New client acquisition for Financial Advisors & Planners can be extremely challenging at times. Early on in your career, the challenges can be enormous. There are many factors that come into play.
Challenges that impact both new and experienced Financial Advisors & Planners alike include:
Intense competition: The Financial Advisory industry is highly competitive. There are often numerous Advisors & Planners vying for the same potential clients, making it harder to stand out.
Lack of differentiation: Some Advisors struggle to differentiate themselves from their competitors. Clients may perceive little distinction in the services offered by different Advisors, making it difficult to attract their attention.
Building trust takes time: Establishing trust with potential clients can be a slow and gradual process. Clients often need time to get to know an Advisor, understand their expertise, and feel comfortable entrusting them with their finances.
Regulatory barriers: Strict regulatory requirements in the financial industry can pose barriers to client acquisition. Compliance with these regulations can be time-consuming and expensive.
Changing client preferences: As client preferences evolve, Financial Planners & Advisors must adapt to new ways of engaging with clients. Some may struggle to keep up with the digital transformation of the industry.
Client skepticism: In the aftermath of financial crises and scandals, some potential clients may be skeptical of Financial Advisors and the financial industry as a whole.
Difficulty in identifying target clients: Advisors may struggle to identify and target their ideal clients effectively. Without a clear understanding of their target market, they may waste resources on ineffective marketing efforts. If you are not clear on who you help and who you serve, it can be difficult to articulate value.
Technology challenges: Advisors & Planners who are not comfortable using technology (or who select the wrong tech stack) can find expanding their client list difficult and cumbersome. Selecting the right financial planning software for your unique set of needs is essential to overcoming this challenge. Here are 4 things to look for when selecting the right planning software.
Lack of networking and referral relationships: Building a network of professionals who can refer clients is essential for many Advisors. Those who do not invest in networking may find it more difficult to acquire clients.
Ineffective marketing strategies: Some Advisors may use outdated or ineffective marketing strategies that do not resonate with today’s clients. Effective marketing requires staying current with industry trends and client expectations. Additionally, Advisors & Planners who are not well-versed in digital marketing and technology may find it challenging to reach potential clients through online channels effectively.
Failure to demonstrate value: Clients are increasingly looking for Advisors who can demonstrate the value they provide. Advisors who struggle to articulate their value proposition may find it challenging to attract clients.
Inconsistent efforts: Client acquisition often requires consistent and sustained effort over time. Advisors who do not maintain a steady focus on marketing and business development may struggle to acquire new clients. As your practice grows, it can become difficult to carve out time for business development activities.
What can you do to overcome these challenges?
We all know that in this industry, nothing is going to be more powerful than referrals and word of mouth. But that takes time. What can you do to bridge the gap — to move the needle now — and help your practice to grow faster?
Have a process to convert prospects.
When you consider some of challenges mentioned above ….
- intense competition
- lack of differentiation
- building trust takes time
- client skepticism
- failure to demonstrate value
… it is quite clear that you must maximize every single meeting opportunity with prospective clients. You need to show prospective clients what it looks like to work with you. Before asking for their business, you need to show value and build trust. You need to differentiate yourself. But how?
Developing a consistent prospect meeting process is the solution. Here is how you build trust and show value before having to ask for anything in return.
Give your clients a reason to refer you and do not be shy about asking for it.
Create a financial planning process that provides an unusual and unexpected amount of value. So much so that your referral rate will naturally increase. Here is how one Advisor tripled her monthly referrals through process improvement.
Once it is clear you have delighted your client, it is time to ask for that referral. You can ask your client if they have any family or friends who may benefit from working together. It does not need to be a sales-y request. You can build this into your process, and potentially even automate it through email marketing.
Network with other financial professionals.
This is easier said than done but it is critically important for several different reasons. Integrated financial planning is here to stay and developing relationships with other financial professionals is essential to providing the holistic service that today’s consumers expect.
Networking will allow you to build and maintain professional relationships within your industry and community. Attend industry events, join business groups, and connect with professionals like lawyers and accountants who can refer clients to you. Partner with professionals in related fields, such as estate planning attorneys or tax advisors, to offer comprehensive services to clients. These professionals can refer clients to you when financial planning is needed. If in-person options are limited, LinkedIn is a great place to start.
Additionally, get involved in your local community through volunteering, sponsorships, or participating in community events. Building a positive reputation in your community can lead to new client opportunities. Again, if in-person opportunities are limited, your local Facebook neighbourhood group could be a great place to start.
Share your knowledge with anyone who wants to learn.
Create valuable and educational content, such as blog posts, videos, webinars, and podcasts, to showcase your expertise. Share this content through your website and social media channels to attract potential clients. Start building an email list. All clients, all prospects, anyone who gives you permission to contact them.
Not sure what type of content your clients and prospects want? Ask them.
You can also host informational seminars or webinars on financial topics that interest your target audience. This establishes you as an expert and provides an opportunity to engage with potential clients. Organize seminars exclusively for your existing clients, encouraging them to invite friends and family. This can be an effective way to expand your client base through trusted referrals.