Are Lead Generation Services Worth it for Financial Advisors?
Ask any financial advisor and they’ll say the biggest challenge for their practice is getting a reliable stream of high quality, qualified leads in the door. This article provides an objective, third party analysis of the major lead generation services as well as the pros and cons of outsourcing lead generation for financial advisors, RIA firms, CFPs, and wealth managers.
Are Financial Advisor Lead Generation Services Legit?
We’ve all heard the incredulous statement, “Nobody looks for a financial advisor on the Internet.” The biggest question that most financial advisors have about lead generation services is about their legitimacy. The logical assumption is that if finding qualified high net worth individuals with money to manage is so hard for a highly credentialed financial expert, how could it be possible for some third party firm?
The answer, most of the time, is lead capture through the Internet. Many lead generation services target individuals seeking financial advice through what is called pay per click advertisements. When somebody types in, for example, “financial advisor in Milwaukee, Wisconsin” or “how to get 401k advice in Tucson, Arizona”, ads come up which refer the person to a lead generation website where they can search for a financial advisor. Once the lead is gathered, usually it is qualified and verified before being passed on to the financial advisor subscribing to the lead generation service. But do verify that before you sign up for the service.
Do people seek financial advice through the Internet? The times they are a’changin. With the digital boom, this is a huge opportunity for financial advisors serving the Internet friendly Millennial generation. They trust the Internet so much that they’ll go so far as to work with a Roboadvisor, for goodness sake.
My experience working with a lead generation service, when I worked in financial planning, was that some leads were true while others were not. That was over ten years ago, so things may have changed. Check for the refund policy before you sign up for the service.
One important thing to keep in mind about a lead generation service is the highly competitive entry point. By the time somebody has launched a financial advisor search, and especially if they’re doing this through the Internet search engines, they are “in the market.” The competition level has increased dramatically and it’s likely they’re already talking to a few other advisors, both online and through their own personal network. As I mention in my Guide to Financial Advisor Branding, everyone has that one uncle who thinks he knows how to trade stocks! The lead generation service itself sends the prospect multiple financial advisor profiles, not just one. You’ve got competitors coming at you from all angles. The analogy I would make is it’s like applying for a job on Monster.com. Once the job opening is posted, word is out and you’re competing with every qualified candidate on the street.
Now, that’s not to presume that you can’t successfully close the lead. It means that you’re not the only player in the game at that point. You’ll probably have to work harder to earn the sale than if you had come up with the lead organically.
The other aspect to consider is population density. If you live in a rural area, you might end up having to travel far to meet these leads if the conversation progresses.
Are Lead Generation Services Worth the Cost?
Most of these services render a subscription fee and some have an additional charge per lead. While many advisors cringe at the cost, consider this point.
If you had to create your own lead capture functionality on your own website, it would cost way more than a few couple hundred dollars a month. Consider the cost of an SEO consultant starts at about $400 per month at minimum, and that’s not even taking into account the amount of time your marketing person would have to spend producing content to place onto your website, as well as the thousands for your Google Adwords budget. And SEO isn’t immediate, either. It takes a few months before you typically see results. We’re talking about thousands upon thousands of dollars here, folks. If a lead gen service is willing to do the work for you, you’re probably not overpaying.
Analysis of Financial Advisor Lead Generation Providers
Let me start off by saying that I’m not a business affiliate of any of these companies. I have not been paid to produce this analysis, and my advice is impartial, objective, and based only upon publicly available information. Please kindly note that I am not officially endorsing any of these companies; this rudimentary analysis is meant to inform and educate only. If you are interested, you should do your own research and contact the company directly.
In the analysis below, I identify what I perceive to be what makes each financial advisor lead generation company different from one to the next.
Paladin provides not only lead generation services but also turnkey digital marketing services for companies without the marketing resources to set up a website, create a branding campaign, etc. They even offer compliance support. Paladin has been in business since 2003. I like that the company offers several different levels of lead gen service (Platinum, Gold, Silver) depending on what the advisor needs.
WiserAdvisor has been in the business almost 20 years, and from what I can see this is the longest track record in the game. WiserAdvisor is strictly in the business of lead generation.
What strikes me about Wiser Advisor is that there seems to be much more third party commentary on this company than all their competitors. Perhaps this is a result of the company’s long track record. You can read what investors and even other financial advisors are saying in the 50+ reviews on TrustPilot and several other Internet sites.
Started a little over five years ago, GuideVine is the new baby on the block of financial advisor lead generation providers. While it maybe doesn’t have the longest track record, it does come with a few more bells and whistles than the other options. For example, advisors can make a video to introduce themselves to prospects and include it as part of their profile. GuideVine even has a team that will assist you with creating this video. The video feature is pretty significant, considering that seeing is believing and being able to experience the financial advisor on video is helpful to building trust.
