Financial Advisor Prospecting: 4 Strategies to Take You to Another Level

I love to run. I run a few races a year but get bored easily. To break out of a rut, I like to try new things.

That’s why I recently jumped at the chance to compete in RAGNAR, a 12-person relay race from Madison, Wis. to Chicago, Ill. RAGNAR tested me mentally and physically, and it opened my eyes to new ways of doing things.

Advisors I meet are often in the same boat when it comes to prospecting. You may be actively prospecting for new clients but struggle to identify the right opportunities. It may be because you’re doing things ‘old-school’ or, let’s face it, in a rut. Or maybe you don’t know what else to do.

I’m here to help you get back on track and help take your prospecting to another level. These strategies are already being used successfully by advisors around the country. Just be open to new ideas and new ways of prospecting.

#1) Use LinkedIn’s Advanced People Search

I’m surprised how many advisors aren’t aware of LinkedIn’s Advanced People Search. This is probably the best prospecting tool an advisor has today! It’s free, doesn’t take much time and leverages your strongest referral partners – your clients, family, friends and other connections. Here’s a 4-minute video to show you exactly how to use LinkedIn’s Advanced People Search.

#2) Leverage Your LinkedIn Connections

A lot of advisors use LinkedIn connections for leads, but some also use an easy and repeatable process to generate opportunities. Here’s a strategy a Chicago-area advisor uses…

He runs a LinkedIn search on his connections’ connections (no, that’s not a typo) to identify potential leads. For example, if he’s having lunch with a friend or client, he’ll pull up their LinkedIn profile prior to the meeting and click on their connections (see graphic below).

He’ll then search those connections for the keywords, like ‘president,’ ‘executive’ or ‘CEO’, then tags them and prints out the list. Finally, he selects 5-7 names of people he wants to get in front of and asks his connection for information and if they’d be willing to give him an introduction.


While this strategy takes 30-60 minutes a week, this advisor really feels like it’s worth his time. He’s generating 2-3 introductions a week, which usually leads to one legitimate conversation. Moreover, he’s picked up several new clients, including a few corporate retirement plans, and he’s working on a handful of other opportunities at the moment.

#3) Review WARN Act Data and Pair with a LinkedIn Search

Do an online search for plant closings or company layoffs in your state. An easy way to do this is through the federal Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act, which requires employers to provide a 60-day notice in advance of covered plant closings and mass layoffs.

To run this type of search, simply go to and type in “WARN Act” and “Iowa” (as an example). Then find the website that actually lists the companies that are closing or having mass layoffs. Here’s the WARN Act website for Iowa.

What you’re looking for is the actual report, shown below. Once you have this information, search by the company name on LinkedIn’s Advanced People Search to find current or recently released employees, then consider leveraging a shared connection to reach out to them and offer help/support.Warn Report

#4) Find “Takeover” Opportunities via Form 5500 Data and Pair with LinkedIn

If you’re in the corporate retirement plan space, Lord Abbett’s Insights & Intelligence tool is a must-use! You’ll find key information about a retirement plan(s), including plan type, size, assets, number of participants and even the plan contact, using information submitted on Form 5500.

But that’s only the tip of the iceberg. You’ll also get a feel for potential red flags in the Ideas into Action section (screen shot below). This section is a gold mine if you know what you’re looking for. It often leads to a face-to-face meeting with retirement plan contacts if pitched correctly. To access this FREE tool, simply register on Lord Abbett’s website.

Once you identify the red flags on the retirement plan(s), use LinkedIn to look up the retirement plan contact. From there, you might reach out to a Shared Connection and ask for an introduction or send a connection request with a brief message about why you’re reaching out to them. There are a number of ways to go about this, so go with the approach with which you feel most comfortable.

TIP: Work with a retirement representative from The Principal® for help identifying the red flags in the Lord Abbett report and teeing up the right message to the plan sponsor.

Ferchen Blog_Ideas into Action

LinkedIn Can Be a Critical Piece of Any Prospecting Effort, so Use It!

As you can see, LinkedIn is a critical piece of these strategies, so it’s important to understand how it works and what you can do with it. Fortunately, there’s a ton of great information online—like this blog—to help.

If you’re new to LinkedIn, get familiar with it and consider these tips:

  • Work with someone on your profile.
  • Don’t connect with anyone you’re not close with; you want quality contacts.
  • You’re going to have some hits/misses, but keep using it.
  • Learn how to do Boolean searches.
  • Don’t be afraid to work with your best friends and mentors.

Financial advisors, these are just a few strategies you can use to take your prospecting efforts to another level, but there are others. What strategies are you using to prospect? How has social media helped your prospecting efforts? What are your favorite social media sites to prospect with, and why? I’d love to hear from you and potentially share any ideas along with other professionals, so drop me a line in the comments or on Twitter/LinkedIn.


For more information, check me out on Twitter, where I regularly share social media tips, advice, trends and more, including how to build your business with social media.

Affiliation Disclosures 

Insurance products and plan administrative services are provided by Principal Life Insurance Company, member of the Principal Financial Group® (The Principal®), Des Moines, IA 50392.

© 2015 Principal Financial Services, Inc. l t151104032c