If you are looking to attract baby boomers and retirees as new clients, you have to prove that you can solve problems that are important to these prospects, says Rosemary Smyth, business coach to financial advisors and founder of Rosemary Smyth and Associates in Victoria. You must demonstrate that your expertise is strong enough to make it worthwhile for prospects to leave their current financial advisory relationship and put their trust in a new team.

It is not enough, Smyth says, to tell a prospect: “I know you’ve been with someone for 30 years, but I’m better.”

“That’s not going to work,” she says.

What does work is acknowledging that the concerns of clients who are in retirement or approaching retirement revolve around two main issues: how much money they will need in retirement, and whether they have enough assets to retire.

Hélène Gagné, financial advisor and portfolio manager with Peak Private Wealth, a division of Peak Securities Inc., in Montreal, has been successful in persuading mature prospects to work with her.

Gagné has spent most of her 30-year financial services career working with mature clients. Half of Gagné’s client base has already retired. New clients come to her, she says, because they are looking for a specialty their current advisor does not offer.

“We will find clients who are just about to retire and they might be satisfied with the work of their previous advisor,” says Gagné, who has written two books on retirement strategies. “But, sometimes, [these prospects] feel this advisor does not have the expertise they are looking for and that they will need during retirement years regarding withdrawal strategies and retirement vehicles.”

Advisors who take a “holistic” approach to wealth management will stand out in this market, according to Sara Gilbert, founder of Strategist Business Development in Montreal.

If you can answer questions about topics such as insurance, tax strategies and estate planning, you will make a stronger impression than an advisor who focuses solely on investments, for example. In fact, Gilbert says, advisors who do not have access to estate planning services should not even consider working with pre-retirees and retirees.

Smyth advises using creative strategies to make your expertise known to prospective clients. Newsletters, webinars and seminars are some of the ways to get your message across.

For example, Smyth tells of an advisor who had a client who was retiring from her teaching job and had questions regarding ways to collect her pension – as did nine of her colleagues who were also about to retire. The advisor organized a seminar specifically for this client and her colleagues to provide the information they needed. The event helped the group – and was a business-building tool for the advisor.

“This is an easy way to prospect these people,” Smyth says, “because you’ve shown them you understand what their needs are and that you would be a resource for them.”

Similarly, suggests Duncan MacPherson, CEO of Pareto Systems Inc. in Kelowna, B.C., if one of your clients is retiring soon, you might consider throwing a party to mark the occasion and invite your clients’ friends. “[The party] ends up being a great showcase for the advisor to get in front of a lot of good people,” MacPherson says.

The party becomes an opportunity to introduce yourself to your clients’ friends in a pressure-free environment. The key is to avoid a sales pitch.

If the event is handled well, these friends will be impressed by your effort to celebrate your client’s success, MacPherson says. The attendees are likely to engage you in discussions that lean toward financial topics. You can briefly describe how you help your clients, then suggest booking appointments if they would like to discuss the topic further.

Gagné uses her writing skills to help her attract new clients. The books on retirement strategies help prospective clients understand Gagné’s approach to providing financial advice. She raises her profile further through her regular appearances in consumer publications and on local television, through which she demonstrates her expertise.

If you have a younger client base, Gilbert suggests, you can expand into the older-client market by meeting your clients’ parents. If you have strong relationships with clients in their 30s and 40s, you might invite those clients’ parents to a meeting at which you can explain how you can help the whole family.

Your ability to inform young clients and their parents regarding the importance of issues such as long-term care insurance and choosing the right executor offers a vital service to both generations.

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