Most investment advisors know that financial expertise, track-record, and communication skills are markers of a good RIA. But what makes a GREAT investment advisor? How can you substantially increase your referrals and acquire the high-net-worth clients you are looking for?
At Alta Trust we have worked with hundreds of advisors for over a decade. The best and most successful advisors seem to have most, if not all, of the following 7 qualities.
1. They Don’t Compete on Price
This can be challenging, especially for advisors who are just starting out. The difference is focusing on value over price. The more value you add to the client, especially compared to your competitors, the more confidence you have sticking to your fees. Sure, you may lose some business because of your value over price model, but those you lose don’t value your services anyway.
When you stick to your fee schedule, you show confidence in the value you deliver. If you are confident in your pricing, that confidence spills over to your prospects and inspires them to give you a shot.
Put it to work: Create a one-pager comparing the value you bring to your clients versus the value your competitors bring. Use it as a leave behind with potential clients to remind them of your worth.
2. They Have a Clear Message and They Know How to Use It
Most advisors have a message that is confusing to potential clients. They use industry jargon which pushes potential clients away rather than inviting them in. Plus, most advisors don’t have a marketing plan to deliver their message!
Dated websites, inconsistent emails and haphazard social media posts all lead to more confusion. Investment firms with a clear message delivered consistently will always outperform their peers regardless of their costs and offerings. Why? Because clarity and consistency matter.
Did you know Kevin O’Leary from Shark Tank wasn’t always referred to as Mr. Wonderful? He referred to himself as Mr. Wonderful enough that the name stuck. Just Google Mr. Wonderful and see what comes up. Clear message, delivered consistently.
Put it to work: Use Donald Miller’s book, Building a Story Brand, to clarify your message. Then check out his book, Marketing Made Simple, to create a simple marketing funnel and watch the leads roll in.
3. They Offer Estate Planning Services
Do you feel like estate planning is outside of your wheelhouse? Don’t worry. Offering estate planning isn’t actually a very challenging add-on and will completely change your business.
Advisors have a birds eye view of a client’s entire financial situation. You see their income, all of their assets and liabilities, allocation of investments and so forth. Plus, they share their goals and dreams, likes and dislikes. You are now in the perfect position to make valuable investment recommendations.
Providing estate planning in tandem with financial planning is a win-win for you and your clients.
Put it to work: Assemble a team that includes a financial planner, estate planning attorney and a CPA. Then add an institutional trustee to back up the whole program. Be sure to look for a trust company, like Alta Trust, who doesn’t compete with you. Oh, and if you aren’t a financial planner, look for a fee-only planner for your team. Once your team is assembled, promote and market your services together.
4. They Offer Something Special for Wealthy Clients
It’s a nice thing to say that you treat all of your clients the same, regardless of how big they are. But that only sounds nice to your smaller clients.
Your larger clients want something more. Something special. Why should they make up most of your revenues and get proportionately less of your attention? Top advisors always treat their best clients with distinction.
This may mean additional services, more one-on-one attention, frequent communication, special events, and exclusive investment opportunities (more on that later). Whatever you choose to do make sure that you treat your special clients, special. Not only will you keep your best clients for many years but the new clients you attract will be like the
Put it to work: Make a list of your top clients. Make a list of what you do for them that’s different than what you do for your smaller clients. Then, write down 3-5 additional things you can do for those top clients to set them apar. Put those items on your to-do list and make them happen! Be sure to track the results and double-down on what makes the most difference to those clients.
5. They Give Clients Something to Talk About (Private Funds)
Every advisor offers separately managed accounts whether they are made of stock, mutual funds or ETF allocations — it doesn’t matter. Remember those special clients we just talked about? To them most investment advisors all seem the same.
Imagine you are the fourth advisor to be interviewed by a potential client. You show them your separate accounts program, THEN you mention your estate planning services, remember that all-star team you assembled, and suddenly you have their attention.
Now imagine you show them your exclusive private fund only for accredited investors like them. The fund gives them access to investments they could never access otherwise. Who do you think wins the business?
Put it to work: Only 13% of investment advisors offer private funds yet most high-net worth individuals made their money in the private market (i.e. business, real estate). Look for a trust company, like Alta Trust, who can launch a fund with your brand of investment strategy. Once your fund is launched you’ll be amazed at how many leads will come from current clients who are talking about the exclusive fund they invested in.
6. They Have a Definitive Point-of-View
Many advisors hem and haw as they discuss various investment options. Clients leave feeling confused about where the advisor stands.
Remember the importance of clear messaging? You’re an investment advisor – take a position. It’s what they are paying you for.
Never let a client or prospect or audience walk away confused about where you stand. Whatever your investment philosophy is, make it clear and back it up. Your confidence will be contagious and you will soon have many people seeking your advice.
Put it to work: Create a few onepagers explaining your point of view on various investment strategies and why you believe what you do. Use them in discussions with clients and as marketing materials (remember that marketing funnel?). Be clear and concise with your opinions and don’t be afraid to let some walk away. The right investors will stick around.
7. Offer Both Wealth and Retirement Services
Some advisors focus entirely on retirement while others avoid it at all costs. These strategies aren’t apples and oranges. Even though fees are relatively low for retirement advice, it can open many doors to new individual clients and close doors to competing advisors who will try to get to them through their 401k plan.
There are many ways to offer retirement services that are scalable and simple to implement. You don’t even have to be a fiduciary if you don’t want to.
Likewise, advisors who manage only wealth are missing out on significant assets that will stick around for a long time with retirement accounts, not to mention how it mitigates the opportunity for other advisers to sneak into a client’s financial life.
Put it to work: Retirement offerings don’t all have to live on Wall Street. CITs are low cost vehicles that give you access to $32.3 trillion in assets in the retirement marketplace. Companies like Alta Trust can help you launch your brand of CIT into the marketplace without having to be a retirement plan expert. And CITs are just one way to make a different retirement play. Reach out to Alta Trust today to learn more about how to make retirement offerings work for you.
BONUS: They Stand Out from the Crowd
Have you ever been present when someone walks into a room and immediately commands everyone’s attention? Their presence is powerful. People want their time and attention. Isn’t that what you want your business to be like?
In addition to using these 7 tips, consider additional ways to stand out. Create video content. Write a book. Serve on a board in your community. Do a radio show. Volunteer to speak at events. Sponsor a local nonprofit. Create a private fund solely focused on local investments.
Take the time to get involved so you become ‘the one’ sought out for investment advice.
Top advisors are top advisors for a reason. One thing we didn’t mention is the importance of trusted partners. If you have questions about any of these strategies, reach out. We’d love to help you launch your unique brand of investments.
Give us a call now at 303.996.3781 or schedule a consultation.