Bill Good Marketing

Cold Calling Scripts for Financial Advisors

What is the most difficult part of the cold-calling process?

  1. Getting a good list of qualified potential clients.
  2. Getting the person to answer your phone call.
  3. Sculpting your sales pitch into something relevant to their situation.
  4. Getting the appointment within the next week. Or any time, really.

In other words… all of it — and even if you are doing all the above, you still might not be seeing any success.


Many reasons. Some of which we will dive into in this article.

First, let’s look at what cold-calling is NOT.

Cold-calling is NOT a “try it once and hope it works” endeavor. It requires testing and tweaking to learn what works for your market, your list, and for you.

Cold-calling is NOT for advisors who fear rejection. You will get a lot of rejections when you cold call – but if you follow best practices, it won’t matter, because the number of new leads you generate will be more than enough.

Cold-calling is NOT an outdated way to get new business. Many of the top producers in the industry still do extensive cold-calling, especially to business owners, because it is the most direct way to find qualified leads who are interested now.

So, what is cold-calling and why does it work?

Like any other part of the sales process, cold-calling is a numbers game. Nothing more. Nothing less. It works because it’s a fast, cheap, easy way to get in touch with a ton of potential clients. And all it takes is a phone call.

The advisor who can do more dials per hour will talk to more people. Talk to more people and you’ll find more prospective clients. Find more prospective clients and you’ll set more appointments. Set more appointments and you’ll close more prospects. Close more prospects and you’ll get more clients. Close more clients and you’ll grow your practice from a small business to a large one.

It’s certainly trickier than it used to be, but if you rigorously apply the principles of what we modestly call the Good Way to Cold Call, you can still have outstanding success with this style of lead generation. For example, one advisor we coach raised $36M in new assets in one year, mostly from cold-calling. And this isn’t some grizzled veteran salesperson who has been cold-calling since the 1980s. No, this advisor is in his early thirties!

The reason cold-calling is still a viable channel is because it remains one of the fastest, most direct way to fill your pipeline with leads – again, if you do it right. While seminar marketing is probably the king in this area, the big difference between seminars and cold-calling is that seminars can be expensive. 

And cold-calling isn’t. It costs nothing but your time. But do not delude yourself into thinking that this is a small investment. Cold-calling requires blood, sweat, and often tears. Until you get it right. And the first step to getting it right is to have the best cold-calling script ever written.

Your Biggest Problem is Your Cold-Calling Script

Your cold-calling efforts (or really any marketing strategy) are composed of many elements, and in order to be effective, you have to control them all. You have to be able to measure each element. You have to be able to identify the departure from the average rate of success. And you have to be able to bring the elements into alignment with each other.

In a study we conducted of 142 financial advisors, we found that 62 of them reported that their biggest problem is with their cold-calling script.

But that is the problem they see. It is not the problem we see.

Those problems happen long before the script is even needed. So here are some cold-calling tips to improve your success right now.

You Are Not Making Contact

There are two reasons you are not making contact:

  • You are not making enough sales calls; and
  • You may have a beat-up, highly resistant list.

Today, it takes at least twice as many calls to reach one person as it did 10 years ago.

Your goal is: 60 dials per hour. To do that, every rule below must be in force.

  • Call at the optimum time, which is 8–10 a.m. If you are a rookie financial advisor with no clients and therefore nothing else to do, it’s 8 a.m.–12 p.m. 
  • During your “calling block” allow no interruptions. Don’t take incoming calls, or at least have someone screen the calls. Hold off on your follow-up calls until you’ve completed the two-hour block.
  • Don’t waste time leaving messages and writing down stuff that doesn’t matter. Just hang up. It doesn’t matter. You can always call them back.
  • Dial the phone number, let it ring four times, and hang up.
  • At every possible opportunity, ask for the direct extension number.

If you are making your 60 calls an hour and are not getting 2–3 potential clients per hour, you have a list problem. Call a different demographic.

The No-Contact Scenario (AKA The GateKeeper)

Since most of your dials will result in no contact, it is vital you fully understand how to handle these. 

Assumption: You are dialing small business owners.

YOU: 801-555-6868. 1st ring. 2nd ring. 3rd ring. 4th ring. Hang up.

YOU: Immediately dial 801-555-6666. 1st ring. 2nd ring.

RECEPTION: Good morning, [Company Name].

YOU: Good morning. This is Bob Loblaw. I’m calling from Reliable Financial Services. May I speak to [Prospect Name] please?

RECEPTION: I’m sorry he’s not in right now. May I take a message?

YOU: No thank you. I’ll call back.

You continue dialing business owners.

RECEPTION: Throckmorten and Company. Good morning.

YOU: Good morning. This is Bob Loblaw. Barbara Throckmorten, please.

RECEPTION: One moment please.

ASSISTANT: Good morning. Barbara Throckmorten’s office. How may I help you?

YOU: Good morning. This is Bob Loblaw. Who am I speaking with?

ASSISTANT: Clementina Domenica.

YOU: Good morning, Clementina. Again, I’m Bob Loblaw with Reliable Financial Services. I have some important information for Barbara regarding what’s called the financial cliff. She may fall off that cliff in January. It is important we speak. Could you connect me, please?

ASSISTANT: She’s tied up in a meeting right now, would you like to leave a message on her voicemail?

YOU: Sure. But in case I get disconnected, what’s her direct extension number?

Hint: Don’t leave the message. Do ask for the direct extension number.

