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Practice Management

Staying power doesn’t mean you can get cozy in the cobwebs; instead, pit that experience against your competition.

This Practice Management article is intended for financial advisors only (registered representatives of broker dealers or associated persons of Registered Investment Advisors).
 

Have you ever walked by a restaurant or shop every day for years? One day you stop in for whatever reason and make a purchase. At that moment, the restaurant or shop has won you over just for staying put so long.

The same principles are in play with long-tenured financial advisors. That is, longevity has its rewards. Over a long span of serving clients, you leverage your investment in training and prospecting from the front end of your career.

The accumulation of a life’s work, training and experience adds up: professional development seminars, credentials acquired through study and exams, experience through bull and bear markets, the clients you’ve won and lost and your insights into what works and what does not. Along the way, you figured out how to streamline your office processes and make your practice work better. And you have become a far better financial advisor than you were when you started.

Your neighbors and people in the business community may pass by your office each day—some may even take your amiable presence for granted—just as you passed that restaurant. And then one day their circumstances may change. They have come into some money or they need to make a change in their finances and they are now looking for a new advisor.

When they think about where to turn, will your name bubble up to the top?

Staying in place, being present, making your name known—these are the quiet, confident steps you must take to ensure you are among the top financial advisors considered when people with serious money seek the best guidance available. They may not even know you well, but your staying power is a testament to reliability, reputation and competence.

Many advisors get very good at prospecting, but then they stop. They lose their hunger for what it takes to build a business and they land in maintenance mode. They skip the tactics that helped them build their business. For instance, they don’t bother attending after-hours events. And they are complacent about replacing assets and relationships that time chips away.

Staying power can be your greatest ally or your greatest adversary. The clients you have built the business on in the mid-1980s, 1990s, or 2000s were introduced into your practice when it was much different. Would they characterize your investment approach as time-tested or road-weary?

How much do they even know about financial services? Are your clients aware of what you learned from the financial crisis and any course corrections you are taking?

Advisors who leave their firms are almost forced by circumstances to get out and win over their clients, in order to bring them to the new firm. If you have stayed at one firm, you may not have felt that same need to tell your story, or to take up your clients’ time with your big-picture thoughts of the business and why you stayed with your firm.

There will always be enterprising young advisors who call your clients, invite them to seminars or ask them for a few minutes of their time to present newer, more comprehensive approaches. Their energy, drive and even crisp capabilities can be very persuasive.

It may be time to wage your own campaign to dress up, get out and tell your story again. Take time to pit your experience and staying power up against the competition. It is high time to win back the hearts and minds of your clients—and win their referrals again.


Gerri Leder is an industry marketing consultant and founder of LederMark Communications.

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