Most financial advisors find it difficult to generate consistent leads. The primary reason for this is that they’re not using the correct strategies. In most cases they are using old strategies that are no longer very effective in the modern world. These older, outdated strategies include cold calling, direct mail, and newspaper or magazine ads.
Financial advisors might see some results using these archaic tactics, but they’re not cost or time efficient. If you were to survey top financial advisors, not one of them will tell you that their primary lead-generation strategies include one of those listed above. They still have some potential, but should not be the preferred method of generating leads. (For more, see: Trends Challenging Financial Advisors).
Here’s a quick breakdown of why a few of the more common strategies are not powerful:
- Cold Calling: Financial advisors receive a lot of negative responses about cold calls. 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.)
- 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 post articles that 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.)
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 means that auto-responders are imperative. You also want to be available via phone at all times, including during lunch. Most local prospects will call during their lunch break, 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. Staying in contact shows that you’re caring and not just a salesperson. It also increases the amount of leads that you get from referrals.
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:
- LinkedIn: 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.)
- 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 skyrocket.
- Dinner Seminars: Don’t be cheap with the restaurant venue and only invite specific prospects. This method of lead generation can involve a high cost, 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.
- Educational Workshops: A more affordable alternative to dinner seminars. And people much prefer workshops over one-on-one sales meetings as it provides an environment that is not so high-pressure for the prospective client. (For more, see: How to Be a Top Financial Advisor.)
- Lead Groups: These groups often meet once per week and share highly qualified leads, but these are generally business professionals from different industries, so you don’t have to worry too much about competition.
- Free Reports: Whether it’s through snail mail, email, or any form of communication, 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.
- 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.)
- Facebook: This is becoming more and more prevalent, 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.
- Google Ads: These can be expensive depending on your budget, so make sure your ads are highly targeted.
- Newspaper Article: This is different from 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 throughout your community. When this happens, you don’t need to search for prospects. They will come to you.
Contrary to what you might hear or 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 every 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 new retirees and help adult children take care of their parent’s finances, strongly consider formulating a sales funnel for this market. 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.
Financial advisors have an opportunity to capitalize on the largest generation in history retiring in droves. Older lead generation strategies should not be excluded, but they should no longer be the focal point either. (For more, see: Growth Strategies for Financial Advisors.)