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Success story of a financial advisor who gets leads from the internet with Benjamin Brandt

In this podcast we speak with Benjamin Brandt, a financial advisor who successfully gets leads from the internet podcast he runs.

In this podcast you are going to hear the amazing story of financial advisor Benjamin Brandt who gets leads from his internet podcast about retirement. You can listen to the podcast in full detail by scrolling down below, or you can read the summary notes below.

The three things that made this financial advisor successful getting leads from his podcast on the internet were as follows:

  • Weighing your options and choose the right type of content to produce
  • Optimize your content for internet keyword searches
  • Create relevant content that will attract the same type as the clients you usually serve

Step #1: Choose the right way to utilize your unique abilities

There are a multitude of ways that financial advisors have typically gone about getting appointments with people who might be interested in working with them. In today’s age, what are the typical ways that a financial advisor can attract new clients?

  • SEO optimized blogs and YouTube videos
  • Social media sites such as LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, etc.  
  • Podcasts about retirement, college planning, and other wealth management related topics
  • Online or in person seminars
  • Email newsletters
  • In person networking events
  • Referrals/word of mouth

The latter few financial advisor lead generation strategies have been around for ages, while the first three ways for financial advisors to get leads are internet-based and relatively new to the game. It doesn’t really matter which method you use; what’s important is how well you execute on it.

Ben Brandt knew that podcasting was right for him because of his tendency to be able to speak at length on the subject of retirement. He could have attempted to blog on the same subject, but it probably would not have been as effective.

Podcasting is one form of marketing, and there are many other ways to go about searching for new clients on the internet. Other financial advisors have found social media platforms such as LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook to more suited to their strengths. For an example of how to execute a financial advisor social media strategy, please view the video below.

Step #2: Optimize your content for internet keyword searches

Ben struggled for a long time to get momentum when he started his podcast. At first, Ben tried to optimize his content for the keyword “North Dakota Financial Advisor”, but it didn’t generate very many queries each month. Things changed when he started to use the search term “retirement podcast” to optimize his content. He went from getting low listenership to attracting hundreds of new listeners to his podcast each month.

The monthly downloads went from 200 to 500 to 5000 to 25,000 and more. All because he found the once correct term to optimize his content for. Industry leaders talk about the compounding effects of content. Much like how the interest from a bond or a high dividend stock compounds over time, hits on internet content beget more views the more popular the content becomes.

Financial advisors who want to get leads from the internet should:

  • Find out what terms your audience is typing into Google
  • Be the result that they find by creating content with those terms in it that is keyword optimized and easy for Google to identify as answering this need
  • Grow your site’s authority and target specific terms so that the audience finds you

Step #3: Create relevant content that will attract the type of leads matching who you serve as a financial advisor

Early on in his show, Ben developed an “avatar” listener which happened to be one of his favorite clients. He asked himself what content he could create that would be interesting for that person. That is what has made his show successful; because the audience feels as if he is talking directly to them.

The most successful marketing is highly attuned to the preferences of the viewer. For more tips on how to understand the people you are trying to market yourself to, check out my video below.

Ben developed a special rule that financial advisors can use to create new content for their podcast or blog. It measured the energy around specific topics.

  • If you hear a question 5 times from clients or prospects, it becomes the topic of your next content piece
  • If you hear a question 10 times, it becomes your next lead magnet (the free thing that goes on your website that people have to give you their email address to get)
  • If you hear a question 15 times, it becomes your next webinar

Answer the questions in a way that people can understand (as opposed to financial advisor language). Relevance is an important part of creating a successful content strategy that will allow financial advisors to get leads from the internet.

Love your content and your audience, and have passion for what you are delivering. Nobody wants to listen to a financial advisor reciting the CFP manual. It’s got to be fun if you want to attract financial advisor leads.

Financial advisor leads from the internet can be much higher quality leads

According to Ben, podcasting is very intimate in the sense that you are living in someone’s cell phone. You are talking directly to someone’s ears. They know what it sounds like when you breathe. If they listen to you for a month or two months, when they finally pick up the phone they are going to literally be able to finish your sentences.

Creating content and nurturing your audience along is the driver of how financial advisors get leads from the internet. The level of familiarity is much higher when it is somebody who has been listening to their podcast or reading their blog. It is a night and day difference from meeting someone at the Chamber of Commerce meeting or teaching a class at the local college where people get to meet you once.

