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How Financial Planners Can Make Summer Prospecting Enjoyable and Easy

The summer season sends many financial practices into the doldrums. Business-building efforts don’t stop completely, but they sure slow down. Clients might be away or not interested in coming to the office, and advisers and staff likely have days off or extended vacations booked. Summer days drift away from one to the next without much impact. Then September comes—and advisers realize the end of the year is going to arrive before they’re ready for it. And what were those business growth goals, again?

The Perfect Time to Prospect

This year, why not spend the dog days of summer building your business? Of course, have fun and enjoy some leisure time off, but also think of all the ways you can boost your firm’s visibility and attract your ideal clients. To help get you started, consider the following ideas—they will delight your community and are loaded with great prospecting opportunities.

Summer safety session. Schedule a summer safety session and invite parents and grandparents with young children. For example, a session titled “Keep the Kids Safe This Summer” could attract lots of people. For added reach—and a community event worthy of PR—invite a few guest speakers such as a pediatrician, lifeguard or water safety instructor. Whether you discuss sunburn, poison ivy, ticks or water hazards, a safety session can attract both clients and prospects. Take pictures, give small gifts of bubbles or sidewalk chalk, and you’ve got great talking points and pictures for your website and LinkedIn and Facebook pages.

Sports team sponsorship. Consider sponsoring a sports team for the summer. Think about it: your firm’s name and logo will appear on T-shirts worn by little kids trying to hit a ball off a tee or score their first goal in soccer. The pictures alone will make it worth the investment, as many towns put pictures of kids’ teams in local newspapers and on their websites. But you can do so much more:

  • Take pictures and put them on your website, with captions such as, “We’re proud to sponsor the Riverdale Green Hornets!”
  • Go to games and meet the parents and grandparents of the players.
  • Invite some of your clients to attend a game with you.
  • Sponsor a pizza party at the end of the season and mingle with the parents.
  • Bring popsicles or ice cream treats for the players and fans.

These simple activities can have a huge effect and get you talked about in the community, for very little expense.

Community events. If you’re a solo adviser or small firm, create an event for your clients that leverages a bigger event in your area. Many towns hold free summer concerts in a local park or show family movies on a big screen in a nearby field or stadium. Check out your local town’s recreation brochure or website to see what’s available, decide on a guest list and make your plans accordingly.

  • For clients with children, invite them to join you to watch family-friendly choices or the movie of the week. Tell them you’ll have blankets and refreshments ready and where you’ll be set up in the park. Bring coolers of soft drinks or ice cream novelties, have some boxes of movie candy and popcorn on hand, and you’re done!
  • For older clients, be sure you have lawn chairs available so that people will be comfortable, and bring some blankets in case the weather cools. If your town allows it, a simple wine and cheese picnic held outside while listening to music could be something your clients talk about long afterwards. And, of course, let your clients know their friends are welcome to join in the fun.

Ice cream social. Do you have a popular ice cream stand in your area? If so, invite clients to join you on a certain date and time and treat them to the ice cream of their choice. Yes, it really can be that simple! People are always looking for an excuse to get out in the summer, and who can turn down an ice cream cone? Especially one with sprinkles. Plus, you’ll be sponsoring a local business and having fun at the same time.

Putting Smiles in Your Posts

No matter what event you choose, don’t forget the power of pictures! Posting heartwarming photos of your events is an incredibly valuable way to spread your firm’s name and gain community goodwill. (Remember, you’ll need to get client approval for picture use, but most are happy to give permission.) Here are some simple ways to share the fun:

  • Post the pictures on your website, Facebook or LinkedIn page, or other social media platforms.
  • Send clients an email and attach a few pictures that they (or their children) are featured in. Your clients can post the photos to their personal Facebook pages—and hopefully mention your firm.
  • Create a collage of the pictures from your event and hang it in your reception area or conference room. This makes a great visual for prospects.

Making the Summer Sizzle

Summer can be the ideal time to plant the seeds for future growth. With some careful planning and creativity, you can turn the slow days of summer into growth momentum for your business.  Kristine_McManus_2_lg

Kristine McManus is chief business development officer, practice management, at Commonwealth Financial Network®, member FINRA/SIPC, the nation’s largest privately held Registered Investment Adviser—independent broker/dealer. Since joining the firm in April 2014, she has been working with affiliated advisers to grow their top line through the introduction of various programs, tools and coaching. Kristine holds the Chartered Retirement Planning CounselorSM designation, a master’s degree from Pennsylvania State University, and a BFA from Adelphi University.


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4 Steps to Redefining Your Reference Point

Most financial advisers settle into a routine after a few years in the business. However, oftentimes routines turn into ruts. Many of my clients wonder why their business is coasting along but not growing. I tell them that it may be time to take a moment to evaluate and possibly restructure their activities.

If this is happening to you, don’t be discouraged. Rather choose to redefine your reference point. Our past experiences can hold us back from future success because they may limit our confidence to try new things.

Pablo Picasso said it best when he said, “I am always doing that which I cannot do, in order that I may learn how to do it.”

The secret to redefining your reference point is to think out of the box, find someone who has done what you would like to do, learn from their example and take action.

Let’s take a deeper look at each one of these steps.

Step 1: Think Out of the Box

As with most journeys in life, the first step is always the hardest. You must ask yourself the tough questions in order to begin. Questions such as, “Where am I now? Where do I want to be? What do I need to do differently to get there?” Asking yourself these types of questions and analyzing your answers helps you to think out of the box. It encourages the mind to look for solutions.

