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Two Sentence Financial Advisor LinkedIn Scripts

In this blog/podcast financial advisors will learn how to apply the Two Sentence Rule to create LinkedIn scripts, rebuttals, and client messages that elevate their value. The Two Sentence Rule can potentially enable financial advisors to communicate better with clients and prospects, get more leads over LinkedIn and other social media platforms, and reduce time spent on non-responsiveness, confusion, and back-and-forth.

By the way, thanks for joining me.

For those of you who are new to my blog/podcast, my name is Sara. I am a CFA® charterholder and I used to be a financial advisor. I have a podcast in which I talk about financial advisor lead generation topics and it is best described as “fun and irreverent.” Please subscribe!

If you’re looking for some straight up talk then you’ve come to the right place!

Sara Grillo, CFA is a highly fun and slightly crazy marketing consultant based in NYC.
I am an irreverent and fun marketing consultant for financial advisors.

Thanks for joining me today. Now that we’re past the pleasantries, let’s get to the point of today’s piece. My goal is to answer the following questions:

  • How do I reduce confusion when a client is uncertain about something?
  • How do financial advisors get a higher response rate with prospects they are messaging over LinkedIn or other social media platforms such as Facebook?
  • How do I rebut back when a prospect rejects me without sounding tacky or pushy?
  • How do I avoid getting used and abused for my knowledge with a breadcrumbing prospect that I want to impress and get as a client?
  • Why don’t clients and prospects see my value?

If you’re faced with any of these questions don’t worry because I have the answers! Just read on, or listen to the podcast at the bottom of this page.

Weak communication leads to devaluation

Do you realize that people judge your value by how clearly you communicate?

I have four kids and a business, and people are always marveling at how well I make it work. I’m not going to pretend it’s not stressful. But I’ve learned to manage it. Those who are under high pressure all the time like ER doctors, army helicopter pilots, etc., have no choice but to learn to communicate very effectively.

People are overwhelmed right now given the pandemic, and it’s nothing new. Busy, successful people with alot on their plate always felt this way anyways.

  • Do you ever feel like you just can’t handle one more thing?
  • Like you have so much BS on your mind, so much damn BS, that steam is literally about to start coming out of your ears?
  • Do you ever feel distressed in advance when the phone rings, the doorbell rings, or you see an email from a specific person that you know is going to stress you out? Before you even hear what they have to say you are stressed out.
  • Do you ever want to just scream “LEAVE ME ALONE. EVERYONE SHUT THE F UP RIGHT NOW”

Don’t let these distractions of life derail you. You need to be that beacon of clarity, that one person who can cut through all the BS like a knife and settle any situation. High value financial advisors can do this!

Clients and prospects can be so wordy because they are just verbose people, have a lot of time on their hands, are confused, or have lost sight of the idea they are trying to communicate. It’s up to you to bring them back into focus.

You have to gain control of the situation. When conversations are full of words with no connection to actions, it’s trouble. You’re going to waste a lot of everyone’s time. Worst of all, you’ll be devalued; clients and prospects will judge you by your weak communication skills and failure to get the job done.

The #1 determinant of how successful you are is how you invest your time. Period.

-Sara Grillo, CFA

It’s not how smart or experienced you are. And some of you are wasting all day talking, I mean, I see some of you going on and on about things that don’t matter. Not only does it waste time but people are going to judge you as of lower value.

Another way I see high quality financial advisors getting devalued is by doing free work. I’ve seen people do a whole entire estate plan analysis for prospects and then then deal didn’t close. Used and abused. You just did the plan for free, and then you have less time for clients, yourself, your employees, and the prospects who are out there and need you but that you just haven’t had the time to find yet.

But guess what, financial advisors; it’s your fault, not theirs, for not being able to convince them that they needed to pay for your time.

If you don’t see the value of your time (and you can’t communicate it so they get it), don’t expect them to. It’s not the prospect’s job to convince themselves that you shouldn’t work for free; that’s your job.

-Sara Grillo, CFA

Side note: I think all of you should offer your prospects hourly pricing. When you go into a deal, offer to do their financial plan for a fee and that lines you up to ask for the whole portfolio instead of getting breadcrumbed and having them “start with” $25,000 or some amount insignificant to their total portfolioof $2MM because they don’t see your value.

Let’s work on communicating in a way that shows your value – because I have the answers!

What is the Two Sentence Rule?

This is directly from my e-book called “47 Financial Advisor LinkedIn Messages and Sequences that will NOT make you look Stupid. “ If you are a financial advisor trying to meet new clients over LinkedIn or other social media sites and you need to know how to put together scripts, you can download it here.

The Two Sentence Rule is described as a method of communication with these qualities:

  • Two sentences only. Anything more and they have to scroll too much.
  • First sentence is a statement and the second sentence is best a question or exclamation. Then shut up.
  • Focus on one idea at a time.
  • Don’t give them too many options as for what you want them to do. There should be one clear call to action, and that’s it.

The Two Sentence Rule is of high importance to any financial advisor looking for new clients over LinkedIn, Facebook, or other social media messenger apps. I can’t emphasize enough that the financial advisor’s LinkedIn script has to be two sentences long only.

It’s not just about not making them scroll. The more important aspect of the Two Sentence Rule is that you want to avoid complex communications with someone you don’t know well. This is how communication over messaging apps is different from having a verbal conversation and it’s important to grasp.

The Two Sentence Rule applies to:

  • Emails
  • LinkedIn messenger
  • Phone conversations
  • Zoom meetings
  • In person meetings
  • Prospecting meetings
  • Client meetings

The objective of the Two Sentence Rule is to take pressure off you and the other person in the conversation by emphasizing what is important instead of getting distracted by the clutter. In the following section I’m going to teach you how to put together two sentence communications to use with prospects or clients of your RIA firm or financial advisor practice.

How financial advisors may apply the Two Sentence Rule to their LinkedIn scripts, prospecting rebuttals, and client messages

When you are confronted with a communication that is overwhelming, ask yourself these questions.

  • What is the most important piece of information I need to give this person? (important info)
  • What do I want the person to do? (command)

And then create two sentences that answer those two questions. I came up with the Two Sentence Rule because as someone with four kids under seven years old, I’m naturally confronted with overwhelming situations all the time. Examples:

  • You’re going to break your neck. Stop jumping on that couch right now!

The important information – you’re going to get hurt

The command – stop jumping

  • I’m not the person who keeps track of the toy car batteries. Ask your father.

The important info – I can’t give you the batteries

The command – ask Antonio

  • Stop hitting her. Do you like it when people hit you in the arm like that?

The important info – it doesn’t feel good when people hit you

The command – stop hitting

I’m going to get into it in a minute and show you some examples of how to apply this to your client communications, and I’ll even throw in some prospecting messages and rebuttals. But first I wanted to talk about a tool that can help you.

A quick word about “47 Financial Advisor LinkedIn Messages and Sequences that will NOT make you look Stupid”

I have written other books but this one, 47 Financial Advisor LinkedIn Messages and Sequences that will NOT make you look Stupid, is different.

I hadn’t written a book in about four years. I have changed so much and I took a different approach this time. I was looking at it asking myself, “What contribution can I make to this industry that is truly unique? That nobody else has done before?”

The book is not heavily decorated. It’s not artistically written and flowery, it’s straightforward in my no BS fashion. I saw very clearly the goal of this book and it is to give you the words to say to someone you don’t know so you can be perceived as a high quality financial advisor.

Nobody in the industry has gotten this right so far, in my opinion. I don’t know of anyone else who has published a book of financial advisor LinkedIn messages two sentences long. All messages in this book, all 47 of them, are two sentences long.

I see alot of marketing consultants giving financial advisors these paragraph-long LinkedIn scripts to blast over messenger and to be frank I don’t think they’re doing you any favors; in fact I believe they are doing you a disservice.

-Sara Grillo, CFA

I want to be very clear; this is not a Picasso it’s a machine gun. I didn’t write it as a work of rhetorical art or a Socratic debate to read while you lounge around and drink a glass of brandy, it is a weapon intended for use in combat. I made it short because I want people to be able to read it over and over again. In fact I want you to read it every single month you are using LinkedIn.

The book really is about the Two Sentence Rule and this is what has come about through my journey as a mother. Because when you have a lot of small children, and especially an autistic child, a child with ADHD, or a child with problems with processing information, you have to be brief and get the point across quickly and you have no choice. The best way to make your point received is to cut it short.

I don’t know how else to say it. I literally gave the reader everything I have on this subject. It is my best work. It is the singular best, most practical, most useful, most powerful thing I have ever written.

I feel that strongly about how important this book is for people. The link is here. Please buy this book right now and read it once, read it twice, keep reading it until you figure out how they fit perfectly with the people you are trying to reach.

And now let’s get to some examples of how to apply the Two Sentence Rule. These are based on communications I have had with clients and prospects.

Client is lost – redirect

Client says:

I am trying to see if I should create a version of this newsletter for COIs and Prospects. Most of the market commentary and portfolio updates are not relevant to them. Maybe I can just send out the election section of the article. See attached.

Okay so there are four things going on here making this an overwhelming email to get:

  • Client want to know if it’s necessary to do a whole new project
  • Client doesn’t know what is relevant to their audience
  • Client needs a solution
  • Client wants me to review their article

Here’s how I would respond with the Two Sentence Rule:

Before we get into what to send them, let’s focus on the results. What do you want them to take away from this article after they read it?

Clarifying information – it’s unclear what you want to do

Command – tell me the result you want

Client is struggling – redirect

Client says:

In my brand summary, what I’m trying to describe is “holistic planning.” I’m struggling with this.

Here you want to save the client from swimming in a sea of confusion while trying to bring an abstract concept into tangible terms. Ask them to give you three concrete things and use that as the foundation to work from.

Two sentence response: It sounds as if holistic planning is pretty important to your brand. What do you feel are the three major things that would define this term?

A client is lost – redirect

Client says:

We want to discuss the US workers’ stress/wellness/mental health epidemic. What do you think of this snippet? How else could we pitch this?

