Regardless of the size of a financial advisory firm, clients are a constant necessity to sustain a profitable business. And while some form of advertising is how firms have traditionally attracted clients, some advisors have asked if not actively marketing themselves can be a viable option, where new clients find their way to the advisor through a referral network who vouches for the good service they provide. Notably, while some businesses have achieved phenomenal success with little to no marketing efforts, is it realistic for financial advisors to anticipate success without promoting themselves, but by simply providing exceptional work for their clients?
In our 121st episode of Kitces & Carl, Michael Kitces and client communication expert Carl Richards discuss the importance for advisors to advertise their expertise, and whether focusing on providing exceptional work can be enough to attract and acquire clients to sustain a healthy and remunerative business.
As a starting point, there are unconventional marketing principles that can help advisors who do not want to engage in traditional marketing campaigns to effectively attract and acquire clients. For example, by getting very specific about the financial issues they can solve – whether they involve optimizing tax loss harvesting opportunities or helping professionals negotiate better salary and compensation agreements – advisors can establish credibility and build the trust that is essential in establishing a steady stream of referrals. Because if clients know from the start that an advisor has the knowledge and expertise to solve their specific financial problems, they will be more likely to engage with that advisor… and then to let others know about their positive experience.
Importantly, whether advisors choose to advertise themselves by using traditional marketing strategies or by focusing on more unconventional approaches, being very clear on how they can solve specific financial issues for their clients and delivering exceptional service to their ideal client can help them build a reputation that naturally attracts clients to engage with their services. And as advisors build a reputation based on their expertise, their visibility – and their chances of creating a robust stream of word-of-mouth referrals – will also grow.
Ultimately, advisors who can provide exceptional service to their clients don't necessarily need to promote themselves through commonly used avenues of advertising (e.g., creating social media content or using SEO tactics), because satisfied clients can be a powerful source of referrals, especially when their advisor has expertise in solving a very specific set of financial problems. And by projecting this message, an advisor's referral network can help the advisor maintain a profitable business without the advisor needing to spend any advertising dollars – all while attracting precisely the type of clients the advisor enjoys serving!