Qualified leads for financial advisors come in many different phases of the buyer’s journey. Some leads are ready to hire a financial advisor in the next 30 days, while other leads are still gathering information online and are not yet ready to act. These information-seekers may want to learn more about financial advisors in general or about specific advisors they are thinking about interviewing.
Regardless of their immediate intentions, every name on a lead list for financial advisors should be followed up with. That could be a telephone call, an email or content that is produced by advisor CRM systems.
We strongly recommend these follow-up procedures. They are based on thousands of investor leads and the experience of several hundred advisors.
First and foremost, you must make sure investors know this is not a solicitation.
Unless an investor requests email follow-up, Paladin strongly recommends follow-up by telephone call for the following reasons:
- A telephone call is a more personal form of contact.
- Investors may have short timelines.
- Competitors may be calling investors.
- Emails can be caught in spam filters.
- Investors may not open emails.
However, some leads will request email contact. There is a good chance they had a bad experience with a previous advisor and are concerned about high-pressure sales tactics on the telephone. Advisors should honor this request. If not, advisors risk alienating investors who may regard them as pushy salespeople.
An email strategy should be very similar to a telephone strategy that is explained below.
Paladin research shows advisors should follow up with leads as soon as possible, but no later than the same business day. The warmer the lead, the higher the probability advisors will have a positive outcome.
Leads may be talking to other advisors and/or submitted their information on multiple financial advisor websites. Because we don’t know how many advisors the investors are talking to, we recommend quick follow-up to minimize the risk of being pre-empted by a competitor. The bottom-line is advisors do not know the number of competitors. So it is safer to assume there is a lot of competition and act accordingly.
Paladin’s 5-Step Follow-Up Process
We recommend a 5-step process for establishing contact with prospective clients.
Step 1: Always follow up with a telephone call unless the prospect requests email only. Once they reach the prospect, advisors should have a conversation about the investors’ needs, requirements and goals. If advisors do not reach investors, they should leave messages that emphasize the advisors are responding to the investors’ request for contact.
Advisors should be aware of the type of telephone they called: Home phone, office phone or cell phone. This could be an indicator when to follow-up with investors.
Step 2: Call the prospect a second time. Advisors should initiate a second call in case the investors were out. Continue to emphasize that the process was initiated by the investors when they requested to be contacted by advisors.
Step 3: Send a first email. Make sure the email describes the calls and the purpose of the call. The initial call is for screening to determine mutual interest. If there is, leads become active prospects for advisor services.
Step 4: Send a second email. Again, explain the previous contact attempts. However, this time advisors tell leads they will stay in touch in case their needs change or they are ready to schedule an initial telephone call.
Step 5: Add leads to CRM system. Advisors should assume there is no such thing as a bad lead. The principle issue is timing, when investors are ready to start interviewing advisors. It is frustrating when investors aren’t ready to talk right away, but advisors should not forego future contact opportunities. Time and time again, investors have initiated contact with financial advisors when they are ready to talk.
Telephone Contact Techniques
It pays to have a script that outlines advisor talking points. What can advisors say that will cause investors to schedule in-depth interviews? Most importantly, what differentiates advisors from other advisors. A clear description of advisors’ value propositions can be particularly effective. Advisors’ effectiveness goes up when they know what they are going to say next. And listening skills are improved because advisors don’t have to think as much.
Advisors may want to consider having two scripts. The first is when they are interacting with leads on the telephone. The second is when they leave messages on investor voicemails.
When advisors leave messages, they should make sure the scripted message describes the purpose of the call and outcomes. For example, the purpose of the call is introductory. The outcome of the call is to schedule an interview, if there is mutual interest. It is important to make investors feel safe when they are being asked to contact advisors they don’t know.
We all know some leads do not return phone calls or emails. What we don’t know is why. Most investors are inclined to protect their contact information. After all, they don’t know the advisors or what the advisors will do with their information. But they should have known that before they submitted their data. So why submit the data and not respond when advisors follow-up?
- Some qualified leads for financial advisors submit their data on multiple websites and don’t return every phone call.
- Sometimes there are timing issues.
- Some investors are information-seekers about financial advisors.
- Some leads make last-minute decisions to select other advisors.
- Sometimes leads start the process and get cold feet.
It pays to contact every lead and follow the process that is described in this article. There are leads who do not return calls and there are leads who produce thousands of dollars of revenue. It is one big numbers game and it is impossible to predict the responsiveness of investors – no matter how qualified they might be.
That’s why it is important for advisors to stay in touch with all leads regardless of how they respond to the initial contact request. Advisor perseverance has produced multi-million-dollar relationships in the past and it will in the future.
The Cautious Investor
Advisors need to think of ways they can make investors feel safe. That is because investors are cautious by nature. Maybe they had a bad experience with a previous financial advisor. Or maybe this is the first time they have selected an advisor. Regardless, it is important to make investors feel safe and secure when they visit advisor websites and are asked to initiate contact.
We recommend avoiding the use of outdated Outbound Marketing strategies that advisors have used for decades to initiate contact with investors. Cold calling rarely works and direct mail never makes it into the investors’ homes. These obsolete sales tactics are based on advisors initiating contact with investors – investors who do not want to be contacted.
The Internet is a game-changer. It empowers investors to find and research advisors while maintaining their anonymity.
Paladin Digital Marketing has been using Digital Marketing strategies since 2003 to produce qualified leads for a select group of RIAs and IARs who are members of its Registry. Paladin Digital Marketing has become a leading expert that specializes in helping financial advisory firms accelerate the growth of their businesses.
Contact us to see how we can help you use the Internet to increase your revenues, AUM and profitability.