A year ago I started my own wealth management business. Like every other small business owner, I have been working on marketing techniques to gain new clients. This is a bit overwhelming since I do not have the budget to hire a marketing professional to help me with this cause. So where do you put your energy to attract and gain new clients? What are some inexpensive ways to get your business noticed? Here are a few things that have worked for me this past year.
Marketing Yourself – First Impressions
Every time you communicate with someone, you are marketing yourself. Everyone is a potential client, or knows someone who could be a potential client for you. In Guy Kawasaki’s book “Enchantment”, we read how to achieve likability with others. His first suggestion is to smile when to meet someone. What does it cost not to smile? Everything. He writes, “Do you like to do business with grumpy people? Do you know anyone who does?” Second, dress to show likability, not superiority. Since I am independent, there are no company policies telling me I have to wear a suit and tie every day. I dress business casual most days and try to stay equal or a slight step above whom I am meeting with. Third, perfect your handshake. Kawasaki has a rather humorous scientific equation for mastering the perfect handshake, but I would just say make eye contact the entire time, have a firm grip and make sure your hand isn’t sweaty. Fourth, use the right words. He states to use simple words, use an active voice, keep it short, and use common, unambiguous analogies. I liked his comment about keeping your sales pitch short. During my initial meeting with a client, I need to be asking about them, not offering a bunch of sales products. People want to be known, heard, and respected. How are you appearing to others?
I figured out 90% of my new clients come from referrals – a recommendation from a client, community member, or business owner. This could be due to the nature of my business. Financial planning obviously involves money, and it involves managing other people’s wealth. People tend to find their money rather important and don’t just want just anyone to be in charge of that money. They have to be able to trust their financial planner. And if they don’t know any financial planners they are going to rely on their friends, parents, co-workers, and hair dresser to tell them who to use for their finances. It is all about relationships. Where are your customers coming from?
I recently had a wholesaler come in and try to impress me with all of his sales products. He said that successful financial planners use the following tactics to gain clients: talk up a product and then see how your client can fit that product. I approach planning as identifying client needs, then finding the product to fit that need. I have realized I do things differently than others in my field, but I hope that is what sets me apart from the pack. Are you appearing different from your competition?
Know Where to Put Your Time
Knowing that 90% of my business is from referrals, I have backed away from spending a lot of time on electronic marketing to the masses. I do have a website, but just keep basic service information on the site. I put new articles under my Advice page, but the majority of the information is updated remotely through an outside vendor. I email out a monthly newsletter. I use Twitter, Facebook, and Linked-In. I don’t have a blog or post items on YouTube. I hadn’t been doing print, TV, or radio advertising, but just recently signed a contract to advertise and write articles in a local magazine. Electronic marketing is useful and needed, but it can be a huge drain on your time and resources. I think it is beneficial to have a hand in several marketing avenues, but spend the majority of your time working on the marketing practices that gain you the most business. What marketing effort are you spending the most of your resources and time on?
Let it Go
There are many nights that I lay in bed and wonder if I am doing anything right or everything right. Am I working too much or not enough? Then I am reminded that this isn’t all about me and my marketing efforts. As a Christian I have the ability to daily turn my business over to God and see where He takes it.
Adam Obrecht, CFP® is the owner and founder of AO Wealth Advisory in Waukee, Iowa. His life passion is helping individuals, families and businesses maximize what they earn, invest wisely, and give generously to their family, charities, and community. Adam is on Facebook and Linked-In.
Securities offered through Broker Dealer Financial Services Corp., Member FINRA & SIPC. Advisory services offered through Investment Advisors Corp., an SEC registered investment adviser.