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Financial Advisor Marketing - How Financial Advisors Get Clients

Marketing Options for Financial Advisors

For every business, there is an infinite number of business models and ways to do marketing.  But some financial advisor marketing models work better and produce higher profits.

Take this example from Intel.  Do you remember the gazillions of TV commercials they ran "make sure it's Intel inside?"  For a computer chip manufacturer, it is counter-intuitive to advertise to the consumer because the consumer does not buy the computer chips.  It would make logical sense to advertise to the computer manufacturers: HP, Dell, Lenovo, Acer, etc.  But, this advertising model proved to be a winner and solidified the Pentium chip from Intel as the leader.  The AMD chip was considered inferior and the public didn't want it for their computers.

As a financial advisor, you have a lot of marketing choices.  Some will work better than others.

Here are examples:

Financial Advisor Marketing Through Networking:

meet new clientsGoing to professional events, getting to know professionals in your community, and building a clientele through these meeting venues (Chamber of Commerce, Rotary, etc) is a powerful method of financial advisor marketing.  This method is SLOW and it requires that you have the "right personality" to generate relationships in this manner.  I did however now an architect in Manhattan.  He was able to get himself invited to a social event four nights/week and now has one of the largest architectural firms in the US.  This method of financial advisor marketing requires a specific talent and it is not a teachable skill.

Direct Response Mass Marketing

direct mail marketingDirect Mail, print advertising, social media marketing are all methods of exposing yourself to thousands of consumers in a short period of time.  You need to have a marketing budget to spend, although it need not be large.  You also need to know how to write great ads, select great images, and craft a message that motivates a consumer to respond.

Webinar and seminar marketing would come under this category as they require either mass direct mail, mass email, or advertising to reach thousands.

Direct marketing is FAST. You can run a direct mail campaign and see responses in 24 hours.  You can be a stranger in town and succeed.

You can outsource this to Seniorleads and we will run ads for you on Facebook and other social media venues. You get matching prospects within 24 hours.

Brand Marketing for Financial Advisors and Life Agents

financial advisor marketingYou must have a website.  See the section below for details.  Having a website is the only branding activity you need to perform. Why? Because branding is a waste of your money.

This model of financial advisor marketing will fail for almost any financial advisor and life insurance agent.  It takes a lot of money and a long time to pay off.  There is no reason to advertise your "image" when you can run the same advertisement and ask the consumer to respond (for a free download, a booklet, an analysis, a pdf, see a video, etc).  You can always get the consumer's contact information so why advertise your image (which you cannot measure) when the same marketing investment provides a measurable result?

General Motors can run ads that feature a car and do nothing other than creating an image and hopefully a desire.  But their ads do not say "come in for a test drive this weekend and get a $100 Walmart card."   General Motors has a $3 billion annual budget to waste on creating an image. You do not have bottomless pockets and you need immediate results.

You Must Have a Great Website

Every financial advisor needs a website. That's not because it will magically bring you new clients. In fact, prospects will never ever find your website out of the billions of websites on the Internet.  However, with any prospecting you might do, direct mail, seminars, networking, etc., The recipient of your marketing will likely check you out by going to your website. The prospect will Google your name and you better have a nice website that shows up. If they can't quickly find your website, that clearly communicates that you are a fly-by-night operator and not worthy of serious consideration.

A good website will contain a number of the following elements:

While a good website will not get you business, it keeps you from losing business by positioning you as a professional worth considering.  It can also help you convert a prospect to a client by pushing them over the edge.  For example, if your website has one or more forms requiring the prospect to complete to get your newsletter or your booklets or user calculators, that opt-in allows you to then market to that prospect through email or possibly SMS texting.

Marketing through Professional Referrals

This is effective but not fast.  There are some very successful advisors that get all of their clients from one or two CPA relationships. These relationships usually take some time to cultivate. You also must be a unique advisor or agent.  By unique, I mean you can't do and say the same things as every other advisor and agent. You need a unique set of services or have figured out how to present your services so that they seem unique (e.g you are a specialist in managing investment for divorcees).

As stated above, know that every professional you approach will check out your website - the initial mark of your legitimacy.

Marketing Through Referrals from Clients

Using your clients to market works great once you have used one of the methods above to have a base of clients. And your referrals will not come just because you are a great guy/gal.  You need a systematic way to get referrals from your clients, a structured system. Again, your website will be the initial exposure for referrals from clients.

Social Media Marketing - Content Marketing

The current fad is content marketing--writing posts, maintaining a blog, and general content marketing. Save your time.  The problem is that you will never get enough eyeballs to see your content.  Additionally, if you do not have something really unique to say, it does not matter.

Realize that many marketing "gurus" want to sell you services that may not work.  Tons of these social media gurus will have you spend a fixed monthly amount to do your social media marketing and after 6 months, you're likely to have no results.

