Prospecting for new clients is the lifeblood of a healthy, growing financial practice. Most advisers who have been in the business for a while have favorite methods that work for their target audience, local market, and personal preferences, but it's a good idea to roll up your sleeves and try new prospecting activities every so often.
We polled a handful of active financial advisors (and dusted off some old sales manuals) and developed a list of five prospecting ideas to breathe some fresh air into your sales funnel.
Shake the Referral Tree for Clients
It's the tried and true method of tapping your network for qualified prospects who might be looking for your services. This works best when you don't regularly contact your network for leads and have specific ideas in mind about the types of referrals you're seeking. Instead of sending out generic queries, consider developing a specific list of prospects you'd like to contact and requesting introductions, or creating an ideal profile of the clients you're seeking (eg. technology executives, or nonprofits of a certain size). Take some time to expand your network through a church, school, or family activities.
Prospect by Hosting a Client Event
Hosting a casual client appreciation event with a strategic partner as a speaker is a great way to provide valuable information while bringing in new leads. Invite your most valuable clients (you've segmented your book, right?) and ask them to bring two friends who might be interested in the topic. Topics could range from retirement planning and college savings to charitable giving. Consider asking a wholesaler or strategic partner to split the cost of the event to keep your financial commitment low.
Become an Expert
Everyone wants to work with an expert who understands their specific needs. Take a look at your book and determine what niche you'd like to focus on and develop a prospecting and service strategy designed to target that niche. Show your niche that you understand their needs and can offer custom solutions. This is definitely more complex than dialing for dollars but can yield tremendous benefits to your practice in terms of referrals and new leads.
Build a strong network of alliance and referral partners by establishing ties with estate attorneys, CPAs, and insurance agents. These friendships can be a great way to cross-sell services and offer your clients comprehensive care. If you already have partners, are you getting enough leads from them? Consider refreshing your relationship by taking them to lunch or offering them the opportunity to speak at a client event.
Sponsor an Event or Charity
Community ties are important and sponsoring a local event, kid's sports team, or charity is a great way to show that your business is part of the community while increasing your visibility. Choose a sponsorship opportunity that will get your logo and name in front of your target market.
For example, if you want to target women investors under 50, consider sponsoring a kid's soccer team to build rapport with their mothers. Get your logo on their sports jerseys and consider offering hot coffee and donuts on game days. You'll become appreciated for your thoughtfulness and generosity - great traits for a financial adviser.
It can be tough to find time to prospect when you're busy working with clients and managing a busy practice. However, it's a bad idea to ignore prospecting completely lest you find yourself high and dry during a slow month.
Hopefully, we've given you a few ideas (and refreshed some old ones) to get out there and start drumming up some new business clientele. Remember that like most marketing activities, a prospecting strategy often yields its best results with time, patience, and consistency.
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