Turn these 5 business threats into opportunities thinkadvisor

As usual, I have a lot to say and not enough space to say it. That’s why I invite you to carefully consider the five threats to your business listed below and to visit https://www.billgoodmarketing.com/5threats, where I have posted more strategies and webinars to help you deal with these threats.

But more clients are taking additional principal to live on. And then there is that dreaded sucking sound because you didn’t get accounts open with the beneficiaries. When the last primary client dies, 85% of his or her assets likely will leave the firm, and that can result in a nearly impossible situation from which to recover.

The definition of a channel is “passage for water or other liquids to flow.” Like water, assets flow.

As I said, most advisors today (43% of whom are over 55) rely on just two channels — assets from clients and assets from client referrals. These two channels rarely produce a growing business. They mostly sustain, unless of course fees are going down.

Let’s talk about you seniors. You came into the industry with the wave of baby boomers in the late 1980s or early 1990s and built a successful career. You have a good life, work a few hours a day, generally take Fridays off and probably take at least six weeks of vacation.

You take a pledge. “I’m going to start prospecting.” You start networking, cold calling even, perhaps hold some seminars. You start generating some leads. But your closing rate, to use a technical term, sucks. You are closing 15% and you need 40%. You used to close 80% — what happened?

A properly executed sales presentation flows naturally to a close, which is just a tiny piece of the overall presentation. If the close is not happening, I assure you, the problem can be found earlier. Most likely, the problem is in the first meeting when you should only deal with discovery. And not just any discovery, as I will explain.

Me (after briefly looking over the questionnaire): “This is possibly the worst I’ve ever seen.” And it was. It was six and a-half pages of detailed questions about investments. There was no question such as, “Why are you here?” There was no chance find out about a prospect’s family, goals or fears.

Here’s the moral of the story: In your discovery meeting, barely touch on what the prospects own. Find out why they are there talking to you in the first place. (See the webinar, “The Good Way to Sell Advice” on my website) You can solve this problem.

Schwab Intelligent Portfolios has about $19 billion under management. Betterment, the oldest player in the space, has about $10 billion. But look at Barron’s list of the Top 1,200 advisors. There are lots of individual advisors with more AUM.

Nevertheless, investors read about fees. The savvier investors are aware of Warren Buffet’s repeated reminders that “Most investors are better off sticking with passive, low-cost, index-tracking products.” In his February 2018 client letter, he reminds investors, “Performance comes, performance goes. Fees never falter.”

Fees may never falter, but you can push back against their downward pressure on your income by enhancing the value of your offer. If you are not a CFP, get busy. Yank those pictures of old people off your website. Sell yourself and your team.

You were branded initially as “Bob and Lil’s financial advisor” and then as “Lil’s financial advisor.” Her kids are no more going to use you than they will her dentist or doctor. You need to be branded as “The Jones Family Financial Advisor. “You need to plug this leak.

Best bet: set up a luncheon for the wife’s birthdate. If that’s awkward, invite her to a birthday lunch for the husband. Do some women-only “basic investing” seminars. Invite your widows to a Valentine’s Day lunch. If you have many, do a lunch and dinner.

• Identify all the beneficiaries. You can round up most of them by inspecting the beneficiary statements in retirement accounts and insurance policies. Most broker-dealers include beneficiaries in their new account forms. Enter each beneficiary and spouse and their children as a separate household in your CRM.

• Make a plan for each family on how you are going to meet the beneficiaries. If your relationship with the wife is at all shaky, include her in your “relationship enhancement” plan. Pay special attention to the child who was tapped as executor.

• Do your best to get your clients to start a gifting program for their kids and grandkids. You now become the hero not a zero. While doing this, you will start to get accounts open. For the money to stay with you after the last primary client dies, it must have a place to go. The solution to assets growing legs and leaving is having an account open with the beneficiaries, especially the executor.

That’s all well and good, noble, and probably will extend your life because people who love what they do tend to live longer. But the reality is sooner or later, the Reaper will come calling. And unless you have taken steps, the business you have built over a lifetime will be passed out or sold at distressed prices.

Some of you reading this article already have experienced clients looking at you kind of funny and then asking, “When something happens to you, what happens to me and my money?” They are starting to make their own succession plan with one of your younger competitors.

Develop a mailing list. Do a Google search for “financial advisor near (my city).” Click on Images. You now have the photos of all the financial advisors in your area. Some may be long in the tooth. Some look like they just got out of high school.

Remember, every marketing campaign starts with a list. For those in a wirehouse, get home addresses. (White pages.com or property tax assessor’s office online.) Start mailing to them. Join the Financial Planning Association. Meet younger advisors.

Bill Good is founder and CEO of Bill Good Marketing. He is the author of the book on prospecting in financial services: “Hot Prospects.” He created the Bill Good Marketing System and has been named one of the industry’s top five coaches. In partnership with Chad Henry, he created the Chad Henry Master Class, which teaches all aspects of seminar marketing — from the invitation and presentation to the office appointments. Learn more at http://www.billgoodmarketing.com or call Jill Jackson at 888-495-7303.