27 Financial Advisor Marketing Ideas & Strategies That Work!
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Marketing ideas – if you’re a financial advisor, you can’t get enough of them.
As a marketing consultant and coach who works specifically with advisors, I enjoy seeing that passion that advisors bring to the business. However, I’ve noticed that most advisors don’t know how to market themselves.
I don’t blame them… marketing wasn’t really taught to me either. I had to self-teach a lot of things, and the rest was by trial-and-error. I understand that as a financial advisor, it’s easier to work “in” your business than working “on” your business and marketing. Thanks, Michael Gerber!
Because I am the guy who helps financial advisors get more clients, it is my personal responsibility to make sure you have the knowledge and skills you need to succeed in the marketplace. I hope that you can take these financial advisor marketing ideas and implement them in your own life.
I love sharing different marketing tips and strategies I’ve heard from financial advisors over the years. In this massive 5,550+ word post, I want to share with you some ideas that you can take and implement into your financial advisory practice.
1. Set goals.
This may not fit into your typical mold of marketing advice, but it’s incredibly important. If you don’t have a target, nothing else matters. I can’t stress this enough. Setting goals makes all the other financial advisor marketing ideas fall into place.
Have you ever wondered why some people seem to work so hard for so little? While others don’t work as hard, yet seem to have everything? These are people who seem like they have the “magic touch”. The difference is goals. Some people (a very small percentage) actually have goals, while others don’t. People who have goals succeed because they know where they’re going. Sounds too simple, but it’s true.
ALSO READ: How to Become a Successful Financial Advisor
2. Know your target market.
You should be able to describe your perfect client to me so I can visualize him or her with absolute clarity. You need to know demographics (age, gender, locale, profession) as well as psychographics (how do they think?). Don’t lie to yourself and say that you market to everybody. If you do this, you will fail. Remember that the “riches are in the niches”, and if you specialize enough, knowing your ideal client will become that much easier. Take me, for example: I’m not a marketing coach for everyone under the sun. I work exclusively with financial advisors, so my target market is easier to define.
Many financial advisors focus on entrepreneurs, divorcees, retirees, widows and company executives. You could go even further and be THE financial advisor for dentists or THE financial advisor for plumbers.
Don’t believe that if you “cast a wide net”, you’ll get more business. In reality, the opposite is true. As you go narrow, you will get more business.
6. Send thank-you letters.
It saddens me that not many people send these out anymore. Sending thank-you notes is one of the best financial advisor marketing ideas that has been proven to work. These are so simple, yet so powerful. When was the last time a service professional sent you a thank-you letter? Your clients will appreciate this more than you’ll ever know. It’s a nice touch. You can keep it short and sweet. Say something like, “Thank you for choosing me and ABC Firm to handle your financial affairs. I appreciate your choice and will do my best to serve you.”
Make it sincere and handwritten. Even a post-it note on top of their paperwork will do it. It takes maybe twenty seconds to write one of these notes, but when your competitors knock at their door, they’ll remember this and stick with you.
7. Get your clients to complain.
Change your thinking about complaints, because a customer complaint is like a diamond in the rough. A relationship that’s had problems handled well is a stronger and more profitable relationship that has never had a problem. Having no complaints in a relationship is a sure sign of declining interest or trust. Your clients have something they don’t like about you or your service. If they don’t, I want to meet you so I can shake your hand and pay YOU for consulting!
A study done by The Technical Assistance Research Programs Institute in Washington D.C. revealed that for services, 55-63% of unhappy clients won’t complain. These are people that can help you improve, but they’re not saying anything! Another study, conducted by The Strategic Planning Institute, revealed that the average business never hears from 96% of unhappy clients and 70% of clients will do business again if a complaint is properly resolved. Is your 70% walking away?
