Expectations of working with a financial advisor have changed. The digital world we live in today has played - and will continue to play - a large part in how prospects find, select, and hire financial advisors.
These days, most information is consumed digitally and through multiple sources of information - sometimes by only scanning the headlines. With so many resources available, investors make better, more informed buying decisions in all aspects of their lives.
No matter what financial planning approach you employ, you can apply these marketing strategies to help market yourself and grow your business in this digital landscape.
Your online presence matters
The two most common practices that prospects utilize in their search for a financial advisor are:
- They ask friends, family, or professionals they work with for referrals
- They search on the internet
Prospects get an average of 2.6 referrals - once a prospect has identified two to three advisors, they usually go online to learn more specifics about each:
- Who are they?
- What type of clients do they work with?
- Do they understand my goals and help people like me?
- What does the process look like to hire and work with the advisor?
- Any other relevant information to determine if that advisor would be good to work with and won’t scam them out of their life savings.
Depending on what they do and don’t find online, prospects will eliminate advisors from consideration as they look for the right fit.
This is all happening before you know who the prospect is - before you have a chance to talk to them and learn more about their life, family, and financial goals. What event in their life has led them to want to hire a financial advisor? Why are they actively looking?
Have you Googled yourself lately?
Go ahead, type in your name and firm (John Smith Advisory Name) or name and location (Jane Adams Atlanta).
Evaluate the information that shows up on the first page of Google search results – think about it from the perspective of a potential client and ask yourself the following questions:
- “Are these pages supporting my credibility and expertise as a financial advisor?”
- “Do these search results present me the same way that I hope my ideal clients and prospects would talk about me to someone they trust?”
- “Do these pages explain why I became a financial advisor and explain the process of working with me?”
- “How do I stand out? How can I help more than the next Financial Advisor?”
You want to own your search results and extend your professional brand across many platforms: LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, blog posts, professional societies, etc.
Think about all of those referrals you miss out on and pave a path to reach them through your online credibility.
Sell the value and outcomes of working with you
Sometimes, advisors make the mistake of talking too much about things that matter to them, not what matters most to their clients.
Let me say that again and in a different way.
Sometimes, advisors talk too much online about their services and what they do instead of talking about the goals , the problems and life events their clients have, and how they can help their clients achieve their goals.
Navigating an intangible service like financial advising can be difficult, and building a trusting, collaborative relationship is imperative.
Right now, there is a big gap with advisors distinguishing themselves on the relationship and service side of things. Advisors don’t typically post their track records and customer testimonials on social media, so prospects are leaning on working relationships, third-party validation, and trust to differentiate advisors.
Show you care about your client and their goals by working hard. Show why it’s important to you that they achieve their life goals.
Go the extra mile on a personal level as well. The better personal relationship you have with clients, the easier it is for them to refer others to you and remain working with you when they have concerns about the economy and life events. Once you establish a trusting relationship, you can move the needle forward by providing an incredible experience that elevates you and the value you offer above other advisors.
How do you do this? Evaluate your website and look at every time you say something similar to any of these statements:
- We do….
- We help…
- We offer…
- Services include...
List those sentences on paper and then answer the question, "What value does this offer our clients?”
You want to start sentences with the value and benefits for your clients, and then you can use the factual supporting points of how you do it.
For example - don’t just say that you offer Financial Planning. Instead, say; “We believe that working side-by-side with you to create a Financial Plan helps you organize your financial life, prepare for retirement, and gives you guidelines to live your ideal life while staying confident you won’t run out of money.”
Dial-in your focus
As a direct result of the crowded financial sector, differentiation is key to growing your business.
- Who is your ideal client?
- What is your target market?
- Have you had multiple successes with a particular type of client?
Whether you choose a particular occupational niche, target a specific company, or pinpoint individual life transitions and events, people want to know you can specifically help them. The most successful financial advisors target specific markets to build, manage, and optimize portfolios that help achieve compelling outcomes.
If you are an advisor who tries to please everyone, it will be A LOT harder to grow your business than those who say they are not the best for everyone. There is plenty of room for specialized advisors to expand their market share. Look to create digital offerings that convey your ideal client, one of the key benefits of targeting a specialized niche is the opportunity to take advantage of unique marketing channels that may be highly effective at reaching that particular target market.
The more contextual and personalized your message is, the more it will resonate with prospects to start a conversation with you.
I often hear pushback about not wanting to lose out on potential opportunities. You don’t have to say that you only work with one small set of clients (Although this would help you create a niche). You can create a section on your website that talks about some of the ways you work with clients or some types of current clients.
When it comes to marketing and advertising, you need to be as specific as possible. This practice will help you maximize the returns on your marketing efforts and spending.
