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    5 Ways to Advance Your Investment Program

    To compete for new customers and retain your existing customers, you must offer products and services that make their lives more convenient and aren't available at every financial institution. One great service to offer is a retail investment program, which gives customers the opportunity to consult with a professional financial advisor and have investments right at your financial institution, where they already go for loans and banking services.

    Whether you're starting a new investment program or looking to upgrade your existing program, here are some tips to improve your program's success and customer satisfaction:

    1. Encourage employees to champion your program

    If your financial institution's own employees don't talk up the investment program, what will make customers think it's worthwhile? Make sure your staff understands how the program benefits customers and your financial institution, and encourage them to spread the word.

    • Name one employee to serve as the program liaison between the investment advisor and staff, to handle questions and requests.

    • Educate staff as to why the investment program is a great way for your financial institution to cover costs, meet goals, and assist customers with investing to help meet their future financial needs.

    • Recognize and reward employees who enroll customers in the investment program and/or generate customer referrals.

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    2. Assist your program advisor in reaching goals and assisting customers

    Your program's success depends on the preparation and assistance your advisor receives. Here's how to help your advisor become as successful as possible.

    • As your program grows, make sure it's properly staffed with advisors and sales assistants so customers never feel like the advisor is too busy for them.

    • Inform your advisor about the history and culture of your financial institution, the clients it serves, its community, and available products and services. A knowledgeable advisor will make customers feel understood and suggest helpful products and add-ons.

    • Add a client associate to serve as an additional contact for clients' requests, relieving your advisor of some administrative work and freeing up that time to advise customers and generate business.

    3. Set goals and review progress

    The only way to gauge the success of your program is to establish goals and chart the program's progress toward those goals.

    • Deepen the relationship between your financial institution and your investment program advisor by setting branch goals. These can be referral targets, dollars invested, or anything else that makes sense for your branch.

    • At regular intervals, assess how members' needs are being served, revenue generated, and progress toward branch goals. Make corrections as necessary to ensure your institution is taking advantage of available opportunities.

    • As you work toward your institution's goals, consider private labeling your program with your financial institution name. For example, TCB Financial Institution could call its program TCB Investment Services.

    4. Attract investments from new and existing members

    The only way your investment program will meet its goals is if new and existing members are willing to make investments.

    • Offer investment definitions and tips through email, social media, and your website. Include your advisor's contact information so members can reach out for additional help.

    • Demonstrate your institution's expertise by offering workshops and seminars on investment and financial topics.

    • Work to understand your customers' demographics and financial situations. This will help them see you as the valuable financial partner you are.

    5. Always look for opportunities to grow and improve

    Your institution's employees should constantly be on the lookout for opportunities to sell. Here are some ways to help that along:

    • Point out to customers how convenient it will be to manage their investments where they already do their regular banking.

    • Share employees' success stories and referral tips to help other employees learn best practices.

    • Take an interest in customers' life changes and suggest investment products to match. For example, tell new parents about the advantages of college savings plans, available through your investment program.

    It takes work to create a successful investment program, but the returns it generates are well worth the effort. For guidance in establishing or improving an investment program at your financial institution, speak to an SWBC advisor.

    Member SIPC & FINRA. Advisory services offered through SWBC Investment Company, a Registered Investment Advisor.

    Not for redistribution—SWBC may from time to time publish content in this blog and/or on this site that has been created by affiliated or unaffiliated contributors. These contributors may include SWBC employees, other financial advisors, third-party authors who are paid a fee by SWBC, or other parties. The content of such posts does not necessarily represent the actual views or opinions of SWBC or any of its officers, directors, or employees. The opinions expressed by guest bloggers and/or blog interviewees are strictly their own and do not necessarily represent those of SWBC. The information provided on this site is for general information only, and SWBC cannot and does not guarantee the accuracy, validity, timeliness or completeness of any information contained on this site. None of the information on this site, nor any opinion contained in any blog post or other content on this site, constitutes a solicitation or offer by SWBC or its affiliates to buy or sell any securities, futures, options or other financial instruments. Nothing on this site constitutes any investment advice or service. Financial advisory services are provided only to investors who become SWBC clients.

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    Charlie Amato

    Charlie Amato is the Chairman of SWBC. With more than 40 years of experience in all aspects of insurance operations, underwriting, and product development, Charlie is known in the business community for his innovative, relationship-building approach.

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