Don Chamberlin, president and chief executive of The Chamberlin Group, a St. Louis-based holistic financial advisory firm, uses its discounted tax practice as a loss leader to market the firm’s financial planning services.
The firm charges a fee of $99 to prepare clients’ tax returns and upon delivering the completed returns talks up the firm’s financial planning services.
“We started in 2003 doing 83 tax returns and last year did 2,400. Most years, we capture six to eight new clients from our tax practice,” Chamberlin says.
“People will refer more readily to the tax service than a financial professional who might try to sell them something,” he says. “You don’t have the same stigma as a tax preparer.”
Besides offering an in-house tax service, advisors can generate leads through other means, such as conducting annual Medicare supplement meetings, regular email campaigns, and learn and lunch workshops.
Now might be a good time to hold a Medicare supplement meeting, as it is open enrollment time for 2016 Medicare supplement plans.
“It’s a great time to ask for referrals to family and friends,” says Willie Schuette, an advisor with JL Smith Group in Avon, Ohio.
Advisors can purchase “turning 65” lists to generate additional prospects to help with Medicare planning, he says.
Another way to generate leads is to conduct regular email campaigns, preferably on the same day each month. This allows advisors to communicate regularly with clients about their business and upcoming workshops, and also mention educational articles that they have either written or been mentioned in.
Meanwhile, lunch and learn workshops can offer an opportunity for clients to invite their family members and friends to a nonthreatening workshop.
Topics could be Social Security, individual retirement account planning or current events. Make sure to throw in a couple of fun ones.
Examples would include bringing a chef in to introduce Thanksgiving recipes or a “wine and wealth” event, Schuette says.
Still another way to market an advisor’s services is to give talks at local businesses and libraries.
Josh Nelson, chief executive of and an advisor at Keystone Financial Services, a registered investment advisor in Loveland, Colo., says he always takes an educational approach to these talks, and he invites clients, who might also bring friends.
“People are there to learn, not hear a sales pitch,” he says.
“The most we ever do is ask for feedback and offer a second opinion,” Nelson says. “This gives us a reason to call and follow up with them and invite them to the next event.”
Likewise, Brad Johnson, vice president of marketing at Advisor Excel, an insurance marketing firm in Topeka, Kan., holds client anniversary and retirement parties at local businesses, restaurants and in his own home.
Bruce W. Fraser, a New York financial writer, is a contributor to Financial Advisor and On Wall Street.
This story is part of a 30-day series on how to prosper as an advisor.
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