Some leads are ready to hire a financial advisor immediately, while others are still researching and gathering information. These information-seekers may want to learn more about financial advisors in general or want to get to one better first.
Regardless of their immediate intentions, every prospective client should be followed up with. It could be a quick phone call, an email or content that is produced by advisor CRM systems.
Here are some highly recommended tips by thousands of investor leads and the experience of several hundred advisors.
It is strongly recommended to 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.
Sometimes leads prefer or request email contact. There could have been a bad experience with a previous advisor or a concern for 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.
Research shows advisors should follow up with leads as soon as possible, but no later than the same business day. The hotter the lead, the more likely advisors will have a positive outcome.
Most leads talk 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, a quick follow-up to minimizes the risk of being pre-empted by a competitor. Advisors don't know the number of competitors, so it is safest to assume there's competition.
OUR 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 you reach the lead, you should have a conversation about the their needs, requirements and goals. If you do not reach the investor, then leave a short message that emphasizes that you are responding to their request for contact.
Being aware of the type of phone (Home phone, office phone or cell phone) you are calling could be an indicator of how 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 call 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 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 your talking points. What can advisors say that will cause investors to schedule in-depth interviews? Most importantly, what differentiates you from other advisors. A clear description of your value proposition 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. Investors are cautious by nature. They could have had a terrible experience with a previous financial advisor. Or maybe they are just new to this process. Regardless, it is important to make investors feel secure when they visit your websites and are asked to initiate contact.
We recommend avoiding the use of outdated Outbound Marketing strategies that advisors have used for decades to reach out to investors. Cold calling rarely works and direct mail never makes it into the investors’ homes.
The Internet is a game-changer. It empowers investors to find and research advisors while maintaining their anonymity.