Survey Reveals Best Ways for Financial Advisors to Generate New Business in a Tough Economy
Advisors Trusted Advisor, a leading practice management resource for financial advisors and wealth managers, recently surveyed financial advisors on the state of their business-building efforts. “The survey revealed that financial advisor planning firms that focus on sales planning and execution are much more successful at generating new business opportunities than those who do not,” reveals Michael Slemmer, CFA, principal, Advisors Trusted Advisor.
The responses show referral-based selling is still the number-one way to build an advisory business, but many are missing the mark when it comes to implementing new strategies. For instance, social media is a tool that has been practically ignored in this niche market.
And, while most advisors (68%) believe that they have a clear competitive story to tell, the survey indicates that it´s not well-expressed in their marketing. For example, when asked, “To what degree does your marketing material tell your story and help you in selling?” only 36% responded “excellently” or “very well.” Sixty-four percent said “somewhat” or “not at all.”
About activities to generate new business -- specifically sales planning and execution -- respondents rated their firms generally low. Only 37% felt their firm sets and executes new business goals excellently or very well; 62% felt they do an average or poor job. The most-often cited obstacle to new business was “poor marketing,” followed by “lack of sales process and tools” and “no clear plan.”
So, just how important is it to set business development goals and have written plans? According to survey results -- very! Only 37% satisfactorily set new business goals, and just 35% have written business development plans. On every measure, those who answered positively in these two areas were realizing “much higher” or “higher” numbers of new prospects and more overall satisfaction in business growth. This more highly satisfied group responded with confidence their marketing communications are performing well; higher satisfaction with client and centers of influence (COI) referrals; and an overall more-satisfactory business-building culture.
“It´s positive that most firms are setting firm-wide goals and defining their missions, and they believe they know their strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats,” Slemmer reports. “Financial advisors are also doing reasonably well in client communication. However, they are falling short when it comes to marketing; new business development; increasing their COI; gaining client referrals; and effective public relations.”