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For financial advisors, prospecting is essential to attracting new clients and scaling a practice. Finding and developing leads that may turn into prospects can be time-consuming, however. And if you don’t have the right strategy in place, even finding prospects in the first place can be hit-or-miss. That’s where getting advice from successful financial advisors can help. With that in mind, we’ve rounded up some of the best prospecting tips from financial advisors to help you accelerate your business growth.

Tip #1: Recognize the challenges

The COVID-19 pandemic changed the face of prospecting for financial advisors. The focus shifted away from face-to-face communications and toward online interactions as social distancing became the norm. Julian B. Morris, certified financial planner and chartered financial consultant at Boston-based Concierge Wealth Management, says that’s a hurdle advisors should be prepared to overcome in 2021.

“Nothing will ever top referrals from a trusted source,” Morris says, “but a strong digital presence will help.”

Having a professional website that cohesively tells your story and how you can help prospects is one place to start. Turning to alternate communication methods, such as email, text or instant messaging, is another.

Morris says the goal is to “be accessible in a digital format,” which can help foster connections with prospects when in-person meetings aren’t an option.

Tip #2: Make it personal

Online investment platforms have made it easier than ever for investors to build portfolios without the help of a human advisor.

Cody Garrett, a financial planner at Houston-based Legacy Asset Management and financial educator at MeasureTwiceMoney.com, says traditional advisors are now in a race to zero fees with robo-advisors. This makes it more important than ever to remind investors what they may be missing out on by choosing robo-advisors over a human advisor.

“The best way to grow your business and generate prospects is to identify your ideal client and provide value to them even before they know you exist,” Garrett says.

This means connecting with prospects through the media that your prospects are likely already consuming, whether it be a blog, podcast, YouTube channel or something else. These are opportunities to give prospects a sample of what they need for free while opening the door to the possibility of an ongoing professional relationship.

“Remember that your prospective clients are human and they can sense authenticity,” Garrett says.

Tip #3: Assess what’s working—and what’s not

Senior man talking to his financial advisorSlow periods can happen to any advisor, but an extended slump could be a sign that you need to rethink your prospecting tactics. “If an advisor’s business is stagnant, there could be something wrong with their marketing or may be a process within their client experience,” says Dan Biagini, chief distribution officer at Foundations Investment Advisors. In that case, finding ways to make your planning process more efficient can give you back time in your day to work on other areas of your business, such as prospecting. At the same time, you could be improving client experience which can help generate new referrals.

One possibility for finding out what is or isn’t working is surveying your existing customer base. Sending out a survey or poll can help you compile feedback on where you’re making your clients happy and where you may be falling short.

Tip #4: Increase your value

Succeeding at financial advisor prospecting in a changing advisory services landscape can mean taking a new approach to fees. “To remain competitive, advisors need to offer more services but expect to charge the same fee,” Biagini says.

In other words, be prepared to emphasize value when prospecting. This is a sentiment Garrett shares.

“A financial advisor’s role is to provide clarity through education, helping clients to make their own well-informed decisions,” he says.

This can mean taking the focus off specific investments or the market itself, which advisors can’t control, and looking more closely at how you can solve clients’ problems on an individual level. In terms of fees, Garrett says flat fee and advice-only financial planning may become the future of financial advice, as emphasis shifts to transparency and the human side of money.

So does that mean you need to sell yourself short as an advisor to gain new clients?

Not at all. But it does mean you need to clarify what type of value you’re providing in exchange for the fees you charge and how that value is perceived in the eyes of prospective clients.

Tip #5: Be consistent

When researching different options for financial advisor prospecting, it’s tempting to throw everything at the wall and see what sticks. But this can backfire if it results in an uneven marketing strategy.

Choosing consistency can help you build your brand reputation, which in turn can help you attract your ideal clients. This means being consistent with not only the way you market yourself but the story you tell.

Your story can be a combination of different elements: how or why you became a financial advisor, what inspires you, how you help your clients and the biggest successes you’ve helped them achieve. If you haven’t developed a cohesive brand story yet, then you may want to consider doing so before putting a prospecting plan into action.

Once you’ve done that, you can work on amplifying your story across the relevant marketing channels that are most likely to reach your target audience. This may be TV, radio, podcasts, video or a website; it may be necessary to experiment with what works best. Taking a unified approach in your messaging can help with building your brand. Doing so can also help with enhancing your credibility among existing and prospective clients, Biagini says.

The Bottom Line

A financial advisorOne of the realities of running a business is that you may spend more of your time rooting out new clients than working with existing ones. Aligning your strategy and tactics for a specific client profile can supercharge your practice. In other words, adapting your current prospecting techniques could help you use your time more effectively so that you’re able to focus your attention elsewhere in your business as well as maximizing the likelihood that it will grow.

Tips for Prospecting Online

  • Consider using a service that can help you find leads without requiring you to invest hours of your time. For instance, SmartAdvisor connects advisors directly with local prospects. If you’re looking to grow your practice, this can be a simple way to get your next client delivered directly to your inbox. You pay only for investors that fit your client profile.
  • When using social media to market your business and canvas for prospects, be mindful of the tone and style you use to tell your story. For example, the way you approach would-be clients on LinkedIn might be quite different than how you do it on Twitter or Facebook. Also, don’t shy away from up-and-coming platforms, provided they’re likely to be places where your ideal client may spend time.

Photo credit: ©iStock.com/kate_sept2004, ©iStock.com/FG Trade, ©iStock.com/fizkes

Rebecca Lake Rebecca Lake is a retirement, investing and estate planning expert who has been writing about personal finance for a decade. Her expertise in the finance niche also extends to home buying, credit cards, banking and small business. She's worked directly with several major financial and insurance brands, including Citibank, Discover and AIG and her writing has appeared online at U.S. News and World Report, CreditCards.com and Investopedia. Rebecca is a graduate of the University of South Carolina and she also attended Charleston Southern University as a graduate student. Originally from central Virginia, she now lives on the North Carolina coast along with her two children.
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