In our weekly newsletter, top advisor Peter Rohr discusses how he built his business by adapting a "beehive mentality." Rohr provided service for firms (the hive) which then allowed him access to its employees (the bees.) While this may not be a strategy for every advisor, it does show the value in tapping into self-contained networks. Most of us live in tidy, hive-like networks — professional, social, cultural geographic, etc. Having a client, for instance, who is a chief resident at a hospital opens the door to dozens of his or her professional associates. This is a tried and true strategy that has dozens of variations. You may specialize in divorcées, athletes, doctors, small business owners, astronauts, etc — and have effortlessly rolled up business through word of mouth for years (and found yourself on our rankings in the process).
The effectiveness of this word of mouth marketing has made many advisors justifiably skeptical of any and all external marketing. Why spend money trying to attract high net worth clients "off the street", when it's much easier to sit back and let clients do the work for you? That said, the value of any new "off the street" client isn't just his or her individual account, its the aggregate potential value of the associated social/professional network. So while its is often difficult to justify marketing spend in the short term, if you take a longer term view, the potential upside — especially when your clientele are high net- and ultra high net-worth — almost always justifies the spend, when you consider the potential upside of finding a new "hive."
The graphic above is a social network map developed by the CDC as a theoretical model for flu outbreaks. Most advisors are content to stay in the central node, cultivating contacts within their social networks. They are however missing out on a much larger potential gain by ignoring new networks — be it doctors or opera singers. Advisors who can cultivate relationships with multiple social networks can supersize their practices.
Starting this week, we will be building out a new, improved advisor finder tool. While the FA map was great, the next iteration will allow visitors to delve deeper and create more accurate lists of advisors. The matching tool will show a list of all advisors sorted by geography and minimum account size. Visitors can whittle down this list by selecting from a set of filters.
We will be testing this and gathering feedback in the next two months. Our goal is to launch it by March.
The next issue of the directory will run Dec 2 in Barron's and the following week in WSJ. The theme is talking to your children about money. We'd like your input into topics for the upcoming February and May issues. If you have suggestions for what theme(s) we should focus on, email firstname.lastname@example.org
Barron's is making a few tweaks the homepage to make the rankings and advisor directory more visible to Barron's readers. In two weeks the "advisor" module will now be "above the fold" – the term for content that doesn't require any scrolling. It is your direct input that helped sell this change to the development team, so keep the feedback flowing.
The Hall of Fame is online. To see the full list visit: barrons.com/hall. The good news is that we've added this honor to your page for any visitors. Please let me know if we missed toggling this listing on your page and congrats.
Everyone cares about ROI, but once in a while you get to do well by doing good. You may have seen our article in the May Directory on teacher annuities. The crusaders featured in the article, Tony and Dina Isola have credited it with helping jumpstart an investigation by the New York Department of Financial Services. Click here for the WSJ article.
Many of you are print traditionalists. But, we're pushing hard to upgrade our rankings online to expand the impact of our lists beyond the traditional readership. We've made some small improvements to rankings so it's easier for a serious investor to compile prospects across lists. We will be adding some new copy to flesh out these pages for visitors and make it easier to get to the rankings from the barrons.com homepage.