How to prospect in today's world: 5 sales strategies for financial advisors

I have had many calls with financial advisors during the past few weeks, and the biggest question they always have is, How are other advisors generating new business in this environment? I took that question back to my colleagues and experienced advisors, and we all agreed that generating new business today boils down to generating new LEADS:

Leverage your existing client base

Engage the next generation

Adapt to technology

Dive into your numbers

Seize the opportunity for tax-managed investing


Let’s look at each letter.

Leverage your existing client base

How well do you know your best clients? Have you segmented your book of business and are you giving your best clients the service they deserve? (If you haven’t, we can help.) If so, do you think your best clients know anyone that may need the help of a financial advisor at this time?

A great question to ask your best clients would be, Do you know anybody in your circle that may need to talk to me? I would leave it at that. You could also remind them that since they are in an advisory relationship with you, you are able to be a sounding board for anyone in their family that might need help. Empathy is the new currency in this world. You could also set up a virtual advisory board and see what other ideas or insights your best clients might have. Ask your Russell Investments representative for our white paper on how to set up an advisory board.  

Engage the next generation

How well do you know the kids of your clients?

If the kids don’t need your help now, they never will. Two bear markets in 10 years? If you have been introduced to them, now is the time to call. If not, use the Client Engagement Road Map to learn who they are and how to contact them. If you have clients that are reluctant to give you this information, tell them you want to make sure their planning includes their children, because in the end their family is going to a big part of the plan. If your client is still apprehensive, invite them to share your contact information with their children.

One of my financial advisors has each of his clients fill out a family tree every year. Again, empathy is the new currency. When you call that next generation to just check in, explain to them that you are the sounding board for the family and are simply calling to see if you can help. Think of how many people are going to be affected by the CARES Act—the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act. Think of how many people are unfortunately getting laid off, and will likely need help with rollovers. Be the helper.

Adapt to Technology

This could be looked at a couple of ways. Do you know how to use virtual meeting tools? You might think clients do not want to use this technology, but you may be wrong. They may embrace it as a way to connect with others while sheltering in place.

Here are some things to keep in mind. For prospecting, do you know how to use LinkedIn? How does your LinkedIn profile look? If you need help, please reach out; we at Russell Investments can help you.

If you are already on LinkedIn, are you connected with your best clients? If so, do you have any common connections with them? Can you look at their LinkedIn connections? If so, are there any ideal types of clients in their connections? How frequently do you post on LinkedIn? Do you share blogs or video updates? If you want more information on how to use LinkedIn effectively, please look at this blog from my coworker Cory Christiana.

Do the activity

I know it is hard, but there is no quarantine on reaching your numbers.  You still need to take action.  We all know how many appointments and prospecting calls we need to make each week to be successful. In this environment, we need to continue to hit those numbers in order to be successful.

A big key to hitting your numbers is to be as productive at home as you were in the office. A colleague recently wrote a blog about being productive from home. If you do not know what your numbers are, please reach out and we can help you. Personally, I know that each week, I need to book at least 20 appointments and prospect at least 30 people. These numbers do not change whether I’m working from home or from the office. It’s often been said, If you take care of the numbers, the numbers will take care of you.

Seize the ability to manage taxes

Even though none of us know what the market is going to do, I think we all agree that taxes are likely to go up. If you look at the recent stimulus package or all the money cities are having to spend on unemployment, the blunt truth is that someone is going to have to pay for it. According to a recent news article, in emergencies like this, my home state of Illinois only has enough cash in its rainy-day fund to operate the state for about 30 seconds—whereas other states have enough saved to cover a month. What about your own clients? What kind of fiscal shape are they in? Do they have an emergency fund? Is it well-funded?

I think every client out there is potentially trying to save every dollar they can. We believe you can use the current market volatility to potentially lower a client’s tax bill by doing things like Roth conversions, tax-loss harvesting and moving non-tax efficient monies to tax-managed portfolios. Think how powerful your conversations can be when you demonstrate to clients how much they can save—when investing in tax-managed solutions.

We believe a good place to start is by building a tax-smart prospect list of clients who might have potential tax concerns and giving them a call. Connect first with clients with loss harvesting opportunities created by recent market pullbacksThen connect with clients who have cash on the sidelines and/or have come into large cash distributions. Instead of conversations of unease about the markets, more productive conversations about after-tax wealth growth and tax management can help to amplify your value.

The bottom line

If you are sitting at home wondering what to do next, consider the L-E-A-D-S acronym and get moving.Using the top five actions outlined above can help you drive engagement, potentially boosting your book of business.

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