Six ways to land your first financial advice client

By Helen Fisher on November 13, 2018

Helpful advice for new advisers.

The most important tips for financial advisers who are just starting out in their new career relate to generating new leads and securing clients. If you are going to start work for an established firm, then the pressure might not be on right away to build up your own client portfolio. But for anyone starting out on their own, it is perhaps the most vital first step.

Once you have registered your business in all the right places and ensured that everything is compliant and you’re ready to go, it can be a daunting place to be. Although you might be ready to accept your first clients, are they there for you? Taking the very first steps to building a client base are often the most difficult, simply because everything is new and the idea of rejection can seem very hard to deal with indeed. However, every successful professional in the sector has been in your shoes, and so knowing how to grow your client base as a financial adviser is something that you have to embrace early on.

1. Take your time

Of course, some people may be lucky enough to start with an existing client list. Perhaps that might simply be friends and family, previous colleagues, or it may even come from a list inherited from another adviser. When you start your business, you should really have some prospect calls set up, and so just getting stuck in is the first key element.

It takes a lot of effort to sign up that first client and even before that just to find suitable leads for financial advisers, but although your own finances might not yet be secure, you do have the resource of time in abundance. By taking your time, planning your approach and executing your strategy, you’ll soon find that you’ll have plenty of actual advisory work to do.

2. Connect with peers

Not every other adviser is necessarily your competition. You might be surprised by how many ‘old hands’ are only too willing to pass on tips for new financial advisers and give others the benefit of their experience. You might even find that some are actually overexposed when it comes to their own client base and rather than lose a lead completely will be willing to come to some kind of mutually beneficial arrangement with you.

This is essentially one of the major ways that referrals can work to your advantage in the early days, and more than that, it helps to establish you among your professional peer group. Some newcomers in any sector make the mistake of going in with all guns blazing. In real life, this often isn’t the best way to go about things, and making friends among your fellow professionals is much better than making enemies.

3. Use your existing contacts

These days, everyone is part of some kind of social network. In the past, making use of these for business might simply have meant asking friends and relatives if they needed your services, or maybe reaching out to fellow sports or hobby enthusiasts to put the word out. Today, most people have a much wider reach due to online social networks, and many of us have marketing skills that we don’t even realise we have.

Reaching out directly and personally to people might not come easily, but it is something that you have to master if you really want to find a good investing lead. Putting your email database to use through a service such as MailChimp makes it easy to do a wide sweep in the first place, which can then be followed up with a more personalised approach, setting out your own goals and the ways that you can help others achieve their financial goals. Of course, the way that social media works best is all in the name – you just have to be social! By being yourself, being honest about your aim, and being transparent about the way that you go about things, you’ll be surprised at how quickly others are drawn to you and your services.

4. Local events

As well as being in direct contact with other professionals in your own line of work, there are plenty of other B2B networking opportunities that can provide qualified leads for financial advisers. Look out for professional events and conferences that are held locally and attend them. Don’t expect to turn up and sign a new client right away, but do approach it as another avenue where a “slow burn” tactic can yield results further down the line. This is where building a reputation comes into play and expanding your network becomes a reality. No one will ever succeed by having one way of getting new clients – the trick is to spread your net wide.

5. Network with local businesses

Part of the aim of attending local B2B events is to network with local businesses and entrepreneurial individuals. Of course, this can also be done online. Many local trading groups exist on a variety of online platforms, and one of the big rules to remember is to contribute before you ask for something. You might find that you are the only financial specialist in a particular group, in which case you can raise your stock even higher by offering some free advice without being pushy or salesy. This kind of behaviour means that you can quickly integrate into a group and then start making firmer contacts, either online or in the “real world”.

6. Be honest

Once you’ve got that all-important first client, the search is on for the next, and the next, and the next. The best way to be successful here is by being totally honest and transparent. When someone trusts you to give them advice on their financial planning, they are making a leap of faith that is a significant one. If you do right by them, then they will tell others and your business will grow organically.

Honesty isn’t just being clear about your own talents and aims – it’s about being transparent and upfront about pricing and fees and also admitting your own limitations and fallibilities. Dealing with other people’s money is one of the biggest responsibilities that anyone can take on, and whether it’s for your first client or your thousandth, if you remember this point, then you’ll be in a strong position to succeed.

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