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Five Habits of Growth-Focused Advisors

New Broadridge study reveals the secrets of top performers.

Five Habits of Growth-Focused Advisors

The hunt for prospects can sometimes seem like a game of musical chairs for the time-pressed advisor. When the music stops will she be sitting with a new referral, the soon-to-be retiree – or have no seat at all?

Without sustainable marketing, working with a daily to-do list or hit-or-miss call sheet aren’t enough to keep most from falling behind the client acquisition curve.

A recent Broadridge survey details what it takes for advisors to stay out front.

Based on input from 400 financial advisors affiliated with wire-house firms, RIAs, and regional and independent broker-dealers, the report Driving Client Acquisition, Marketing Practices of Growth-Focused Advisors explores what separates top performers from everyone else.

Under age 50, growth-focused advisors are distinguished by their willingness to spend more on marketing to gain new clients at a faster rate. The survey showed a substantial client acquisition success gap between the top 20% who qualified as top performers and their peers. With double the average AUM of their competition – $297 million versus $154 million – higher achievers reported that they apply these five best practices to win the battle for new business:

  1. Prioritize acquisition over cross-selling Top performers intentionally pursued new client acquisition above all else – even cross-selling. High achievers stated they gained 20 plus new clients on average over the past year, at a rate that was almost double that of their slower-growth peers.
  2. Market more to grow more One-third of growth-focused advisors spent $20,000 a year on a blend of digital and in-person marketing versus only one-ninth of their peers. While three of four top channels were digital, a hybrid of robo-advice with a human touch was considered mandatory by many in the event of a market downturn.
  3. Turn up the digital volume High performers dedicate more of their resources to social media marketing, digital advertising and SEO strategies. In fact, digital innovators converted marketing leads into clients within 3.4 months on average, compared to 4.3 months for digital laggards.
  4. Create a strategic marketing plan Among growth-focused advisors, 75% are more likely than the majority of their peers to have a written marketing strategy. Such in-depth roadmaps are considered critical for deploying resources across what might total to 11 different marketing channels.
  5. Measure results Thirty percent more likely to track their spending results than their peers, high achievers said they were committed to analyzing what their dollars delivered.

Future top performers, though, can still take heart. For those trying to play catch-up, marketing is getting more affordable. With an average cost of $929 per new client, the advisor marketing dollar may be stretching further than ever before. After factoring in the fee-based advantages of the typical long-term client relationship, the ROI at under $1000 starts to look very attractive.

By adopting what’s working for their growth-focused peers to keep their own pipeline full – and the music playing – the majority of advisors can still improve their chances of getting a seat at the client acquisition table.

Would you like to know more about accelerating your new business efforts? Consider downloading How to optimize your client acquisition strategy.

About Kevin Darlington As Vice President, Product Development of Broadridge Advisor Solutions, Kevin Darlington led the development and launch of Broadridge Smart Insights, a cognitive learning tool that lets advisors employ data intelligence to target, engage, convert and retain prospective clients.