The Hardest Part of Advisor Prospecting

Brian Smith

In a recent poll question on my Linkedin page, I asked advisors in my network what the hardest part of finding new clients is. 

Before we jump into the results, I want to say I’m not necessarily surprised by what the poll found. There’s a reason I gave the possible answers that I did—I’ve heard all four possible answers from frustrated advisors.

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For me, these results resonate with what I experienced as an advisor and with what I’m seeing across the industry. 

The Most Difficult Part of Advisor Prospecting? Actually, it’s a Tie

There were four options: 

  • Finding the right audience
  • Sifting through unqualified leads
  • Communicating your value proposition
  • Converting leads into clients

And the winner is:

It’s a tie between “Finding the right audience” and “Converting leads.” 

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How is it still so hard to find the right audience?

I figured this would probably be one of the top answers, but the question still came to mind: How—in this day and age with all the promises of the internet and social media and third party cookies and pinpoint audience targeting—how is it still so hard to find the right audience?

It’s crazy if you think about it—Facebook seems to know pretty much everything about its users, and they allow businesses to build organic communities and use paid channels to target people using seemingly endless demographics. So why are we still struggling to get in front of the right people?

Two thoughts:

1. “Right audience” is a pretty loaded term, especially when it comes to financial advisors. It’s not just about age, income and interests. If it was, advisor marketing would be the easiest thing in the world. 

There’s a great article from a couple years ago put out by Carson Group titled “5 Factors that Make Advisor Marketing an Especially Tough Egg to Crack” that gets close to what I think the heart of the matter is here. Their fourth factor says “advisor marketing requires people to get their mind out of the immediate.”

That’s the difficult thing: The right audience isn’t just about finding the right people, it’s about getting in front of them at the right time. 

2. Perhaps a little of this is self-inflicted. Advisors struggle to identify clear personas, which can make it hard to know who the “right audience” even is. If you don’t know who you’re trying to speak to, how will you know when you’re speaking to them?

Converting Leads into Clients: The Never-ending Struggle

Tied for first place as the most difficult part of advisor prospecting is converting leads. 

Not everyone who downloads an ebook is ready to work with an advisor. Maybe they’re a DIYer who will never work with any advisor. Maybe they’re a few years away from being ready to hire an advisor. Maybe they have an advisor they like working with and are just looking for more information. 

Whatever the reason, advisor marketing lists across the country are overflowing with stale leads. Ebooks are being downloaded and never read. Automated workflows are sending email after email hearing nothing back. 

What is the problem here?

Two more (quick) thoughts:

1. I’m still a firm believer in the power of digital marketing to sort out the bad leads from the good ones. I think one of the big issues is that many firms don’t have the time or knowledge to build a proper funnel that directs the leads where they need to be, so advisors end up sifting through unqualified leads (another one of the possible answers from my poll) and getting frustrated with the lack of engagement.

2. There’s gotta be a better way. There’s just gotta be.

To that last point, we’re just about ready to launch Lasso—a new kind of advisor prospecting tool that allows investors to build financial plans and then share them with advisors to get help making them better.

We’re currently looking for advisors to join the Beta group. If you’re interested, shoot me a message and I’ll get you added. It’s totally free. We’re looking to get all the input we can so we can make sure it’s as valuable as possible.

If you look at the two answers that tied for first place in my poll, the latter is an indicator of the first. If you could get your message in front of the right audience in the first place and get the right leads in your system, then converting them would most likely become much easier. 

Back to Lasso (I wasn’t planning on talking about it this much, I swear)—that’s another one of the reasons we created it: So advisors could learn more about leads before engaging with them. You’ll get to see what their goals are, how much money they have and how much they plan on saving before you even engage with them.

You can sign up for Lasso here. If you want to get all the latest updates, you can follow us on Linkedin.

About the Author

Brian is the Head of Advisor Sales and has extensive experience in client advisory, wealth planning and valuation within the financial services field. He has experience working in the Corporate Development Group at M&T Bank as well as in Wealth Planning at the Glenmede Trust Company. Brian holds a BA from American University in Business Administration and is a CFP® professional.