As a financial advisor, you know the importance of prospective clients. Prospective clients can turn into current clients, and current clients are who you provide service to as a financial advisor.
One way prospective clients transition into being current clients is through building engagement with them through your conversations, follow up, and online presence.
What is engagement?
First, engagement is communication that is two ways. It is you communicating with the prospective client, and the prospective client communicating with you.
Second, it’s a connection. It’s communicating in a way, that you and the prospective client connect and form the basis of a business relationship.
Third, engagement is what takes you from being a financial advisor a prospective client may be aware of, to a financial advisor they want to do business with.
Engagement is not only built with prospective clients, it is also built with centers of influence, existing clients, and people in the community.
How financial advisors can build engagement with prospective clients
In-person communication as a financial advisor
As a financial advisor, an important thing in creating engagement is how you communicate with prospective clients in person.
Introducing yourself as a financial advisor
The first moment of in-person communication comes when you initially meet a prospective client. Although you may have communicated with them before, this is the first moment where you can start to build personal engagement.
When meeting a prospective client for the first time, remember the value of first impressions. As the saying goes, “you only get one chance to make a first impression.” It is important to make the most of the opportunity.
Before you meet prospective clients, you can think about how you can introduce yourself. You can think, for example, about how you will shake hands or the first thing you are going to say. You can also think about how you dress and how you present yourself. These things can apply to any situation where you might meet a prospective client for the first time.
Think also about small talk. This is how you ask people about themselves. By getting good at small talk, you can learn to build engagement.
With a little preparation, you can ensure that your first meetings with prospective clients start off in an engaging way.
Listening as a financial advisor
When communicating in person with a prospective client, listening is important (it’s important in lots of other situations too). Listening is enhanced hearing. It is hearing what the prospective client is saying, processing that, and responding in a way that moves the conversation forward.
Being a good listener means:
- focusing on the prospective client,
- making eye contact,
- waiting for the prospective client to finish speaking before you speak,
- asking for clarification when needed to better understand the prospective client,
- repeating back to the prospective client what they said to show you understand, and
- keeping your mind focused on what the prospective client is saying.
Being a good listener takes practice, but it is a skill that can greatly improve your engagement with prospective and current clients.
Talking as a financial advisor
Once you’ve listened to a client, the next phase is responding.
When you talk with a client, it is important to talk with them, rather than to them. Although you may have financial ideas you want to explain, it’s important to have a conversation, rather than simply telling them something. Being a good listener can make talking in an engaging way easier to do.
Scripting as a financial advisor
A good way to be an active listener and to talk with clients is to develop scripts for certain situations. For example, in social and business situations, you might script out something that helps you put yourself in the social and business conversation, with “in my work as a financial advisor, I often experience situations where this subject comes into play. This is how I handle it.”
When you script situations, there are some important things to keep in mind.
First, it’s important to sound natural when you speak.
Second, it’s important to only script some situations. For example, you might script your initial introduction, your “in my work as a financial advisor”, or where you talk about your services. Other than that though, conversations are better for engaging with prospective clients.
Third, scripts can be adjusted to the situation. For example, if you are going to tell a prospective client about your retirement planning services, but you know from listening that they already read about this on your website, you can adjust what you say to take this into account. Could you imagine how it would sound if you didn’t adjust things? You could say “I know retirement planning brought you into the office. What challenges do you have with retirement planning?”
Remembering prospective client information
To engage with someone, it is important that you remember things about them.
First, you want to remember a prospective client’s name and how they prefer to be called. This shows that you respect them and can help establish a connection.
It is also important to remember details about prospective clients. This could include things like family details, financial goals, and personal details such as how they like to spend their time.
By remembering information about prospective clients you can improve your engagement with them. When you call someone by their name, ask about something in their lives, and give them information important to their goals, it can go a long way to engaging with them.
Encounters with prospective clients as a financial advisor
You can encounter prospective clients in all sorts of situations. It could be at a social gathering, at a community meeting, or at an event. In each of these situations you can take the opportunity to engage, say something about yourself as a financial advisor, and make a good impression. These small encounters can be the starting point of further engagement. Remember to use “in my work as a financial advisor.”
Your office and staff
When you seek to engage with prospective clients, it’s not just you that engages, but your office becomes part of it as well as your staff.
Your office gives an impression to prospective clients. A good office gives the impression of being clean, organized, professional, and established. These qualities can help a client to view you professionally and can help improve your engagement with them.
