Affluent business owners can be some of the best clients an advisor can have. In many cases, they not only have substantial money of their own to invest, but they need a retirement or benefits plan for their business as well. This type of account can easily become a substantial stream of revenue for advisors, and as you can imagine, the competition to land this type of client is fierce.

Statistics show that successful business owners comprise a substantial portion of the affluent households in America. Here are some tips that advisors can use to effectively market themselves to these potential clients. (For related reading, see: How to Attract High-Net-Worth Individuals as Clients.)

  • Create an Ideal Client Profile: The first step to any successful marketing campaign is determining the target audience. What kind of business owner does the advisor want to work with? Will they be single, married or have kids? Other questions include whether the advisor wants to work with owners of a specific type of business, such as accounting firms or auto repair shops. Other criteria for selection include geographic location, amount of investable assets, or having a key financial issue that must be dealt with — such as retirement or succession planning. Once the basic criteria have been established, advisors can narrow their focus down even further after a period of time, when they have discovered which subgroups form the most profitable element of their client base. Advisors who have clear answers to these questions will be able to conduct a more focused — and probably successful — marketing campaign. (For related reading, see: Tips for Wooing Wealthy Clients.)
  • Ask for Referrals: Advisors should approach their existing base of ideal clients and ask for referrals. They can offer to provide the same level of service to their peers that they are getting, and this can often help advisors to clone their top clients. Networking with professional associations that your top clients belong to is another option, as is sponsoring an event for them, such as a golf tournament with a financial seminar. Volunteering to speak at one of their professional association events will also give an advisor an ideal captive audience.
  • Become the Client’s CFO: Acting as an unofficial employee for a small business owner may be a godsend for him or her, because chief financial officers frequently help the owner or CEO to make smart financial decisions for the company. Many successful advisors who work with this clientele have discovered that their clients very much like having them function in this capacity, because it helps them to foster an emotional connection with the advisor. However, the CFO service must be genuine and should address all aspects of the owner’s life, such as estate and succession planning in addition to asset management. Advisors who can help the owners to make difficult financial decisions for the business (such as whether or how to expand) can also provide an additional service that may prove invaluable in the long run. (For related reading, see: High-Net-Worth Client Tips for Financial Advisors.)
  • Become a Source of Second Opinions: Advisors who have proven themselves with their clients can generate an unofficial source of referrals by asking them to send them their friends and associates for a no-cost, no-obligation assessment of their finances. This can be much easier and less threatening than asking for referrals, but advisors need to honestly look at each situation to see whether that client is a good fit for them. If not, then they should refer them to an appropriate professional and only keep the ones who fit their style.

The Bottom Line

Advisors who seek affluent business owners as clients can find real gold in this market niche if they take the time to approach it correctly. These tips can help advisors to land and keep the type of business owner that will help their practices to grow and thrive for years to come. (For related reading, see: Top 10 Tips for Winning Wealthy Clients.)

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