An inside-out growth strategy means capitalizing on the clients, colleagues and friends in a financial advisor’s network to reach and convert new clients who aren’t.

Outside-in means venturing out of the advisor’s network to establish relationships with cold leads.

Inside-out includes methods that bring an advisor the most desired type of contacts: referrals. When advisors build stronger relationships with their contacts and give them a way to make easy referrals, advisors grow from within their networks to outside of them.


Virality for a business isn’t like a large brand or persona “going viral,” which is overkill for an advisory business. Viral buzz for advisors means that their networks associate the advisor’s firm with a strong digital presence, helpful content, responsiveness and availability.

An example would be if a clients’ friends ask for advice on investments, they think to forward an advisor’s most recent email on the market.

Viral buzz comes through consistent, high-quality, frequent updates via email, social media and a firm’s website. These platforms target an advisor’s existing network and require few resources.


The most powerful strategies to acquiring $1 million-plus affluent clients are referral alliances, such as certified public accountants and attorneys; unsolicited referrals; and personal introductions.

All are based on referrals from within the advisor’s network. Affluent investors need to trust their advisors, and if those in an advisor’s network trust him or her as credible, reliable and knowledgeable, they are far likelier to refer that advisor.


Consumers seek out and trust strong reviews from people they know, with 84% saying that they either completely or somewhat trust recommendations from family and friends. This information source, ranked highest for trustworthiness, makes all the difference when turning leads into clients.

Recommendations from trusted connections remain valuable and now more accessible and repeatable than ever.


Being able to share digital content and generate more referrals is key to developing and building an advisor’s business organically. The ability to communicate to clients and prospects with personalized and automated emails, social-media posts and website content full of interesting, shareable digital information will increase a firm’s footprint and global reach.

When an advisor’s network naturally shares, he or she capture the identities of these new readers and their interests, and that can organically build a client base.

An outside-in growth strategy mostly falls on deaf ears. Advisors should go inside their networks because the voice of a trusted friend is always heard more loudly than a cold call or advertisement.

Justin Wisz is the chief executive of New York-based Vestorly, a platform that allows advisors to communicate with clients and prospects through social media.

This story is part of a 30-day series on how to prosper as an advisor.