Hands down, one of the most difficult aspects of any small business, especially financial planning, is gaining clientele. The other difficult aspect of opening and owning a financial planning firm is gaining traction over competitors who offer similar services to you, whether that competition is other, local firms or robo-advisors.
Despite some of the hurdles that accompany being a fledgling financial advisory firm, the industry continues to grow at incredible speed and offers exceptional median pay. The positives definitely outweigh the negatives, but it will take some hard work and smart strategizing to put your services on the map and ahead of competitors. Here’s how you can start growing your practice while also gaining a competitive edge:
Focus Marketing Efforts Online
While client referrals are important, they’re borderline impossible for new firms to receive. As such, taking advantage of social media and online tools can help put your firm front and center. Investing in a web designer before, or soon after, launching your services will more than pay itself off. A web designer can put together a well-branded and optimized site that will make you look professional and knowledgeable, as well as make you more visible to people looking for financial services in your area.
Additionally, don’t underestimate the power social media has to reach potential clients. By engaging with people online, whether through blogs or social platforms, you can begin to demonstrate your knowledge and expertise. Doing so will attract clients and make you seem more approachable. If maintaining a social presence becomes too time-consuming, consider hiring a social media strategist.
Invest in Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Software
These days, providing satisfactory service just isn’t enough. Businesses must work to maintain connected relationships with their clients. For financial planners, this need is more pronounced since the topic of finances is a deeply personal one that often affects whole families and generations.
High-quality CRM software stores client contact information, but it can also track each one of your client’s personal situations, such as their birthdays, when their kids graduate, and when they expect their first child. Staying on-top of these moments not only helps you prepare for the evolution of your client’s needs, it also makes them feel connected to you and cared for, and therefore more likely to come back to you time and time again.
Differentiate Your Message and Services
Offering every service under the sun can seem like the smartest way to progress. After all, you want to appeal to a large variety of clients. In reality, you’re just aligning yourself with almost every financial planning firm out there. A potential client may find themselves asking what makes you different from all the others, and if you’re offering everything your answer is nothing.
The smartest way to gain the competitive edge and attract loyal customers is to find your niche or specialty and go from there. Figure out early on what you’re best at, what your community truly needs, and make it your focus. Perhaps your area is big in farming, or tech, or has a large percentage of very wealthy families. Whatever it may be, market yourself as a specialist in that area and clients will come to you rather than a “generalist” firm.
The early days of financial planning are definitely the hardest, but with the right strategy you’ll be attracting clients and making a space for yourself in no time. The biggest takeaway is that early investments that work to set your business up for success, like CRM and online specialists, should not be overlooked or undervalued and that everything you do should be catered toward the mission and focus of your business.
Chris Jacob is a Registered Representative with Saxony Securities, Inc.. Securities offered through Saxony Securities Inc. (SSI). Member FINRA, SIPC. Non-security products and services or tax services are not offered through SSI. Cadeau is not affiliated with SSI.