Launching a financial advisory business is hard, and that's an understatement. It's full of long days of trying to market your firm and sell your services without getting to do what you really want — work one-on-one with clients.
All you really wanted to do when you started your practice is to help people save and plan for their futures. To make their dreams come true. Yet now you just find yourself drained, both emotionally and physically.
Now you are left wondering, "How can I grow my firm and do it quickly so I can start doing what I really want to do?" Before we get into some ways to grow your business, let's first talk about the word "quickly."
What It's All About
Growing a financial advisory firm, especially from scratch, can take years, and there is a very good reason for this. A financial advisory business is not about the investments or the plan. It is about the relationships you foster with clients. Before anyone will put their money with you they want to know, like and trust you. Very rarely do you meet someone at a networking dinner and they sign up for your services the next morning. They need time to get to know you before they hand over their hard-earned dollars.
With that in mind, you should approach marketing in a way that focuses on building trust and a relationship. Unfortunately, that does not always happen quickly. But if you continually work on getting prospective clients to know, like and trust you, then it will happen faster than if your marketing isn't focused on relationship building.
Here are three ways to grow your practice while focusing on the relationship.
Networking is not a new technique for trying to build your firm, but seldom do you see financial advisors doing it the right way. Instead of going in looking for leads, go into every event looking to start a friendship. Even if the folks you encounter won't ever be clients, look to learn how you can help them without asking for anything in return. (For related reading, see: How Educating a Prospect Can Win You a New Client.)
Remember what mighty salesman Zig Ziglar said: "You can have everything in life you want, if you will just help other people get what they want." Network to make friends and help others grow and you will begin to build relationships with others who will happily refer you or become your client because they know, like and trust you.
Find one or two non-profit organizations you like and start volunteering your time. This is a great way to meet people with similar interests, help the community and build new relationships. After working with the same organization for a while, you will start to establish relationships with those around you. They get to know and trust you because of how you follow through and donate your free time to help others.
When people ask for referrals to an advisor, your name will come to mind. Again, remember that people refer people that they know and trust, and being selfless in a volunteer situation can help make this happen.
Try Public Speaking
Speaking in front of groups is a great way to build credibility and to get your name out. When you speak in front of someone, you are automatically looked at as the expert. There is, however, one thing to keep in mind as you try and build trust with new prospects: Don't sell. (For related reading, see: Top Tips for Staffing Up Your Advisory Firm.)
This may go against what most people say you should do at the end of a presentation, but because you're in the financial industry, most people are automatically looking for the sell, the catch. Approach your talk from an educational perspective, where listeners can take the information out of the room and still make it work for them. Then when they need someone to help, they may be more inclined to call you.
There are two things you can do to open the door for the audience to come to you. First, tell everyone that you will stick around after the presentation to answer any questions. This will allow those that are interested to come up and start the conversation so they feel like they are in charge. Second, tell the audience that if they want a copy of the slides, they should e-mail you so you can send them over. This way they can initiate contact to get something; it's not an in-your-face sales tactic.
The Bottom Line
The fastest way to grow your advisory business is to create a scenario where people know you, like you and trust you. Do this by helping others achieve their goals and by educating without selling. You will be amazed at how fast your business grows. (For more, see: Top Tips for Getting More Client Referrals.)