Referrals are nice for any business owner, but financial advisory firms need to actively market their services targeted to their ideal clients in order to grow, according to Angela Osborne, chief operating officer for Bluespring Wealth Partners.
Market uncertainty and volatility always presents challenges for advisors but the same unpredictable nature of the financial world can present opportunities for advisors to reach out to new clients and solidify relationships with existing clients.
These and other trends are going to dominate the industry in the years to come, she said.
Optimizing state-of-the-art marketing tools is only one way advisors can take advantage of the trends that are washing over the financial field and the economy as a whole.
Marketing of the future will focus on defining the ideal client for the firm and targeting the firm’s service pitch to those clients, Osborne, whose 30-year career has taken her to Bluespring after senior level roles at Morgan Stanley and Black Rock, among other firms, said in a wide-ranging interview.
“Advisory firms are constantly looking for new clients. Firms rely heavily on referrals but they need to augment referrals with their marketing efforts. Challenges are always opportunities as well,” she said. “Market conditions are always going to be uncertain, but advisors can use this uncertainty to get closer to clients.”
Bluespring Wealth Partners, a subsidiary of Austin-based Kestra Holdings and an acquirer and supporter of wealth management firms, has developed programs to take advantage of the future trends in the industry, said Osborne.
“Trends that are developing in the financial industry are going to require advisors to be more than just money managers; they will have to be life coaches,” she said.
With nearly two-thirds of RIAs relying on referrals to grow their business, it’s now more important than ever for financial advisors to possess the knowledge, skills, and tools to help them generate and close leads as a supplement to their existing pipeline. Future marketing will need to focus on defining the ideal client for the firm and targeting the firm’s service pitch to those clients, Osborne said.
“Firms also will need to nurture advisors who can close a deal with prospective clients,” Osborne said. “The firm needs to know how to train the next generation of rainmakers.”
In addition to cultivating new clients, advisory firms need to cultivate the talent base for their firms.
“Some big name firms are laying off staff members, including advisors, but that does not necessarily mean more talent is available for other firms.” Osborne said. “Firms need to attract advisors who can complete the deal with prospective clients.
“Then the firms need to know their advisors can deal with the more complex services required by high-net-worth clients in the future,” she said.
Firms of the future will need to work with teams of advisors and experts, not just one advisor per client, if they want to provide holistic planning.
One of the programs Bluespring developed to assist its partner firms is the Blueprint for Growth program, which is designed to stimulate consistent and sustainable growth among those partner firms. The program helps address a core challenge for advisory firms — attracting and retaining new clients.
Blueprint for Growth was developed to assist with the problems of acquiring new clients and effectively generating leads in order to increase revenue and ultimately drive growth.
“This program is an extension of our commitment to develop scale and leverage for our partner firms by building a comprehensive wealth management platform,” Osborne said. “As an integrated business-to-consumer solution, the Blueprint for Growth program will accelerate growth and build efficiencies within the entire Bluespring network, creating a culture of referral and growth for partner firms to ensure future business growth, sustainability, and value.”
Another trend that is becoming clear is the need to offer high-net-worth clients more family office style services, including such things as trust services and philanthropic planning. If the firm does not have the expertise to handle some services, the firm needs a network of third party experts they can bring in to handle clients’ needs.
At the same time, as more advisors are aging out of their businesses and retiring, there will be a need for a second generation to take over, Osborne said. Bluespring developed the Bluespring Successor Academy in 2019, which features industry experts and peer discussions to train the next generation of advisors.
“The future of the financial world is going to require firms to be nimble so they can meet the changing needs of clients,” she said.