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An Overview of Client Acquisition for Financial Advisors

Valerie Rivera December 19, 2023

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Acquiring new clients is critical for achieving growth in your financial planning practice. As clients get older, they shift from accumulating wealth to distribution, and—depending on your firm’s fee structure—this can impact revenue. Additionally, as wealth is transferred to the next generation, it’s estimated that more than 70 percent of heirs will change financial advisors after inheriting their parents’ wealth.1

Financial professionals must continually bring in new clients and engage the ones they have to keep their business viable. For this reason, it’s important to have an established process in place for how to get clients as a financial advisor.

Creating a Client Acquisition Strategy

When it comes to implementing tactics to acquire new clients, building a strategy will provide direction, efficiency, and consistency.

There are several components that will ultimately comprise your overall acquisition strategy. Begin by determining the prospects who would be your ideal clients.

Focus on Niche Financial Advice

To build your business, determine the types of clients you want to support. A narrowed focus may seem counterintuitive, but by concentrating on a specific audience, you can begin to formulate and communicate a value proposition that meets their unique needs while eliminating the need to be all things to all people.

To identify your niche, start with your own interests and expertise. Think about the clients you enjoy working with the most and with whom you’ve had the most success. Determine if there are industries or professions that are consistent among them. There may also be life stages and challenges that you enjoy advising on or on which you have special expertise.

As these potential niches start to solidify, pay attention to their market demand for financial advice to ensure there are a sufficient number of prospects. Do some market research to confirm there’s a gap you can fill. These steps will help you choose a niche that is not only fulfilling but also profitable.

Create Client Personas

The process of narrowing your focus will also help you define your ideal client profile or persona. Client personas are models that generalize key components of ideal clients. They provide a means for customizing and personalizing your communications and other marketing endeavors.

To build client personas, think about the client you wish you could replicate over and over again and start by asking these questions about that client:

  • What are their basic demographics, like age, gender, and life stage?
  • What are the basics surrounding their job or profession, such as industry, salary, or are they a business owner?
  • In general, do clients in these demographics share similar financial and life goals? If so, what are they?
  • What are their biggest challenges and how do they measure success?
  • Do they have product- or service-specific characteristics?

As you see your client persona take shape, there will likely be additional questions that will help you define them. To create more than one, repeat the process to uncover additional personas.

Target New Clients

Now that you have determined who your ideal clients are, it’s time to develop a digital marketing strategy to reach them where they are. This step includes researching both the ideal messaging for these clients as well as how to deliver it.

The best messaging for your prospects should be personalized and demonstrate that you understand and have expertise with the challenges they face. Boost your authenticity by showing empathy toward their needs and proposing realistic solutions. Be sure to look at messaging specific to each of the personas you created.

Once your message strategy is outlined, it’s time to deliver it via the best channels.

Website: The niche market and client personas you have chosen to pursue will guide your digital marketing strategy, beginning with your firm website. Create a storytelling website that speaks directly to your target audience, while at the same time conveying your authenticity.

This story can be told through site elements such as your “about us” page, team bios, and blog. Ensure your website provides an accurate and compelling impression for potential clients who want to learn more about how you can help them reach their financial goals.

Use your website and its content as a call to action in your other forms of marketing and client communications to help drive interest in your services.

Social Media: The best practices to follow for social media will again be determined by your ideal clients. Focus your efforts on the platforms where your target audience can typically be found and then engage with them through the right content.

Use social media to build your brand, as well as relationships. Content that speaks to your brand could include blog articles, infographics, how-tos, quick tips, statistics, and educational posts that build your reputation as an expert in your field. It should also include content that helps you connect with your audience on a human level such as employee features, photos from events you are attending, and holiday greetings.

Don’t forget to take advantage of opportunities to share relevant content from other sources with your audience. Not all content needs to be created by you originally. Build and support your professional network by sharing relevant information from throughout the industry.

Remember to keep overt self-promotion to a minimum. Look for subtle ways to drive interest in your services such as client testimonials.

After developing and implementing the tactics to build awareness with prospects, it’s time to capture and qualify the generated leads.

Lead Capture and Qualification

Driving prospects to your website won’t necessarily convert to an interaction. Ideally, you want to have a means to collect the visitor’s information so you can continue the conversation.

One option is to ensure that your website has a way for a visitor to book a meeting with you. This provides prospects who are ready to speak with you a means to set something up online.

For prospects who want to learn more about you and your services before meeting, entice them with a niche-focused piece of content. Both options allow you to learn more about this prospective client by taking them to a basic questionnaire or lead capture form.

This questionnaire should ask for high-level information about themselves and include a few questions that will give you an understanding of their goals or motivations for engaging with a financial professional.

For someone requesting a meeting, use the information to develop questions to ask during that meeting. For those who are looking to download content, collect information that will enable you to nurture the relationship with ongoing personalized content.

Lead Conversion and Beyond

Ideally, these efforts will end in the opportunity to meet or have a conversation with the prospect, so you’ll want to create a simple, consistent, and repeatable process for converting those opportunities into clients.

Your first contact with them could be a short introductory phone call to confirm there is a potential fit leading to a longer discovery meeting. Use this meeting to gain a deeper understanding of what brought the client in to see you and what they hope to gain from the engagement.

A key element in the success of your sales process is to let potential clients know about it. Sharing your process will eliminate surprises, set proper expectations, and encourage them to take the first step with you. It will signal to them that you’re going to provide a structured, organized experience.

There will likely be several steps in your process that will include information gathering and subsequent meetings. By committing to the time it takes to complete your sales process, you know a client is serious about retaining a financial planner.

While the goal of your client acquisition strategy is to drive new business, retaining those new clients is equally important. Your client acquisition strategy should include a consistent plan for onboarding and other steps you’ll take throughout the client’s engagement with you that will continue to provide value to you both.

Continuous Process Improvement

Your strategy and its tactics should be continually evolving and improving over time. By setting goals and measuring progress you will learn what works and what doesn’t. Use these measures to make ongoing adjustments to your client acquisition process for optimal results.

A new client’s journey will likely involve multiple touchpoints before conversion. By developing a consistent client acquisition strategy, you’ll be able to attract prospects and convert them to clients, helping you build and sustain your business.

To apply these learnings in your practice, we’ve put together a simple workflow for client acquisition that you can adopt in your firm.

Source:

1. “Aging Boomers Bring Intergenerational Planning to the Forefront.” Cerulli Associates, 2021. July 19. https://www.cerulli.com/press-releases/aging-boomers-bring-intergenerational-planning-to-the-forefront.

DISCLAIMER: The eMoney Advisor Blog is meant as an educational and informative resource for financial professionals and individuals alike. It is not meant to be, and should not be taken as financial, legal, tax or other professional advice. Those seeking professional advice may do so by consulting with a professional advisor. eMoney Advisor will not be liable for any actions you may take based on the content of this blog.

Image of Valerie Rivera
About the Author

Valerie Rivera, Senior Product Marketing Manager at eMoney Advisor, leads the go-to-market strategy for eMoney’s suite of business development solutions. Valerie began her career at eMoney in 2012 as an Account Executive and then a Live Trainer where she trained over 1,000 advisors on the eMoney platform – helping them drive success in their firms. In her spare time you can find Valerie outdoors--snowboarding, hiking, and mountain biking in her home in Colorado.

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