It turns out that old-fashioned calls for referrals still work best for advisors looking to build their books, but some forms of social media prospecting have started delivering real returns on the time invested.
According to the Advisors Trusted Advisor's latest survey, getting a lead from a client or fellow professional is still the most successful way to generate new clients, while hosting a seminar or other networking event is still the most popular.
The gap between "successful" and "popular" is interesting in itself, and points to the age-old notion that advisors love to throw a party even if it fails to deliver much immediate business impact -- and yet hate to ask existing clients the single most important question to build a business.
"Do you know anyone who may need an advisor that delivers the same service that I give you?"
The gap also emerges in the data on social media. Formerly hated as a gimmick in many firms, platforms like Facebook are still wildly unpopular -- tied with cold calling -- as a marketing channel. But LinkedIn is becoming relatively popular, with use doubling off a low base over the last year.
Unfortunately, ATA is staying cagey for awhile on whether social media actually work to bring in new clients. If it turns out that it doesn't, then all the bells and whistles in the world may be just another form of throwing a party.