(U.S. News) FINANCIAL ADVISOR prospecting is an evolving art form. It began with the art of cold-calling followed by a direct mail note, then cold calling was out and email marketing was in. Now, it's all about using the holistic and perhaps ambiguous content marketing campaign to bring prospective clients to you. This makes one thing clear: If you're a financial advisor, you need to be looking for new prospects.
"Prospecting is really the life blood of an advisory firm," says John Anderson, managing director of Practice Management Solutions, Independent Advisor Solutions at SEI in Oaks, Pennsylvania. "If you're not growing, you're dying, especially if the advisor has an aging book."
As clients grow older, they shift from accumulation to distribution. "And as an advisor's (assets under management) decreases, so will their income," Anderson says.
For financial advisors, cold calling and direct marketing are the way of the past. Cold calls are hit-or-miss and direct marketing is often chucked with the junk mail. There are far better sales strategies FAs can use. Here are the top financial advisor prospecting ideas successful advisors recommend:
Narrow Your Focus
Start your marketing strategy with a narrow focus. "It's counter-intuitive but advisors will attract more of the right prospects if they narrow their focus," says Kevin Darlington, vice president of Product Management at Broadridge Advisor Solutions in New York. "The advisor who takes the time to narrow the dimensions of their target audience will maximize their investment in time and money and ultimately reel more of the right clients in."
Instead of targeting anyone with at least $1 million in investable assets, for instance, he suggests narrowing your focus to prospects with, say, $1 million to $2 million in investable assets, who are between the ages of 45 and 60, live within 50 miles of your practice and run their own business. The narrower you can go, the easier it'll be to target your ideal client.
Define Your Ideal Client
The process of narrowing your focus will help you define your ideal client profile or persona. "The persona allows you to look closely at the type of person that you would work best with and to create both a marketing strategy and more importantly a service model that will appeal to that person," Anderson says.
Try to identify your ideal client's primary needs, questions and concerns. With these in mind, you can create a unique value proposition that speaks specifically to your prospect, Anderson says. The trick here is to know exactly who your ideal client is and what their individual needs are. "Specialize, don't generalize," he says.
Develop Content Marketing Campaigns
Once you know the questions your ideal client is asking, you can create content marketing campaigns that drive them to your website for answers. An advisor looking for business owners, for instance, might create campaigns around business succession planning, Darlington says. You could create short educational videos – which Broadridge Advisor Solutions has found particularly powerful at attracting clients – that address the financial challenges business owners face.
By targeting your content to your niche, you can become the "go-to" resource for your ideal client. "If a prospect reads or sees content that speaks to their situation, they're more likely to respond versus a generic message," Anderson says.
Leverage Social Media
If you want to get clients as a financial advisor, you've got to be social. There's no getting around it: Everyone and their grandmother is on social media in some way, shape or form today. Whether you love it or hate it, leveraging social media is one of the most effective financial advisor prospecting ideas.
"Finding prospecting success using social media can seem daunting," says Bill McManus, director of strategic markets at Hartford Funds, "but it's a robust source for uncovering new opportunities for new client relationships."
McManus likes LinkedIn, where advisors can "efficiently communicate their personal brand to potential clients, and can target prospects using key search terms."
But LinkedIn is big, he warns: "Go small to be successful. The more focused the strategy, the more likely it will be successful."
Facebook, Instagram and YouTube also allow for "hyper-specific targeting," Darlington says. If you choose to branch out to multiple social media channels, stay consistent in your messaging and themes.