Here’s what the client is confused about:

  • Too broad a topic spanning too many realms
  • Wants me to review it, but the fact he is asking for another pitch implies he’s not completely happy with what he wrote in the first place. So that is setting up an opportunity to waste time.
  • Wants additional ideas but the concept is so broad you’d just be scattering into a bunch of different directions.

A good response using the Two Sentence Rule: Before we get into reviewing this, let me ask you one question. Why do you feel there is a need to pitch this another way?

If he doesn’t believe in the article in the first place then why should I waste my time reading it? With my response you are getting to the core of the issue.

Important info – we’re about to waste your time and mine

Command – tell me why you don’t like this piece you wrote

Rebuttal from a prospect rejection

Prospect says:

Good afternoon, Sara.  I handle all of the programs for XXX Organization.  My Director, Ms. Sandra, forwarded your email on to me regarding your workshop.  We currently have an arrangement with Unnamed Brokerage Firm who host virtual seminars.  We are not be interested at this time. 

Thank you for reaching out to us.  Have a good day!

Regards,

Mary Ann

Respond using the Two Sentence Rule: Thanks! Would it be okay to put your name on our email newsletter list so that you may receive our updates on library news and tips?

Their response: Sure, that would be fine.

Success!

As I discuss in my e-book, rejection is often an instinct based upon feeling rather than logic. She doesn’t know how bad she has it at this point, but I’m not going to get in her face and irritate her so she ghosts me, which is what she’ll do because she doesn’t see my value yet.

Notice I don’t argue with the person about how we’re better and she should give us a chance. I’m playing the long game. I’m asking her to keep the door open just enough so I can stay on her radar screen and maybe attempt the pitch again when I have something better or when enough times has passed. Or maybe she’ll come to me when she reads our newsletter. This rebuttal was successful because it’s gotten her to give me the chance to show my value. I see so many high quality financial advisors that don’t know how to rebut quickly and with skill, and they lose opportunities to lower quality advisors who don’t deserve the business like they do.

Potential breadcrumber

I see financial advisors giving away their time for free all the time. Sometimes it is because you financial advisors have to offer a free portfolio review or free half hour of your time just to get the prospect’s attention. Other times the prospect asks for free time. Either way, if you’re looking to deal with the affluent, which most of you are, they certainly should be able to afford a few hundred dollar consultation fee. And if you are holding yourself out as providing a luxury service to affluent people, you should expect them to treat you as such – a high value service provider. You are not selling washing machines here.

Do you get emails from prospects like this?

Prospect says:

Hi Sara, I hope you are well. I enjoy your videos on Youtube and would really like to learn if it’s possible to move from equity research to private equity. Thank you, name.

My response (one sentence): Are you interviewing?

I ask him a question that enables me to know how to help him best instead of answering the question without knowing anything about him. If he is interviewing, he needs to download my book, and if he’s not interviewing then he needs to have a coaching session with me.

A while ago I learned that free advice isn’t necessarily the best thing for the prospect. It’s not that you are being greedy. Your time has a value and you have to honor it. If you’re just firing back advice for free, you’re probably not spending much time and doing them justice. This is not the deep understanding they need. If they don’t see your advice as worth paying for, how seriously are they going to take it? Are they going to listen to whatever you say anyways? One of the best things I did for people was I figured out I needed to ask people to pay me for my time through PayPal whenever they ask for free advice.

You’d be surprised at how much less important it is for them to get their question answered when I ask them to pay for it. And that’s very elucidating. I’d rather get one sale out of 20 from the qualified buyer than talk all day to 50 unqualified’s and hope one rolls around. When you ask to pay, it’s qualifying them by finding out how serious they are about you. And wouldn’t you rather not spend your time speaking with breadcrumbers who don’t see your value, are “shopping” around, and see no real value in your time?

Given the choice, wouldn’t you rather speak with someone who

  • Values your time
  • Thinks you deserve to be paid for your hard work
  • Is not shopping around but is looking to invest in a relationship

But anyways, back to my story. So then he says:

I have already interviewed and got another job. I was wondering if after a few years of equity research I can still potentially move back  private equity.

Two sentence rule-dictated response: This is a more complicated question than I can answer in an email. If you want to set up coaching, let me know.

He says: Sure we can have a coaching session.

Now did I get taken for granted here? Heck no.

It’s your choice, financial advisors! If you’re getting breadcrumbed, it’s because you’ve made the decision to allow people to behave this way. If you’re not on hourly pricing, enable this as an option for your business. And then come up with a great two sentence phrase such as, “To properly answer your question, we would need to put together a 3-5 hour, thorough financial planning analysis that takes into account all of the aspects of your life. We charge $250/hour and you can pay via Stripe or PayPal.” And then just copy and paste whenever you find yourself in a dialogue with a breadcrumbers!

And by the way, are you financial advisors using Calendly? When somebody finally agrees to a meeting with you, don’t complicate it by having to go back and forth agreeing on a date. Just send them your Calendly link.

Sara’s Upshot

With the pandemic and all the stress it has brought, the Two Sentence Rule has become even more important than ever. Clients and prospects judge your value by the words you say, and the clarity of your ideas. Learn the Two Sentence Rule and communicate in a way that makes you perceived as of higher value and quality.

Download my e-book about 47 Financial Advisor LinkedIn Messages and Sequences, and learn how to communicate over social media in a way that draws people towards you and builds trust…instead of barfing on them.

Download here.

I also have a membership program, helping people to be able to develop business with these more sophisticated clients. This program talks about content creating (blogs, podcasts, newsletters, etc) as well as financial advisor strategies for using LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter for getting new leads. I also talk about how to relate your marketing and lead generation to certain financial advisor practice management topics. For example, the profitability worksheet I discussed in this blog is a tool that I provide to everyone on my membership.

Thanks for joining me, and I’ll see you in the next one.

-Sara

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Financial Advisor LinkedIn Messages and Sequences that will NOT make you look Stupid

In this blog I discuss financial advisor LinkedIn messages and sequences that will help you get new clients, prospects, meetings, and leads.

This podcast/blog is going to discuss financial advisor LinkedIn messages and sequences that won’t make you look stupid. I am going to outline the strategy behind LinkedIn messaging for financial advisors and much more – so make sure you read until the end!

In this blog you will learn:

  • Examples of financial advisor LinkedIn messages that WILL make you look stupid
  • What the point of a financial advisor LinkedIn message should be
  • How long a financial advisor LinkedIn message should be
  • How to make yourself be perceived as a high quality financial advisor who is worthy of the prospect’s trust without saying so outright
  • How many LinkedIn messages financial advisors should send to prospects that they want to engage
  • The different kinds of financial advisor LinkedIn messages and sequences that you should be using, and when to use them

But before you get started…if you’re just looking for the words to say, I recently published a book with 47 financial advisor LinkedIn messages and sequences. You can download your copy here.

Financial advisor LinkedIn messages that make you look stupid

I get messages from financial advisors all the time that make them look stupid. Examples include:

  • Describing some sort of promising investment strategy or product that I should invest in
  • Asking me if I need a SEP IRA
  • Telling me they have 20 years in the business and that is why they can help me with my holistic planning, and then asking me for coffee (without acknowledging the fact that I used to be a financial advisor myself)

This is highly evolved communication?

Financial advisors are often the largest expense their clients have in their lives. For $10k a year, they expect alot – and they certainly have a right to. The communications above don’t seem like they would impress a high net worth individual with high expectations, do they? This is more like how you would expect to be treated by the cable company.

Financial advisors are expected to treat their clients with higher personalized attention than the cable company.

For an industry that prides itself on being so sensitive to what clients need, these statements reflect just the opposite – low attention to the client, low responsiveness to their needs, and most of all, impatience and greed. All the reassurances of trust in the world, the licenses, the fancy steak dinners, and everything else you do to impress people – all of this doesn’t matter when you present yourself this way.

Communication that reflects nothing about the client’s expressed needs, and is based only upon assumption of interest, is the basis for a financial advisor LinkedIn message that makes you look low quality and unworthy of their trust.

-Sara Grillo, CFA

So how do financial advisors create LinkedIn messages that allow them to be perceived as high quality and worthy of this trust?

Let’s start with the basics.

What the objective of a financial advisor message is

Financial advisors ask me all the time what the “good” messages are to send over LinkedIn so that they can get a meeting. This question reflects such a crude understanding of how prospecting over the internet works.

Financial advisors should approach prospects on LinkedIn with this understanding.

  • Every prospect is different and those differences are important to them.
  • The objective of a LinkedIn message is to gain information that enables you to reflect a better understanding of the prospect’s needs.
  • Meaningful exchanges of information naturally lead to the prospect trusting you more and eventually agreeing to a meeting

In other words, focus on having great conversations instead of trying to fire off some magic one-liners that will woo the prospect. It’s as if you were sitting at a table with the prospect working on completing a puzzle together. You can’t rush to the end and see the completed picture without putting all the first pieces in place. It’s critical to construct it together with the prospect, one puzzle piece at a time. The more pieces you put in place, the more obvious it becomes what the next piece should be, where the next piece should go, etc.

Slow down, everyone.

Build trust through exchanges of information that fill in pieces of the puzzle. You put a piece into the puzzle, and then they put a piece into the puzzle, and then one more, and then one more, and then another one. Now the picture is becoming clearer.

To do it this way, there is no easy, quick solution. Financial advisors have to be very deliberate about each LinkedIn message that they send. I strongly believe that automated, autoresponder services are useless to financial advisors who want to meet new clients over LinkedIn. I believe each message must be custom created. For someone to turn over their money to you, there needs to be a deep trust there. Communication is so fragile in these types of situations.

In short, the primary objective of a financial advisor LinkedIn message is to uncover information about what the prospect cares about, what they need, what they worry about, and what challenges they may be having.

-Sara Grillo, CFA

The primary objective is not:

  • To close the sale
  • To get the meeting
  • To win them over

So if you can’t fire out a barrage of messages asking them to meet you for coffee so you can learn more about their retirement goals, then what can you talk about in a LinkedIn message?

