A Blog for Today’s Top Financial Advisors

Three Powerful Ways Thought Leadership Accelerates Your Success – Episode 24


  • You will maximize current client relationships using thought leadership.
  • Thought leadership will help you directly attract prospective clients.
  • Centers of influence will refer their clients to you based in part on your thought leadership.

Being a thought leader is increasingly becoming a requirement for wealth managers who want to build very successful practices serving high-net-worth clients.

As I’ve highlighted before, a financial advisor who is a true thought leader has two key traits:

  • The advisor is recognized by the affluent, the centers of influence who work with the affluent, and competitors as a leading financial authority—and as a result, is seen as the go-to expert.
  • The advisor profits significantly from being recognized as a thought leader/go-to expert.

Becoming a thought leader serves two powerful functions that will help you overcome the commoditization and competition challenges advisors face today:

You will be at the high end of the competence spectrum. Becoming a thought leader will make you state-of-the-art when it comes to understanding the financial solutions that are meaningful for wealthy clients and where to go to access these solutions.

You will have a professional brand that differentiates you. This translates into significantly more effective business development—higher retention rates, more opportunities to capture additional assets and more introductions to qualified prospective clients.


To really see the business-building power of thought leadership, consider the role it can play in the three most important areas of business development: maximizing current client relationships, attracting affluent prospective clients and garnering referrals from centers of influence.

1. Maximizing current client relationships. Your existing clients are great sources of continued and, ideally, additional business. A large part of retaining affluent clients is meeting—and preferably exceeding—their expectations. But even when you do an exceptional job, wealthy clients can still question whether you are the best possible advisor for them.

Being a thought leader positions you as the leading authority and reinforces and strengthens your relationships with these clients. That will help you retain clients, and also can result in new business in two distinct ways:

  • Additional assets to manage. When clients see you as the leading authority in your area, they will be more inclined to provide you with additional assets to manage.
  • Introductions to qualified prospective clients. It is much easier for clients to refer someone to you when they are completely confident in your abilities. Your perceived expertise as a thought leader will reduce the potential risk, in the client’s eyes, of providing a referral that may not work out.

2. Attracting affluent prospective clients. The wealthy almost universally prefer working with thought leaders. There are four factors that are typically important when affluent prospective clients decide on wealth managers. All factors strongly favor thought leaders.

  • The complexity of financial services and products. The more complicated and involved the offerings, the more often wealthy prospective clients will be inclined to turn to recognized experts.
  • The intangibility of financial services and products. The harder it is to directly evaluate and compare offerings, the more appealing thought leaders become.
  • The level of embedded risks to the wealthy prospective client. The more detrimental and adverse choosing the wrong wealth manager can be, the more effort affluent prospective clients will make to find what they would define as the best wealth managers.

There is no question that affluent individuals take professional brands into account when selecting their wealth managers. By becoming a thought leader, you will dramatically improve your ability to source new high-net-worth prospects and convert them into clients.

3. Garnering referrals from centers of influence. Clients frequently rely on the opinions of their professional advisors, such as attorneys and accountants, when choosing a wealth manager. And to whom do these centers of influence prefer to introduce their affluent clients?


Making introductions to wealth managers can be a high-risk endeavor for centers of influence. If the referral does not work out well, the credibility and judgment of the center of influence come into question. But making an introduction to a thought leader dramatically mitigates that risk and makes it easier for centers of influence to refer their wealthy clients to you, for reasons that include:

  • Validation of your expertise. The fact that centers of influence can point to your stature and standing because you are a thought leader enables them to comfortably and confidently recommend you to their clients.
  • Easier communication of your expertise. When making introductions, centers of influence are commonly unpracticed at presenting the case for you and your wealth management solutions. Enabling centers of influence to leverage your high-value thought leadership content can eliminate this problem.

Ultimately, thought leadership acts like a magnet that keeps existing clients close and pulls new clients and referral sources to you. It’s powerful stuff!



To download a transcript of this episode, click here.

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