How To Get Your First Client as a Financial Advisor

All financial advisors start in the same place—with no clients. Getting that first client (who’s not a relative) is a significant hurdle but not insurmountable. And, as many successful advisors will tell you, once you clear that first hurdle, it’s off to the races.

While getting your first client can be a challenge, you can succeed with the right skills, a solid game plan, and a hefty dose of persistence.

#1. Work tirelessly developing your soft skills

Many advisors come to the business with certain hard skills, including knowledge, certifications, and various levels of work experience—just enough so prospective clients might trust in your abilities. But to attract and land them as clients, you must develop critical soft skills.

Your soft skills are what you use to communicate, demonstrate empathy, establish rapport, and create a personal connection—everything needed to build trust. Without trust, there can be no relationship. Without a relationship, you have no client.

Next to active listening, one of the more useful soft skills new advisors can develop is storytelling. Everyone loves a good story, and, for you, it’s a highly effective way to demonstrate your authenticity and empathy. As a new advisor, mastering the “Why I’m Here” story equips you with a tool that can be used with anyone in any situation as a differentiator, which you need as a new kid on the block.

#2. Leverage existing contacts

Many advisors are hesitant to contact family and friends until they reach a certain level of competence and experience. That’s a huge mistake because contacting people you already know is the most cost-effective approach to acquiring new business.

But talking about money with people you know can sometimes be awkward. So don’t talk about money. Instead, when you meet with a friend or past business associate, use it as an opportunity to tell your “Why I’m Here” story to include what you hope to accomplish professionally and on behalf of your clients.

Then, take them off the hook. Let them know you don’t expect them to become clients, just that you wanted them to know what you can do for them should they or someone they know ever have a need for your services. Then ask them to opt into your email newsletter and follow you on LinkedIn or Facebook. As you push out useful and relevant content, they’ll get to know more about how you can help them.

If you go into this process with fifty or so contacts and tell your story to each, several are bound to raise their hand for your services or offer a hand in meeting others who would like to meet you.

#3. Get active in your community

People recognize generosity when they see it. In fact, studies show that businesses that give back to their community are viewed more positively by people in their community. Ultimately, people want to do business with people they like, and people who care about others are extremely likable.

When you become active in your community, you open unlimited opportunities to meet new people, make friends, expand networks, and ingratiate yourself with community influencers. Though volunteering your services shouldn’t be about you, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to get to know people and tell your “Who I am” and “Why I’m Here” stories. As one who demonstrates how much you care, your fellow volunteers will give you a listen.

There are numerous ways to give back to your community, including:

  • Volunteer your time and skills to local organizations, charities, schools, and community centers.
  • Volunteer at food banks, animal shelters, and environmental initiatives.
  • Organize or participate in fundraisers such as a charity run, bake sale, or online crowdfunding campaign.
  • Organize or participate in a community clean-up initiative.
  • Volunteer as a mentor or tutor.
  • Join a fraternal organization such as Rotary Club or Lions.

#4. Keep your eye on the long game

While these activities offer the best opportunities to land your first client quickly, you must also work on a longer-term plan to grow your client base. A solid framework for attracting and landing more clients should include the following:

  • Continuing to work on your soft skills.
  • Mastering your referral approach.
  • Establishing a consistent cold-calling regime.
  • Building a social media presence.
  • Creating and posting useful content.
  • Using contact management software to nurture your prospects.
  • Identify and start focusing on a target market.

Indeed, building and perfecting this prospecting framework can take time, but it is the key to building on the success of landing your first client and sustaining the growth of your practice.

Related: 5 Ways You Should Be Asking For Feedback From Clients