Richard Smith IFA/Financial Adviser Marketing Expert | Lead Generation

Now the Guardian wants to pick on you? Lead Generation.

The Guardian has published an article in it’s supplement and the link is below.
Over the past couple of months I have been on bit of rant about IFA marketing, with a series of articles in Professional Adviser and of course on various forums. Some of which have been well received and others not so, even I can’t please all of the people all of the time.

The reality is this. All of the lead generators do what you should be doing, and that is leveraging the internet, and meeting the demand from consumers for what you do and providing them with the Financial Advice they require.

Certainly all of the firms we have worked with over the past 5 years or so would never consider buying a lead in ever, firstly because they tend to be untargeted and secondly because it’s a cold lead = no relationship.

You know full well that a decent recommendation from a good client is the best kind of lead you can get, how many of you ask for referrals? How many of your clients actually now that you want to grow your business? Not many I would wager.

And this is what happens, instead of focusing your web site on your proposition, instead of focusing on building a relationship first, instead of putting decent information out in the world knowing that the person reading it will think of you as the expert, instead of emailing/posting information that is relevant you post poor quality, third party produced newsletters covering products with a ‘scatter gun approach’, or worse still you purchase a lead.

Then reality bites, with a ‘hit rate’ of between 2 or 3 out of every 10 leads you need to see a return on the spend, hardly a good way to start a relationship with a new client.

For the price of 10 leads you could have a permanent strategy in place, for the price of 20 you could have 6 month focused campaign and a permanent strategy, it’s not expensive.

See, we live in changed world. People will ‘google’ or look elsewhere before making a buying decision, people will of course consider talking to 3 or 4 advisers before agreeing to see one.

Bad news for you is that you could be the only one paying to have that conversation with that customer and being mightily upset when they take ‘a rain check’.

Now I am not suggesting that leveraging the internet is the only way to get new clients, but you do need a plan, a plan to put yourself on a pedestal, a plan to make your service stand out and sadly for most IFA’s the service does not stand out, at least on the net which is the first portal for many consumers. Fact.

In conversations with firms this year I have heard it all, compliance, the FSA, time, every excuse in the book for not getting serious about your Web presence, not taking on board a Social Media plan, not properly marketing to your existing clients. I could go on. Interestingly enough those firms that tell me they will find away are often those firms that are already doing good levels of business, they just want more.

There are couple of serious players in the ‘tied’ market who are getting this very right, I will not name them although you can probably guess who?

How can they do it and you can’t, life’s not fair eh! Coach and Horses through the Financial Services Act etc. But they are doing it.

You have to find a way, you have put in place a W E B Strategy, you have to focus on the markets you want to work in and you have to start embracing this now, as it looks like the Lead Generators could be on the way out.

The articles I wrote for Professional Adviser are available on Kindle just search for Independent Financial Adviser Marketing, for the price of a decent coffee you will find out all you need to know and at least have a start, you could even dig out the back issues (and yes I was one of the judges in the Financial Adviser awards for this year – Best Website Category) but they will give you a start, and mine is not the only source of high quality information, the IFA life forums have lots good quality content.

Interestingly enough when I searched for the term Independent Financial Adviser last year there were no IFA’s on the front page, and now there is one, at least one firm has got it.

I am not going beg you to take on board this new stuff, but I will say this there is money to be made even in this market, and there is a very clear future for all IFA’s, but it will not look like it has done in the past. You have been warned.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/money/2011/apr/02/asked-loan-lead

Richard Smith – IFA Marketing Expert
Relevant song lyric –
“its been a long time coming” – Sam Cook ‘Change is gonna come’

Readability Score = 11 – higher than expected but it’s late and Mothers Day starts early in our house.