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From Prospect to Client: A Client Acquisition Workflow for Financial Advisors

Connor Sung November 9, 2023

A financial advisor meeting with prospective clients

New client acquisition is an essential task for any financial professional looking to grow their business. But financial advisors often have a lot on their plates, which can leave little time for the tasks of executing prospecting tactics and acquiring new clients.

Establishing a financial planning client acquisition workflow will help you stay organized, manage your time effectively, and provide a consistent service experience to all of your prospects. A set workflow also makes it easier for you to onboard new employees and delegate client acquisition tasks to your team.

The workflow you build can evolve over time. Even having a simple process in place is going to provide clarity to potential clients and serve as an important part of your financial advisor business plan. To help you streamline and organize client acquisition, here is one example of a simple workflow you can implement in your practice.

Step 1: Reach Your Prospects Where They Are

Acquiring new clients starts with identifying and pursuing potential clients with a digital marketing strategy. You will first need to define who your ideal prospects are by developing buyer personas. Buyer personas, which are fictional representations of your ideal client, serve as a guide for your marketing strategy.

Once you understand who your ideal clients are, you can personalize your marketing to them and determine the best marketing channels to reach them on. For example, since different generations have different social media habits, some platforms will work better than others for certain target audiences.

Your marketing should drive prospects to your website, where they will be able to learn more about your services and request more information or an initial meeting.

Step 2: Gather Information with a Lead Capture Form

Ask your prospective clients to fill out a basic questionnaire when they request information or an initial meeting. This preliminary questionnaire should be short and simple. Since your prospects are just beginning to consider building a relationship with you, you don’t want to dig too deeply for personal information.

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. This information is intended to help guide your first conversation with them, not provide you with all of the information you need to build their financial plan. Be sure to review the completed questionnaire ahead of your first meeting so you can develop questions that dig into what they’ve already told you.

Step 3: Hold a Prospect Discovery Meeting

You can use a prospect discovery meeting to get to know your prospective clients, gain a better understanding of their needs, and determine how you can recommend your services accordingly. Similar to the basic questionnaire in the previous step, this meeting isn’t intended to get you all of the information you need to build their financial plan. The primary goal of this meeting is to get enough information to decide whether there is a good fit between you and the prospect.

In the meeting, ask open-ended questions to facilitate a meaningful dialogue between yourself and your prospective client. Practice active listening techniques such as giving them your full attention, showing that you are listening with your body language, and waiting for them to finish what they are saying before you formulate a response or ask clarifying questions. This will help build a strong foundation for your future client-advisor relationship.

Step 4: Set Expectations for the Future

End your discovery meeting with a clear path forward for both you and your prospective client. If the prospect’s needs align with your services, you can now set expectations for what your client-advisor relationship will look like and discuss your new client onboarding process. The content of these discussions may vary based on a client’s individual circumstances. For example, how you will work with a Gen Y/Z client may differ from how you will work with a client who is approaching retirement.

In the case of a Gen Y/Z client who is looking for help with budgeting and debt management, you will likely be able to meet their needs efficiently and effectively with scalable, technology-led experiences. Because you will be less hands-on with this client, you will want to set clear expectations about their access to you and how often you will meet. You can explain to your client that you will be leveraging financial planning software with a client portal that will allow for self-led planning.

A client who is approaching retirement and requires a comprehensive financial plan warrants a more specialized, white glove experience. You and your support staff will play a leading role in an advisor-led onboarding and planning experience. Your next steps with this client may include a series of meetings as you build your relationship, connect their accounts in your software solution, and develop a comprehensive plan.

If a prospect’s needs don’t align with your services, don’t be afraid to say no. It doesn’t serve your prospective client, you, or your team to take on someone who isn’t similar to your ideal client persona. Build a network of financial professionals who have different areas of expertise than yours so that you can refer these non-ideal clients to someone who is a better fit for their needs.

Evolving Your Process Over Time

After establishing a simple client acquisition workflow like the one described here, it’s important to continue evolving your workflow over time to improve the quality of leads you’re connecting with and increase the number of prospects that convert to clients.

There are many different ways you can iterate on this workflow. There are lots of technologies available to help you do so. I would recommend reading about this advisor who added $600k in recurring revenue over three years—all through digital marketing—by improving his sales process.

Onboarding Your New Client

Now that you’ve acquired a new client, it’s time to start onboarding them. Onboarding new clients can be a time-consuming, labor-intensive process, but digitizing your onboarding process can make it more efficient and keep your clients engaged from the start.

In addition, you can use the information you gained during the client acquisition process to tailor your onboarding experience to their specific circumstances. Whether your clients are just starting out or in need of a comprehensive financial plan, you can use our three highly efficient client onboarding workflows to customize your onboarding process to their unique needs.

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 Connor Sung
About the Author

As Director of eMoney’s Financial Planning Group, Connor helps clients build more successful practices and deepen client relationships. He leads an exceptional team of financial professionals who help clients transform their technology platform and financial planning processes to increase efficiency, drive growth, and create planning-led user experiences. He oversees eMoney's financial wellness strategy, as well as internal and external financial education programs, aimed at providing financial peace of mind for all. Joining eMoney in 2013, Connor has over 10 years of technology, practice management, and planning experience. He earned a Bachelor's degree from James Madison University, and earned his CFP® designation in 2016. Connor loves spending time with his family and friends in Philadelphia, and enjoys staying active by golfing, snowboarding, playing hockey, and playing with his goldendoodle, Nala.

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