How to Prospect as a Financial Advisor and Grow Your Firm
Are you struggling to scale your client base as a financial advisor and find leads who will not only hire you but also “get you”?
That’s the largest challenge facing financial advisors, so perhaps it’s no surprise that industry burnout is common.
For instance, 71% of financial advisors suffer from stress at a moderate to high level, compared to just 63% of investors. And over 90% of financial advisors give up within three years—many because they’re unable to implement an effective prospecting strategy to focus on best-fit leads.
How does this happen? Competition is fierce amongst financial advisors prospecting for leads and referrals for new clients are scarce.
So how can you generate leads as a financial advisor and hone in on ones who will stay with you for a long time?
You need to develop an action plan to do sales enablement for financial advisors.
Unfortunately, there’s no shortage of internet gurus magically promising appointments with old-school tactics. They might fill up your calendar in the short term—but scalability is the game. You need financial advisor prospecting ideas that will repeatedly find you “the right people.”
To effectively create a prospecting system that works, think of your efforts across three areas: Audience, Reputation and Targeting, what we call ART.
With a few simple strategies and the right manner of execution, by prioritizing ART, you can create a steady stream of high-income clients to fuel your business for years to come.
Below, we share the 15 best ideas to find business leads as a financial advisor so you can grow your firm and secure your future.
The ART of Generating Leads with Financial Advisor Prospecting
What is prospecting and why is it so important for generating leads?
Prospecting is the process of creating new business and increasing revenue by searching for potential clients who would be a good fit for your services.
Essentially, you’re actively looking for leads who could become clients—the key is to focus on leads who fit your niche, respond well to your messaging and take notice of your credibility.
The goal of a sales strategy is never to land a new client on the first touchpoint. Leading with a sales pitch may seem like a bold move, but it’s also a foolish one. No one wants to hand over their finances to a stranger.
This is where ART comes in.
First, know your Audience so you don’t risk blindly pitching just anyone. Second, cement your Reputation so prospects can trust you when you start talking with them. Last, optimize Targeting techniques for your outreach to provide maximum returns.
Here, your aim is to secure a meeting with as many quality prospects as possible but without diluting your efforts by spraying people who might end up firing you in a year.
Hence why relying too heavily on paying for leads rarely works for many financial advisors.
The reason why financial advisors shouldn’t pay for leads is because you have to work harder just to close a smaller proportion of best-fit leads. This hampers scalability.
You don’t have full control of refining your audience, prospects aren’t immediately exposed to your reputation and targeting techniques during outreach become worthless.
Prospecting can be a tricky business. You have to expose yourself to the largest volume of potential clients while still ignoring the scrubs, boost your brand to grab attention & nurture leads and conduct smart outreach to schedule meetings.
Up next, we’ll discuss some ideas to generate leads for financial advisors.
How to Get Leads as a Financial Advisor at Scale
To locate and effectively target high-quality prospects, you need to focus on ART—Audience, Reputation and Targeting.
We’ll unpack sales ideas for financial advisors and look at the strategies & tactics of ART so you can book more meetings with potential clients who actually want to talk with you.
How Financial Advisors Find Business Leads: 15 Tips
- Define Your Niche
- Craft Client Personas
- Set Prospecting Goals
- Optimize Your Marketing Strategy
- Develop a Sales Script
- Start Social Selling
- Build a Website That Converts
- Do LinkedIn Marketing
- Prioritize Content Creation
- Execute Email Campaigns
- Master Cold-Calling
- Attend Workshops and Seminars
- Personalize the Experience
- Create Amazing Online Ads
- Improve LinkedIn Messaging
1. Define Your Niche
When your pipeline’s been dry for a while, it’s easy to fall into the trap of chasing as many potential clients as possible. But if you offer services for everyone, then they’re good for no one.
Niching down is the practice of defining a target market to provide tailored financial services to clients from a specific industry or demographic. You can narrow down your target market to medical planning, financial transitions, special needs, exit planning and so on.
Business consultant Stephen Wershing identifies six types of niches for financial advisors: Affinity, Education, Experience, Psychosocial, Technical and Values.
