A curious phenomenon persists in wealth management: the near absence of dedicated sales teams within RIAs. While other B2B and B2C organizations boast dynamic sales structures, RIAs often stick to a DIY approach, relying on referrals, organic growth and perhaps a friendly nudge from the executive team.
This begs the question: In an increasingly competitive environment, can RIAs afford to ignore the potential of a well-oiled sales engine?
Why Financial Advisors Aren’t Your Sales Team
The reluctance to embrace a traditional sales structure stems from a fundamental misunderstanding of the RIA landscape. Financial advisors excel at relationship building and client management, meticulously nurturing trust and navigating the complexities of individual needs. These skills, while invaluable, often diverge from the hunter-gatherer mentality of a sales team.
In fact, financial advisors don’t have much time on their hands because they’re dealing with existing clients, and typically the compensation model is not designed to incentivize them to spend time trying to get new clients.
This mismatch in priorities and incentives can lead to suboptimal results when an advisor tries to take a sales role.
The Power Of A Dedicated Sales Force
So, why should RIAs reconsider their stance on dedicated sales teams? The answer lies in the potent cocktail of efficiency, focus and expertise that such teams offer.
Here’s how a well-structured sales team can turbocharge your growth:
Targeted acquisition: A sales team allows for laser-focused targeting. They can identify specific advisor niches, demographics or client profiles, tailoring their approach to resonate with each audience.
Enhanced conversion rates: A dedicated sales team can significantly improve conversion rates. From expertly navigating the sales funnel to handling due diligence and overcoming objections, they can turn lukewarm prospects into loyal clients.
Competitive edge: In a fiercely contested market, a high-performing sales engine can give your RIA a distinct advantage. By proactively reaching out and building relationships, your team can ensure your voice is heard above the noise.
Efficiency and scalability: Offloading sales responsibilities from advisors and executives frees them to focus on their core strengths, nurturing relationships and boosting productivity.
Ethical Sales In The RIA World
While the potential benefits are undeniable, RIAs must navigate the regulatory landscape with utmost care. It’s crucial to remember that sales within the financial services industry are bound by strict ethical and fiduciary principles. Transparency, client-centricity and regulatory compliance must be at the forefront of every interaction.
This is where the careful selection and training of your sales team becomes paramount. Look for individuals with a deep understanding of the RIA space and a commitment to ethical practices. Invest in comprehensive training programs that equip them to operate within the regulatory framework while nurturing genuine connections with potential clients and advisors.
The Future Of RIA Growth: Embracing The Power Of Sales
The absence of traditional sales teams was once a defining characteristic of the RIA market. However, with growing competition and shifting client demands, relying solely on organic growth or existing relationships is no longer enough. RIAs need to diversify their approach, exploring strategic partnerships, innovative marketing and even talent acquisition to secure their future success.
By embracing the potential of a dedicated sales team, built with the right expertise and commitment to ethical practices, RIAs can unlock new avenues for growth, attract top talent, and secure their place in the ever-expanding world of wealth management.
The key is not to turn your advisors into salespeople, but to empower them by equipping them with a dedicated team that can handle the crucial sales function, allowing them to focus on what they do best: building lasting relationships and providing exceptional service to their clients.
Kyle Hiatt is Partner, Head of Sales Consulting at Intention.ly.