Why can leads go cold?

We conducted research to uncover the reasons why new enquiries choose to disengage with an adviser. Here's what we found:

Unfortunately, even the most promising client leads can sometimes fail to materialise. As you’ve often committed time, resources, and money to arrange an initial meeting with a prospective customer, this can be immensely frustrating.

In most cases, whether an enquiry either warms up or goes cold is outside of your control. Customers disengage with advice during the early stages due to reasons which are unrelated to their communication with an adviser.   

But at the same time, mistakes can and do happen. And sometimes these can cause a prospective customer to lose interest.  

To find out more about why this occurs, we took the time to speak with matched leads who chose not to respond. 

The aim here is to give you a better understanding of what works and what doesn’t, so that in your future dealings with new enquiries you have the best chance of adding them to your client bank.  

Below we’ve compiled a list of reasons why the leads went cold, either before or after the initial phone call.   

1. Failing to speak with the adviser 

Whether the customer’s first contact is with you or another member of staff, such as a paraplanner or junior adviser, will largely depend on the size and structure of your advice practice. 

If your business is sizeable, back-office staff may look after your diary to free up more time for you to spend with clients. 

For some customers, the first point of contact is important. They told us they expect to speak to the individual who will be providing the advice. The reason for this is to establish your level of expertise, and gauge if they are comfortable meeting with you face to face.  

As noted above, we appreciate your processes might be at odds with this. If that’s the case, it could be worth raising awareness with whoever within your firm contacts the customer to ensure they’re offered the opportunity to arrange a call with you shortly after. 

2. Requesting too much information upfront   

You may be familiar with the quote: “There are two rules in life. Number one, never give out all the information.”   

Though clearly tongue in cheek, our research found this is how some customers feel during the early exchanges.   

Of the valid leads that went cold after the first call, some found the information requests too invasive, particularly regarding mortgage suitability. Customers said there was lack a of trust fostered to warrant the level of detail asked for.   

We appreciate that gathering personal information is essential to delivering suitable advice, but it seems customers want to build trust with you before sharing this.  

3. Being overly informal  

The growth of messaging apps such as WhatsApp enables us to share information quicker and easier than ever before.   

However, when it comes to commercial dealings, consumers said the informal feel of WhatsApp  can be off-putting.   

While the platform is encrypted and secure, it’s worth noting that WhatsApp is frequently the contact method of choice for scammers, hence the customer nervousness here.   

That said, many customers may be happy to communicate on WhatsApp. The key is to use more formal means such as email or phone calls to check with them first.   

It may even be sensible to arrange a Zoom prior to diving into their personal affairs so that they can put a face to your name. 

4. Lack of transparency   

While the growth of video technology such as Zoom and Teams is proving a boon for you and your customers alike, some clients still prefer to meet in-person - where feasible, of course. Some customers are nervous about advisers who aren’t keen on conducting face-to-face meetings. This overlaps with the building trust element mentioned above. 

Finally, being clear about what your fees are and how you collect them is front of mind for many prospective clients, as is allowing them to take the advice process at their own pace.   

5. Too many contact attempts 

Relentless contact attempts can easily put off prospective customers. While staying in touch is crucial, constant and persistent outreach can come across as desperate and ultimately off-putting.

Much like the way informal messaging apps can create unease, excessive contact can make customers feel pressured. Many customers appreciate a more measured approach. The key is to strike a balance, ensuring that your cadence of contact is respectful and considerate. Initial communication should be spaced out and professional, utilizing formal means such as email or phone calls to establish a connection before proceeding further. This approach helps build trust and ensures that clients feel valued rather than overwhelmed.

What to take from this 

It’s important to say that this is by no means a blueprint for all your customers. Clearly everyone is different, and to reiterate, most leads that go cold are due to no adviser's fault. However, understanding more about what customers want and expect during the initial communications can help you avoid behaviours that may cause them to seek advice elsewhere.