Much like sales, being an advisor means you need to find your clients. Financial advising is a challenging field saturated with competition. According to the United States Department of Labor, there were 263,000 financial advisors as of 2019, projected to increase 4 percent by 2029. Advisors will undoubtedly face stiff competition, making building a steady stream of clients a challenging task.
Becoming a successful financial advisor poses a unique challenge with many factors to consider. A successful career in this field requires completing required educational courses, staying updated with what’s happening in the market and the industry, being an active member of the accredited Exit Planning Institute, and building a solid client roster.
To be on top of your game:
- First and foremost, build and grow a network of clients. This translates to reaching beyond your circle to develop new personal relationships with people from all walks of life.
- Look for new opportunities in untouched market segments, not just focusing on the most apparent “soon-to-retire” business owners. To stay competitive, you must seek new opportunities in underserved market segments to acquire more clients.
- Stay actively involved within your professional community. This involves staying in touch with other advisors because exit planning is not a one-person job. An advisor within your circle might need to hire you for the professional expertise you bring. For instance, CPAs need to build their advisory teams to cater to all aspects of a client’s business. Like volunteering in professional associations and other programs, the consistent effort can land you the next big job.
Let’s now look at a few ways to facilitate new financial advisors to establish themselves and seize a higher market share.
Related: How to Succeed at New Client Acquisition.
Form a Marketing Plan
Once you have found your business niche, build a solid marketing plan to acquire new business. A marketing plan or strategy is a series of small steps that focus on increasing sales and building your brand by highlighting the value of a product or service.
An effective marketing strategy:
- Helps identify the product or service they need
- Helps customers learn more about that product or service
- Influences customers’ purchasing decisions
- Builds brand awareness and recognition.
A marketing strategy is always designed to achieve specific goals and lays out a series of steps to reach those goals.
Your marketing plan should represent your brand and ideology. To reach more customers, bring in repeat business, and build customer loyalty, employ the following tactics:
- Use social media to connect with more people
- Consider blogging to convey your thoughts to a larger, broader audience
- Build a good business website
- Generate website traffic by maximizing search engine optimization (SEO)
- Build a mailing list, adding all clients to it
- Host webinars
- Use social media to establish your brand
- Invest in growing your social network
- Network, network, and network.
Build and Maintain Relationships
Quality services and product knowledge are essential for success but don’t overlook building relationships. People also want to work with someone they have a good rapport with and whose company they enjoy.
Building this rapport entails the soft skills you learned as a child: polite manners, integrity, kindness, showing interest in your clients. These build loyalty, especially brand loyalty. To leave a lasting, positive impression on clients, you must develop and maintain relationships with them. Benefits of doing this include:
- Trust. The better you and your client know each other, the healthier the relationship.
- Care. Caring about your client’s needs, wants, priorities, and preferences help secure existing relations.
- Confidence. Positive feedback, each successful project, and each grateful client is an achievement that bolsters others’ confidence in you and your services.
Clients feel valued when they see you taking the time to connect with them on a personal level. Such efforts leave behind a positive impression.
Rely on Referrals
Most people ask their friends for recommendations when looking for a new product, service, or business associate because people trust their friends. Referrals are a powerful yet free advertising tool.
According to a report published in Forbes, 64 percent of marketing executives find word-of-mouth referrals as the most effective form of marketing; however, only 6 percent of executives have aced it.
Why should you use referrals?
- There are no costs associated with referrals.
- Referrals help build trust. Potential clients acquired through referrals are more likely to trust your services, as they know their friend had a good working experience with you.
- Referrals help build a steady flow of clients. A steady referral engine ensures your business growth. Clients who come through referrals themselves will also refer you to their friends and family if they are satisfied with your services.
Acquiring new business often requires persistence until the potential client says, “Yes.” Cold outreach is a tried and tested method of keeping yourself in the picture. It also enables you to connect with people who do not know you and are not associated with your business. Therefore, cold emails and cold calls can effectively generate new business leads.
Ways to improve your cold outreach strategy include:
- Write inclusive mails. This prevents you from misgendering a prospect or getting the prospect’s identity wrong.
- Write to the decision-maker. If you don’t know that person, then do your research. There is no point in reaching out to people who do not play critical decision-making.
- Be concise. Keep your emails short and to the point. Be clear about what you are offering and asking.
- Test different subject lines. The catchier the subject line, the more likely your message will be opened and read.
- Always follow up. Cold outreach doesn’t work if you aren’t consistent.
- Always use a script for calls. This provides structure to the conversation, so you stay on track.
- Know your services inside out and be prepared for questions. Your clients appreciate a prompt and timely response that resolves their queries.
Partner with People in Your Niche
Networking with other advisors from your industry is essential for personal and professional growth.
Networking helps you build a team you can rely on if you need assistance. Moreover, a team enables you to market your business as a complete portfolio of advisory services (a team can comprise CEPA, CPA, financial consultant, legal consultant, etc.).
Networking involves more than walking into a room full of strangers and creating a good impression. This type of scatter-shot approach is neither practical nor efficient. Instead, do the following to build and grow your network.
- Attend networking events, especially business networking events, which help businesses grow their network.
- Become friends with other advisors.
- Periodically remind these people what you do. Staying in touch is essential for them to remember you and the services you offer and remember them and their services.
- Offer to refer potential to them. A good referral strategy depends on equal give and take, so if a fellow consultant is referring you, you must also return the favor.
People Skills Matter
The ability to process and interpret information is the foundation of next-level advisory services, but it’s not the only component. Informed guidance entails amalgamating multiple factors: experience, knowledge, qualifications, etc. However, one cannot downplay the social aspect and soft skills critical to building and maintaining relationships.