James R VealJames R. Veal is CEO and founder of JRV Wealth Management Group, based in Philadelphia, Pa. He believes that helping to further your community is not only personally fulfilling — it’s the best way to add to your client base.

Veal says, “My best marketing tactic still remains teaching an adult financial educational course at a local university. It is an excellent way to build credibility, trust, honesty and potential clients. My largest high-net-worth clients have always come from referrals from the students who enroll in my classes.”

LHP: Tell me about your practice.

JV: JRV Wealth Management Group, LLC is an SEC–registered investment advisor based in Philadelphia, Pa. As an African American working in the financial services industry over the past 15 years, [I’ve seen] a severe concern about financial illiteracy in the United States, especially among those in the minority communities. So, over three years ago I decided to strike out on my own to provide financial planning and investment advisory solutions to combat poverty and incorporate wealth-building strategies —especially for those in the African American communities.

LHP: Describe your ideal client.

JV: My niche market is concentrated in the African American community. My ideal client is a baby boomer. Over the next 20 years, over 76 million baby boomers will be retiring and 9 million of them are African Americans. So, my concentration is geared toward prospects between the ages of 55–70 who are blue-collar city/state/government employees who have at least $100,000 in liquid assets in preparation for retirement.

LHP: Your No. 1 tip is about teaching financial education courses. How has teaching grown your business? 

JV: I have been teaching an evening adult financial education course called ”Ways to Pay Yourself First” at Temple University for the past 11 years. It has been simply incredible! First, many people out there are seriously concerned about their finances and there aren’t many places to go or people to see that can help them. Now there is no excuse, so they can enroll in the class. Second, the financial education class is an eye-opener and something they have never experienced. What they do next is share the information and experience with their friends, family, and colleagues. The end result is that more than half of my practice is built on behalf of the students who enroll in the class. Even more exciting about this concept is that my largest clients have come from the referrals that I have received from students. It never fails! Like Yogi Berra said, “It’s like déjà-vu all over again.”

LHP: What adjective best describes your prospecting style?

JV: The best way I can answer that is by asking another question, “What is the financial problem plaguing most people in America?” So, my mission is to educate as many people as I can by providing FREE seminars, workshops and financial educational classes to combat their fear, concern and pain about managing money, so that they won’t live in poverty in retirement. My mission is combating financial illiteracy through financial education.

LHP: Are there any new marketing tools or applications that you find interesting?

JV: Surprisingly, yes. I am very surprised by the impact of social media. People are willing to send you money and open new accounts without even seeing you. However, I refuse to open new accounts without meeting someone face-to-face. I was told that if you have any interest in writing articles, blogging and writing columns for your local newspapers can instill credibility and get you noticed.  I have taken advantage of that, and it does work. Social media is real!

LHP: What goal(s) do you have for your practice for the remainder of 2012?

JV: Despite only minuscule improvements in the U.S. economy, we have done well thus far in 2012. We would still like to increase our assets under management (approximately $10 million). Since our concentration is geared toward the baby boomer market, our insurance business has increased significantly. For example, we have the names of at least three thousand city employees in our niche who will be retiring in the next few years and our goal is to have 5% of them come aboard with us each year. Half of the year is just about over and we are at 1% to date. Also, we have not been too effective in asking for referrals in the past, so there are systems in place to increase that particular marketing strategy. 

For more sales & marketing tips, see LifeHealthPro’s 100 Best Sales & Marketing Ideas Ever.