It’s a common assumption that most, if not all, wealthy individuals already have financial advisors assisting them, making 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 leads to the 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 for 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 also may want to consider incentivizing your referrals. Offering a gift card or other small token of appreciation is a nice way to show your gratitude for successful referrals that result in a complimentary introductory meeting. Just make sure to double-check policies and regulations, to be certain you remain in compliance if you choose to offer gifts.
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.
Also consider 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.
Just as you might ask your smartphone where to get the best pizza in town, people are increasingly using search engines to find recommendations for local professional services, including financial advisors. Among those under 40, 73% said they would use Google to find a financial advisor.1
That fact should deserve serious consideration as the current client population ages. There’s a looming wealth transfer on the horizon in which your existing Baby Boomer clients’ assets could very likely transfer to their Gen X, Millennial and Gen Z heirs. 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.
Even when younger generations seek recommendations from friends, family or colleagues, they’re increasingly taking to social media platforms to crowdsource such information. That’s one good reason engaging on social media could create new opportunities for advisors to interact with these individuals. In fact, 52% of investors say they use LinkedIn in their search for financial advisors.1
While only 13% of investors say they go to social media sites in search of financial information or advice, 43% say they’d be likely to accept an investment recommendation on social media that comes from a financial advisor. Among millennials, that number climbs to 77% of investors.2
While some advisors see the social media trend as a threat, others have embraced the opportunity to boost their online presence and digital marketing efforts. That may require you to make some website updates, including navigation, keywords and content for effective search engine optimization (SEO). You might also leverage mobile apps, offer an email newsletter or blog subscriptions, engage through video chat or provide online portfolio tools to clients.
The fact is, the events of 2020 and 2021 only increased clients’ willingness to engage digitally with professionals like financial advisors. And among investors who look online for financial information, 71% prefer to find it on advisors’ and institutions’ websites.2 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.
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.
With so many distractions vying for the attention of potential clients, it’s increasingly difficult to stand out among the crowd and help prospects understand the benefits of working with a financial advisor. You can help guide them in their decisions and clarify why you’re the right choice. Help potential clients understand the value you provide by offering our complimentary guide, When & Why Should I Hire a Financial Advisor. Just click the link below.
1CNBC, Op-ed: There’s an increased demand for financial advice. Are advisors up to the challenge? March 22, 2021.
2Broadridge, Wealth Management 2021: Using Technology to Engage Clients, no date.