In addition, the staff of your office are also important to engagement. Receptionists, administrative personnel, and assistants can all work in a way to improve engagement with prospective clients. If they focus on it, it can help you build a connection.
When communicating with prospective clients that you meet in person, follow up is key. If a prospective client requests information, following up can show them that you care and can help you build a connection with them.
Marketing as a financial advisor with a personal touch
As a financial advisor you’ll likely engage in a variety of marketing methods. You may, for example, have a website, use social media, or create brochures. By adding a personal touch to your marketing, you can improve how you engage with prospective clients.
Some ideas for adding a personal touch to marketing are:
- A photograph of yourself in marketing materials and your online sites.
- Online videos where you talk about your business and financial topics.
- Using first person writing in certain communications.
- Expressing a lighter side of yourself in certain situations.
- Including things that are important to you such as causes you care about in different marketing.
- Engaging with prospective clients in a positive way on social media.
- Using colors and a tone in marketing that reflects your personality.
By adding a personal touch to your marketing you can help prospective clients to see you as a person. They can make a connection with you that can lead them to more substantial communications, which can be the starting point of further engagement.
Regular marketing communication as a financial advisor
As a financial advisor, a great way to engage with prospective clients is to communicate with them on a regular basis. By communicating regularly, you can establish a relationship and you can be the advisor they think about when they decide to become a client.
Regular marketing communications can take many forms. For some you might need the prospective client’s permission before sending them the communication. Some ways of communication include:
- Emailed newsletters
- Mailed newsletters
- Mailed postcards
- Mailed letters
- Invitations to events or seminars
- Mailed greeting cards for holidays
- Mailed birthday cards
- Events or seminars
- Phone calls related to various things
- Talking at gatherings
When communicating with prospective clients in these ways, it’s important to have a genuine communication. Although these ways and others are all marketing, they can be opportunities for more than that. You can provide information and make a connection as well.
When you communicate in these ways, if you communicate on a regular basis, it can increase the effectiveness and help you to further engage.
Social media communication as a financial advisor to create engagement
I’ve written about social media before. The ideas I wrote about can help you to create engagement with prospective clients you communicate with you through social media.
In addition to the ideas I’ve mentioned, there are some other things you can do to help create engagement through social media.
First, as mentioned above, you can add a personal touch to your social media. Include a photograph of yourself. Have videos where you speak about different things. Have personal posts about your life.
When you add a personal touch, you can temper it so that it is not too personal and doesn’t take away from your professionalism, while at the same time being personal enough to engage.
Second, you can interact on social media. You can do this by sharing posts from others, following others, liking posts, and commenting on posts. By doing these things with prospective clients you can show you are aware of what they are posting and that you take the time to engage.
Third, you can post on a regular basis. By posting regularly, you can have enough communication to reach prospective clients and you can have a better opportunity to post something that will engage them.
If you’re looking for a practical guide to social media engagement, check out Engagement Marketing: How Small Business Wins in a Socially Connected World by Gail F. Goodman (a previous CEO of Constant Contact).
Engaging through financial advisor events
Putting on an event as a financial advisor can be great way to engage with prospective clients. You can meet people, tell them about your services, and have a chance to interact.
Some types of events you might consider having are:
- Open houses
- Client appreciation events (where clients can bring their friends)
- Charity events
- Events for other organizations that you sponsor
Through the communication methods mentioned, you can communicate these events to prospective clients. You can also reach a prospective client multiple times through one event. For example, you might mention it on social media, send an e-newsletter about it, send them an invitation to it, see them at the event, and call them after the event. All of these interactions can build engagement.
Engaging as a financial advisor through publications
Having something published can be a stepping stone to further engagement. For example, if you have an article published, you can have information about yourself at the end of it. You can also email prospective clients and mention the article. You may also get a chance to speak about the article. In addition, having something published can start engagement, because prospective clients can learn about you in a way that shows your knowledge and professionalism.
As a step further, writing a book can be an excellent way to improve engagement. In addition to what can happen with an article, a book gives you the opportunity to have seminars, book signings, and interviews. These can all be great ways to meet and engage with prospective clients.
Improve your social intelligence as a financial advisor
Developing social intelligence can be an excellent tool for a financial advisor to improve engagement with prospective clients. By having good social intelligence, you can have more engaging encounters with prospective clients, and those encounter are more likely to lead to something further.
Prospective clients are important. They are your future current clients. By taking steps to build engagement with prospective clients you can build a connection with them and increase the number of them that transition into being current clients.