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PRACTICE MANAGEMENT

7 effective strategies to grow your financial professional business

WRITTEN BY:
Senior Finance Editor
WRITTEN BY:
Gene Walden,Senior Finance Editor

To attract a steady flow of new clients vital to growing your advisory business, you need creative ways to stand out.

That means stepping outside of your comfort zone to test new strategies, or improving upon your existing ones, to ensure the time and resources you put into prospecting efforts drive results.

Here are seven strategies that could help you reach more prospects:

1. Expand your network. It’s no secret that new prospects are unlikely to just walk through the door. You need to find them, engage them, and persuade them to give you an opportunity to serve as their financial professional. That generally means taking time away from your home or office to meet more people.

Try attending community events, fund-raisers or volunteer events or joining organizations, such as your local alumni club, business groups, social groups, or religious organizations. According to a recent Independent Producer Study conducted by the National Underwriters’ Association, 34% of respondents listed community involvement as the second most effective prospecting technique.The more networking you do in your community, the more opportunities you’ll have to meet the prospects you need to grow your business.

2. Polish your social media profile. According to the Pew Research Center, nearly 70% of U.S. adults used at least one social media site in 2021, up from 60% in 2013 and 50% in 2010. By maintaining a current profile on sites such as LinkedIn and Facebook, you can expand your sphere of influence. But don’t just build it and forget it. You should actively update your social media to increase its effectiveness. When you do meet a good prospect, there’s a good chance they will check you out online. When purchasing goods or services, 82% of buyers say they look up providers on LinkedIn before responding to their prospecting efforts.2

3. Get to know your clients’ family members. There is $84 trillion set to change hands by 20451. That’s why building relationships with your clients that span generations must be a core business and marketing strategy. To keep your business growing—and to avoid the attrition that often comes as generations turn over—you should make it a priority to involve the children (and grandchildren) of your clients in their investment management process.

There are a variety of ways to involve the family, including hosting events, such as socials, picnics, volunteer opportunities, or seminars on relevant financial topics. In addition, you should invite family members to periodic meetings to discuss your clients’ financial situation and investment strategies.

Involving all generations in your clients’ financial planning process can help smooth out the ultimate transfer of wealth while giving you an opportunity to maintain a working relationship with your clients’ next generation. 

4. Decide on an expertise. With more than 327,000 investment advisors in the United States4, it’s important to distinguish yourself from the competition. Is there an area of financial services that suits your skills and interests? An area of specialization could distinguish your business from your competition. For instance, do you have strong expertise in income investing, tax savings, IRAs, retirement planning, options, futures, mutual funds, life insurance, estate planning, long-term care insurance, college savings, or a certain style of money management? Begin positioning yourself as an expert in one of those areas.

The specialty you choose will become the focus of your marketing and brand positioning. It’s how you introduce yourself and how you position your business in marketing materials. It’s what you write about, speak about, teach, and refer to if you have a chance to pitch your expertise to the media.

One way to decide on a specialty is to look at your current client base. If most of your clients are retired or near retirement, you may choose to present yourself as a retirement specialist. If you work mostly with a younger demographic, you might focus on Millennials and their needs, such as college savings for their children or tax saving strategies.

That doesn’t mean that you should limit your services to a single expertise. Offering a broad range of products and services can certainly expand your business. But developing an area of specialization will give you a distinct identity that sets you and your business apart.

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5. Look for public speaking opportunities. Business groups, associations, trade groups, community centers, places of worship, senior centers, and other organizations are often looking for speakers for their events. Offer to speak at these forums, discussing trends in the financial services industry or your perspective on the investment markets. Consider offering a class through your local community education program. Community centers, libraries, and adult education programs may all welcome an expert like you.  

Other organizations that often use speakers include homeowners’ associations, college alumni clubs, chambers of commerce, service clubs, and professional organizations.

When you get the chance to speak, remember the message isn’t about you or your business. The audience is there for real information and real answers. Stick to the topic. Enlighten, entertain and invite questions and interaction. Slides or other visual aids can improve the effectiveness of your presentation. Before and after you speak, mingle with the crowd, answer questions and make as many new contacts as possible.

Speaking to a local audience or teaching classes may not have an immediate impact on your business, but it gives you a chance to become involved in the community, share your expertise, and build your prospect list.

6. Host marketing events that resonate with your clients. Marketing events give you the chance to thank your clients in person, interact with prospects, and give everyone in attendance a memorable experience.

There once was a time when you could attract a roomful of prospects simply by sponsoring a seminar with a free dinner, but it takes a much more creative approach these days. You need to think outside the banquet hall to make your events fun or educational. Meet at a winery, bakery, brewery, flower garden, museum, or historic mansion. Bring a musician or magician or comedian; or invite your guests to group golf lessons, a pool tournament or a dinner aboard a boat.

How do you decide what type of event would hit the mark with your clients and prospects? The simple answer is to ask them—take a survey to learn what type of events would be compelling enough for them to attend and invite a guest.

Event marketing is often a time-consuming and expensive endeavor. That’s why it’s important to come up with enjoyable events that resonate with your clients and prospects.

7. Automate your follow-up. Superior follow-up is your final competitive advantage. According to SalesForce, it takes seven to 13 touches to create before a sales conversion5. To make your follow-up more effective, assemble a battery of follow-up tools—newsletters, articles, social media, special events—to systematize your follow-up process. Add to that a calendar of birthdays and anniversaries of your prospects, clients, and clients’ family members to add a personal touch to your follow-up.

Once you’ve set up your client and prospect list, your follow-up campaign should be almost automatic—and that client list will become a key part of nearly all your marketing efforts. A systematic, ongoing follow-up strategy is the final and often the most important phase of your marketing campaign.

Over time, if you put in the time and resources to market your services, your efforts may pay off with an enviable competitive advantage and a wave of new prospects to keep your business growing for years to come.

 

The concepts presented are intended for educational purposes only. They may not be suitable for your client’s particular situation. The suitability of any specific product or strategy will be dependent upon your clients’ particular situation. Check with your organization for any specific requirements or restrictions they have related to client related activities.


1
Precision Senior Marketing, “5 Prospecting Methods that Really Work,” June 2017

2 Source: Top Performance in Sales Prospecting Benchmark Report, Rain Group, 2018

3 Cerulli Associates, “U.S. High-Net-Worth and Ultra-High-Net-Worth Markets,” 2021

4 Personal Financial Advisors: Occupational Outlook Handbook: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, bls.gov

5 “Sales Process Steps That Boost Your Bottom Line,” Salesforce.com