- Affinity: Develop relationships based on a common social circle.
- Education: Consult leads with specific information gaps that align with your expertise.
- Experience: Highlight the unique experiences you offer that make you stand out.
- Psychosocial: Provide value to people with particular life circumstances.
- Technical: Create a wedge between you and competitors using your unique skill sets.
- Values: Appeal to leads based on a shared philosophy or vision.
Let’s take an example. Below, financial advisor Peggy Haslach not only niches down by industry (only working with doctors, veterinarians, attorneys and business owners), but they also identify as politically progressive on their LinkedIn profile and brands their services accordingly.
Peggy might not appeal to every potential client, but people who care about progressive politics who work in one of their target industries will likely prefer them over other financial advisors.
By aligning with a specific target audience and focusing on the Values niche, Peggy can hyperfocus on best-fit prospects and scalably generate new leads.
2. Craft Client Personas
A client persona is a fictitious representation of your ideal client. It helps you further narrow down your outreach efforts and personalize the service experience.
To define client profiles for financial advisors for prospecting, ask yourself: What is their primary occupation? What kind of financial advice are they looking for? Do they fit a particular investment profile?
As your experience working with the same type of clients continues to grow, you’ll better anticipate their needs and provide them with a personalized experience that ends in glowing referrals.
3. Set Prospecting Goals
Before you can dive into prospecting, you need to know your audience’s goals and articulate what you’re trying to achieve.
To get leads as a financial advisor, set prospecting goals by creating a plan that outlines your purpose, why you work as a financial advisor in the first place and the specific ways you want to grow your business.
For example, a thought-out prospecting plan helps you identify your niche, write messaging that grabs people’s attention and position your expertise to strategically showcase the value you deliver.
Also understand what you want to accomplish. Build your network? Find more best-fit clients? Develop your brand? And what metrics will you use to determine success?
Without defining your goals in a prospecting plan, your outreach won’t have any direction, hindering your progress.
4. Optimize Your Marketing Strategy
Prospecting is just one piece of the puzzle to find new clients as a financial advisor. Without a holistic marketing strategy, it’s difficult to balance the needs of leads from different channels and to properly nurture & close potential clients in your pipeline.
A clear marketing strategy attracts & retains clients, builds trust and enables you to differentiate yourself in a competitive market. Without it, effectively targeting your niche, establishing a consistent brand presence and ultimately generating sustainable growth are next to impossible.
There are many facets to consider when developing a marketing strategy, and no solution is universally applicable.
Our best advice? Take baby steps. Study what influencers are doing, heed the advice of financial advisors on YouTube and don’t worry about perfectionism. Create a framework to build off of and iterate from there.
5. Develop a Sales Script
When you outreach to prospects, you’ve probably thought about creating a script. This is one of the more controversial pieces of marketing advice because scripts do have a tendency to railroad sales pitches.
While a one-size-fits-all approach is rarely the answer, it provides a simple format for conducting conversations with prospects. You could even tap into known challenges and pain points to create situation-specific scripts for various client types.
The key is to leave breathing room in your script templates to customize the conversation as need be. But working off a basic framework enables you to anchor your messaging around talking points geared towards your target audience.
Whether you’re cold-calling or writing a LinkedIn connection message, working off a script or a series of prewritten snippets helps you stay focused when talking to business leads and makes your prospects feel like you truly understand them.
6. Start Social Selling
To solidify your reputation, social selling is the name of the game.
When prospecting as a financial advisor, backing up your outreach with a credible reputation increases reply rates and calendar bookings, even if you’ve already narrowed down your efforts to best-fit prospects in your niche.
That’s because people are naturally more responsive to sales pitches if the salesperson exhibits expertise, demonstrates authority and shows they’re trustworthy.
It’s the difference between buying from a sleazy used-car salesperson and from an accredited dealer with references. Even if the car, its quality and the price are all the same—you just feel more comfortable with one over the other.
This begs the question then, what is social selling?
Let’s take LinkedIn as an example. As a networking site for business professionals, many of its users are likely to have high net worths—perfect for financial advisors.
