This is the first in a four part series from The Pocket Guide to Sales for Financial Advisors, by Beverly D. Flaxington
Where is your growth going to come from? Typically an advisor will answer with a general sense of possible new business – increasing client referrals, working with Centers of Influence, getting the advisors to sell and network more effectively. To be most successful, you need to have a plan broken down into discrete segments.
The best plans involve clearly defining the areas of focus and then defining – as specifically as you are able – what the actual goals look like in a number of different categories. For example, for each targeted channel or area of focus, review where you are now. If you want to put your energies toward client referrals, how many did you get last year? In the last five years? How many new referrals, and how much new AUM coming from referrals, would mean success to you? Do this for each area of focus. Be clear where you are starting and where you want to end up.
If you have clearly defined goals for each segment, you will be able to more easily measure your success toward that goal and make mid-course corrections when you find you’re heading off-track in any one area. One of the reasons new business generation can be frustrating is that you may think you are already doing a lot: There is a lot of activity going on, but not the commensurate revenue to show for it. Take an activity like networking. On the face of it, networking seems to make sense, but just doing it for the sake of doing it can mean lost time with nothing to show. Set a goal for your networking – what do you expect to get from the activity? Where will you go and who do you want to meet? Be clear about your objectives in each and every area.
Breaking down goals for segments and activities also allows for the allocation of resources and focus, instead of just throwing budget money against something but not knowing how much each segment of your plan should get as an allocation. Ultimately you will have identified the different areas within which you hope to improve your business development efforts so you can focus your marketing strategy in those areas. So, if you are hoping to penetrate the custodial channel and want to increase sales through your relationship there, don’t spend a lot of time writing articles for journals in a niche market the custodial reps don’t read! Where you want to go should be clear and concise, and should dictate what marketing tactics you want to apply against your efforts.
To kick off the new year, take the time alone or with your team to decide where exactly you want to focus your efforts next year, what success will look like to you in each of these areas, and what steps you need to take to be successful.
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