In last week’s blog post, we outlined the different barriers advisors you face when motivating business owners to take the first steps in the Exit Planning process. As an advisor, you have most likely heard every excuse, whether it be that your clients they think they can start planning once they are ready to exit or that they don’t think they have the time to dedicate to the planning process right now. We know the only way for owners to exit at the time they want, to the person they choose, for the money they require is by starting to plan today.
Where to Start?
We are all aware of the pushback advisors get from business owners on starting the planning process. You may be asking, “How do I get in front of the right people, start these difficult conversations and overcome this pushback?” The most successful advisors we work with don’t just start calling themselves an Exit Planner and see clients banging down their doors. Yes, the Exit Planning market is tremendous and the number of owners aware of this service has grown exponentially in the last 5 years. However, there are still steps you will need to take to ensure you have the right message and you are speaking to the right people.
Begin with Your Professional Network
Target other disciplines in your market. The successful firms in your area are working with the owners you want to be engaging. Schedule an introductory call or visit to explain how you will work with business owners and what that firm’s role will be in the process. You will be uncovering additional work for them and illustrating their role in the process. Introducing you to their clients is a mutually beneficial relationship, so focus on what’s in it for them and their firm if you work together on the client’s planning needs.
Educate, Don’t Sell.
The most time and cost-effective way to get the right message across to business owners is through education. Staying in front of your clients with useful and interesting content is the best way to cultivate a client base and overcome objections, whether regarding Exit Planning or your core services. Instead of your typical sales pitch, provide them with valuable tips, stories of success, descriptions of the planning process, customer testimonials, etc. Stay away from pushing your agenda on them, and instead educate them on the urgent need to plan, the benefits they will receive if they plan early and the consequences if they put off the planning process.
A powerful piece of consistent, educational content to provide to your client base is a newsletter. By keeping your name and your brand in front of your ideal clients on a consistent basis, you will be the expert they turn to when questions arise, and they begin planning. Keep Exit Planning and your practice top of mind!
Make yourself a thought leader in the industry. Create valuable content for your clients to refer to including articles, blogs, newsletters, podcasts, speaking events, etc. to show that you are the expert in the industry. Share your expertise across every medium possible. Yes, that also means social media. Business owners may not be searching for valuable content on social media, but all the people they trust in their network are. This means that when you post an article that strikes a chord with a business owner’s spouse, child, friend, colleague, or trusted advisor, they will likely send it along. Add a subscribe link for your newsletter on, to your website, in your email signature, and everywhere you share content. Add forms to your site to collect data from prospective clients that find your content valuable. Make it easy for your clients and potential clients to find the content you are publishing to the world. This is a critical yet typically overlooked step to expanding your client base.
We know growing your client base can be challenging but once you create those first few close relationships, your clients will do the outreach for you through referrals. As you develop strong relationships with business owners and get positive results from your planning work, they will feel confident into passing along your name to their own contacts.
Expanding your client base does not happen overnight, but with the right tools and resources, you can expedite this process. BEI has marketing resources to get you in front of current and potential clients easily and consistently and planning tools and resources to help you gain a new level of expertise your clients demand.