Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
As a financial advisor, the goal is to see clients’ investments grow, and their word of mouth used to serve as a principal marketing vehicle for those in the field. But what if there are days, weeks, when there are no new clients: How can you best promote your business when new strategies become necessary?
Here’s how to make it happen.
1. Identify a target market
It could be broadly stated that your market is every type of investor. That’s a good start, but demographics are key to identifying more specific targets. This means doing some homework with census data — looking for the age, gender, profession and locale of those in your selected territory. With data broken down in that way, you will be able to see if there is a niche that your firm could better service.
2. Believe in your abilities
Even if you have been a financial advisor for years, if you don’t reinforce the inner certainty that you are providing a service of true worth (literally and figuratively), then you cannot effectively sell it. Reflecting on the impact you’ve made on the lives you’ve touched is a vital source of motivation.
3. Don’t neglect old-school communication
Everyone likes to feel special, and that certainly includes clients, from startup entrepreneurs right on up to major corporations. When you remember dates of significance to them (a company anniversary, perhaps, or a birthday), or otherwise acknowledge their world and achievements, it says a lot about your character. Sending a small holiday gift, or flowers to a funeral, is not being pushy: if done with sincerity and generosity, such gestures demonstrate care and help make a stronger connection with that person and their business — show that you value them for more than just contributions to your bottom line.
4. Make use of complaints
It’s common (pretty much inevitable, actually) that one focuses upon positive reviews or kind words as a client exits, but it’s critical to also provide avenues for negative communication, and to take it seriously. If you give people a clear outlet, these responses can be a terrific way of selling yourself in the end. A suggestion form on your website or an emailed short (two- or three-question) “How was your experience?” survey are terrific starts.
5. Seek speaking engagements
There is something dimensionally powerful about getting in front of a live audience and providing the lowdown on yourself and your business. Yes, confident public speaking is a proven-effective sales-boosting skill, but it also greatly reinforces self-confidence, which will in turn fuel marketing efforts. So, reach out to financial planning-friendly clubs, chambers of commerce or other business organizations and offer to chair (or otherwise contribute to) a discussion/ presentation. The goal is to not come across entirely as if you are soliciting business, so consider addressing a range of topics, and make an effort to focus on matters your audience can relate to.
6. Spruce up your online footprint
An outdated website, while not as bad as having none at all, isn’t far behind. This profession is about staying current in every sense, so make your site look professional and inviting. While you’re at it, explore a variety of social media platforms to get your name out there. By using an inclusive digital marketing program, you’ll be able to better target a customer audience.
7. Voicemail is your friend, believe it or not
It’s awkward leaving a message when trying to reach someone, but there is a real advantage to those few seconds of recording time, not least because, when playing back any voicemail, the person you’ve reached out to is typically alone and focused, a captive audience. So, with this in mind, don’t just hang up: do something with that space… turn it into a mini commercial in which you have 15 seconds to sell your services in an engaging way.
8. Sponsor events
Company banners prominently displayed in association with local events, while not a breakthrough marketing innovation, perhaps, still provide dependable returns. So, whether it’s a charity golf tournament, estate sale auction, baseball game or Veteran’s Day parade, contribute to a cause and let people see your brand, and your good intentions.