Last month, we considered one of the easiest ways to impress potential clients online.
As important as that is, there’s no point being impressive unless you’re converting the people who get in touch into clients.
Financial planners who have high conversion rates:
1) Are more efficient
2) Spend less money on marketing
3) Have higher margins
What’s not to like about that?
Why then do so few financial planning practices:
- Collect the data they need to understand their conversion rate?
- Analyse the data?
- Take action to improve conversion rates?
Of course, to analyse data you need to collect it in the first place. We recommend that planners collect the following information for each new enquiry:
1) Name and contact details, including email address; for obvious reasons
2) Date enquiry received; to help you understand the peaks and troughs in enquiry levels
3) The planner it was passed to (if applicable); to help you understand conversion rate by planner
4) The source of the enquiry (including the name of the referrer where applicable); so you can thank/reward clients and professional connections for referrals, and understand the effectiveness of different marketing channels
5) Whether the enquiry matched your target client profile; to help you to understand at an early stage whether your marketing is generating enquiries from the right type of people
6) The initial outcome, for example, was a first meeting agreed; so you can calculate your enquiry to first meeting conversion rate
7) The final outcome, for example, did the prospect become a client; to allow you to calculate your first meeting to engaged client conversion rate as well as your overall conversion rate
8) The reason why the client wasn’t engaged (if applicable); to help you identify patterns as to why prospects didn’t become clients
9) The initial fee generated and an estimate of the ongoing fee; to allow you to calculate the return on investment (ROI) being generated by your marketing.
We recommend following this process for every new enquiry - no exceptions.
No matter whether the enquiry is good, bad, or downright ugly (“Can I pop in this afternoon and get you to sign my pension transfer forms?”) it should be recorded.
Very simply, because only recording the ‘good’ enquiries will give an unfairly flattering picture of your marketing efforts.
How are you doing?
If you’re already collecting that data, fantastic! You can now start to analyse it.
If you’ve got a few holes in what you’re collecting, it should be straightforward to add them. If you’re not collecting any data, now’s the time to start.
So, where should you collect the data?
Ideally, you should have as few data sources as possible. Assuming your back-office system has the capability, it’s the obvious place to start.
If you don’t have such a system, or it’s not up to the task, a simple client relationship management (CRM) system works well.
We know of many firms who use their CRM to the point the prospect becomes a client, then switch the record-keeping from the CRM to their back-office.
Analysing the data
We need to avoid paralysis by analysis, so we’d recommend analysing three key conversion rates to begin with:
- Overall conversion rate; the total number of new enquiries to engaged clients
- New enquiries to first meeting
- First meeting to engaged client
Depending on your onboarding process, there are other metrics you might want to understand. But we suggest starting with those three and expanding from there.
Improving conversion rates
If your headline conversion rate is lower than 25 per cent there’s probably room for improvement.
In our experience there are generally three reasons for low conversion rates:
1) Your marketing isn’t targeted enough and is producing enquiries from the wrong type of people
2) The financial planners’ sales skills could use a polish (yes, everyone is selling something, even financial planners!) or the pricing/proposition is wrong
3) The onboarding process isn’t as efficient as it could be
Too many planners fail to monitor their conversion rate or take any steps to improve it. When the rewards for doing both are so big, that’s madness.
Start by collecting the right data, analyse it regularly and then make changes based on the evidence. Your bottom line will thank you for it!