As financial advisors build out their marketing plans and campaigns for 2013, it is important to be clear on the various stages within the business development pipeline.
At ClientWise, we identify three stages in the pipeline: leads, opportunities, and clients. When you are clear on the distinctions between these three stages, it becomes much easier to execute the corresponding marketing activities.
What is a Lead?
A lead for a financial advisor represents someone who might want to buy something from you, i.e. a wealth management service or product. The best kind of lead fits into the archetype of the client you best serve. At ClientWise, we refer to this as an Ideal Client Type.
Although a lead might be interested in partnering with you, there is no commitment or conscious action yet. In fact, you might not have even spoken to many of the individuals that make up your list of leads.
What is an Opportunity?
An opportunity is a lead who has intentionally “raised a hand” in terms of seeking more engagement and wanting to learn more about what your firm offers.
The Transition from Lead to Opportunity
As we have defined it, a lead becomes an opportunity when the following five conditions have been met:
1. You’ve engaged the prospective client in an initial discussion that involves their financial life.
2. The potential client has revealed issues that could be solved or mitigated by your investment and/or wealth management solution. This could be an aspiration, concern, fear, need, etc.
3. The prospective client indicates the possession of sufficient financial wherewithal to take advantage of any proposed solution.
4. After revealing the financial issue, the prospective client has accepted your offer to speak further. Most likely, this next step is deeper discovery, where you learn more about the financial concerns and desires of the prospective client. But the next step might also entail a discussion where you describe your investment and/or wealth management process in greater detail.
5. Finally, there is a timetable. This might be a period of days, weeks, months, or even years (e.g. with a business succession strategy). Either way, there is a closed-ended time frame that is understood by both parties.
Filling your pipeline with leads and opportunities is a critical piece of business development success. This is obvious, having more prospective clients is better than less prospective clients. What might be less obvious is being really clear on the five characteristics that a lead must possess, in order to graduate to an opportunity status. Without clarity on these five conditions, you may often find yourself casting about willy-nilly with respect to your interactions with the prospective client. Clarity enables much more purposeful interactions.
47 Community Client Acquisition Tips™
Leverage community involvement to connect with influencers in your locale