Five steps to expand your advisory business

By BenefitsPro

By Allen Greenberg

SAN ANTONIO – There are all types of retirement advisors and all types of plan designs.

So how can advisors set themselves apart in their push to expand their business? What metrics, service models or tools are going to help?

Ann Schleck, who has nearly 30 years of experience in the retirement industry and has served as a plan sponsor, a service provider and, since the mid-1990s, an industry consultant, has a few answers to those questions.

In a presentation Monday at the 2013 Center for Due Diligence Conference, Schleck offered 10 “performance drivers” to help advisors succeed. Here, in abbreviated form, are half of them:

Know what resonates with plan sponsors. It’s important, she said, for advisors not to overwhelm sponsors with information. “You have to be able to translate the technical,” she said.

Think about value in a strategic way. It’s not enough to merely be always available to respond to a client’s questions, she said. Advisors become much more difficult to replace when they anticipate and address tomorrow’s needs.

Build a case for change. Before you go in for a pitch, be sure you can explain to a prospective customer how their plan compares to what you’re offering. Focus on where you have the greatest potential, to make your pitch really compelling. And market to those firms where you have a good fit, rather than waste time on the others.

Expand your sources of revenue. Among other bits of advice (cross-selling, adding new services and new pricing), Schleck noted that the next few years should bring “great opportunities” for acquisitions, because many long-established practices will be looking to sell.

Improve your sales performance. Among other tips, Schleck said rather than telling prospects about your expertise, it’s better to build campaigns around “change events.” For example, promote in your letters or emails the introduction of a new fund or coming regulatory changes. “The more you link your campaigns to change events, the more likely you’ll encounter a sponsor going through a change. That means they’re in buy mode.”

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