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Paying for qualified prospects from lead-generation services, such as SmartAdvisor, SmartAsset, and WiserAdvisor, as well as upstarts like MyPerfectFinancialAdvisor and CoveredBridge, can be profitable for advisory firms provided that the proper processes are in place to capture, follow up with, and nurture new opportunities.

Those services partner with financial advisors who want access to new investors. They each have their own strategies to get in front of investors. When they uncover a lead, they pass it on to one or multiple advisors for a fee.

Many advisors receive positive return on investment (ROI). Some do not. Often, advisors receive the leads, do little with them and the prospect just disappears.

Why? There are several reasons.

Some so-called leads were never actually leads at all. Sure, they signed up, but they were never seriously looking for a financial advisor. Others are serious, but not ready to buy now.

Often, though, it is more about the advisor. Advisors are too busy working with clients and searching for strong mutual funds. Some do not have a disciplined, repeatable process in place to follow-up and nurture the leads. And in other cases, the competition does a better job of nurturing and closing the leads than they do.

And eventually, when the advisor does not get enough new clients or find enough value from the service, they stop the subscription.

In this article I will review the best practices for working with lead-generation services for advisors and offer some suggestions to improve the conversion rate from lead to client.

Remember, most leads won’t convert to clients on the first phone call.