Here are some ways to start a conversation with a target prospect you meet over LinkedIn.

  • Praise them for some laudable achievement in their career
  • Comment reflectively about something you noticed on their profile
  • Describe what you are seeing them do and ask an insightful question about it
  • Express enjoyment about something they are involved with

This is a delicate piece of communication and the following aspects are important to pay attention to:

  • How long each message is
  • How many messages you send
  • What type of message you use and at which point you use it

How long a financial advisor LinkedIn message should be

LinkedIn messages should be no longer than two sentences. The first sentence is a statement and the second sentence is either a question or an exclamatory phrase. The intention is to provoke a response from the recipient, not to go blathering on and on for paragraphs and hope they listen.

Then how do you make them like you?

Not by acting like the washing machine salesperson!

Think about being perceived as the highest quality person you can. Start there. Financial advisor LinkedIn messages should be designed to elicit a response, not to broadcast information about yourself that elevates you in the mind of the recipient. They’ll regard you more highly if they see you as someone who takes the time to understand them. In fact, they will see you as rare since practically nobody is willing to do this.  You will earn the perception of being trustworthy without having to say so outright – they’ll just naturally feel this way about you. And they should, because you have behaved as a high quality financial advisor should.

For more information about how to communicate in two sentences, please listen to my podcast on The Two Sentence Rule here.

How many LinkedIn messages financial advisors should send

Financial advisors should send one LinkedIn message a week for three consecutive weeks. A group of three LinkedIn messages is what I call a LinkedIn sequence. If the prospect does not respond, you should stop messaging them for a while. Now you can still revisit them later, but for now they’ve been moved out of center stage.

However, let’s say that the prospect does respond to Sequence #1 (the first three messages you send). You’re talking, however you haven’t been able to secure a meeting with them yet.

Patience, people. Remember that financial advisors who send LinkedIn messages asking for the meeting before a solid basis is established wind up looking like the washing machine salesperson.

-Sara Grillo, CFA

Execute a second sequence, but this time try to focus on a deeper level of meaning in your conversation. Again, there are no pre-written messages that can necessarily uncover this need because it is dependent upon the specific situation. Ask yourself what the next pieces of the puzzle are that you and the prospect need to put together. Examine Sequence #1 and figure out what the next step should be. What information do you need to uncover now so that you can understand the prospect better?

Summary of key points about LinkedIn messages and Sequences for financial advisors:

  • Organize messages into groups of three. Send two transition messages, and then before you send the third message, think about whether or not the prospect has disclosed enough information for you to ask for the meeting.
  • It’s likely that after Sequence #1 they will not have exchanged enough meaningful information with you. Wash, rinse, and repeat. Create another sequence of three messages and follow the same process.
  • Limit all messages to two sentences or less.

But what do you actually say in these messages? Let’s discuss that next.

The different types of financial advisor LinkedIn messages and when to use them

There are no generic LinkedIn messages that financial advisors can use at any time. You have to tailor your approach to where you are with the prospect. You may be:

  • Trying to connect with them
  • Responding to something they said to engage them in dialogue
  • Trying to get their attention after you connected

Each situation requires a different type of communication; there are different types of LinkedIn messages that financial advisors should send in each situation. I give you the full roster of messages in my e-book, but in the meantime here are a few of the basic types of messages below.

Connection requests

When you are asking someone you don’t know to connect with you, it creates the first impression and sets the tone for the relationship. Approach the connection request with the understanding that appearing as one of those financial advisors looking to get clients on LinkedIn is going to get you denied.

Successful connection requests allow the recipient to get a sense of your value without being hit over the head with it. Stick to one action at a time – you’re only asking them to allow you to be part of their network and essentially to know them. Don’t make it too complicated by talking too much smack about adding them to your mailing list and then having them join your retirement readiness webinar series or whatever else!

Transition messages

Let’s say you’ve connected with the target prospect and now you’re sitting there wondering what to say next so that you can start up a dialogue. Transition messages can not be about how great you are, that you’ve been a financial advisor for 20 years, that you know all about SEP IRA’s and that you want to meet them for coffee to talk about how much guaranteed income they need in retirement.

However, financial advisor LinkedIn messages that bridge the gap need to be about the prospect’s goals, what they are involved with, and what they care about. The key point is to uncover what they care about and what is important to them. Aim for anything else and you will be risking having the prospect look at you like a washing machine salesperson.

Let me summarize it this way:

THE FINANCIAL ADVISOR LINKEDIN MESSAGE HAS TO BE ABOUT THEM AND NOT ABOUT YOU

THEM NOT YOU

THEM NOT YOU

THEM. NOT. YOU.

them not you

Them not you

Them, not you

-Sara Grillo, CFA

Did I make the point satisfactorily?

As I said before, here are some ways that financial advisors can start a conversation with a target prospect you meet over LinkedIn.

  • Praise them for some laudable achievement in their career
  • Comment reflectively about something you noticed on their profile
  • Describe what you are seeing them do and ask an insightful question about it
  • Express enjoyment about something they are involved with

No actual messages will be revealed here; but if you want the actual words to use you can download my e-book here.

Bold and blunt

Use this only when a prospect is non-responsive to your initial attempts to talk. These financial advisor LinkedIn messages are intended to nudge the recipient into acknowledging that they have put a wall up, and to reassure them that you are not a washing machine salesperson and there is nothing to be afraid of.

This is a very delicate kind of a communication. You have to call them out for ignoring you, while at the same time acknowledging that it is probably because they are worried you are going to try to sell them something (but they don’t need to be.) You want to show them that you are a human being not a robot, and that they don’t need to be afraid of you “selling them.”

Influencer messages

Influencers such as podcasters, journalists, and CPAs are often badly mishandled by financial advisors. The core of the issue is the feeling of entitlement that financial advisors often have. It’s so easy to fall into the trap of focusing on what you can get out of being on somebody’s podcast or how great it would be to be quoted in the Wall Street Journal. Or, to get introduced to the CPA’s entire book of business.

But did you ever think about what life is like for these poor people?

They face tight deadlines and often operate under heavy time pressure. They can’t stop to breathe most of the time. Yet financial advisors think that by firing some random, blind, not well thought out pitch at them and hoping for the best, they’ll curry favor with them. Maybe once in a blue moon you are lucky but most of the time you are just burning the relationship and wasting everyone’s time.

Financial advisor LinkedIn messages aimed at centers of influence or online influencers should incorporate a high understanding of what the person’s world looks like. If they are a reporter, research their beat. Read their last five articles. If they are a CPA, look at what they post about and what their practice is about. Use the information on their LinkedIn profile as a clue about what you can do to be a higher quality resource to them than the ones they currently have on their roster. Do this for every COI you approach and you are setting yourself up to be perceived as a person of quality who they value.

Sara’s Upshot

I wrote an e-book for financial advisors who want to be perceived as high quality people on social media. The e-book contains 47 messages you can use on LinkedIn or Facebook messenger to reach prospects, COIs, and other useful connections that would benefit your practice. It is my best work and these messages are not disclosed publicly to non clients and non members anywhere else in my other published content.

To know the specific words to say, download your copy here.

Also I have a podcast where I discuss financial advisor lead generation topics. Subscribe here.

Thanks for reading and I hope you’ll join me for the next one.

-Sara

Music

Nice to You by the Vibe Tracks

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Financial advisor marketing ideas after election

Here are some financial advisor marketing moves to make now that we know the election results

Now that we know the election results, here are three financial advisor marketing tips you should be using to raise your visibility. There is a huge opportunity to raise your profile in three major ways.

  • Google traffic
  • Reporters
  • CPA relationships

I’m running out the door to go to the park with my kids; here is a summary of the main points of this podcast below.

Sorry so brief, but it’s Sunday and I have four kids under seven years old.

Google optimized content

As you can see there are a few search terms that are trending on Google. See the chart below for the term “Biden impact on economy.”

This term is at its highest possible interest point on Google. If you are producing content it is best to use Google trending terms to benefit from the traffic. Get Google to send people your way!

Source: Google Trends, 11/8/2020 at 11:30 AM EST

If you are on my membership, please see Video #22 for more Google optimization techniques.

Reporters

Financial advisors can use Response Videos and social media postings to capitalize on the traffic that analysts and reporters are giving the election results and the impact of Bidenomics. In the podcast I discuss the general approach you should take.

Members, see video 14 and vid 39 on the dashboard for the specific instructions on how to create response videos, talk to reporters and podcasters, etc.

CPAs

In this podcast I talk about how to approach CPAs and referral partners and be a resource to them. But you have to do this the right way. If you need the list of questions to ask a CPA that you are trying to create a relationship with, please send me a DM on LinkedIn.

That’s it! I’m off to the park.

To join membership and learn the techniques mentioned in this podcast please click here.

To sign up for my upcoming book and learn how to approach CPAs and reporters in a way that won’t make you look like the washing machine salesperson, click here.

In this blog I discuss financial advisor LinkedIn messages and sequences that will help you get new clients, prospects, meetings, and leads.

Sources

Davidson, Paul. 7 November, 2020. USA Today. Joe Biden economic plan: What Biden means for the economy, your finances and another COVID-19 stimulus package. Retrieved from
https://www.usatoday.com/story/money/2020/11/07/next-president-joe-biden-economy-growth-stimulus/6151943002/

Google trend report “Biden impact on economy”, October 8th, 2020 at 11:30 AM EST

Posted on

Financial Advisor Salary: How Much do Financial Advisors & Planners Make?

The goal of this blog is to answer the question of how much financial advisors make, what a typical financial advisor or financial planner salary is, what entry level financial advisors get paid, and how to improve financial advisor profitability.

Maybe you have just started out in the wealth management industry seeking to set up some salary goals for yourself, or perhaps you are a veteran financial planner who is looking to benchmark your pay versus the industry. Or maybe somewhere in between…The subject of how much Financial Advisors get paid is often a confusing one and the topic is devoid of much accurate information.

In this blog you will learn what the available research says about:

By the way, thanks for joining me.

