7 client acquisition strategies for today’s financial advisor
Acquiring clients is a critical component of building a successful financial practice. Two industry experts recently shared some tips and techniques to help advisors acquire the clients they need to take their business to the next level of success.
Something advisors looking to grow their business should not do is to settle for word-of-mouth or referred leads, advised Bill Cates, president of Referral Coach International.
It’s certainly nice when our clients talk about advisors to other people, and occasionally, these people will take action. But this is not a predictable and robust strategy for growth, Cates said.
Referred leads are slightly better because now, you have someone to contact, he added. However, if the prospects do not know who you are or why they should speak with you, too many of them will ignore your call or your email message. That led to Cates' first recommended strategy.
Strategy 1: “In today’s world, we need to think and speak in terms of introductions,” Cates said.
“Whenever you’re with a client, prospect or a center of influence, use the word introductions,” he said. “When you are asking for ‘referrals,’ you’re not done until you have an actionable introduction.”
The following are additional strategies recommended by Cates:
Strategy 2: In talking to clients, advisors should get to the “impact of the benefits.” Most advisors talk in terms of features. They say: "We take the time to really get to know our clients so we can present a customized plan.” But that is a feature, not the benefit, Cates pointed out. Some advisors who know the difference will say: “With this plan in place, we can guide you to make the best possible financial decisions to help you reach your financial goals.”
That is the benefit, Cates said. Almost everyone stops here, which is a shame, because the true power of your value as an advisor comes from the Impact of the Benefit.
Instead, advisors should say something like this to their prospects and clients: “George and Martha, how does that resonate with you? How do you see that playing out for the two of you?” The goal is to get your prospects and clients to “own” the benefit, Cates pointed out.
Strategy 3: Eliminate the prospect or client objection of: “I can’t think of anyone” when he is asked if he knows someone who can use your service. The best way to engage a client about introductions is to go to the client prepared with the names of specific people you know they know, as well as a handful of life events and money-in-motion categories, he said.
“When you throw open the universe for your clients to consider, the conversation usually fizzles,” Cates said. Instead, he advised, “you want to help them picture specific people. You can’t do your work well in a vacuum. You need to know who will be impacted by your clients’ decisions and who are making decisions that will impact them. You want to carry a list (in your head or on paper) of the many life events and money-in-motion events when people might realize they need your guidance. When you come to this conversation prepared to do a little brainstorming, you will always produce better results; yet, you will never hurt your relationships.”
More tips for growing your business
The advice from Robert Arzt is that in general, people prefer to do business with people they know, like and trust--and this is especially true for financial advisors. With that in mind, Arzt, who is founder and president of Polaris One, offered the following tips “that will help advisors check the above requirements:”
Strategy 4: Become a subject-matter expert: Create engaging and informative content on your website, blog, newsletter or social-media platforms.
Strategy 5: Host educational events: Hold seminars, workshops or other educational events that will provide valuable information to attendees. “This will showcase your expertise, and potential clients will be able to see you in action and decide if you are a good fit for them,” he said.
Strategy 6: Develop strategic alliances with other professionals: Build a referral network of other professionals who regularly come into contact with your ideal client. “This may take a little time to develop,” Arzt pointed out, “but it is well worth it. A referral to you from another trusted advisor is the gold standard for a referral.”
Strategy 7: Offer prospects a free consultation: To help potential clients get to know you and how you work, a free, no-obligation consultation is a safe way for them to see if you are a good fit for them and if you have the expertise needed to meet their needs, goals and objectives, he said.
Ayo Mseka has more than 30 years of experience reporting on the financial services industry. She formerly served as editor-in-chief of NAIFA’s Advisor Today magazine. Contact her at [email protected].
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