Are the current marketing strategies your practice uses positioning you as the “family” financial advisor? Do the members in your clients’ households know you by name? Would your clients’ kids or grandkids trust you as someone with their best interests at heart? The answer is more than likely “no” or “not exactly, but…”
As the great wealth transfer ramps up, marketing to your clients’ family members needs to be high on your list of business-building priorities.
Recent studies show only 34% of children who inherit money keep that money with their parents’ advisors. On the other hand, roughly 70 percent of widows fire their advisor within the first year after their husband dies. In light of these statistics, every financial advisor should work to change these trends, sooner rather than later.
The relationships you build now with those who don’t necessarily have any decision-making power with their family’s finances can pay big dividends down the road.
FAMILY MARKETING = ORGANIC REFERRALS
Seeking introductions and interactions with family members of clients is one of the most organic referral requests you can make. Instead of framing these as referral requests, simply host a fun event for your clients (along with their children and/or grandchildren). This gives you the perfect opportunity to get to know the whole family, and their individual lives. In doing so, you aren’t selling yourself but rather helping families create lifelong memories together, with the accrued benefit of you being an extended part of their family.
It’s important to understand, however, that the value of this type of relationship building diminishes significantly in each individual case over time. You should establish relationships with your clients’ family members as early as possible to ensure you are top-of-mind as a trusted financial professional. You can’t wait until the decision-making power gets handed over. Don’t consider your efforts in this regard as one-off. It’s an ongoing process so start early.
Marketing to your clients’ family members has built-in benefits over marketing to other outside prospects because you already are (or already should be) a familiar name to these individuals. When you host events that bring your clients and their families together, you’re establishing yourself as a trusted individual within each of their lives. In turn, you are marketing toward the future through present relationship building activities. This can be a tough hurdle for competing advisors in the future to overcome.
As Stephen R. Covey says in The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, “When the trust account is high, communication is easy, instant and effective.” No matter your competitors’ sales pitches when they come after your clients’ family members, if you’ve done your job right over the years, your “trust account” confers a huge natural advantage.
FUN FOR ALL AGES
There are tons of great ways to host events and interactions to start building your multi-generational relationships now: ice cream socials, barbecues or picnics, renting out movie theaters for private screenings, etc. If you’re hosting an event for the 21 and up crowd, craft beer or wine tasting events are very successful for sparking conversations and getting to know spouses, significant others and/or adult children.
The mix of people you plan to invite should guide the types of events you plan. As a general rule of thumb, plan events that would interest you if you were the invitee, and if you were attending with your family. The last thing you want is to have to feign interest at your own events – that won’t go unnoticed. Plan and execute your events with an eagerness that your guests can feel and, ultimately, they will share the excitement as well.
Also seek event suggestions from peers of the age groups with whom you are seeking to build trust. If you have children or grandchildren, they’ll likely be able to help you come up with some great ideas.
While the number of invitees and the budget for these types of events will vary, your agenda (unless an event includes an educative aspect) should primarily be to get to know family members better.
PROCRASTINATION = LEAVING $$ BEHIND
As a technology trainer in the financial services industry (and a millennial myself), I’m continually surprised to see the amount of financial advisory offices that aren’t spending enough time concentrating on these types of business-building and retention activities. If you have neglected this area of business development until now, begin fleshing out a marketing strategy that concentrates on building multi-generational relationships today. If you wait to start the conversation until the decision-making power in a family has transferred from the person who trusted their finances with you to someone you barely know, you’ve likely already lost that account.