Most clients don't pick their advisors out of the phone book as if they were ordering a pizza. They get recommendations, listen to advisors in action and learn about their expertise through seminars and articles. Growing your client book takes more effort than simply running a radio or newspaper ad. Building trust and establishing relationships are the keys to growing your business. Here are four ways to build your revenues:
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The best way to bring in new clients is through your existing ones, for a number of reasons. Your current clients know you and most likely have a good sense as to whether their friend or associate would be a good fit with your business. They are also likely to send you clients who are much like themselves. This means that, if you keep your current client list clear of whiners and late-payers, good clients will bring in more good clients. It's important to let your clients know that you are looking for new business, rather than assuming they already know. Send out an email or a letter asking your clients to refer new clients to you. Give them a few of your business cards or brochures to hand out, to make the referral process easier.
SEE: How To Get Referrals
Selling yourself and your business through ads and fliers will be less successful than a more subtle, but effective, approach. Show prospective clients you know your stuff by writing letters to the editor of your local newspaper about issues in your field. Instead of advertising on the radio or television, pursue interview opportunities where you can show off your knowledge and experience. Host charitable events and get your name out in the community. All of these actions allow potential new clients to see how you operate and see what you're all about, before they commit to signing on.
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Speaking to crowds is another effective way to let potential new clients know that you have expertise in financial planning. Chambers of Commerce, other businesses and civic organizations often look for event speakers for their meetings and expos. Create a list of topics that you feel comfortable speaking about and then call around to find opportunities to speak. If you have never spoken in public before, practice beforehand or even join an organization like Toastmasters, to get experience and build your confidence. At every speaking engagement, make sure to leave lots of time to speak with participants afterwards and be sure to bring business cards.
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These days, having a website for any business is a basic and important way to present yourself and your company to the public. A website allows potential clients to find out more information on who you are and what services you offer, without having to endure a sales pitch, as they would if they were to call you directly. Your website should be more than just an electronic version of your brochure; it should provide lots of helpful information, along with the sales pitch. Provide articles on financial topics in the news and other hot button issues. You can also set up an electronic newsletter that readers can sign up for if they're interested. If you are not an experienced web designer, this is one area where it makes sense to hire a professional to match the quality of the site with the quality of your work.
The Bottom Line
Building your client base takes time and requires establishing trust with potential clients. The side benefits of using indirect methods to do this are that they cost substantially less than in-your-face advertising and are infinitely more effective.