To use Ben’s words, they’re already rounding second base headed for home instead of at home plate swinging at the pitch. If you are consistent with your publishing schedule, you are inserting yourself into their daily schedule. If you watched your favorite program for years, you could still tell me the time and day when the show airs. Building yourself into their life creates an incredible trust.

Financial advisor leads from the internet that are found using this strategy can be much higher quality leads for these reasons. Ben estimates that this year he will potentially talk to 60 new leads for his financial advisor firm, all from his internet podcast.

Summary of how to get financial advisor leads from the internet

Financial advisors who want to get leads from the internet should be very intentional about what type of content to produce, and how they are optimizing it to be found by the target prospect through internet search. The higher the relevance of the content, the more it drives leads.

Check out the full podcast episode with Ben Brandt below, and we hope you’ll stick around and subscribe to the show!

Resources mentioned in this show

Retirement Starts Today Radio

Music is Much Higher by Causmic

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Financial Advisor Salary: How much do Financial Advisors make?

In this blog you will learn how much money financial advisors make, what financial advisors get paid, and how much a typical financial advisor salary is.

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 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 how much money financial advisors make, what financial advisors get paid, and how much a typical financial advisor salary is.

By the way, I made a video on this topic if you want to watch it before you dive in to the rest of this blog. Please subscribe and follow me on YouTube for more financial advisor related content.

What the Bureau of Labor Statistics says about Financial Advisor Pay

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.

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:

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?

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 advisors 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, 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?

Ummm, 10% of financial advisors make less than $42k? WTF.

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!

My point is that the BLS really should have separated out junior financial advisor pay from this reading.

Only 10% of financial advisors make more than $208k? WTF.

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.

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 (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 advisor making more than $200k is true, because if it were true than 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.

But let’s say all this BLS data is true…

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.

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.

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

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

Both of these questions I am going to address next. But first, I have a question for you.

Are you enjoying my blog so far?

If so, I encourage you to follow my podcast as well. 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.

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.

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?

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.

Build your pipeline of high net worth clients!

Now how do you go about doing this?

I am publishing a lot about the topics of financial advisor marketing and financial advisor lead generation. I have a podcast on this, I have newsletters that I write on a weekly basis.

I also have a membership program, helping people to be able to develop business with these more sophisticated clients. 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. That is really what I talk about with my content.

So I hope that you will stay with me and join my podcast and/or membership, links to both are below.

Subscribe to podcast:

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

Sources

US Bureau of Labor Statistics. Occupational Outlook Handbook. Business and Financial. Personal Financial Advisors/Pay. Retrieved on July 3, 2020 from https://www.bls.gov/ooh/business-and-financial/personal-financial-advisors.htm#tab-5

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Financial advisor lead generation services stink!

Financial advisor lead generation services stink!

Financial advisor lead generation services stink. Please read this blog and listen to the podcast below to hear about the 5 reasons that buying financial advisors leads does not work out most of the time.

To listen to podcast discussing the 5 reasons that financial advisors should not buy leads for their businesses, please scroll to the end of this blog. For future episodes, subscribe here to be notified automatically.

5 reasons financial advisor lead generation services stink

I would never claim to be all knowing when it comes to financial advisor lead generation services. However, in my experience, most of the financial advisors who buy leads have had a negative experience.

Here are the 5 reasons why they stink:

#1 Weird data collection methods

#2 The ROI is a disgrace

#3 The lead is not given exclusively to you

#4 It’s one step above telemarketing

#5 A personal brand is difficult to outsource

I am going to briefly discuss each of these reasons in the blog that follows. To listen to podcast which goes into much greater depth, please scroll to the end of this blog.

#1 Weird data collection methods

There is really no way to know if the information reported by the lead is true. The data these services rely on is reported by the investor. It is not verified by the financial advisor lead generation services company itself. At no point does the company say, “Alrighty now show me your latest Fidelity statement because I am going to charge a financial advisor $200 and tell them you have $2MM in investable assets. I need to be sure you’re not just making that up!”

Although every company goes about this differently, the process for collecting information from the investor usually goes something like as follows. The financial advisor lead generation company publishes a blog about a topic that will attract high net worth investors. Or they create a Google ad or something. Whichever way they do it, the investor is led to a lead magnet that they must input their information to download.

Every company gathers financial advisor leads in a different fashion. If you are curious to learn about what I believe to be one of the methods that SmartAsset uses, watch this video below.

The investor is then required to input his or her phone, email and personal information about their assets, income, etc., in order to receive the lead magnet over email. This is a typical marketing move that many companies do in other to gather the investor’s information.

