Posted May 29, 2018 by Gabriel Lewit, Chief Executive Officer
In my advisory practice I’ve been testing out a variety of new sources for generating leads.
Now, in general, we don’t do much “lead-chasing” at my firm. Instead, we typically focus on higher-quality lead-generating marketing activities, primarily dinner seminars.
But, you can only run so many dinner seminars! They are a bigger-ticket marketing activity, often costing between $8,000 and $10,000 per mailing. They also take up a pretty good chunk of time, anywhere between 2-4 evenings per month and about 2 hours for each evening. As a father of a 2-year old and 1-year old, I’m not willing to spend too many more evenings away from home than that.
With that thought in mind, a few months ago, during one of our weekly marketing meetings, we looked at each other and said, “how do we generate more appointments without doing more seminars?” We already have a pretty good direct-mail drip-marketing system in place (which we get calls from people requesting appointments), and email drip-marketing in place, so we started brainstorming other activities that we could engage in.
The idea we came up with? Let’s generate leads on Facebook. Ok… sounds great… but how?
We’ll offer one of our books as a lead-magnet. My father, who works with me, wrote a book last year on the topic of generating a Retirement Income Machine. This book is a great offer because it has a very high perceived value, both in the knowledge it provides (it’s a whole book) and in cost (it retails on Amazon for $16 or higher).
By offering a free, physical book, our Facebook ad stands apart from other ads that have weaker offers.
Ok, ok… enough about the ad. You’re probably wondering if it worked or not, right? Well we just started running it a few weeks ago and early indications are pretty darn good!
In the last 2 weeks since the ad started running, we’ve generated 14 leads at a cost of, get this, just over $100 in Facebook advertising budget. I know some agents that spend $100/lead with some lead outlets! So, trust me when I say that this has me pretty excited. It’s too early to tell if this will be sustainable, but initial results sure look promising.
As I started receiving the leads, it hit me that this was only the first step. What I was really after was an appointment. The leads are great, but you can’t make a sale if you don’t have someone to talk to about their finances.
It’s not like I wasn’t aware of this before, I’ve certainly chased a fair share of leads during my career, but as we’ve focused primarily on seminar appointments (who book a time to meet with you at the event), working these leads and following-up would be an entirely new process.
Often, however, if you’re anything like me, you can be so focused on something (like generating the leads) that you don’t focus on the next step until you get there.
So, with leads starting to come into my email inbox, it was time to fine-tune a follow-up script and put it to work.
So, What’s the Best Way to Follow-Up With a Lead?
Following up with leads, like anything in sales, is going to be different for every financial professional.
I can’t give you one single best approach. But we can focus on some key tactics and ideas that can apply to everyone following-up with leads.
First, let’s talk about how you sound when you follow-up. No matter what you say, I think this is critical.
Every advisor I talk to has a different way of speaking, for example. Some talk really really fast, hardly ever taking a breath it seems. Others, on the other hand, talk real s-l-o-w, almost hypnotic. Some (not recommended), sound like grumpy-cats and others are far too happy for any reasonable human being to be.
My default speaking pace is fast and excited (likely from too much coffee). Not the best lead-follow up tone, as it can come across as overly enthusiastic (perceived as salesy) and occasionally nervous too, depending on how fast you talk.
You also don’t want to talk too slow. People have a lot to do, and want to get you off the phone quick. Talking too slow, or talking too unenthusiastically, can come across as being uninterested. And, we’ve all heard that voicemail from some salesman reading off a script, that’s making 100 dials a day, and how he sounds like he could care less if you were interested. Don’t be that guy/gal!
What you really want is to sound calm, relaxed, confident, well-paced and slightly happy (but not too excited). You know, like you’ve done this 1,000 times before and it’s no sweat. That will instill a sense of calm in the person on the other end of the phone – and make them feel more trusting of you and your intentions.
Other factors that will dictate your follow-up process include:
- Where the lead came from
- What the offer was that generated the lead
- Where the lead is located
- And much more
Taking my example above, let’s look closer at the offer that I am putting out there on Facebook:
- The lead came from the internet, namely, Facebook
- The offer was for a free Physical Copy of a book
- The radius was set to 10-miles of my office, driving distance
Something to note about people requesting information online is that they often fall into a couple of primary categories. Some are pure information seekers. They want the information, the educational piece, the candy… But they never intend to meet with you.
Others are reaching a certain point in their lives where your offer, like a book on Retirement Income Planning, for example, is precisely what they need help with at that time. And, depending on where they are at in their research, they may also be looking for someone to help them with that issue.
That’s the kind of lead you are hoping to attract, and the ones that you should be keeping an eye out for when you start following up.
