Financial advisors and wealth managers cited referrals from existing clients as the most successful way of gaining new clients, while the most popular marketing tactic was sponsoring or hosting events that allow for face-to-face networking.

In a survey of 262 financial advisors by Advisors Trusted Advisor, the respondents listed those two tactics as their most successful techniques. The second-best new business source chosen was gaining referrals through other trusted advisors, while speaking at events and client seminars were a virtual tie for second as marketing tactics.

In last place as the most successful tactic on the marketing side was social media, which tied with cold calling for new business. However, the pervasiveness of social media does seem to be growing among respondents. Compared to a 2009 survey on business building by Advisors Trusted Advisor, LinkedIn use has more than doubled, and those who say their firm disallows the use of social media has plummeted from 65 to 33 percent.

The new survey also shed light on the roles of those primarily responsible for attracting financial advisory business to a firm. While firm owners or principals are the main people involved in selling, this category dropped the most (to 52 percent from 56 percent in the 2009 survey), while dedicated sales executive grew the most, to 16 percent from 10 percent.

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