Not all leads convert: the importance of managing your expectations when calling financial advice leads

By Ryan Smith on September 20, 2018

Managing expectations is important.

When so much of your time and effort goes into dealing with qualified leads for financial advisors, you can be forgiven for feeling let down when leads don’t convert into sales. While the thought that a prospect that doesn’t become a client was never a real prospect in the first place can help, the aim of getting leads is to turn them into clients – and when that doesn’t happen, there is bound to be a certain feeling of disappointment.

With lead generation being a key part of your marketing, you need to have a built-in system for dealing with the inevitable rejections that will be a natural part of the process. Whether this means taking into account the motivation of employees or simply dealing with your own morale levels, the key to all of this is managing expectations.

The basics

Investor leads come in many forms, and the result is that it can be hard to predict which ones will end up as full-blown clients. This uncertainty can be a large part of the problem of rejection as sometimes a prospect that really seemed to be close to conversion falls through, and they are the hardest to understand.

Managing expectations is actually a skill and one that is underestimated by many. Communication, organisation and having direct conversations with everyone involved can help set out exactly what is expected of everyone involved in the process of following up leads, so getting the groundwork right is the very basic first step.


Assuming that someone has the same understanding of a situation as you do can be an easy mistake to make. Likewise, believing that a certain set of circumstances will always lead to the same result is a rookie mistake and one that anyone chasing a finance lead soon learns about.

Making an assumption about an outcome can mean that you take your eye off the ball and lose out as a result. This works both ways: you take a prospect for granted and not close in on the deal, or you might think that you don’t have a chance and all that it really needed was a little extra effort to achieve a conversion. Either way, assumptions will have let you down.


Setting out your own metrics is another vital aspect in managing your expectations. Not everyone will have the same goals, and different firms will have vastly different ideas on what constitutes a successful project. Therefore, choosing your own points of reference that you can measure performance by is essential. There is never a one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to managing the progress of an investing lead, so clearly working out your own aims, time frames and deadlines is something that only you can decide upon.


Managing expectations is about setting goals

Your expectations have to be realistic and achievable – otherwise, there is no point setting them out as a desired outcome. Being open about what is possible isn’t just an important thing to do if you are working as part of a team – it’s also key to setting out your own personal agenda.

In their The Definitive Guide to Building a Successful Outbound Lead Generation Team white paper, Zorian Rotenberg and Mike Baker set out a benchmark approach for anyone looking to deal with the realities of working with financial adviser leads. They suggest that you ask yourself the questions “How many prospects are you hoping to generate?” and “What new markets are you hoping to tap into?”

The writers go on to say: “These expectations should be realistic. Use historical data and a clear picture of your pipeline and target markets to help you set reasonable goals for what to expect.”

“To set goals about how many leads you want to generate and, eventually, how many deals you want to create, you need to have a clear image of what is possible – which means understanding your target market and, perhaps more importantly, your company’s revenue goals,” Rotenberg and Baker explain.

Whatever the outcome

Ultimately, whatever happens with your best pension leads or any other type of prospect, the results that you can achieve will vary from case to case and sometimes be unpredictable to the point where understanding the outcome will be difficult.

Real-world conversion relies on so many different factors that it is not enough to be upfront about the fact that not all leads convert – you need to be clear from the outset that you simply might never know why one does and another similar one doesn’t.

This is perhaps the biggest lesson to be learned about managing expectations, as the most successful financial advisors will always know that new clients will always be there to be found and that expectations should always be grounded by experience and planning.

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