Two Things Advisors Must Do to Succeed in 2023 (and Beyond)

Have you ever asked yourself: How can I build a successful business and also have the time and freedom to enjoy that success? That’s a question Stephanie Bogan—a high-performance business coach, strategist and entrepreneur—loves helping advisors answer. Stephanie recently joined us on InsurMark’s Breakthrough Advisor Podcast, where we discussed digitization and differentiation and why advisors must do both to have a material impact on their businesses.

Let’s face it, the world has changed, and it won’t stop changing any time soon, well, ever. According to Bogan, in order for advisors to build a sustainable business that maximizes revenue growth, income, profits AND happiness, the same old business, sales and marketing strategies just won’t work. Advisors need to pivot and adopt advanced marketing strategies to succeed in the world as we know it.

Client expectations have changed dramatically, advisors need to adapt

Not only has the world changed, client expectations have changed. The pandemic of course was the impetus for many of these changes. Today, our clients are living in a volatile world, filled with worries about inflation, high interest rates, instability in the markets, shrinking retirement savings and recession (either we’re in one or on the verge of one, depending who you ask).

As Bogan wisely noted, “the whole world experienced a massive money in motion event” during the pandemic. “Rich, poor, Third world, First world … Your relationship with your work, your income, your money, your net worth and your lifestyle were inextricably put in front of you.”

Client expectations regarding service levels have also dramatically changed since the pandemic. We can thank the “You can have it now!” service models employed by Amazon and other online retailers like Walmart and Target who had to step up and compete when people weren’t leaving their homes. Food delivery services like DoorDash, Uber Eats, GrubHub and others also “Deliver it to you now!”

These same businesses—and other businesses that know how to stand out in the crowd (AKA, DIFFERENTIATE)—are also serving up personalized experiences for their customers. They “get” their customers and what they want, and customers appreciate, value and expect the personal touch. In fact, they gravitate toward businesses (and advisors) who “get” them.

One good thing came out of the pandemic. Doing business virtually became the norm, largely because there was no other option—even in highly regulated businesses like financial services and healthcare. Most clients feel perfectly fine meeting virtually now, at least for some of their interactions with us. As we all found out, discussing business and personal affairs over Zoom inevitably became the norm.

Opportunities are HUGE for advisors who successfully digitize and differentiate

According to Bogan, over the next 10 to 15 years there will be about 50% fewer advisors serving clients than today. That startling statistic combined with the massive wave of Baby Boomers retiring in the next decade means there will be a huge demand for our services. Huge demand and fewer advisors = opportunity, but advisors will need to adapt to the new world and changing client expectations in order to capitalize.

Due to the “massive money in motion event” that everyone experienced during the pandemic, “People are taking stock of their financial lives, their needs, their pain points and the possibilities. So irrespective of the type of advisor or firm you are, or the services and products you offer, there has never been a better time to be in this business,” Bogan says.

For many advisors, taking advantage of that opportunity will be challenging if they don’t change how they do business. As Bogan explains, “If you’re maxed out, stressed out, overwhelmed and you can’t keep up, you’re not going to be able to handle the influx of demand. You won’t have the capacity mentally or productivity-wise to capture those baskets of opportunity even in tough markets.”

The time to digitize and differentiate your business is NOW

So, what advanced marketing strategies can advisors use to boost efficiencies and capture those baskets of opportunity? According to Bogan, advisors who really want to capitalize on the big opportunity ahead—while maintaining what she calls “work-life equity”— need to do two things well: digitize their business operations and stand out in the crowd, AKA, differentiate.

“Those are the two trends I see really impacting the way advisors perform in terms of accelerating their growth and success, while giving them back time and freedom. The more digital you can make the client experience and journey, the more you can embed a lot of deep value into it,” Bogan says.

Digitization and differentiation are intersecting in new ways that allow advisors to reach andserve more people. For example, many of the advisor clients Bogan coaches focus on specific niche markets (like attorneys, optometrists, etc.) or products. Then, they market to those niche audiences—through each step of the sales process—by developing messaging and valuable content that focus on the specific pain points that resonate with each niche.

Advisors who continue to ascribe to what Bogan refers to as the “show up, throw up” method of sales, where the message is, “I’m here, I’m smart, I can help,” will get lost in the crowd. As she explains, “People don’t care about your solutions. They care about their problems.”

Digitization and differentiation for advisors—How to get started

According to Bogan, advisors who learn how to effectively digitize and differentiate themselves can generally expect to deliver 3x-5x the value in terms of trust equity, consistency, reliability and actual efficiency. Here are a few tips to help you get started:

1). Invest in a website and marketing automation software. For example, as an advisor development organization, InsurMark offers My Website and Hubbard, the industry’s most innovative advisor business platform, along with Catalyst automated marketing and lead gen campaigns. These tools help advisors build what Bogan calls a “hyper-efficient and hyper-specialized practice.”

Advisors who digitize and automate their marketing saves countless hours, allowing them the time needed to show up and give clients the presence and attention they expect. It also helps ensure clients receive valuable, trust-equity-building insight, tools and resources at appropriate intervals throughout the sales cycle (from lead gen through onboarding).

Tools like Catalyst also make it easy to segment audiences by niche and product interest, so you only provide insight based on their specific pain points and needs. And guess what? Digitizing your advisor business has never been easier or more affordable than it is today.

2). Fine tune your differentiation messaging and deliverables. Differentiation should be about your service model (proving you’re reliable, consistent, thoughtful, trustworthy, deliver value), as well as what and how you communicate with people. If you want to prove you care about your clients and prospects problems, your messaging needs to be specific to those pain points.

For example, it might go something like this: “Jenny, I know you’re retiring soon and income security is keeping you up at night. We also know the best way to make money is not to lose big chunks of it. During your first meeting with us, we’ll unpack your concerns and explain how our investment approach/policy can help you get the income security you need.”

In today’s virtual and digital world, these messages can be delivered in a variety of formats. During the podcast, Bogan encouraged advisors to use video voice, because it helps communicate trust equity and build relationships from one to many, which can be built upon as the advisor serves the client throughout the sales cycle. A few advanced marketing strategies advisors should consider include:

  • Short videos and voice messages delivered via email and social media.
  • Podcasts you host or participate in as a guest. Share links to the podcasts in your email campaigns and on social media.
  • Client testimonials layered into a multi-part email campaign.
  • Making it easy for clients and prospects to schedule a meeting with you by including aCalendly link in your emails.

3). Listen to the entire Breakthrough Advisor Podcast for more details! Stephanie Bogan is one of our favorite guests because she knows what it takes to help advisors grow successful businesses and also gain the time to enjoy it. We’ve covered many of the highlights here, but you’ll learn a whole lot more when you listen in.


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