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Commonwealth launches NextGen business development program

Commonwealth Financial Network has launched a one year coaching program exclusively for next generation advisors affiliated with the firm. While the independent broker/dealer has other development programs for those young advisors, such as its advisor live training program, NextGen Business Development Group aims to give them solid strategies and tactics to grow their revenue, assets and client base.

Commonwealth launched the program in January with 24 participants, most of whom are under the age of 40, according to Christine McManus, vice president, chief business development officer and program facilitator. But they are not new to the industry; Most are already working with a senior advisor or a team.

“As senior advisors begin to think about succession, we want to ensure that any advisor who plays a key role in the firm, or may one day acquire the firm or become part of the succession plan, That they’re going to be successful, that they have the skills they need that’s going to keep them going,” McManus said.

She hosts monthly group webinars, led by other mentors, on topics such as obtaining referrals, using blogs and podcasts, and working with centers of influence. She plans to hold a session on customer service around later in the year. Participants also meet in small peer groups every other week to discuss best practices. The firm also provides videos, articles and case studies to aid with business development.

“A lot of them are working as senior advisors or in firms where a lot of the targets are other people’s,” McManus said. “So, ‘How do you set your goals? How do you articulate your own value proposition? Who are your ideal customers?'”

It’s a distinction that a lot of independent consultants don’t receive formal business development training in, said Louis Diamond, president of Diamond Consultants.

“For me a difference in the freelance space has been mentor training and mentor coaching,” Diamond said. “Growing and learning how to sell and how you do business development is a skill that many next generation consultants don’t have. The advisor may be giving them some clients, but they haven’t been taught that. How to properly develop the business. ”

This program provides these mentors with the opportunity to network with people on their own skills and on similar career paths.

“It’s people are almost at the same stage in their careers; it’s letting them build their own network of mentors—somebody they have support or questions or whatever; and they’re sharing ideas. And it’s such a thing. that everyone can benefit from – this collective wisdom,” McManus said.

McManus said there is an upfront cost to participate in the program, but they get most of it back if they successfully meet the requirements. Mentors set their goals at the start of the program, and the Commonwealth tracks their progress toward those goals. But McManus’ biggest factor would be to see if the advisor regularly participated and shared ideas.

“We want you to have some skin in the game,” she said. “It’s a real commitment in terms of time and energy and idea-sharing. That’s why we wanted to build an upfront stake.”

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