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8 Steps to Recruit Right Fit Advisors and Grow Your Practice

As a financial advisor practice ready to expand, you know that “right fit” advisors joining your team can take your business to the next level.

High performing advisors can be transformational in growing your practice, but finding the right people can be difficult and even feel overwhelming at times.

You want candidates who can do it all:

  • Top achievers who integrate seamlessly into your culture
  • Flexible individuals who embrace change and effortlessly adjust to a new way of doing things
  • Expert communicators with healthy books of business ripe for successful client transition

The tricky thing is, it’s not just about knowing how to discover these “unicorns” of the industry. The best advisors need to see your practice as a desirable destination, worthy of their talents and aligned with their career goals.

How can you successfully attract “right fit” advisors and recruit them to join your practice?

Financial advisor talent management companies have sprung up all over the internet trying to tackle this challenge, but matching advisors and practices based on generic questionnaires cannot adequately address all the nuances of the process.

Our Recommendation

Based on our years of experience, financial advisor practices should start first with an internal process of self-reflection. A comprehensive review of your practice’s own culture and brand will not only allow you to better articulate your merit to prospective high performing advisors in the field, it will give you a better sense of what exactly you are looking for in a new team member. Once you’ve examined and clearly defined your practice’s core values and beliefs, you can leverage your new found sense of identity to attract and recruit top-level advisors who align with the future of your business.

Attract and recruit “right fit” advisors to your practice following these eight steps below:

1. Define your culture and core values.

How would advisors and other employees in your practice respond if they were asked to describe your company culture? Would they be able to articulate the unique character and personality of your organization? Do your employees know your core values, and can they explain how these values shape the attitudes, beliefs, traditions, and behaviors of your workplace?

If you want to end up with right fit advisors who can successfully grow your practice into the future, you need to start with an introspective deep dive into what makes your business operate on a day to day basis.

For example, it is worth reviewing your overall approach to providing financial advice and assessing the level of pressure put on advisors to finalize a sale. An emphasis on lofty sales goals tied to defined rewards will heavily influence the way advisors view their interaction with clients, both current and prospective. A practice which incentivizes other aspects of providing advice will encourage employees to look at things differently. One can argue for the pros and cons of these differing approaches, but the real point here is being able to conduct this type of analysis for all the ins and outs of your practice. Get to know yourself and what you believe first, and you will have a much better understanding of which prospective advisors align with your approach moving forward.

As part of the internal analysis of your culture and core values, it is vitally important to document your findings! Chronicle your work as a foundational document that you can keep coming back to again and again. Reference your core values constantly and consistently with your employees, and point back to your document when making decisions about the future growth of your practice. This work is critically important not only to a search for prospective right fit advisors, but to your success as a practice overall.

Pro Tip: 
To begin the process of self-reflection and introspection about your practice’s culture, start with your current mission, vision, and any value/belief statements. Collaborate with a trusted leadership team to thoroughly analyze those statements through the lens of major decisions made and policies enacted over the last few years.

Do your current mission and vision statements reflect what is actually happening throughout your business? Do your advisors and other employees give witness to your core values and beliefs in the way they interact with clients and one another?

If the answer to either of these questions is in the negative, it’s time to discern your next steps. Perhaps the recent decisions and policies are reflective of where you want to take your business, and your mission, vision, and value statements should be revised. If the mission, vision, and value statements are more aligned to your company’s future and recent actions do not reflect these statements, it’s time to figure out how to recalibrate moving forward.

Need help talking through how to work through this process? Let’s talk it through.

2. Clarify and unify your messaging strategy.

Once you’ve defined and documented your culture and core values, it’s time to clarify and unify your messaging strategy.

Words are very important. The way you articulate who you are and what you do should be crisp, clear, and consistent across all parts of your business. A compelling message showcasing your unique culture needs to be apparent in all external-facing communications, including your website, social media presence, branding and logos, and employee-to-client conversations. This includes employment advertisements and all recruiting materials.

We’ve observed a multitude of benefits when financial advisor practices develop a clear and unified approach to messaging, especially when it comes to attracting and recruiting prospective advisors. A practice with great messaging is incredibly attractive to high performers who may be interested in a potential transition. Learn more about how to leverage that message with digital marketing below in step #6. Additionally, a clear presentation of your practice’s culture and core values establishes exactly what you would be looking for in a new employee. Only advisors who believe they are aligned with your approach will be truly interested, and the likelihood that a match will happen increases substantially.

