Love the Book
Stopping all forms of active marketing and subdividing my book of clients with other home grown advisors in my practice was the best move I made since starting the firm 10 years ago. Now that each year every client in our firm is getting 2-3 financial planning meetings and at least an annual review (if not quarterly), 2 risk review visits, 2 tax planning and tax return preparation consultations, and at least 1 conference with our estate attorney, they are feeling the love. They are no longer in the dark and alone. They are reminded of how much they value their relationship with our firm. From their new understanding of the reasonable investment returns they earn on their portfolios, and from the comprehensive, personal, and hands-on guidance they now receive from us, they can’t help sending us new clients. It is important to produce good returns through well diversified portfolios, but if clients don’t see the gains, they won’t be happy. It is important to design a system of regular and meaningful client contact, but if you don’t execute well, they will leave.
Money on the Table
Everyone knows that the number one reason clients change advisors is lack of communication. Don’t fall into the trap of believing that once a client brings their portfolio to you, and you reallocate it, there isn’t any more business to be done with that client. During the period of their neglect, we found that these “ignored” clients had amassed significant new wealth through inheritances, early retirement packages, divorces, life insurance proceeds, accumulated savings, business buyouts, and numerous other sources. Moreover, many of these clients and/or their spouses had retired, opening up their pensions, and their 401k, 403b, and 457 plans, as well as their stock options and stock purchase plans, to rollover and reinvestment. In some cases, other advisors had moved in on us and taken business. We had no one to blame but ourselves.
If you are a low-hanging fruit kind of advisor, shame on you. Stop selling and start loving. Why not take better care of your clients and get their entire portfolios? Or, maybe you think you have all the money already, so you ignore them. But, time and again we are told by industry experts that investors typically use more than one advisor and often withhold their full financial picture from their advisors. Stop ignoring and start loving. The best way to position yourself to manage the client’s complete financial life is to love them with time and energy. Remember those Easter egg hunts each spring when the grown ups would place all those beautifully-colored eggs out in plain view? That’s what new assets look like to an advisor who finally understands how important it is to love the book. Remember how nice it felt on the playground to be introduced to a new friend by an old one, or to be invited into a private group or circle of friends at college by one of the group’s members, or to be recommended for a promotion or a great job? That’s what a new referral looks like to an advisor who remembers how important it is to love the book. Get off the marketing treadmill, bring up a junior advisor, divide your book, and reap the rewards. Love the book because the book produces.