Newcomers to Canada can be a valuable source of new business, with an average of 250,000 people moving to Canada each year.
Typically, a significant number of newcomers rely on family and friends for financial guidance once they arrive in Canada. However, the majority do not, says Raymond Yates, financial advisor and senior partner with Save Right Financial Inc. in Brampton, Ontario.
“Targeting [newcomers] requires carefully designed strategies to get a slice of the newcomer pie,” notes Yates. “You cannot approach all newcomers using the same strategy. ” As a result, it is not useful to use an approach that assumes potential new clients in this group will respond to a ‘one-size-fits-all’ marketing method.
Here are five tips for building your business with newcomers:
1. Identify the right group
Newcomers come from diverse backgrounds, have different cultural experiences and generally speak many different languages. Based on an individual’s particular background, Yates says, “there are wide variations in their behaviour when it comes to discussing money issues; some understand investing, while investing is foreign to others.” So, it is critical for you to identify the group of newcomers you are most comfortable working with: this includes taking into consideration their attitudes towards money and how effectively you can communicate with them on financial topics, notes Yates.
2. Attend newcomer events
Attend events that attract newcomers, especially those that are hosted by community organizations, suggests Yates. He recommends that you become an active member in such organizations, taking on roles that will get you noticed. Doing so will give you an opportunity to establish personal relationships with potential clients, and their networks. “It can be a long process but you will eventually get a chance to pitch your wares,” Yates says.
3. Connect with centers of influence
Many newcomers, especially those who are professionals or those who already have some assets, may use the services of other professionals, such as lawyers, accountants and immigration consultants. By targeting these experts, you may obtain referrals. However, a successful referral ultimately comes down to how successful you are in distinguishing yourself from competitors, Yates says. Also keep in mind that, in some cases, some professionals who deal with immigrants, such as immigration consultant, may be able to provide you with a referral before a newcomer arrives in Canada.
4. Form alliances
It might be helpful to form alliances with other advisors when you are approaching newcomers as prospective clients. For instance, an advisor who speaks the language of a target group of newcomers can help to make communicating easier. As well, you can also collaborate to hold seminars and other events to build trust and confidence with a target group, says Yates. These events “can get you a lot of mileage if held at the community group level,” he advises.
5. Use education as a tool
Education can play an important role with newcomers, especially those who are not familiar with the Canadian financial services industry, says Yates. He suggests that you communicate in plain, simple language and avoid the use of jargon. “You can explain different types of products and how they work but never push products,” he says. “Your goal is to gain the confidence of newcomers and to establish some degree of trust,” he says. You should also strive to build your reputation by writing educational articles in community newspapers of interest to your target group and by becoming a speaker at community events.