Social selling is all about showcasing your reputation online to optimize the success of your prospecting efforts to find business leads.
So social selling on LinkedIn means networking with others, posting often, engaging in LinkedIn groups, commenting on others’ posts, writing LinkedIn articles and more to feature your expertise & highlight your brand.
For example, check out financial advisor Michael R. Acosta’s LinkedIn activity. Michael posts daily, with wide-ranging content like sharing expertise, networking with a LinkedIn connection and shouting out a local organization that also reflects their faith-based values.
Now that’s effective social selling for financial advisor prospecting!
7. Build a Website That Converts
Your LinkedIn profile isn’t the only way prospects judge your reputation.
A key success metric for getting leads as a financial advisor is the strength of your website.
It’s not only a touchpoint to win over prospects but it also attracts and converts leads from other channels.
Simple financial advisor website tips include creating content to reinforce your expertise, provide compelling materials to capture leads and to leverage social proof like client reviews, testimonials or professional badges.
Take the below example of a great financial advisor website from Baystate Financial.
From the compelling background imagery (that’s also grayscaled so text stands out more!) and the impactful copywriting to the intuitive navigation links and the subtle social-proof nod in the top corner, this website does a fine job of supporting Baystate Financial’s prospecting efforts.
8. Do LinkedIn Marketing
Did you know that 80% of investors use social media in their workflows and 50% use LinkedIn for financial purposes? When it comes to financial advisor prospecting, LinkedIn is the online platform with the most potential.
Attracting prospects on LinkedIn is a multifaceted process that combines elements of social selling above and profile optimizations to appeal to your specific niche.
Experiment with different LinkedIn headline examples for financial professionals to command attention.
For example, financial advisor R. Benton Penn’s headline clearly describes & delineates the scope of their services and calls out their niche target audience at the same time.
And turn on LinkedIn creator mode to grow your following, establish your brand and unlock unique analytics data.
You can toggle on LinkedIn creator mode on your own profile while logged into your account, in the Resources section as displayed below.
Lastly, on your profile, add a portfolio to LinkedIn to publicize your expertise via top posts, LinkedIn articles, third-party collateral (like blog posts) and more.
For instance, on their profile, financial advisor Anthony Gordon has added a portfolio under the Featured section, sharing a link to buy their book on Amazon, a webpage to book a meeting with them and a profile page from an industry association’s website for social proof.
9. Prioritize Content Creation
Creating a constant stream of educational content as a financial advisor is a great way to attract prospects and generate business leads.
Content comes in different formats, whether as a blog post, a podcast or a LinkedIn post.
Content marketing is effective for financial advisor prospecting because it demonstrates your credibility and enables you to establish a narrative.
What is your area of expertise? What do you stand for? Why are you valuable? Heck, why are you interesting?
These are questions that content marketing for financial advisors can answer for your prospects to help you get leads.
10. Execute Email Campaigns
One way to move people through your prospecting funnel is to send cold emails and email nurtures for financial advisors to attract prospects and intrigue leads.
Create an email campaign full of educational material on essential topics like wealth management, investment opportunities and tax awareness. Then include a call-to-action in every email to encourage prospects to book a call.
Remember, there’s a difference between an email newsletter for marketing content and sales emails sent on a predefined sequence.
You can enroll prospects in the former with their consent after a touchpoint, whether through a website popup, a link in a previous email or a form to download content. And then even if they don’t say yes right away, your brand stays in their inbox.
Sales emails on sequences are templated followup responses sent automatically after high-intent actions like a message reply or a booking request. These email types often reflect a stronger sales pitch but they can be generic and less personable too.
11. Master Cold-Calling
Cold-calling is the most misunderstood tactic in the history of lead generation.
Most financial advisors neglect quality to go for quantity, disrupting and depersonalizing the experience for prospects. Face it, “telemarketing” convinces no one.
But there is a way to do cold-calling right.
With adequate research on your prospects, you can make cold calls more “warm” by personalizing your scripts. Research is hardly a challenge thanks to the internet.
