One of the more interesting sessions at last week’s Fusion Advisor Network conference in Las Vegas focused on “Creating Profitable Client Relationships.” This panel discussion featured successful advisors Kathy Fish of Fish and Associates, Eric Brotman of the Brotman Financial Group and Abby Salameh, Chief Marketing Officer for Fusion.

The free-wheeling discussion was driven mainly by audience questions centered around acquiring new clients in an efficient, cost-effective way. While a lot of ground was covered, the key takeaways were:

· Creating client advisory boards
· Using web-based technology to conduct client and prospect meetings
· Hiring interns to implement marketing campaigns

Brotman talked about the benefits of the advisory board he set up, which included his best clients. He not only got great feedback on how to improve service; by engaging this group of 10-12 clients in his business, they became a powerful referral engine as they now had a vested interest in the success of the firm. “Because they were so involved, they felt very comfortable referring us new business. It worked so well that we expanded the advisory board to 20,” said Brotman.

Fish highlighted her use of online web meetings to leverage her time for client consultations and prospect presentations. “We have a geographically scattered client base, so traveling to meet clients for quarterly reviews just isn’t feasible,” said Fish. “The online meetings are a great way to communicate directly with clients, gather feedback and present new ideas. We also use web-ex technology to host informational investment topic seminars that we invite our prospects to attend and get excellent results. People these days are more comfortable with technology and we are having great success in communicating and marketing in this cost-effective and efficient way.”

Salemeh provided insight on how to build a marketing plan and the importance of scheduling activities well in advance so that the advisor can optimize his or her time and ensure follow up. This idea sparked a question from the audience on how to make time for this kind of thing when the advisor is running a busy practice. Consistent with the many successful advisor panels that are held all over the industry, often the best advice comes from the audience.

“We use college interns to manage the marketing process,” commented one advisor. “Here in Indiana, we are right next to one of the nation’s best business schools and extremely talented, motivated and smart students are clamoring to get experience on their resumes. We get the cream of the crop and they can immediately add value to our firm at a very, very low cost. It’s a win for them as we provide them with a meaningful work experience and it is a win for us as the work they do is of the highest quality, we leverage our time and get the chance to groom these interns for possible future employment when they graduate.”

The balance of the panel discussion addressed in detail some of the ways advisors can implement these ideas in their businesses. The discussion ran over and had to be stopped so that the meeting would end on time and the attendees could maximize their Vegas experience.

Like all conferences in Vegas, attendees benefit from the many opportunities to take in a show, play the slots, roll the dice, bet on sports, ogle the beautiful people, or simply lounge by the pool in sunny, warm, desert weather. Truly, October in Las Vegas is not to be missed and the folks at Fusion Advisor Network put on a valuable program for their affiliated advisors.

Timothy D. Welsh, CFP® is President and founder of Nexus Strategy, LLC, a leading consulting firm to the wealth management industry, and can be reached at tim@nexus-strategy.com or on Twitter @NexusStrategy.

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