For those of you who are new to my blog/podcast, my name is Sara. I am a CFA® charterholder and I used to be a financial advisor. I have a podcast in which I talk about financial advisor lead generation topics is best described as “fun and irreverent.” So please subscribe!

So if you’re looking for some straight up talk then you’ve come to the right place!

How Much Does a Financial Advisor Make

One of the reasons that the question of how much financial advisors make is such a nebulous one to answer is the lack of clear information, even from the major reporting services.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics has some ‘interesting’ numbers, and I had to do some digging to actually answer the question of financial advisor salaries. So, what do financial advisors make? According to the BLS, the median annual wage for personal financial advisors was $87,850 in May 2019.

But, how true is that number? In that same source, I found:

Actually, in my opinion (and my ten plus years of experience) the salaries of financial advisors should look more like:

  • A good financial advisor salary is $150 per year, after you pass the entry level.
  • A starting out financial advisory may earn between $30k to $80k starting salary.
  • Lastly, from my experience, I have found it is not uncommon for a financial advisor to earn more than $200k.

Let’s dive into this a little more. Below I am going to show you some data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. This is what the BLS is saying about how much what they call “personal financial advisors” make as of May 2019:

Financial Advisor Salary Breakdown
Source: US Bureau of Labor Statistics. Occupational Outlook Handbook. Business and Financial. Personal Financial Advisors/Pay.

I have doubts about this figure being accurate – I will explain why in a minute – but first off I want to say that I am not sure exactly how they are defining this term. As you can see pretty nebulous – like “credit intermediation”?

Hello?

What does that even mean?

Financial advisors are not credit intermediators

Its dubious to me that this financial advisor salary data is accurate because these are not the terms that financial advisors use to define themselves. And it’s unclear what this term “credit intermediation” even refers to. Most financial advisors want nothing to do with helping people get out of credit card debt. Is that what they mean? Or are they talking about lending, about providing a line of credit almost as an investment banker does.

Can we really be sure the BLS is tracking financial advisor salaries, as we define them (the person who helps you with your IRA rollover) with these numbers? It does not seem like it.

“Securities, commodity contracts, and other financial investments and related activities.” This sounds more like a portfolio manager, investment manager, hedge fund manager, or trader. This does not sound like the typical job description for a financial advisor, the person who helps people retire and send their kids to college.

“Management of companies and enterprises.” Is that like a CFO?

But nonetheless:

10% of financial advisors make less than $42k? WTF!

The BLS states

The median annual wage for personal financial advisors was $87,850 in May 2019…The lowest 10 percent earned less than $42,950, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $208,000.

Source: Ibid

Whoa, whoa, whoa. How can this be accurate?

First of all, if a financial advisor is earning less than $42k, they are probably a junior advisor of some sort. It is good that the BLS is using median instead of mean, because that may have helped decrease some of the skew to the left tail. At least they got that part right.

But let us be real for moment. When we ask how much financial advisors make, we are not really interested in how much junior (associate) advisors make.

  • That is because junior advisors may or may not be licensed, and even if they are, they are not really fully in relationship development mode.
  • They are not out there at the Chamber of Commerce meeting reeling in new people to sell whole life insurance to. This really caps the upside of their compensation.
    • Once a junior financial advisor does start to accumulate clients they probably become promoted to be senior financial advisors, and that is the point where they start earning the higher salaries. And good for them, because making $40k a year here in the US is a tough way to live!
  • Low salaries are unfortunately the reality at many of the smaller financial advisor practices, though, and I have outlined some solutions for how to escape what I call the small RIA firm poverty trap.

Whether the salary is low due to newness to the industry or other factors such as firm size isn’t my point, though. I was trying to convey that I feel that in their analysis the BLS really should have separated out junior financial advisor pay from this reading.

To find out more about how much a junior financial advisor makes when their just starting out, click play below:


Only 10% of financial advisors make more than $208k? Say WHAT?

I also have doubts about the accuracy of the statement that “The highest 10 percent earned more than $208,000.” The BLS says that they did not include bonuses when they surveyed financial advisors who work at firms as opposed to being self-employed. That definitely will take down the measurement a notch.

But wait a minute – they were able to find financial advisors who work on salary? How’d they do that? I’m dying of curiosity.

how much does a financial advisor make
Do you like my badass attitude, by the way?

Please tell me, all of you who are familiar with this industry, who the heck offers their financial advisors a salary? I have heard of Buckingham Strategic Wealth and Edward Jones paying their financial advisors a salary, and that is it.

A financial advisor is a salesperson and we all know that salespeople get preeeeeety lazy and complacent when you give them a salary. It would be interesting to see how many of the financial advisors surveyed about their compensation were paid on salary as opposed to getting paid the “old fashioned way” – eat what you kill (like most of the industry does!)

10% make more than 200k? From what I have seen, a lot of the Financial Advisors I am dealing with tend to be making a lot more than that, way more than that. I have found it is not uncommon for a financial advisor to earn more than $200k.

I doubt this line about only 10% of advisors making more than $200k is true, because if it were true then there would not be many people wanting to actually be financial advisors. There are hundreds of thousands of financial advisors in the US. If this data were true, there would be maybe 20.

What is a good Financial Advisor Salary?

What do financial advisors make? According to the BLS, the median annual wage for personal financial advisors was $87,850 in May 2019.

So here’s a better question. Regardless of how much the BLS says financial advisors make, what should they make? What is a good financial advisor salary?

If the median wage of Financial Advisors were less than $90k a year then that it is breadcrumbs in relation to the amount of liability you are taking and how hard you do have to work and keep up with your certifications. So, like I had mentioned, I’m going to take a minute and voice my opinion based upon what I have seen in the industry over my ten plus years of experience.

I’ll talk about from two angles, what financial advisors with experience and an established book tend to earn, and what financial advisors make when they are starting out.

  • What is a good financial advisor salary? Given the amount of risk and liability you are taking by assuming this role, you should earn at least $150 per year after you pass the entry level.
  • What do starting financial advisors make? I have seen them earn between $30k to $80k starting salary. It depends upon how aggressive the firm wants them to develop new business.

Is Financial Advising A Good Career?

All of this begs the question, is financial advising a good career? Is it worth it being a financial advisor given the risk you take?

Some of these clients are such pains in the neck. In a bad market, imagine the stress of every single client calling you ready to fire you, and you have to talk them down from the ledge figuratively of course. And then in an easy market they want to hassle you on performance and say how they could have done it better in an index and following Cramer or CNBC, and what are you getting your fees for. Then they want you to act like their personal butler to make it up to them or something. It’s not an easy job.

Or even better, how even can financial advisors maximize the amount of money they make? How financial advisors earn more money?

Both of these topics I am going to address next. But first, I have a question for you. Are you enjoying this blog so far? If so, I encourage you to follow my podcast as well. In the podcast I focus on financial advisor lead generation and marketing, and I do it in a highly entertaining way just like how I’m entertaining you with this blog. Please subscribe here.

No Breadcrumbing in financial planning
Take control of your profitability, financial advisors! How much you take home matters more than how much you make.

For example there was this one podcast I did about how most of you are breadcrumbing away your own financial advisor profitability. Please listen to it! In this podcast you can learn about:

  • Why the typical ways that financial advisors assess their success are lacking, and what the best metrics are to evaluate the success of your business
  • Running your business like a profit center not a sales office
  • Working with fewer clients may be the best thing for your business. Consider how your service offering is impacting your profitability and potentially allowing you to become breadcrumbed – and what to do about it.

Remember that it’s not as much about how much revenue you make top line as it is about how much you take home. So let’s take a look at what financial advisors are making versus how profitable their practices are.

How much Financial Advisors make is highly related to how profitable their practices are

I am going to talk about that, I actually have it sketched out, and I can talk about practice profitability and how Financial Advisors should be paid, but first I want to say something about profitability. It is not selfish to be concerned about how much you are taking home and how profitable the practice is. I had a vendor to my own firm that he went out of business. He was someone I relied upon a lot and it looks like he could not sustain his business, and he went out of business, this was really harmful to me and my firm. It caused a little bit of confusion. Luckily I was able to take advantage of other resources but it was really not a good feeling.

You have people that are depending on you and the more profitable your firm is, the greater stability there will be and you can compensate your people, and the more value I think you can give that back to your clients. So, you are not being selfish in wanting to maximize your profitability, and having said that, it doesn’t mean you have to go about this in a self-serving way.

The question then becomes; how do I maximise my compensation as a financial advisor? But how do I do this in a way that keeps the client’s best interests in mind? And that is what I have sketched out and is what I am going to look at.

Right here I am going to show you.

maximizing financial advisor salary

First let’s start by looking at the traditional model.

The traditional financial advisor profitability model stinks

Let’s say that a Financial Advisor is traditionally going to be having between 100-150 clients, let’s say you have 120, on an annual basis you are putting up about 1400 hours of work and on a weekly basis this comes out to around 29 hours a week. That’s a whole heck of a lot of hours, doesn’t mean too much time for that much else considering that you have the operational aspect of the firms, the administrative aspect and training to manage employees. All of this at a firm of this size it probably wouldn’t just be you, you would need some other support resources.

So this comes out to be a per hour rate of $125, not great on a per hour basis, annual revenue coming in at $180,000 and then the profit margin let’s say at 70%. Now this is assuming that you are an independent and you are not working at a big brokerage house and not a W2 employee because if so they are going to take a big pay-out.

Let’s say you are an independent, you have your own firm and you are getting 70% of your revenues taken home as your top line revenue. So this comes to pre-tax take-home of $126,000 assuming a 70% profit rate. After taxes, this is not that far off the BLS data.

It’s funny right? So funny I forgot to laugh.

The fact is that making this amount of money as a financial advisor stinks relative to all the stress you have to go through. Most financial advisors I know are running around like their hair is on fire. Wouldn’t you rather make more money without having to be like this?

I’ll tell you how. You’ve got to be able to create more profitable relationships. In the next section I’ll discuss how to plan this out.

A better paradigm for Financial Advisor profitability: The 70 Deep Model

Let’s re-examine the financial advisor profitability chart.