You need to get your clients to complain! If you don’t figure out their complaints, you can’t fix them. Plus, if one client is having a problem, it’s likely that others are having the same problem. If your customers aren’t complaining, they’ll quietly sneak over to your competitor and tell all their friends about their bad experience with you. This tip isn’t so much about getting referrals as avoiding bad ones.
Once you hear a complaint, apologize, don’t argue and get to work fixing it. Resolve the situation quickly and thank the client for bringing their concern to you. They will know that you value their input, making it likely they’ll immediately tell you the next time something goes wrong.
8. Get featured in trade magazines.
It’s especially important that you specialize, so you can take advantage of these trade publications. If you’re known as “the dentist’s financial advisor”, you can get some space in dental trade publications. You know that dentists are reading the thing – why not plaster your face in front of them?
You don’t have to do paid advertising either. These trade publications are constantly looking for fresh content. Send an email to the editor or call them cold and say you would like to contribute an article about how dentists can better manage their finances. Be sure to make it specific to dentists! Otherwise, there’s a 99% chance that you will get turned down. Pitch the editors several ideas, have them choose one that they think will provide the most value and then get to work.
The reason I tell you to pitch several ideas is not just for convenience. You need to pitch more than one idea so that it increases the likelihood of the editors choosing one. Once they’ve chosen an article idea, they’ve made a commitment, which is good! It will be much harder for them to reject you past this point. If you call them and pitch them one topic only, they could just straight up turn you down. When you present them multiple options, you’re appearing to give them control of the situation.
9. Speak at meetings.
Local clubs and organizations are constantly looking for speakers to come visit their groups. I’m talking about educational institutions, churches, charities, outplacement services, special interest groups, hospital auxiliaries, the whole shebang!
I’ve seen several advisors charge a fee to attend the speech/seminar and then donate it to the group they are speaking for. More people will visit because they’ll view it not only as an educational opportunity, but a charitable one. If you are cold-calling CFOs, it might take you weeks to get in contact with fifty of them. If you book an event or workshop specifically for CFOs, you’ll have all fifty of them focused on you. Talk about high efficiency and enormous payoff!
When you speak at these meetings, a lot of them will tell you over and over “NO SOLICITING”! And that’s fine, because you won’t be there to solicit anyway. You’ll be there as an expert looking to add value to the group. Besides, you won’t need to solicit anyway. By speaking at the group, you’ll receive an implied endorsement. When the leaders of the group book you to speak, they’re essentially saying that they view you as a trustworthy expert. Not many marketing ideas will allow financial advisors to get into a room of a pre-qualified prospects quite like this one.
10. Make sure you use an evaluation form when you speak.
Check with whoever booked you to speak and ask if you can use an evaluation form. If they seem hesitant, explain that you want to become the best speaker you can possibly be and that you would greatly appreciate it. After all, how can you fix what you don’t know is broken?
Because you can’t (and shouldn’t) solicit during your presentation, the evaluation form helps you subtly sell the audience members on meeting with you. Briefly explain how you’re passionate about helping your clients solve their problems and that you’re always looking to improve, so you’d appreciate their feedback.
On the form, you get their name, number, address, and best time to call. All very important information to keep in your CRM! You ask them what they liked the most, what they didn’t like, and what they wish you focused more on. Here’s the kicker: at the very end of the evaluation form, say: “By completing this workshop/seminar, you have earned a complimentary consultation with me” and then have options for them to select. The options might say, “I want to get started immediately. Call me as soon as possible”, “I’d like to find out more first, please call when it’s convenient”, and “No thanks”. Let’s say you speak to fifty people – thirty might say no thanks, fifteen might want to learn more, and five would want an immediate appointment. Sure beats cold calling, huh?
11. Know how much money you make per direct outreach.
You work to make money, right? Yeah, you might love what you do and all that cool stuff, but you need to pay the bills. In financial advising, you have the incredible ability to control your income. Please do not take this for granted! Here’s what I mean...
