Advisors are getting creative with clever strategies to find and attract new clients.

A new study from Charles Schwab indicates that 67% of advisors rank asset growth as a top priority in the next few years. Yet competition is growing and it's getting harder to stand out, say advisors.

To remain competitive, it’s important to keep growing.  So what creative strategies are advisors employing to bring in new business?

Here are some smart, innovative ideas to get in front of your target audience – and, we hope, bring in some new clients.


Szarka Financial has turned a longstanding relationship with a local staffing firm into a robust pipeline of potential clients -- as well as an opportunity to give back to the community. What started as financial seminars and workshops at the outplacement firm has evolved into a highly successful and well-attended recurring networking event for professionals and executives.

The Olmstead, Ohio, firm now hosts the growing monthly session for job seekers. It’s not unusual for 60-70 people to attend, and for those who have found employment through the group to come back to the events, says Mike Perry, president of Szarka Financial. “We are able to get in front of people we wouldn’t have otherwise known,” Perry says. “And let’s face it, there is money in motion and there’s an opportunity to capture the business.”

But it’s not just about business development, Perry says: “Yes, it drives clients in, but over the years it’s turned into a way to pay it forward and give back to the community.” People who find jobs through the event become advocates for the firm, Perry says.

“We really see this as an opportunity to help each other, it’s not just us facilitating a meeting,” says Kelley Drumm, head of marketing for Szarka Financial.


Advisor Melissa Guevara Sotudeh of Warner Financial in Bethesda, Md., began partnering with a local college planning consultant working with affluent families in and around Washington, D.C. Sotudeh presents the financial perspective on planning for college at sessions led by "College Lady" Wendie Lubic.

Though Lubic's sessions focus on what it takes to get into schools in a competitive academic environment, Sotudeh comes in to cover what parents need to be think through as they prepare to fund their children’s education.

This is a new venture for Sotudeh -- and while she hasn’t gotten new clients yet, she says she has established a connection with a community of affluent families who are in their highest earning years and facing major financial decisions. “I’m at least building a warm prospect list,” she says. “I know what the demographics are and can reach out with a very targeted message.”

Although she knows this strategy will take time, Sotudeh has added these prospects to her newsletter list and can specifically address their concerns. “This is a long pipeline,” Sotudeh says. “But if I can be identified as a problem solver in one area, hopefully that extends to other areas.”


Advisor Hugh Anderson of HighTower’s Las Vegas office recently held a fun client event that turned out to be a particularly well-received prospecting event, too. His team rented out a local movie theater and invited both clients and prospects to a private, family-friendly movie night -- with popcorn and all. Many clients brought their grandchildren and appreciated the opportunity to do something fun with their families, Anderson says.

Anderson says the event offers a different way for prospects to get to know the firms. “They got a chance to kick the tires and see what our clients thought about us,” he says. The event also shows prospects that the team is confident in their client relationships, he adds: “I’m confident none will say we’re perfect, but no one will hesitate to say we certainly try to be.”


Advisor Kristine Hartland of Peace Wealth Management in Largo, Fla., targets potential clients through her running community. She invited members of her Fab 50 team -- a group of female runners that meet weekly -- to a Health & Wealth Spa Party, hosted by the firm. “This was an opportunity to let the women I run with each week know about what I do as a financial planner, while [treating] them to a wonderful afternoon,” Hartland says.

Guests could choose from a manicure, facial or massage while enjoying healthy foods and drinks; Hartland also spoke to the group about women and finances. “It was a great time to bond and we ended up getting several referrals from this and have built our pipeline of prospective clients,” she says. “It is continuing to be successful because when I run with my group each week, women are asking me about my company and inquiring about my services.”


Advisor Winnie Sun of Sun Group Wealth Partners in Orange County, Calif., says she gets a big chunk of her new business through social media.

Sun says she spends three hours a day using sites like Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn for business purposes, and adds that it has completely changed the way she prospects for new clients. You have to figure out what kind of person you'd connect with, she says: "It's like business dating. ... You have to figure out the ideal business match for you, not only for the portfolio style or technique, but in terms of personality."

Sun says she has already landed clients through her online networking. At the moment she has about 25 relationships she is actively cultivating among the "Hollywood and tech elite." "I'm regularly talking with CEOs and CFOs on a personal basis, and these are people I would not have met without social media,” she says.

What clever strategy do you use to drum up new business? Share your ideas in the comments below.

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