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Modern Business Development Strategies with Kristin Andree

In this episode of The Resilient Advisor Show, Jay Coulter interviews Kristin Andre, an expert in business development in the financial services industry. They discuss various aspects of philosophy and strategies around business development today. This includes her take on uniqueness, target markets, client acquisition strategies, digital marketing, client engagement, and client retention. Kristin also introduces the Advisor Academy, a program that helps financial advisors develop their business strategies. The key takeaway is to know your target market, find your unique value proposition, and engage and retain your clients through strategic and personalized approaches.

Learn about The Academy For Financial Advisors:

Chapters & Topics

00:00 Introduction and Background

01:57 Starting with Uniqueness and Target Market

04:11 Approaching Business Development

08:02 Client Acquisition Strategies

09:52 Digital Marketing in Client Acquisition

13:07 Introduction to the Advisor Academy

14:34 Client Engagement Strategies

19:43 Virtual Meetings and Relationship Building

20:49 Final Advice for Financial Advisors


Jay Coulter (00:00.046)

One of the biggest challenges facing financial advisors is business development. From building a framework to executing on a strategy, it can be incredibly difficult to navigate. On this episode, I'm going to interview Kristin Andre, who's an expert at business development in financial services. We're going to discuss everything from her business tactics around business development and strategy for execution.

This is the Resilient Advisor Show with Jay Coulter.

Jay Coulter (00:35.118)

Kristen, welcome back to the Resilient Advisor podcast. Thanks for having me, Jay. I'm excited to be back. Well, our first interview was so bad. In fact, I should probably pull up some B -roll from it. No, we should not. We definitely should not. Well, and the reason it was bad is podcasting was new and the technology I had was awful. You now have since then launched a popular podcast, become very, very proficient on social media yourself.

and we are going to be able to put together a much better deliverable today around business development. Would you mind starting telling viewers and listeners a little bit about your background?

Yeah, absolutely. So again, thanks for having me. Yes, and that was way long ago back when we were, it was, we'll blame the technology. So it, technology is so important. And I think when I started, my background is I'm a recovering advisor. So I was a financial advisor and a managing director with a very large company.

loved the career, thought it was amazing, did well at it, but it just wasn't where my heart was. I love developing other advisors. So in 2009, I stepped down and launched a coaching consulting firm. So I've done that ever since and coached some of the world's the world's say not worlds nations top advisors around business strategies and scaling. So recovering advisor turned advisors advisor. Well, given your business, obviously you have a wide lens into what we're going to talk about today.

Where do you start when you think about business development when you're coaching an advisor? You know, I start even further back than people would think, because typically people immediately start with what are the business development strategies we should use. I go further back. So I start with two things. One, what makes them unique? So I call it your unicifier. Each advisor has something that they do differently than everyone else out there. That's really where I start is what's gonna be different about you than...

everyone out there because one of the things I've found is most advisors are using the same jargon, the same stuff, the same strategies. And to the public, it's just weird. I think that's what scares people away. So I start with what makes them unique. They're unique a fire. And the next thing is really truly, truly understanding who it is they want to work with. Cause not everybody's the same there too. I think we've painted it with too broad of a brush and we just immediately start with business development strategies without.

Jay Coulter (02:55.982)

looking at those two things, what makes you unique and who your people are. We could do a podcast on each one of those topics and go deep. I do wanna ask you a follow up on the Unique -A -Fire. You know, strategic coach calls it Unique -Ability. I've seen other programs come up with something similar and the whole idea is to get the client, the advisor to think through why they're different, how they're different. How do you start that with somebody?

You know, I typically start by asking them, say, tell me what makes you different. And the reason I'd, and I never get the right answer there, but the reason I start there is because that, what they say is very telling, not just to me, but to them, because typically the first response is going to be what I hear from everyone else. So there are certain phrases that I know they're going to be in there. They're going to say holistic. They're going to say comprehensive.

And while that may be very true and very important to the clients, it's not going to make you unique. It's going to cause people to blend in with all the other advisors out there. So I wanna go a little deeper. So I asked that question, then we just drill down. And most of the time it's about them or about their market and not about the companies, the services, the products. And that's where I think people get a little off. They try to go to, here's what makes my company different or.

you know, the products they're doing, but it's it's usually not that. The do sheary holistic wealth manager. I forgot to grow fiduciary in there too. That's another one. I just saw a new website that is not a client of mine, but somebody had developed and the web company had published the website said, here's a new website we develop. And it was beautiful. But the whole thing was about fiduciary. And I'm like, if you're not in this industry,

people don't really understand it and it doesn't let them connect with you and the prospects on a deeper level. I tell you a tool that I've been using is the story brand framework. Are you familiar with that? Absolutely. Yes. Yes. Donald Miller is amazing. Yeah. It's such a fruitful exercise even for folks who have a brand that's kind of honed in just because it gets them thinking about what you teach, what's your unique value prop and then how to frame it in a way that your clients care about as opposed to you.

