Many firms dictate to their advisors and brokers the exact type of client they want to solicit. Although it is not written in stone, most of the bulge bracket firms want their reps to prospect for middle-age (or older) individuals with liquid assets in the $1 million and $5 million range.
These can be lucrative clients, but it also can be argued that the bulge brackets have it all wrong. Some believe that advisors should target people between 21 and 45-years-old whose cash or liquid investments fall between $50,000 and $500,000. That, however, can be too narrow-focused and leave a large swatch of potential clients off your radar. If you're an advisor looking to add to your book of business, you perhaps shouldn't overlook the younger and less affluent group of investors.
- Many financial advisors are taught to seek out new clients with a large amount of liquid assets, many of whom are older, in order to keep a steady business.
- Younger, less affluent clients, however, are often in need of financial advice and although they have less to invest for now are also less likely to already have an advisor.
- Regardless of your target demographic, understanding where and how to meet more people that fit that mold is important to growing your book of business.
Most middle age and older individuals with high net worth are set in their ways. They are more likely to already have financial advisors and are not very receptive to newcomers attempting to solicit their funds for investment. In contrast, their younger, less affluent counterparts are generally much more receptive to advice. They are also more likely to have life-changing events that create situations of liquidity, and thus an opportunity for the savvy advisor.
As a registered rep, this doesn't mean that you should turn down higher-end accounts. They are great income generators and, if you do a good job, they are likely to refer you to other wealthy individuals. Remember, however, that younger workers are more apt to switch jobs (and roll their 401(k) money into an IRA) and buy or sell houses as their family grows. These are instances when they are likely to need the advice of a financial professional, and they occur more frequently with younger demographics.
Furthermore, the younger generation is more likely to have children who, in many cases, will need a bundle to go to college. A smart, aggressive advisor can help lead the way towards achieving a young family's financial goals. After all, these younger, less affluent families are really just starting off. As their families grow and their life situations change you will have countless opportunities to build on a mutually beneficial relationship.
You may also consider narrowing your practice to target high-net worth clients, or else working class families. Wealthy clients can be lucrative, but there are less of them around and many of them already have advisor relationships—in other words, the competition can be fierce. Working and middle class clients are much more plentiful and less likely to already have an advisor.
Of course, you'll need to accumulate a larger book of business from smaller clients to equal perhaps just one wealthy client—so weigh your tradeoffs. Wealthy clients may be more demanding, expect top quality service, and be more focused on returns in the short-run, while less affluent clients may be more interested in hitting goals like college or retirement saving.
Finding Potential Clients
So, how do you find these individuals so that you can make your sales pitch?
As a registered rep, you can sign up for a number of mailing lists provided by marketing firms that can help you pinpoint your demographic. Of course, you can always check out your local phone book as well. Local marketing firms can provide you with similar data. Look for lists of people in your area as they will be easier to contact. Several online-only services also now exist that can provide leads by email or social media marketing.
Consider joining your local chamber of commerce. This will allow you to meet a variety of business owners and prominent people in your community. These folks are likely to need funding for business ventures, and if you develop a relationship with them you may be the one they choose to help them do it.
Also, think about joining the local gym or other local organizations that may provide networking opportunities. These will allow you to meet a diverse group of people that are in your community. Remember, people like doing business with someone that they can see and touch, as opposed to just a voice over the phone or text in an email.
Link Up with Other Professionals
Make friends with local CPAs, attorneys, doctors, auto sales agents, real estate agents, and insurance agents. These people will have details on the financial conditions of several locals who fit into the demographic you want to target. Offer to set up a referral system, where you feed them business, and they'll send business your way. This works! And it is a great way to get a wealth of qualified prospects without cold calling. Professional networking organizations like BNI and the chamber of commerce can be a great resource for linking up and sharing referrals.
Consider contacting local schools to give the kids a (free) discussion about your career as a registered rep. School administrators are usually receptive to this. This allows you to introduce yourself to new members of the community as well as contribute to the children's understanding of saving and investing. You can even send the kids home with your business card and literature describing yourself, your firm, your licensures, and your abilities. This will open up a number of doors to young couples with growing families in your community.
Your local communities are filled with younger, less wealthy investors who are open to the idea of hiring a financial advisor for themselves and their families. Advisors have to be creative in their methods for finding them and making the sales pitch count. These individuals are not always high net worth investors, and no one client is going to make you extremely wealthy. Over time, however, adding a significant number of these clients to your book of business will almost guarantee a steady stream of commission in the not-so-distant future.