For many financial advisors, the goal is to find clients with assets between $1 million and $5 million, which is somewhat of a sweet spot. But many older high-net-worth individuals are already set in their ways; they live by the motto “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” — even if it’s broke.
Younger investors, those between the ages of 21 and 45, are going to offer more liquidity because they will likely experience life-changing events that require planning. This age demographic is also going to be more open to new ideas. The negative is that they tend to have less money than older clients.
Having a target demographic is a good idea, but you don’t want to close any doors. The no. 1 goal should always be to act in your client’s best interest. This alone will lead to the most long-term business. So how do you get the ball rolling?
1. Attain Referrals From Existing Clients
Word of mouth is self-explanatory. It's still one of the most effective ways to get new clients. (Just be wary of overdoing it.)
2. Establish a Referral Network
Get to know professionals — including doctors, lawyers, real estate agents, and CPAs — in your neighborhood, around your workplace, etc. Sending business to each other via referrals is simple and effective. The best deals are ones where both parties win.
3. Use Social Networking
Using Facebook Inc. (FB), LinkedIn Corp. (LNKD), and Twitter Inc. (TWTR) to market yourself as an expert and find potential clients isn't as effective as often advertised, but any financial advisor not using these tools will appear archaic or not up to date with today’s technology. That's a turn-off to young investors, especially.
4. Start a Blog
Blogging about financial tips and/or your thoughts on current market trends might seem time-consuming, but the key to success is consistency (and brevity). If you update your blog on a regular basis — at least twice per week — you will see your search engine rankings rise. This will start out slow, but the upward momentum will accelerate as long as you stick with it. This will lead to clients coming to you instead of you having to search for them.
5. Write an E-Book
If you want to be a respected authority in your field, strongly consider writing an electronic book. The easiest way to do this is through Amazon.com Inc. (AMZN) and its Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) program. It doesn't cost anything and in addition to finding clients, you could collect royalties. To find clients, leave your contact information at the front and the back of the book. Targeting the front of the book is important because readers using KDP can view the first 10% of a book for free with the “Look Inside” feature, which helps capture the browsers. To grow your brand and increase sales, publish 4-5 books, but not too quickly. Once you have a few books centered around a certain niche, Amazon will see that you’re serious about writing and your search rankings will improve. If you’re seeking high-end clients, write books on topics that interest them.
6. Become a Local Politician
If you want access to wealthy and powerful people, become a local politician. This will add a lot of after-hours work to your schedule, but having access to these folks during networking events, meetings and fundraisers has the potential to be incredibly beneficial to growing your business. Sure, there are statewide and city offices, but don't forget about the smaller-scale community or zoning boards, as well as condo or co-op boards.
7. Throw Birthday Parties
Throwing a birthday party for a client may seem out of the left-field, but it can be highly effective. Not only will the client be impressed (and surprised!), but he'll likely invite friends and family and will want to introduce you to most of them. This is an excellent opportunity to make new connections— lots of them in just a few short hours.
8. Buy Season Tickets to Something
Take a page from corporate marketing departments and buy season tickets for a professional sports team, the opera, ballet, etc. It might be expensive, but it should be well worth the investment. You can take clients to games or shows, which will help retain them. And the more tickets the better: a client is likely to invite a close family member or friend, which then allows you to form new relationships and land new prospects.
9. Talk at Local Schools
Contact high schools in wealthy areas and let the administration know that you would like to talk to the kids about financial planning. Many schools will jump at the opportunity — it's valuable information. You may not have the opportunity to pass out business cards and pamphlets, but you can encourage your audience to ask their parents about finances, saving for college, retirement and more. The teachers and administrators will be listening, too.
10. Play Sports
We all know that golf is a great game for networking, but it's a sport usually reserved for a foursome. If you want to increase your exposure, consider joining a tennis academy, softball league or local fitness center. You might not find as many qualified leads as you would via golf, but you will find lots of opportunities.
The Bottom Line
Many methods to landing new clients are tried and true — networking, golfing. But thinking creatively and going the extra mile (or spending the extra dollar) to find leads in unusual circumstances may be worth it in the end.