It isn’t enough to have happy clients. With the average RIA struggling to grow organically, to avoid becoming “a melting iceberg” financial advisors must “invest in building and optimizing lead generation” says Angela Osborne, chief operating officer of Austin, Texas-based Bluespring Wealth Partners, a subsidiary of Kestra Investment Services.
Given that almost two-thirds of RIAs rely on referrals for growth, Osborne recommends that practices focus on optimizing leads in their pipeline and existing book of clients. However, advisors need to be deliberate and precise when establishing their identity, describing how they are different, and explaining why they deserve to be hired.
“Be clear and crisp around what your value proposition is,” Osborne says on the latest Barron’s The Way Forward podcast. “Make sure that comes through in your materials, in your social media, in your website. Make it human as well. Don’t make it look like every other corporation. Make it speak to who your clients are. All advisors know who their ideal client profile is. Does your website speak to those clients or does it represent a faceless corporate entity?”
In June, Bluespring launched its Blueprint for Growth program, which is “designed to support Bluespring partner firms with client acquisition and effective B2C lead generation,” says Osborne. “More specifically, the program was designed with the goal of helping partners acquire new clients, increase revenue, and ultimately drive growth.”
Osborne left Aperio Group in 2021 to join Bluespring where she was tasked with further scaling and enhancing corporate infrastructure for Bluespring-affiliated firms. She previously held senior positions at firms including Morgan Stanley and BlackRock.
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A year after Osborne’s arrival, David Canter, who at the time was head of Fidelity’s RIA custody business, joined Bluespring as president after nearly 13 years at the fund giant. This summer Canter assumed a new role at Bluespring as senior strategic partner.
On this podcast, Osborne discusses the following topics:
The growth imperative for advisors: “Looking at the industry as a whole, we’re in the business of life and sadly, life is finite. So unless advisors are constantly and proactively looking to regenerate their business by bringing in new clients, there’s a very real risk that their business will become what we call a melting iceberg. And so that means that they will slowly and naturally lose clients over time, and that has consequences.”
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Bluespring’s holistic approach for partner firms. “We try to provide an end-to-end solution to help our partner firms grow organically. We do that by trying to augment and amplify and improve what they’re already doing. We call that our Blue Spring growth blueprint. It looks at all the elements of lead optimization engines, not just generating, but optimizing what might already be there across all the dimensions, marketing, coaching, your digital and social media presence, even sales training.”
The power of a tasteful “nudge.” “At the end of the day, our most priceless asset is time. And that’s true of our clients as it is our advisors. So I think that they need that nudge. And as soon as you ask for it, I guarantee the response if you are providing a really great experience, will be, ‘Oh my goodness. Absolutely. I’d love to do that.’”
Lead generation optimization. “At a very high level, it’s about enhancing your own firm level marketing. Part of that includes digital presence. That means having a strategy. That’s not always easy to do when you are a busy advisor. So start with some actionable things like messaging. Do you have an elevator pitch through which you can very clearly and quickly articulate what’s your unfair advantage? That’s what we call the value proposition. But how is it different from what other advisors might be doing?”
Nurturing leads. “It takes time. This is a relationship based business, so it’s not transactional. Once you have a lead, you’ve got to make sure you nurture it and obviously you’ve got to be able to close it. So consider creating leverage for yourself as an advisor by prioritizing the leads that are in your pipeline and also in your existing book.”
Closing and identifying referable moments. “This is a big one. It’s one thing to generate leads. It’s quite another to actually close them and convert them into real clients. And the question I put out there to the audience is, ‘Do you have a team of rainmakers or do you have a team of what we call euphemistically declawed cats?’ That will probably resonate with a number of firms, but consider getting coaching to help advisors there. There’s always at least one rainmaker in the organization, and having them mentor other folks in the group is really helpful.”