We find ourselves in new year, but with continued restrictions on how we live our lives due to Covid.

    With the hope of a swift return to normal looking unlikely any time soon, it’s extremely frustrating. Yet this doesn’t mean your business has to go on hold.

    We know many advisers found it challenging to grow their businesses last year.

    A recent survey from the Personal Finance Society found that of the 70 members polled, one in two advisers were concerned about fewer new clients finding their firm online.

    So, what can you do to make sure your business isn’t held back due to the ongoing uncertainty?

    Last autumn we researched some of the effective strategies being used by advisers to sign up new clients throughout the pandemic.

    We’ve put together the top eight here (including some of the specific things advisers have found useful) to help kick off your 2021 new business drive, regardless of lockdowns.

    1. Referrals from existing clients

    - Make sure your existing clients know you are open for business

    - Build structure into your referral process

    For example, the time Mark Finster from Helm Godfrey has put into focusing on a structured approach delivered him nine new referrals between March and October last year.

    2. Third-party referrals

    - Identify other businesses that share your best-fit clients but that don’t compete with you.

    While the obvious professionals to ask are solicitors and accountants, that doesn't mean you have to stop there.

    Business coaches can be a useful source - they know their clients really well and have intimate knowledge that can help you address the financial planning needs of those they refer to you.

    - Look for a niche you can carve out and specialise in, such as doctors. You can use this as a way to engage with other professionals in the same field.

    - Explain what you can offer to third-party firms clearly and succinctly. That way, they can advocate on your behalf, especially if you're clear about what you can give them in return.

    3. Social media

    - Learn how the main platforms operate (LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram). Get help from an expert if you're unsure about doing this yourself.

    - Connect with local communities

    Facebook is proving highly effective for Kate Gannon of Themis Wealth Management.

    She says her firm has joined a number of local community groups where they get regular recommendations and can clearly see how this generates new prospects.

    - Remember that as social media is based on algorithms, you need to be active over a sustained period in order to have them work in your favour.

    4. Website

    - Use tools such as Google Analytics to help you understand who is using your website and what resonates with them.

    - Post regular new content, including blogs and information on issues to keep the site engaging.

    - Get feedback from your existing clients - they can provide valuable insights into what appeals to them and what doesn’t.

    5. Become a subject matter expert

    Get to know your local newspaper business editor, and let them know you are open to commenting on financial and economic issues.

    6. Events

    - Run virtual seminars or workshops on topics that interest your clients

    - Ask clients to invite friends and family

    7. Client communications

    Increase the frequency of your communications if appropriate, and continue to work on using interesting content that perhaps they can then share with friends and family.

    8. Encourage behaviour

    - Consider using lead magnets (also known as attraction marketing devices) – give away something valuable for free.

    - Create a sense of urgency around issues such as tax returns and Isa deadlines.

    You can find more details in the free-to download guide The insiders’ guide on how to grow your business during lockdown

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