Similarly, there are companies that want to sell you branding materials or websites.  Be clear before you spend any money--how will the investment directly translate into revenue?

Financial Advisor Marketing - Newbie vs Established Advisor

It is obvious that the way you market will be different at the start of your career as opposed to the financial advisor with an established book of business.

The caveat to the new financial advisor is to understand that you are NOT an employee.  You are a business owner and like any business, must have funds for promotion and growth.  If you have no funds for marketing, then someone has sold you a story that you could be successful cold calling all day.  That method of either cold calling or talking to all of your friends and relatives (i.e. begging) is simply crap. If you do not have mo0ney to invest and refuse to borrow some to become a successful advisor, then get out now.  You will forever be a struggling financial advisor.  Do not try and substitute time for money. That is a loser's game and the road to failure.

Client Referrals

An established financial advisor needs less of a budget for financial advisor marketing as he can cultivate professional referrals and client referrals.  Of course, too many established advisors think that referrals will come simply because they do a good job for their clients.  Bad assumption. If you want a continuous flow of referrals, you must have a structured system to gain referrals from clients.

Here is an example

  1. every time you take on a new client you ask them "what do I need to do so that 3 months from now, you will feel comfortable referring me to your friends?"
  2. whatever the client says, "WRITE IT DOWN" and record the date, time and location
  3. in 3 months, you contact the client and take him to lunch.  Tell him to bring his address book.
  4. at lunch, you ask him "Do you recall that I asked what I would need to do so that you would feel comfortable referring me to your friends? And you said you would refer me to friends if I did A, B and C.  Have I done them?
  5. Once the client agrees you have performed, that you have fulfilled his requirements, you pull out 25 letters, with the client's name at the bottom.  You say "Here is how I would like you to introduce me. I would like you to read this letter.  Then, I would like to send it to your friends.  You get the client to sign all 25 copies.  You then get the names and addresses of as many fends as he will give you.
  6. You then go back to your office, run these letters back through your laser printer and print the names and addresses onto the letters as well as envelopes with the return address being your client's name and address on the envelope.  You make sure to explain to your client that these introduction letters will be sent as if he sent them, but you will do the sending.
  7. You mail these and call the friends in a week

THAT is a structured system to get referrals from clients. Anything less is just a hope and prayer at getting referrals and not the mark of a successful financial advisor.

Professional Referrals

If you want other professionals to give you referrals, give the referrals FIRST. That is how the top advisors do it. (Remember that adage, give before you receive?)

CPA referralsLet's say you want to meet CPAs.

  1. you ask every client to bring in their tax return for their annual review (every successful advisor will have at least an annual review and look at the client's tax return annually)
  2. you look at the name of the CPA at the bottom of the tax return and ask "how do you like Joe Jones as your CPA?  The client will either say they like Joe or they will complain.
  3. if the client likes Joe, you say to your client "I have some clients looking for a new CPA.  Would it be okay if I contact Joe, see if he can help my other clients, and mention your name?"
  4. if the client says they do not like Joe (plenty of people think their CPA charges too much, does not save them taxes, does not communicate well, etc), you ask, "would you like me to refer someone else to be your CPA?"  By asking this to all of your clients, you will have a large list of clients looking for a new CPA and thus, you will always have clients to refer to CPAs.
  5. of course, the CPAs that your clients like, you simply call, say that you were referred by your mutual client, and ask if he has the capacity to take on new clients. Can we meet for lunch?

Financial Advisor Marketing Plan - process or job approach

You must make a conscious decision about having your delivered advisory service be a process or a unique task. How you organize your financial advisor practice will determine how your marketing plan.

Let me explain from some other professions.

systemetize your businessDoctors have organized their businesses as processes. They see one patient after another and each patient is treated the same way.

Lawyers, however, have their work organized as jobs. Each client is treated with a custom approach because each case is different.

Consequently, attorneys must charge clients a very high hourly fee because they're constantly re-creating the wheel. Maybe they can use 20% of the forms or approaches from their last case and apply them to their current case. But most of the work they do for the current case, they are creating from scratch. I do not suggest you have your financial advisory services arrange this way as it is inefficient and difficult to charge enough to have a profitable service.

I suggest you organize your business as doctors do. All clients gets treated the same way. You only see prospects that meet specific criteria such as age 60+, they have between $250,000 and $1 million of investable funds, they live within a 20-mile radius of your office. By having a homogeneous clientele, you can create a cookie-cutter approach to serving clients. This will make you highly efficient and profitable.

Once you will consciously design your business using the above considerations, then your financial advisor marketing plan becomes easier to implement. You will be able to use the same tactics again and again and again whether they be Internet ads, direct mail pieces, seminars, webinars etc.

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