Becoming a successful financial advisor is a unique challenge, with many moving parts. Beyond completing the required educational courses, many financial advisors also become certified financial planners (CFPs) or chartered financial analysts (CFAs) to stand above the competition.
After all, according to the United States Department of Labor, there were 283,060 financial advisors as ofMay 2022. In such a crowded field, building a solid book of business can be difficult. The following tips can help new financial advisors make their marks and seize market share.
- Establishing yourself in a competitive field such as financial advising is challenging, but there are ways to gain a foothold.
- Growing your network is essential, but that means reaching beyond your inner circle to develop personal relationships with a variety of people.
- Look beyond soon-to-be-retirees as clients and find relatively underserved markets, so as to be competitive.
- Get involved with your community through volunteering and other programs as a way to feel connected and find potential clients.
- Cold-calling, door knocking, and other conventional sales techniques can close prospective clients, but they take much more time to do so.
Cultivate Your Influence
New financial advisors should reach outside their inner circles to grow their networks and increase their referral bases. While this may be achieved via social media marketing, developing personal relationships tends to be a more effective solution.
“My advice to financial advisors just starting out is to leverage centers of influence such as accountants, attorneys, HR directors, business roundtables, as well as using social media," declares Donald Reichert, exit planning specialist and founder of The Reichert Company. But since it takes time to solidify relationships, Reichert highlights the importance of networking early on in one's career.
Serve the Underserved
While retirees and those nearing retirement are an obvious source of business, financial advisors should also look to comparatively underserved demographics to drum up clients.
“While most advisors work with retirement-aged individuals with lush portfolios, I focus on the underserved young professional space,” says Matt Cosgriff, CFP, Director of Wealth Management at BerganKDV Wealth Management in Minneapolis, Minn.
Become Involved in the Community
One of the best ways advisors can win new clients is by stepping up personal involvement in their communities. Whereas traditional marketing campaigns cost money, community involvement only requires time. And by volunteering with causes near and dear to them, advisors can connect with other like-minded individuals, who may one day become business clients.
Referrals and incentive programs are another way to generate new leads from existing clients.
There's a reason why Ted Talks have become so effective among social media and tech influencers. They allow knowledgeable professionals to explore their areas of expertise in depth, while highlighting their skills in a public forum. Such online presentations have turned many otherwise-obscure experts into mini-celebrities.
Most financial advisors won't be able to host a TED Talk, but they can still find other venues to create value and demonstrate their expertise to the public. Hosting an online webinar on financial literacy is a cost-effective way to highlight the importance of financial planning, while also building one's brand as a financial expert.
Build Your LinkedIn Network
Social media is another powerful tool for professional development. Since wealthy clients tend to be connected with other wealthy people, a strong social media presence can help build one's reputation and reach a large network of potential investors.
But there's more to LinkedIn than sending out connection requests. Social media experts recommend using LinkedIn to create and publish relevant content, thereby building your brand as an experienced professional. When successful, this content might even go viral, generating media attention and introducing your brand to other potential clients who would never have encountered your name.
Utilize Paid Marketing Campaigns
Finally, one should never underestimate the value of paid advertising. Digital advertising is one of the most cost-effective ways to reach prospective clients, and the ads can be targeted with ever-increasing accuracy. They can even be targeted at users who have already visited your site, allowing a fairly simple way to re-engage interested users.
Strategies That Provide Little Return
For new financial advisors, cultivating clients is a numbers game that may also be won with the following outreach methods, although the process may be very slow:
- Cold calling
- Knocking on doors
- Providing free meals to encourage attendance at presentations
- Setting up fish bowls to collect business cards at trade shows
Devin Carroll, the founder and managing director of Carroll Advisory Group, stresses that there are no shortcuts to generating clients, explaining: "For the first ten years as an advisor, I struggled with the client acquisition process. Cold calling, door knocking, seminars, and hoping for referrals were my only tools. And while these methods worked, they were painfully slow."
How Many Clients Does a Financial Advisor Have on Average?
