It’s a common assumption that most, if not all, wealthy individuals already have financial advisors, and that could make them difficult to engage as prospects. But this isn’t always the case; some have quietly accumulated wealth over their lifetimes without the help of others — through higher earnings, real estate, employer-sponsored plans, inheritances or good old-fashioned savings (and a bit of luck).
It’s also important to consider that some affluent investors who are already working with an advisor may actually be ready to consider a switch. Take, for example, an executive who accepts a position at a company that requires relocating to a different state. Understandably, they may prefer to work with an advisor who is closer to their new home. There are plenty of reasons affluent clients of other advisors could be open to an initial conversation.
For advisors, this raises an important question: How can you get yourself introduced to that executive or other wealthy prospective client?
It turns out there are several answers to this question, and the more an advisor is willing to put into prospecting with a focus on affluent clients, the more potential inroads can be made.
Ask a personal friend or family member
Word-of-mouth referrals have been a reliable source of new clients since the dawn of the financial institution. What’s often overlooked by advisors, however, is the simple act of asking for those referrals. After all, if you don’t ask, people may assume you’re not interested in growing your business.
Assuming your clients are satisfied with your services, you should feel confident reminding them that you’re actively seeking to grow your book of business. When the topic of finances comes up at the next family gathering or get-together, those clients may be reminded of your simple request and be more likely to talk about your services and how you’ve helped them.
You may also consider incentivizing referrals — offering a small gift card for them, for example. Just take extra care to ensure anything along those lines is 100% in compliance with possible company policies that govern you, as well as every financial law and regulation.
Ask a professional colleague
Professional networks are another avenue for individuals to find an advisor, especially among older generations. The same principle applies as with referrals from family and friends: don’t forget to ask. Influential clients, such as business owners and community leaders, are prime candidates for introducing others in their spheres of influence to your services.
Furthermore, think about how you can get involved in professional networking opportunities and community-based education and outreach. Step out from behind your desk to attend Chamber of Commerce events, leadership forums or various community gatherings. Offer free seminars focused on the importance of investing for the future or participate in panel discussions and Q&A sessions with other professionals. Being visible and connecting with others outside the office helps build credibility, confidence and connection.
Turn to a new generation
There’s a looming wealth transfer on the horizon — to the tune of $68 trillion — in which your existing Baby Boomer clients’ assets could very likely transfer to their Gen X, Millennial and Gen Z heirs.1 There are few guarantees that those beneficiaries will retain your services, so it’s vital to consider how to build relationships with beneficiaries, starting today. That requires engaging and communicating with them on their terms and in ways they’re accustomed to.
This may require you to make some website updates, including navigation, keywords and content for effective search engine optimization (SEO). You may also need to adjust your social media presence to reach more prospects. Consider even leveraging mobile apps, offering an email newsletter or blog subscriptions, engaging through video chat or providing online portfolio tools to clients.
Given the events of the past few years, the ability to use technology to connect with prospects where they are online has become more important. The more you can invest in technology, rank higher in search engines, and differentiate your services from other tech-savvy financial firms and robo advisors, the more credibility you’ll likely earn and the better chances you’ll have of attracting wealthy, younger investors.
Resources for advisors
In the end, it’s good to remember that remaining relevant and connecting with potential clients in ways that speak to them is always a best practice, no matter where they are on life’s journey or how much money they’ve accumulated along the way.
We’ve gathered numerous resources to help you reach the clients you’re looking for. Click the link below to access a toolbox full of insights, news and programs you can use to build your business.
Written by: Marshall Heitzman, CFP®, ChFC, FLMI, CPCU, BFA™
Marshall is TruStage's Advanced Planning Expert and has more than 25 years of experience in the insurance and financial services industry. He consults Financial Professionals on advanced retirement planning concepts for retirement and wealth management clients.