Sales & Marketing

Sales & Marketing

Sales and Marketing covers the various ways that advisors find new business, including prospecting, marketing, branding, cross selling, strategic partnerships and social media. Experts in these areas illustrate best practices in these topics with real life examples and provide helpful commentary and resources.

Few Advisors Use Investment Policy Statements for All Clients

While not an apples-to-apples comparison for DC plans, it’s interesting to note that only 39% of advisors surveyed by Russell in their recently released quarterly report used investment policy statements for all their clients. While most used them, 21% of the advisors surveyed didn’t use investment policy statements at all. Reducing risk was the major reason investors strayed from their investment policy, with a majority who did so relying on social media, friends and family.   Read More

SEC Clarifies Social Media Requirements

Trying to bring some common sense to the oversight of financial advisors’ use of social media, the SEC has issued guidance on what should and should not be considered an advertisement subject to the 10-day review rule. The requirement for a proper supervisory policy and the need to retain and archive remain, but the SEC noted that incidental use of an investment manager’s name, like when mentioning a charity event, or just using the word “performance” would not raise concerns.   Read More

Is Cold Calling Dead?

According to research from Franklin Templeton, the answer may be yes. Plans are getting bombarded by sales calls, and the level of sophistication of the sponsor and the advisor, especially as you move up market, is growing. More plans are relying on referrals from peers to select an advisor, the research shows.   Read More

Social Media: How Can Advisors Participate?

If Facebook were a country, it would be the third largest in the world. One person couldn’t watch all of the videos on YouTube in a lifetime. And as technology and social media continue to soar in prevalence and popularity, for many professionals it’s becoming increasingly difficult to pinpoint how to use it effectively to enhance their businesses.   Read More

Plan Prospecting Strategy Step 2: Navigating ‘Gatekeepers’

There are few certainties when it comes to prospecting for new plan business, but one of them universally holds true: If you can’t reach and speak with the decision maker(s) responsible for managing an employer’s retirement plan, you can’t win their business. Often, in the pure cold-calling, prospecting stage, the one obstacle standing in your way is the dreaded “gatekeeper.”   Read More

Six Bytes of Separation

Every advisor knows that the best way to prospect is through referrals and that the more good relationships you have, the more business opportunities you’re likely to get. But even if you have lots of clients and relationships, how do you leverage them? There are many books and coaches who give tips on asking for referrals, but can’t technology help? According to Relationship Science, a new company that was the subject of a recent New York Times piece, there may be a better way.   Read More

Social Media: Opportunity or Regulatory Nightmare?

On the one hand, broker dealers and RIAs have to embrace social media to attract and keep advisors; on the other hand, they need to comply with what some view as outdated regulations that prohibit most of the advisors’ activities. As social media sites like LinkedIn (the most popular site for business networking) introduce new features like endorsements, firms are scrambling to keep up.   Read More

Advisor Due Diligence Checklist

Experienced plan advisor Trish Brambley outlines the 10 things plan sponsors should consider when looking for a new plan advisor. Having a checklist from an impartial third party can be a helpful tool to focus prospects on the right issues — or even get them off the dime and take action.   Read More

It’s Always the Season of Giving: 5 Ideas for Inbound Marketing

In case you hadn’t noticed, the holiday season is over. Thankfully, you won’t be subjected to the continual playing of “The Santa Clause” on cable, Starbucks baristas wearing Santa hats or blow-up snowmen in your neighbors’ yards — at least for another 345 days or so. Don’t get me wrong. I love the holidays. They’re a wonderful time to get together with family and friends to celebrate the season. These festive holiday parties also serve as a great reminder of how social media should work.   Read More

The Benefits of Unbundled 401(k)s

In building strategic partnerships, Pete Kirtland wrote in Friday’s Wall Street Journal about the value and benefits of the unbundled approach: “When we talk about building 401(k) partnerships, there are two models in the retirement plan space. The old-fashioned one is called bundled. That’s where all the different services for 401(k) plans — financial advisory services, record keeping, third-party administration and custodial services — are offered by the same entity. In an unbundled environment, a different entity provides each of these services, and that’s their core competency.”   Read More

‘Tis the Season to Reflect and Evaluate Practice Growth

Well, it’s that time of year again! A time when the fortunate few of us who got everything just right savor the previous year’s success, while likely more of us mull over our own “would’ve, could’ve, should’ve” missed opportunities or previous New Year’s resolutions gone unfulfilled. With the arrival of the new year, though, we have another opportunity to get it right, and thus we make new promises to ourselves. Some promises are related to personal growth, others to business growth … and for us more severely flawed beings, both.   Read More

The Elephant in the Chat Room

It’s evident that social media is altering the communication landscape. And while Lady Gaga, Justin Bieber and Katy Perry are busy building their Twitter empires (with more followers than the entire populations of Germany, Turkey, South Africa, Canada, Argentina, United Kingdom and Egypt!), they don’t have FINRA, the SEC or other regulatory entities outlining a series of rules regarding what they can and cannot say — and watching to make sure they follow the rules.   Read More

Views from the Summit: Tips on How to Get Published

Authoring articles that appear in industry or trade publications is an excellent public relations technique to promote your firm to potential clients and referral sources. In the first of a series of posts by speakers at the 2013 NAPA/ASPPA Summit, March 3-5, 2013 in Las Vegas, Barbara Lewis, a former journalist who has written for The Wall Street Journal as well as many other national publications, shares tips on how — and why – to get a bylined article published.   Read More

Building Your Retirement Practice Brand: Microbranding

With pricing pressures, competition and other factors potentially threatening to commoditize professional retirement plan services, many advisors face a growing challenge: getting paid what they are worth for the expertise and services they provide. To confront this challenge, the dedicated retirement plan practice with the ability to bring real value and effective stewardship to the plan management relationship must be more adept than ever at communicating its unique value proposition in order to win business and retain clients. Formulating and executing an effective brand strategy can play a critical role in achieving this objective.   Read More

Advisor Win/Loss Studies Reveal More Sophisticated Plan Sponsors

According to research involving DC plans with over $6 billion in assets conducted on behalf of advisors by Chatham Partners — famous for their provider win/loss studies — 81% of plan sponsors sought advisors through referrals, with very few responding to cold call solicitation. An average of five advisors were selected for each opportunity. Personal fit was cited most often as the criterion for selecting an advisor, followed closely by pricing and experience, with personal relationships a distant fifth.   Read More