8 reasons to immediately follow up on leads and referrals

It has always been difficult finding new clients. With cold calling, for example, how many calls does it take to reach a live person? Once you get someone on the phone, how many do you need to reach before someone will listen and have a conversation? How long does it take before they agree to meet? Now think about leads and referrals. Turning them into clients is often easier. Do you give them the attention they deserve though?

Agents and financial advisors know all about warm leads. They have an interest or have taken the initiative to reach out because they want to learn something. It may be tempting to assume someone is “too small” or they are only looking. That is a bad assumption.

 Here are eight reasons why you want to jump on warm leads the moment you get them:

  1. Technology is fast. Years ago, people clipped coupons from ads in newspapers and mailed them to a central location. Weeks later, that lead might reach your desk in the local office. Those days are gone. Online ads now often get an immediate answer. Today, people expect immediate answers.
  2. They have made several inquiries. Have you ever looked for home improvement contractors? If so, it is unlikely you only reached out to one. You got recommendations, did research and contacted several. Your potential prospect might be judging you on price, but also on your response speed and professionalism.
  3. They have a need. Imagine you were injured and drove yourself to the emergency room. You would not want someone to keep you waiting and say, “The doctor can see you in a week.” The prospect was motivated enough to reach out. They want the person on the other end of the conversation to quickly take action.
  4. Demonstrate your competence. Let us stick with the idea the prospect has contacted three providers because they are shopping around. Let us also assume your competitors offer similar products and pricing. What other factors will influence the prospect’s decision concerning which advisor and firm to choose? Your response time, “bedside manner” and understanding of their situation will weigh in their decision-making process.
  5. They chose your firm. There are likely many advisors in your area. The prospect did not call them all; they selected three or four names. Your firm’s reputation was a factor in their selection process. It is as if they are saying “I would be comfortable doing business with your firm.”
  6. Big trees grow from little seeds. The prospect’s inquiry might concern term insurance. You might think I won’t be making much money on that transaction and not give it too much attention. You are an unknown quantity to the prospect (and vice versa). The way you treat this person and the importance you attach to addressing their needs might make them comfortable enough to do more business and refer you to their friends.
  7. The mystery shopper. A reporter calls up several financial services firms. In each case, they present the same situation requiring a solution. They evaluate the encounter with the advisor in several categories. The series of conversations becomes an article, listing the firms contacted and awarded a score! As a financial advisor, you are a representative of your firm. How you respond could affect future business for your office and your relationship with your current clients.
  8. Impress your manager. I made this mistake myself. My manager came back from lunch, told me that someone he knew wanted to do business (or ask a question), handed over a business card and asked me to call. I did not jump on it immediately. A day or so later, my manager came back from lunch again and said, “I just ran into my friend. He said no one called him.” If you jump on leads the moment you get them, your manager will know you take this seriously. You will probably get more leads in the future.

Regardless, if it is a system-generated lead or a referral, you want to reach out immediately.  Finding new clients on your own is tough. When a potential lead comes your way, treat it as a valuable gift. Do not wait to unwrap it.

Bryce Sanders is president of Perceptive Business Solutions Inc. His book “Captivating the Wealthy Investor” is available on Amazon.

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