Contact Made

DECISION MAKER: This is Barbara Throckmorten.

Yikes. The door opened. Now what?

You’ve got 15 seconds to engage her interest in your value proposition. Most people blow it right here.

Here’s why:

  • Your cold-calling script does not make a specific offer.
  • You don’t use good manners, but instead try to force your way into the person’s life by asking for an immediate appointment. This is a waste of a good prospect’s time.
  • You don’t even provide a benefit for someone to give up their time to see you.
  • You talk too much. You have 15 seconds and that includes your first question.

What Does Work:

  • a clear offer, and
  • a question to determine degree of interest.

Below are some script examples readers have sent in for analysis.

DISCLAIMER: These are cold call examples. Like any new script, they will require testing.

Cold Call Example #1: This financial advisor is new in the business. He has opened 1-2 new HH in the past 12 months and he cold calls daily.

“Hello […], we’ve never spoken before and I don’t want to waste your time, so I’ll be very brief and to the point. I’m NAME, an FA at [COMPANY NAME] and I’d like to work for you. If I could save you taxes and or improve your returns, would you care to discuss the ideas?”

Are you surprised at his lack of success? I’m not.

He’d probably find more leads by sending a cold email from a blacklisted spam account.

His script has two negatives right up front—we’ve never spoken, and I don’t want to waste your time. And he makes two offers — “I’d like to work for you” and “would you care to discuss the ideas?” Muddy at best.

Now my rewritten version:

“My name is ____. I’m an FA at XYZ FIRM. I do two things. I help people reduce taxes and I help them increase their investment returns. Which of these would interest you the most?”

Taxes/income: “Terrific. I would like to send you some information on our [tax/income] strategy. If you like what you read, would you take a follow-up call?”

Comment: Don’t think for one second that you have to ask for an appointment on the first call. You don’t. And more often than not, you should not.

Let’s look at another script example.

“Hi John, this is NAME—I’m a LOCAL financial advisor with FIRM. I specialize in helping business owners and professionals, just like you, make sure they are on track to hit their goals. I’d like to give you a snapshot of how I do that, and then see where things might go from there.”

The offer here is very general. My rewrite:

“Hi John, this is NAME—I’m a LOCAL financial advisor with FIRM. I’m looking for a business owner today who does not have a handle on meeting some ambitious personal financial goals for their retirement plan. Could that be you?”

Comment: Asking for someone who does not have something they should have sometimes cuts right through the resistance, and often you get a true, flash answer.

Here’s another script example:

Cold Call Example #2: FA has been in the business 10-plus years and cold calls daily. He reports 6-10 new HH in the past 12 months. The bottom line is that doesn’t cut it.

“Mr./ Mrs._______, we work with a lot of business owners/senior executives like yourself managing their personal finances. For over 30 years we have been bringing financial planning and portfolio management services to our clients. Next week, I will be in your area doing quarterly reviews with our clients. This would be a good opportunity for us to get together and show you how our programs have had great success for our clients. What would be a convenient time and place for us to meet?”

Gasp. I’ve nearly passed out. Twice as long as it should be, and no clear offer. I don’t have a rewrite for this one. I would throw it out and start all over.

If you are making the dials, and you are making the contacts, but you are not getting 2-3 interested, and qualified people every hour, then you have a script problem.

The first thing you can do is print a copy of your script to keep track of a very specific metric.

Every time you lose the call, either they disconnect, or you do, mark exactly WHERE in the script this happened. A pattern will emerge. Just before that, is where your problem lies. Compare your script to the examples above.

If you’re wondering whether cold-calling will work today, let me share a quick success story with you. We held a webinar with one of our clients who brought in $35M AUM in one year.

He did it using just three prospecting channels:

  • Cold-calling
  • Seminars, and
  • Referrals

Needless to say, it was his most successful prospecting year to date.

But not everyone is successful cold-calling. Here are some tips on how to determine whether it is right for you:

  • You need to focus on filling your pipeline with leads.
  • You don’t have much capital to spend on seminars, or enough existing relationships to leverage. 
  • You are just starting out in the industry. 
  • You are patient, enjoy being on the phone, and willing to tinker in order to find the perfect formula for you. 

In our experience, if you like to fish, you can be a great cold caller.

Of course, cold-calling may not be right for you if:

  • You hate being on the phone or have a short attention span.
  • You have poor phone skills and are unwilling to work on improving them.
  • If you fear rejection. You will get a lot of rejections when you cold call. It’s just part of the game. 
  • You live in a very small market, where there simply aren’t enough names to come up with a viable list.

Master the Art of Cold-Calling with Bill Good Marketing

You can waste a lot of time and money figuring out what works. Or you can follow the exact steps you need to take, laid out for you in a step-by-step fashion.
If you want to learn more about: 

  • Which prospecting channels to focus on
  • How to generate more referrals (without asking the dreaded question)
  • How to find and capture more assets from existing clients, and
  • What metrics to shoot for, and more!

Or, if you would like to get more information about the Bill Good Marketing System and how we can help you with each of the 9 prospecting channels, give us a call.

We’ve helped tens of thousands of advisors just like you.

Picture of Andrew D. White

Andrew D. White

Andrew is a digital marketing expert here at Bill Good Marketing. Before joining Bill Good Marketing, Andrew spent most of his previous work experience in the digital marketing realm helping small businesses with things such as Web Design, SEO, and Social Media Management.

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