Happy New Year! There’s something about a fresh start to a new year that’s exciting and full of promise. According to History.com, Babylonians were the first people to make New Year’s resolutions—almost 4,000 years ago. When a tradition sticks around that long, it has staying power. As you think about making changes and improvements to your practice, here are three New Year’s resolutions that can help set you up for success.
1) Become an Expert in Something
Information of all sorts is readily available with just a click or two these days, so general knowledge is easily obtained. Although financial advisers usually offer comprehensive financial planning services, it’s often a specific pain point that motivates a prospect to connect with an adviser. Having a CFP® designation is a wonderful plus, but it probably isn’t going to separate you from the pack. Review the designations you already have; there’s a good chance you have valuable expertise and skills that can be highlighted. If your sweet spot is retirees and you have a CRPC, CLTC, or RICP, you can communicate differently to those prospects, emphasizing your ability to help them.
Related: Jack of All Trades or Master of One?
If you’re skeptical that specific expertise helps advisers succeed, take a look at Barron’s list of top advisers. You’ll quickly get a sense of the advisers’ expertise through descriptions such as “offshore and Latin America specialist,” “consultant to foundations and endowments,” or “providing solutions to entrepreneurs and venture capitalists.” These advisers realize there is demand for their specialized knowledge and services—and prospects seek out experts for their needs.
2) Focus on Ideal Clients
Let’s face it, you can’t (and probably don’t want to) work with everyone. Your time is limited. Even if you have other advisers and staff in your office, it probably doesn’t make sense to have them work with less-than-ideal clients, either, since the efficiency of the whole practice would be affected.
So, who are your ideal clients? You probably have a list of clients sorted by quantitative information, such as AUM or revenue to the firm, and you know who are A, B, or C clients. Now, add a few columns that will help you look at these clients qualitatively:
- Do you look forward to seeing them?
- Do they take your advice?
- Have they given you referrals?
You’re trying to figure out who you really like working with—those folks you wish you could clone. More than likely, your ideal clients are directly related to your expertise and skill set, but a little digging might help you further hone your niche. There’s a big difference between thinking of “corporate executives” in a general sense and knowing you work really well with “young tech executives who have worked for startups.” The more you can target ideal clients, the better you can focus your marketing to attract prospects.
3) Communicate More—and Better!
Once you have your expertise developed and a good idea of who your ideal clients are, put together a communication plan that will play to your strengths and attract prospects. Opportunities are everywhere—and chances are you’re not taking advantage of them.
- Emails. A simple email to clients can be forwarded by them to someone else, so what could you say that would compel them to share your message?
- Videos. Videos are cheap, easy to produce, and people like to watch them, so they’re a great choice to help further your brand and messaging.
- Articles or blog posts. If you or a team member writes well, you can produce articles on specific topics and pain points that convey your expertise, providing access to new pools of prospects and impressing current clients.
These three ideas can help accelerate your growth and make your practice more efficient. And, since you don’t need to cut calories or take up running to keep them, here’s hoping you give these resolutions a chance—and make 2022 the best year yet.
Kristine McManus is vice president, chief business development officer at Commonwealth Financial Network, member FINRA/SIPC.