However, here is where the process that these financial advisor lead generation companies use doesn’t quite hold up. If I input my email and name so that I can get a copy of a report about which podcast microphone to buy, that is one thing. However when we are talking about someone’s personal information such as how much money they have, it gets a bit weird.

If I were asked to answer a length questionnaire about my personal finances, I would gloss over it and not spend the time required to do it right. We tend to blow off questionnaires in the first place and especially when it is a questionnaire of this type.

People feel weird about fully disclosing all their information this way over the internet to a company that they don’t know. Investors are naturally distrustful of financial services companies in the first place. In a sense the process is setting itself up for failure because at no point do the financial advisor lead generation services company acknowledge this. They just gloss over it, collect the investor’s info with some marginal, barely there disclaimer/consent form that the investor agrees to potentially be contacted by a financial advisor.

At no point is it usually made clear to the investor that his or her information is going to be bought by a financial advisor as a lead. Normally there isn’t much clarity provided to the investor, so they don’t really expect what comes next, which is typically a bunch of financial advisors calling them up and trying to get them to meet. It’s not like there are neon lights blasting say, “NEWS FLASH: IN EXCHANGE FOR THAT RETIREMENT CALCULATOR YOU ARE GOING TO BE BOMBARDED BY FINANCIAL ADVISOR SOLICITATIONS FOR THE NEXT THREE WEEKS.” Because quite simply, if the investor knew that, then very few of them would be willing to hand over their personal details.

The result?

The financial advisor pays $200 or whatever for the lead, calls the investor up, and what do they get?

Crickets, crickets, and more crickets.

My point is that the process that these financial advisor lead generation companies follow in getting these leads is often very lacking. The leads aren’t vetted as fully as they need to be, and the investor’s interest in not fully gauged. As a result, response rates tend to be very low.

#2 The ROI is a disgrace

The ROI for financial advisor lead generation services tends to be low. Let’s say you pay $200 for a lead. In my experience, I’ve seen advisors buy 20 leads and not even get a single meeting. But let’s say you get lucky and 1 in 30 leads converts to a client.

Well, what is the cost/benefit of a financial advisor lead in that particular case?

A total cost of $200 x 30 = $6,000 in fees is paid to the financial advisor lead generation services company

But that’s not where it ends!

Now you have to take into account the implicit costs of the lead, the time and energy it takes you to close the deal. This means:

Time spent in meetings

Following up by phone

Following up by email

Etc.

Let’s suppose you spend another $200 in your time and your company’s time, materials, etc. on follow up. Even if you close 1 out of the 30 leads, your total cost is now:

$6,000 explicit cost + ($200 x 30) or $6,000 in implicit cost

Total cost of this lead is $12,000!

Hope they decide to stick around for a few years! You may say that a low ROI is at least an ROI.

Point taken.

However there are other methods that have much higher ROI such as building your own brand and your own lead generation system in house. There are a variety of ways to do this and I describe some of them in this membership here.

#3 The lead is not given exclusively to you

Unlike getting a lead from a private conversation you had on the golf green last week, these leads are not exclusive to you. The financial advisor lead generation services company sells the lead to you, and they also sell it to a few others. Essentially you are tossed into the ring and it’s a battle of who gets to the investor first and best.

This is highly competitive. In fact, it probably couldn’t get much more competitive than this.

You’re competing against other financial advisors and the prospect has no way to tell you apart initially. It’s so easy for the investor to toss you out for the littlest thing, and they probably will because they have at least two other advisors blowing up their phone! You are wrestling for the investor’s attention.

You’re way better off sourcing leads from relationships you have or that you create in your personal or professional life. At least this way there is at least some likelihood that it won’t be so cutthroat. For an example of ways that financial advisors can find new leads online, please watch the video below.

#4 It’s one step above telemarketing

In my view, $200 or more is expensive for what is essentially a step above a stone cold lead. As I mentioned in #1, in some cases the investor isn’t really looking for anything.

Once you buy the lead, you have to call the person up or email them and you are starting from a position of total distrust and invisibility. It’s really hard to get these people’s attention this way. Who likes getting phone calls from people they don’t know?

Let’s face it: instead of a high value financial advisor, the keeper of their future, hopes, and dreams, you look like a telemarketer.

Given the type of business this is, cold leads are hard to close. There is no trust, nothing to base anything on. They will feel free to mistreat you and even be nasty in some cases. If you want to earn their trust, be prepared to execute a strategy with multiple touch points (phone, email, snail mail, social media), not just one. Be prepared to work hard as you are starting from the lowest possible level of trust in the prospect’s eyes. And even when you do, you’re going to face a great deal of humbling and rejection.