Let’s say you call a hundred prospects and get ten appointments. Out of those ten appointments, three people become clients. You make five hundred dollars from each client, so you make $1,500 for every hundred calls you make. It never ceases to amaze me how many financial advisors don’t think of this stuff! This means that every single time you pick up the phone, you’re making $15!
Figure out how many calls it takes you to make an appointment. Then figure out how many appointments it takes to get one client. You should know approximately how much you make per client. From there, you can figure out exactly how much you make per phone call. You want to make an extra hundred bucks? Pick up the phone. You’re behind on your bills? Pick up the phone. This is an incredibly motivating thought to hold in your mind. Whenever you feel any call reluctance or if people give you a hard time over the phone, you can think, “Thanks for your $15!” and hang up.
You need to keep track of these three things:
When you're implementing these financial advisor marketing ideas, knowing your numbers can keep you from getting discouraged along the way. Knowing your numbers also makes setting goals (the most important tip) a breeze.
Figure out for yourself what numbers you want to make. Find out how many appointments you have to set every week in order to make the total number of sales every month. Once you have the numbers, the rest becomes basic math.
I’ve always liked the “thanks for your $15” style, but there’s another interesting way to think about making phone calls, one that made me more comfortable back when I had call reluctance. I found that it was a lot easier for me to picture my prospect list like a big deck of cards. I would imagine that every single King I’d pick out of the deck would net me $100, while every other card would net me $0. I knew that if I kept plugging away, I would eventually get the Kings. This kept me from getting discouraged when I kept drawing twos and threes.
12. Call “one more”.
At the end of the day, right after you’ve packed up your papers and put on your jacket, call one more prospect. When you can make this a habit, you’ll be a sales superstar. Assuming you do this every day, you’ll get way more appointments over the course of a year.
The difference between success and failure is often razor-thin. In a horse race, the second-place horse might be only a split second behind first place, but still misses out on the huge first-place purse. You need to understand that this “one more” phone call will mean the difference in your career.
ALSO READ: 5 Things You Can Do Instead of Cold Calling
13. Build your prospect list at night.
Don’t waste your time building your list during the day. So many advisors will get to the office and get straight to work on building their list. The truth is, the list should’ve already been done the night before, or possibly the week before! During the day, you should be doing the two M’s: Marketing and Meeting! You need to be in that office, either prospecting or working with a client. Don’t ever forget that. If it is a weekday between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m., you need to get your butt in gear and hit the double M.
Building a list is what’s called a “zombie task”, meaning it’s not a cognitively demanding task. You can sit in front of a computer at 9 p.m. and put your list together. Other zombie tasks include organizing, cleaning, sending email responses and entering info into your CRM.
Zombie tasks serve as major distractions for those with call reluctance. They’ll tell themselves that they’ll call as soon as they enter all the information into Excel or their CRM, but they never make the calls.
14. Always, always, always leave a voicemail.
This is a mistake that I’ve personally made. When I first started out in business, I would never leave a voicemail message. I don’t even remember why I didn’t leave one! I guess I figured that someone would see the missed call and give me a call back. Yeah, right! If you saw an unknown number on your phone, would you call it back without a voicemail? Nope! You figure if it’s important enough, the person will leave a message. I was making a huge mistake!
Then I started leaving voicemail messages, but they were very specific. I got more calls back, but I decided to try something new. I gave a little bit of information, but I was vague. They knew my name and what I wanted, but I would leave a hook that would nearly force them to call me back. I would say something like, “Hello, this is James from XYZ. I’m giving you a call because I know that you’re a financial advisor at ABC Firm and I wanted to give you some valuable information about how I’m helping others at the ABC Firm expand their marketing and get more clients.” This worked like crazy! People started calling back in droves, because they couldn’t stand the vagueness of my message. They had to find out what I was offering.
Here are a few reasons why you should always leave a voicemail:
ALSO READ: 7 Ways Prospecting Is Like Dating
15. Understand the difference between response and results.
Know the difference between response and results! The ONLY reason you should be marketing is to get results, aka conversions. Responses feel good because it tells you that people are seeing your marketing efforts, but it’s all an illusion.
