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3 tips to attract the right type of client (and three to turn away those you don’t want)

Most finance companies I know want to grow their business and attract clients for financial advisers.

I recognise there’s more than one way to grow a business (pushing up margins, working more efficiently and so on) the need for growth probably means there’s a need to attract more enquiries from the right type of potential clients for financial advisers. The benefits of getting this right are numerous; top of the list being reduced marketing cost and less time spent dealing with enquiries from people who aren’t right for your business.

I took part in a very enjoyable >NextGen Planners Round Table earlier this week discussing this topic. It got me thinking: What can firms do more of to make sure they attract the right type of new clients for financial advisers, while gently turning away those they don’t want?

So, here’s three tips to do both, starting with attracting the right type of client:

1. Know and explain your niche

Working in a niche makes every aspect of your life easier, especially your marketing.

Unfortunately, worried they will miss opportunities, some people shy away from working in a niche. Believe me, you won’t. A niche allows you to carve your place, specialise, while knowing your target audience intimately and market to them effectively.

That’s only half the job though, you’ve got to explain it too.

From your website to your directory profiles, social media usage to advertising, make it crystal clear who you work with, delivering a consistent message across all channels. Go further too, explain the problems you solve and how you can help people in your niche achieve their aspirations, ambitions and objectives. Build case studies and gather testimonials along with other social proof from clients you’ve worked with in that niche.

In short do everything you can to demonstrate your expertise in your niche; try it, you won’t regret it!

2. Educate your existing clients

We all know the best type of new enquiry is a recommendation from an existing client.

However, turning down the opportunity to work with someone referred to you can be awkward. Far better to educate your clients on the type of people you want to work with. This will help them refer you on more effectively, while increasing the chances of the people they recommend to you being in your target market.

There’s several ways to do this, adding the information to your website is an important first step. Nothing beats a conversation though. When you feel the time is right, take selected clients in to your confidence, explain your plans for your business and if they felt comfortable, and when the time is right, these are the type of people you would welcome being referred to.

3. Hang out where they do 

Whether you are marketing your business on or offline (hint: your strategy probably should involve both) you need to hang out where your clients do.

Online, that means selecting, for example, the right social media platform; if you are targeting people approaching or at retirement, that probably means you will get more success from Facebook rather than Twitter or Instagram.

Offline, it might mean attending the right events, attended by your target market or indeed organising your own and inviting your target market.

Three tips to sensitively turn clients away

Try as you might you are bound to occasionally receive an enquiry from someone who isn’t right for your business.

When this happens, how should you handle this situation?

Not return their call?


Price yourself out of the work?


We all (and I include ourselves in that) need to take care in how we turn prospective clients away.

Why? Simply because even if you aren’t the right professional for them right now (or vice versa) you want them to be an advocate of your business. You don’t know who they know, or what they may become in the future. Only positive things can come from them feeling positive about their interaction with you and your business, even if they didn’t ultimately become a client.

So how do we sensitively turn clients away? Here’s three tips:

1. Explain who you don’t work with 

We recommend making it clear on your website, and elsewhere online, who your services are aimed at and who you work best with.

You can find an example of how we have done that by clicking here.

You might even go a step further and explain whom you don’t work with. Just do it tactfully and with good grace.

2. Signpost elsewhere

Ideally, those people who aren’t right for your services should be signposted elsewhere to a more appropriate alternative.

That’s relatively easy if you speak to the enquirer or exchange emails, harder if they’ve not made contact yet and are simply browsing your website. Although a recent Twitter conversation with a financial planner, David Hearne, threw up an interesting potential solution; adding a link to AdviserBook on your website, so those people who you aren’t right for are signposted to a directory of other options.

I’ve not seen an adviser or planner brave enough to do that yet, although I can certainly see the logic.

3. Be honest 

If a client isn’t right for you, or vice versa, be up front about it and explain honestly why the fit isn’t right. They will respect you for your honesty.

That’s why I’ve always disliked the concept of pushing people away by inflating the proposed fee; it’s disingenuous and word might soon get out that you are too expensive. Be honest, and if you can, genuinely helpful by signposting them on to an alternative. They will thank you for it.

Improving the proportion of new enquiries you receive from your ideal target client will reduce the amount you need to spend on marketing, save time and reduce frustration.

And for those who aren’t right for you remember: “Your brand is what people say about you when you are not in the room.” (Jeff Bezos) By sensitively and helpfully turning away those people who your service isn’t right for, you will create a powerful advocate for your business.

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