At 120 clients in your practice is that really a comfortable practice? I mean you are making a living; your clients are getting a service, but wouldn’t you rather do what I am calling the ’70 deep’ model which would advocate for fewer clients but having much deeper relationships with them.

So, if you have 70 clients, let’s say they are larger clients, let’s say these are ultra-high net worth clients of maybe $2,000,000 to $5,000,000 portfolio size, you are spending 840 hours a year instead of 1400  because you are assuming 1 hour per month on each client. On a weekly basis you are spending much fewer hours than in the traditional model, your revenues are coming in higher because you are making more because you are having more time to spend on each client. This allows you to really delve in deep into some of the deeper, more sophisticated planning aspects. And like I said these are larger clients, so not only do they probably have larger asset base, but there is also more to do for each clients, and it all comes out that much better in terms of profit margin.

Let’s say that maybe you are taking home a little bit more. Again, this is not totally awesome but I would assume that as a financial advisor you would be wanting to make more than that. But it does allow financial advisors to make higher compensation because with 70 clients you can burrow down deeper.

When you get these 70 clients, you are providing more sophisticated services, you have the freedom of time where you can then go up in asset size and get clients with even deeper needs.

Let’s say you created a strategy where you do this in a very deep, thorough and deliberate (careful) way, where you were very selective about who you worked with and you weren’t running around trying to scramble for the next client because you are deeply entrenched with these 70 clients here. They feel serviced you feel served. Less client turnover better for your practice, less for you to mentally be preoccupied with and then you can focus on getting even bigger clients. Your referrals will probably increase as well because with these 70 clients you have these deeper relationships and hopefully they could maybe pass on a word or two about you if you are doing a good job.

Financial advisors should increase value & profitability to increase the amount of money they make

So the point I am trying to make is here, financial advisors, is that it is overall a lot more advantageous for your compensation and the profitability of your company for you to use what I am calling the ’70 deep’ model, and for you to focus on fewer clients but really to maximize the value of what you are doing for them.

That means knowing them deeper, providing higher value and delivering more sophisticated solutions that really make a difference in their lives.

It’s not to say that with more clients you would necessarily not be able to do that, but we all have the same amount of hours in a week and if you do the math on it like I showed you in the spreadsheet, there quite simply isn’t enough mental time to focus when you have more clients that you need to take care of.

So in short what I am saying is to serve clients better, use the ’70 deep’ model and that will help you to maximize your compensation, the value of what you are doing for your clients and the overall profitability of your firm which will reward everybody in the long run.

By the way, I wrote an e-book called, “47 Financial Advisor LinkedIn Messages and Sequences that will NOT make you look Stupid. “ If you are a financial advisor trying to meet new clients over LinkedIn or other social media sites, you can download it here.

Ways for financial advisors to build a pipeline of high net worth clients!

Now how do financial advisors go about getting more clients (other than passively waiting for referrals to come in)? I’ll cover three major ways.

#1 Financial advisor LinkedIn messages can be used to get new leads

How can financial advisors reach new clients using the internet? The words you use convey your brand and this is critical for a financial advisor to get right. Are you sure your LinkedIn messaging is good enough? I wrote an e-book called, “47 Financial Advisor LinkedIn Messages and Sequences that will NOT make you look Stupid. “ If you are a financial advisor trying to meet new clients over LinkedIn or other social media sites and you need some scripts, you can download it here.

I wrote this e-book for financial advisors who want to be perceived as high quality people on social media. The e-book contains 47 messages you can use on LinkedIn or Facebook messenger to reach prospects, COIs, and other useful connections that would benefit your practice.

#2 Financial advisors can use other digital methods such as blogging, podcasting, etc.

I also have a membership program, helping people to be able to develop business with these more sophisticated clients. This program talks about content creating (blogs, podcasts, newsletters, etc) as well as financial advisor strategies for using LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter for getting new leads. I also talk about how to relate your marketing and lead generation to certain financial advisor practice management topics. For example, the profitability worksheet I discussed in this blog is a tool that I provide to everyone on my membership.

In order get to the 70 Deep Model, you really need to have to break away from the typical ways that Financial Advisors communicate, and go about prospecting in a higher value way. This is what my program aims to do.

#3 You could use a financial advisor lead generation services

I’m not going to say anything about any one service, but in other blogs I do outline my opinion of the various financial advisor lead generation services. My basic point is that these can be very hit or miss depending on which one you choose.

Sara’s upshot

I’m ending the blog now. Thanks for reading and I hope that you will stay with me and join my podcast; link is below.

Subscribe to podcast:

https://saragrillo.com/subscribe-to-podcast/

Sources

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Personal Financial Advisors,
Retrieved on the Internet at https://www.bls.gov/ooh/business-and-financial/personal-financial-advisors.htm (visited October 25, 2020).

Posted on

LinkedIn Prospecting Messages and Sequences that get Financial Advisors Leads

In this blog and podcast, financial advisors will learn how to compose LinkedIn messages that get them leads and meetings.

In this blog/podcast I am going to teach you how financial advisors can create super awesome LinkedIn (or Facebook, or Instagram) prospecting messaging and sequences to engage and get new leads.

For those of you who are new to my blog/podcast, my name is Sara. I am a CFA® charterholder and I used to be a financial advisor. On my podcast we talk about financial advisor lead generation topics so if you are sitting there saying “Oh my goodness, my pipeline dried up,” don’t worry because I have the answers!

Sara Grillo, CFA is a highly fun and slightly crazy marketing consultant based in NYC.
I am an insightful and fun marketing consultant for financial advisors.

If you want to listen to the full podcast on the subject of financial advisor LinkedIn messages and sequences that get you leads, please scroll down to the bottom and have a listen.

Thanks for joining me today! Now that we’re past the pleasantries, let’s get to the point of today’s piece. My goal is to answer the following question: how does a financial advisor create LinkedIn messages and sequences that generate leads for his or her firm?

How does a financial advisor create LinkedIn prospecting messages and sequences that generate leads?

There are three things to remember if a financial advisor is trying to create LinkedIn messages that engage prospects, and that can be combined into entire sequences that you can use to get leads. Let me first say that LinkedIn prospecting messages are often poorly delivered by financial advisors. I’ve been on the receiving end of some of these brash requests to meet for coffee and discuss my SEP IRA, and they stink.

Haven’t you?

And what’s your response. Is it this?

  • No, I don’t want to get coffee with you.
  • I don’t care if you have been in the business for 20 years.
  • Quit asking me if I want to buy a life insurance settlement or the latest hot investment product (I know, I know, it’s the best kept secret and the opportunity will never ever come again…right)

Oh, please.

It makes me wish that everyone who uses LinkedIn Sales Navigator was mandated to read this blog before the first keystroke!

I am assuming you are reading this blog, though, because you want to learn how to do it right, unlike everyone else. Correct?

Lets go!

I’m going to give you three tips for you financial advisors who want meaningful LinkedIn prospecting messages and sequences to use to get meetings. But you must understand that in order to execute upon my teachings you will have to go about this in a way that goes dead against what most financial advisors are taught.

You must embrace:

  • Patience
  • Sensitivity
  • Thoughtfulness

Let me say this again. If you are looking for overnight success and automated, thoughtless communication, this is not the blog. Please go elsewhere. I’m not the one to teach financial advisors how to send out 300 LinkedIn messages a day using some automated bot or algorithm. Not me!

Because I strongly believe that the biggest enemy of financial advisors who want to grow on LinkedIn is the perception of lack of quality. Come across as the washing machine salesperson and you turn the prospect off instantly. Yet so many of y’all are taking the easy way out, signing up for these spammer services that are offering to blanket your LinkedIn target base with automated messages.

Or signing up for some crappy financial advisor lead generation service that is going feed you pre-qualified leads (supposedly). Good luck! You don’t even want to know my opinion of those.

ALL FINANCIAL ADVISORS WHO WANT TO USE LINKEDIN MESSAGES TO GROW THEIR PRACTICE, PLEASE HEAR THESE WORDS:

Like anything of quality, developing meaningful relationships with prospects takes time, patience, and the ability to exercise emotional control. If you have those tools and you are willing to learn new skills that can make it happen, then let’s move forward with you reading the rest of this blog.

-Sara Grillo, CFA

If not then adios, amigo or amiga!

Look, there are no LinkedIn scripts for financial advisors. You don’t have a set plan for how to handle every client relationship, do you? No! According to all of you, the work you do is customized for each client. Then why would a prospect be different? Because it’s over social media? Because you’re meeting them through LinkedIn and that’s less personal?

It’s only impersonal because you’re making it be that way, and if you are then you’re never going to get the trust you deserve. And rightfully so because as I keep saying, nobody wants to hire the financial advisor who acts like the washing machine salesperson. Think about what kind of a brand you are presenting as a financial advisor when you act this way!

Here’s a sneak peak of the three things that your LinkedIn prospecting messages and sequences must have in order to allow you to get meetings and leads.

  1. They must be feedback-oriented, learning focused communications rather than unilateral broadcasts of your desires, credentials, and solicitations
  2. Each messaging sequence must be logically arranged and one message within the sequence must lead to the next
  3. The meeting ask message, the final message in the sequence, should be reflective of the information gained by the financial advisor about the prospect

Now I’ll discuss each of these three concepts in more detail.

By the way, if you want to know the precise words to say, I wrote an e-book called “47 Financial Advisor LinkedIn Messages and Sequences that Will Not Make You Sound Stupid.” You can download it here.

#1 LinkedIn messaging should be viewed as a dynamic testing process between the financial advisor and prospect

Look, you probably have seen some of these messaging companies that want to send out a ton of messages each day and (supposedly) get you meetings. There are these bot things that you can hire to send out a bunch of pre-programmed LinkedIn prospecting messages. Ask for coffee, ask for the meeting, ask to sit down and talk.

Forget it! These are probably doing you more harm than good.

People are so standoffish to being approach this way. Occasionally a LinkedIn message may get you a meeting, but it sets up a very bad expectation in the mind of the prospect. Essentially you have made yourself out to be what the public views as the typical financial advisor: a pushy salesperson wanting to sell an annuity.

