Are you losing opportunities to win more clients? Or in other words, do you have a leaky funnel?!

    What I mean here is those potential ‘right fit’ opportunities that never quite make it to becoming a client.

    Every advice firm will lose opportunities for one reason or another; the skill is in understanding where this occurs and then doing something about it.

    Below is a diagram of a typical advice firm’s sales funnel, followed by some of the key questions you need to ask yourself. For those of you unfamiliar with the process, here’s a quick definition.

    Sales funnel

    Your sales funnel refers to the journey a potential client goes through as they convert from a lead into a client.

    By breaking down each stage of the journey, you can determine where to concentrate your efforts.

    However, it’s vital that you first ask yourself the following question...

    Where are your leads coming from?

    It’s important to understand how your leads enter your sales funnel, that is, where you're getting leads from.

    This might be through:

    • Referral from a client
    • Referral from a professional connection
    • A third party referral site such as Unbiased or VouchedFor
    • A Google search
    • Networking, such as the local Chamber of Commerce or Business Network International

    For every opportunity that comes into the business, the answer to ‘where did you hear about us?’ should always be captured and recorded on your CRM.

    If the answer is simply: ‘I looked at your website’, then this should be explored further so you can fully understand how they found the website - it may actually turn out to be a referral.

    Having this data as a starting point enables you to answer some valuable questions, such as:

    • Which channel is providing us with the ‘best fit’ clients?
    • Which lead source provides prospects that are more likely to convert and become clients?

    Once you’ve established where your leads are coming from, you can then move on to the next stage.

    When do they exit your funnel?

    Whenever a lead exits at a certain stage, they provide valuable information about where you can spend time and resources improving conversion rates. Here’s a breakdown of each:


    Site visitors will correlate with the number of enquiries. The higher the number of visitors, the greater the number of enquiries. But be aware that these usually have low conversion rates.

    A visitor to enquiry level of 500:1 is not uncommon. The key is to benchmark against your own previous performance rather than that of your competitors. Be laser focused on your own business improvement, not on others.


    If you’re not generating enough leads, then you need to ask some questions around your marketing strategy.

    Many referrals will enter at this stage of the funnel, calling you directly rather than visiting the website. However, if you’re not generating leads from your website, through Google search and online, work needs to be done to improve these numbers.

    A good lead to qualified lead conversion rate is 80 per cent. This means for every five leads or enquiries, four of them fit your target profile and become a qualified lead.

    Qualified leads

    As just mentioned, a qualified lead is one that aligns to your proposition and has the potential to become a new client.

    If you’re not generating many qualified leads, you need to think about how you can improve the quality of enquiry coming in.

    Why aren’t you attracting the right type of prospect? Is the website messaging misaligned? Or perhaps you need to educate your professional referrers on what a ‘right fit’ client looks like for your business.

    A qualified lead to discovery rate of 5:4 would be excellent. This equates to 80 per cent of prospects with whom you have a conversation, and who fit your target profile, progressing through to the discovery stage.


    If potential clients exit at this stage then it may be due to a mismatch in expectations.

    Is there work to be done around how clearly you articulate the value of the discovery meeting? Are you taking prospects through to discovery that actually should be qualified out earlier for one reason or another?

    The highest conversion rate is always at this stage. As the lead transfers from discovery to presentation, a 95 per cent conversion rate should be expected.

    After all, if a client has taken the time to share their financial life with you, they will surely want to understand more detail on how you can help them?


    Expectations are high at this stage. Losing a client here after investing so much in the opportunity is not a good thing.

    What are the reasons you lose people here? Could it be a pricing issue? If so, can cost be covered much earlier in the process to overcome this?

    A 90 per cent conversion from presentation to implementation is commonplace; anything less than this is often a question of a lack of perceived value by the client.

    Overall, taking the time to analyse your sales funnel will help you truly refine the way you acquire clients.

    In the end, your marketing efforts should be working for you and not against you. By putting in the effort now to determine where your leads are coming from and when they exit your funnel, you’ll save lots of time and resource in the future.

    There will always be room for improvement, so make sure you keep coming back to your funnel for periods of fine-tuning.

    That way you’ll stay optimised, and avoid the need for any large scale overhaul.

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