Riding the baby boomer wave: Finding new ways to market your practiceArticle added by Jason Lampa on May 26, 2009
Jason Lampa MBA

Jason Lampa


Joined: January 31, 2008

As the baby boomer demographic begins to transition out of the accumulation phase, the conversations they share at cocktail parties have changed drastically. For investors who took part in the go-go days of the late 1990s, social gatherings became a platform for comparing the grandiose returns their financial advisors were generating in their portfolio. I'm sure many of you experienced clients demanding to know why their portfolio only went up 45 percent, while the neighbors gloated over a 75 percent gain. It's amazing what a decade can do.

Now, instead of talks of astronomical returns, guests at the party are discussing concerns such as running out of money during retirement and finding an advisor they trust and who will educate them on topics like nursing home options for their parents. This new dialogue presents financial advisors with a tremendous opportunity to grow their practice; however, with the potential opportunity comes more participants entering the marketplace.

Throughout the financial services industry, you will find wealth management firms catering their message to the baby boomer generation. As this highly publicized demographic transitions into retirement, the challenge will be providing a comprehensive solution that will not only attract their attention, but propel them to action. How does a wealth management firm accomplish this amidst the recent downturn in the global equity markets?

In this article, we will discuss the first two steps of the journey.

Identify the "hot" buttons for affluent baby boomers. The majority of the investors in this age demographic are concerned with three distinct financial outcomes:
  • Caring for their aging parents and prudently managing assets coming from inheritance

  • Managing lump-sum distributions, such as IRA rollovers from substantial 401(k)/pension assets (Selling a business and strategic liquidation of stock options would also be included in lump-sum distributions would be)

  • Overcoming longevity risk by following a retirement income strategy that will meet standard of living requirements for 30 plus years.
Be proactive in sourcing these potential clients to you by logging on to www.meetup.com.

Meetup claims to be the world's largest network of local groups. Having created a group of my own, I can tell you that this is an excellent way to get face-to-face interaction with thousands of potential clients in your local community.

Each Meetup group receives:
  • A customized Web site
  • Message boards
  • Tools to prospect for members
  • Advice on how to maximize the success of the group
For an example, go to: http://www.meetup.com/intimatenetworking.

Decide on the marketing activities that will be implemented to engage potential prospects. I suggest beginning this process by establishing three separate advisory boards. The underlying purpose of these three groups is to exponentially grow your business. It's important to always remember this when choosing members for each group.

Step No. 1: Identify approximately eight to 12 of your top baby boomer clients who you think will take their role seriously and have the expertise to add value. Though you may know these individuals well, take the time to craft a plan that will lay out the structure for the board as well as what will be required of them.

I recommend utilizing the following criteria to rank potential client-advisory members (point system 1-5; 1=poor, 5=outstanding):
  • Personality
  • Influence in community
  • Net worth
  • Business acumen
  • Occupation
Step No. 2: Have your assistant contact your top 10 clients (excluding the ones in the first group) and schedule lunch appointments with each of them. During this lunch, ask them which business owners in the area they feel would be a good fit for your services. Judging by my experience, they will each most likely provide you with three or four names. As soon as you get back to the office, have your assistant schedule appointments for the following week with the business owners referred to you during your client lunch meetings. From this group, choose eight to 12 individuals (excluding accountants and lawyers). Be sure to place stringent requirements on qualifications. For example:

  • Business must be in operation more than 10 years
  • One or more of the major decision-makers is age 45 + Step No. 3: Utilizing the social networking tool LinkedIn, reach out to 10 accounting firms and 10 law firms which reside in your area. Meet with each firm individually and decide on two accountants and two lawyers who will make up your third board of advisors.

    Key benefits of forming an advisory board
    • Keep your finger on the pulse of your practice

    • Increase face-to-face interaction with potential clients and existing clients

    • Build your brand as a super-networker within the community, which may lead to consulting opportunities and public speaking engagements

    • Learn about different industries and the universal ingredients of a profitable enterprise

    • Gather more assets from existing clients because of the increased perception of competence
    Next month, we will discuss the nuts and bolts of creating world-class advisory boards and how to manage the event planning process for all three boards.

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