Financial advisors ask me all the time, “What are some good LinkedIn prospecting messages that I can send in order to get meetings with prospects?”

Let me ask you, did you ever consider that it is impossible to know the right words to say to someone that you know nothing about? That is the place you are starting with most of the prospects you are trying to reach over LinkedIn. The premise of having the right words, some magic sequence to text people, that will work for everyone is wrong because everybody is so different.

Isn’t that how these high net worth individuals want to be seen? As different one from the next? To have special attention paid to them, to be treated with sensitivity? Isn’t that how everyone wants to be treated? Then why would you open up the relationship by showing them that you don’t intend to treat them this way?

Sending a carbon copy prospecting message over LinkedIn is like flashing a neon light saying this:

DON’T WORRY. THE $10k TO $15k IN FEES YOU WILL PAY ME EACH YEAR WILL GET YOU MUCH BETTER TREATMENT THAN THIS. PAY NO ATTENTION TO MY INITIAL INDIFFERENCE I AM ACTUALLY A LOT MORE SINCERE A PERSON THAN I AM PUTTING ON RIGHT NOW.

-Sara Grillo, CFA

Look, there are no magic words to say all the time. It becomes too robotic and too much like a promotion. I have some scripts I’ve written for the people on my membership – but these are guidelines. They are rough sketches to be followed.

Now, what does a financial advisor who wants to meet prospects over LinkedIn do? You start with a sequence of three LinkedIn messages. Don’t get all caught up in the results, the meetings, your earn out model, and how much in commissions you can make off this person because she is a doctor and you want to sell her disability insurance.

Start here with this.

You have to learn about the prospect as your first move. That is the objective of LinkedIn prospect message sequence #1.

Let me be clear.

The objective of LinkedIn messaging sequence #1 is to learn what the other person’s objectives are in being your LinkedIn connection. Nothing more than that.

-Sara Grillo, CFA

You can not just assume you know why someone is following your page. Some people are connected to you because they want info, others think they may need you the in future and have no real designs on talking to you right now. Others connected to you without any thought and don’t even recognize you are a financial advisor. You have no way of knowing this until you test and see.

The financial advisors on my membership are taught that you should look at messaging as a test. Every message is a learning opportunity. You send the message and then you look for feedback as to how the person responded. Learn, observe, and make sure you are tracking what the person does and does not respond to.  Take notes and write down how each prospect responds to the particular LinkedIn message you sent, and when they responded.

This is the way to make people feel they can trust you. To pay attention to them, listen to them, observe their behavior, and adjust your communications to all of this in a way that makes them comfortable.

Yes, it takes work.

Paying close attention to other people consumes far more mental energy than most of the tasks we execute as humans on a daily basis. If you are not willing to put in the time to do this, then don’t do it at all – but whatever you do forget about hiring some machine to blast out impersonal LinkedIn spam all the time. It’s not doing the industry any favors.

Hint: You can’t focus on a large amount of people at a time and pay attention to each one. The list can be short. Quality interactions with quality prospects you understand wins over hurling rubbish at people you don’t know.

#2 Logically progress from one LinkedIn message and/or sequence to the next

Have you ever been talking to someone online in a chat portal, I mean maybe it is someone you are talking to a Spectrum mobile about paying your internet bill, and you go from one message to the next with such disconnectedness that you know, you just know, that it is a bot you are talking to instead of a real person?

What’s missing from many of the LinkedIn messaging sequences that financial advisors use is the logic that guides the conversation. It’s rare to see messaging that flows from one idea to the next because the financial advisor is often in such a rush to get the prospect on the phone!

Get the prospect into a meeting!

Sell them whole life insurance!

General guidelines for making your LinkedIn prospecting messaging into a sequence are as follows:

  • Start with one sequence of three messages.
  • Send one message a week for three weeks
  • If they seem to engage, then assess the signals of either 1) time to ask for the meeting or 2) there is some interest, but it is unclear, need to continue message with another sequence until the intentions are clear
  • If no response then stop messaging for six months and put them on the unsold list

Now, I can’t tell you the words in each of these LinkedIn sequences – because these are for my members that pay for them. By the way, here is some information below about my membership.

But here are some general guidelines for what the three messages in the first sequence should be about. The messages should all be related one to another within the message triplet, and they should flow from one to the next.

#1 Message rapport builder

#2 Question to peak their interest

#3 Offer lead magnet and if they respond well then try to figure out why they are interested in this

After this sequence it should be clear if they have any interest and if so, in what? Remember, the objective of the first sequence is not to get the meeting. Is it to get to know them. If you do not understand the prospect’s intentions in being your LinkedIn connection after the first sequence, you must run another messaging sequence with different components that what I described above.

Wash, rinse, and repeat until their interest becomes clear. If you can not establish a basis for the meeting, then do not ask for the meeting.

#3 Ask for the meeting only when there is a basis for doing so

Now, let’s say that you proceed through Steps #1 and #2, and the prospect is giving you signs that there is a basis for the meeting. Compose a two sentence LinkedIn message, and ask for the meeting. Don’t take all day asking – get to the point.

The meeting ask messages is the final one in the LinkedIn prospecting sequence. There are a number of different ways you could ask. This must be customized based upon what are you observing from your interactions in the past.

  • Humorous
  • Direct and High pressure – maybe if you are dealing with a businessowner or salesperson
  • Inquisitive, extremely careful
  • Low pressure, soft

When you ask for the meeting it is important to establish a rationale for the meeting. If you did Steps 1 and 2 correctly, then you won’t have any problems doing this. If not, you are asking for a meeting with no basis and that increases likelihood of rejection.

Remember that how you close the relationship is a function of how you open the relationship. If you are having problems getting the prospect to agree to meet with you it is probably because there is not enough of a reason in their mind for the meeting. You’ll need to go back into another sequence and in this one focus on getting them exchange more meaningful information that reflects what they truly care about.

Conclusion on financial advisor LinkedIn messages and sequences that get you leads

If you found this blog helpful, please subscribe to my podcast below which goes into the subject of financial advisor LinkedIn messages and sequences in fuller detail.

I also have a membership program which teaches financial advisors how to use social media to get new clients.

Or, if you’re ready to get out there and start reaching people, I wrote an e-book called “47 Financial Advisor LinkedIn Messages and Sequences that Will Not Make You Sound Stupid”. You can download it here.

Thanks for reading and we’ll see you in the next one.

-Sara

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Crisis Marketing Strategy for Financial Advisors during COVID-19

In this blog/podcast I am going to talk about a Crisis Marketing Strategy for Financial Advisors during COVID-19. There is a specific strategy with 3 steps that I am going to discuss and you’re going to love it!

To listen to the full description of a Crisis Marketing Strategy for Financial Advisors during COVID-19, please scroll to the end of this blog.

For those of you who are new to my blog/podcast, my name is Sara. I am a CFA® charterholder and I used to be a financial advisor. I have a podcast in which I talk about financial advisor lead generation topics is best described as “fun and irreverent.” Please subscribe.

So if you’re looking for some straight up talk then you’ve come to the right place!

Sara Grillo, CFA is a highly fun and slightly crazy marketing consultant based in NYC.
I am an irreverent and fun marketing consultant for financial advisors. Please subscribe to my podcast.

The 3 step Crisis Marketing Strategy for Financial Advisors during COVID-19

There is no better time for financial advisor prospecting than a market crisis. It’s not like I’m trying to make light out of a very serious situation. But the simple fact of the matter is that when we are in a crisis, people absolutely do not know what is going on. There is no point at which the value of financial advice can be higher than in a situation like that.

So to be clear, if you are wondering, how can a financial advisor get new leads at a time like this, the answer is to get an awesome Crisis Marketing Strategy for financial advisors during COVID-19.

There is no point at which the value of financial advice can be higher than this particular situation right now.

– Sara Grillo, CFA

I was actually contacted by somebody who used to be a client of mine when I was a financial advisor years and years ago, and she is like “Look, I have these retirement accounts, I have not looked at them, can I just get a meeting with you?” I had to tell her I was not in the business anymore and of course I found somebody to help her.

But my point is WHY do I hear from her now and not at any point over the last four years?

It is because this is when emotions are stirred up and people are asking questions. Be the person with the answer, be visible about it. Here is a Crisis Marketing Strategy for financial advisors during COVID-19 that will allow you to do this.

Crisis Marketing Strategy for financial advisors during COVID-19

This is a weekly sequence to follow. I suggest you start this right away. I am recommending this marketing strategy for financial advisors during COVID-19 and to all the financial advisors on my membership. This is the strategy I am recommending. A lot of detail work goes into this, and I am sure you have questions but here is the basis of it.

What is a good Crisis Marketing Strategy for financial advisors during COVID-19? There are 3 steps :

  • Get List of 20 prospects
  • Hold Weekly webinar
  • Write Weekly newsletter about the webinar

Step #1 of the Crisis Marketing Strategy for financial advisors during COVID-19 is to get a List of 20

The first thing is you get a list of 20 people; it could be twenty people, it could be ten, I don’t really care how many people are on the list. You don’t need a ton of them. I would not recommend more than twenty.

They should be the people you have some kind of a relationship with already. Hopefully you have been prospecting to some extent already. This could be:

  • Any unsold customer
  • A center of influence you haven’t been able to get business with
  • Any target prospect who has maybe turned you down
  • Even a target prospect that you want to talk to but have not engaged with before

It will always be better if you have had some previous relationship with the person. It could be maybe the children of certain clients of yours. It doesn’t really matter, but the point is the warmer the connection the better.

By the way, I was curious if you are enjoying my blog? Because if so, I have a book about how financial advisors can reach new clients over LinkedIn messenger.

It is called, “47 Financial Advisor LinkedIn Messages and Sequences that will NOT make you look Stupid.“ If you are a financial advisor trying to meet new clients over LinkedIn or other social media sites and you need some scripts, you can download it here.