Pro Tip:
Looking for ways to dig down deep into defining your culture and core values as well as clarifying, simplifying, and unifying your messaging strategy? We recommend using a tool like StoryBrand. Want to learn more?

3. Prioritize the desired attributes of a new team member.

Rolling up your sleeves and thoroughly analyzing your practice’s culture and core values is truly hard work, but the fruits of your labor start to be realized with this next step. Now that you have a much better understanding of who you are, what you are all about, and where you want to go with your practice, we can shift the focus to recruiting the right people.

When thinking about prospective advisors, it is best to create a list and prioritize which attributes would be best in hiring a new team member. Based on your unique culture, what personality traits are you looking for? Which work habits and other attributes are most important for an advisor in being able to fully contribute to your practice’s growth trajectory? Sometimes it’s not always about finding traits and characteristics that are similar to the other advisors in your practice. You may have identified specific areas for growth or deficiencies as part of your internal review. If this is the case, you may consider prioritizing attributes that fill in those gaps and really elevate your practice to the next level from an operational standpoint.

If you are having trouble getting started, sometimes it can help to start with the negative: list attributes of advisors that definitely would not work. Prioritize these attributes on a negative scale and work with your leadership team to try to explain why these different traits would not be aligned with your practice’s future. Through this discussion, the positive traits you are looking for will become much more apparent to your team.

Once you’ve prioritized a list of these attributes, make sure you update your messaging and any employment materials to capture these characteristics.

Pro Tip:
You may consider having your current team of advisors and prospective advisors each take a PRINT profile. The PRINT inventory reveals conscious and unconscious motivators for each participant and can be invaluable in determining how new team members will integrate with current employees.

4. Embrace the perspective of a right fit advisor. “What’s in it for me?”

Following the steps above, you’ve developed a pretty clear picture of who you are looking for in a new advisor. Attract those right fit advisors to your practice by making their perspective your main focus as you start the recruiting process. Put yourself in their shoes.

We all know compensation is important, but a high performing advisor considering transitioning to your practice is going to base the decision on a multitude of factors.

Think about what else they may gain in agreeing to sign with your team. From their perspective, they are asking the question “What else is in it for me?”

Consider the following:

  • Does your practice potentially provide more room for the advisor to grow than their current situation?
  • Do you have a flexible workspace?
  • What does your broker dealer or RIA provide that the advisor may not have currently?
  • Does your practice give the advisor access to more robust resources?
  • Will new advisors have the opportunity to help develop a larger team or give input on something more significant than what they do now?
  • Do you offer career pathing within your firm?
  • What else does your practice offer that gives you a great sense of pride and may attract a new right fit advisor?

It’s about crafting a sales pitch that incorporates everything an advisor may be looking for in a new practice. All of your business’ tangible and intangible benefits should be clearly presented to peak the interest of top level advisors in the industry, including your compensation structure.

Speaking of compensation, we know that each firm’s structure can be different. When you start the conversation with a prospective advisor, it’s important to make your practice's structure as easy as possible to understand. This includes clarifying how the entire compensation package works, from health benefits to retirement.

Again, messaging here is vitally important to your practice’s successful recruitment. Once you determine all that an advisor would gain by joining your practice, make sure that opportunity statements and employment announcements clearly outline all of these positive factors. All postings should be focused on what is in it for the advisor, versus what is in it for your practice. This is easier said than done - just think of all the opportunity statements you’ve seen that start with “As a practice, here’s what we need as an advisor” instead of “As an advisor, here’s what you are looking for in our practice.”

Pro Tip:
What does your team offer in comparison to what is being offered across the marketplace for prospective advisors? It’s crucial to understand the landscape in order to be taken seriously by the best in the business.

5. Acknowledge potential issues with transparency.

Your discussions with potential right fit advisors should be candid and address any elephants in the room with transparency. If you know there are common misperceptions about your practice or broker dealer relationship, it’s best to just come out and say it. For example, the advisor may associate your practice with a certain compensation number or believe that a connected broker dealer forces your practice to sell certain products. Be ready to set the record straight if it’s not true, and have an explanation if the perceptions are true.