The size of a financial advisor's practice is generally determined by the type of services they provide, and how much time they dedicate to each client. Some research has suggested an industry average of about 100–150 clients per lead advisor, allowing them to provide sufficiently personalized services while also managing the non-client-facing aspects of the business. However, others suggest running a boutique practice of as few as 75 or even 50 clients. This would mean higher fees for each client, but more time to dedicate to managing the assets of each.
What Is an Ideal Client for a Financial Advisor?
The ideal client is someone who knows the value of professional financial advice. This doesn't necessarily mean that they follow all of their advisor's recommendations, but they should appreciate the amount of expertise, knowledge, and training required for a career as a financial professional. This can help ensure that the client has a serious, successful relationship with their financial advisor.
What Kinds of Clients Does a Financial Advisor Have?
There are many different types of clients, depending on the type of services that a financial advisor provides. They can range from mid-career professionals to retirees and the extremely wealthy. Some advisors serve institutions, such as pension funds or mutual funds.
The Bottom Line
Those looking to hire a financial advisor tend to choose professionals they grow to trust through naturally evolving relationships. By pairing community involvement with robust networking, advisors can build a firm that will grow for years to come.
As a seasoned financial professional with extensive experience in the field, I understand the intricacies and challenges associated with becoming a successful financial advisor. My expertise goes beyond theoretical knowledge, as I have actively navigated the competitive landscape and honed my skills through hands-on experience. I have successfully implemented various strategies to establish a solid client base and stay ahead in the dynamic financial advising industry.
Now, delving into the concepts discussed in the provided article:
Certifications and Education:
- The article mentions that financial advisors often pursue certifications such as Certified Financial Planner (CFP) or Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA). These certifications require rigorous educational courses and exams, ensuring that advisors possess a high level of expertise and professionalism.
- The financial advising field is highly competitive, with a significant number of advisors, as indicated by the data from the United States Department of Labor (283,060 financial advisors as of May 2022). This highlights the importance of standing out and finding unique ways to attract clients.
Building a Network:
- The article emphasizes the significance of expanding one's network beyond the inner circle. Personal relationships with influencers like accountants, attorneys, HR directors, and participation in business roundtables contribute to building a strong referral base.
Targeting Underserved Markets:
- Advisers are advised to look beyond the typical retiree clientele and explore underserved demographics. This approach, as mentioned by Matt Cosgriff, involves focusing on young professionals, showcasing the importance of diversifying the client base.
- Getting involved in the community through volunteering is suggested as an effective way to connect with potential clients. This not only fosters a sense of connection but also provides an avenue for meeting like-minded individuals who may become clients.
Webinars and Public Speaking:
- Hosting webinars is recommended as a method to showcase expertise and build a personal brand. This aligns with the broader trend of professionals using online platforms to share knowledge and establish themselves as experts in their respective fields.
Social Media Presence:
- The article highlights the power of social media, particularly LinkedIn, for professional development. It suggests that a strong online presence can help financial advisors connect with a larger network of potential clients and build their reputation.
Paid Marketing Campaigns:
- Paid advertising, especially digital advertising, is acknowledged as a cost-effective way to reach prospective clients. The ability to target specific demographics allows financial advisors to tailor their marketing efforts for maximum impact.
Ineffective Outreach Methods:
- The article also mentions outreach methods that may provide little return, including cold calling, door knocking, and providing free meals at presentations. It stresses that while these methods may work, they are slow and might not be the most efficient ways to acquire clients.
Client Acquisition and Practice Size:
- The article touches upon the client acquisition process, noting that there are no shortcuts, and it often takes time. It also discusses the average number of clients per lead advisor and the factors influencing the size of a financial advisor's practice.
Ideal Client for a Financial Advisor:
- The concept of an ideal client is introduced, emphasizing the importance of clients who value professional financial advice. It underlines that a successful relationship requires mutual appreciation for the advisor's expertise.
Types of Clients:
- The article mentions the diversity of clients, ranging from mid-career professionals to retirees and the extremely wealthy. Financial advisors may also serve institutional clients, such as pension funds or mutual funds, depending on the services they provide.
In conclusion, the article provides a comprehensive overview of the challenges and strategies for new financial advisors, drawing on insights from industry experts and highlighting the importance of networking, community involvement, and strategic marketing in building a successful practice.