Practice management expert outlines a marketing plan designed to help grow your book
Getting the word out about your business has always been a vital part of an advisor’s practice. Some may have hit a comfortable level of referrals but others need to market themselves to grow their book.
Grant Hicks, president and national director of Advisor Practice Management in Calgary, believes he has a stella idea to scale your business. It’s an idea you are unlikely to find online or even from a top-performing advisor. The answer, he said, is within your own workplace.
“It will change the way you think,” he said. “It will change your business strategies. It will make you take a close look at what you're doing right and what you need to improve on. The idea will help you grow, develop and build your practice to heights you thought weren't possible.”
Hicks said that if he was asked to give only one idea to build and scale a financial advisory practice, he would create a board of directors with top clients and centres of influence. Then, ask them for feedback and ideas on every aspect of your business from advice to marketing, client appreciation, and communication.
He explained: “Invite six to 10 of your top clients in one meeting for an hour and get valuable feedback on your image, identity, business, and marketing. Two things will happen. First, your ideal clients will give you valuable feedback on the future direction of you and your practice; valuable feedback on marketing, communications, and value-added processes that only they will see value in.
“Second, you will teach them how to refer and give you favourable introductions. Imagine doing follow-up calls and getting referrals? That is exactly what happened when I did this with my ideal clients. Not only did they refer names to me, they asked me to join events where I might meet more people like them.”
This idea can be developed further via a second meeting – maybe buy your "network of professionals" lunch for giving you feedback on all areas of your business. Hold them 3-4 times a year. It will cost you less than $200 and a few hours of your time, he insisted.
“The most amazing thing happens when you tell people you are working on your business,” Hicks said. “When you do the follow-up phone call, your clients already have someone in mind you should talk to. Within 30 days you get referrals to more like-minded people and gain additional top clients. This is how you clone your best clients.”
Hicks admitted that it’s “gutsy” to ask for feedback from your clients but that at the core of this trusted relationship is your client’s desire to help you and your business. The fact they are long-term clients and know how you operate, adds credence to the advice they give.
Hicks said “If I have never experienced being one of your clients for a period of time, how can I give you long-term valuable feedback on what you are doing, how you communicate with people and how your business is perceived? It is this valuable feedback from your top clients and centres of influence that is going to give you the edge over your competitors.”
He added: “Once advisors discover how powerful this idea is, and how easy it is to do, they will want to create groups of client feedback forums. They will deliver more value to their clients and attend events with clients and get favourable introductions. They will get referrals from the network of professionals and all they did was start with feedback.”