How to Deal with Nonresponsive Leads
So you got the perfect lead. Well... at least, that's what it seemed like at first. They're located in your area, are seeking exactly the type of the investment advisory services your firm offers, and have expressed an interest in discussing them. So why aren't they responding to your emails and phone calls? Don't despair, here are the ways you can bring back the phoenix from the ashes. First I'll explain the major reasons that prospects go cold and then I'll cover what financial advisors can do to warm them back up.
Why Prospects Suddenly Go Cold
If you want to be successful with affluent clients, you have to understand their mindset.
As someone who's been a financial advisor in the past, and also works heavily with financial advisors as a service provider at the moment, I can give you some rare insight into what is going through the minds of the affluent buyers of your services. As I've stated in my blog about financial advisor branding:
Due to the heinous crimes of the past and the notoriously arrogant nature of some the people who work in the field, investment management is seen as the least altruistic business in the world. That is always in the back of every clients mind when they think of you. When clients are approached by a financial advisor they don't know, they can see you coming a million miles away and their guards are up high to the heavens.
You can see why a warm and fuzzy approach (let me take you out to dinner and get to know your whole family so we can get business married) is not welcome right away, and can't help but come off as disingenuous. Yet every single financial advisor does it this way, confirming the stereotype and playing right into what it is that every client is afraid of.
Aside from the notoriously bad reputation that financial advisors tend to have, there also exists a phenomenal disconnect between what advisors think clients need and what affluent people say they really want out of a financial advisor. Read my blog for specific examples of things you may be doing to turn prospects off.
How Financial Advisors Can Handle Bad Leads
Aside from preventing yourself from making certain mistakes in your overall approach, here are some specific follow up strategies that will help take the edge off and eventually warm up those chilled leads.
Offer as much information publically as you can
Yes, the panacea for fear is education. The more that affluent people know about you when they look you up on your website and social media, the better. The more they see you in action, the more they trust you. YouTube is great for establishing a personal connection with the audience and showing your personality and charm. Its the second best thing to meeting in person.
Clients like to have this information available to them without having to ask you for it. They will probably visit you several times online before responding back.
Financial advisors often cite compliance challenges when trying to curate content for their digital marketing. Here are some great tips for getting your content through compliance painlessly.
Use Other Methods than Phone and Email
Get creative with your follow up. Many financial advisors underestimate the amount of effort it takes to get affluent people to pay attention to you. Especially if you got the lead from a lead generation service, its likely that the client is talking to other firms at the same time, especially if they have a considerable sum of money to invest.
You should assume that 5-8 reach outs need to happen before they realize that youre not going away. In a way they are testing you to see if you can be really committed to the business and to gauge how much it means to you. In a sense, they are getting to know you, what you are all about, and how you are different from the next advisor.
Show your unique brand in how you pursue their business. Assume you're not the only sheriff in town so you've got to reach them in unconventional ways. Instead of just emailing and calling on the phone, try hitting them up on social media. Send them a funny gift in the mail, or even a fax. If you're nearby for another meeting, drop by their office. Send a personal video card. Talk to influencers or people that they know and see if you can get to them through mutual connections.
Maybe even try using (gasp!) humor in your follow up. Laughter softens up even the toughest ones.
Follow up creatively, consistently, frequently, with high value and information that is customized and relevant to them.
The "Takeaway" Close Email
If you have been following up and receive no response after 10 attempts spaced out over at least two months, you may want to go for what I call the Hail Mary email subject line. At this point you can assume that theyre probably not going to be doing business with you at the moment. Do you have that much to lose?
These are risky and so its not recommended that you use these tactics until its obvious that there is some kind of a sales stall going on.
These email subject lines are examples of what we call the takeaway close in sales. By taking the deal off the table, you remove pressure from the equation. Often youll get a response just for that reason alone; the buyer no longer worries about letting you down once youve blown the whistle and ended the game.
Subject line: Should I close the file?
I've reached out several times to follow up on our introduction as per the Leads Lead Service. As I haven't heard back, I'll assume that its not a priority to pursue our partnership at this time.
If I don't receive a response back from this email, I will be closing your file at 5 PM EST today.
Thanks so much.
Subject line: Feeling a bit neglected & its lonely over here!
I've reached out several times to follow up on our introduction as per the Leads Lead Service. As I haven't heard back, I'm feeling a bit sad and lonely. I'm assuming that its not a priority to pursue our partnership at this time.
Am I thinking about this correctly or have you perhaps just been busy? Don't leave me heartbroken, Mary!
Subject line: Feedback requested
I've reached out several times to follow up on our introduction as per the Leads Lead Service. As I haven't heard back, I'll assume that it's not a priority to pursue our partnership at this time.
Give me some feedback here. Where did I go wrong? Was it my communication or perhaps something to do with the nature of my services? If you could please provide me with some clarity it would really assist with my professional development.
Thanks so much.
These daring emails truly are the Hail Mary and should only be used as a last resort.
You can customize these to suit your style. Some of these emails are more daring than others, but the point here is to acknowledge the responsiveness in a polite and professional way, and see what happens.
If you send these emails and get no response, you can either continue prospecting in a creative way as per #2 above or transfer the lead to the dark leads folder that gets followed up on less frequently. Whatever you do, don't stop pursuing them on some level, though! Sometimes the people who are the toughest to reach turn out to best the highest value and most loyal customers.
Summary: Nonresponsive Lead SWAT Team tactics
Prospecting to an affluent individual is a difficult challenge and should be approached with the skill and power of the SWAT team. Understanding the mindset of the affluent individual is very important for financial advisors who are approaching interested prospects. Advisors should leverage tactics such as a robust website and social media, creative and high value follow up, and hail mary emails.
Please respond in the comments below if you have an opinion on these strategies.
Byline: Sara Grillo, CFA, is a top financial writer with a focus on marketing and branding for investment management, financial planning, and RIA firms. Prior to launching her own firm, she was a financial advisor and worked at Lehman Brothers. Sara graduated from Harvard with a degree in English literature and has an MBA from NYU Stern in Quantitative Finance.
Sara Grillo, CFA
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