What Goes into Converting a Name Into a Client?

Yes, you are right.  The business has changed.  We’ve gone from having a “dead leads drawer” to having a “dead leads file” online.  Maybe not so much has changed.  We work so hard to add new clients.  Do we pay much attention to what gets lost along the way?

A New York advisor explained the love/hate relationship between advisors and seminars.  The good news about seminars is you get your results immediately.  The bad news about seminars is you get your results immediately.  She explained the contradiction by saying if the attendee doesn’t become a client within 30 days, it’s unlikely they will ever become a client.

Fortunately, she had developed a system:

  • Step One:  Contact everyone who attended the seminar.  Ask for an appointment to meet;
  • Step Two:  If they won’t meet, ask if they would supply account statements (or discuss their history and holdings in detail);
  • Step Three:  If they won’t agree to either of the above steps, will they open up about their interests;
  • Step Four:  If you’ve struck out on all three steps, determine if the name or profile is of significant interest to keep ion the seminar invitation list.

The brilliance of this advisor’s strategy is that it tries to establish a degree of contact over a few weeks.  Assuming the “lead is dead” after 30 days, adding the name to the next round of seminar invitations resets the clock!

Here are some other points regarding following up leads:

  1. Follow up quickly.  Years ago, leads came in through channels that could age quickly.  The coupon clipped off an ad and mailed in is a good example.  Today, a lead that came from an online inquiry or a social media connection could have been made only minutes ago. If someone had an immediate question they want an immediate answer.
  2. Not everyone is ready to commit.  That’s been true forever.  Try selling them something else.  The logical “product” would be agreeing to receive your eNewsletter.  Another “product” might be sending an LinkedIn invitation, because connecting would be a channel that could provide them with timely information.  There needs to be a benefit to staying in touch.
  3. Follow up.  Most people agree follow up is the area where most agents and advisors tend to fall down.  You got a lead.  You followed up.  They weren’t interested.  Does that mean they will never be interested, not now or ever?  Probably not.  You might follow up within 30 days.  A short enough time for them to remember you but long enough that their situation might have changed.  States have their own rules, but the general DNC guideline is following up prospects is allowed within 90 days of their inquiry. (1)
  4. Track commitments.  Your client contact system (CRM) can help here.  Someone says:  “Call me in six months.”  You tell someone “I’ll send you my information.”  You need a system to double check what you said you would do.
  5. Different channels.  You can list at least half a dozen ways a prospect receives information.  If you tried one channel and it isn’t working, try a couple of others.  Once you find one that works, stick to that one in the future.  Some people ignore phone calls but answer e-mails.  You know a few.
  6. Build a category.  There will be leads that don’t work out.  Probably many.  Within the DNC rules (check with your firm) build a file of “cold leads.”  Put in place a strategy to send something every few months.  This process can likely be automated.  It keeps your name in circulation.

Finally, trace the path from suspect to prospect to client.  Identify all the places someone could fall between the cracks.  Put a plan in place to recover those names.  You are in the business of helping people.  You never want someone to say to a client: “I called the guy you recommended.  He never got back to me.”

Related: Do Some Clients Ignore Their Portfolios?

(1) https://www.lexology.com/library/detail.aspx?g=36104f23-095e-488d-baff-55c14dd07716