Advisors driven to build their practices beyond where they’ve grown organically need to reflect on their business, define their identity and enlist the help of colleagues both inside and outside the firm.

That was the takeaway today from Thrive, a one-day virtual retreat for advisors who are looking to expand their practices.

In a session called "Becoming the Preeminent Financial Advisor in Your Market," identity coach Chris Smith, who is the founder of the consulting firm Campfire Effect, said advisors need to take three steps to begin a growth strategy: uncover their identity, unlock their message and unleash their team.

“I believe that every advisor deserves to become the pre-eminent advisor in their marketplace,” he said. “When you become the pre-eminent advisor in your area, you surpass all other advisors. It’s almost as if there is nobody but you. You’re just the obvious choice.”

On establishing an identity, he said, “Oftentimes, what’s obvious and what’s on the surface are unfortunately the things that we talk about, the things we use to try to differentiate ourselves, build our brand around. Things like ‘We provide holistic financial planning,’ ‘We provide really high-level wealth management strategies,’ or ‘We strive to help our clients achieve financial freedom and peace of mind. ... That has you sounding like every other advisor.”

Smith said advisors can start the process of finding their identity by deciding whom they want to serve and what differentiates them from other advisors.

“Advisors need to stop looking at the market as where they can find the most opportunity, or where they can make the most money,” he said. “If you can combine who you are with who you serve and identify the one thing that you do differently than everyone else, then that’s your identity.”

From identity comes message, and once an advisor has a unique and memorable message the final step is making sure everyone on the team can articulate that message, he said.

“When you create that identity, this idea of unlocking your message and unleashing your team becomes really sustainable,” Smith said.

The retreat  program was developed and presented by John Bowen, CEO and founder of CEG Worldwide.