Right Financial Advisor
Right Financial Advisor has a unique video chat feature that enables investors to connect with an advisor before meeting. It’s a great way to ease the pressure and make the investor feel more comfortable with the advisor. From the LinkedIn company page it appears the company been in existence since 2013.
Outsourcing vs. Organic
Outsourcing lead generation is one way to get new faces in the door, and for some companies it is the only way to get new faces in the door. While these service have their value, it can also be very hit or miss. As mentioned in the caveats section, I wouldn’t underestimate the fact that once the lead gets to you, you’re not the only player in the game.
A far less competitive way to get new clients before they consult the search engines is through organic, inhouse marketing. As discussed in my Guide to Branding blog, the cold market gives most financial advisors the shivers. The way to warm it up? Branding.
While brand is something that most financial advisors put last, taking the time to create a truly unique message will allow you to tap into underserved markets and drive leads to the sales funnel. Most financial advisors, however, lack the time and resources to dedicate in order to achieve effective branding. To address this need, I’ve created a way to provide this expertise to financial advisors. Read about my financial advisor branding program and let’s get in touch!
NBA Player Carl Landry Demonstrates the Value of Persistence in Life and Work
Written by: Jon Sabes
When you meet Carl Landry, stand-out college basketball player and nine-year NBA player, you imagine that becoming a professional basketball star was a straight forward run for the 6-foot-nine-inch power forward.
However, when you go deeper into Carl’s background, becoming a NBA professional was less than certain and little came easily to the 33-year-old from Milwaukee:
- He was cut from his high school team as a freshman and averaged less than ten points a game when he did play as a senior.
- He started his college career not at Purdue, but a junior college where it was not clear he would play.
- When he finally got to Purdue, he tore his ACL in his knee his first year and reinjured it the next year.
- While his family held a party for him the night of the NBA draft, he slept in the Philadelphia airport after missing a flight following a workout for the 76ers.
- In the NBA playoffs, Carl had a tooth knocked out, but came back in the same game to make a game-winning blocked shot as the Rockets beat the Utah Jazz 94-92.
Landry, who I interviewed on my podcast, Innovating Life with Jon Sabes (www.jonsabes.com), is a remarkable example of the value of “persistence.” In a time where technology creates the image that anything is possible at the touch of a button, persistence is an under-appreciated trait. When I spoke with Carl, I clearly saw someone for whom success has only come through a force of will that made him a NBA player, but it also made him a better player every year he played. That’s the kind of personality that has produced greatness in business as well as sports.
Carl was, in fact, drafted that night he spent in the airport. The Seattle Supersonics chose him as the 31st overall pick and then traded him to the Houston Rockets where he rode the bench for much of the first half of the season. When All-Star teammate Yao Ming was injured, he stepped in and played a key role in the Rockets astonishing 22-game winning streak (the third longest streak in NBA history). And, that season, after sitting on the bench for 33 of the first 36 games, he was named to the All-Rookie second team.
Carl was the first in his family to go to college. “I told myself that this was my ticket out, so I did everything I possibly could to be the best person in school and also on the court,” he said.
His family life in Milwaukee showed him what he didn’t want to do. “Just being honest with you, seeing some my cousins, peers, they went to work for jobs paying six, seven dollars an hour or they didn’t go to work at all and then living off welfare. I didn’t want that.”
When he was first injured, he had to contemplate the end of a career before it even got started. “When you have an ACL tear, it’s over…no more basketball,” he told me. “I said, God, give me health again and I’ll do everything I can to leave it all out on the line and be a successful individual.”
On my podcast, Carl pointed out another interesting lesson he learned in the NBA: Not doing things just to fit in.
“Fitting in was easy,” he said. “Doing everything that everybody else does was easy. If I stood out in some type of way, I’m going to have different results. I’m going to have stand-out results.”
That’s called the “Law of Contrast” and it produces that exact effect of changing the outcomes that everyone else is experiencing. Carl is smart, he recognized that differences make a difference, and doing whatever it takes is what is required to make real, meaningful differences.
Every off-season for the last 11 years, he has run a camp for kids in Milwaukee where he tells youth his story of hard work and persistence. “I always tell the kids to apply themselves and always be persistent,” he said. “If you dream, apply yourself and be persistent. With hard work, man, the sky’s the limit.”
When Carl says the sky’s the limit he means it. He is smart to recognize that it’s important to dream big, because if we don’t – we may be selling ourselves short. “You have to dream bigger than your mind could ever imagine,” he said. “I wanted a nice house. I wanted a nice car. I said, and I got all of that. So, what do I do, do I stop now? Maybe I didn’t dream big enough.” That’s a big statement coming from a kid who grew up to be the first in his family to graduate college and go on to be not only a top NBA basketball start, but a good businessman, father and someone who gives back to the community.
I’m convinced that in whatever he takes on as a basketball player or in his post-hoops career, Carl Landry is not going to stop getting better at whatever he does, and in the process of doing so, make the world a better place.
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