Many financial advisors give back to the community. They join organizations, serve on boards and organize events. Every advisor has probably had at least one experience when a friend told them about business they did with a competitor. When you asked: “Why didn’t you ask me for help?” The answer is often: “I didn’t know you did that.” When you volunteer, the mission of the organization comes first. How can you tactfully raise your professional visibility?

1. Introductions. When you are speaking on behalf of the organization or meeting new members, including information about your profession is considered standard practice. This works if you are being introduced by a third party too. It is easy to highlight your role, “I’m the vice president” and add “In my day job, I am a financial advisor at (firm).”

2. Writing for the organization. I knew a financial advisor in Northern California who belonged to a private club. He ran the newsletter and wrote a travel column. He would visit other clubs with reciprocal privileges, writing up a spotlight feature for the club newsletter. His byline included his phone number and e-mail address. He used his work e-mail.

3. Speaking at events. It has been said speaking is the future of prospecting. It’s obvious you might speak about financial planning, but you might also speak about a personal passion, like classic car restoration. Clubs and organizations are always looking for entertaining topics. Providing your business credentials confirms you are not a person with a car restoration business, using speaking as a prospecting tool.

4, Sponsorship. Many nonprofits hold charity galas. These are big fundraisers. In addition to ticket sales, there are opportunities to get your name on banners and signage. If you sponsor at a certain level, you get a block of tickets, often a table. You also usually get a full or half page ad in the event program.

5. Business card ads. Those charity galas often raise money in several ways. One is the pages of business card ads also included in the event program. There might be eight per page. The cost is usually low. Your business card itself is likely a compliance approved ad.

6. Steakhouse wine locker. Recently, our financial advisor took us to lunch at a famous NYC steakhouse. As you walk in, there is a large cabinet of foot square storage lockers, each with a grill showing bottles of wine inside. Each locker has a brass toned plaque naming the owner. I recognized the wholesaler’s name immediately! (It doesn’t list the firm, but if you have name recognition, it does the job.)

7. Ask questions at general meetings. You might be a financial advisor who is a general member of the organization. They might hold scheduled monthly meetings. If a topic concerning finance comes up, you might ask a question of the presenter, mentioning your name and credentials. Giving your name, role and firm establishes you as an expert in the topic under discussion.

8. The rules of golf. Years ago, I heard a story about a financial advisor who belonged to the local, private golf club. He ordered a bunch of booklets detailing the rules of golf and had them imprinted with his name and firm. From time to time, a player might need to remind another player of “the rules of golf” when they try doing something they shouldn’t.

9. The logo on event shirts. Many communities have charity runs to raise money for their cause. You can probably name several. If you are a major event sponsor, your firm name and logo are likely on the shirts given to participants. People keep and use those shirts for a long time.

10. Discretely logoed clothing. You might be a reader at religious services. You dress well and are seen frequently by the congregation. Wearing a logoed sweatshirt would be out, out, out! Wearing a lapel pin or a tastefully logoed tie should fit right in. It works well. It is discrete. It gets noticed.

11. The golf umbrella. When you watch your children at school sports, you are standing along the field with plenty of parents. Weather changes. A logoed umbrella does a fine job sheltering more than one person from the rain. An extra umbrella can be loaned to someone getting soaked.

12. The logoed hat, golf shirt and windbreaker. These can easily fit into your workout wardrobe or be an accessory while playing golf. You use only one at a time.

13. The logoed luggage tag. You have seen people with huge golf bags covered in the firm’s logo. Too much. I heard an advisor talk about using the logoed luggage tags you get on recognition trips. His was attached to his golf bag. Golf involves lots of standing around and waiting. Another person in the foursome recognizes the logo and says: “You are with (firm). My accounts are with…” The conversation has started.

14. The matching coffee cups. We have cups from a favorite restaurant in Asia. We use them almost every day. They are pre-pandemic, so we have been using them about four years. An advisor would serve client’s coffee in attractive logoed mugs. If the client admired the mug, he would ask his assistant “Do we have a couple of extra mugs around?” The client would be presented with a boxed pair.

15. The personalized license plate. I have seen many over the years. Some are quite clever. They might incorporate the firm’s initials or spell a short word investors recognize. People who see your car know you are an advisor.

There are many ways to communicate “this is what I do” without coming across the wrong way.

Bryce Sanders is president of Perceptive Business Solutions Inc. He provides HNW client acquisition training for the financial services industry. His book Captivating the Wealthy Investor is available on Amazon.