Slideshow 12 Ways to Grow Your Practice

  • May 16 2012, 10:08am EDT
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12 Ways to Grow Your Practice

Succeeding as a financial advisor is no easy feat. Out of every 100 who try, only about 10 make it. And of those, only about three go on to make a very high income, according to Rick Rummage, founder and CEO of The Rummage Group. Bank Investment Consultant presented the first half of Rummage’s “12 Ideas to Grow Your Practice” in the May issue with the second half scheduled for June. In the meantime, you can get a sneak peek from this slideshow that presents all 12.

1, Cold Calling

Cold calling works better than ever because so few advisors are doing it, which means you’ll have very little competition, says Rummage. Yes, there is the issue of the “do not call” list, but this does not apply to businesses. Just make sure prospects understand you are not trying to sell anything over the phone other than a face-to-face meeting.

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2, Hiring Cold Callers

Hire individuals or interns to make introductory calls for you. Their goal is to find you a warm lead. Although turnover is high and a great deal of training is required, managing cold callers can be very effective, if done correctly. Start recruiting interns at the local university. Hire two or more at a time for training economies of scale because not all will make it – this will also create competition among them.

3. Cold Walking

Cold walking is nothing more than going to businesses to introduce yourself. Stop by 10 or so businesses each time you go out to meet with a client and let the owners know you were in the area meeting with a client and thought you would drop by to introduce yourself. Tell them you specialize in helping business owners maximize their return on liquid capital and you would like to set up an appointment to speak further.

4. Networking

Networking is no more than meeting individuals at social or professional gatherings. Make sure you pick your networking organization carefully and that the individuals in the group either have money or are well connected. And take a leadership role if possible.

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5. Seminars

This marketing method involves inviting many prospects to a presentation on a specific topic of financial planning. Use this method only if you are a good public speaker and can keep the attention and interest of an audience. Your goal in a seminar is to teach, not sell.

6. Public Speaking

Public speaking is one of the most underutilized methods of growing a practice. It works so well because once you come up with a few great presentations you can repeat them. Spend 30 minutes each day calling on associations, clubs, charities and other groups to offer them your speaking services.

7. Become a Writer

Writing articles for publications is a great way to get in front of a large audience. It’s very inexpensive and only involves time and knowledge of subject matter. Start writing and submitting articles to the editors of the hundreds of print and online publications out there. The biggest challenge is whether your firm will allow you to publish articles.

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8. Teaching

Teach a class on investments or financial planning at a local public high school or college. Maybe it’s Financial Planning 101 or Aggressive Portfolio Strategies. If you buy a good list of high-net-worth zip codes and send out 10,000 mailers, you should have 10 to 30 students.

9. Advertising

Despite the expense and low response rate, advertising can be worth pursuing. Say you spend $1,000 for a newspaper ad that is read by 30,000 readers. That’s easily covered if you pick up just one new client with $100,000 to invest. A word of caution: Check your firm’s compliance rules pertaining to advertising.

10. Referral Marketing

This is the most widely used method to build a practice. The most common way to get clients to give your referrals is to “pay it forward.” If a client likes you, trusts you and feels you offer some valuable information, they are more likely to refer you to their clients. The fear from all clients is that you may upset their referrals and it will hurt their relationship.

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11. Buying a Practice

This method of growth is one of the most difficult. There are a ton of buyers and very few sellers. When an advisor decides to retire or exit the business, they all follow a very similar path. In most cases, they will offer their practice to a friend or colleague they trust and respect. If there is no interest from their friend, and there usually is, they then turn to their manager. There is a 99% chance the manager will find a buyer for them. Therefore, very few advisors will ever come a across a book of business for sale. There are a few websites that are in the business of matching buyers with sellers, but this works for a very few fraction of buyers.

12. Inheriting Clients

Inheriting clients involves a lot of luck. Advisors, at some point in their career, have inherited clients because other advisors leave the firm. This method involves little work other than saving the accounts from leaving. But the downside is that you can’t depend on this because you never know if or when it will happen.

Look for More Detail in Our Next Issue

For more detail on all these points, be on the lookout for the June issue of Bank Investment Consultant. In the meantime, you can contact Rick Rummage at