The Open Road to Success: Finding Your Clients as a Financial Advisor

By Sivan Kaspi, Updated on September 07, 2023, 17 min read
Get clients as a financial advisor

The journey to becoming a successful financial advisor is akin to navigating a complex maze—challenging and filled with numerous twists and turns. While the educational prerequisites and certifications like CFPs and CFAs are non-negotiable milestones, they are merely the tip of the iceberg on finding success. According to the United States Department of Labor, as of May 2022, there were a staggering 283,060 financial advisors vying for market share. In such a saturated landscape, the real litmus test for new advisors is not just about academic prowess or professional credentials; it’s about building a robust book of business. Let’s dive into how to get clients as financial advisors.


You might be thinking: “Well, every business faces challenges in the beginning, right?” True, but the financial world is unique. Here, your first clients are not just numbers that add to your portfolio; they are the cornerstone upon which your credibility and future success are built. You’ll always remember your first few clients. They are the business testimonials that can either catapult you into advisory legendary status or relegate you to the realm of obscurity (and looking for another job.


So, how does one crack the code to attract those first few, important clients? Read on as we dive into proven strategies that go beyond the conventional wisdom of cold-calling and door-knocking, steering you onto the open road to success in the financial advisory world.



Cultivating Influence: The Power of Networking

On your journey to get clients as a financial advisor, the adage “It’s not what you know, but who you know” rings truer than ever. While possessing a deep understanding of financial markets, tax laws, and investment strategies is important, these technical skills alone won’t propel you into the upper echelons of the industry in your area. The secret sauce, the X-factor that separates the average from the exceptional, is networking and relationship building.


You might wonder: “Isn’t networking just another buzzword thrown around in business seminars?” Far from it. Networking is the lifeblood of a financial advisor’s career, especially in the early stages. It’s the art of cultivating relationships that not only bring in your first clients but also sustain your practice in the long run.



Leveraging Centers of Influence

In the financial advisory landscape, centers of influence (COIs) are new client gold mines waiting to be tapped. These are individuals or entities—be it lawyers, accountants, or even community leaders—who can refer a steady stream of potential clients your way. The trick is not just to identify these COIs but to forge strong relationships with them. Offer value through sharing insights or providing complementary services, and watch as your network transforms into a client acquisition engine. Start small. Don’t ask for referrals right away. Get to know them first.



Serving the Underserved: Finding Unique Client Demographics

In the financial advisory world, the allure of high-net-worth individuals is almost magnetic. The prospect of managing substantial portfolios and earning hefty commissions is undeniably attractive. However, this laser focus on the affluent often blinds advisors to a vast, untapped reservoir of potential clients: the underserved demographics.


You might be scratching your head, thinking, “Why would I target demographics that are traditionally not the focus of financial advisors?” The answer is simple yet profound: because they are underserved, they present a unique opportunity for differentiation and growth. While other advisors are jostling for the attention of the same high-net-worth individuals, you could be building a loyal client base that appreciates your specialized services.



Focusing on Young Professionals

Let’s zero in on one such demographic—young professionals. These individuals in their late 20s to early 40s are in the early stages of their careers. They may not have amassed significant wealth yet, but are on an upward trajectory. More importantly, they are often overlooked by traditional financial advisors who deem them “not lucrative enough.”


But here’s the kicker: young professionals are at a stage in their lives where significant financial decisions are being made—buying a home, starting a family, or even launching a startup. They are in dire need of financial guidance, yet they find themselves in a service vacuum. This is where you come in. By offering tailored financial planning services (instead of just a financial advisor app) that cater to their specific needs, you not only fill this service gap but also build relationships that could last a lifetime.


And let’s not forget that today’s young professionals are tomorrow’s high-net-worth individuals. By serving them early in their financial journey, you’re essentially securing future business. It’s a long-term investment with the promise of compounded returns.


