Money is intensely personal for most people. So much so, that talking about salaries, debts, retirement savings, and other financial details is often considered taboo among friends and family.
As a financial advisor, this places you in a unique position. On one hand, they are already warm prospects. You’ve likely known them for years. You’ve shared birthdays, holidays, and life events together. This gives you a level of insight that only a personal relationship can provide.
On the other hand, this can also make for some very awkward conversations. How do you tell your uncle they need to save more for retirement without offending him? How do you discuss your family’s wealth without being overbearing?
Depending on your approach, family and friends can either be your best clients or your worst nightmare. Here are a few things to keep in mind on how to approach family and friends about their financial health.
Before you even start having conversations with anyone about money, it’s important to showcase your credibility first. The majority of people get their news and information from social media, so this is the perfect place to start.
For instance, post articles on financial planning, tax advice, investing, and saving money. If you see a news story about a big-money mistake people make, share it with your readers and offer your two cents. Showcase your clients and their wins (after asking permission, of course) to build social proof.
Checking their social media is also a subtle way of seeing what stage they are at in their financial journey. For instance, if you see that someone just bought a house, they may be more open to talking about mortgages and home equity lines of credit. If someone is constantly posting about their debt struggles, they may be more receptive to debt consolidation or credit counseling.
Did your friend just post their kid’s graduation photos? Their biggest concern may be starting a college savings plan. The goal is to get a general idea of where they are financially and start planting the seeds for a future conversation.
In fact, don’t mention money at all until they do. Never forget that money is an emotional subject. Your friend or family member may not be comfortable talking about their financial situation, even with you.
Instead, focus on building the relationship. Talk about their life, their job, and their hobbies. Get to know them on a personal level first. Once you’ve built up that rapport, they may be more likely to open up about their financial situation.
Even then, avoid talking about money directly. Encourage them to share their dreams. Do they want to retire early or travel more? What do they hope for? What kind of risk are they afraid of? The more you know them as a person, the more meaningful conversation you will have about their finances.
When you do finally get around to talking about money, it’s important to make it clear that you’re not trying to make a quick buck. Unlike many advisors, you’re there to support their financial goals, not just to get a commission.
One way to do this is by offering your services for free as a financial professional. For instance, you can volunteer to do a financial check-up or review their investment portfolio. This will show them that you’re not just trying to sell them something, but that you genuinely have their best interest at heart.
The harsh truth is that the industry is filled with scammers and salespeople masquerading as financial advisors. As a result, many people are naturally suspicious of anyone offering financial advice. The last thing you want to do is to come across as one of those people.
That’s why it’s important to listen to and respect your friend or family member’s boundaries. For instance, if they say they’re not ready to invest yet, don’t push them. If they’re not comfortable talking about their debt, don’t force the issue.
This doesn’t mean they’ll never be ready to talk about it. It just means they’re not ready yet, and that’s OK. Let them know that you’re there for them when they are ready and that you respect their decision.
If they do say yes, don’t try to move too fast. Remember, this is a delicate subject, and they may not be ready to dive in headfirst. Start with baby steps and let them take the lead.
For instance, you can offer to help them set up a budget or review their bank statements. If they’re comfortable with that, you can move on to more difficult topics, such as investments and retirement planning.
But if they start to get overwhelmed or uncomfortable, back off and let them take a break. The more in control they feel, the more receptive they’ll be to receiving financial advice.
Ultimately, being a financial advisor means taking care of the relationships you have with your clients. And that includes your friends and family members.
So, while it’s important to offer financial advice, it’s even more important to make sure that you don’t damage your relationship in the process. Avoid guilting them, shaming them, or using fear tactics just to get them to sign up for your services.
Make them feel like you care and mean it, even if that means putting off a sale for the time being. In the long run, it’ll be worth it.
As we mentioned earlier, a credible online presence will go a long way in convincing your friends and family that you’re the ideal person to help them manage their finances. Here are a few things you can do:
Avoid using your personal accounts to market your financial consulting business to friends and family. Instead, create a separate, professional profile on platforms like LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. This way, you can control the information they see about you and your business.
Once you’ve created your financial advisor profiles, it’s important to be active on them. Post updates regularly, engage with your connections and join relevant online communities. The more active you are, the more likely it is that your friends and family will see you as a credible financial advisor.
In addition to social media, you should also have a dedicated website as part of your business growth strategy. Not only does this make you look more credible, but it also gives you a place to showcase your credentials, contact info, services, and testimonials.
Your professional image should also extend to your contact information. Make sure your email signature and voicemail message identify you as a financial advisor. You can even create a separate business phone number just for your financial advisor business.
A well-rounded marketing strategy will help you attract more clients, including friends and family. So, if you’re serious about growing your financial advisor business, it’s important to develop a marketing plan.
This plan should include everything from your target market to your marketing budget. Once you have a plan in place, you can start implementing various marketing tactics, such as online advertising, email marketing, and content marketing.
If you’re looking for help with your financial advisor marketing, Peregrine Consulting can assist. We specialize in creating custom marketing solutions for registered financial advisors and broker-dealers.
Our services include organic search visibility, online presence, and technological solutions. We also offer data-driven marketing strategies that are designed to improve your organic search visibility and build your online presence.
To learn more about how we can help you connect with more clients, contact us today. Let’s talk strategy!