Dallas: “Where can I find new leads?” asked Jennifer on a recent conference call. It’s a question we hear often from new advisors. Part of this is human nature – we’re always looking for what’s next or what’s new, but we can’t lose sight of opportunities sitting right in front of us.
Rainmakers not only excel in client acquisition, they excel in fully monetizing existing client relationships. Once again, it’s the Relationship Management / Relationship Marketing NexusTM at play. High level relationship management with existing clients, whether you have five or five hundred, sets the stage for new business by way of referrals and client upgrades.
Let’s take a look at three “hidden” opportunities that often get missed:
1. Referrals that never came in.
If you’re like most advisors, you’ve probablyreceived some referrals from your clients over the past six months – people who were supposed to call but never did. You can resurrect these opportunities.
When a Rainmaker is told by a client, “I gave your name to Mark Smith, a colleague at work. He should be calling you,” the protocol is to thank the client and immediately transition the referral into a personal introduction. You can do this by saying something like, “Thank you. I appreciate that. Why don’t I take the two of you to lunch so you can personally introduce me? These things work best if we get to know each other before getting into business.” It requires a couple of extra steps to set up the personal introduction, but it’s the only way to go.
For opportunities you’ve missed, call your client, explain how you were never able to connect with the referral they offered a few weeks/months ago, and suggest that you treat them both to a lunch or dinner. Go for it; it works!
2. Assets your clients hold elsewhere.
Keeping close tabs on your clients outside money is one of your most important prospecting activities. We’ve heard many times, “I have all of my clients’ money.” That’s typically far from reality.
Most of your clients have money elsewhere. Not all of them have a million dollars elsewhere, but most of them have at least a CD here or there or a small account they haven’t mentioned.
The best Rainmakers have a process in place for discussing every aspect of their clients’ financial affairs. They typically discuss outside accounts as part of a financial planning or financial organization conversation. Most importantly, they also have a process for tracking these outside accounts if they’re not immediately moveable, no matter how small they might be. When the timing is right, they re-engage this conversation with clients and facilitate the transfer. Over time, this adds up.
3. Assets of client family members.
Working the family tree is a big part of affluent prospecting. Many of your affluent clients have parents, children or siblings with the means to do business with you. Engage clients in conversations about their family. Do this early and often. If done properly, it should not come across as you prying for new business. It should come as a sincere interest in helping them oversee their family’s finances.
Once again, this can be part of a financial planning or financial organization conversation. For example, as you’re reviewing their wills, discuss which of their children will be handling their estate. You’d like to meet this person. If the client has elderly parents, you might ask if they need any help with financial organization as they’ve gotten older. You’d be happy to sit down with them and help them sort through the clutter.
The secret is having a process for all of the above. When a client offers up a referral, you transition to an introduction. When you uncover additional assets, you have a system of documenting it and tracking it. When you engage in conversations around financial planning or organization, you ask clients about their family members. This doesn’t abdicate your responsibility for new client acquisition, but it sure helps you hit your numbers.
Stephen Boswell and Kevin Nichols are thought-leaders and coaches with The Oechsli Institute, a firm that does ongoing research and coaching for nearly every major financial services firm in the US. To take the first step towards coaching, complete the pre-coaching business profile for a complimentary consultation.