In short, while the gravitational pull of high-net-worth clients is strong, savvy financial advisors will not ignore the underserved demographics that offer immediate business opportunities and long-term growth potential. By focusing on young professionals, you’re not just expanding your client base but future-proofing your practice.



Community Involvement: Building Trust and Connections


In an industry where trust is the currency and relationships are the stock-in-trade, financial advisors often find themselves in a conundrum. How do you build trust in a community constantly bombarded with advertisements, cold calls, and unsolicited emails? The answer may lie outside the confines of your office and in the heart of your community.


You might be pondering: “How does community involvement relate to my practice as a financial advisor?” The connection is more organic than you might think. Community involvement is not just a social responsibility or a box to tick off for corporate optics; it’s a strategic avenue for establishing your brand, building genuine relationships, and acquiring clients.



The Benefits of Community Involvement

Let’s break it down. When you’re involved in your community—sponsoring local events, offering free financial literacy workshops, or even participating in charity runs—you do more than just goodwill gestures. You’re embedding yourself in the social fabric of the community. You become more than just a financial advisor; you become a community member who happens to be a financial advisor. This subtle shift in perception can be a game-changer. People are more likely to do business with someone they know and trust, and what better way to build that trust than through genuine community involvement?



Volunteering: A Pathway to Business Opportunities

Now, let’s talk about volunteering with local non-profits, an often overlooked aspect of community involvement. You might be skeptical, wondering, “How does giving my time away for free translate into business opportunities?” The answer lies in the quality of interactions and the depth of relationships you can build while volunteering.


Imagine you’re volunteering at a local charity event. The chances are high that you’ll meet other like-minded professionals, perhaps even potential clients. These are people who share your values, appreciate your community involvement, and are more likely to consider your services when the need arises. Moreover, volunteering often opens doors to speaking engagements, board memberships, and other positions of influence that can significantly elevate your professional profile.


In essence, community involvement is a multifaceted strategy that goes beyond mere networking or marketing. It’s about building a brand that is synonymous with trust, integrity, and social responsibility. And in an industry where these qualities are the bedrock of success, community involvement is not just an option; it’s a necessity and a huge part of how to get clients as a financial advisor.



Using Webinars and Social Media to Get Clients as a Financial Advisor

Get clients as a financial advisor


In an age where information is abundant but attention is scarce, financial advisors face a unique challenge: How do you capture and retain the interest of potential clients in a digital landscape teeming with distractions? The answer lies in a potent combination of webinars and social media, tools that can transform your online presence from a mere digital footprint into a dynamic client acquisition platform.


You might question: “Aren’t webinars just glorified PowerPoint presentations?” Far from it. Webinars are your virtual stage, a platform where you can demonstrate your expertise, engage with your audience in real-time, and, most importantly, build credibility.



The Effectiveness of Webinars in Demonstrating Expertise

Let’s delve deeper into the world of webinars. Imagine hosting a video webinar on “Investment Strategies for the Post-Pandemic World” or “Strategies for Investing in an Inflationary Environment.”


Not only does this allow you to showcase your financial and market knowledge, but it also provides value to your audience, positioning you as a thought leader in your field. The interactive nature of webinars enables you to answer questions, address concerns, and even offer personalized advice, all of which contribute to building trust and rapport with potential clients.



Giving Away Free Advice: A Counterintuitive Strategy

Now, let’s talk about giving away free advice, a concept that might seem counterintuitive at first glance. You might wonder, “Why would I give away my expertise for free?” The answer is simple: You’re investing in a relationship economy by offering valuable insights without the immediate expectation of returns. People are more likely to engage with your services when they’ve already received something of value from you. It’s a classic case of ‘give to get,’ a strategy that pays dividends in the long run.



