How To Get Your First Client as a Financial Advisor

January 15, 2021 - David Stevens

It’s hard to get your first client, but if you develop certain skills and leverage the right people and channels, the job will be easier.

Every financial advisor has to start somewhere.

Even the big and successful advisors started out at the bottom. There once was a time when they had limited knowledge and experience.

They had to learn how to grow a client base, just as you are currently doing.

Landing your first client has its challenges, but it’s not impossible. With the right skills, contacts, and communication channels to leverage, you’ll make it happen.

8 Ways to Get Your First Client as a Financial Advisor

When it comes to getting your first client as a financial advisor, you need a mix of hard and soft skills.

For the prospective client to trust in your abilities, they need to know you have the hard skills, as seen through your certifications and work experience.

But to land them as a client, you need the soft skills.

Expand Social Skills

As one of those foundational soft skills, improving social skills is a basic requirement. The tips in the sections below will be ineffective unless social skills are developed and improved upon.

Good social skills does not mean you have to be an extrovert, and it’s not just about being a good talker. More importantly, it’s about being a good listener.

It’s about letting the prospect speak before you, so you can better understand their situation. Listening carefully and referencing things they mention, you are showing your focus on them. That’s part of the relationship-building process.

Also, a financial advisor should feel comfortable, or at least not be afraid, to communicate others. Whether it’s one-on-one conversation or public speaking, an advisor should be confident in their abilities.

Learn more about how financial advisors can sharpen their communication skills.

Be Digitally Literate

Technology is a big part of the communication process, especially in this COVID world we live. It’s about leveraging messaging and video conferencing apps, social media, CRM systems, as well as your website to bring in leads.

You want to know the best means of communication, the platforms where to find the prospects, and how to manage your communication.

In short, be comfortable with the tools you’re using.

Leverage Existing Contacts

Using the foundational social and digital skills, you’re ready for outreach.

Contacting people you already know is the most basic and recommended place to start.

People who already know you are more likely to listen to what you’re offering, and they’re more likely to trust you.

When putting a price tag on the effort it takes to get leads, getting business from those you already know is one of the most cost-effective approaches.

Of course, be mindful of the ways you connect. Make them aware of what you’re offering, but don’t be aggressive either. Don’t be “too persistent” to the point where your business interests seem more important than the family ties and friendships you’ve developed.

Cold Outreach

After awhile, contacting people you already know only goes so far.

You’ll have to reach out to people you don’t know, and that requires the act (and art) of prospecting.

Identify a target market, be they retail or institutional investors, old or young, those well-off or those underserved. Research who they are, where they are, and the best places to contact them.

Make sure the data is reliable and organized so that when you’re ready to hit the ground running, there’s nothing slowing you down.

You may decide that cold calls, emails, or messages on LinkedIn are effective methods.

Cold outreach by itself won’t suffice. It has to be good cold outreach. Check out one of our recent posts on cold email marketing tips for financial advisors.

Digital Marketing

Don’t just reach out to the prospects; have the prospects reach out to you. It saves you time and effort as well.

Build a digital presence, be it through your website, Google search results (paid and organic searches), or social media.

There are 12,993 Registered Investment Advisors out there. Craft your message in a way that differentiates yourself as best as you can and catches the attention of your target audience.

You can do this by highlighting the unique products, services, competitive fee structures, geographic proximity to prospect, etc.

Host Webinars

Pre-COVID, in-person meetings were more commonplace.

Going out for lunch or coffee were ways to meet and build relations. Hosting in-person seminars were also effective means of attracting prospects and converting them to clients.

In a post-pandemic world, perhaps those once-common ways return, but until then, the focus should be digital.

Considering hosting webinars.

As part of the cold outreach, consider promoting topics in a webinar that relate to the respective audience: retirement planning, establishing trusts and wills, lessons in personal finance, etc.

Through these sessions, you establish yourself as a thought leader, which is one way to build your brand and attract clients.

Be Active in the Community

Sure, you can’t meet in person for lunch or coffee, but there are ways to be out there publicly in a socially distanced manner.

The sheer act of helping others goes a long way. Within your community, you can help arrange neighborhood newspaper and recycling drives, clothing and food donations to charity, environmentally friendly activities like tree-planting or trash pick-up, etc.

Through these activities, you’ll be top of mind with people who could use your financial advisor services. They’ll see you as a qualified person to help them, but you initially win them over by performing good actions

There is a reason the Helpful Honda dealers do what they do. The same goes for real estate agents. They often make personal investments, volunteering their time and effort to help the communities they work in… and who can forget the notepads they leave at your front door?

Simply put, people want to do business with those who care and those they know (of).

Be Patient and Disciplined in Communication

Not everyone you communicate with will convert to a client right away.

It’s a process that requires consistent follow-ups and check-ins.

If someone said to check back with them at a later specified date, contact them when they specifically said so.

For those you met but nothing moved to a next step, communicate with them periodically, whether it’s through a newsletter, a phone call, or personal email.

You can also stay top of mind by connecting with them on social media and posting regularly, a posting frequency you can determine.

You never know when a prospect is ready to move forward, and by keeping your name out there, the prospect will think of you when ready.

Land Your First Client, Grow the Client Base

Never forget that everyone has to start somewhere.

For a financial advisor to land that first client, it requires foundational skills related to social and digital, then applying those skills to your outreach methods.

By utilizing all 8 methods above in earnest, you will be that much closer to getting that first client.

Once you get that client, continue your efforts. Maybe you’ll discover some methods are more effective than others. That’s great. At least for now, you have ideas where to start.

What’s more, if you do a great servicing the client, you’re more likely to get referral business, which is another low-cost lead. Not only that, you’ll have client testimonials to showcase, further aiding your marketing efforts.

The opportunity is out there. Go get ’em!

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