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Lead Generation Strategies for Financial Advisors


Finding success as a financial advisor means establishing a careful balance between two core activities: meeting the needs of your current clients and generating leads to new ones. Lead generation is a vital part of scaling an advisory business. And you may be spending a fair amount of time and money trying different tactics to connect with prospects. If so, it’s important to ensure that you’re getting the best return on investment possible. Having some go-to financial lead generation strategies in your playbook can ensure that your efforts aren’t wasted.

Are you looking to expand the marketing of your financial advisor practice? Try SmartAsset AMP, a holistic client prospecting and marketing automation platform.

Why Lead Generation Can Be Vital for Your Business

Generating leads is essential for adding new clients and increasing your firm’s assets under management (AUM). Lead generation can enable you to maintain and grow your client base, expand into new markets, build brand awareness and even help your firm make more informed, data-driven decisions.

Here’s a closer look at the impact that effective lead generation can have on your business:

  • Viability and continuity: Having a regular influx of leads ensures that your business has a constant stream of potential revenue sources. This can help mitigate natural client attrition and market fluctuations.
  • Market expansion: Lead generation efforts can introduce your services to previously untapped markets, diversifying your client base and potentially adding new revenue streams to your book of business.
  • Brand awareness: The more prospects you reach through your lead generation activities, the more recognizable your brand becomes. This increased awareness can lead to more referrals and organic growth.
  • More strategic decision-making: By analyzing lead generation data, advisors can better understand market trends, client needs and the impact of their marketing strategies. This data-driven approach can help you improve your strategic decision-making. That could affect everything from allocating resources more efficiently to tailoring your services more closely to client expectations.

Strategy #1: Establish Trust by Providing Value

In financial advisor marketing and content marketing in general, one of the most common, and effective, lead-generation strategies is the freebie. It’s actually a simple concept. You give prospects something free that’s either useful to them or necessary, as a precursor to converting them to a paying client.

If your advisory business has an associated website and blog, for example, this can come in the form of informative posts that solve a problem or answer a question for prospects. This is a strategy that Shawn Plummer, CEO of The Annuity Expert, has successfully used to capture an audience and generate clients through his website.

“I leverage my expertise on annuities and insurance to educate visitors, provide thought leadership and position myself as an expert,” Plummer says. “This increases the trust I have with my visitors, which in turn increases the likelihood that they may reach out for a quote.”

If you don’t have a free offering, consider what you can do to create one. This could mean establishing a blog but it could also involve the creation of a free podcast or webinar. The goal is to identify what potential leads are looking for and what answers or solutions you’re able to provide.

Strategy #2: Reverse Engineer Social Media

Woman on social media

Social media can be an integral part of an advisor’s marketing and lead generation plan. After all, this may be the first contact a prospective client has with your advisory business. Establishing a presence on social media matters but consider how that time is spent. Paul Sundin, certified public accountant (CPA), tax strategist and CEO of Emparion in Chandler, Arizona, says it’s important to go beyond the basics of just creating profiles or making an offer.

“To have effective lead generation as a financial advisor, you need to do market research,” Sundin says. Specifically, it’s important to research the patterns that entice your target market, he noted. Social media can be an invaluable tool for that.

“Search for customer reviews, activities on different social media platforms and overall social media behavior,” he added. “Once you see the pattern for the keywords that entices them, use the keywords in your copy and content.”

This, says Sundin, can be a recipe for driving the right people to your website.

Strategy #3: Cultivate Leads Through Current Clients

Unless you’re starting from zero with clients you may have a built-in resource for lead generation. Asking current clients for referrals can be one of the easiest and most effective ways to grow your advisory business, especially if you’re looking to acquire high-net-worth clients, which can take a lot of time and money to get introduced to you otherwise.

“Clients have busy lives and even though they like you, it may not occur to them that you’re looking for new prospects,” says Alvin Carlos, a Certified Financial Planner™ (CFP®) and managing partner at Washington, D.C.-based District Capital Management. “Tell them you’re looking to help 10 new clients this year and you’d rather help those that are important to them.”

This allows you to continue to provide value to your current clients by demonstrating that you care about the people who are close to them. And it can create a continuing cycle of lead generation if those new clients continue to refer others to your business.

Approaching existing clients for referrals can be as simple as mentioning it in your regular email newsletter. And if you aren’t yet using email to stay connected with current or prospective clients, that’s another avenue for generating leads that you may want to invest some time in exploring.

