Why do leads go cold, and can you win them back?

4 mins readLast updated January 20, 2023by Kate Morgan

For financial advisors, losing valuable leads is always a blow. There are multiple reasons that leads go cold before they can be converted, and most of them aren’t the advisor's fault — but whatever the reason, the negative impact is felt. This article details the tips and tricks you can learn to avoid risking the loss of a client and re-appeal to potential customers after they’ve gone cold.

What does “gone cold” mean?

When a lead has gone cold, they have failed to respond to your last contact. Though it can be a frustrating setback from the advisor’s side of the fence, it’s common in the early stages of a working relationship with a potential customer.

The best way to find out where you’re going wrong is to offer leads the chance to explain why they went cold or to consult your clients and ask what might have made them go cold in a similar circumstance.

You can then adapt your business practices and strategies to ensure you don’t repeat the same mistakes when dealing with future customers.  

The five most common reasons that leads go cold

1. No contact with the assigned advisor Clients prefer initial contact from the person who’ll become their advisor.

From day one, this creates trust and confidence that they’re matched with someone who understands their needs. Unfortunately, it often won’t happen with large firms, and it can be off-putting for clients when their contact suddenly changes.

If initial contact is made by someone else, make sure you’re also reaching out to cement that link. 

2. Too much informationMany clients who have gone cold feel that a financial advisor has been too forward.

For example, they asked for too much personal information upfront before establishing a good level of trust. Before you start drilling down on a client’s financial situation, getting to know them first is essential.

Understand who they are, their background, and their priorities. THEN start examining what they need help with.  

3. Informality rising to the level of unprofessionalismMany younger investors run their lives on their phones. Still, even younger investors prefer not to be contacted via apps like WhatsApp by advisors. It feels unprofessional, and it’s also subject to targeting by hackers and scammers.

It’s always better to contact a client via email or phone call first, and new video conferencing technology makes it even simpler to put names to faces. 

4. Lack of transparencyClients will only begin to trust you if you’re honest about things like fees and payment structure from the beginning.

For example, if you charge them more than the standard one1 per cent, having not outlined this before, they’re unlikely to use you again in the future. Meet face-to-face or via video conferencing technology, as mentioned above.

Let them know there’s a human on the other end to increase trust and build credibility. 

5. Speed of responseThe Spectrem Group recently surveyed investors who had more than $1 million in funds but then went cold.

The results found that many of the reasons they reneged on custom were connected to the fact that advisors weren’t communicative.

61 per cent said their advisor didn’t return phone calls quickly enough. 53 per cent said their advisor wasn’t proactive in reaching out. 46 per cent said their advisor didn’t return emails quickly enough.  

Can you win back cold leads?

It’s a huge six to seven times more expensive to generate new leads than it is to retain existing leads.

If you can’t make existing clients feel valued and potential clients feel welcome, you’ll waste a lot of time targeting new leads.

Keeping your services relevant, personal and proactive is the best way to make sure clients stay engaged, but there are plenty of methods to win them over again if they’ve lost touch with you.


  • A new, unique approach to opening up the conversationOptions like custom video messages and direct texts with discount codes are an excellent place to start. They’re personalized and engaging in all the right ways without being invasive. If you can make a cold customer a valuable offer that suits their goals and financial plans, they may begin to warm up 

  • Paid ads on social media to increase visibility and retargetThis is a great way of semi-indirectly reminding a customer that your brand exists. It will essentially refresh and restart the sales process for their clients (particularly if the ad presents them with an exciting offer)  

  • Being personal if you get the chance to talkIf they’re willing to have a chat with you, don’t jump straight into sales talk. Ask how they’re doing. Ask about the progression of their business or career. Ask about their family/life/hobbies. Let them know that they matter as an individual to you 

  • Posting your well wishesThis is a fun way of uniquely approaching a client you’ve worked with before. Wishing them a happy birthday and sending them a physical card reminding them that they’re a valued customer, for example, could be just the catalyst required for them to get back in touch 

Many of these approaches incorporate or utilize technology, but it’s essential that you maintain the human touch as you try these things.

Over-automated outreach won’t warm a cold lead anywhere near as effectively as proper communication and conversation.  

Content writer

Kate Morgan

Kate has written for leading publications and blue chip companies over the last 20 years.