Building a Strong LinkedIn Network and Creating Relevant Content

LinkedIn is not just a platform for job seekers; it’s a goldmine for financial advisors looking to expand their network and establish their brand. But merely having a LinkedIn profile is not enough; you need to be active, engaged, and, most importantly, relevant. Regularly publishing articles, sharing market insights, and commenting on industry trends can go a long way in establishing your authority. Moreover, LinkedIn’s algorithm rewards engagement, meaning the more you interact with your network, the more visibility you gain, leading to more potential client interactions.


The digital world offers a plethora of tools for the savvy financial advisor. Webinars allow you to demonstrate your expertise in a live, interactive setting, while social media platforms like LinkedIn offer a space for continuous engagement and brand building. When used effectively, these digital assets can serve as powerful levers for client acquisition, elevating your practice to new heights.



Paid Marketing Campaigns: Are They a Worthwhile Investment?

While traditional methods like cold-calling and door-knocking have their merits, the digital age offers a new arsenal of tools for client acquisition, chief among them being digital advertising. But before you jump headfirst into the world of Google AdWords and Facebook Ads, it’s crucial to weigh the pros and cons and, more importantly, to strategize effectively.


While viewing digital advertising as merely an updated version of its traditional counterpart is tempting, doing so would be a disservice to its unique capabilities and challenges.



The Benefits and Drawbacks of Paid Marketing Campaigns For Financial Advisors

Let’s start with the benefits. Digital advertising offers unprecedented targeting capabilities. Want to reach millennials interested in sustainable investing? You can do that. How about retirees looking to diversify their portfolios? That’s possible, too. The granularity of digital marketing allows you to reach the exact demographic you’re targeting, thereby increasing the likelihood of conversions.


But it’s not all sugar and shine. The drawbacks are equally significant. Digital advertising can be a huge money pit if not managed carefully. The cost-per-click can add up quickly, and without a well-optimized landing page and a compelling call-to-action, you might find yourself burning through your budget with little to show for it in terms of new clients.


Don’t Just Run AdWords: Diversify Your Approach

Now, let’s address the elephant in the room: Google AdWords. While it’s the go-to platform for many advertisers, it shouldn’t be your only avenue. Diversification is key. Consider other platforms like LinkedIn for B2B services or even Instagram for a younger demographic. The idea is not to put all your eggs in one basket but to spread them across multiple platforms to maximize reach and minimize risk.



Focus on Advertising Where Your Clients Will Be

And let’s not forget the power of niche advertising. If you know that your prospective clients read a particular financial magazine or frequent specific online forums, then that’s where you should be advertising—even if it means going the traditional route with a magazine or newspaper ad. The goal is to be where your clients are, whether that’s in the digital realm or the pages of a print publication.


In conclusion, digital advertising is a potent tool in a financial advisor’s client acquisition toolkit, but it’s not a one-size-fits-all solution. It requires strategic planning, diversification, and a deep understanding of your target audience. When executed correctly, it can yield impressive results; when done haphazardly, it can be a costly endeavor with minimal returns.



Understanding Your Client Base

Learning how to get clients as a financial advisor often overshadows an equally important aspect of your practice: understanding who those clients are. While adopting this egalitarian view is tempting, the reality is far more nuanced. Understanding your client base is not just a matter of tallying numbers; it’s about recognizing the diversity within those numbers and leveraging technology to serve them effectively.



The Average Number of Clients a Financial Advisor Has

Let’s start with some hard facts. According to a study by the Financial Planning Association, the average financial advisor manages around 100 to 150 client relationships. While this number may vary based on the advisor’s experience and focus area, it serves as a useful benchmark. But here’s the kicker: not all clients are created equal. The composition of your client base can significantly impact your revenue, workload, and even your job satisfaction. As your client base grows, you’ll need to consider a wealth management team communication app as well.


Enable secure real-time communication with a team chat app to boost productivity


The Ideal Client for a Financial Advisor

So, who is the ideal client? The answer is not as straightforward as you might think. The ideal client varies from one advisor to another, depending on their expertise, service offerings, and career goals. For some, it might be high-net-worth individuals looking for complex estate planning; for others, it could be young professionals seeking guidance on retirement savings. The key is to identify your ideal client profile and tailor your services accordingly.



