Taking the Road Less Traveled

shutterstock_97420988Private Wealth | Jan-Feb 2013

Editor’s Note by Hannah Shaw Grove

Over the past few months I’ve had the privilege of traveling around the U.S. to meet with many different kinds of advisory professionals. These types of experiences are incredibly valuable as an indicator of what you and your clients are facing and help us shape our editorial content to be more meaningful. I find that nearly every conversation is fascinating and provides some anecdotal evidence of our best practices research.

For many years we’ve known that leading advisors get most of their new business through professionals who refer their clients. In many cases, those professionals are attorneys and accountants who are aware of their clients’ financial circumstances and understand basic fiduciary responsibilities. Not surprisingly, attorneys and accountants are among the most common targets of advisors who want to grow their practices. But it’s also true that thinking creatively and critically about increasing market share—and breaking out of the pack to try something different—can give you a distinct advantage.

Thinking creatively and critically about increasing marketing share—and breaking out of the pack to try something different—can give you a distinct advantage.

Here are a few interesting examples of how some innovative advisors are pursuing growth:

  • One advisor is partnering with a geriatric specialist to bring free counsel to aging clients and those with elder-care responsibilities, and simultaneously offering advisory services to the physician’s patients.
  • Another is prospecting jointly with an established taxidermist after determining that individuals who spend more than $20,000 a year on hunting and fishing trophies are good candidates for wealth management.
  • One is working through boutique investment banking organizations to begin early-stage conversations with families and business owners that need assistance planning for liquidity events and structuring their assets.
  • And yet another is leveraging his firm’s internal resources and programs to acquire regionally focused practices from retiring professionals so these can be merged for greater efficiency and profitability.

There is more than one path to great opportunity, just as there is more than one path to great success. And, yes, finding and negotiating these paths can often be lonely, time-consuming and hard. But as the overripe baseball coach Jimmy Dugan says in A League of Their Own, “It’s supposed to be hard. If it wasn’t hard, everyone would do it. It’s the ‘hard’ that makes it great.” What’s left unsaid is that hard work also makes the successes that much sweeter.

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