Step #2 of the Crisis Marketing Strategy for financial advisors during COVID-19 is to hold a Weekly webinar

Now what you start doing is you set up a standing webinar. The same day every week, same time every week using a Zoom conference (which doesn’t cost anything for the first 30 minutes).

To execute a proper Crisis Marketing Strategy for financial advisors during COVID-19, have a webinar every single week.

-Sara Grillo, CFA

Examples would be the ‘CARES Act’ or the ‘SBA loan program – should you do it.’ This accomplishes the goal of deepening your relationships with your clients at the very least.

Here’s how you can grow your network leveraging your client base. These webinars are targeted towards your client and then you tell them if there is anyone could you please invite them that you think may benefit from knowing about the ‘CARES Act’ or the ‘SBA loan’. That is one way that you can get new prospects using the Crisis Marketing Strategy for Financial Advisors during COVID-19.

At the very least, a weekly webinar helps you to stay with your clients and deepen relationships with them, this is absolutely a defensive measure. I know a lot of advisors including most of my clients are on the attack right now, so if you think about it your clients may be getting calls. You absolutely want to be the first line of defense.

If there is a time to be close with your clients it is now.

-Sara Grillo, CFA

If there is a time to be doing this, it is right now. A weekly webinar does not have to cost you a fortune. Show value, be a human being, appear in front of them on video conference, and don’t be shy about this. Like I said, Zoom is free for the first 30 minutes, get an account!

Step #3 of the Crisis Marketing Strategy for financial advisors during COVID-19 is to write a Weekly newsletter

Send out a newsletter once a week to your clients and to prospects. Ideally, it should be a video newsletter. You can make the video and post it onto YouTube, and then paste the link into your newsletter so that the preview image comes up and people can click on the link to see the video.

The video can be twenty seconds long. It really doesn’t matter, keep in mind people don’t have all day. That also goes for the webinar, it can be a short and to the point webinar, or it can be a twenty minute long webinar.

People don’t have all day to be sitting around reading and listening to things okay even though they are idle and in their homes. You know they have more time than they did, but people are very occupied still. Mentally, they are stressed and anxious about all of this.

Make it a short to the point newsletter. The video in it should be short and to the point, it can be twenty seconds long. The important thing is to show up and be comforting. It is comforting to see a human face and hear a caring tone of voice. All of that. Show sympathetic body language, tone of voice, and demeanor in the video.

The newsletter should:

  • Talk about some kind of useful update
  • Lead into the next weeks webinar and
  • Include a replay of this week’s webinar

Start doing reach outs today. Start getting people onto that client webinar.

You can accomplish this Crisis Marketing Strategy for financial advisors during COVID-19 through:

  • Emails,
  • Voicemails,
  • Text messages,
  • Social media,
  • Social media messenger

Don’t be too aggressive with people because you will tick them off; just try to get them onto the webinar. Once you get them on the webinar, use it as a form of understanding where they are and of course get them to ask a lot of questions. Whenever a prospect ask you a client, they are moving closer to you and you are getting closer to closing the deal.

What is a good Crisis Marketing Strategy for financial advisors during COVID-19? Now you know!

Here is a summary of how to conduct an awesome Crisis Marketing Strategy for financial advisors during COVID-19:

  • Get a list of 20
  • Run a weekly webinar
  • Send out a weekly newsletter that prompts people to sign up for the next webinar and offers the replay from this week

That is basically the Crisis Marketing Strategy for financial advisors during COVID-19 in a nutshell.

Show them your heart

I just wanted to say that personally I am proud to be an American, I love my country.

You may not be from America but I’m sure you love your country too, wherever that country is. And I just wanted to say for the sake of other people, you just never know whose hero you can be, you never know and I think that we need to help each other right now. We are all under siege in a battle and it really is incumbent upon all of us to extend ourselves to other people as much as possible. It is going to be a hard recovery, it is going to be hard to persist through this.

When you financial advisors execute your crisis marketing plan, show people your heart. Put your heart into it.

The more we can help other people the better, first of all you never know it when it comes back to you. People do remember and showing leadership right now is great to do in general for other people, but at the end of the day it is a heck of a benefit to you as people will remember your courage and your graciousness, and how you extended yourselves to them at a time when they really needed you or someone they know did.

Any questions about the Crisis Marketing Strategy for financial advisors during COVID-1 ?

That’s my thoughts on Crisis Marketing. I’ll love for all of you financial advisors to let me know if you have any questions on how to execute a Crisis Marketing Strategy during COVID-19.

I hope you will listen to my podcast below which expounds upon my teachings. Please subscribe to my show here and we will see you next time for more financial advisor prospect meeting advice.

This is the way to subscribe to the Sara Grillo podcast.
My podcast is fun and irreverent. You’ll learn something and be entertained.

Want to learn how to get more meetings in the first place? For more tips about financial advisor lead generation, join my membership.

Or, get out there on social media and start actively prospecting. I wrote an e-book called, “47 Financial Advisor LinkedIn Messages and Sequences that will NOT make you look Stupid. “ If you are a financial advisor trying to meet new clients over LinkedIn or other social media sites and you need some scripts, you can download it here.

Thanks for reading and I’ll see you in the next one!

-Sara

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This financial advisor is kicking ass with COIs

Financial advisor Matthew Jarvis of Jarvis Financial is kicking ass when it comes to cultivating COI relationships. Learn what he’s doing by listening to this podcast.

-Sara Grillo, CFA

Resources mention in this podcast

Music

Nice to You by the Vibe Tracks

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Dan Solin on how to relate to anyone

You all know him; there’s no reason to say more. In this podcast I interview my buddy Dan Solin about the teachings of his new book called Ask: How to relate to anyone.

In this podcast, you’ll hear about:

  • The premise behind Ask
  • The neuroscience and psychology behind the positive results of asking good questions
  • How to handle it when someone feels your questions are annoying, even those questions that empower them to speak about themselves
  • What the most important things are to do if you want to relate to people better
  • The biggest misunderstanding we have about communicating with others
  • and much more

Here is more info about Ask: https://www.askdansolin.com/

Sources cited in this podcast

Urquiza, A., Zebell, N., Timmer, S., McGrath, J., & Whitten, L. (2011) Course of Treatment Manual for PCIT-TC. Unpublished Manuscript.

The Two Sentence Rule by Sara Grillo

Music

Nice to You by the Vibe Tracks

Posted on

Special announcement

I am going to be releasing an e-book entitled, “47 Financial Advisor Messages and Sequences that Will Not Make You Sound Stupid“. Please click here to join the mailing list and be notified.

I wrote this e-book for financial advisors who want to be perceived as high quality people on social media. This e-book contains 47 messages you can use on social media messenger to reach prospects, COIs, and other useful connections that would benefit your practice.

This e-book is not fancy or highly decorated. True to my nature this is a no BS, straight to the point piece of writing.

These messages serve to inspire your own thought about what to say to someone on social media. You can customize them to your tone and style.

The e-book is free for current clients and anyone who is currently subscribed to my membership. It is my best work and these ideas are not disclosed publicly to non clients and non members anywhere else in my other published content.

Please click the link below and join the mailing list to be notified when it is out!

https://lp.constantcontactpages.com/su/2591lzR

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The Small RIA Firm Poverty Trap (and How to Escape)

RIA firm branding and RIA firm marketing

No doubt that being a financial advisor with $150MM or less in AUM in an unenviable position to be in. While many have the potential to scale their businesses, most will never make it there without significant investment in marketing. Here are some marketing ideas – with a special focus on how financial advisors can get leads using LinkedIn messages – for how small RIA firms can get new clients and grow.

I’m here to tell you how to escape the small RIA firm poverty trap, y’all!

By the way, thanks for joining me.

For those of you who are new to my blog/podcast, my name is Sara. I am a CFA® charterholder and I used to be a financial advisor. I have a podcast in which I talk about financial advisor lead generation topics is best described as “fun and irreverent.” So please subscribe!

Sara Grillo, CFA is a highly fun and slightly crazy marketing consultant based in NYC.
I am an irreverent and fun marketing consultant for financial advisors.

 

So if you’re looking for some straight up talk then you’ve come to the right place!

A Small RIA Firm Profitability Sketch

The economics of being a Registered Investment Advisor (RIA) firm simply aren’t made to work for small operations. The overhead, the cost of being in business, and the cost of complying with regulations take a huge bite out of profit margins.

The results?

Poverty.

Most small RIA firms struggle, are forever penny pinching, and can’t hire the quality of staff that they’d need to have in order to impress people with serious money. There is hope! Hint: it has to do with your ability to use the internet to get new clients for your financial advisor practice. I’ve got all kinds of ideas on my blog and in my podcast about how financial advisors can find new leads using the internet, and I’ll get to this later.

 

But first let’s take a closer look at what life looks like financially for a small RIA firm or for a small financial advisor practice.

A Small RIA Firm Income Sketch

Let’s take an example of an RIA firm with $100MM in assets under management. Let’s say there’s three investment advisors with $33MM each in their book of business who decide to pool their assets into one RIA firm. And let’s assume – and this is a big break – that they’re lucky enough to earn 1% off that $100MM.  So, conservatively estimating, it looks like this:

Revenue                      $100,000,000 x .01 =  $1,000,000

Cost of Goods Sold                                           ($450,000)

Gross Profit                                                         $550,000

What’s next? So now we have to pay for the operations of the firm and the staff.

  •  If they’re taking home the full 1% fee that means they have inhouse research staff because they’re not fee splitting with a subadvisor. So pay a Chief Investment Officer/Director of Research about $100k (again, this is conservative) and a Research Associate about $70K. Now, as far as research staff goes these people are way underpaid if they are performing all the diligence and research that goes into managing $100MM of assets.
  • Now you’ve got to keep the clients happy, and let’s say there are about 100 accounts with $1MM average. So there’s got to be at least one operations person, and if you want to really do it right you should have two because the trades have to go through even when sick days and vacations happen etc. So let’s say you pay them each $60k.
  • Then you’ve got to have somebody to manage the office, keep your calendar and answer the phone, so let’s say we pay him/her $35k.
  • And then you need to either outsource marketing or get someone to help you with the website, newsletters, and social media. Either way that comes to about another $35k.
  • You need accounting and compliance support as well, to make sure everyone gets paid and the clients get billed, and that you keep up with all the regulations, so let’s conservatively say that costs $1k per month for you to outsource.
  • Oh yes and then there’s IT support in case the server goes down, disaster recovery policy are followed, etc., another $1k per month for you to outsource.
  • By the way, you haven’t paid rent yet and in a place like New York you’re looking at a minimum of $2k per month for a facility to house all these people.