The Types of Clients a Financial Advisor Serves

Financial advisors serve a broad spectrum of clients, from individuals and families to businesses and even non-profits. Each client type has its own needs, challenges, and opportunities. For instance, serving a corporate client may involve crafting employee benefit plans, while advising a family may focus on college savings and retirement planning. Diversity in client types adds variety to your practice and offers multiple revenue streams, making your business more resilient.



Use Technology to Reach and Serve Them

In today’s digital age, technology is not just a convenience; it’s a necessity. Whether using Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software to manage client interactions or leveraging robo-advisor tools for lower-cost portfolio management, technology can significantly enhance your efficiency and effectiveness. More importantly, it allows you to reach a broader audience. Social media advertising, email newsletters, and even AI-driven chatbots can help you connect with potential clients and offer timely, personalized advice.



Wrap-Up on How to Get Clients as a Financial Advisor

As we reach the end of this guide on how to get clients as financial advisors, let’s take a moment to recap the multiple strategies to become successful. You might be thinking, “That’s a lot to take in. Where do I even start?” Start where you are, but don’t stay there. The journey to building a robust client base is not a sprint; it’s a marathon that requires strategic planning, continuous learning, and adaptability.


We kicked off our discussion with the power of networking, a cornerstone in the foundation of any successful financial advisory practice. Whether leveraging centers of influence or attending industry events, networking is your first offense in the client acquisition battle. But remember, it’s not just about collecting business cards; it’s about building relationships that stand the test of time. Without networking, online or off, you’re going to struggle. Start there as your first step.


The first step is understanding your target audience. Before you even think about marketing strategies or networking events, you need to know who you’re trying to reach. Are you focusing on high-net-worth individuals, young professionals, or perhaps retirees? Once you’ve identified your ideal client, you can tailor your approach to meet their specific needs. 

Networking is not just effective; it’s essential. Whether it’s attending industry events, joining financial advisory boards, or leveraging your alumni network, the connections you make can open doors to potential clients. But remember, networking is a two-way street. It’s not just about what you can gain but also about what value you can provide to others. 

Absolutely. Digital advertising offers a level of targeting that’s hard to achieve through traditional means. Platforms like Google AdWords and LinkedIn Ads allow you to reach your ideal clients based on various parameters like age, location, and even financial interests. However, monitoring your campaigns closely is crucial to ensure you’re getting a good return on your investment.   

Social media is more than just a platform for sharing photos and updates. It’s a powerful tool for establishing your brand, providing value through informative content, and engaging with potential clients. Platforms like LinkedIn are particularly effective for B2B connections, while Facebook and Instagram are great for reaching a broader audience. 

The number can vary widely depending on your focus area and business model. However, a typical advisor-client ratio is anywhere from 50 to 150 clients per advisor. The key is to find a balance between quantity and quality. Having too many clients can dilute the level of service you provide, while having too few can impact your revenue. 

Offering free initial consultations can be a double-edged sword. On one hand, it lowers the barrier for potential clients to engage with you. On the other, it can attract individuals just looking for free advice without the intention of becoming paying clients. The trick is to qualify leads before offering free consultations.      

Technology can be a game-changer in how you acquire and serve clients. CRM systems can help you manage client relationships more effectively, while financial planning software can streamline the advisory process. Additionally, virtual meeting platforms and secure document sharing can make interactions more convenient for both you and your clients. 

Community involvement can significantly boost your local reputation and trustworthiness. By participating in community events or offering free financial literacy workshops, you not only give back to the community but also position yourself as an expert in the field. It’s a win-win situation.   

Sivan Kaspi Sivan is the Director of Marketing at Spike. A firm believer that the right kind of tech actually helps us use it less, she is passionate about tools that improve our lives. She starts off each morning reviewing her Spike feed over a good cup of coffee.

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