Can You Reach the Top With Lead Programs?

Lead Programs – Recipe for Mediocrity?

While preparing for an in-person workshop with a financial firm, I was interviewing one of their newer advisors.

He was telling me about one of their lead programs designed to help him gain new clients. He told me, “It’s like kissing a lot of toads. It takes a whole lot of activity (time) to generate a qualified prospect.”

When I was interviewing the Managing Partner of the firm, he confessed, “Yes. For the leads coming in, it’s like kissing a lot of frogs.”

Toads? Frogs? Amphibians?  Funny!

Are lead programs a recipe for mediocre results?

I suppose it depends on the leads that are generated and where you are in your business.

In my 30+ years in this business, I’ve run across very few lead programs that an advisor can use to achieve and sustain a high level of success.  I’m sure there are exceptions, but I haven’t seen any… yet.

With the advisors mentioned above, most of their incoming leads were folks who first needed to get out of debt before they could hope to start saving and investing. If their business was geared toward helping clients get out of debt first, then I suppose that program would be a good fit for them. But it wasn’t.

Are you lead dependent or self-generating?

I believe that most financial professionals should aspire to be lead free – totally self-generating – within 3-5 years.   I’ve seen some advisors grow successful practices without ever using leads. I’ve seen others who can’t seem to kick the habit.

Part of the challenge is brain wiring (neuroplasticity).  Meaning… The more you rely on incoming leads, the more your brain gets wired toward that expectation and dependency. Eventually – for many – this dynamic starts to close the advisor’s brain off to other options. It’s hard to shake lose of your brain’s wiring once firmly established.

Here’s how to depend less and less on leads over time.

  1. Bring far more value to your prospects and clients than they expect. Give every new and existing client the Royal Treatment. Keep bringing value as well as slowly and surely building business friendships.
  2. Implement a consistent referral-generating process with every new prospect and client. I’m not suggesting you become pushy or annoying.  I am suggesting you check in for value recognized on a regular basis and then leverage that value by promoting and encouraging introductions.  Be on a “mission” to bring your value to others – because you know that the work you do it important.
  3. Start working with a well-defined target marketing. Build a reputation in that market that starts to draw people to you. This could be employees in a medium to large company, medical practices, university faculty and administrators, or business owners within a specific industry.  Targeting a clear market makes all of your client acquisition methods more effective.

For 95% of all advisors, the first 3-5 years are the hardest. It’s not easy creating a critical mass of clients that will start compounding your results. 

And I’m not saying that “leads are bad.”  For many, they are a necessary evil.  Just don’t get stuck becoming dependent on leads.  You may never achieve the levels of success you truly desire.

Action Steps

  1. Download this F-REE guide containing many proven client-acquisition strategies:
  2. Grab a copy of my newest book, The Language of Referrals – The Scripts and Word Tracks Financial Professionals Use to Gain More Ideal Clients.
    Go to:

And don’t forget ALL our resources – many of them free – are waiting for you at

Related: Wealthy, Healthy & Wise with David Meinz