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Next-Gen Prospects Are Wondering: Where Are You?

Today, the conversation isn’t led by you saying, “Let me tell you about our firm.” It’s led by prospects saying, “Hey, I’ve been following your content, and now I want to meet.”

Do you think it’s hard to find next-gen clients? You should hear them talk about what it takes to find you.

I have a personal story you might find interesting.

A high-Income Couple Sets Out to Find an Advisor

Two friends of mine—a millennial couple with young children—live in an upscale suburb of New York City. They’re high-earning executives who don’t own a home, so they’re sitting on quite a bit of cash. Amy and David (not their real names, obviously) have never worked with an advisor but felt for a while it might be time to start. Like typical millennials, they weren’t interested in referrals or in working with their parents’ advisors.

Defeated So Soon

Amy and David started looking in the normal way consumers shop today: online. Typing “Find an advisor near me” returned page after page of results, but they didn’t know how to filter. Overwhelmed by the sheer number of hits—and underwhelmed by the quality of information—they gave up looking for a while.

A few weeks ago, they heard that I was a speaker at the Barron’s 2024 Summit and figured I might know someone. They had Barron’s Top 100 list, but it doesn’t include any way for a consumer to figure out who might be a good fit other than geographic location and AUM.

I want to be clear. My friends weren’t coming to me for an insider referral. They wanted to go through the front door but didn’t know how. They went online, but no one was meeting them there.

At this point, I felt our industry had already lost the battle. But let’s continue the story anyway.

A New Hope

I posted a note on LinkedIn listing their needs, which were pretty basic. They’re typical modern consumers and wanted someone who looked like them—a high-earning millennial professional. Someone local who worked with a big firm, so their money would be safe, but didn’t make them feel like a charity case because they didn’t have enough assets.

What Have I Done?

My LinkedIn post elicited:

  • 15 referrals right in the comments;
  • 6 referrals from direct messages; and
  • 8 direct messages from large national wealth management platforms (I assume they didn’t want competitors to see them reaching out).

Each platform provided 2-3 advisor names, so the 8 messages translated to an additional 21 advisor names I had to research.

First, I want to thank everyone who responded. They were so helpful and wonderful, and I got a chance to reconnect with some old friends.

But there’s a different point to be made.

I Don’t Think I’m In the Right Place

Even for me, all these names were overwhelming, and I work in the industry. When I looked at some of the advisors’ websites, it wasn’t clear to me who they wanted to work with or what their services models looked like. Most sites discussed ultra-high-net-worth investors, legacy planning, private client services and wealth management. Many had high minimums.

Almost none spoke to my friends’ needs.

For a moment, I got excited when one firm (I’m not using names) sent a link to the “young executives” section of its website. However, that same page also talked about retirees, entrepreneurs, and women in transition. It felt like canned copy and didn’t make me feel good.

Victory at Last

Finally, another firm reached out to tell me a story about one of their advisors helping a young couple buy a home. The couple’s thank-you note still hung on the office wall.


That’s what I was looking for—a clear picture of the type of clients they serve, which nicely matched my friends’ profiles.

Looking back at the original LinkedIn thread, I realized other comments had also mentioned this same firm.

In addition to LinkedIn, I also checked The firm also popped up there, referred by more than one person.

As I looked deeper, it became clear the firm was doing digital right. They were active on social media, had a podcast, published content, told stories and leveraged social proof on AdvisorFinder.

We Are Missing Out on So Many Opportunities

The problem is, my friends would never have known to go to AdvisorFinder. Nor would they have known about “Find a CFP Professional,” how to use LinkedIn to find an advisor or which national platforms to contact.

We need to do better to engage people—to show up, humanize ourselves and speak to people who want to know us. The industry is trying, but its efforts so far are like disconnected dots. Individual firms are doing digital right, but there’s no web that weaves them together.

If this exercise taught me anything, it’s that digital marketing matters. Building relationships and influence online matters. There’s so much opportunity being overlooked.

  • Large wealth platforms must create matching tools that go deeper than zip codes. A tool like this doesn’t feel very personalized to a prospect.
  • Advisors need to move beyond impersonal, generic headshots and bios that sound the same and start speaking with humanity and extreme specificity.

This is Your Chance: Be a Star. Build Your fandom.

Doing more with digital doesn’t mean putting up a post and waiting for inquiries.

It means building relationships and influence online with hyper-relevant content to a hyper-specific audience. It’s about building a following, not a prospect list. You are trying to create a community of people who look like your ideal clients, so when they raise their hand to ask for help, you’ll be right there, poised to deliver it.

Today, the conversation isn’t led by you saying, “Let me tell you about our firm.” It’s led by people like my friends saying, “Hey, I’ve been following your content, and now I want to meet.”

My friends are, after all, the future of the industry. They’re looking for you online. Shouldn’t you be where they can find you?

Megan Carpenter is the founder and CEO of FiComm Partners.

TAGS: Marketing
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