Starting out as an independent RIA can feel like a daunting task. There are plenty of details to mull over before you even get to talk to your clients and establish your new business with them. Although most of your clients will likely come with you to your new firm, one common question looms large, “Where will I get more clients?”
Securing new clients and ultimately, growing your business, is only accomplished in two ways: marketing or referrals. Every company ever created has used both of these tactics. Referrals are best gained when highly satisfied customers tell their friends about a product or service. New business from marketing campaigns come from a company telling them how great they are directly.
You, as an RIA firm owner, are no different, save for the fact that you have a few more regulations to follow. While that may sound intimidating, and often keeps advisors from running marketing campaigns, it really shouldn’t. You are a big part of the reason your clients are able to achieve their financial goals and you can help others do the same! There’s nothing shameful, low rent or noncompliant about teaching future potential clients how you and your firm think, plan and maintain financial plans for clients.
How to Leverage What You Already Have
You, your personality, and your expertise are the reason people trusted you in the first place and it’s what you should lead with when marketing to potential clients. It’s almost never about the software you’ve invested in, the office space you rent or the brands with which you custody. Those things are all important, but people trust people. If you have knowledge around how to handle specific retirement planning, college savings plans or any other niches, people will want to know that they’re working with someone who knows their stuff.
Even if you haven’t chosen a niche, all clients want essentially the same thing when working with someone who handles their money: trust. Communication and action are the only ways that you can establish trust with clients now or in the future. It is something that can’t be outsourced or automated, because trust is ultimately about who you are and how you operate your business.
It can feel uncomfortable marketing yourself, as if you are bragging, but if you stay in a place of education, entertainment or evaluation, it becomes much easier to create marketing pieces. It’s understandable why people may have reservations talking about themselves, but if you’re doing marketing right, you don’t tell the story as if you are the hero. You marketing from the vantage point of “helpful guide” and help your potential clients find their happy ever afters, whatever that may look like for them.
Of course, you’re not Yoda telling Luke Skywalker how to use the force, which is why it helps to write your marketing materials from your own voice. Most people generally relate to those who have either been where they are now or have some similarities. Market from who you are and build a diverse team to have a broad reach into your desired client base. The financial planning world, your business and your clients all benefit from team diversity. If your team helps reach groups of people you align with or represent, then you contribute to bringing more people into the fold and making a more equitable future for all of us.
Marketing can be tough. But in the end, how you show up for your clients is the main attraction. Promoting how you serve is in the best interest of your business and your clients. The best marketing collateral you have is your knowledge, service and dedication.