CHAPTER 5How Advisory Firms Develop New Business

Advisory firms have been growing fast over the past 20 years, and opportunities have been abundant. The typical advisory firm was founded in 1997 and had reached almost two million in revenue by 2006.1 The last 10 years have only seen that growth accelerate. By 2016, the average revenue for independent advisory firms had reached almost four million.2 This tremendous growth, however, has not come through regular and repeatable systems and methods.

Much of the recent growth has been driven by the personal reputations and networks of founders who will not be in the business forever and who may be difficult to replace. Older clients who are peers of the founders are also likely winding down, leaving firms at risk of shrinking if they cannot attract new business. Many clients have come from referral sources that either no longer exist or are now severely reduced. Custodian firms are no longer as generous with referrals as they once were, and accounting firms who once pointed many of their clients in the direction of advisory firms are now actively competing for the same business.

Most importantly, G2 professionals have been barely involved in this growth. Many arrived on the scene after the early stages of growth were already complete, so they lack firsthand experience in business development. Many G2 professionals were hired to service clients and promised that they would never have to sell. Many looked at the experience of the founders ...

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