Becoming an independent advisor means you have the flexibility to manage and grow your business the way you want to—including your approach to prospecting for new clients while retaining your current ones. When looking for new clients, consider your target demographics and position yourself to reach them. Here are a few simple strategies you can put in place to help grow your new business with confidence.
Leverage Your Existing Clients
Your clients value you and your trusted relationship with them, not your old firm. Most advisors are pleasantly surprised by how many of their clients move with them. Talk to existing clients about your independence and you might pick up additional assets as well as new referrals.
- Reinforce your value. Know the business experience you provide. Make sure your clients know about the people you help and the problems you solve. Offer to be a resource for anyone they know who might have financial questions.
- Ask for introductions. When a client introduces you to a prospect, you gain immediate good will and credibility. So, when someone offers you a name, suggest meeting for something that brings you all together. Coffee, anyone?
- Ask for assets. The higher the net worth of your client, the more likely it is that they use multiple advisors. Talk with your clients about how asset allocation works best when holdings are consolidated and ask to manage all their assets. If you act as a fiduciary, make sure clients understand your obligation to ensure that decisions are being made in their best interest—which can be hard to do if you don’t know the full extent of the portfolio.
- Break bread. Many people now welcome the chance to meet in person when appropriate. Take this opportunity to bring together clients who share a particular interest, like cooking or wine tasting. For clients and prospects who want to meet virtually, you could host a trivia night or a master class. Encourage clients to bring a relative, friend, or colleague so you can meet new people. Be sure to add everyone to your mailing list!
- Add new clients. Don’t assume that your clients know that you’re prospecting for new clients. Take the time to specifically tell them you have the capacity for a few more clients just like them.
Build Strong Relationships
One of the best ways to ensure your success is to retain your existing clients. Keeping these relationships healthy and happy can help when prospecting for new clients—and can lead to increased assets!
- Get even more personal. You probably know your clients very well, and now’s the time to dig deeper. Use FORM (family, occupation, recreation, and money) to gain insights that will help build your business. Your clients will appreciate when you remember details about their families, careers, and what’s important to them.
- Put your listening ears on. Understand what really matters to your clients. Be responsive to their calls and inquiries. Show that you care about them—not just about your own success.
- Draw from the family tree. Reach out to clients’ children and grandchildren. They’ll likely receive an inheritance or serve as beneficiaries. By establishing a trusted relationship early on, they’ll understand the benefit of working with you.
- Communicate more. Frequent, non-investment-related communication has been proven1 to build client loyalty. Are you coming close to the research-suggested 24 times per year? Don’t focus solely on market updates or business information; think about holiday greetings, birthday cards, and other thoughtful gestures.
Target New Clients
One of your top priorities when growing your business should be prospecting for new clients—so hone your skills on gaining introductions.
- Sell your brand. What sets you apart in the marketplace? Do you want to serve a particular type of client? What makes you you? Be strategic about your brand story to drive opportunities.
- Focus on your niche. You’ve done the work—you know your niche and who your ideal client is. Be strategic about hosting events, networking, and asking for introductions.
- Be social! Leverage your social media presence on platforms such as LinkedIn. When you see “2nd Connection” after a prospect’s name on LinkedIn, it means they’re connected to someone you know and could lead you to an introduction.
- Expand your circle. Create strategic partnerships and centers of influence (CPAs, attorneys, insurance agents, etc.). A referral from these trusted professionals will carry weight.
Grow Your Business Sustainably
Prospecting for new customers will be key to the organic growth of your new business. Equally as important is cultivating relationships with your existing customers to deepen that pool of referrals. Know your worth and clearly demonstrate the value of doing business with you. And be aware of how fast your business is growing as it will benefit you and your clients to grow at a sustainable pace.
1 David A. Geracioti and Russ Alan Prince, Cultivating the Middle-Class Millionaire
For more related content, please visit The Independent Advisor, a blog authored by subject-matter specialists at Commonwealth Financial Network®, Member FINRA/SIPC, a Registered Investment Adviser