Jay Coulter (05:09.678)

Absolutely, it's so important. And I think that's what we try to make it about us as the advisor, way more than the clients and that needs to flip. Yeah, yeah. I tell you on a side note with Storybrand, the resilient advisor website used to be a big old picture of me talk about narcissism. And everything is about what I do and how I can help. And after going through Storybrand several years ago, like there's none of that. It made all the difference in the world. It was amazing how just flipping the script can change your marketing in the marketplace.

That's true. Absolutely true. All right. So after they you've gone through an exercise where you figured out their unique value proposition, then you hone in on what their target market or niche would be. How do you approach that? You know, I have a phrase I use a lot and this really encapsulates everything I do from a coaching consulting standpoint. It's very simple. It's easy to remember. It's know your people, find your people, love them hard. So knowing them is really about.

that target marketing going deeper and we go in order. So you got to know yourself, know your unicifier, what makes you different. Then it's knowing, finding and loving your people, your target market. So knowing them, that's the next step is what is it about your market? And when I talk with advisors and say, tell me your target market, they're so general. They're like, I work with business owners or I work with physicians, which those are great target markets, but it doesn't tell me enough to know how to approach them or to know what's really important to them.

So that's really the first place we start is truly getting to know them. Demographics, psychographics, where they hang out, what makes them tick, all that. All right, Kristin, on the next show we do together, that's what we need to go deep on. That's one of the most common questions I get in the marketplace. I'm sure that's your experience as well. It is, and what's funny is, I would say most every time, so for the advisors listening, I want you to go, especially if you're with a large company, go back to your company, look at all the marketing materials they have.

and you're going to find something that says what keeps you up at night. It's a question advisors ask a lot. I've heard advisors, I was taught to ask it, but here's where I challenge my clients and challenge you guys listening is if you truly knew your market, you understood them on a deep level, you knew what make them tick, you would never ask that question because you'd already know the answer. The minute you know the answer to the what keeps you up question about your ideal client,

Jay Coulter (07:33.646)

then business development gets way easier because you know exactly how to approach them, how to connect with them, how to engage. I love that framework, the what keeps you up at night question, which is a great dovetail in what's next after you've identified your unique ability, your unicifier, and you know your target market. How do you approach client acquisition? This is the fun part. And what's funny is it was the oaky part when I started as an advisor. I don't know about you, but...

The way we were taught is just, it's almost archaic and it works, but it's just usually yucky for a lot of people. So I was taught when I came in the business, it was very much about referrals, about introductions, referrals, friends and family, all that. For most advisors, that just doesn't come natural. Even if you're not a salesperson, whatever, it doesn't come natural to always be hounding friends and family or asking that dreaded, who do you know question. And.

For me, business development isn't about that. It's about who are my people and where am I gonna find them? It's about truly finding your people. And while the referral ask is still a great strategy, it's one of about a dozen that we teach. And I think the next step we go with business development is which strategy fits you, your practice, your market. And it's different for every single advisor out there. I love it.

I started cold calling in a Dean Witter bullpen in the nineties. 500 dials a bullpen. You talk about miserable. Yeah. Yeah. I don't, I'm not, I typically don't work with people that cold call if it's, if it's the model that they like, it's, it's usually not the type of advisor I'm working with, but it, that would be brutal. I would, I would hate the passion, but there's so many other ways to do it that are just more effective. Well, keep in mind that was 25 years ago.

before we had all the other avenues that we have today, including digital marketing, how does digital fit into your client acquisition framework when you work with it? Love it, love it, love it. I'm all about the digital marketing. I think it's a great enhancement. So it can be when I think of how to find clients, client acquisition, finding your people, I lump it into short game and long game. So a lot of advisors are only focused on the short game of getting clients of acquiring clients, it's

Jay Coulter (09:52.557)

let me ask right now, let me make a call, let me do this. But there's a long game component to it too, and that's where digital marketing can really be beneficial. And the long game is getting your name out there, getting your brand out there, providing your target market with information they need. And it doesn't always have to be financial related. If you know what keeps them up at night, you can speak to those things digitally.

So I think just having a, I mean, you do that a ton with having, you know, advisor TV and everything you have, people start to relate to you as like, this is someone who can help me that understands me, that gets me. And that's where digital marketing can be a game changer in the client acquisition space. But advisors aren't leveraging it as much. They're trying to do play all short game. And it's a balance between the two. So the folks that are playing the long game, let's go deep on this a little bit. I know that they're getting great results.

