Prospecting is the lifeblood of financial advisors, but it can be difficult to come up with effective recruiting techniques, especially when creativity is key in a highly competitive environment.

Before an advisor even begins prospecting, it’s important that they set a precise, pinpointed goal that goes beyond “get more clients.” Is the goal to reach a new demographic, to replenish a waning client roster or to build a whole new book of business? The goal should be specific, measurable and challenging, but achievable.

Another pre-prospecting imperative for financial advisors is to do a pulse check on their existing reputation, and to take measures to correct, if needed. Word of mouth is powerful, and our digital-first world means that one person’s opinion can reach an incredibly large audience. Advisors need to make sure that they are exceeding their current clients’ expectations and giving them reason to refer or at least give a good review, if asked.

Once the financial advisor has established a quality goal and feels confident about how current clients would describe them to others, it’s time to start prospecting. Below are five unexpected strategies that can be easily implemented, and that might help financial advisors brainstorm their own out-of-the-box ideas.

Five Creative Prospecting Strategies For Financial Advisors

1. Replicate Ideal Clients

One way to ease into prospecting is to recreate what has already worked by making a top-client chart. This chart should identify who the financial advisor considers to be top clients, as well as map out some basic facts about them, such as demographic information, education, interests or goals. It should also include where the financial advisor met them, how they came to be clients and why they are considered top clients.

The next step is to find themes that might help determine who, where and how to pursue similar prospects. Are there common meeting points that can be revisited? Are there professional organizations that should become an area of focus? Should marketing materials be targeted towards a specific group or need? If the financial advisor knows who they are looking for and where to find them, then the prospecting tactics can be more targeted.

2. Leverage LinkedIn

Using filtered searches and key terms, LinkedIn can be a valuable resource for finding and connecting with prospects. For example, if the objective is to find executive-level clients, the search terms might include “executive,” “president,” or “chief.” Another option is to use an advocate search, which entails looking at the connections of connections, and filtering the results by criteria such as location, company or job title.

Another benefit of LinkedIn is the ability to identify commonalities with prospects. After narrowing down potential new clients, advisors can look for whether they have mutual connections who would be willing to facilitate an introduction, or if they have other common ground from which to build a conversation, such as the same alma mater or professional memberships. Prior to using LinkedIn, advisors should consult with their firm’s legal and compliance teams about social media policies.

3. Plan Client Events People Actually Want To Attend

How-to and informational seminars are worthwhile, but they can feel impersonal and obligatory. Instead, advisors should try inviting their clients to non-business activities, and ask them to bring a guest who might be in need of an advisor. Ideas for what kinds of events to plan might include a wine tasting, a brewery tour, a sporting event, a night at a museum or a private dinner at a new restaurant.

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