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SmartAsset: How to Grow Your Client Base as a Financial Advisor

How do financial advisors get more clients? It’s a commonly asked question and one that you might have pondered many times if you’re hoping to scale and grow your business. There’s no magic secret or key to how to grow your client base as a financial advisor. Instead, it’s all about applying strategies that are designed to put you on prospects’ radars and convert them to clients. You can also work with SmartAsset’s SmartAdvisor platform to find new clients to help you reach the next stage of growth.

How Many Clients Should a Financial Advisor Have?

There’s no one-size-fits-all answer to this question, as it can depend largely on your personal goals for your business.

Larger advisory firms may have thousands of clients, while mid-size firms may number their clients in the hundreds. A smaller, boutique financial advisor may work with just a few dozen clients at a time.

It’s logical to assume that more clients equals more revenue and that’s true to a certain extent. However, it’s important to consider the quality of service you’re able to provide and how that affects client retention rates. After all, happy clients are more likely to stay with you long-term.

If your advisory business isn’t growing at the pace that you’d like it to or generating the level of revenue you’d like to see, then growing your client base is a reasonable solution. The key is ensuring that you’re attracting clients in a way that ensures they’ll be loyal to you and your services for years to come.

How to Grow Your Client Base as a Financial Advisor

SmartAsset: How to Grow Your Client Base as a Financial Advisor

Getting more clients is all about figuring out what works best for your business. With that being said, there are some tried-and-true strategies that can help you to increase your client base.

Know your audience. The first step in gaining more clients is knowing whom you want to serve. That can be significant when shaping your marketing efforts and creating content that’s designed to appeal to your ideal client.

There are several components involved in defining your target audience, starting with demographics. For instance, what age range do they fall in? Are they married? Do they have kids? What’s their average annual income?

It’s also important to consider more personal elements, such as their hobbies or lifestyle preferences. The better you know your existing client base, the easier it becomes to tailor your marketing to attract similar clients.

Consider niching down. How do you approach your advisory services? Would you say it’s more of a buffet, where you offer a little of everything? Or do you offer your clients a smaller menu of curated options?

If you’re working on how to grow your client base, taking a niche approach is something to consider. By niching down, you’re focusing on a smaller pool of potential clients. But it may be easier to connect with them if you’re offering the type of specialized services they’re seeking.

For example, say you currently work with clients in their 30s and 40s. You could go more niche by focusing on married couples in their 30s and 40s with kids or single women or members of the LGBTQ community.

The smaller the niche, the greater the opportunity you have to grow your client base if you’re one of only a handful of advisors who are meeting the needs of that market segment.

Fine-tune your brand. Branding is everything in business. Your brand acts as a calling card of sorts for telling prospective clients what you’re all about as an advisor.

A good branding strategy incorporates both the large and smaller details. For example, a good logo is important for branding as you want to choose something that people will automatically come to associate with your business. A logo can be even more powerful when it’s linked to a catchphrase or slogan.

Your brand is also how you communicate with your audience and your wording. For example, if you want to be known as a go-to advisor for Gen Z, then you need to be able to speak the language of TikTok and Instagram.

Regardless of how you shape your brand, it’s essential that you be consistent in promoting it. The more cohesive your branding is, the more effective your messaging ends up being.

Become a collaborator. Collaboration and networking are both powerful ways to grow your client base as an advisor. Partnering with other individuals or entities in the financial services community can help to boost your visibility within that space.

For example, say your target audience is pre-retirees in their 50s. You might offer to lead a free retirement planning seminar through a local community college or your chamber of commerce.

You’re not limited to in-person collaborations either. Guesting on a podcast or participating in an online webinar that’s free to the public are other opportunities for expanding your reach into a broader audience.

Leverage your existing clients. An often overlooked option for how to grow your client base is to tap into the resources you already have, namely, your clients.

Asking clients for referrals can be a highly effective way to generate traffic for your business. However, there’s a right and a wrong way to approach it. After all, you don’t want to come off desperate nor do you want your clients to feel like you’re just using them to get more business.

When making a referral request, it’s important to choose your framing carefully.

For example, if you’ve been working with them toward a specific solution to a financial problem they’ve been having, you can ask them how they think it’s going. Assuming you get a positive response, you can let the client know that you’re looking for others in a similar situation to help and that they’re welcome to refer them to you.

You can also gain referrals by showing, rather than telling. What does that mean? Simply, by delivering top-tier service to your clients at all times they may feel more encouraged to share your name with friends and family who are looking for an advisor.

Don’t forget that advisors can leverage the Securities and Exchange Commission’s recent marketing rule in their marketing and referral efforts. Among other changes, the SEC’s Amended Rule 206(4)-1, addressing marketing activities by registered investment advisors, permits endorsements and testimonials, subject to certain restrictions.

Other moves to make. SmartAsset’s SmartAdvisor platform provides an option to jumpstart your client acquisition with interested prospects. Investors who are in the market for financial advice are invited to take a survey about their investment goals and financial planning preferences. An in-house team reviews the leads, and advisors are able to set target asset levels and geographic ranges for their leads. Once a match is available, advisors receive each lead via phone or directly to their inbox.

Bottom Line

SmartAsset: How to Grow Your Client Base as a Financial Advisor

Getting more clients and growing your base is an important goal, as clients are what keep your business going. Taking a thoughtful, planned approach can help you work toward the kind of results you’re looking for so that your business can thrive.

Tips for Growing Your Client Base

  • Consider how much time, money and effort is reasonable to invest in marketing your services. If you’re a newly established advisor, for instance, you may be limited as to how much you can invest financially in things like building a website or creating digital ads. You may benefit most by targeting your marketing spend to efforts that are likely to produce the highest return on investment, such as those that can connect you with prospects directly, so you can focus on growing your business.
  • Another way to grow your client base is by expanding your radius. Clients are increasingly willing to work with financial advisors remotely. Consider broadening your search and working with high-net-worth investors who are comfortable connecting online, rather than in person.

Photo credit: © Productions, ©, ©

Rebecca Lake, CEPF® 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, 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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