It’s a common assumption that 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).
There are also affluent investors who may, in fact, be working with an advisor but are looking to 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 someone close to home who can help manage their finances.
As an advisor, it begs the question: how will that executive or another affluent individual get introduced to you? The answers can vary.
Ask a Personal Friend or Family Member
Word-of-mouth has been a reliable source of referrals for advisors since the dawn of the financial institution. What’s often overlooked by advisors, however, is the simple act of asking for those referrals. Assuming your clients are satisfied with your services, you should feel confident in 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, they 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 appreciation for successful referrals that result in a complimentary introductory meeting. Just make sure you remain in compliance with any related regulations 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 principles apply as with getting referrals from family and friends: don’t forget to ask. Influential clients, such as business owners and community leaders, are prime candidates for letting others in their spheres of influence know about your services.
Also consider how you can get involved in professional networking opportunities. 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 and trust.
Just as you might ask your smartphone to tell you where to get the best pizza in town, more and more people are asking search engines to serve up recommendations on local professional services, including financial advisors. In fact, 43% of individuals under the age of 45 indicated that their search for an advisor would begin online, compared to only 10% of those aged 65 and older.1
These facts should deserve much consideration as your current client population ages. There’s a looming wealth transfer on the horizon in which your existing Baby Boomer clients’ assets will transfer to their Gen X and Millennial heirs. There are few guarantees that those beneficiaries will retain your services, so advisors need to consider how to build relationships with beneficiaries early on. 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. More than two out of three people ages 50–64 use social media, and the number jumps to 82% for those between ages 30–49, according to Pew Research. By contrast, less than half as many (40%) of those over the age of 65 are active on social media platforms.1
While some advisors see this trend as a threat, others are embracing the opportunity to boost their online presence and digital marketing efforts. It may require updating the navigation and keywords on your website for improved search engine optimization (SEO), leveraging mobile apps, offering email newsletter or blog subscriptions, engaging through video chats or providing online portfolio tools.
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 earn and the better chances you’ll have of attracting wealthy, younger investors.
In the end, it’s good to be reminded 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 avenues and potential distractions vying for the attention of potential clients, it’s increasingly difficult to stand out among the crowd. You can guide them in their decision and help solidify why you’re the right choice. Help potential clients by providing our complimentary guide, When & Why Should I Hire a Financial Advisor. Just click the link below.
1Pew Research Center, Social Media Fact Sheet, June 12, 2019