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How to Find Your First Client as a Financial Advisor


Becoming a financial advisor involves more than crunching numbers. It means earning a client’s trust to manage their hard-earned savings and guide them on the path to their goals. Your first client can often be the most challenging because it takes time to build your brand and connect with your target audience. Fortunately, numerous strategies can help establish your reputation in person and online as a reliable, skilled financial professional. Here are practical steps to help you find your first client as a financial advisor.

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

How to Find Your First Client as a Financial Advisor

Finding your first client as a financial advisor requires a combination of strategic planning, effective communication and utilizing various channels to connect with potential clients. Here are seven things you can do to help you land your first client:

1. Pinpoint Your Niche

First, define your strengths, interests and expertise within the financial industry. When you focus on what you specialize in, you can better understand how to appeal to your target audience.

To do so, consider your experience and certifications. For instance, becoming a certified public accountant (CPA) can hone your skillset for individual tax preparation or corporate accounting. In any case, playing to your strengths helps you narrow your target market and market yourself to potential customers.

Remember, financial advisors can take their careers in many directions. It’s crucial to pick a niche to give your messaging cohesion. In other words, if you’re in wealth management, you could focus on pursuing high-net-worth individuals. If you want to manage investment portfolios and funds, you could become a chartered financial analyst (CFA).

2. Craft Your Elevator Pitch

Develop a concise and compelling pitch that communicates your value proposition. Your pitch should clearly articulate how you can address the unique needs of your target niche.

Remember to adapt your pitch based on your audience. Understand the concerns and priorities of your potential clients and emphasize how you can provide solutions.

When implementing this step, research is necessary to understand the problems your target market is experiencing. For instance, if you’re a fiduciary, you can highlight how your investment practices place client interests ahead of your own.

If you’re looking for a way to kickstart your lead generation efforts, you may want to consider SmartAsset AMP, a holistic client prospecting and marketing automation platform. The service matches advisors with high-intent investors and can make live over-the-phone connections with them.

A 2024 Broadridge survey of financial advisors found that converting marketing leads into clients takes an average of 3.6 months. To help advisors stay in contact with leads, SmartAsset AMP offers compliant automated text and email outreach, as well as automated email nurture campaigns.

3. Develop an Online Presence

Setting up shop as a financial advisor means having an online space that introduces your clients to your services. Create a professional website that showcases your expertise, skills and client testimonials. Ensure that your website is user-friendly and provides clear contact information.

When building a website, keep in mind that you will be competing with other financial advisors for a share of online visibility. As a result, SEO skills and best practices are essential. To that end, your web content should use relevant keywords to increase the likelihood of potential clients finding you online.

4. Reach Out on Social Media

Identify the social media platforms where your target audience is most active. LinkedIn is particularly valuable for financial advisors, but other platforms like Facebook can also be effective.

Share relevant, helpful content for your audience. Then, engage with potential clients who interact with your content. Your profile should offer value to attract attention. For example, you could offer tax planning tips, budgeting advice and investment basics to indicate the skills that you bring to the table. 

5. Invite Potential Clients to a Webinar

Once you’ve built up an online audience through web marketing and social media outreach, you can invite potential customers to a webinar. Choose a topic that aligns with your niche (such as estate planning or financial literacy) and address common concerns or interests of your audience.

Hosting a webinar means teaching a class live online. To be successful, you’ll need an accessible platform (such as Zoom), engaging materials and a clean space with good lighting. Interactive features, such as a chat box and live Q&A polls, can help clients see the value of your skillset and give you their business.

6. Connect With Your Community

Your network and local business community are crucial resources to tap as you start your financial advising career. Attend local events, join community organizations and volunteer in your town or city to meet potential clients and other professionals in the financial industry. Establishing these kinds of relationships can lead to referrals and chances to give your pitch.

7. Launch an Email Marketing Campaign

Collect email addresses through your website, webinars and networking events. Offer incentives such as free resources and educational newsletters to encourage sign-ups.

Once you build up a solid email list, tailor your email campaign based on client segments. Provide relevant content and personalized messages to address each segment’s specific needs and interests. For example, some clients may need life insurance, while others are solely interested in investment services. Understanding these distinctions can help you create targeted emails that drive engagement.

Tips for Retaining Your Clients

A financial advisor engaging with potential clients during a webinar.

Getting your first client as a financial advisor is worth celebrating. But after you give yourself a pat on the back, you will have to shift your attention to another phase of your business: Keeping your clients. Retention is crucial for long-term success and growth, and here are five common tips to help retain your clients:

Be Transparent

Nothing about your services, from what you provide to what you charge, should be a mystery to your clients. To that end, it’s important to be clear in all your communication. From the beginning of your relationship with a client, define the expectations on both sides of the arrangement. Outline how you’ll serve them, how you’ll meet their goals and what the costs will be.

Transparency means being upfront about fees, potential risks and your communication style. Encourage questions from your clients and provide as much information as possible. Setting realistic expectations helps build trust and reduces the likelihood of misunderstandings.

Let the Numbers Do the Talking

Whenever you provide financial advice, support it with concrete data and numbers. This not only demonstrates your expertise, but it also helps clients understand the rationale behind your recommendations.

Giving specifics will inspire trust and confidence. To that end, keep detailed documentation of your work for each client. Portray different financial scenarios and actual account performances with charts and other visual aids to make complex concepts digestible.

Take Feedback Seriously

Schedule regular check-ins with your clients to discuss their satisfaction with your services. Create an environment where they feel comfortable providing feedback. You can also send surveys asking clients to let you know how to improve and make the answers anonymous to encourage honesty.

Then, act on the feedback you receive. Whether it’s about communication preferences, service quality, or other aspects of your advisory practice, demonstrating a willingness to adapt and improve reinforces your commitment to client satisfaction. Clients often leave their financial advisors because they don’t feel heard or see a way for the circumstances to change.

Streamline Business and Enhance Client Experience

Systems can improve efficiency on the business side and establish quality control on the service side of financial advising. For example, you could create an onboarding package for new clients that includes an educational PDF and an email with a calendar link scheduling the client’s first meeting with you. Doing so can benefit your business and guarantee a consistent and reliable experience for your clients.

Be Consistent

From your brand to your online voice to your direct service to clients, it’s important to provide continuity in quality, professionalism and integrity. Consistency creates a positive client experience and contributes to a long-lasting advisory relationship. And doing so means communicating clearly and regularly with clients while remaining transparent about each client’s progress toward their financial goals.

Bottom Line

A financial advisor setting up a first meeting with a potential client.

Finding and retaining clients as a financial advisor involves a strategic blend of actions. From defining your niche and crafting compelling communication to marketing yourself online and connecting with your community, these steps are pivotal for attracting initial clientele. However, client retention is equally critical. Transparency and numerical data cultivate trust, while actively seeking and incorporating client feedback demonstrates dedication to improvement.

Tips for Getting Your First Client as a Financial Advisor

  • Consider outsourcing some of your marketing activities. SmartAsset AMP (Advisor Marketing Platform) is a holistic marketing service financial advisors can use for client lead generation and automated marketing. Sign up for a free demo to explore how SmartAsset AMP can help you expand your practice’s marketing operation. Get started today.
  • When a new client is ready to begin working with you, having an onboarding checklist can help make it easier to bring them into the fold seamlessly and start building trust from day one.

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