Jeff K., a financial adviser with 28 years of experience, had been on a production plateau for year. After attending a free Adviser Solutions Mastermind Session and hearing some of the tools and resources I recommend to other advisers, he contacted me to discuss his business. This act of asking for insight was foreign to him since he had never spoken to a business consultant/coach before.

Step 2: Find a Mentor

The next step is to find a mentor who can help you determine all of the steps needed between where you are currently and where you would like to be. This can be a difficult step for many advisers especially veteran ones who may have to consider advice from others who have not been in the business as long as they have. The key is to find a mentor who has proven results and whose opinion you value.

Step 3: Learn from Their Example

In order to produce the same types of results that other successful advisers have, find out what they have done to accomplish those positive outcomes. It’s important to fully understand their step-by-step process so that you can tweak that for yourself.

Once Jeff explained his situation to me I knew we needed to map out a great prospecting campaign and since he had a large client base I explored the possibility of prospecting by asking for referrals. Over the years, he had tried numerous times to get referrals but ended up very disappointed with the results. I detailed out the process for him, we role-played the dialogue and I coached him on the reasons why a focused referral system works.

Step 4: Take Action

The most important step is to take action—without doing so everything else is just wishful thinking.

Jeff began the Adviser Solutions Client-Centered Referral Process right away and within a week he reported to me that he had received five referrals. That is more than he had gotten the entire previous year. He was so excited about it that he gave me a referral to his boss who he believed needed to hear this process and whom ended up having me teach it to his entire region.

Why Redefining Your Reference Point Works

The key to creating success is to constantly redefine your reference point because it keeps you open to exploring new ways of improving.

If this blog resonates with you and you’d like a free consultation with me, email Melissa Denham, director of client servicing for Advisor Solutions.

Dan Finley

Daniel C. Finley is the president and co-founder of Advisor Solutions, a business consulting and coaching service dedicated to helping advisers build a better business.


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Create the Courage to Make Lasting Change

During recent group and individual coaching sessions, I’ve noticed a common denominator between those who have experienced success and those who haven’t. Successful individuals are able to embrace change—be it the activities they are incorporating into their days, their acquisition of new skill sets or an increase in their overall awareness and accountability—and how it affects their business. Those less successful tend to fear change and mask their fear with excuses or procrastination.

In order to gather the courage to implement change regularly into the way you manage your business, you must first make a choice that where you are now isn’t where you want to be. You then need to decide to find alternatives to what is currently not working for you. Next, you must take action and tweak and evaluate on a consistent basis in order to end up with positive outcomes. All of this might seem simple in theory, but in reality, it’s difficult for many people I know.

3 Steps to Create Courage to Make Lasting Change

The following discusses each step. See if you can relate to what the adviser is going through when applying the process.

Step 1: Choose to Change. I have countless stories of advisers who say, “I know what I need to do, I just need to do it,” but then don’t. The interesting thing about this statement is that it actually reflects two important points. The first, “I know what I need to do,” reflects a level of awareness of what their solution is. The second part, “I just need to do it,” reflects the fear of not implementing the solution.

So why do people let fear paralyze them? Let’s discuss.

Take Bill K., a 25-year veteran adviser client of mine. In our initial coaching session he admitted that he hadn’t prospected in over a decade and that any new business that he had gotten was from clients as referrals. After additional conversations, he realized that he’d become comfortable only working with his client base and the thought of prospecting again filled him with anxiety because he remembered the amount of rejection he had experienced in his earlier years. Unfortunately, Bill didn’t have a choice because his employers had created new minimum gross production levels and he was never going to reach those targets unless he gathered additional assets.

Now, he was faced with two options, he needed to either prospect or eventually be forced to find another job. So, he chose to change and add prospecting back into his daily work.

Step 2: Find Direction. When faced with this type of situation, most advisers know the outcome that they want but don’t know the required steps to take them there. That’s why Bill called me. He needed a step-by-step process for gathering assets.

We first discussed his current business model and I was surprised to learn that he had virtually no assets in a fee-based platform. His concern was that he didn’t know how to convert his book so he’d never even tried. After reviewing his book, he determined that he had 72 households that would be good candidates to convert to fee-based and if that happened it would increase his turnover ratio which would get him ¾ of the way to his production goals for the following year. So we mapped out a process for converting his book.

Then, we strategized about his referral campaign to try and duplicate his top clients. We role-played a client-centered dialogue and he eventually felt like he had direction.

Step 3: Take Massive Action. All the planning in the world won’t help you if you don’t actually move forward with it. So, I decided to turn Bill becoming overwhelmed by compartmentalizing his goals into daily action steps, then even further into hourly activities so that he could focus on each campaign every day while still doing his regular business.

After Bill had his fee-based conversion campaign down he began converting his book. In addition, he used the client-centered referral dialogue that we had role-played, which got him actual referrals. Within three months he had transitioned most of the households earmarked for the campaign and was gathering assets from new clients. Taking massive action paid off for him.

Why Courage is the Key

The most important piece about Bill’s story is not his destination, but his journey. He began by realizing that he was being forced to get out of his comfort zone. It took real courage to reach out to me and admit that he didn’t know what to do but that he was willing to change. He was open to learning new processes and desired to take a leap of faith and apply them.

If you are ready to take your business to the next level, schedule a complimentary 30-minute coaching session with me by emailing Melissa Denham, director of client servicing.

 Dan Finley
Daniel C. Finley is the president and co-founder of Advisor Solutions, a business consulting and coaching service dedicated to helping advisers build a better business.