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How to get your first 100 clients as a new RIA: Part one

I received this question on Twitter

Group 727I thought a lot about my answer, and now I’m sharing it with you as a three-part series. I hope that this advice will help any advisor out there looking to grow their practice efficiently and strategically.

My back story 

It’s been a while since I was just starting out, and what I did back then is probably a little bit different than what I’d do now. Much would be the same, but there are some really smart things advisors can do today that were a lot more difficult just a few years ago.

For some context, I built two RIA firms from the ground up over 15 years. Both grew to serve thousands of clients and manage multiple billions of dollars. I never took outside capital, and I grew my first business with no savings, no family money, and about $30,000 in cash from high-interest credit cards.

I had to be extremely efficient, both with capital and time. While I did some offline marketing, most of my business growth came from online marketing. Mostly content and mostly free. Not to brag (but actually a little humble brag), my online marketing efforts were some of the most effective in the industry, focused exclusively on attracting potential clients.

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Your guide to building a $100m RIA
These growth strategies will help you scale your practice rapidly.


Here's why you should lay the groundwork before kicking off any marketing

So here’s what I would advise a new advisor looking to reach their first 100 clients: Build your business online. But first, there are a few things you should figure out before you start building content or running ads. Unfortunately, I see a lot of advisors out there throwing content against the wall to see what sticks and mostly getting poor results.

To help advisors better understand what they want out of their business (and life), I created a workbook called Advisor Influence. That’s where I think all advisors and entrepreneurs should start. It provides some key insights into what really matters in life and how your business should be structured to help get you there. It also helps clarify your unique value proposition, who your ideal client is (usually a fairly defined niche), and what resources will be most useful for you to reach them.

You can grab a copy of my workbook for free here.

Start by attracting clients broadly

Until recently, it was pretty hard to be found by people in your own community looking for financial advice. Now, it’s pretty easy. 

Here are three ways you can do it:

  1. Launch a website. Most advisors overthink this. Your website doesn’t need to have bells and whistles—keep it simple. When someone visits your site, they should know within a few seconds: who you work with and what problems you help solve. Here's an example of keeping it simple and to the point: Financial planning for commercial real estate property owners; minimize taxes and maximize liquidity.

    Once your headline explains who you work with and what problems you solve, you can add pages about your company/team, how you work with clients, and how to get started. Although your blog could be on a separate domain, if done right, it doesn’t have to be. Simple is almost always my preference.

    Also: Make it look good and avoid a non-differentiated, cliché logo (like a boat or compass).

  2. Register your business with Google. Samantha Russell from FMG Suite + Twenty Over Ten has many articles on best practices for Google My Business. Devour them and get your new RIA found via local search. The people who are searching locally aren’t always piping hot leads, but if someone sees your business description and is in your niche, that’s a different story. This is low-hanging fruit and doesn’t take a ton of effort. All RIAs should be doing this.

    As you acquire clients, you’ll also be able to have them leave reviews (depending on your state —make sure to do your own compliance diligence before embarking on testimonials). Once you have great reviews, you’ll rank higher and get more clicks, leads, and clients.

  3. Get listed. If you’re a member of an organization that supports advisor listings, be sure to sign up and optimize. I know advisors who occasionally get clients from their NAPFA, CFP board, or XYPN listings. However, I wouldn’t count on this being a huge source for new clients, but it could give you a little jump-start on your journey to 100.

Ready to learn more?

Check out part 2 in this series. I also invite you to learn more about Altruist. We help advisors seamlessly transition to the custodial platform built for RIAs. Simplify your tech stack, reduce overhead, delight your clients, and grow your business. Connect with our team now.

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