Most financial advisors find it difficult to generate consistent leads. The primary reason is that they’re not using the correct strategies. In most cases, they’re using old strategies that aren’t highly effective in the modern world. They include cold calling, direct mail, newspaper and magazine ads, buying pre-set appointments and leads and owning their own website.

Financial advisors will see some results using these archaic tactics, but they’re not cost or time efficient. If you survey the top financial advisors (those with annual incomes north of $200,000), not one of them will tell you that they primarily focus on the the lead-generation strategies above. They can act as slump-breakers and have some potential, but should be seen as gravy, not the the meat and potatoes of lead generation. (For more, see: Trends Challenging Financial Advisors).

Overvalued Strategies

Here’s a quick breakdown of why the strategies mentioned above aren’t powerful:

  • Cold Calling: Financial advisors receive a lot of negative responses. When you combine that with a low success rate it leads to frustration and potential burnout.

  • Direct Mail: Viewed as junk mail by most recipients. It also doesn’t target a specific audience, which will lead to a very low conversion rate.

  • Newspaper and Magazine Ads: Once again, unless you are placing ads in niche publications, it doesn’t target a specific audience. This is also one of the least effective ways to target high-net-worth investors. (For more, see: High-Net-Worth Client Tips for Financial Advisors.)

  • Buying Pre-Set Appointments: Buying any type of lead isn’t organic. You’re not going to see high-quality results from this strategy.

  • Buying Leads: See “Buying Pre-Set Appointments.”

  • Website: This has more potential than any others on the list, but it comes down to efficiency. If you have a website with your name and contact information on it but no content, it’s not going to do much for you. However, if you hire knowledgeable writers at an affordable rate and those articles are geared toward your target audience, then you can increase your search engine optimization (SEO) rankings and generate qualified leads. The big downside here is that many of those leads won't be local. (For more, see: SEO Tips for Financial Advisers.)

To Do's

Knowing what not to do is just as important as knowing what to do. If you use the wrong strategies, your business will not be successful especially when competitors are employing the correct strategies. That said, the most important error financial advisors make when it comes to lead generation is that they spend too much time on it.

That might sound counterintuitive, but your time is valuable which is why autoresponders are imperative. You also want to be available via phone at all times, including during lunch. Most local prospects will call during their lunch, which is also yours. If you’re not available, it will decrease the odds of landing a meeting. (For more, see: Why Clients Fire Financial Advisors.)

An even more important note — perhaps the most important — is that most financial advisors don’t spend enough time communicating and relationship building with their current clients. This is an absolute necessity. Not only does the average person buy life insurance seven times throughout their lifetime, but staying in contact (without going overboard), shows that you’re caring and not just a salesperson.

Undervalued Strategies

Generating leads is easier than you might think. It’s just a matter of keeping up with today’s most effective maneuvers. Here’s a quick breakdown of 10 highly effective lead generation strategies:

1. LinkedIn, Corp. (LNKD): You can use the network tab to sort and filter contacts and send a simple message (perhaps with an investing or money management tip) to former colleagues and local business leaders. You can use the home tab to contact prospects about their career achievements or to like their content. You can use the advanced tab to use mutual connections to land introductions. Another important note: LinkedIn attracts a lot of high-net-worth individuals. (For more, see: How Financial Advisors Are Leveraging Social Media.)

2. Word of Mouth: This is expected, and you might think you have no control over it, but if you show current clients that you possess the four Cs — Credible, Caring, Collaborative, Chemistry — your odds of seeing client referrals skyrockets.

3. Dinner Seminars: Don’t be cheap with the restaurant venue and invitations and only invite specific prospects. This can lead to a cost as high as $5,000, but the return on investment (ROI) should be excellent if pulled off correctly. You could see 50+ high-quality prospects in less than two months.

4. Educational Workshops: A more affordable alternative to dinner seminars. And people much prefer workshops over one-on-one sales meetings (not a high-pressure environment). (For more, see: How to Be a Top Financial Advisor.)

5. Lead Groups: These groups often meet once per week and share highly qualified leads, but these are business professionals from different industries, so you don’t have to worry about competition.

6. Free Reports: Whether it’s through snail mail, email or any other manner, everyone is interested in free. If they like what they read and your contact information is available, don’t be shocked if you receive a strong response.

7. Community Networking: This takes a little longer because you have to establish trust. Getting involved in community events can go a long way if you’re consistent, especially if you’re sponsoring them and building a brand in the local area. You can also help build your brand on local radio shows, television shows, and podcasts. (For more, see: Networking for Financial Professionals: Maintaining a Strong Industry Presence.)

8. Facebook, Inc. (FB): This is a necessity in today’s world, and it will help form and build relationships over time. Financial advisors can also take advantage of Facebook Events, which can be used to notify users of upcoming occasions.

9. Google Inc. (GOOGL) Ads: These can be expensive depending on your budget so make sure your ads are highly targeted.

10. Newspaper Article: This is much different than a newspaper ad. If you have a local newspaper, contact them and request to write an article based on your area of expertise. If you get the green light, you will soon be seen as an authoritative figure (in finance) throughout your community. When this happens, you don’t need to search for prospects. They will come to you.

Extraordinary Potential

Contrary to what you might hear and read, there has been no better time throughout history to be a financial advisor. For the next 15 years, an average of 10,000 Baby Boomers will be retiring per day. The majority of them still haven’t figured out how to plan for retirement, partially because they don’t think they have enough money to do it. (For more, see: Top 10 Investments for Baby Boomers.)

If you think you can help in this regard as well as help people figure out how to pay for their children’s college education, current and future healthcare needs, how to take care of their parents from a fiscal standpoint, how to afford home repairs and still have money left over for living, strongly consider formulating a sales funnel. To simplify, use a three-step process: Lead Generation, Relationship Building, and Closing and Selling. Modify the sub-processes after figuring out what is the most and least effective. A lot will depend on your niche market.

The Bottom Line

Financial advisors have an opportunity to capitalize on the largest generation in history retiring in droves. Older lead generation strategies shouldn’t be excluded, but they should no longer be the focal point either. (For more, see: Growth Strategies for Financial Advisors.)

Disclosure: Dan Moskowitz does not have any positions in LNKD, FB or GOOGL.

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