By Niharika Shah
Prospecting is the bread and butter of every financial advisory practice, which is why the best advisors spend up to 20% of their time finding and engaging with their ideal clients. These are the types of potential clients that all advisors want to work with: those who stay with the firm long-term, develop lasting relationships with their wealth manager and help to grow AUM for years to come.
But the prospecting process isn’t one-size-fits-all and let’s admit it, broken for the most part. Unwieldy, mostly non-differentiated and the ROI of different tactics is hard to measure.
I invite you to embrace the irony: Machines can help make relationships better.
How? Read on.
Making it personal
Personalized prospecting pays great dividends both now and down the road. By building more personal relationships early on, not only will you be able to narrow down your list of prospects to those who are the best fit for your services, but you’ll also be able to serve them better once they become clients.
But aiming for more personalized messaging and actually pulling it off in practice are two different things, and it can often be difficult to execute. If you’re already spending 20% of your time – or one full day of a 40-hour week – on client prospecting, the idea of adding additional research and profile customization to the mix can seem all but impossible.
This is where artificial intelligence (AI) technology can be a game changer for your business to enable personalization at scale. That translates to greater client satisfaction, often a larger share of assets, positive referrals and a stream of inbound interest built solely on goodwill.
Building context for zero-waste
Personalized prospecting comes down to sharing the right content, with the right contact, at the right time given its context. That context can relate to the individual, the timeliness of the topic, or even what content they’ve already been consuming.
The point is, there is a reason for you to be reaching out to them at that moment. Fully understanding what that reason is gives you as the advisor the best opportunity to start a dialogue with them.
But it can be difficult for a human alone to make sense of all these signals and know when it’s the best time to reach out to a given prospect with a given message. AI can solve this problem by recording and analyzing everything that’s known about a given client – their background, their goals, their reading habits, their interests, etc – and alerting you with “signals” to act when the time is right.
Think about it this way: Many advisors today post content on social media as part of their lead generation activities, with topics ranging from retirement, to ESG, to market trends and more. With the right AI tool in place, as prospects consume that content the system could be alerting you to who is engaging and what topics they’re most interested in. That can kick off a more targeted campaign to each of those prospects anchored on those topics that you now know resonate with them.
Smarter, Faster, More Precise
But that is just the start. AI can also smarten the traditional advisor lead capture process by making it more meaningful for both advisor and client. Think about it as match.com for advisors and prospects alike.
Many advisors today are buying lists of leads to add to their funnels. Let’s face it, everyone is barking up the same tree and doing it in ways that are actually bringing the net effect for everyone down. As these same leads get hit with generic messaging from advisor after advisor they start to tune it all out and sour on the industry as a whole. That helps no one.
A better way for the advisor (and the client) is to discern a “best fit” recommendation effectively transforming “prospecting” to “matching”?
In Summary, prospecting today is a lot of “spray-and-pray”, inefficient and the outcomes for both advisors and their prospective clients are generally sub-optimal. The future of advisor-client relationships has already been somewhat defined by the templates set by other industries. It is now up to forward thinking firms to embrace and act on the challenge.
AI can help and it’s an opportunity that is ripe for the taking.