October 2, 2023

How Can Our Multi-Advisor Firm Sort Prospects

Written By Charesse Spiller

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A strong client relationship begins long before someone signs on the dotted line and transfers assets to your firm for management. Nurturing lifelong client relationships starts when an individual or family enters your pipeline as a prospect. Intentional prospecting helps you to build a strong pipeline and create meaningful relationships right out of the gate. Unfortunately, multi-advisor firms often struggle with creating a seamless prospect experience.

Today we will discuss the challenges multi-advisor firms face when prospecting effectively and how they can solve them to create a scalable solution.

A strong client relationship begins long before someone signs on the dotted line and transfers assets to your firm for management. Nurturing lifelong client relationships starts when an individual or family enters your pipeline as a prospect. Intentional prospecting helps you to build a strong pipeline and create meaningful relationships right out of the gate. Unfortunately, multi-advisor firms often struggle with creating a seamless prospect experience. 

Today we will discuss the challenges multi-advisor firms face when prospecting effectively and how they can solve them to create a scalable solution. 

Prospecting Challenges for Multi-Advisor Firms

Raise your hand if this sounds familiar – your multi-advisor firm has a strong pipeline, but there’s some contention when it comes to dividing prospects up across your advisory team. A whole-team approach can feel like too many cooks in the kitchen, and if individuals take prospect calls, there’s a lack of consistency in the prospecting workflow. Prospects feel underwhelmed by their experience, conversion rates are down, and advisors are juggling too much responsibility managing unnecessary meetings. 

To top it off, you may start to feel like your back office team isn’t contributing to the revenue growth of your firm, and with advisors taking all sales calls – there’s a disconnect between the firm you want to run and the firm that exists today. Those who service clients and sell the services aren’t working as a team to provide a seamless client experience. 

This is a recipe for disaster and hindered growth. 

The Benefits of a Team Approach to Prospecting

The leanest financial planning practices often have a team approach throughout the client journey. When everyone is involved in the sales process in some way, it means that each team member is well-informed and able to better serve clients now and in the future. Let’s talk through how to organize your prospecting workflow, leveraging different team members, tools, and technology to create a strong approach. 


Sales training so everyone can participate.
 

The primary bottleneck that multi-advisor firms face in their prospecting workflow is that new leads need to speak to someone ASAP. Sorting inbound prospects to an advisor or sales representative on your team may feel overwhelming, especially if there’s only one person who is trained in sales or who knows the firm well enough to pull off the initial conversation with a new lead. 

One way to sidestep this is to provide continuous sales training to your entire team. This allows other team members to build a strong sales skillset and provides you with more options for delegating the initial sales call to other team members in your firm. 

When creating your internal sales training, consider focusing on the following areas of the sales process:

  1. Inbound emails or phone calls. 

  2. Screening questions that help to determine if the prospect is the right fit for your firm.

  3. The best way team members can identify whether an inbound prospect fits your “ideal client” – and how they can suss out those attributes in a conversation. 

  4. Clarify the benefits of each service offering your firm provides.

  5. Differentiate core service offerings and make it clear to each team member what your firm does – and how you do it!

Understand your conversation map. 

Understanding your conversation map truly helps to create a strong sales process. When sorting out inbound leads, your conversation map helps with knowing when to hand off the prospect to the right person – and who the right person is!


The Initial Screening Call

Typically, your initial screening call isn’t an advice-driven conversation. It’s a time for your team to assess a new prospect’s needs and find out more about their unique financial situation. This may be an opportunity for a non-advisor on your team to step into your sales process or implement a form that leverages conditional logic to route the prospect to the right advisor for their unique situation. 

The “screening” step in the process should review:

  1. Information about your firm. 

  2. Investing or financial planning methodology your firm uses. 

  3. Your firm’s unique value proposition. 

  4. Whether the potential client is a good fit for your firm based on their unique client attributes. 

  5. Fees.

  6. Next steps – like identifying the right advisor!

Again, this conversation can be held by an operations team member, or junior advisor, or you can leverage a tool like Calendly or Jotform to automate the process and route prospects to the right advisor to continue down your pipeline. Even if you want a team member to hold this initial conversation, you can leverage a tool like Calendly to create a round-robin scheduler so that multiple non-advisor team members can practice holding these screening calls. 

Of course, if a prospect isn’t a good fit, having a process for referring them out in place can also save a significant amount of time and future headaches.


The Second Sales Call

A second sales conversation is a critical part of the process for a multi-advisor firm. At this point, it’s clear that a prospective client is the *right* fit for your firm, and you’re able to clearly match them with an advisor who has the experience that makes them a uniquely qualified fit for this particular lead. 

On this call, typically held by a lead advisor, you would discuss:

  1. The services that are the best fit for this individual prospect.

  2. What the new client should expect as far as onboarding and communication – including who they should anticipate communicating with (their lead advisor, any client service team members, etc.). 

Note: even if you have a tool like Calendly or Jotform to automate the first sales “call”, this step is still important to continue building the relationship!

Leverage Tech

Technology is a fantastic way to automate your screening process, and move ideal prospects further down your pipeline. Technology can help you to route prospects to the right advisors, or to complete conditional logic and refer out non-ideal clients if necessary. 

Depending on your client demographic, and their comfortability with technology, it may be worthwhile to plug technology into the Initial Screening Conversation and leverage it to help schedule the Second Sales Call as well as kick off the onboarding process when a prospect is ready to convert. 

This frees up your team to worry less about who is in the prospect funnel and focus on the best way to convert ideal-fit prospects who make it to their calendar(s).

Implementing Technology: The First Step

The first step to implementing technology in your prospecting workflow is to identify the ideal client avatar for each advisor in your multi-advisor firm. For example, you may have an overarching “ideal client” (think: retirees, physicians, etc.), but each individual advisor may have a unique specialty or niche (think: stock options, entrepreneurs). 

This will help your entire firm have clarity on how to route incoming leads to the right person and/or servicing team. It can also help you set up conditional logic in a lead generation form or that Initial Screening Conversation moment in your prospecting workflow. 

The #1 Roadblock

The primary roadblock I see multi-advisor firms face in their sales process is that the principal advisor, or founder, is still the team member responsible for sales conversations – even if they aren’t taking on new clients. This can cause a disconnect for prospects who want to speak with whomever they’ll work with, and it can create chaos when it comes time to hand off clients and schedule onboarding conversations. My #1 piece of advice is to find a way to get the principal out of sales calls in these cases. This may require training team members side by side in sales conversations for a while, or creating a timeline for them to delegate this responsibility. Start training your full team on sales conversations, and leverage technology when possible to reduce the stress of this transition. 

Getting Started

Ironing out your sales process as a multi-advisor firm may feel overwhelming. Luckily, identifying your ideal client avatars for different advisors in your firm, implementing a two-step sales process, and leveraging technology to automate where you can, creating a streamlined process is a snap. Have questions? Don’t hesitate to explore our blog library to learn more about prospecting, workflows, technology, and more! Together, we’ll level up your firm’s operation. 

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