The best practice management idea for financial advisors you will ever read

Grant Hicks, CIM

You won't find this idea in a book, even though I wrote the second edition of " Guerrilla Marketing For Financial Advisors" Innovating Financial professionals through practice management. Morgan James Publishing New York. You won't find this idea at a seminar, course or workshop. You cannot get this from top advisors, executives or even the best branch manager in the industry.

Not even online or any website. In fact, you won't get this information from top financial advisor performers, but you will find the idea where you work. It will change the way you think. It will change your business strategies. It will make you take a close look at what you're doing right and what you need to improve on. The idea will help you grow, develop and build your practice to heights you thought weren't possible. It will make you understand your business better. It is a guerrilla marketing idea which is investing time energy and imagination into your business. This one idea may change your business in 2018 and beyond. Once you start to apply the idea over and over, you will find a renewed sense of success in your financial advisory practice.
If I was asked to give only one idea to build and scale a financial advisory practice, this would be the idea.

Create a board of directors with your top clients and centers of influence. Ask them for feedback and ideas on every aspect of your business from advice to marketing, client appreciation, and client communication. It will help you create an inspiring value promise. One that is not full of marketing tricks, but of the truth from your clients. You cannot make a better value promise than using your client's words to describe your value.

Build a better value promise

Invite from six to ten of your top clients in a meeting for an hour and get valuable feedback on your image, identity, business, and marketing. Then hold the second meeting for your top centers of influence or referral sources. Hold these meetings three to four times a year and buy your "board of directors" lunch for giving you valuable feedback on all areas of your business. It will cost you less than $200 and a few hours of your time. Each time you are creating formal feedback for your business. The most amazing thing happens when you tell people you are working on your business. Within 30 days you get referrals to more like-minded people and gain additional top clients.

We all know that 85% of financial advisors don’t do feedback, yet the ones that do earn 52% more than the 85% who don’t do feedback. ( source Business Health Pty Ltd 2016 key profit drivers )


Why do feedback?
It is this valuable feedback from your top clients and centers of influence that is going to give you the edge over your competitors. We know that the main reasons why clients will leave their financial advisors in 2018 is lack of communication and not understanding cost and value. What do your ideal clients expect for communication? What do your clients value and do they understand total transparency? What they pay and what they get?
A secondary objective is a way to develop referrals and clone your best clients by discussing the fact that you are looking for more clients like them to build your business. Make it clear though that this is not a referral session, but a genuine feedback session for your business. Ask questions like" what are the 3 things that you value the most about our services"?

Some advisors have used this as a referral meeting by bringing in their top referring clients and discussing their business plans and asking who or what target market should they tackle next. The clients will tell them the clubs they're associated with, hobbies and activities and where they might meet them in a casual setting to introduce their advisor to friends and associates in different groups, associations or settings. You will learn about several types of groups and associations. Others may use it as a strategic networking opportunity to find out charitable events their clients are involved in and ask to join or participate.

Business blind spot
Without consistent feedback from your ideal clients, how will you know what ideal client value? It is a blind spot for most advisors, and when I start coaching a new team, the first thing I get them to do is feedback. The advisor doesn’t clearly know what their clients value, and neither do I as a coach. The only way is to ask them a few simple questions. Then get into the habit of doing it on a regular basis.
Each year change the board to new clients and new centers of influence to build relationships and gain insight as well as referrals from influential individuals. Just like coaching and mentoring, it is feedback from the people that use your services to tell you how you're doing. They may give you ideas that you and your success coach, manager or mentor may not see and understand. You can't get that from a book or a course.

Time with ideal clients
What happens when you spend more time with your ideal clients? Other opportunities, referrals, and discussions happen that create opportunities for them and for you, to do more planning and help them achieve more. More opportunities, in a one-hour time frame. Have your team plan the events, so you use your time effectively. Instead of meeting with your top 10 clients and spending 10-20 hours, spend one hour with 10 of them and see the results!

Make sure you discuss your ideal client that you are looking for. Have an agenda set up for the meeting and be prepared to discuss and disclose your business ideas that you are planning to do. Depending on the group, you may also hand out a client communication plan, event plans for the coming year. Then ask lots of questions, take lots of notes and build it the way your top clients can clearly benefit from, and help you grow. After all, it's all about them. Don't waste any time. Put this on your to-do list this week! It only takes an hour!

Grant Hicks, CIM, is President of Advisor Practice Management and co-author of “Guerrilla Marketing For Financial Advisors” 1st and 2nd edition for speaking, workshops or coaching, contact Grant at

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