Some financial advisor marketing ideas can produce a lot of responses, but little results. Responses might feel like results, but your bank account can tell the difference. Make sure you can too.
21. Improve your hold music.
What does your hold music sound like? My personal attorney does this beautifully. His hold music is an advertisement for his services and his podcast. I’ve noticed that there are a few levels to hold music – where does yours stand?
22. Have a movie night.
Partner with a local movie theater (or rent it out) and throw a client appreciation event. It can be a private, family-friendly movie night with popcorn and the works. This is incredibly powerful with your family-oriented clients, because they can bring children and grandchildren. It’s just something fun you can do to strengthen your client relationships. It costs more to rent out a theater on a Friday night versus a Monday morning, but you shouldn’t pay more than about $600. It’s well worth the cost.
23. Sponsor youth sports.
Through a sponsorship, you will get your name in front of the youth sports market of parents, coaches, program organizers, players and fans. Plus, it isn’t likely to get tuned out. People in this market, especially the parents, like to check out the companies are supporting local sports.
I really like this marketing tactic and I think it goes beyond dollars and cents. When you sponsor a youth sports team, you are helping to keep participation fees low, which means more families can afford to sign up their kids. When you sponsor a team, you are allowing more children to receive the many benefits of sports.
24. Donate to charities.
Similar to sponsoring a youth sports team, donating to charity allows you to do some good in the world. The kicker is that you should send out a press release when you donate. Let the whole world know that you’re so nice. Or you could send out a card or letter letting your prospects/clients know that you’ve made a donation on their behalf to a particular charity.
Another way to do this is to partner with a charity. If you host a holiday party, ask your clients to bring a toy to the party that will be donated to a charitable organization.
25. Set up a golf clinic.
A lot of advisors tout the importance of meeting prospects on the golf course, but they do it casually. I’ve seen financial services companies sponsor golf tournaments, putting contests, longest-drive contests, etc. but golf clinics seem to be the most effective.
The idea is to appeal to your prospects’ passion for golf, and do it in such a way that adds educational value. You meet with golf pros at your local club and set up the clinics. The people at the club love these clinics because it creates revenue for them. It gives them an opportunity to showcase their expertise and possibly book extra lessons from the people you bring, who, if they aren’t already, may become members of the club.
After the clinic, you can conduct a brief presentation and serve refreshments. It’s truly a win-win event because your prospects/clients get a golf lesson (and investment information) and the golf pros get exposure to new customers. You can also do these clinics with other sports, like tennis.
26. Send postcards.
Whenever you travel (such as on vacation or to conferences), pick up postcards to send your clients. One advisor I know of boxes up the postcards and takes them with him, just because he wants to get the postmark from the place he visits.
When you send a postcard to your clients, you further increase your visibility and credibility with them. After all, it’s not up to your clients to remember you. It’s your job to consistently remind them that you exist and reinforce why they have a relationship with you.
27. Get on the Welcome Wagon.
Welcome Wagon is the world’s largest welcoming service. It’s a business that contacts new homeowners after relocation, providing them with coupons and advertisements from local businesses.
One of your common denominators for prospects is change. How can you locate people who are in the midst of change? All you have to do is pinpoint new people moving into town. Welcome Wagon literally does this for you.
Contract with Welcome Wagon to be included in the mix when they visit new families. A good item to give these families, in addition to some literature and your business card, is a refrigerator magnet. Most people eat every day (or if you’re like me, several times per day) so they probably go to their refrigerator several times per day.
Once the Welcome Wagon visits a new family, you can get their name and number. Then you just pick up the phone and introduce yourself to welcome them to the community.
ALSO READ: 7 Fatal Prospecting Mistakes You Can't Afford to Make
BONUS: Click here to get a free PDF with 15 of my favorite financial advisor prospecting ideas.