How are SmartAsset Financial Advisor Leads Developed?
SmartAsset drives hundreds of thousands of traffic targeting some of prospects and investors most common questions such as “Do I have enough to retire?”
The prospective individual than goes through various questions, time to retirement, social security, investable assets, etc.
Once the individual types in their information, it it submitted and subsequently sold off to an advisor (usually multiple according to their pricing models)
So, now that you know how that works, lets dig into what Advisors think of of SmartAssets Leads and their quality.
What Wallethub has to say
Wallethub has approximately 38 reviews and here is what some users had to say… Most of these reviews are pretty bad with the majority of them falling under the quality of leads and the information that is involved.
By: Nick Greenhouse
“Absolutely horrible company. I used them for 3 months and received 1 lead out of 45 that was an actual person interested in possibly talking. The rest were fake people and I even had a few that did not know smart asset had their information. They were genuinely upset that they were being contacted. When I sent emails about this to my customer service rep at smart asset I was completely ignored. And to top it off, a month after I canceled my subscription they sent me a lead. Which I assumed was to finish off the remaining “credit balance” they took from me on the first month. However I received a charge on my credit card and a bill from them. I have not heard back from smart asset about this so I will be disputing the charging and filing a fraud claim. Do not do business with them, smart asset for advisors is a complete scam, worst I’ve ever dealt with. The free information for consumers is good, but do not ever do business with them. Along with similar complaints not a single lead they send me was within my set radius for leads even though I called multiple times and had them “correct” the issue it’s total b.s. and the second they hear you are going to cancel, the customer service goes out the window.”
“I am a Financial Advisor using this service to engage with individuals seeking financial planning services.
SmartAsset at first glance seems like an excellent service, connecting individuals who want to work with an advisor to those that can support them.
Unfortunately, contrary to SmartAsset’s value proposition – leads are not vetted in any material capacity. I have received many leads that were other financial advisors checking out the service, not complete names, fake names, numbers that didn’t work or were numbers obviously set up specifically to screen calls. It will be up to you to catch these and submit them to your SmartAsset rep to be replaced/refunded. They may or may not decide to do it.
One lead I received actively noted they were not interested in working with a financial advisor in the intake questionnaire. I was told to ‘stick with it’ and ‘drip on them’ and maybe they will engage in 6 months. I received a substantial number of leads from people already working with advisors and ‘seeking a second opinion’, for which my engagement rate has been terrible.
Subjectively, lead quality was OK in the beginning, but degraded over time. Quantity and allocation of leads across pricing tiers vary significantly from month to month. If you have ever used Waze for GPS navigation and wondered if they are taking you down a specific route just to beta test it – smartasset has the same feel. Throwing different lead iterations at you to accommodate their own A/B testing.
After more then a year, the service barely pays for itself, and considering the infrastructure and time commitment to make it work – it is likely a net negative. I have found some great clients who are sincerely interested in professional support, they are few and far between. My team and myself have put 100’s of hours into making this work. This is my worst performing marketing vertical, as the pandemic abates I am considering discontinuing the service.”
By: Bill O’Donnell
Several problems with SmartAsset, largely around inconsistencies in what advisors are told as a prospective customer and a lack of responsiveness when issues are raised.
Because of issues with another service using geographical ranges, I told the sales rep that I wanted leads only from certain zip codes. The sales rep told me their leads used distance radius. I set mine to short distances, but leads I got were routinely out of those ranges.
Supposedly, leads are validated for accurate phone numbers, emails, and other date. Several leads came through with non-working phone numbers or nonexistent emails. So, I have to conclude that the company response on April 21 is a lie or their “concierge” staff isn’t doing their jobs. By the way, a senior manager with the authority to take action is welcome to provide me a phone number so we can discuss my dissatisfaction with their abysmal service.
When I complained to my account manager, he told me they absolutely could restrict leads to specific zip codes, which is inconsistent with what the sales rep said. I gave him the specific zip codes I wanted and he promised to get back with me once he had it all sorted out. This was on April 23. He also promised to suspend activity on my account until he had the leads issue fixed. I heard nothing until May 4, I got another bill and sent him another email. He wanted to talk; I gave him two times and didn’t hear from him. I called May 4 and haven’t heard from him yet (now May 5). This unresponsiveness is unacceptable.
Leads are generally unresponsive. I know they can’t force people to return calls, but SA could do a lot more to encourage prospects to engage with advisors. They talk in grand terms about their vetting process, but that process does nothing to prod clients to talk to advisors.
Nowhere on their web site is a phone number to call where you can link up with a senior manager to troubleshoot problems with their people. That’s bad business.
Bottom line – I no longer trust the firm and believe they’ll tell you whatever it takes to keep your money flowing to them. I’m terminating my service.
If you are looking to utilize SmartAsset you should get your head checked. This is the singular worst customer service experience I have ever had. I am a financial advisor who used their service, they charged me $600 when I asked repeatedly to have my billing stopped. They then took the 6 leads from me, but will not refund my money. This is a total scam. I have tried to call multiple phone numbers over the past 6 weeks and have not had one single person answer a call. On top of that, the leads in general are terrible. At least 20% of my leads did not even have a working telephone. SmartAsset claims they call each lead to ensure their phones are working, but I asked every single person I got in contact with and not one had ever received a call from SmartAsset. If you are looking for lead generation or to be engaged with an advisor use another piece of software. Anything else on the planet would be better than SmartAsset.
What’s the upside?
Advisors still may find some business within these leads that are bought, but it may take $5,000 – $10,000 worth of investment before seeing any return.
Judging by the reviews, be prepared to not see immediate results. The good news is you have some new prospects in your CRM or drip campaign to keep in touch with.
The upside is that these individuals should already be qualified and seeking out help from a qualified financial advisor. However, some of the reviews would say otherwise.
Not to say you could not find a qualified client in here, but the vetting process sounds as it is not done properly.
What is the cost per lead?
According to RIABIZ , you are looking at around $190- $240 per lead (which goes out to multiple advisors).
Should you try it?
With most ventures, it is acceptable to explore new sources of revenue, but you need to ensure that you have a process behind the investment rather than waste precious time, energy and money.