Location is less important
The digital revolution has made it easier for clients to access their money and see how their portfolios perform. Digital portals are now very commonplace, where clients can log in, manage their money, and communicate with advisors. Physical location has grown far less important, making digital offerings more critical.
Look to the next generation
Advisors who fail to develop a multigenerational strategy for client's adult children, or other young investors, stand to lose out on a significant future wealth transfer opportunity. Planners need to make a point of getting to know their older clients’ children to retain them as clients after their parents are gone.
This next generation of investors will be far more technologically literate and diverse. Aim to build your business so that you can scale with clients and have a digital offering that your clients and family stewards can use to work with you.
Ensure you are selecting the right technology and getting familiar with the ways younger generations of prospects and clients want to engage with you. Do you have video calls? Can you work with clients who live in a different state? Can you text clients?
Think about your own life. In the past ten years, how has technology changed your behaviors? Are you texting and on social media to keep up with your children and grandchildren? What are your clients doing? They are probably more tech-savvy than you think and will appreciate a modern tech-forward approach.
Personality, personality, PERSONALITY
Work to build upon relationships by connecting with clients and prospective clients on a deeper personal level. Don’t be afraid to let your personality shine through as you answer the following:
- Why do you enjoy being a financial advisor?
- What led you to your career?
- What do you find most rewarding working with clients?
- How do you balance life?
- What do you do on weekends for fun?
Explain your “why” with all that can help you connect with people on a more meaningful level. Being able to show compassion and understanding of a client's unique situation is crucial. Find a commonality to sustain a lasting relationship and focus on creating an incredible client experience and surpassing communication expectations.
Focus on how you work together with your clients. Explain YOUR process - most advisors don’t talk about the “process of working together” or what expectations are in place from your viewpoint. The more you expand on what drives you and why you like working with your clients - the more it helps prospects envision themselves trusting you and building a working relationship (even before they have a conversation with you).
Here's a summary of the five key takeaways:
- Google yourself (name and firm, name, and location) and optimize your first page of Google search results based on your ideal clients.
- Stop focusing on your services and focus on your clients’ outcomes from working with you.
- Ensure your content on your website and social media profiles show clients that you work with people like them and understand them (as specific as possible).
- Create a digital offering and evolve your practice to exceed the expectations of the smartphone generations who don’t remember printing a map for directions or not being able to find answers to any question they could imagine using Google.com.
- Show your personality and humanize yourself. Cookie cutter, general text on your website, and social media profiles won’t help you stand out and gain an advantage over your competition.
Remember, what worked for you five, ten, or twenty years ago to get to where you are now most likely won’t work well moving forward to grow your business. You need to adapt to prospect behaviors, technology, and industry shifts, and think more about the future when looking to grow your business.
The best advice is profoundly human, and it begins and ends with people. Technology is evolving; let it help you deliver your best advice. If you are not using CRM to help onboard and convert new prospects, the time is now. CRM adoption increases office communication quality 56.9% -- meaning less time spent on misunderstandings and more time spent selling. Every minute they’re not selling yourself as a financial advisor is a potential loss of money. Find a CRM to help you track, convert, and onboard new clients with the power of smart automation.
One of the industry-leading CRM’s for financial advisors is Junxure. Junxure is the CRM built for advisors by advisors. Trusted by wealth managers since 2000, it inherently understands the business, offering specific workflow automation and exceptional client service. The team at Junxure is always ready to assist all levels of user support, from general “how-to” primers to deep technical questions via email, phone, or with a screen sharing session. Month after month, the technical support team earns a 98% approval rating.
This blog is sponsored by AdvisorEngine Inc. and CRM Software LLC. (“AdvisorEngine”) The information, data and opinions in this commentary are as of the publication date, unless otherwise noted, and subject to change. This material is provided for informational purposes only and should not be considered a recommendation to use AdvisorEngine or deemed to be a specific offer to sell or provide, or a specific invitation to apply for, any financial product, instrument or service that may be mentioned. Information does not constitute a recommendation of any investment strategy, is not intended as investment advice and does not take into account all the circumstances of each investor. Opinions and forecasts discussed are those of the author, do not necessarily reflect the views of AdvisorEngine and are subject to change without notice. AdvisorEngine makes no representations as to the accuracy, completeness and validity of any statements made and will not be liable for any errors, omissions or representations. As a technology company, AdvisorEngine provides access to award-winning tools and will be compensated for providing such access. AdvisorEngine does not provide broker-dealer, custodian, investment advice or related investment services. AdvisorEngine and Junxure are registered trademarks of AdvisorEngine Inc.