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Advisors: What to Do in a Bull Market

There’s never been a better time to be a financial professional.

We love seeing advisors seize opportunities amidst favorable markets and new technology, but bull markets don’t last forever.

In the long term, markets don’t travel in a straight line, do they? Even with corrections, the markets have always found a way to go up again. We’re experiencing all-time highs, but the data shows that all-time highs typically lead to…more all-time highs.

According to Barry Ritholtz, not investing when something is at an all-time high is perhaps the worst investing advice anyone could ever give (or receive).

Bull Markets have multiple benefits: rosy investor outlooks, low fear and high greed. We believe there are some distinct strategies advisors can harness to better empower the world to invest fearlessly, and now’s the perfect time to implement them.

We can’t predict when the next bear market will hit, or how long it will last, but the current environment means that advisors can thrive, and clients can reap the benefits that this bull market has to offer.

Bull Market Benefits

Since March 9, 2009, the S&P 500 has advanced 320%, the Dow Jones Industrial Average has risen 286% and the Nasdaq has soared 521%. While every market experiences volatility and corrects itself, as healthy markets should, numbers don’t lie.

The current market, even with some dips in February, June, and August, still has great potential ahead. We’re on the cusp of the greatest transfer of wealth in history, totaling nearly 30 trillion in assets. Advisors that seize that potential will see decades of job security, through even the next bear and bull markets.

Happy Investors

It’s a running joke for many advisors: “Are investors ever really happy?” The punchline may be up for debate, but the point is that investors are more manageable when they’re not swallowing losses.

The key to happy investors is setting the right expectations, and this is where technology in the hands of talented advisors truly shines. Investors react to risk in the short term, and when advisors aren’t afraid to talk about risk, investors aren’t afraid to make the right decisions.

Happy investors know what is “normal” for their portfolio.

Low Fear

The big difference between bull and bear markets is the type of fear. As many advisors during the 2008 crisis can attest, investor panic is at much higher levels during a bear market. Volatility can still exist in a bull market, of course, and investors are emotional regardless of how well the market is doing, but fear can be managed with the right methodologies.

Empowering the world to invest fearlessly is the Nitrogen mission, and it’s a mission our advisors put into practice every day. Investors today are lower on the fear spectrum than they were 9 years ago when the markets were in freefall. Advisors that properly manage risk can harness human behavior in the long term.

High Greed

There is some fear in today’s market and it’s either: 1) the fear of the bull market ending or 2) the fear of missing out. The fear and greed spectrums go hand-in-hand, and right now investors are more inclined than ever to participate in the market.

The fear and greed index has been in the green over the past year, and times of correction are a busy time for value investors. But truthfully, anytime should be a good time to buy.

Looking at over 100 years of data on the Dow going back to 1915 shows that stocks have had 1,252 highs, which works out to an average of about 12 new highs every year. Assuming the average investor is in the markets for 40 years, that would be almost 500 highs in a lifetime of investing in stocks.

With labor participation rates holding steady, greed tracking so highly, and data showing that long-term investing has always paid off, now is a great time to invest aggressively. Gathering assets and growing your book of business will never be as easy as it is right now.

Bull Market Strategies for Advisors

With things going so well, it’s easy to stay the course and enjoy the ride. But that wouldn’t be the wisest thing to do, especially with so many factors in your favor. Advisors have a limited-time opportunity to make a real impact on their business and for investors. Opportunity only knocks so much.

The mission is to gather assets and capitalize on favorable markets and excited investors. A piece of cake, right? Getting started is the hard part. You can try to secure additional assets from your existing clients, but that may only go so far.

For your existing clients, discuss why having their assets managed in the same place matters. You want visibility of all assets so that you can make informed decisions. If you can see the scope of your client’s wealth, you can more accurately manage it and make better long-term decisions.

Clients may work with multiple advisors, they may have 401Ks with former workplaces, they could have a brokerage account from many years ago. Make an effort to bring them all under your umbrella.

Once you’re able to secure additional assets from current clients, look into bringing new clients into the fold.

Actively Gather Assets

The culmination of the above factors is what makes a bull market the ideal time for advisors to grow their book of business. Growing your AUM has two major benefits: success now and protecting yourself from bear markets in the future.

One of the reasons prospecting is so essential is because attrition is always working against you. There’s no guarantee that you’ll have the same clients 5, 10, or 20 years from now. As James Pollard, a marketing consultant to advisors said, “Prospecting should be your never-ending responsibility, unless you want your revenue growth to slow down.”

Ramping up your client acquisition strategy now makes sound financial sense. If you’re unsure of where to start, check out these advisor tips for prospecting clients.

One of the most effective ways to attract clients, we’ve found, is through an advisor’s website.

Build A Better Website

In the age of digital marketing, more people are turning to the internet in search of financial advisors. While referrals are still a great way to secure new business (more on that a little later), the number of people looking for financial advice is much bigger than your current circle.

When considering a website, it’s easy to fall for the misconception, “if you build it, they will come.” These days it’s not enough to have a website. You need one that’s well-designed, elicits trust, and turns these internet visitors into real prospects. Then, it’s time to drive people to it.

Getting information from visitors is essential. Nitrogen advisors are able to embed our Risk Assessments directly onto their website, capturing the prospect’s Risk Number, contact information, net worth, and more in one easy place.

The truth is: you don’t have to be a webmaster to have a fantastic website. One popular solution is utilizing companies like Advisor Websites. They specialize in creating beautiful websites with an advisor’s unique needs in mind.

If you need inspiration and want to see firms that are taking advantage of their web presence, check out 15 Great Financial Advisor Websites.

Get Referrals from Existing Clients

In his book Cultivating The Middle Class Millionaire, Russ Alan Prince says 70% of loyal millionaires said they’re willing to refer people to their primary advisor. It’s the preferred way to secure new clients: there’s a built-in trust from the beginning and a proven record of results. It’s a huge opportunity that some advisors don’t take full advantage of.

Seek referrals from your best clients and have warm messages ready for any referrals they send your way. Sending a risk questionnaire with a friendly message and an invite to a customer appreciation gathering is a great way to break the ice.

Look to expand professional referrals as well. Fostering relationships with CPAs has great potential for referrals and is a mutually beneficial business relationship.

Bull markets are an exciting time for investors and advisors. People are interested in investing and are actively seeking advisors online. Combined with a historic transfer of wealth and advisor technology better than ever before, advisors have all the incentive to get out there and earn a larger market share.

Actively gather assets. Whether through existing clients or by amping up your prospecting efforts, now’s the time to grow the business.

Build a better website. More people are interested in investing and looking for advisors online. Capture their attention and turn these internet prospects into clients.

Get referrals. Talk to your best clients, send messages, throw a customer appreciation gathering, or grow your CPA network. There are plenty of ways to get your name in front of your ideal customers.

Bull markets aren’t strangers to corrections, but risk-wise advisors are equipped to handle any dips along the way. The risk-first approach works and helps advisors set the right expectations so that investors aren’t derailed by short-term reactions to risk. There’s plenty of prosperity to go around and, statistically, there are only more highs left to come.

Therefore: just invest. Fearlessly.

If you’d like to see how Nitrogen advisors are utilizing the Risk Number to close new clients, we’d love to schedule a personal demo. See why some advisors are calling this the best closing tool they’ve ever seen.

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