Four signs of an intelligent client acquisition methodology, Pt. 1

By Bill Bachrach

Bachrach & Associates


Financial advisers sometimes joke about their clients’ unrealistic expectations.

They smirk about Mr. Smith, who’s looking for a no-risk, high-return, government-guaranteed investment vehicle. They snicker about Mrs. Jones, who wants a fund that performs well in any market.

Meanwhile, those same advisers are on the quest for the perfect client acquisition methodology. They want a system that’s easy to implement, fairly inexpensive, requires very little risk and makes the phone ring off the hook with no effort on their part. I’m sure we’d all like to find something like that, but it simply doesn’t exist.

In this business, there is no nirvana. No matter what methodology you choose, you have to put in the time, energy and money to make it work.

M. Scott Peck began his book, “The Road Less Traveled" with the famous line, “Life is difficult.” Once you understand and accept that, Peck says, then the fact that life is difficult no longer matters.

The same is true with finding a client acquisition methodology. Instead of trying one program after another in search of some method nirvana, successful advisers understand that discomfort is inevitable and they work hard to push past it. That’s the first secret to success—being willing to do the uncomfortable things.

Going into the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics, the U.S. gymnastics team was not expected to do very well. Against all odds, they won the gold medal. The team’s captain, Peter Vidmar, scored a perfect 10 on the pommel horse and took first place in that event. People often ask Peter what it takes to become an Olympic champion. He tells them, “It’s pretty simple, really. You only have to work out two times — when you feel like it and when you don’t.”

In your search for the perfect methodology, stop for a moment and ask yourself this question: Are you willing to do the work it requires, when you feel like it and when you don’t?

If the answer is yes, you’re halfway there. Now you just need to find an intelligent method and stick to it.

Here is the first of four ways to recognize an intelligent methodology.

1. An intelligent methodology is client centered.

For decades, financial advisers have been showing up in the marketplace like salespeople — with aggressive marketing, direct mail and those dreaded suppertime cold calls. No client has ever said, “You know what I want in a financial adviser? I want a really good salesperson. Someone who can handle my objections and make features and benefits presentations. And when I’m really resisting buying, I want a really good closer.”

If you looked at prospective methodologies through your clients’ eyes, you’d never choose a method that focuses on making you a great salesperson. That’s not what your clients want. An intelligent methodology is client centered, not product, sales or you centered. A client-centered methodology attracts clients instead of pushing them away.