The world of advising is not that big. When you run the conference circuit, you start to see a lot of the same people and get to know who the most active advisors around the nation are. For the advisors who have talked with me, they know that we provide appointment setting, and people decline the service for a number of reasons — many of which are good reasons from a business perspective.
But one advisor has told me the same story for three years running, and it illustrates a common trap for advisors: They fail to capitalize on opportunities because they don’t have skin in the game.
(Related: When One Idea Is Better Than a Dozen)
“John,” he says, “I don’t know why anyone would spend money on appointment-setting. I’ve been buying leads for me people for years, and many of them are just outright garbage.”
The first time he told me this story, I assumed it was because he was buying bad leads, but I did my research. The lead source was good. The problem was not in the quality of the prospects but rather in the mentality of the advisors, and it is a trend we see in appointment-setting as well. The trend is so powerful that we sometimes turn away potential clients because we can see from the outset that the program will be a failure.
When advisors are not personally invested in leads or appointments, they have a tendency to treat the leads with less respect. If the money for the program did not come out of their pockets, it is easier for them to cancel meetings at the last minute or to leave a stack of leads untouched. It’s a strange phenomenon that bites even veteran advisors. If they aren’t betting on themselves with their own dollars, their sales behavior reflects it. On the other hand, if they step up to the table with a stack of their own chips, they are suddenly more serious and more engaged.
This is what was happening to the advisor I see at conferences. He was the one making the investment in the leads, so he took them more seriously than his staff.