Do Lead Generation Services for Financial Advisors Work?

Financial advisors understand the importance of a digital presence to generate leads. However attracting leads by establishing, maintaining and growing that presence is a challenge, especially when just starting out. Lead generation services help in this regard. But whether a lead gen service is right for you will depend on your firm.

In this post, we’ll explore some of the businesses that provide advisor lead gen services, and include some questions you can use to determine the best option for your firm. But before we can look at any of those, let’s start from the top; in what ways do financial advisors get leads in the first place?

How Do Financial Advisors Generate Leads?

Advisors attract leads in two general ways, organic leads and paid lead-generating services. Organic leads are often more expensive up-front, but often pay off in the long run once a digital presence is established, and leads naturally discover your firm. Lead gen services require payment overtime to direct leads to your site, they require less up-front cost, but don’t come with the same long-term benefits. The direction you choose will depend on your firm, so consider the following before making a decision.

Organic Lead Generation

Organic lead generation relies on your firm’s digital presence to attract leads. Some factors that influence organic lead generation include:

  1. Your firm’s website.
  2. Application of SEO principles.
  3. Social media.
  4. Content creation (blogs, videos, infographics, studies, etc.)

For the sake of comparison, organic lead generation is your firm’s in-house marketing. Check out the following video to learn more about organic lead generation.

How Do Lead Generation Services Work?

Advisors pay lead gen companies to attract leads and match them with the financial advisor. The details, costs and additional benefits of these services depend on the lead gen company. Lead gen companies typically also have a vetting process for clients and advisors. This process helps the company understand the financial advisor’s services while qualifying leads to match them with the appropriate advisor.

Choosing a Lead Generation Service

Lead generation services have many variables that can affect the cost, competition and quality of the lead. Consider the following questions when deciding which lead gen service to use.

How much will a lead gen service cost?

First and foremost, how much will the service cost? This can make the difference in both the company you choose and the lead gen strategy you establish.

How does the company acquire and qualify leads?

What criteria does the company set and how do they vet leads before connecting them with advisors. Furthermore, how do they categorize advisors? Are there limitations to the number of leads an advisor might receive?

How competitive is the service?

Some lead gen companies set limitations, giving a set number of advisor options to leads. Other companies might provide an entire list to choose from. This could impact both the quality and quantity of the leads received.

What is the payment structure?

Do you pay per lead? Is it a monthly subscription payment?

7 Popular Lead Generation Services for Financial Advisors

Now that we know what to ask lead gen providers, let’s cover a few popular options. The following information comes directly from each company’s site and was compiled to save you time. Please keep this in mind as you make a decision for your firm. Be sure to visit each website for more information and updates.

1. SmartAsset:

SmartAsset gives leads a maximum of 3 advisors to choose from, reducing lead competition for advisors. Lead qualification is conducted through a quiz to understand financial goals and intent. Prices are not immediately available on SmartAsset’s website, though if you’re curious about their process, or applying to become a customer, more information is available on their site.


NAPFA focuses on providing leads to fee-only advisors. Leads discover advisors by receiving a list of advisors with NAPFA membership from their local area. Leads then select which advisor they are interested in before sending their contact information to all selected advisors. Limiting the database to fee structure helps limit competition, which could be offset depending on your local competition.

3. Garrett Planning Network:

Garrett Planning Network also works only with fee-only advisors. The website provides a detailed pricing page, with two packages available. The first package provides advisors with the resources to establish their digital presence, including a Twenty Over Ten website. The second package offers lead gen services to firms with an active digital presence. Garrett Planning Network uses a database approach with three filter options, service, specialty and location. Leads can use each of these filters to search through a list of multiple advisors. This option could work best for smaller firms, advisors with niche services or advisors looking for assistance establishing a digital presence.

4. GuideVine:

GuideVine understands the concerns of clients and provides a variety of tools to vet potential advisors. A database with filters for location, financial goal and assets helps leads find advisors. Once a search is performed, videos, advisor profiles and concierge meetings help leads select the advisor that’s right for them. These features may seem like extra work for an advisor, but they could also help leads self-qualify, improving the quality of lead your firm receives.

5. Financial Planning Association:

The FPA’s FPA Planner Search is a separate database for locating an advisor. FPA members are listed by location, similar to other database searches. Potential leads can search for advisors using a keyword, location, distance, speciality, fee type and even certifications. Similar to GuideVine, these filters allow potential leads to self-qualify. To be listed on the FPA Planner Search, advisors must first become a member. Membership is split into multiple categories with different associated fees. Visit the FPA’s site and FPA Planner Search to learn more.

6. Wiseradvisor:

Wiseradvisor takes multiple approaches to connect leads and advisors. Potential leads have the option to search through a database of advisors or perform a matching service, providing up to three advisors that meet the lead’s requirements. Leads are then contacted by Wiseradvisor before being connected with listed or matched advisors. Pricing is not immediately clear on the Wiseradvisor website, though advisors can request membership and information by signing up.

7. Paladin:

Paladin is a full-service digital marketing platform for financial advisors. Lead gen services through paladin were performed by Paladin Research and Registry. However, please note that Wiseradvisor purchased Paladin, making them one company. Paladin offers a simple quiz to potential leads to help match them with advisors. Though, one of the biggest advantages of Paladin is its related digital marketing firm, offering advisors a full digital presence, in turn helping attract leads no matter the advisor’s approach.

You’re Generating More Leads, Now What?

Lead generation is only part of attracting new clients. YCharts December 2019 study of advisor communication shows that clients don’t feel engaged. To make sure leads turn to clients, and clients stick around, advisors need to engage their clients more often.

According to the same study, clients crave engaging, personalized interaction, preferably through email. Sharing market updates, opinions and other content is a great resource to connect with these clients. However, writing engaging, worthwhile content takes time, which can be especially difficult for smaller firms.

Using Lead Pilot, advisors can engage their new leads and clients with customizable, pre-written content and branded personalized email campaigns. Advisors can even manage social media posts from one dashboard, making it easy to post content to multiple platforms. Built-in analytics also lets you track all of these features while adjusting performance on the fly. Some of the features of Lead Pilot include:

Lead Pilot Features


Once you’ve decided which lead generation strategy works best for you, head on over to the Lead Pilot website to learn more.

Wrapping Things Up

Whether you choose to take an organic approach or pay for a lead gen service is ultimately up to your firm. Be sure to keep the different options and tools from above in mind as you make your decision.

Related: When & How Clients Want Their Financial Advisor To Communicate With Them