Finding success as a financial advisor means establishing a careful balance between two core activities: meeting the needs of your current clients and generating leads to new ones. Lead generation is a vital part of scaling an advisory business. And you may be spending a fair amount of time and money trying different tactics to connect with prospects. If so, it’s important to ensure that you’re getting the best return on investment possible. Having some go-to financial lead generation strategies in your playbook can ensure that your efforts aren’t wasted.
Strategy #1: Establish Trust by Providing Value
In financial advisor marketing and in content marketing in general, one of the most common – and effective – lead generation strategies is the freebie.
It’s a simple concept. You give prospects something free that’s either useful to them or necessary, as a precursor to converting them to a paying client. If your advisory business has an associated website and blog, for example, this can come in the form of informative posts that solve a problem or answer a question for prospects. This is a strategy that Shawn Plummer, CEO of The Annuity Expert, has successfully used to capture an audience and generate clients through his website.
“I leverage my expertise on annuities and insurance to educate visitors, provide thought leadership and position myself as an expert,” Plummer says. “This increases the trust I have with my visitors, which in turn increases the likelihood that they may reach out for a quote.”
If you don’t have a free offering, consider what you can do to create one. This could mean establishing a blog but it could also involve the creation of a free podcast or webinar. The goal is to identify what potential leads are looking for and what answers or solutions you’re able to provide.
Strategy #2: Reverse Engineer Social Media
Social media can be an integral part of an advisor’s marketing and lead generation plan. After all, this may be the first contact a prospective client has with your advisory business. Establishing a presence on social media matters but consider how that time is spent. Paul Sundin, certified public accountant, tax strategist and CEO of Emparion in Chandler, Arizona, says it’s important to go beyond the basics of just creating profiles or making an offer.
“To have effective lead generation as a financial advisor, you need to do market research,” Sundin says.
Specifically, it’s important to research the patterns that entice your target market, he noted. Social media can be an invaluable tool for that.
“Search for customer reviews, activities on different social media platforms and overall social media behavior,” he added. “Once you see the pattern for the keywords that entices them, use the keywords in your copy and content.”
This, says Sundin, can be a recipe for driving the right people to your website.
Strategy #3: Cultivate Leads Through Current Clients
Unless you’re starting from zero with clients you may have a built-in resource for lead generation. Asking current clients for referrals can be one of the easiest and most effective ways to grow your advisory business.
“Clients have busy lives and even though they like you, it may not occur to them that you’re looking for new prospects,” says Alvin Carlos, certified financial planner and managing partner at Washington, D.C.-based District Capital Management. “Tell them you’re looking to help 10 new clients this year and you’d rather help those that are important to them.”
This allows you to continue to provide value to your current clients by demonstrating that you care about the people who are close to them. And it can create a continuing cycle of lead generation if those new clients continue to refer others to your business.
Approaching existing clients for referrals can be as simple as mentioning it in your regular email newsletter. And if you aren’t yet using email to stay connected with current or prospective clients, that’s another avenue for generating leads that you may want to invest some time in exploring.
Strategy #4: Use Lead Generation Services
Chasing leads can be tiring and time-consuming. Lead generation services can save you precious time that you could then redirect toward serving your existing client base. If you’ve never used a lead generation service before, you could be missing out on an opportunity to have tailored leads delivered right to you.
SmartAdvisor, for instance, supplies you with leads that fit your target client profile. By signing up, you can effectively put lead generation on autopilot.
You can also take advantage of lead generation services as a member of the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors (NAPFA), says Carlos. To join, you do need to be a fee-only financial planner. But, he says “the biggest cost is the 60 hours of continuing education credit you need to maintain.”
The Bottom Line
Finding new leads can seem daunting, but it doesn’t have to be. By utilizing some basic, yet powerful, strategies you can keep a steady stream of leads coming in. Keep in mind that you may need to allow for some trial and error to figure out what’s working and what’s not. And as you continue to seek out new leads, remember to stay open to new ideas and opportunities for connecting with your ideal clients.
More Tips for Lead Generation
- Follow the trends. Between March and August of 2020, online searches for the term “financial advisor” jumped by nearly 20%, thanks to the coronavirus pandemic keeping people at home. Many advisors, however, weren’t able to capitalize on that uptick in search activity. While it can take some time to build a brand for your firm online, some lead generation services can help you scale quickly when a new trend emerges to reshape the financial services landscape.
- Don’t limit yourself to local searches. Many financial advisors rarely look for prospects outside of a short drive from their home or office. But 60% of prospects who completed a survey with SmartAsset indicated that they were willing to work with an advisor remotely. If you’re only looking for prospects locally you could be costing yourself leads without realizing it. Consider broadening your search and working with investors who are more comfortable with less frequent in-person meetings.
- Think ahead. Taking a generational approach could help your advisory business continue to flourish as years or even decades pass. While investors who are closer to retirement often have more assets, investors from Generations X and Y are rapidly catching up. Getting ahead of the Great Wealth Transfer by expanding your client base and working with investors who are entering their prime earning years could help make your business more sustainable for the long term.
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Rebecca Lake 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, CreditCards.com 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.