Sometimes the advisor’s perception of your practice is not as evident. You can bring any issues to light in your discussion by asking the right questions.

Consider asking:

  • What have you heard about our practice?
  • What have you heard about our broker dealer?
  • What didn't you like about what you've heard in the past?
  • What would be your greatest concern about joining a team like ours?

A forthright conversation with a prospective advisor builds trust and gives the advisor confidence that he or she has all the information in the decision making process. With all of the potential issues acknowledged, any next steps in the process will be much more fruitful.

6. Leverage digital marketing to attract top talent.

Gone are the days of “cold calling” to try to convince someone to take a meeting. We are living in a digital era where financial advisor practices have tremendous potential to share their unique offerings with clients and prospective advisors. Learn how to leverage digital marketing strategies to communicate your story, and you will put yourself in the driver’s seat to attract the top talent in the industry.

A Welcoming Presence on your Website

Try to look at your website from a variety of different perspectives. Is it functional and navigable for current clients? Does it clearly state who you are and what you do in a compelling way to attract new clients? Consider too how your website content welcomes prospective advisors and provides information for those that may be open to teaming with you or selling to your practice.

Purposeful Digital Content

Your digital content should be reflective of your overall messaging strategy (explained in step #2 above) and fully convey the purpose you serve in a current or new client’s life. Make sure your content demonstrates how the client will thrive in partnership with your practice. Strong messaging with intentionality appeals to advisors looking for a new firm and helps alleviate any possible concerns about joining the wrong team.

Interactive Digital Content

Help clients and prospective advisors alike learn about your practice through a variety of different formats and modalities. While some prefer to read and peruse through written content, others would rather listen and watch. Create and share content that covers the broad spectrum of learning styles.

When it comes to prospective advisors, you should strive to provide them the ability to self-discover all the ways that your practice could make their lives better. Remember, you should design content from the perspective of the advisor, “What’s in it for me?” Through intentional and interactive digital content, you can showcase all the ways they would be lucky to become part of your team.

Transparency and Clarity

We’ve seen it time and time again. A practice spends months trying to find someone to join their practice without fully thinking through exactly what would be offered to a new advisor. Make sure you have a well designed set of offer packages based on predetermined criteria at the beginning. This will allow you to create digital content that is clear and transparent about what you can offer when you find your right fit advisor.

Use Automation to Maintain Relationships

Once a prospective advisor has expressed interest in your practice, set up an automated follow up campaign that will continue to educate them on who you are and what you do in a compelling way. Set a timeline to periodically check in with them and gauge their thoughts on the possibility of transitioning to your practice. By using digital automation, you can create a healthy pipeline of talent and put yourself in a position to grow into the future.

If you need help with building automated follow ups, we’d love to help- get in touch!

7. Be bold and engage your network.

Your financial advisor network is one of the best ways to recruit top level talent to your practice and take your business to the next level. Is there anyone in your network who you believe would be a good fit with what you are looking for in a new team member? Do you have anyone in the industry you admire? Do you know someone who is doing something innovative and cutting edge with their book of business, technology, or digital marketing?

Be bold and don’t be afraid to reach out! You can engage someone by starting with a compliment about a quality you believe would make them a great fit for your practice. You can start with a direct outreach via social media or even a simple introductory phone call. Remember to weave in your simplified compelling message from step #2 above. Some of the most successful advisor partnerships have been formed by a previous career relationship and staying in touch throughout the years.

8. Build your business into the future with the right firm.

If you find yourself unable to attract and successfully recruit right fit advisors to your practice time and time again, you might be in the wrong firm yourself. It takes the right practice coupled with the right firm to create a winning combination in attracting top level advisors to join your team.

Conclusion

Finding the right people to grow your financial advisor practice is not as simple as throwing your name in a hat and hoping that a right fit advisor comes along. You need to be intentional and strategic throughout the recruiting process. A thorough self-analysis, while challenging, is the key for fully understanding which advisors will be successful at your practice and what value you can offer them. Leveraging digital marketing strategies and engaging these potential right fit advisors with clear messaging puts you in the best possible position to entice them to join your team.

Are you interested in learning more about using digital marketing to attract talent? Need help defining your core values or clarifying your messaging? Or just want to brainstorm how to implement some of the steps above? Sign up for a free 1:1 consultation with one of our experts.

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