For financial advisors, promoting and marketing their business can be a daunting challenge. Do you go the social media route? Do the old school methods still work? Is there simply a better way to build your book of business? Jay Coulter and his firm, the Resilient Advisor, are coaches and consultants to RIAs and financial advisors, aiming to give them the tools and best practices to expand their businesses and maximize their resources. He joins the ETF Think Tank to share some of those tips and what he has learned over the years.
Measuring success as a financial advisor on social media really depends on the advisor and their approach to marketing & sales. 90% of the time, advisors realize they don’t need to spend that much time on social media at all. If your target client is dentists, for example, social media probably isn’t necessary because dentists don’t spend a lot of time there. For advisors that are utilizing social media, Coulter says that views, impressions, and call-to-action clicks are good measuring sticks.
Understanding your client base and which ones are generating the biggest bang for the buck are vital keys for success. Coulter suggests sorting your book of business by revenue generated over the past 12 months and use the results to assign A, B, C, etc. ratings to each client. If you optimize and segment your client base, you can get new referrals and introductions just from your top revenue generating clients. Ask yourself how much time you’re spending with these top clients. The more time you spend, the more your relationships will expand.
With that, however, simplicity is key. The more complex your segmentation process is, the more likely it is to break. Using revenue as a way of ranking high to low in terms of importance is a good start because 10-15% of clients usually provide more than 50% of revenue. It’s the advisor’s job though to assess lifetime value on their client base. Some can be upgraded or downgraded based on potential or how they want to be contacted.
The new high yield fixed income environment presents both opportunities and challenges for advisors. With Treasury bills now yielding more than 5%, advisors need to work extra to explain and demonstrate how they can add value for clients. One example is through building Treasury ladders. A lot of advisors have needed to re-learn how to build Treasury ladders and a lot of investors don’t understand it either. That provides an opportunity to connect with clients.
An important concept for advisors to master is how to differentiate themselves from other advisors. Coulter says that it all comes down to understanding the client. Before investments are even discussed, good advisors need to understand the pain points and figure out solutions before pitching anything related to securities. Some people don’t need investing advice or portfolio construction because they’re already comfortable doing it themselves. What they might need more is tax planning, estate planning, or business planning instead. Conversations and relationships should be built around exactly what the client is looking for.
With artificial intelligence growing at an incredibly rapid pace, advisors should be getting in front of the trend and working to understand how they can leverage it now. AI can give advisors the opportunity to be truly present when talking with clients. You can ask AI tools to take notes and have the conversation completely documented while you’re engaging with a client or prospect. It can also be used to assist in practice management and build better custom proposals. There’s a lot of opportunity for financial advisors who are willing to get in front of it.
Other key takeaways:
- A tactic Coulter likes to use is NOT using business cards at networking events. If someone asks for a card, you can say you don’t have one, but ask for their contact info instead. That way, you’ve got the contact info in hand.
- Coulter isn’t using Threads right now and isn’t currently applying pressure on anyone to use it.
- Among the resources out there that Coulter recommends advisors check out: Samantha Russell with FMG Suite, Roger Whitney, Brad Johnson with Triad Partners, and Dave Zoller.
- Tiering the fee schedule is important. A lot of advisors would benefit from separating financial planning fees from investment management fees. You can save clients a lot more money with proper tax planning than you can by saving basis points on the expense ratios of different funds or ETFs. Charging lower fees for higher end clients can encourage them to grow and expand existing relationships.
- Investments are only a commodity to a commoditized advisor. If you can understand the process and understand a prospect’s personal values, that can be the best way to win new clients before you even get into discussing investments.
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