Why do you think the advisors who are hesitant to start playing that long game, what's holding them back? So I would say there's there's two things that I don't think they're they're real. But there are two reasons I hear one is compliance, you know, compliance won't let us do it. My company won't let us do it. Here's the thing. Most companies are going to let you do things on digital, you just have to know the rules. Now, you got to follow them. It is what it is.

but the rules aren't that ridiculous. They're like, don't make misleading statements. Don't, you know, don't start talking about who your clients are, all that type of stuff. They're straightforward. Most companies will work with you to develop stuff. I've written content for a lot of our private clients. We just have to get it through compliance and it's not hard to do. So I think compliance is one. So my advice there, if that's your excuse, then figure out what the rules are and how you can do it within those rules. The second thing I think goes back to the, the,

the timeframe. A lot of advisors want that immediate gratification. And when I start working with an advisor, I typically say, look, my goal is 18 months from now, you're not beating your clients and friends and family over the head to introduce you to people. It's going, but it's not tomorrow. Like if I do a digital strategy with somebody or a podcasting or article strategy with somebody, it's gonna take a minute to get some traction, to get a following. And if you can wait that out,

Jay Coulter (12:10.669)

the results like you said are amazing. But a lot of advisors get a little bit too antsy and impatient and want it tomorrow. Our mutual friend Matt Halloran over at Proud Mouth says compliance is just an excuse. And he's right. Right? Yeah. Well, that's always right. You know that we love us some mad. So but it's true. I mean, compliance, the rules, the rules make sense. They really do. They're to protect the public. You know, when I was still practicing, I was buddies with the compliance officer.

because I knew I'd have to ask a lot of questions. I knew I would want to get things done, but they're there to help you in most cases. Yep, that's right. All right. So we want to touch on client engagement and client retention. But before we get to that part, you have a new offering coming to the marketplace called the Advisor Academy. Could you tell listeners and viewers a little bit about it? I am. my gosh, Jay, I'm so excited about this Academy. We did we did a launch with a test group earlier and the feedback we got is amazing.

Here's what the advisor Academy is. We're going deep into everything we're talking about. So we talk with knowing yourself and your unicifier, and then we dive in and know your people, find your people, love them hard. So all of your target marketing, going really deep, understanding them, knowing where they are, how to attract them. We go through all 12 of our client engagement or client attraction strategies, all of them. And then at the end of the Academy, we talk about how to engage your clients and retain them once you keep them.

And then so you leave after it's a six week self paced program with coaching involved. And after that, you've got your plan as to how to execute. So it's, it's something that was needed. You know, our private clients get it privately as I know you, you do tons of consulting work, but not everybody needs or can do one -on -one type of coaching or consulting. So that's why we developed the Academy. It's, it's so excited. Where can folks learn more about it? The, the Academy for financial advisors .com.

on that or on our website, our group website. I know, how about that? The academy for financial advisors .com. Excellent. Let's talk about client engagement. Alright, so one thing to acquire clients is another thing to keep them and keep them engaged. What's your framework when you work with advisors and discussing this important issue? Yeah, I think it's huge. Because I mean, you know this, you and I've had this conversation, it's way harder to get a new client and work costly from a time and price perspective.

Jay Coulter (14:34.541)

than it is to retain it. So my framework is when we look at client engagement, we looked at both planned and spontaneous. So a lot of times people have planned and they think of it as I'm doing a client event once a year, but there's spontaneous engagement too. So on the spontaneous side, everything from just I thought about a client, I reached out to them or, I saw this article that I thought would be relevant, nothing to do with finance, I sent it to them. Reach out, so those are all the spontaneous. The planned,

is where there's a huge opportunity to be a little bit more strategic. Most of the advisors I talk with like, we do a client event once a year, and then I'll ask a little bit deeper questions. Well, what are you doing leading up to the event? And what's your follow -up and engagement after the event? They're like, we've never thought about that. So I get really detailed into everything's got a purpose, whether it's a event, client gifting, your communications. You know, it's not just enough to send out a...

e -newsletter once a month or a market commentary, you've got to go deeper and really engage people. So it's about being strategic and doing it in a way that fits your market and what they want to hear. One thing that I've taught for a long time is systematizing your client communication. And that shouldn't be just like you. That shouldn't be your only communication. Just a plug for a webinar I did with FPPathfinder only because everything from that is free.

is you take a tool like FPPathfinder or Ycharts, who I've done a lot of work with, and you can leverage these tools, whether it's financial planning with FPPathfinder or investments with Ycharts, and add some meat to those communications that aren't personal in nature. And if you systematize it, it really can help an advisor scale their practice. I completely agree. Like the ones you mentioned with FPPathfinder and Ycharts, they...