Strategy #4: Use Lead Generation Services

Chasing leads can be tiring and time-consuming. Lead generation services can save you precious time that you could then redirect toward serving your existing client base. If you’ve never used a lead generation service before, you could be missing out on an opportunity to have tailored leads delivered right to you to help potentially get more clients.

SmartAsset AMP, for instance, supplies you with client leads. By signing up, you can effectively put lead generation on autopilot. Once investor leads are ready to move forward, you’ll shift your focus to closing them. SmartAsset AMP can offer lead referrals, sales campaigns, CRM integrations and more. You could even be connected live with potential clients so you have a more direct impact on the process.

You can also take advantage of lead generation services as a member of the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors (NAPFA), says Carlos. To join, you do need to be a fee-only financial planner. But, he says “the biggest cost is the 60 hours of continuing education credit you need to maintain.”

How to Convert Leads Into Clients

Generating a lead is one thing, but converting a prospect into a new client is the whole purpose of lead generation. This often requires advisors to flex a variety of muscles as they bring the lead through their sales process. 

But understanding a person’s unique needs – and demonstrating that you’re listening – can go a long way toward building trust with prospective clients, says Carla T. Adams, founder of Ametrine Wealth in Lake Orion, Michigan. 

“We as advisors (and actually humans in general) are so keen to talk about ourselves and show off what we have to offer. When a prospect gives you an overview of their situation and you jump right in to tell them what you can do for them, it is actually often off-putting,” Adams said. “It takes people time to open up and talk about what’s really important to them, so give them the time and space to open up.”

Not all prospects are going to sign on as clients after an initial meeting – and that’s okay. While persistence is vital for converting leads, it’s important to follow up strategically by using a combination of phone calls, emails, text messages and more. You don’t want to overdo it though, so knowing when to follow up and when to give space is crucial.

An advisor’s conversion rate will vary based on their target market, niche and sales process, according to Michael Collins, founder and CEO of WinCap Financial in Winchester, Massachusetts. However, Collins recommends aiming to add between 10 to 15 new clients per year, achieving a conversion rate of 10% to 20%. At those rates, that means you would need generate between 50 and 150 leads each year.

“However, it’s important to note that quality is more important than quantity. It’s better to have a smaller number of high-quality leads than a large number of unqualified ones,” Collins added. “As advisors, our focus should be on attracting the right clients who align with our niche and values.”

In fact, Adams thinks advisors shouldn’t be afraid to turn away leads that may not be the best fit for you, even if they have high revenue potential.

“Having clients that create too much stress and negative energy are a distraction from properly servicing your other clients and from seeking out new business that will better align with your values and keep your work enjoyable,” says Adams.

Bottom Line

Asian financial advisor

Finding new leads can seem daunting, but it doesn’t have to be. By utilizing some basic, yet powerful, strategies you can keep a steady stream of leads coming in. Keep in mind that you may need to allow for some trial and error to figure out what’s working and what’s not.

As you continue to seek out new leads, remember to stay open to new ideas and opportunities for connecting with your ideal clients. There are numerous things you can do such as hiring a marketing agency, finding more marketing automation successes or many other marketing strategies.

More Tips for Lead Generation

  • Automate your lead generation. SmartAsset AMP (Advisor Marketing Platform) is a holistic marketing service financial advisors can use for client lead generation and automated marketing. With a single subscription, you can automate your lead generation. Sign up for a free demo to explore how SmartAsset AMP can help you expand your practice’s marketing operation. Get started today.
  • Follow the trends. Since the pandemic, online searches for the term “financial advisor” have increased, in part because people are more likely to want to work with an advisor at home more than ever before. Not all advisors have the ability to capitalize on that uptick in search activity, though. While it can take some time to build a brand for your firm online, some lead generation services can help you scale quickly when a new trend emerges to reshape the financial services landscape.
  • Don’t limit yourself to local searches. Many financial advisors rarely look for prospects outside of a short drive from their home or office. But 60% of prospects who completed a survey with SmartAsset indicated that they were willing to work with an advisor remotely. If you’re only looking for prospects locally you could be costing yourself leads without realizing it. Consider broadening your search and working with investors who are more comfortable with less frequent in-person meetings.
  • Think ahead. Taking a generational approach could help your advisory business continue to flourish as years or even decades pass. While investors who are closer to retirement often have more assets, investors from Generations X and Y are rapidly catching up. Getting ahead of the Great Wealth Transfer by expanding your client base and working with investors who are entering their prime earning years could help make your business more sustainable for the long term.

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