For new advisors, figuring out how to attract and acquire clients is never easy. But modern technology has become a competitive advantage for many successful advisors. Thirty-one percent of clients under 50 would leave their wealth manager if the technology used was inadequate; 67 percent of clients prefer advisors who offer interactive digital tools, such as mobile apps.
We’ve worked with more than 150,000 advisors and sales leaders at top financial firms, and we’ve found that the organizations that commit to and invest in digital innovation – and the salespeople who embrace it – are the ones that come out on top.
For a new advisor in particular, it can be a powerful way to provide prospects (and eventually, clients) the best experience from start to finish.
Here are four strategies that new advisors can implement to start building their client books.
1. Define Your Target Audience(s) to Ensure You’re Sending the Right Message
Prospecting is one of the most important activities for any new advisor, but getting in front of potential clients is the biggest challenge financial advisors face. While there is no magic bullet to make prospecting a breeze, knowing who your ideal customers are and how to reach them is a critical component of sales success.
New technology now enables advisors to interact with prospects on a myriad of devices and get to know a particular clients’ unique needs and requirements. Each digital “touch” that advisors have with a prospect – whether via a website, email or text – allows them to deliver “in the moment” personalized content, communication and value.
Imagine a scenario where a prospect fills out a form on an advisor’s local business website and downloads a report about saving for college. With solutions like Hearsay’s Advisor Cloud, the advisor is immediately notified of this activity, along with a prompt to send a pre-written email to the prospect with links to more college savings resources. This is followed, a few days later, by a prompt to send a pre-written follow-up text that suggests setting up a call. This workflow can be automated for every prospect that downloads that specific college savings report, making it easy for an advisor to segment his/her client base and avoid pushing out irrelevant content. After all, you wouldn’t send a stock market volatility index report to a person who is looking for college planning tips.
2. Be Proactive in Following Through on Marketing Leads
The client experience begins the moment a prospect realizes he has a financial problem that he can’t solve on his own and needs help. These days, this journey typically starts with researching a firm online – and that usually means ending up on the brand’s main website, and perhaps its social media profiles. Whether advisors realize it or not, corporate marketing teams are most likely generating potential leads on their behalf.
Yet, when it comes to turning those leads into qualified prospects, many advisors don’t actually take advantage of the opportunities that corporate marketing provides. They may not follow up with a lead soon enough (or at all), or they might not be sharing the right information, or at the right time, or on the right channel.
The key to converting corporate-sourced leads into prospects? Advisors must be proactive on a one-to-one level and – above all – be timely. According to research published in Harvard Business Review, “Firms that tried to contact potential customers within an hour of receiving a query were nearly seven times as likely to qualify the lead (which we defined as having a meaningful conversation with a key decision maker) as those that tried to contact the customer even an hour later – and more than 60 times as likely as companies that waited 24 hours or longer.”
With platforms like Hearsay, firms can now trigger, track and automate a lead follow-up workflow where once an advisor is assigned a lead, he/she can quickly send a pre-written email with corporate-approved copy through Hearsay’s Advisor Social solution, as well as promptly follow up with a text and voice call (with Hearsay Relate).
3. Use Data-Driven ‘Triggers’ to Communicate With Prospects at the Right Time
Financial advisors have long relied on life events and market activities to identify new business opportunities. Money-in-motion milestones such as getting married or buying a home – events often shared freely today on digital channels, especially social media – are prime opportunities for advisors to reach a prospect or client concerning a possible need for financial advice.
Thanks to emerging technology powered by machine learning, advisors can “listen” for key client insights or “triggers” on a variety of digital channels, and use this knowledge to communicate with clients and prospects at the right time, with the proper information.
By combining the insights gained from digital signals, coupled with knowledge of where a prospects sits along the customer journey, advisors can appropriately step in as a resource as the prospect makes a decision, with a highly tailored offering.
4. Automate Data Input to Free Up Time for Prospecting and Planning
As a company laser-focused on the financial services industry, the Hearsay team has called, visited, surveyed, interviewed and analyzed the data of thousands of advisors across the country. We were shocked to learn that servicing clients via manual processes continues to dominate the advisor’s work day.
We also found that advisors were overwhelmed with having to manually input data into legacy or siloed data and contact management systems, instead of spending that time speaking with clients and prospects.
Advisors have only so many hours in a day to devote to prospecting and planning. Using a cloud-based CRM system to keep track of client details – e.g. who you’ve already contacted, who you need to follow up with, and what methods you’ve used – is an effective way to make the most of that time. Not to mention, since CRM data is stored in the cloud, it can be accessed directly from virtually any device, at anytime.
New York Life is a good example of a company leveraging CRM to improve advisor productivity and efficiency. By integrating their CRM system with Hearsay, advisor-client engagement activities on social, mobile, email and web are synced automatically with their CRM, eliminating the need for agents to manually enter information and providing a complete, data-rich view of every client or prospect.
Another Hearsay client uses CRM to allow their advisors to automatically send life event content that has already been approved through LinkedIn and Hearsay’s “Smart Leads” program. Since advisors usually have more personal relationships with their social media connections than a corporate brand, they can tailor their communications and engage in a more meaningful way.
Gone are the days where newly minted advisors were given a giant binder on how to sell and then left on their own to figure things out. Armed with technology that is purpose-built for the way they work – and the support of sales leadership that understands the importance of being digital-first – today’s new advisors are, more than ever, poised for long-term success.