Top Ways to Find Your First Clients


Becoming a successful financial advisor is a unique challenge, with many moving parts. Beyond completing the requisite educational courses, many financial advisors also become certified financial planners (CFPs) or chartered financial analysts (CFAs) to stand above the competition. After all, according to the United States Department of Labor, there were 271,000 financial advisors as of 2016, a number that’s projected to grow 15% by 2026. In such a crowded field, building a solid book of business can be difficult. The following tips can help new financial advisors make their marks and seize market share.

Cultivate Your Influence

New financial advisors should reach outside their inner circles to grow their networks and increase their referral bases. While this may be achieved via social media marketing, developing personal relationships tends to be a more effective solution.

“My advice to financial advisors just starting out is to leverage centers of influence such as accountants, attorneys, HR directors, business roundtables, as well as using social media,” declares Donald Reichert, partner at Capital Design Associates Group, LLC. But since it takes time to solidify relationships, Reichert highlights the importance of networking early on in one’s career.

Serve the Underserved

While retirees and those nearing retirement are an obvious source of business, financial advisors should also look to comparatively underserved demographics to drum up clients.

“While most advisors work with retirement aged individuals with lush portfolios, I focus on the underserved young professional space,” says Matt Cosgriff, CFP, founder of Lifewise Advisors, which helps advisors target those in need.

Key Takeaways

  • New financial advisors should reach beyond their inner circles to cultivate their networks and augment their referrals bases.
  • Advisors can win new clients by stepping up their personal involvement in their communities.
  • Instead of focusing solely on retirees, advisors should also look to comparatively underserved demographics.

Become Involved in the Community

One of the best ways advisors can win new clients is by stepping up personal involvement in their communities. Whereas traditional marketing campaigns cost money, community involvement only requires time. And by volunteering with causes near and dear to them, advisors can connect with other like-minded individuals, who may one day become business clients.

What Provides Little Return

For new financial advisors, cultivating clients is a numbers game that may be won with the following outreach methods:

  • Cold calling
  • Knocking on doors
  • Providing free meals to encourage attendance at presentations
  • Setting up fish bowls to collect business cards at trade shows

Devin Carroll, founder of Social Security Intelligence, stresses that there are no shortcuts to generating clients, explaining: “For the first ten years as an advisor, I struggled with the client acquisition process. Cold calling, door knocking, seminars, and hoping for referrals were my only tools. And while these methods worked, they were painfully slow.”

The Bottom Line

Those looking to hire a financial advisor tend to choose professionals they grow to trust though naturally evolving relationships. By pairing community involvement with robust networking, advisors can build a firm that will grow for years to come.

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