It’s important to note that you can’t win every lead – no matter how much you want to – it’s just the nature of the beast. Keep that in mind before you start following-up. It’ll help to ensure you keep your spirits high and leads to better overall success.
Now that we know the type of lead and some key things about them, here’s what I was thinking about when creating my lead follow-up process.
- I wanted to connect via phone with the lead
- I needed to send them the book, as promised
- I also wanted to send them some additional information about me and my firm (information kit). The goal of this is to differentiate and stand apart from other advisors
- If I pressed for an appointment on the initial follow-up call, I felt I’d get a lower chance of success vs. waiting until they’ve received the book and kit
- I ultimately wanted to have them come to my office for an appointment
My Lead-Follow-Up Process (For a Physical Book Offer)
In reviewing these key goals, here was my ultimate process for following-up with these leads.
- Part 1 – First Call – Get the Lead on the Phone to Confirm Their Address
The most important part of converting a lead is getting to talk to them. The easiest way to do that is to initially call the lead and ask to confirm their address to get their free book. It’s an easy way to get an increased number of replies (assuming you must leave a voicemail). If they want the book, they need to call you back to confirm their address.If you happen to connect live on the first call, it’s also an easy icebreaker to get the call started. It’s a legitimate reason to be calling them. You don’t want to be mailing an expensive item to someone’s wrong or incorrectly entered address! This can make following-up with the lead feel less daunting (a lot of advisors, myself occasionally too, feel nervous calling leads – for whatever reason).
- Part 2 – First Call – Once You’re Connected, Seek Some Emotional Pain
Once you’re on the phone, your first goal is to confirm that address. But once that’s completed, do you just say thank you and hang up? No way. You’ve got the lead live on the phone, let’s set the stage for building a relationship where you can help.The best way is to try and find out what motivated them to request that book (or other lead offer). Are they worried about their retirement income? Are they retiring in the next few years and have no idea what to do? Something prompted them to request your offer, at an emotional level. It’s good to try and find out what it is.Once you’ve asked, don’t elaborate too much here, just a quick connection and make a few notes for your follow-up call.
- Part 3 – First Call – Plant the Seeds For a Follow-up Call
Once they’ve given you some preliminary information, thank them. Now, your time is almost up. They likely want you off the phone – thinking, “just send me my book!” So, you say, “Before I let you go and get this book out to you, one quick thing. A few people ask me what’s the catch, why am I sending out a free book? In case you were wondering, it’s just a way of introducing myself to people in the local community. Some people ask for the book and that’s it. But, a lot of people get the book and need help with their income plan. Either way is totally fine, but just wanted to mention it. In the meantime, I’ll get this book out to you, and some information about us, sound OK? And then, in say, a week or so, I’ll give you a courtesy follow-up call to see if you’re interested in getting together and learning more. Fair enough?”
- Part 4 – Send the Book & Information Kit
Self-explanatory. Be sure to get it out in a timely manner, as promised. As for your information kit, that’s a topic for another day. But, be sure that it’s very high-quality and professional. You want to stand out as different from everyone else.
- Part 5 – Follow-up Appointment Setting 3×3 Call / Email Sequence
A few days after they have received the kit (or that you presume they have, based on standard mail time), call them back. They know why you’re calling, as you told them you would (on the phone) and they agreed that it was OK. Your letter in your information kit will also state this.Now, I prefer a 3×3 Call / Email sequence. Three calls, three emails, over the next 1-week period. All about scheduling a time to meet together. Many times, you’ll get a reply far before the full sequence is used, but just in case, use the 3×3 process.
- Part 6 – The Drip Campaigns
If you’re good on the phone, or send great emails, you should have converted a good percentage of these into appointments. On the other hand, not everyone is ready to meet right now. People are busy. Maybe they were in preliminary research phase. But, one thing is certain.If you don’t follow-up regularly, they will not think to contact you in the future, when the time is right for them to meet.Be sure to put everyone on a drip list, preferably in your CRM (like Vision Financial Marketing), and set up your automated drip campaigns to stay in touch forever.
Following-up with leads isn’t easy. But, as a financial professional with a limited budget or just trying to generate more appointments without doing more seminars, it can be a great way to get new appointments at a lower cost.
The key is finding a system to help you track and manage your lead follow-up workflows and to systematize this process. Without it being systematized, for example, through a Workflow in your CRM, you’ll inevitably miss a step or follow-up, potentially costing you thousands of dollars in lost revenue.
Will this process work for you? Absolutely! You will need to customize it for your offer and your preferences, but the general structure will still work great, no matter what your offer is.
To your success,