As a financial advisor or a wealth manager, you are always trying to build your business by bringing in new clients and increasing the amount of assets you have under management. However, in an economic environment that is challenging to even the most seasoned of financial professionals and with skittish investors who perhaps lost much of their hard-earned nest egg at the hands of a financial advisor, a cold call or a clever marketing campaign probably won’t help you attract potential clients, especially those of higher net worth.
The most effective strategy for courting those clients who are not only in need of your financial advisory services but actually come to you looking for it is predicated on your being able to establish a sense of trust in their minds. They want to know that you have their best interests at heart before they give you their life savings to safeguard and hopefully grow. The way for you to do this is not through slick marketing or scare tactics, and it certainly does not involve trying to prove how smart you are by predicting the stock market’s direction or putting out a list “must have” stock opportunities. No, inspiring faith in your services and your abilities relies on three fundamental pillars:
- Establishing yourself as a resident financial expert
- Giving away actionable information for free
- Developing a relationship, not a stewardship
Marketing campaigns for financial management services are typically focused on cleverly worded newsletters, blog posts, or bulk mailings that are short on substance and long on subtle—and sometimes pretty blatant—pleas for interested prospects to call in with a deposit check at the ready. Think about it, though: when was the last time you listened to someone’s pitch—either in person or facelessly anonymous on the other end of the phone—and were swayed enough to buy what they were selling?
But how many articles have you read on a topic—say, personal health or diet—by a writer who, with an unknown academic pedigree, sounded knowledgeable and somewhat of an expert, and as a result you found yourself following their advice or adopting their recommendations?
Probably more often than you know.
For a financial advisor, the difference between the two scenarios is the former feels forced and solicitous, while the latter is conversational and non-threatening. Whether you are communicating through social media, on a website, or just sending out a bulk mailing, you should never actively promote your services, just provide relevant information that the reader can easily put to use in their own financial planning. The first thing you write won’t bring them in by droves, nor will the second, the third, or maybe even the tenth.
At some point, however, that potential client of yours is going to have a question, maybe about retirement plans or the tax implications of their investment choices, and they’ll remember that you have often provided sound advice on the subject. Or—even better—perhaps they have prospered by heeding your suggestions. Yours will then be the number that they call to arrange an appointment.
Now, “actionable advice” does not mean that you should be promoting specific stocks or investment ideas as there are strict FINRA guidelines against such activity. But general information that everyone should be aware of is typically well within the confines of client communication as approved by your compliance officer.
Keep in mind, though, that you are swimming in the same pond as hundreds of other financial advisors and asset managers who all have the same intent as you, and all of you are vying for the attention of a small number of potential clients. Because of this, you will want to distinguish yourself from everyone else by focusing your advice on a particular niche or demographic of which you are particularly knowledgeable about and would like to build your financial practice around. This specialization can be anything: teachers, doctors, small business owners, military personnel, divorcees, or retirees as examples. Prospective clients are looking for an advisor who understands their unique situation, and if you routinely write about issues that, say a teacher, should consider in their long term retirement plan like defined contribution plans and spousal Social Security, then you are likely to paint yourself as the sort of expert that teachers will want to develop a relationship with.
Being comfortable in the belief that you know what you are talking about—and without the hard sell of your services—is what will entice prospective clients to invest with you. They will do so under the auspices of seeking a relationship where both of you are working together toward a financial goal and not necessarily that they are simply depositing their money in your trust.
A relationship with your client is what will ensure that they not only respect and follow your opinions and advice, but that they will also recommend your services to their family and friends.
5 Star Writer Jeff M is an editor, essay writer, and copywriter for a college counseling company.