#5 A personal brand is difficult to outsource

For most of you financial advisors, your brand is highly connected to you as a person. It’s not like you are Apple Computer. Outsourcing to a financial advisor lead generation services company is giving control of the first impression of your brand to someone else.

There you have it – the top 5 reasons that financial advisor lead generation services stink!

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 lead generation advice.

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

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Vid 62: Advanced Messaging Tips

In this video you will learn about some advanced messaging techniques to use on social media. The key thing to remember is that the List of 20 is not static; it is dynamic. So if somebody does not respond after 3 messages, then you should get them off the list and get someone else on […]
To access this post, you must purchase Membership Portal.
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Vid 63: Searching your LI connections made easy!

Many of you have qualified prospects and COIs in your LinkedIn connection base; however it is hard to be aware of them because you’d have to search and scroll which can get overwhelming. Here is an easy way. The List of 20 is dynamic, not static. If somebody is not responding, get them off the […]
To access this post, you must purchase Membership Portal.
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Vid 64: Beautifying your LI postings

Posting something to LinkedIn is not as simple as it would seem. In this video you will learn the process for beautifying your LinkedIn postings to increase engagement. Here are the steps to take. Paste a link where it says “start a post.” The preview image should come up. After it does, you can go […]
To access this post, you must purchase Membership Portal.
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Financial Advisor Prospect Meeting: How much to give away for free?

How much should financial advisors give away for free during a prospect meeting?

How much should Financial Advisors give away for free during a Prospect Meeting? The least that you can and still be seen as credible enough to close the deal. But how do financial advisors do that and still have a great financial advisor prospect meeting? I am about to tell you in this podcast.

To listen to podcast, please scroll below. For future episodes, subscribe here to be notified automatically.

Financial Advisor Prospect Meeting: the Critical Exchange of Value

I mean, let’s be real. Why would they pay if they can do it themselves?

In my experience I have seen a great deal of overcommunication in these financial advisor prospecting meetings. You could probably communicate about half of what you typically do. But by this I don’t mean hold back items of value.

What I mean is, communicate differently in a way that gets them interested and curious, not feeling like they got their cake and can eat it too.

Interested = they feel that what you offer is relevant to them and can help them

Curious = they are willing to devote at least some amount of time to hearing you talk about it and it won’t be like pulling teeth to sit there listening to you

I will say it differently: the object of the exercise is not to give away so much information that they see you as the most credible financial advisor on earth.

Let’s keep in mind the goal of any meeting that a financial advisor has with a qualified prospect:

The goal of the financial advisor prospect meeting is to give away enough information so that they are interested and curious enough to exchange their money for the knowledge you have that they perceive as valuable.

-Sara Grillo, CFA

In this podcast, I am going to cover a 3 step process to make the prospect realize the exchange of value and to get the deal done. To listen to podcast, please scroll below.

Now, just to be clear, this is not a discussion for the first go around. The first meeting is all about them and you don’t get technical. The process I am going to outline below is for the second financial advisor prospect meeting or even third depending on when you get into their account analysis.

Is there a sure fire way to get the prospect to close during the meeting?

No.

Even having said this, even with the best of execution, all meetings are not going to go your way. Sometimes it’s a personality conflict. Other times they’re just not ready to move forward, or things might not click. How can you prevent this from leaving you with an empty pipeline and even worse, and empty wallet?

That is why you should have an abundance of leads and new prospects interested in talking to you. Financial advisors should try to fill up their sales funnels. In the video below you will learn some ways that financial advisors can get new leads.

How to Have a Great Financial Advisor Prospect Meeting: 3 easy steps

If you want to have an awesome financial advisor prospect meeting in which you move closer to closing the deal, there are 3 steps to follow. Now, you have to plan out the meeting in advance. Set up this strategy before you meet with the prospect and be mentally ready for whatever may happen.

This is a battle. Be ready to fight!

Step #1: Think about what you would barf overcommunicate) about during the meeting

Examples of questions that you would barf up information all over the prospect about may include:

When do I take social security?

What do you think of my portfolio?

Your view on the market and how to play it?

Step 2: Prepare strategic answers to the questions you typically barf about

Have prepared answers that generate as much confusion as clarity. You never want to give a direct answer here. People will be more attracted to you if you provide an answer that is unclear but makes them think at the same time.

Examples of how to do this during your financial advisor prospect meeting:

They say, “When do I take social security?”

