BEI Members report that one key to developing robust, referral-based practices is the ability to differentiate themselves from their fellow advisors in the industry. Business owners want advisors that can present creative and tailored ideas that speak directly to their needs and wants. Having this expertise is critical to us as professional advisors because expertise is what we sell!
An expertise in Exit Planning makes you more than “just” a lawyer, CPA, financial planner, etc. This added value is important because most advisors already have long-term relationships with advisors in these professions.
According to a 2016 study, the top three referral killers are:
- Absence of visible expertise (51.6%)
- No social relationship [with referral source] (18.0%)
- No professional relationship [with referral source] (15.2% 1)
These statistics indicate that the best strategy to grow your practice from referrals either from owners or other advisors is to differentiate yourself by becoming—and becoming known as—an expert.
How to Stay Visible
The question is, do owners, or the advisors they work with, know that you have the expertise necessary to help them? How can you market yourself and your practice before that conversation with a client occurs? We suggest you create a strategy that follows these six principles:
- Have something good to say. Ask yourself if you are saying something valuable to your target market.
- Say it well. Are you stating your value proposition clearly? Tell your prospects in plain language what you do and why they should work with you.
- Say it often. Review your communication channels with prospects and make sure you are sending them relevant content regularly.
- Say it to the right people. Spend some time defining who your “ideal” client is and why. Then build your marketing list based on that criteria.
- Say it consistently. Don’t confuse your message by trying to be all things to all people. Focus your message on your “ideal” client and how you can help them.
- Say it cost effectively – both in time and money. By doing the appropriate planning ahead of your marketing activities, you won’t have to recreate the wheel once you know what works for your practice.
Why Do Clients Hire You?
Business owners don’t buy your services because they like you. That might be a nice bonus, but the reality is that owners buy your services to solve a business problem or seize an opportunity. A common roadblock advisors face is meeting with a business owner and telling them what the problems are in their business without having enough information first.
Instead of telling owners what their problems are, advisors should invite owners to tell them what challenges they are having. As we mentioned in our last blog post, advisors skilled in Exit Planning go beyond the questions of their specific profession to gather useful information on the owner’s goals and resources. By asking the right questions, you are inviting owners to open up about their struggles. Having these skills will show owners how you’re different in the best way possible. You’ll end up with deeper conversations with your clients and build trusting relationships with them.
Show the Road Map Between the Pain Points & Solutions
Having a client’s pain points clearly defined opens up the door for you to really shine as an advisor that is different from others in your field. It’s one thing to talk about the pain points, and another entirely to show owners where their pain lies and guide them through choosing how to solve those issues based on their goals. As you bring in experts in different fields to be a part of the advisor team, you are not only showing your client your expertise in Exit Planning, but you are also showing professionals in your network how your skills can help their existing clients.
- The best way to get referrals as an Exit Planning Advisor is to become a visible expert in the field.
- Staying visible to potential clients requires that you develop an effective marketing strategy and determining your “ideal” client.
- Clients are more likely to hire you if you ask questions that lead to determining what their goals are for the future, determining what roadblocks and challenges they have today, and presenting them with a customized solutions road map.