New York-based SmartAsset has announced an addition to its SmartAdvisor marketing program promising to connect financial advisors to prospects live, on the telephone, promising greatly higher client conversion rates.

The new Live Connections service, launched on Thursday, fits into SmartAsset’s SmartAdvisor platform, in which users actively looking for financial information and advice can choose to be connected with an advisor. SmartAsset itself is a platform for personal financial information and advice.

“I think this is very clearly the way of the future,” said SmartAsset CEO Michael Carvin. “We’re facilitating an experience for the consumer, who is used to pushing a button on their phone and having an Uber show up, or receiving a delivery to their door step, to access a financial advisor with similar ease. We’re going to be the first to facilitate that, and billions of dollars are going to run through this platform this year. It’s going to change how this industry meets their clients.”

SmartAdvisor uses live concierge telephone operators to follow-up with prospects via calls. Through Live Connections, concierges ask whether a prospective client wants to talk now, and then dials an advisor with the prospect still active on the line.

SmartAdvisor creates prospect segments along topics like geographic location and AUM to help connect advisors with the types of clients they desire. Users in the market for financial advice are asked to take a 25-30 question survey to determine their investment and financial planning preferences. Their answers are validated by SmartAdvisor’s concierge operators live on the phone, and this is where the client experience now diverges – traditionally, SmartAdvisor prospects are delivered to advisor’s inboxes via e-mail so that the advisor could reach out and make contact, but  now, clients can elect to use Live Connections to talk to an advisor immediately.

“Consumers asked us for this,” said Carvin. “With SmartAdvisor, we gave them a small call to action, ‘would you like to be introduced to a financial advisor in your neighborhood…’ We’d have consumers tell us ‘I’m looking to speak to someone right now, if you match me to these three advisors, that’s great, but I want to reach an advisor right now.’ In response to that, we built out this capability.”

Thus far, the average investor using the SmartAsset platform is 57 years old with $890,000 in assets. More than three-quarters of the users, 76%, do not currently work with an advisor, and 70% are either retired or within 10 years of retirement.

The Live Connections service is already available to advisors on the SmartAdvisor platform, which has helped transfer $9.7 billion AUM to advisors since its inception in 2018, $5.2 billion in 2019 alone.

SmartAsset said that in a pilot run of Live Connections, advisors enjoyed a 100% contact rate – because the prospect is already on the line – and a close/conversion rate of over 20%.

“For every five phone calls we send you, on average, you’re going to take one that’s a client,” said Carvin. “In terms of advisor return, it’s a great prospect on the other end of the line because they’re already confirmed to be an interested consumer, and that means it’s much less work to get the consumer past the finish line than there would otherwise be.”

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