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How Financial Advisors Find New Clients: The Starting Point

By ClientWise | November 5, 2013

What’s the starting point in how financial advisors find new clients, i.e. what’s the first step in the “sales cycle”?

Is it…

  • Establishing rapport with the client?
  • Learning what the prospective client wants or needs?
  • Identifying “what keeps them up at night”.
  • To begin to understand what makes them tick, e.g. their personality and style?


These are all good points. From our observation, all of these are important objectives to achieve over the entire process of building the relationship between financial advisor and client. However, they are not the most obvious and clear starting point of the sales process.


The starting point, i.e. the first step, of the sales process is getting permission to move to the second step.


Seems too obvious, right?


Said another way -- not only is the objective of the first step in finding new clients to get to the second step, it is critically important for financial advisors to identify prospective clients who are willing to consciously move to the second step together…in partnership…with you.


Using a metaphor, the first step in finding new clients is analogous to playing catch. Playing catch is, by definition, a two-person activity. For financial advisors looking to find new clients, “playing catch” means throwing a ball in someone’s direction with the hope and expectation that they catch it, and throw it back to you. By catching this metaphorical ball and throwing it back, the prospective client is demonstrating a conscious choice in engaging in the financial advisor-client partnership.


They are saying something like, “I am aware that you have thrown the ball to me. I am picking up the ball and throwing it back to you. I am interested in playing catch.”


Getting to the second step in the sales process then simply becomes finding people who want to throw the ball back to you. Some good examples of this might be:


  • The person who responds to your elevator statement by saying, “Gee, that sounds interesting. Tell me more…”
  • The business owner who asks for your card at a networking event after you have responded to the question, “What do you do?”
  • The friend of a good client who, after being introduced via email, calls your office.


Too often, we have seen financial advisors who attempt to pay catch with people who have no interest. They throw the ball to someone who just stands there and looks at it. Or who picks up the ball and walks away. Or isn’t even aware that a ball has been thrown in their direction.


Maddening, isn’t it? Yet, even if you see a person who completely looks the part, i.e. they’re outfitted with a baseball cap, glove, etc., if they don’t throw the ball back to you…they’re simply not a prospect for you.


Think about all of the people in your prospect pipeline. Are they “playing catch” with you? Are they consciously in partnership in progressing through whatever process that you have created to meet new clients?


If not, how can you find more people who would like to move to the next step with you?



The 6 Step Client Acquisition Process

Topics: Selling

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