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3 Steps to Growing Your Financial Advisor Business

Brandon Heid March 12, 2024

Financial advisor business leader talking to team about growing business

From established Baby Boomers to younger generations just beginning to explore investment options, everyone needs financial planning assistance. ​​In fact, demand is growing—58 percent of Americans say they are thinking more about how future events may affect them and are placing greater importance on long-term planning.1

As the demand for your services increases, are you effectively reaching and expanding your clientele?

Your success hinges on adapting to clients’ evolving needs while expanding your service offerings. Let’s begin with three fundamental steps to growing your business by investing in a tech stack, nurturing existing client relationships, and creating a strategy to attract new clients.

Step 1: Invest in a Tech Stack That Can Scale Financial Planning

Investing in a tech stack and intelligent data workflows to digitize and scale your planning process will enable you to maximize your valuable client data. Evaluate technologies that help you digitize onboarding, aggregate client accounts, and support client-advisor communications.

Digitize Your Onboarding Process

Acquainting a client with your services and gathering their information is crucial, but it doesn’t have to be manual or labor-intensive. Digitizing your onboarding process allows clients to share information with you while you focus on having trust-building conversations and crafting personalized plans. Digitization also saves you time and ensures a consistent, repeatable experience across your client base.

Leverage Account Aggregation

Gaining a holistic view of a client’s financial picture is crucial for personalized planning but is often a challenge for advisors. The right account aggregation tool gathers all client data in one place and provides advisors and clients with a centralized view of financial information. Not only does this simplify the planning process—avoiding manually tracking down client accounts—but it also creates a seamless digital experience and fosters a collaborative client-advisor relationship.

Use a Client-facing Platform

Client portals can significantly enhance the client-advisor relationship. A sophisticated client portal allows the client to view their finances in one place, track progress toward their goals, and maintain an ongoing dialogue with their advisor. It enables you to stay connected with your clients outside of meetings, educate and motivate them toward success, and regularly refine your recommendations based on their behaviors. This accessibility keeps clients actively engaged in the planning process without additional advisor input, boosting satisfaction and plan efficacy.

Step 2: Expand the Relationships You Have

Scaling your business doesn’t solely entail acquiring new clients; existing relationships offer ample opportunities. Your investment management clients who already trust you may be some of your best planning prospects. Conducting investment reviews to roll out planning to more clients and maximize client satisfaction are some of the most effective ways to expand planning by leveraging your existing relationships.

Prospect Current Client Base and Conduct Investment Reviews

Regular investment reviews serve as a cornerstone for cultivating new business opportunities from existing client relationships. Begin by identifying clients with the most growth potential. Collaborate with them to assess their assets, engage in deeper conversations about their goals, and uncover planning opportunities. Ask your clients to complete onboarding questionnaires for more data about their risk tolerance and use this data, along with your relationship history, to create tailored investment strategies. By demonstrating a deep understanding of your clients’ needs and goals, you’ll build trust, satisfaction, and loyalty, thereby growing wallet share and referrals.

Combine Technology with FinPsych Techniques to Maximize Client Satisfaction

Our 2023 Beyond the Plan research found that advisors integrating financial psychology techniques and technology, like client portals, have the highest client satisfaction levels. These strategies directly result in increased referrals—financial psychology-forward advisors receive two times more referrals annually, while tech-forward advisors see double the referrals.

But not all finpsych techniques have the same impact. Advisors see the highest satisfaction increases when they:

  • Discover values with intentional questions
  • Practice active listening techniques
  • Address financial anxiety
  • Communicate in a way clients understand

Satisfied clients refer their advisors significantly more often. When growing your financial advisor business, you can maximize your efforts by integrating the above actions into your planning process. Read our recent eBook to learn more about combining technology and financial psychology to drive loyalty, referrals, and business growth.

Step 3: Acquire New Customers

The final and often most challenging step is bringing in new business. Financial professionals must consistently attract new clients to sustain their business. There are many considerations when it comes to attracting new clients, including your brand, your digital presence, the marketing channels you invest time and effort in, along with many other things.

To get started, it helps to define your ideal clients and then build an acquisition workflow to target and convert those clients.

Identify Your Client Personas

First, define your target client base. Though it may seem counterintuitive, narrowing your focus allows for a tailored value proposition, meeting specific needs without spreading resources too thin. This process helps create client personas, which will define your ideal clients and guide your marketing efforts.

Implement a Client Acquisition Workflow

Creating a simple and repeatable client acquisition strategy and workflow will help you save time, stay organized and consistent, and provide a cohesive experience to all of your prospects.

Establishing a clear process provides clarity to potential clients and strengthens your business plan. See this example workflow:

  • After identifying your target client personas, develop a digital marketing strategy to reach them, then engage them with relevant content based on their goals, needs, and preferences.
  • Once a prospect is interested, ask them to complete a brief questionnaire asking for high-level information about themselves to gauge their goals or reasons for seeking financial advice. This information will help qualify prospects and lay the groundwork for your initial conversation.
  • Next, set up a prospect discovery meeting to get to know your prospects and assess your compatibility. Use open-ended questions to foster meaningful dialogue and employ active listening techniques to establish a foundation of trust.
  • Conclude your discovery meeting by establishing a clear plan for both you and the prospect. If their needs align with your services, set expectations for the client-advisor relationship and discuss the onboarding process.
  • Continuously refine your client acquisition workflow to enhance lead quality and increase the number of prospects that convert to clients.

Simply having an established process for client acquisition can spark growth for your firm. See how one advisor added $600k in recurring revenue over 3 years by continuously iterating on their sales process.

Strategies for Sustainable Growth

Growth for your financial advisor business can come in many ways. But investing in technology, cultivating current relationships, wallet share, and referrals, and attracting new customers are vital strategies for scaling and growing your business.

To keep learning on this topic, my colleague put together a comprehensive guide for creating a financial advisor business plan. If your firm is in growth mode, it’s worth exploring the different elements of a strong business plan.

Sources:

1. Moving Forward: Planning for the future in changing times. AIG. February 2022.

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About the Author

Brandon is a Practice Management Consultant in eMoney's Financial Planning Group. In his role, he provides detailed assessments and recommendations for firms looking to enhance their use of the eMoney platform and incorporate interactive financial planning into their practice. He works closely with Sales, Training, and Relationship Management departments to assist prospects and active users, as well as develop internal talent. He helps coordinate eMoney’s University Program, working with instructors, program directors, and students in over 70 CFP Board registered programs across the country. Prior to eMoney, he spent time on both the institutional and retail side of TD Ameritrade, in multiple business development roles.

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