People work hard for their money. As such, most clients don't pick their advisors out of the phone book as if they were ordering a pizza. After all, they want a professional in their corner with the right experience to manage their finances. Many investors do their research before they actually hire a financial professional. They may read reviews, get recommendations, listen to advisors in action, and learn about their expertise through seminars and articles.
This doesn't mean you shouldn't do any of your own groundwork to add more clients to your Rolodex. In fact, it takes much more than running a simple radio or newspaper ad. Building trust and establishing relationships are the keys to growing your business. Keep reading to explore four ways to help expand your client book and add to your business.
- Building your client base requires trust and establishing relationships.
- Use your existing clients to get referrals.
- Make sure you have a really great website and put your business on social media.
- Consider indirect ways to promote yourself—interview opportunities and event sponsorships are two great ideas.
- Look for speaking engagements that can allow you to highlight your expertise.
Get Referrals and Recommendations
The best way to bring in new clients is through the relationships you already have—your existing clients. Getting referrals is the easiest and most logical first step for a number of reasons. Your clients know and trust you because they have a great sense of your expertise. Try asking if they know of anyone looking for an advisor who fits well with your business.
Existing clients are likely to send you prospective clients who are just like them. This means if you keep your current client list clear of whiners and late-payers, good clients will usually bring in more good clients. But don't assume they know you want them to do this. It's important to let them know you're looking for new business. Here are a few things you can do:
- Bring up the subject during your next client meeting
- Send an email or letter asking for referrals
- Ask your clients when and if you contact them by phone
You can also give your clients a few of your business cards or brochures to hand out in order to make the referral process easier. To ensure your printed materials are of the highest quality, consider looking into the best online printing services currently available.
Follow-ups work, so make sure you contact the people your existing clients have referred you to and make sure you thank anyone who's made a referral.
Having a presence online is a no-brainer and is important for any business in the age of social media. It's the most basic way to present yourself and your company to the public. A website allows potential clients to find out who you are and about the services you offer without having to endure a sales pitch.
Your website should be more than just an electronic version of your brochure. It should look professional so hire an experienced web designer if you can't do the job yourself. And make sure it provides a lot of helpful information, along with the sales pitch. Here are a few other things you may want to include:
- Articles on financial topics in the news and other hot-button issues
- An electronic newsletter for which readers can sign up
But that isn't all. Remember to market yourself on social media. You'll be surprised about how many people you'll engage through sites like Facebook, Instagram, and X (formerly Twitter). Keep your professional pages different from your personal ones and keep them relevant to the business, such as including your office hours and contact details. You can cross-post on social media, meaning you can use Instagram to post to your other social media pages as long as your accounts are linked together. Here are a few great tips:
- Using business options to boost your posts may cost money, but they will you noticed
- Use visuals in your posts as people tend to engage when there are photos or videos
- Take advantage of hashtags
- Engage with others so your name gets out there
Promote Yourself Indirectly
If you're thinking about slapping down money to create fliers and flashy ads, take a step back. Not only does advertising cost a lot of money, but you'll also have to think about how you're going to distribute and disseminate your message in the case of a flier. You can save yourself a lot of money if you use a more subtle and effective approach.
Show prospective clients you know your stuff by writing letters to the editor of your local newspaper about issues in your field. Brush up on your public speaking and interpersonal skills and pursue interview opportunities in the media where you can show off your knowledge and experience rather than spending the money to advertise on radio or television.
Get into the public sphere by sponsoring and/or hosting charitable events to get your name on people's minds. All of these actions allow potential new clients to see how you operate and see what you're all about before they commit to signing on. Think of it as an informal way to interview potential clients.
Look for Speaking Engagements
In the previous section, we suggested looking for speaking opportunities on radio and television. These can be great, but you can also find value in marketing yourself and your skills as an advisor by looking for speaking engagements. Speaking to crowds lets potential new clients know you have expertise in financial planning.
Create a list of topics that you feel comfortable speaking about and then call around to find opportunities to speak. Contact your local chamber of commerce, businesses, and civic organizations. These groups often look for event speakers for their meetings, seminars, conferences, and expos.
If you have never spoken in public before, practice beforehand or even join an organization like Toastmasters, to get experience. At every speaking engagement, make sure to leave lots of time to speak with participants and be sure to bring business cards.
Can Social Media Help Grow My Business?
Social media is a very important part of building and growing a business. You can use social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and X to market yourself and your business. Just make sure to keep it separate from any personal pages you have and follow a few simple tips. These include engaging with others, using photos and videos in your posts, and using hashtags. And remember that business options may cost you money, but they'll definitely help you get your name out there.
How Can I Increase My Client Base?
If you want to be successful in your financial career (or any career for that matter), it's important that build your client book. Although you may find it difficult to boost your business when you're first starting out, it isn't impossible. There are a few things you can do to get your name out there. First, start by asking any existing clients you have to make referrals. Consider traditional advertising and putting your business on social media. You may also want to try to get speaking engagements in your local area that can give people an idea of your expertise.
Why Should I Open My Own Financial Planning Firm?
There are many reasons why you may want to consider opening up your own financial planning or services firm. Being your own boss means you can make your own hours, work from home, and be in control of your own payroll. Some of the best ways to help develop and attract business can come by asking friends and families for referrals and promoting yourself by advertising and through social media.
The Bottom Line
Building your client base takes time and requires establishing trust with potential clients. The side benefits of using indirect methods to do this are that they cost substantially less than in-your-face advertising and are infinitely more effective.