One of the biggest challenges at any financial advisory practice is how to get new prospects and increase business in order to grow your firm.
We came across this article that goes into depth about what not to do, what to do, and then proposes 10 new, or underutilized, strategies you can use. You’ll find the full article here: Investopedia
Here is our take and breakdown on the ideas that author Dan Moskowitz discusses.
What all advisors should be doing:
Moskowitz points out some good reminders that apply to everyone in business.
For instance, make sure you are dedicating time to communicating and relationship-building with your current clients. (And, we would add, ask them for introductions. Not “referrals,” but introductions where the three of you meet together over coffee, breakfast or lunch.)
Be available via phone as much as you can—including lunch hours and after 5:00 p.m., when your prospects are actually able to call you. You don’t want to miss a call, which can hurt your chances to set up an appointment right when they are motivated.
Use auto responders to respond immediately to web leads and emails, then follow up personally as soon as possible.
10 new ways (undervalued strategies) you can use to get new prospects:
- LinkedIn is a social media network that can be used to target both high-net-worth prospects, as well as business owners. We agree.
- Word of mouth is huge, and good comments about you can spread more easily if you participate in social media. As long as you are not using client testimonials or making any product or performance claims (which are no-no’s), social media can be a great way to build credibility simply by having an active presence. Remember this: 92% of people say their friends’ recommendations are their most trusted referral source—and they’re communicating via social media.
- Dinner seminars are disliked by some, loved by others. Getting the right mix of people and fostering a relaxed and positive atmosphere around sharing a meal is expensive, but it can also lead to very high returns. At Shurwest, we have the whole process down to a science.
- Educational workshops can be a more affordable alternative to dinner. Being seen as an expert in a school, library or university environment can lead to increases in business using our turnkey programs.
- Local lead groups meet once a week in many cities. The members, none of whom work for competing companies or industries, share leads and make referrals.
- Free reports or whitepapers are nearly irresistible to click, and can help you capture an email address so you can continue to nurture the interested party. If the content you supply is good, relevant and matches your offer (avoiding hyperbole), your credibility will skyrocket, and people may very well call you and set up an appointment—as long as you include your contact information.
- Community networking and getting involved in charity events can go a long way toward establishing credibility for you and your brand. And sponsorships are one of the best ways to get “free” media coverage on radio, TV and in print. Choose a cause you truly care about.
- Facebook is a necessity, because it is the largest social media network with 156.6 million users in the U.S. alone. Your business page posts may not be seen by many fans, but regular posting will help your website rank by providing Google and other search engines “social signals.” You can run inexpensive ads to promote your page and special events. Or use a lot of video, since videos are given special preference by Facebook in the newsfeed.
- Google Adwords or PPC (pay-per-click) can be used to generate inbound leads, since they appear when people are searching for selected keywords (like “financial advisor in Dubuque,” etc.) Google Adwords can be effective when selling a simple product that people are already searching for, but don’t always deliver a good ROI on complex services. (On an unrelated note, Google+ and Google for Business are completely free, and should always be set up so you can stand out organically in a local search.) Ask us more about web leads and SEO, we’re happy to help.
- A newspaper article is different from a newspaper ad, and has added authority because it seems like a third-party endorsement. If you have a local newspaper, find out who the financial topics editor or writer is and offer yourself as financial expert. Be willing to write articles if they request a regular column from you, or be available as a source. Reporters are typically under tight deadlines and need experts they can reach and rely on. Often they will be looking for a quick quote from you to add weight to an article they are writing. Or you can suggest a story angle you think is newsworthy. Best practice is to have a “News” or “Press” area on your website that contains all the background information they will need for accuracy, as well as photos and logos in case they want to run them.
Old-school “overvalued strategies”:
Moskowitz pans the following strategies as ineffective. Here are our thoughts on each topic. What do you think?
Cold calling, we agree, has limited success these days. But there may be personal phone calls you are neglecting to make. Do you regularly call people you’ve met with who haven’t made a decision yet? Or people who’ve attended your seminars? Or allied professionals like CPAs or attorneys who could use your financial/investment expertise? A CRM system can help you segment your target lists, allowing you to both make phone calls and send personalized emails to different prospects as well as keep track of them. Remember, it can take five or more touches to get to a “yes.” Don’t give up too soon.
Direct mail may very well be viewed as “junk” by prospects when it’s poorly done. Keep in mind that direct mail has been abandoned by many companies for that reason, in favor of “free” email. But ask yourself, when is the last time you opened an email from a company (instead of deleting dozens every day before you even click?) Wouldn’t a well-designed piece of snail-mail in your not-as-full mailbox get you to at least look at it if the subject applies to you? Use techniques that others are not using to cut through the clutter of messages competing for your potential clients’ mindshare.
Newspaper and magazine ads targeting specific niche audiences can be effective, but only if the design stands out and the headline and copy says something important. Keep in mind that older people still read newspapers, if that’s your target prospect, and there are magazines that reach affluent people that offer local and regional ad rates. Advertising can be expensive because an ad message needs to be seen at least three times in order to be noticed. But it offers a way to reach people who’ve never heard of you—people who may be looking for a new financial advisor.
Buying pre-set appointments or leads can be a waste if they’re not well-qualified. We agree with Moskowitz on that. That’s why we only offer a limited number of these programs, which have been well-tested, vetted and proven to work for top advisors.
Your website. Moskowitz says this has the most potential and we agree. Unique content posted on a regular basis and promoted via social media can help your website rank when people are searching for you. So can specifically designing the structure of your website to rank locally for the most-searched keywords relevant to what you offer.
Moskowitz concludes by saying that there has been “no better time throughout history to be a financial advisor…for the next 15 years an average of 10,000 baby boomers will be retiring every day.” We agree.
Call us at 800.440.1088 to learn all the ways Shurwest can partner with you to deliver the strategies that will build your practice.