Do you know your conversion rates? I don’t mean your gut feel. I mean your actual, statistically proven conversion rates. If you don’t know them, you’re not alone, but you are missing a trick.
Lots of businesses I work with don’t know their basic conversion rates.
That is conversion from:
- Enquiries inward to first appointments booked
- First appointments, to clients who engage to buy a financial plan
- Plans presented, to people who implement
- Implementations to ongoing review service
This is important information. Without it, you’re missing a whole bunch of business improvement opportunities.
What does each one tell you?
1. Enquiries inward to first appointments booked
How many of the enquiries you receive via email, telephone, professional connections, online sites like Unbiased and Vouched For, or via social media convert into first appointments?
I’d be very interested to break down the data as follows:
a.) Source of lead:
How valuable are your different lead sources?
If you can get some solid data in this area, you can then focus your limited time and money on the areas that work best, and spend less (or no) time on the others.
I’ve heard people moaning about how crappy the leads are from places like Vouched For or Unbiased, but they can’t show me any data to support the conclusion.
I’m not saying leads to your business from these sources aren’t crappy, but I’d sure like to know this over a 12-24 month stretch of information before I turned it off.
Two or three good leads per year from these sources might still make them valuable for you, depending on the cost structure they’re based on and the quality of the leads that do convert.
But only good data will give you that information.
b.) Adviser who took the call:
Who took the initial enquiry and did the screening of the lead?
And is there any difference in conversion rates between advisers?
I think this one is really important. In a lot of businesses with multiple advisers, the owner/founder is often the very best person to take these initial enquiries.
Because they have the most experience and best skills for getting to the bottom line with a new enquiry.
It doesn’t mean the owner has to actually deal with the first meetings that flow from all of the new enquiries. They can simply refer off to the most suitable adviser by saying at the end of the call:
“Mr/Mrs Prospect, I’m sure we can help you with your issue. I think Suzanne would be the best fit as she’s done a load of work for clients facing the situation you’ve described. She’s our XYZ specialist, in fact. I’ll get the team to contact you to set up an appointment. They’ll also send you some really useful pre-meeting information so you know what to expect. Do you have any other questions?”
I know screening enquiries is a job that a lot of founders want to get rid of, but I’m not always sure it leads to the best outcome for the business. Is this actually a job that only you can do to the standard that is necessary? In some cases, especially in smaller or newer firms, the answer is an unequivocal yes.
It’s also politically tricky because most other advisers in the firm are not going to voluntarily admit they’re not so great at the screening process. But ego needs to be pushed aside on this one in my view. The best person for the job should be handling this important task.
2. First appointments to clients who engage to buy a Financial Plan
Clearly, it’s important to know what the conversion rate is from first appointments to engaging with the firm for a financial plan.
a.) It will provide some information as to the quality of screened leads you’ve let through from step 1. If too many sub-par leads are getting through, it’ll show up in this statistic and then you’ll need to tighten up the screening process, probably by asking a few more questions.
b.) It will provide some insight into the skills of the various advisers on the team. This is not a witch hunt or an exercise in shaming anyone who might need some upskilling. But you have to know if there is a development opportunity in any of the advisory team.
Let’s be honest, we could all be better at our first meeting skills. So training might end up being conducted across the board anyway, even if it is one adviser who seems to need the work.
Additionally, reporting to each adviser on their conversion ratios and giving them some context as to how they compare to the rest of the team, allows any individuals who are not performing to the same standard to take on some self-development of their own.
It’s just feedback. It doesn’t necessarily pinpoint the cause of the issue, but it does let us know there is an issue.
c,) It might let us know if you’ve pushed your pricing too far. I see this one a lot.
Firms that previously haven’t charged anything for a financial plan start to do it at a modest level and have success.
6 months later I hear from the business that clients are not converting. I find out subsequently that they’ve suddenly increased their planning fees from £1,200, which is where they started, up to £3,000 or £5,000. They’ve suddenly realised that all the value is in the planning.
However, they’ve missed the fact that most clients don’t know this and find it really hard to see and accept early in the relationship.
3. Plans presented to people who implement
I’m really interested in this statistic because I believe the hardest conversion is the step before, from first appointments to clients who engage.
Once people have engaged I would expect a very high percentage of people to continue on with implementation and joining your ongoing review service.
If that is not the case for you or some of the advisers on your team, what is it telling you?
a.) It might be a skills issue. In the presentation stage, it’s easy to revert to “telling” mode. However, it’s important to try and ask questions as you work through your recommendations, to allow people to recognise the issue before you jump in and solve it.
Questions like, “Do you recall why we wanted to look at consolidating your pensions?” Or, “What are the future lifestyle implications of not putting enough away each year?”
b.) It might be a client selection issue. Are you letting jobs through where the likelihood of them becoming lifetime clients is low?
I realise that some businesses will be very happy to do some transactional jobs for people. As long it is a conscious choice that’s ok. However, if that was not your intention, yet you find yourself doing just that, perhaps you need to look at the process you’re taking people through.
c.) It might highlight a hurdle in your approach to charging. Is there a big fat implementation fee that some people just can’t seem to get past? The same question could be asked about your ongoing fee?
d.) My first port of call would be to work on how you explain and demonstrate your value to clients, rather than cutting your fees. However, issues c.) and d.) go hand in hand and might merit consideration together.
4. Implementations to ongoing review service
The last ratio is how many people want to implement with you, but don’t want to move onto your ongoing service?
I’d expect most people to want to progress. Of course, there could be clients where you, and they, feel this is not necessary. That’s fine. But you could probably split them out of the data set to see what your true conversion ratio is.
The Bottom Line
Having good data on each of these conversion ratios is vital for identifying and addressing a wide range of issues with your advisory process.
For most firms, good clients are hard to find in the right quantities. So making sure that when they do make contact they are dealt with to the top end of your skill set is important.
By keeping good data you can continue to improve the quality of your client experience and the performance of your business.
Let me know how you go.