As a financial advisor, you may find it difficult to create a reliable stream of your ideal clients. The techniques of decades past (glossy ads, free chicken dinners, buying tired mailing lists etc.) just don’t get it done anymore.
Besides, those techniques are hit and miss (mostly miss) when it comes to attracting more clients who are actually the right fit for you and your practice.
In this article, you are going to learn how to get more clients.
But first, an important question: “Do you know how investors evaluate and ultimately pick their advisors?”
Here’s a look at what’s wrong with the traditional ways of marketing in our industry, followed by an introduction to new and better ways to attract and win new clients. The right clients. Your ideal clients.
The Common Solution
For years, seeking referrals through the people you know has been the sacred cow of the financial advising industry. There’s no end to the stats showing the value of referrals, either.
As a result, advisors spend a disproportionate amount of their marketing resources on seeking referrals.
Shining a New Light on Referrals
Referrals do often form the basis of a healthy client roster. Advisors love them because they don’t cost anything to acquire, except perhaps the sweat equity that went into forming a good practice and serving the current customers well.
However, they’re not perfect. Here are three reasons why.
- A referral is not necessarily a good match.
One problem with referrals lies in the way you first connect. They come to you based upon a third-party ‘matchmaker’ (a current client). This matchmaker doesn’t have much invested in how well the relationship turns out. You and the new referral client are simply two entities the ‘matchmaker’ knows. He knows you’re an advisor and he knows his friend needs one, end of story.
When the only common denominator you have is the person you both know in common, that could make for a flimsy relationship that doesn’t hold up over the long term.
What you seek is a lasting relationship based on trust, mutual respect, and a common vision of goals. Sound familiar? If this sounds to you as if it were lifted from a marriage counseling handbook, you’d be right.
The best advisor-client relationships run deep and wide.
- Referrals are unreliable and inconsistent.
The second problem with referrals is you have no way of controlling their frequency. Apart from impressing your current clients and promoting yourself with advertising, what can you do to increase those referrals? Aside from running referral bonus programs inspired by the retail industry, it’s by nature a passive process.
- New advisors face an uphill battle with referrals.
Ask any advisor: building a new practice through referrals is a tough slog. Developing a customer base through referrals works best when you have credibility. Obviously, if you’re just starting out, that’s probably your weakest point. This along with the absence of a mentor is the chief reason many advisors don’t survive the first five years.
There’s More Out There
The idea of referrals is a sound one but what if you could do more? What if you could be more proactive about attracting a much larger pool of the right clients? And what if your marketing campaigns were steered by an informed decision-making process? All of this is now possible.
Maintaining this type of passive (read ‘old-school’) marketing strategy isn’t the best way to distinguish yourself anymore. Competitiveness demands that advisors dig deeper and go bolder while zeroing in on precisely who their ideal client is and what they want.
The key is to examine the criteria that investors actually use when judging the advisors they know. In other words, advisors need to know what their potential ideal clients truly seek. Then and only then can they aim their marketing cannons in the right direction.
And that takes a shift (perhaps an uncomfortable shift) towards accessing the platform, data and scalability that a well thought out online presence and strategy can accomplish for you.
A Better Strategy for 2017 and Beyond
Zooming out for a second, focus for a minute on the fact that the world is changing drastically. Independent and prosperity-minded advisors face a well-entrenched machine operated by the status quo. It’s a tall order.
However, embracing today’s technology and the internet’s ability to spread your message to precisely those who are ready and eager to hear it give you the opportunity to be heard like never before.
By creating targeted, relevant content in the form of articles, webinars and podcasts and using the power of intelligent software applications to deliver the right message to the right person at the right time… you have the ability to uniquely stand out to those you’re meant to help.
But it’s about so much more than simply using technology. Marketing online is useless if you aren’t clear about whose attention you are trying to capture and what they really want.
What Investors Really Want
A 2016 survey by Spectrem Group called Advisor Relationships and Changing Advice Requirements sheds some light on what investors are looking for in an advisor(1). Referral from a trusted source is important, but the survey reveals other important factors in the mix as well.
The most important factor was whether the advisor was perceived as being honest and trustworthy.
In fact, almost a third of investors ranked trust and honesty as the #1 most important factor in choosing a new advisor. That was followed by 20 percent whose #1 factor was a strong referral. Performance, or investment track record, rang in a distant third, with only 18 percent of survey respondents reporting that to be the most important factor.
What does that tell us? Investors are looking for someone they can trust more than anything. Advisors will need to pivot their marketing strategies away from merely showing performance. They’ll need to show trustworthiness.
Focusing on Showing Trustworthiness
Proving your trustworthiness is easier than you think. Trust boils down to understanding what your ideal client believes and wants and showing them that you are the best person to deliver that by demonstrating real empathy and the knowledge and authority to put their interests first.
For all that, there are a number of strategies at your disposal, thanks to the rise of the era of digital marketing. You no longer are required to meet in person to accomplish this. This new style of marketing can translate into a lead generation machine that works hard for you well into the future.
For deep displays of trust and long-lasting sources of showing your value and professional acumen, you’ll want to start publishing helpful, relevant, fascinating content that users want.
The key is figuring out what, exactly, that would be.
What Kind of Content is Best?
This is a trick question since there’s no cookie-cutter response. The answer can be found somewhere in the process of analyzing your own unique talents and interests and determining the challenges, desires, and fears of your clients and prospects.
Center your content on your solutions to your clients and prospects’ challenges.
Clearly, advisors are having trouble with the second portion of that dual strategy. Hearkening back to the Spectrem research,
- One of the top reasons investors seek new advisors is because they don’t feel their risk tolerance is understood by their current advisor. 41 percent felt this way, in fact.
- Another problem investors report is about communications. Advisors lose points when they speak to only one spouse and don’t include the other in financial discussions.
- Investors also hate it when their advisor doesn’t talk about their overall financial situation but instead focus only on investments. More than one-third of survey respondents felt this was reason enough to find a new advisor.
All this points to a serious misunderstanding of client challenges and desires! Advisors committed to Prosperity Economics can easily address all three of these challenges and stand out from “typical” financial planners!
What? You don’t have time to write articles and aren’t ready to hire a content writer? We knew that was an issue for many so we decided to create a fantastic solution called Content For Clients.
The Bottom Line
If financial advisors want to attract more of their ideal clients, they’ll want to strongly consider building an online platform that displays trustworthiness and honesty. It’s the way marketing is trending in other industries, so it makes sense that the financial world is following suit.
Furthermore, the Spectrem data bolsters the notion that investors want advisors who know them well. They seek someone who understands their entire financial picture. Generating great content that speaks to the specific dreams and challenges of the clients you wish to attract is a great start.
- How Investors Evaluate Their Advisors. Retrieved 6/4/2017 from https://cloud.3dissue.com/88271/88666/132421/HNWNewsletterDecember2016/index.html?r=1