Trust me, this is by no means all it takes; there’s way more I’m not including like office supplies. Before this headache turns into a migraine and you all hate my blog post more than you do already, let’s pick back up on the income statement where we left off.

Gross Profit                                                       $550,000

Operational Expenses                                    ($460,000)

Net Profit (9%)                                                   $90,000

So according to this sketch, and my expense estimates were conservative, this small RIA firm isn’t at a healthy margin. When all is said and done, to end up with this little profit when things go right isn’t looking good for when things go wrong.

And what about for those small small RIA firms with less than $100MM in AUM?

The Small RIA Firm Poverty Trap

The model above illustrates that most small RIA firms are just getting by financially. In the above example, with partners at the firm being responsible for running the firm in addition to all their client duties, they aren’t doing much active prospecting. Marketing comes last, and in the scenario described you can see that the budget doesn’t create the resources to reach the highly lucrative clients they want.

There’s probably zero active lead generation. As a result, they “take what they can get”, accepting smaller clients that demand as much service as larger ones but barely cover the cost of sales and service when all is said and done.

This is why most small RIA firms don’t scale, or don’t scale the right way. The bigger the firm gets, the more financial strain they face. Mathematically that is what happens to a low/shrinking margin business that adds incremental clients. And this is what I call the Small RIA Firm Poverty Trap.

And then, when you least expect, the unforeseen happens. You didn’t see it coming and now you’ve got a mess to deal with.

  • You get hit with an audit and some exceptions come up. Now you’ve got attorney bills and the risk of going out of business, can’t focus on your clients and you’re running behind schedule every day.
  • The market dips and you lose 40% of AUM overnight. Now you can’t even pay your bills.
  • WannaCry virus hits and you didn’t update your firewall because your tech person is a novice 25 year old. You’ve got some explaining to do to clients.
  • Your top portfolio manager leaves and takes your three largest clients and because you didn’t sign a non compete agreement you can’t do anything about it. Now you’ve got to reassign accounts and cut back on the bonus pool this year.

So all this begs the question, how can a small RIA firm take care of its clients when so often it can’t even take care of itself financially? Ask most analysts at small RIA firms and they’ll say they’re happy with their level of responsibility but the pay is way lower than what they can — and will — get elsewhere after they pass their CFA® exams or get their MBA or get a few more years of portfolio track record. I knew one guy who was President of an RIA firm and he had to take two years with no salary just to avoid closing down his firm after the recession hit.

I’ve worked on the buy side for a company with over $2BB in AUM and I’ve also worked as a consultant to clients with as little as $40MM. Overall my experience working at/with small RIA firms is that while they put on a cheery face and have an optimistic attitude towards their clients, at the heart of it, the staff is overworked and underpaid, and the firm constantly operates in a state of vulnerability. There are no small risks; even a minor issue becomes a major one.

It does not have to be this way!

Is There Integrity in the Small RIA Firm Marketing Pitch?

So now that we’ve established that most small RIA firms operate in a poverty trap, what does this mean for clients?

Well first of all, why do clients work with small RIA firms rather than big ones? Most of the time it is a personality match. Most RIA firms haven’t built their brand and don’t actively pursue the cold market. Referrals and personal networking are where business comes from, and the reason people say “yes” to a small RIA firm is likely the promise of better service or the comfort of knowing the person that they’ll be working with.

As detailed in this video below, the way that a small RIA firm markets itself can be quite different from how a larger one would.

While small RIA firms tout customized, responsive service, are they really delivering on this promise? Do they really have the resources to deliver what a mid or large firm could in all possible circumstances? Stepping back and seeing it objectively, I doubt it. Is a firm with all these vulnerabilities and resource constraints really going to be able to outservice even a mid-sized competitor? I’ve come to realize that this marketing pitch is a false hope that lacks true integrity most of the time.

Small firms stay small for a reason and usually it’s because they can only get small clients. The larger accounts ($10MM and above) are the ones you have to compete for. And I mean, compete with a capital C. It takes a tremendous amount of time, attention, focus, polish, branding, and customization to get through to these folks. Just one wrong word in a marketing pitch can blow the whole deal. Appearances matter and most small RIA firms look small and unsophisticated in the eyes of someone with serious money.

Sorry if I’m being too direct here. For all you small RIA firms, please hear me. This is the elephant in the room preventing you from scaling your practice.

So how do I know all this?  For many years I myself was a financial advisor (until I had two children in under two years which put quite a damper on having to meet my quota to my boss. By the way, I now have four children so it’s even worse.). Now that I’m not a practicing financial advisor anymore, I can see the industry as an insider and outsider at the same time.

If I won the lottery and was awarded $20MM, or even $10MM, would I go to my college buddy who lives down the street and has two people working for him, both twenty somethings? Or, would I go for the name brand  at Morgan Stanley with a credentialed staff to choke a horse? I don’t know that I’d choose the small RIA firm. It would just be too much of a risk. I would just see too many things that could go wrong.

The reality is, sitting here in the position of the consumer (and at the same time, having a deep knowledge of how the investment industry works), I would be more inclined to work with a financial advisor that had $500MM or more if my account size were $20MM or above. Or $10MM, or $5MM. I’d want to see 20 years in the business and seasoned, deep staff resources. I wouldn’t be that happy seeing a cast of twenty somethings. It would also be important to see top security to protect me from risk of theft and misappropriation. That means everything, from encrypted email to making sure someone locks the file cabinets every night.

While this wouldn’t necessarily lead me to Morgan Stanley, it would rule out most small RIA firms in favor of any mid or large sized RIA firm, just based upon these simple needs. And that’s why life stinks financially, many times, for small RIA firms.

Sound familiar? There is one thing a small RIA firm or small financial advisor practice can do – create a tight LinkedIn marketing strategy and a big  online brand.

Small RIA firms can create a big brand through LinkedIn and LinkedIn Messages

The way out of the Small RIA Firm Poverty Trap is to create a big concept that people associate you with. I’m not saying “fake it until you make it.” Exaggerating is going down the wrong path entirely. Lack of sincerity is exactly what created distrust of our industry in the first place.

Even small financial advisor firms can create a big brand on the Internet. It requires creativity and a laser like focus on what your unique strengths are. And then you apply it a million different ways in every presentation of your company. You’ve got to do it in a way that makes people attach to you emotionally.

Financial advisor marketing doesn’t have to cost a fortune. With the Internet as accessible as it is, marketing can be done relatively inexpensively using tools like LinkedIn. The financial advisor must create these messages with thought, sincerity, and purpose and that requires a commitment of attention. To learn more, read this blog about financial advisor LinkedIn messages and sequences.

Gone are the days of expensive paper mailers and marketing brochures. The currency of social credibility is how big you look on LinkedIn (which you can set up for free, by the way). Even if you’re the smallest RIA firm out there, if you have a big following online it signals value to people, rightfully or wrongfully. In their minds, people will figure out that there must be some good reason you’re getting all this attention. It will at least make them curious.

Now let’s say you follow that up with a really powerful brand that expresses your value as a financial advisor…and how do you do that, by the way? Let’s talk about that next.

Small RIA Firm Branding Tips

But just getting on the Internet isn’t enough. You’ve got to get a nice, big brand online. Now, many RIA firms think brand doesn’t matter. They don’t even know what branding is and haven’t paid much attention to it. But this is the elephant in the room keeping you from where you want to be. Here’s why.

Forgive me for sounding so brash, but I can’t convey this point without doing so bluntly.

99% of RIA Firms say the same thing in their marketing.

Or said differently:

99% of financial advisor marketing sounds the same.

It’s easy enough to prove my point. Just go to Google right now and type the search term “RIA firm” in your local area. You’ll see the first 5 firms that come up are saying the same things on their websites. I mean, it’s that obvious. They even use the same exact wording: “customized asset allocation”, “20 years in the business”, “fee only, independent advice”, “objective.” Blah blah blah.

So how do you set yourself apart? For some concrete examples of good and bad RIA firm branding, read this blog.

To bring back the example of me winning the lottery (which I must admit, is quite pleasant to think about!), let’s suppose that I came across an RIA firm on LinkedIn that had $50MM in AUM, but was specifically targeting New York City mothers.

  • Let’s say that they had several blogs on New York 529 plans and seemed to know everything about them.
  • Let’s say that they had a conference call on working mothers and how to make sure your kids can access your investment accounts if you were to pass away (how DO they get the passwords, anyways, especially if you were a single mom?).
  • Now let’s suppose that they have 10k followers on LinkedIn, were featured at a seminar as one of the top firms in the country in women’s finance, and their logo and tagline were female-oriented. Well, in that case I might just overlook the drawbacks of their small size.

Since they’ve branded themselves as a financial advisor targeting  female entrepreneurs who have children, there’s something about them that calls out to me.  See how brand matters? It enlarges something of value to me, it stirs up my emotions, it makes me take a second look and focus on what they want me to see rather than what I want to see.

Blowing Up Your Small RIA Firm Marketing Funnel

Thanks for reading!

And if you like my ideas there’s more of them where they came from – consider joining my monthly membership here.

Or, follow my podcast for more small RIA firm marketing and branding tips.

Or, if you’re ready to get out there and start getting new clients through social media, I wrote an e-book called, “47 Financial Advisor LinkedIn Messages and Sequences that will NOT make you look Stupid. “ If you are a financial advisor trying to meet new clients over LinkedIn or other social media sites and you need some scripts, you can download it here.

Thanks for reading and I’ll see you in the next one!

-Sara