering telemarketing as a catalyst to growth, the imperative should always be focused on cultivating relationships and never on hunting targets. Importantly, before embarking on any lead generation program, the key question IA’s should ask themselves before all else is: “Why are you interrupting somebody’s busy day? From the perspective of a busy high net-worth business owner or executive, there are only two right answers.
Copyright Saul Rothbart 2012