it's great. It's technical, you can use that information and get that out there and then supplement that with a little bit of your own stuff or personality things that fit to the market, you you've got to have both. And I think advisors frequently go to the technical or the financial piece, and they kind of forget the part that actually engages them around that. That's right, the stuff they actually care about. You're exactly right. But that's a great benefit, because then you're not having to create everything. Yep. Client retention. So

Jay Coulter (16:50.477)

In your framework, what's the difference between client engagement and client retention? Engagement is what you do to to deepen the relationship. I think it directly relates to retention, though it really will. So I feel like engagement is the process and retention is kind of the measurable to me. So I'm going to look at how much I'm retaining how many of my clients I'm retaining was my retention rate.

and then figure out what I need to do from an engagement standpoint to improve that if it's not already doing well. The retention piece is really just, it's an opportunity to evaluate how you're doing. And I think whether, you know, a lot of times people lose clients for reasons that are completely out of their control. You know, you're going to lose some clients, but the goal is to make sure you're engaging them enough where you don't lose anybody for reasons that are controlled.

Yeah. What one of my favorite questions to ask an advisor when they reach out and we're going through discovery to see if they'd be a good fit for one of our programs is what's your five year retention rate? And what percentage of folks do you think have an answer to that question? I was just gonna ask you what how many have knew it? I would say less than 20%. I've never had. Never had anybody that knew it. And most people don't. Yeah. And you would think that would be one of the you know, your growth rate.

And then your retention rate would be two of the KPIs that you'd really want to pay attention to. So once they start thinking in terms of retention, it really doves tail into everything that you teach. Yes. And it's so important. I mean, like I said, they're, I'm big on controlling the controllables, they're going to be things out of your control. But you know, if you have an advisor, for example, who is lose, the retention rates not great. And when we have, when we look at why, when we look at who left, we find that, it's the next gen. Okay, well, that's easy to fix.

Let's put in an engagement thing where you engage the next generation. I had an advisor, part of his engagement strategy, he did a retirement party every year for any of his clients who had successfully retired during the year, had a big party, he honored them and he invited their families. Most of the families he had met over the years, because he was very strategic about that, but it was a way to connect with that next generation. So when money does pass, you're not losing those assets. We can be fun.

Jay Coulter (19:13.837)

Yeah, that's right. And so I don't want to spend too much time on this topic, because you and I could go into a whole podcast on this. But I'm curious of your thoughts around the virtual space today, virtual meetings. And frankly, before 2020, I was against virtual meetings, it just didn't build relationships. I've kind of done a 180 on that. Where are you with virtual meetings today? Yeah, I'm you and our Gen Xers, Jay. So if I am a eyeball to eyeball, I don't like to say belly button, belly button.

I'm an in -person person, for me personally. But I think this goes back to knowing your market. So I do a ton of virtual meetings because most of my clients are not local. So I don't have the opportunity. I think where virtual meetings have its place is they are crazy efficient.

You can still build relationships online, on the phone, via Zoom, and it allows you to expand your practice nationwide or worldwide, if you will. But my advisors that we work with that have nationwide practice, they're doing everything virtual. A lot of them were before the pandemic too, but now the playing board's level, your clients are used to it. They know how to get on meetings. I think it's huge.

And at the same time, I do think there's an opportunity on the engagement piece to be face to face. So throw your meetings online, make those virtual, and then have some in -person events, fly out to see your top clients, and use the face to face opportunity as relationship building, not reviewing portfolios. So Kristen, final question. What is your number one piece of advice for financial advisors today?

good question, Jay. All right, so my number one piece of advice for financial advisors is my motto for business and life, know your people, find your people, love them hard. So knowing them is your target market. Get into really knowing them, demographics, psychographics, all the cool things. Finding your people, be strategic about how you're gonna attract them. Show up where they are and start to pull them in. And then once you get them, loving them hard has everything to do with engaging them and deepening you.

Jay Coulter (21:17.069)

deepening your relationship with them so they stay with you for the long haul. So know your people, find your people, love them hard. Kristen, before we wrap, any other parting thoughts or final advice for listeners? I think the biggest thing I would say is just remember the strategy. Know your people, find your people, love them hard. But above all, have some fun with it. The advice business is so needed in our world right now. People need you. But make it, make it.

approachable, make yourself approachable, make it fun for the clients you're taking through your process. And it will be a game changer in your ability to attract clients. Excellent. What's that URL again for the Academy? or the Academy for financial advisors .com. Both of them will get you there. Excellent. Kristin, thanks so much for coming back on. Absolutely. Thanks for having me.


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