Targeting Clients: Should You Use a Rifle or Shotgun? Laser-Scope?

By Amy McIIwain, President, Financial Social Media on Thursday, April 14th, 2011

An interview with David Friedman, EVP of Strategy, WealthX

Classically, as marketers we often use the expression: taking a “rifle or shotgun approach”. Which approach to attracting new clients (targeted versus generic) should financial advisors use? David Friedman’s answer: they need a laser-scope rifle. 

What I am hearing from financial advisors who want to grow their practice is that they would like to focus on the younger generation because current lucrative HNW clients are retiring and in some cases, dying. The challenge for these advisors is to understand how to engage these potential clients. I spoke with David Friedman on the eve of his April 14th breakfast briefing on strategic business development to get his perspective on this topic.

How should advisors think about strategic business development?

The market crash rallied everyone. Advisors that were used to sitting at their desk and getting referrals need to think strategically now about business development. What I am seeing is a paradigm shift from “what referrals will I get?” to “who do I want to work with?” Today, what advisors need is a laser-scope rifle.

So how can advisors who want to attract the younger generation be strategic about it?

There is a huge opportunity to tap into among the younger generation – the tech entrepreneurs. However, just because you create a Facebook page doesn’t mean you will be successful in attracting them. Unless you have unique content, you won’t engage them. You better understand who they are. If you think you’ll win simply by having the latest product, you’ll lose. You need to think about:

1. What is the unique offering you have that fits to that individual and relates to who they are?

2. How do you communicate that unique offering? 

In general, tech entrepreneurs are driven by the fact that they created their own wealth. With that comes the belief that they know what is best. You need to create a relationship where you earn the right to be heard through trust.  

What are some tips for building trust with potential clients?

The only solution is an oxymoron -- every person is different. You need to understand an individual on a case-by-case basis and then pull out the unique elements from your offering that has to do with those areas. You build trust with shared common passions or hobbies or existing relationships. WealthX offers dossiers on ultra HNW individuals to help advisors better understand them and how to engage with them. Those things will allow you to be heard, and then you can offer a strategy for consideration. Advisors should be doing as much research as they can before walking into client meetings.   LinkedIn and Facebook are unbelievable tools. The younger generation, in particular, is on LinkedIn. 


David Friedman is Executive Vice President of Strategy at WealthX. Former Managing Director at CB Richard Ellis, an advisor to the Saudi Royal Family, Jumeirah Capital, Malaysian Sovereign Wealth Fund and Kuwait Finance House.  877-887-8454

Cynthia Stephens is Vice President of Marketing at ByAllAccounts. Previously, Cynthia was Director of Marketing at Compete, one of the fastest growing technology companies in New England. 


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