For some advisers, business development is a task left to others while they focus on servicing the needs of clients.
However, as Rachel Staggs from SRSCC writes, advisers should not rely on their existing clients or referrals if they want to move their practice to the next level.
Rachel says business development may sound like a ‘promotions role’ but advisers have something very valuable to promote and many ways to do so.
How do some advice businesses get a steady flow of new clients and others don’t?
Over the years I have shared lots of proven marketing tactics and strategies that work for financial advisers. Now it’s time to share a more traditional role, business development. It’s a role many have either forgotten about or simply not considered.
When we look at other successful advice businesses there is typically a primary ‘sales’ person. Someone whose role it is to develop strategic relationships with a broad range of companies, sectors and professions. Their time is split between business development and seeing clients. In some cases they may not even see clients; their role is purely to develop new sales channels and be responsible for bringing in new business.
The term ‘business development’ means the act of participating in actions that will help grow the business, and I believe it’s a role that could help propel many advice businesses this year. But what does it entail?
Firstly, let’s look at why so many financial advisers don’t actively engage in ‘business development’?
The following answers may surprise you:
- I don’t have time to business develop
- Business development is a sales role, and I’m not in sales
- We get all our new clients through existing clients
- We wouldn’t know where to start
- I don’t need any more work at the moment
When we look at advice businesses that are growing, a large proportion use the act of business development to help that growth. Whether your advice business is small, medium or large, I would suggest that everyone needs to have a business developer within the company.
7 Benefits of business development
The benefits are vast. However, I have listed the top 7 below:
- Makes the business more visible – life insurance advice needs higher profile and a steady flow of clients, if no-one is talking about or representing your business you risk the chance of being invisible.
- Helps create a reputation for the business – relying just on existing clients to represent your brand and business limits your growth.
- Informs others that you are open to introductions [new clients] – client research conducted by SRSCC can reveal that not everyone knows you want more business. 80 per cent of people surveyed don’t even know that businesses want more business!
- Expands your networks – the more people you know, the more likely you are to be able to provide advice to more people. Don’t put your eggs in one basket!
- Expands your thinking – being a continual learner; a curious person can only broaden your horizon of thought which can lead to new opportunities you may never even thought about.
- Starts to position you as a thought leader – business development is a great way to share your vision, share your insights and experience in this great profession.
- Leads to increased revenue and more value – developing business opportunities with other businesses, for example, local businesses in your area or large corporations can only lead to increased revenue.
7 Tactics you can implement
Firstly, I would recommend you have a strategy. What is the aim of your business development, what do you want to achieve, what is your message etc.?
Here are 7 business development activities for you to consider or perhaps share amongst the team:
- Attend ‘outside’ industry events. Attend at least one new event each month. An event where you won’t meet other advisers.
- Focus on other organisations where your target client works. Propose some educational seminars/workshops that you could hold to bring their employees up to speed with all things financial – related to them of course.
- Use content marketing to create your reputation and visibility. Commit, share and build your online audience.
- Consider developing professional groups where other professionals come and network – this can be online or offline.
- Develop a ‘call register’ to stay top of mind with all strategic business partners.
- Develop some key sponsorship relationships that support your brand value and attend the events.
- Participate in some research – look at partnering with another organisation to complete it. Develop the research paper and attend presentations where you talk about the findings.
Business development should undoubtedly be part of your overall growth strategy; the question is, do you have one? Have you considered giving that responsibility to someone in your business or perhaps it’s a new role that needs to be created? One with the right key performance indicators so you can measure the success.
Relying on your existing clients to make you more visible and get new clients isn’t a sustainable proposition for an advice business. Think about where your ideal client works and then develop the stepping stones; the strategy to get in front of them before another advice business does.
In her regular Practice Marketing column, Rachel Staggs provides insights to help advisers market their business to potential (and existing) clients.
Rachel Staggs is the founder and Managing Director of SRSCC, a specialist financial services consulting firm.