Let’s face it, an advisor’s business is only as strong as the client base. That doesn’t necessarily mean assets under management, but more to the strength of the relationship and income derived from clients. It is becoming more and more challenging every day to achieve business growth. This is why we are seeing consolidation amongst practices. Consumers are becoming increasingly educated about their finances. The traditional means of gathering new clients are becoming squeezed. The good news is that business growth is right under your nose. You don’t have to look far to capitalize on an often-misunderstood area of an advisors’ practice. Estate planning is the greatest growth opportunity for advisors today.
While we read a lot about the greatest wealth transfer of our time, do we really know what that means? First and foremost, wealth transfer only occurs in one way…estate planning. Estate planning is the only facilitator of wealth transfer. The challenge for advisors has always come down to a couple factors. One, understanding the complexities of estate planning can be difficult. Two, understanding how to get paid can be tough to figure out. The consensus becomes is it even worth it, and it is better to just hand it off to an attorney. Advisors comprehend the fact that no matter how much planning you do, eventually you will need legal documents and you must involve an attorney. Lastly and certainly equally important is how do you differentiate planning from legal advice?
The good news is that it is not as complex as it may seem. The better news is that in a technological age, estate technology software can facilitate the process of keeping the advisor in control while providing a better experience. Estate planning always starts with an open and honest conversation. It is the one element of planning that is not necessarily quantitative but more centered around the human element and family life. Discovery questions, identifying key personnel, understanding a client’s legacy plan and other elements of the data gathering process is not providing legal advice, it is what advisors should do. The human element of planning is what opens the door to growth.
Here is the example of when the human element of planning resulted in $1.5 million-dollar organic growth for an advisor friend of mine. The story to the client began as an experience that the advisor was sharing. A client of his, who also was an executor of a trust went through a nightmare scenario of not being able to locate items in the estate. The story hit the nerve of the client he was telling this to and subtly the client said, “I am the executor of my dad’s estate and I have no idea where or what he has.” The advisor offered to merely organize the estate for his father. A half year later his father passed and with the assistance of the advisor they were able to settle the estate easily. The advisor not only was able to manage the additional assets passed on but gained the sister as a client and ultimately an additional $1.5 million dollar of assets under management. All it took was organizing his father’s life.
These opportunities exist everywhere within an advisor’s book. Organic growth through estate planning is only a meeting away. However, there is an additional wealth transfer from friends and family, so strengthening your estate planning services can lead to new clients and stronger relationships. All it takes is a relatable story, a human conversation and you can be on your way to new business growth.
Start with an overview of your book, find those who you haven’t conversed with about estate planning, those who don’t have a plan or someone whom you just haven’t revisited it in a while. Business growth is right under your nose.