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How to Find (and Keep!) a Steady Stream of New Leads

We’ve all heard the adage: work smarter, not harder.

How do you strategically apply this advice when trying to grow your advisory practice? As a busy advisor, you only have so many hours in the day. Ask any successful advisor how they have grown their firm, and they’ll likely tell you how they have crafted a strong network of referrals. Bringing on new clients is essential to a thriving business, but how do you attract the right prospects that are a good fit for your firm without wasting valuable time and money?

You put a lot of work into lead generation activities. Maybe you write a blog to publish high quality content that attracts leads, post regularly on social media, engage in email marketing, or run a paid advertising campaign on Google. As an advisor, you have a finite amount of time and resources to put into prospecting. What’s the most effective strategy for finding highly qualified new clients?

Nothing is more disheartening than when your phone rings only to get five or ten minutes into the conversation and realize the lead isn’t a fit for your practice. Doubt creeps in as you think of all the time that went into getting that prospect. What went wrong? Is it the message? The targeting? The channel?

financial advisor engaging with prospective client on laptop

Harness Your Prospecting Potential

The thing about prospecting that makes it such a hot topic is that it has the potential to be incredibly powerful. Those who have uncovered the best prospecting methods have done so by putting in weeks, months, and years of hard work. Some advisors may assume there’s a secret magic marketing formula for the best prospecting methods, but that simply isn’t the case. The secret sauce is that there is no secret sauce.

Truthfully, what works for one firm may not work for another. There are, however, a few simple rules that apply to all prospecting methods to ensure a successful stream of steady, quality leads.

Measure. Any prospecting method absolutely must be measured. If you’re not measuring, you are already losing ground. Your firm probably has a CRM, but are you utilizing it to its full potential? Set aside some dedicated time to deeply analyze what prospecting activities are the most profitable. Walk yourself through the process your leads follow and look at each step with a critical eye. Search for trends and common denominators for leads who ended up converting into paying clients. Analysis takes time, but this is time well spent.

Test. Don’t be afraid to change, improve, or learn more about the individual aspects of each prospecting process. What if the method is right but the message is wrong? If you need outside expertise, find a professional. Outsourcing exceptional content development or hiring a social media strategist could save you money in the end.

Let Go. If you have really tested every variable of a method and it just doesn’t seem to work for your audience, don’t be afraid to quit and pivot to something else. Again, just because something works for another firm doesn’t mean it’s the right method for your specific brand and your audience.

Practical Tips for Cultivating Quality Leads for your RIA

The ideal number of clients can vary from RIA to RIA. Ultimately, the number of clients you can effectively support is based on complexity of client needs, client communication preferences, and other factors. So, it’s important to know where and how your time is spent–especially as you scale your business.

What could a more efficient method of prospecting mean for your business?

  1. Identify Your Value Proposition

    It might be shocking that our first tip has nothing to do with your prospects and everything to do with your firm’s identity. Nobody can buy what you’re selling if they don’t know or understand who’s selling it. Trust and authenticity are more critical now than ever, with 81% of customers saying they have to be able to trust a brand before they buy from them. Prospects are bombarded with messaging from every channel, so it’s important to do everything you can to stand out instead of adding to the noise.

    Be very clear with your messaging, communicating these key points:

    • Why should prospects choose you?
    • What value do you bring to the table?
    • What audience do you serve?

    Consistency is important in every interaction, so ensure your branding and messaging are aligned no matter what prospecting activity you’re engaging in.

  2. Be Selective

    You simply cannot do it all. Yes, there are large firms that have the capacity to build an online presence, arrange intricate networking and client appreciation events, and run advertising campaigns on multiple platforms. These are few and far between.

    If you are looking to grow strategically with a finite budget, be choosy about what you’re doing and do it well. If you’re going to engage in social media, be the absolute best provider of content for your audience. If you’re running a campaign, make it the most targeted and engaging campaign. It’s better to choose one or two activities and see measurable growth than engage in many methods only to discover you can’t tell what is working.

  3. Maximize Your Prospect (and Client) Intel

    Now we can talk about your prospects. You need to know your prospect before you can understand and address their needs. While many advisory firms would claim that they are expertly anticipating the needs of their prospects and clients, occasionally they miss the mark.

    People’s lives are in a constant state of flux, and that means their financial planning needs are evolving as well. Gaining maximum intel is all about having a well-defined target market and knowing everything you could possibly know about them, from marital status and planning needs to assets under management and wallet share estimates (outside accounts.)

    Keep your source of information fresh and up-to-date as circumstances can shift quickly for both clients and prospects. You should be ready to address additional needs your clients may have as they experience new milestones and challenges.

  4. Differentiate Prospects Through Segmentation

    Your time is your most valuable resource. Focus your time on the prospects with the greatest potential revenue for your business. To do this, you must be able to differentiate between prospects with high revenue generation and those who have low revenue generation. Establish benchmarks or behavioral patterns to assist your team with the differentiation process.

    Once you’ve established the profile of an ideal prospect who represents valuable revenue, you can develop an internal scoring method. This knowledge is critical to determine which prospects are a valuable time investment for you and your sales team.

  5. Focus on Generational Wealth

    Don’t wait until your high-net-worth clients are retired or elderly before engaging their family members; start the conversation early. Position yourself as a trustworthy source of information, answering questions and offering advice to younger members of the family when relevant.

    Perhaps there is a family business or noteworthy estate requiring open dialogue to make decisions for the future. Simply helping to facilitate a transparent conversation can go a long way to keeping your advisory practice top of mind when the time comes to pass down assets.

    Personal service matters in every interaction, and you should view each interaction with your clients as a prospecting opportunity. From retirees or the elderly, to families with new or adult children – each one is likely to have heirs you can assist down the road. Speaking of service, this brings us to tip number six.

  6. Personalize Your Strategy

    Don’t you just hate it when someone gets your name wrong? A seemingly small offense can translate to lost revenue when it’s a perfectly qualified prospect that receives the wrong message.

    No one likes generic marketing, or worse, an irrelevant message. As a society, we’ve evolved. Personalization is expected and even demanded. It’s time consuming to find out everything about your prospects (as we mentioned in tip number one) but once you have that information, put it to good use!

    If you know a prospect is getting married or taking out a mortgage for a house, provide them resources and information relevant to their individual situation.

  7. Know Who – and What – to Upsell

    Remember how we mentioned the importance of analyzing your prospecting methods? Apply the same principle to your current book of business. Pay attention to trends and patterns to identify your most effective products and services. Some products make for stickier clients when they’re combined, like bank and brokerage services.

    You may find the opposite is also true.

    Perhaps prospects who only come to you for investment services are short-term and their lifetime worth to your firm is much less than originally forecasted. Upselling the right product can make a big difference for the health of your book, but you must identify and recognize the pattern first.

Prospecting is just as important as the work you do to manage the wealth of your clients. It can make or break your firm’s growth goals. Put these tips to work to make the most of your time and resources, and cultivate a steady stream of quality leads.