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How new advisers can make their mark with a personal brand

Attracting clients and building a book can be major challenges for new advisers. Marketing yourself through personal branding is one proven way of speeding up the sales process.

Personal branding starts with who you are as a person and what drove you to become a financial adviser. It is your unique combination of values, skills, and attributes that determine what people experience when they interact with you and how you make them feel.

While we know how important positive personal brands are in the workplace, some advisers are leveraging theirs more broadly on social media platforms to offer education, share their services, and attract new clients. This is a compelling strategy for people transitioning out of the professional year who are developing their brand as a new adviser and building a book of clients from the ground up.

A core part of CFS 10x is working with advisers on the issues that matter most to them. We’ve heard from many professional year advisers about stepping out from the shadow of their mentors. While the professional year framework supports the gradual increase of responsibility and client interaction, it doesn’t necessarily prepare people to go from revenue enablers to revenue generators. For this reason, we partnered with Ensombl to create a video series to share the expertise of leading advisers and personal brand specialists.

Why personal brand matters

As human beings, we naturally connect with people, not companies. Richard Branson and Steve Jobs are great examples of people who have had tremendous business success and have strong personal brands.

But not all of us are natural marketers, especially when it comes to ourselves. In fact, award-winning financial adviser Adele Martin says the idea of personal branding horrified her when it was first suggested by a business coach 10 years ago.


First of all, she hadn’t really seen it done in financial planning. And she wanted to build a business, rather than become a personality that stood out in a crowd.

A business trip to the US changed her perspective. She saw successful financial planners who were confident to share their own opinions, to be themselves and who were reaching far more people as a result.

That’s when her personal brand journey really started.

“I realised if I wanted to have a big impact and help more people, that’s what I’m going to have to do” she said.

Leveraging the opportunity

A personal brand is portable. It can move with you from practice to practice as you progress through your career.

Firms with PY advisers should encourage them to develop their own brand. It’s a great way of bringing in new clients and can be an opportunity to tap into new client segments. It can also materially speed up the sales process. When people feel a connection to you before you’ve even met and have a sense of your expertise and what you stand for, you spend less time proving your value.

For Martin, connecting with prospective clients online first has “cut the sales process considerably, sped up how advisers get paid but also means people are getting advice quicker. Because if they don’t go to you, chances are they’re doing nothing”.

Three common personal branding mistakes to avoid

Marketing expert Lisa Greensill has worked with plenty of financial advisers over the years, helping them to overhaul their personal and business brands with great results. She says there are three common mistakes to avoid when beginning your personal brand journey:

  1. The chameleon effect: This is when you try to be everything to everyone and end up getting lost in the background. Get clear about who it is you want to be speaking to. Find your tribe and stand for something. That way people can easily place you in their world.
  2. Self-promotion spamming: A common trait of always promoting your products and services without adding any value. It can be difficult to get the balance right. You need to be confident without being salesy. Instead of selling your services, try sharing stories about yourself and your clients. Remember that you are trying to build real connections with people.
  3. Measuring vanity metrics alone: It can be easy to focus on how many likes or followers you have on social media. Quick tip? Forget about the metrics. Just be consistent with your content and focus on who you are trying to connect with. Measure success on the connections you make with new people and the quality appointments in your diary.

Kate Winkler is national manager engagement at CFS.