If you read our recent blog, “Struggling with organic growth? Here’s what’s holding you back,” you know that organic growth for advisors has tanked since 2017, with growth rates hovering around 3-4%. At the same time, some advisory firms are growing exponentially, at rates of 20%, 30%, 40% and more. What are they doing that struggling advisors are not?

InsurMark Virtual CMO Jack Martin and Stephanie Bogan, a high-performance business coach to advisors, leaders and founders, hashed this out during a recent episode of The Breakthrough Advisor podcast. (FYI, you can get more insight from Martin and Bogan in the aforementioned blog. Be sure to check that one out, too, especially the part about mindset change.) 

So, what ARE high growth firms doing to achieve exponential growth?

No. 1: They follow the consumer’s lead.

In late 2022, InsurMark surveyed thousands of advisors, and their biggest concern was: “How do I meet all of these new client expectations?” It’s true, consumers are demanding more from financial professionals, including financial planning, tax planning, longevity planning, healthcare planning, legacy planning and more. Unlike many of the advisors we surveyed, high-growth firms look for ways to capitalize on those opportunities instead of shying away.

According to Martin, “The disconnect many advisors struggle with is getting stuck in the mindset that they’re selling a product as opposed to a service. What they should be thinking is how do I turn all these new client expectations into a new stream of business for me? How do we convert that interest into client relationships? The consumer is leading the way. If you follow the consumer, you can tap into a very rich vein of opportunity.”

No. 2: They adopt a diversified growth model.

We discussed this in the previous blog but it’s worth repeating. Consumer expectations and behavior have changed drastically since the pandemic, and when advisors only rely on referrals and centers of influence to fuel organic growth, they continue to lag behind. 

Instead of asking friends, family or their CPA for a referral to a financial advisor, consumers take it upon themselves to search online. Advisors who really want to grow need to build what Bogan calls a “growth engine” fueled by multiple components that predictably and consistently feeds their pipeline. The growth engine includes a multi-faceted combination of marketing tactics that bring the advisor in front of their target market on a regular basis and in a very personalized way. 

Bogan and her firm Limitless Adviser coach advisors on how to “lay the tracks” with the right combination of components for each advisor’s specific needs, so they can fuel their pipelines predictably and consistently.

“I don’t see growth as sales or marketing or SEO or my website or my digital strategy. All of those components form the growth engine, much like multiple components form the engine of a car. Instead of asking for referrals, consumers are listening to a podcast, reading a blog, signing up for someone’s email list, getting invited to a webinar. And they’re online finding people through Google. The number one search term around financial planning on Google is ‘find a financial planner near me,’” Bogan says.

No. 3: They take a super personalized approach to client engagement.

There is no question, what consumers want from the advisor-client relationship is continuing to change. Says Bogan, “Consumer preferences ultimately drive change and evolution. Otherwise, there wouldn’t be any money in it for anyone. They want a differentiated offering. Right? That’s what really gets their attention. They want it to be hyper specialized. It is the ‘me generation’ of marketing.”

In Martin’s view, segmented marketing has morphed to the point that “today, we’re on the verge of a segment of one. The consumer expects a very personalized experience. They expect you to hear them. They expect you to respond to them. They don’t expect a one-size-fits-all. Most advisors take the one-size-fits-all approach. Here’s my service offering. Here’s how we approach it. Here’s the experience we’re going to give you. But that’s not what the consumers want. COVID, Amazon, DoorDash, all of that changed the game.” 

According to Bogan, advisors aren’t competing against the advisor next door. They are competing with consumers doing it on their own, as well as the type of experiences companies like Amazon, DoorDash and Etsy provide.

As she explains, “I can get exactly what I want on Etsy or Amazon. I can get it fast, reasonably cheap and hyper tailored to me. They make it so easy and accessible. Advisors ultimately need to understand who the client and the segment is and differentiate themselves. Differentiation is about one simple concept. You need to be able to communicate in a clear, concise and compelling way, whether it’s a story, conversation, website or a blog, you need to be able to convey I see you, I hear you, I understand you.”

No. 4: They tap into marketing experts and fintech for hyper-efficiency.

Advisors can’t get to the level of hyper personalization that the “segment of one” is demanding without technology and the advice of marketing pros. Fintech continues to explode, and it truly is a difference maker for advisors who want to capitalize on the new opportunities available as consumers continue to demand more.

Learn how fintech helps advisors boost revenue through personalized experiences here.

According to Bogan, the technology and experts InsurMark has cultivated make all of this possible. “With InsurMark and our partnership and the work we’ve done with advisors, you absolutely have the ability to build what I call a ‘bionic business.’ You can now deliver not just a specialized but a hyper-specialized service and experience, not just to a segment or tranche of clients, but to sub-tranches and microsegments within that in a hyper-efficient way.

“You have the ability in the average firm to deliver five or 10x the value. I’m not kidding. And In half the time. You’ll also get a higher quantity and quality of referrals, and we can build campaigns and systems and predictable growth machines and engines around that, which frees up time. Then you can absolutely get growth in that 20%, 30%, 40% range without having to hire 15 advisors to go pound the pavement. There’s a lot of leverage available to drive growth if you have the mindset and the capacity to really lean into it.”

No. 5: They embrace the secret to marketing: “Rinse, Lather, Repeat.”

The secret to marketing is right on the back of your shampoo bottle, according to Bogan. You know where it says, “apply a small-concentrated dose, lather, rinse, repeat?” So, what does she mean by that and where do most advisors get marketing wrong?

Says Bogan, “We love to start things when we know the middle and the end and exactly how it’s going to turn out. It’s the number one reason advisors don’t try new things in marketing. We either don’t do anything new or different and get no new or different results, or we overcompensate and do this and do this and do that. That leaves people feeling overwhelmed, and they end up not doing anything.”

So, what approach do advisors need to take? How does “rinse, lather, repeat” work?

According to Bogan, “You have to be able to sit in a space of discomfort, bring a little more intention and discipline to it, without having everything figured out. That’s okay, it’s part of growth, and growth is messy. The advisors who are crushing it take a look at what the options are. They thrust themselves in the midst of that uncertainty and know they’ve got to figure out what they need to know and do. Then they apply a small, concentrated dose and take some action.

“All that is required to meet with success is the willingness to take the next step and the next step. Then you can start moving into what’s the next best step for creating that sustainable growth engine and framework. Who would I even need to talk to? Where would I even need to start?” That’s where you turn to experts in marketing and fintech for advice.

If you want to rinse, lather and repeat like the advisors who are “crushing it,” Bogan encourages you to follow their lead, “They get informed, then they pick something, try it, tweak it and refine it. And when they pick something else and find out it doesn’t work, they keep on going. If you’re willing to figure out what your motivation and your catalyst for change is, there has never been a better time to be an advisor or to grow an advisory firm.”

Ready to take the next step but not sure how?

Our Advisor Development Consultants are here to help. As an Advisor Development Organization, InsurMark provides the coaching, technology, tools and other resources you need to help you grow your advisory practice like the high-growth firms do. We also partner with industry experts and coaches like Stephanie Bogan to help set you up for success. 

Contact our office toll-free at (800) 752-0207 or connect with us online to schedule an exploratory conversation with one of our Advisor Development Consultants today.

As an ADO – Advisor Development Organization™, InsurMark provides solutions to meet the ever-evolving needs of financial professionals with a mission to protect and enhance the financial security of every home in America.