Grow Smarter: How to Avoid the Biggest Mistakes Buyers Make in an Acquisition

Guest Blogger: Anthony Whitbeck

Acquisitions are an excellent way to grow your financial advisor practice quickly. Not only does it allow you to gain valuable market share, when done well, acquisitions also have the ability to improve your revenue and your profitability. Unfortunately, more often than not, buyers rush headlong into a purchase decision and either sabotage an opportunity to buy a great book of business, purchase the wrong book of business, or poorly manage the transition and lose clients in the process. This happens because most buyers, even those who have purchased before, aren’t really prepared for the acquisition.


A lack of preparation results in a few critical mistakes. First, an unprepared buyer does not know how to properly present him or herself to the seller. They aren’t able to deliver a clear and compelling message about why they want to purchase that seller’s practice, nor can they say how they will on-board and service the seller’s book of a business in order to ensure continuity of a positive client service legacy.


Second, an unprepared buyer doesn’t have a clear understanding of what an ideal acquisition looks like for them and their unique situation. The perfect deal is about more than just price. In fact, price is usually a secondary consideration to fit. As we mentioned earlier, the right book of business can improve the quality and size of your practice. Whereas the wrong book of business can create more problems than its worth. A prepared buyer takes the time to think about the nature of his/her own practice, how to develop the business overtime, and what book of business will help achieve his/her goals.


Lastly, an unprepared buyer isn’t ready to transition the book of business in a way that ensures continuity of service and a high enough level of engagement that can eliminate the risk of attrition. An acquisition results in an exponential impact to operations and delivery. The buyer must have a plan in place for scaling out services to match the demand of the added client base. If not, the very client business you just purchased can walk out the door and leave you holding the bag.


Bottom line, preparation is key to ensuring a successful acquisition. To help buyers prepare for the process, we’ve outlined 10 key steps that will help you identify and connect with the right book of business and successfully transition new clients. We are presenting these 10 steps in a free webinar on October 29th. Register here.


Anthony Whitbeck, CFP, CLU, is the CEO and President of Advisor Legacy Group, a consulting firm that helps advisors through every step of buying and selling a book of business. A 30 year veteran of the industry, Whitbeck’s experience, industry knowledge, and track record make him powerhouse ally for financial advisors. With certified third-party business valuations, legal and lending support partners, and a proven acquisition process, Whitbeck and his team of experts have helped hundreds of Advisors successfully exit a practice or grow their firm through smart acquisition strategies. To learn more visit Advisor Legacy.