Instead of “probably take it at 62 if you are not working” say something like this, “Let me ask you, have you sat down and mapped out your net cash flow, adjusted for inflation, for the next 5 years?”

They say no.

You say:

“If net cash flow is above a certain amount of your current income, and that percentage is determined on a regular basis according to our actuarial assumptions, then it makes sense to take it earlier. However if it is below that certain percentage, then it makes sense to take it later. Hard to tell without the hard data in front of me.”

Now, this is a simple response and I know that didn’t sound that smart, but I’m not the social security expert, you financial advisors are! You get my point? Say something technical and provide options. But don’t get too technical (example: “that percentage is determined on a regular basis according to our actuarial assumptions”) and be a little bit mysterious.

You want to give them enough so that you seem credible and they get it that a certain process has to be followed, but in no way are you giving them enough that they could do it themselves.

Remember this key rule:

The goal of the financial advisor prospect meeting is to give the client the space to appreciate you by being attracted to the information you provide and how you provide it.

-Sara Grillo, CFA

Throughout your meeting, you have to include an element of mystery because if you spell it all out then they will perceive you as a lower value advisor. Essentially right then and there in the middle of the meeting, you have told them that they do not need to pay you for your knowledge.

Here is another example.

Prospect asks, “What is wrong with my account based upon your analysis?”

You say:

“Geraldine, I reviewed your accounts. On a scale of 1 to 10, I would say your portfolio is at a 6 or 7 in terms of overall health. The biggest opportunities for improvement are:

  1. There are several mutual funds with an expense ratio that ranks according to our system as what we call “high” or “expensive.” We think that suitable replacements can be found.
  2. There is a position concentration that we would imagine ourselves unwinding over a period of  a few years but trading selectively in accordance with our models.
  3. I’m sure this is going to be a little bit surprising, but a few of your GRATS are structured in ways that weren’t obvious to me and atypical of how I usually see them. it would be great to speak with your estate attorney and learn about the rationale for setting them up this way.

They say, “Which holdings, can you tell me specifically?”

They say, “Which position was the concentration?”

They say, “Which GRATS were those and what were the other possibilities?”

They say, “Can I have a hard copy of your analysis?”

You say:

“In my experience I have found that these discussions are better kept for when we are formally engaged as advisor and client.”

And then shut up.

Don’t back down.

Don’t explain why.

Do not negotiate.

Just shut up.

You have them curious and remember that:

Curiosity is one of the greatest human motivators that exists in our psychology.

-Sara Grillo, CFA

When you have them this curious, it’s time to get the deal done. At the point in the financial advisor prospect meeting when curiosity is at its height, you either propose an hourly arrangement where they can meet with you and you provide this for a fee, or they sign the retainer contract. That is how you end it.

Step 3: Practice and log results

Get a journal. Plan out the meeting beforehand. After it is done, assess yourself a score for how well you did what you wanted to do.

At the core of it, financial advisor marketing and sales are about how well you understand the prospect psychologically. Here are some tips for taking the time to do that and doing it intelligently (instead of just barfing up information all over the prospect).

Better self control is what we should all strive for, it is hard but it feels great when you see yourself growing as a human being. I’m someone who is very talkative, gets excited about other people and sometimes can be less strategic in my conversations than would be the best. Not always, but sometimes.

I have learned that silence is value adding. I’ve learned to slow down a bit and use silence. During any meeting, you can always pause for a bit longer than you think before you talk. Before you answer any question, remind yourself that you want to say just enough to get them interested but not one more word than you need to.

And then let them imagine….

Summary of 3 step process for getting great results during your financial advisor prospect meeting

Step #1: Think about what you would barf overcommunicate)

Step #2: Prepare strategic answers to the questions you typically barf

Step #3: Practice and log results

This is how you can be seen as a high value financial advisor and have a great financial advisor prospect meeting.

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 marketing advice.

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

Music is Much Higher by Causmic

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Put that DIY client in their place!

DIY, or Do It Yourself, clients are a spectrum but no matter where they lie on the spectrum it is bad. You will torture you if you let them. Don’t get used like the office coffee machine. Financial advisor need to know how to handle DIY clients and that means putting a DIY client in their place. Here are 3 things to do if you want to avoid being regarded as the personal butler by your DIY client.

Listen to podcast by scrolling to the bottom of this page. Please subscribe here to make sure you don’t miss the next episode!

How financial advisors should handle a DIY client

DIY is a spectrum and no matter where they lie on the spectrum they need to be put in their freaking place.

