There are a number of common mistakes financial advisors make when trying to attract high-quality clients. Avoiding these mistakes can mean the difference between struggling or running your business smoothly, with a steady stream of clients willing to pay you what you are worth.
Not Distinguishing between Price and Value
With fee-only business models becoming more and more common, a lot of advisors focus too much on price, and are willing to work for less than their competition. The trouble is that you can get locked into the cheaper fee, and find it difficult to raise it in the future. In addition, the lower fee might attract only bargain-basement clients, rather than quality ones you could have a long-term relationship with. Top prospects might actually dismiss you for being too cheap.
Then there is a question of value. Value and price are not the same. Your value will be in how good you are with your work, how reliable you are, and how well you are able to stick to your deadlines. Your value is also determined by your experience. If you are a real expert in a certain investing strategy or range of products, for example, then you are more valuable than a person charging the same amount who isn’t, because you are bringing your knowledge and experience to every project.
Not Being Clear about What You Offer
Make a list of everything that you are good at that you could offer to your clients. Then narrow it down to things that you enjoy and can do quickly. Next, decide how closely related they are to each other. Can you offer a number of services that cover many of the basics that busy prospects would find it useful to hand over to others? They might include concierge customer service, off-hour access, investor roundtable client gatherings, and so on.
For example, if you are do general financial planning work but you also have a background as a school teacher, this might be worth mentioning as part of your offer. A person who is intimidated by finances, for example, might appreciate the fact that you approach your work with them as an educator, helping guide them through the process.
Not Choosing a Niche
Advisors who choose a particular niche to work in often find that it is easier to get work, because they start to build up a reputation as an expert in that niche. A niche is simply a narrower focus of those you service.
It could be that you work with people based on their particular stage of live or a life event – like divorce or parenthood. Or, perhaps you specialize in working with a particular profession or employees of a certain industry. By niching down your focus, you can communicate about specifics that are more meaningful and will resonate more effectively with your intended target clients.
Not Having a Well-Constructed Portfolio
Your portfolio should give examples of each of the services you wish to offer, if at all possible. Give items a title, link to them, and if there are many samples, group them according to the category of services being offered.
Giving Away Too Much for Free to Make the Sale
It is great to want to prove that you are a talented advisor who can deliver the goods, but time is money, and so is the work you do. A lot of new advisors give away far too much in terms of free information and their time.
You should also avoid long pre-sale consultations. In an effort to be helpful and prove you are the right person for the job, you would probably give away far more information than you should. Then they really have no reason to hire you, because you have already told them what to do – and might attempt to either do it themselves or take their business to another advisor using your information and guidance.
Not Marketing Yourself Enough
The biggest problem most businesses encounter is the absence of a consistently filled sales pipeline. Unless you’re preparing to retire and get out of the business, you want to be constantly marketing. As soon as you stop, that’s when you’re most likely to see a halt or reversal in your growth.
Not Marketing Yourself in the Right Places
Determine where your high-end prospective clients are likely to spend most of their time. Then come up with marketing material that speaks to their needs, offering real solutions and value they’ll both desire and appreciate.
Not Asking Happy Clients for Referrals
Word-of-mouth marketing is key to a successful business. Happy customers spreading the word about how reliable and professional you are can make all the difference between a full calendar of regular assignments, and you having to chase all over trying to get gigs.