To master your prospecting techniques if you already have a small team of go-getters, you could cold-call at scale by experimenting with tools like predictive dialers that dial multiple high-intent prospects simultaneously and route calls algorithmically to maximize talk time.
12. Host Workshops and Seminars
Seminars and workshops offer an excellent way to find business leads for financial advisors because they facilitate personable, face-to-face meetings.
It’s also likely that most attendees are a good fit for your services because such events are high-intent activities—people choosing to attend seminars about wealth management tend to be interested in the services of a…*checks notes*…wealth manager.
But be careful not to oversell yourself. Use an educational hook to draw people in, perhaps by providing free advice via lectures and presentations.
One tip about seminar marketing for financial advisors from influencer James Pollard, for instance, is to host workshops at restaurants. People love food. But James advises to pick restaurants with private banquet rooms, so maybe avoid the Chili’s unlike Michael Scott.
While it may seem counterintuitive at first, sharing your financial expertise without expecting immediate compensation is a great way to gain people’s trust.
13. Personalize the Experience
Automation is one thing to generate leads for financial advisors at scale, but nothing can ever fully replace the personal touch.
The easiest way to create a personalized experience is to use a CRM for financial advisor prospecting.
CRM stands for customer-relationship management. It can track information on leads and clients so you can tailor your financial advice and personalize your scripts, emails and LinkedIn messages for prospects. The more information you have on their challenges and desires, the better you can customize your offering.
14. Create Amazing Online Ads
In spite of the explosive potential of inbound, paid-outbound marketing remains a valid tactic that should comprise part of your prospecting strategy.
Define your target audience and discover where they hang out. Hone in on relevant platforms to ensure better results at lower costs. For example, lots of financial advisors generate business leads by advertising on LinkedIn because it’s a platform where their audience is likely active.
When getting started in online advertising, plan out ad types to deploy, set up parameters to measure results and consistently evaluate & iterate. This is how to maximize ROI.
You can create retargeting ads to get in front of people who visit your website or engage with you on social, promote an ebook to a specific demographic in exchange for an email address or develop a campaign to establish brand recognition.
Ultimately, our best advice for creating ads to find business leads is to optimize your messaging. “The Ultimate Guide to No-Pain Copywriting” by Joanna Wiebe of Copyhackers remains the gold standard for copywriting advice. With great copy, you can compel anyone to click on an ad.
15. Improve LinkedIn Messaging
Hands-down, the most effective prospecting idea for financial advisors is to outreach on LinkedIn Sales Navigator and regularly improve your messaging.
Cold-messaging on LinkedIn can be intimidating but it’s highly rewarding when executed right. Conducting sales research, organizing lead lists and sending LinkedIn messages efficiently is how financial advisors use LinkedIn Sales Navigator to generate leads.
How does it work? With Sales Navigator, you access advanced search filters to produce targeted lead lists and can better initiate conversations with prospects when appending a message to your connection requests, known as connection messages.
But such manual outreach on LinkedIn isn’t optimally time-efficient for talking to serious leads at scale. Plus, you miss out on opportunities like leveraging AI to personalize messages without further sacrificing your time or capping your efforts.
With LinkedIn AI messaging, you can send connection messages to leads at scale and better understand prospects to talk to more of the right people more effectively.
Start Scaling with LinkedIn for Financial Advisor Prospecting
When it comes to prospecting strategies that actually work, focusing on Audience, Reputation and Targeting (ART) is how financial advisors find business leads to burst their pipelines wide open.
Specifying a niche, understanding how to speak to your audience, establishing your credentials, asserting your expertise and mastering your outreach campaigns will yield results that some financial advisors can only dream of.
And leveraging the power of LinkedIn AI with a lead generation software for financial advisors enables you to fully seize the potential of ART and maximize your returns.
With AI that automatically predicts the likelihood of positive replies, categorizes a prospect’s interest level, gathers insights from a prospect’s LinkedIn profile and provides suggestions for handling objections, you can talk to more high-quality potential clients and never worry about empty slots in your sales calendar again!