Some are true DIYers who will go so far as to unwind trades that you did and want to dictate how you manage the money. Others are mere back seat drivers who have someone advising them like a CFA who is their brother or something, and they just want to have a say in everything you do.

Either way it’s bad. Let me be clear: these are bad clients. These are the hardest clients to get and to keep happy. So you have to rule these clients with an iron fist in the beginning to establish that you are the dominant player, that you are the driver of the car and they are the passenger. That you are the alpha and they are the beta.

Financial advisors need to learn to recognize the signs of a potential DIY clients. High likelihood of DIY client:

  • CFA charterholder
  • Has a CFP in the family
  • Works at a high tech company such as Intel, Cisco, Microsoft
  • Former or current  employee of a financial firm of any type in any capacity, or of a bank
  • Reads seeking alpha
  • Have more than 1M but have been managing it themselves for 2 years plus

If your prospects or clients are any of these people, you have to be hard. And I mean hard. Clients must respect you. This is very important. If you let them walk all over you, you will get used and abused, chewed up and spit out.

They will:

  • Blow you off
  • Argue with everything you say
  • Constantly be creating more work for you
  • Expect you to be their servant
  • Fault you for bad performance when they were the ones messing things up all the time
  • Give away all your trade secrets to their DIY friends but never introduce you to any of them

Stand up for yourself! You have to respect yourself and not tolerate this BS. You have to stand up to them and call them out on their BS. Act like you are good enough, and they’ll believe you. Act like you are not, and they’ll believe that too.

So I’m going to tell you the specific things you need to do. 

3 ways to handle a DIY client

Now this is going to be hard for many of you to do, beause youv’e been brainwashed by ths industry and all these nicey nicey management consultants or whoever that just want to sell you a yoga retreat. I’ll save you the $6k and tell you right now how to act. It’s very simple.

3 things.

You are going to have to be willing to cut the bad DIY clients lose. This will mean you have to be able to attract prospects to yourself easily. Having other options that you know you can go to is the only way you will be able to cut out this “pleaser” or “butler” behavior. You will have to exercise self control and hold your fears in check.

Want to learn how to get new leads? Check out this video below.

#1 Make the DIY client chase you

During the prospecting phase, you have to let them do 70-75% of the calling, texting, and emailing. You can not pursue these clients heavily because then they will view you as the butler.

During the meeting, establish multiple points of value not just one or two, and it shouldn’t just be that you have access to awesome private equity funds that they can’t get on their own.

Make a chart or diagram to illustrate to them what they need you for. You really have to spell it out. Get a white board and write it all down. For example if you are talking about financial planning, give them a sample financial plan to look over in the meeting, but then take it back before they leave as you recall they are DIYers and will copy it. Tell them what every single component of the plan will be.

If they ask for references, blatantly say no. mystery creates obsession. It will make them more intrigued. Tell them that you only open up references after the person signs up and ACATs the money over.

Also restrict any marketing content. Don’t be sending the DIY client your quarterly economic outlook piece. That is playing right into their hands.

Tell them that you only have a few spots left. Limited time offer.

Then do not follow up with this prospect.

#2 State the DIY declaration

There is no beating around the bush with a DIY client. You have to crush them right away before they get the chance to surge up.

In the beginning of the relationship, you should say these words:

I look forward to working with you, but I’m not going to be your personal butler. We are not co-managers of this portfolio. If this isn’t what you want, then I’m prepared to sever all ties, walk away and forget this conversation ever happened. Let me know what you want to do.

You almost have to dare them to say no, and then when you do that they will say yes.

#3 Implement DIY pricing

Now I know you advisors aren’t creative with anything and especially pricing has to be the same. But its just not fair to the good clients if you are spending so much time on a DIY relationship that it become unprofitable. In that case the profitable, good clients are paying for the bad clients.

Tell them this:

Now, we have two options for working together. One is the typical model in which I am the portfolio manager and financial advisor. The normal fee schedule on my website applies.

However, if you want to co-manage the portfolio and be involved with every tradesy wadesy I make, then we can work together differently. You can ask me unlimited questions and we can research the trades together. I will simply charge you $30k per month because that is the cost of my firm’s time and the expenses associated with taking on an engagement of this type.

Which option would you choose?

You’ll have to amend your ADV if you are offering option #2.

Also tell them that if the sign up for the normal service and then start treating you like their personal butler, then you’ll be in touch with them about transferring them to model #2 which will cost them $30k per month.

Summary of how financial advisors need to deal with a DIY client

These DIY clients are bad news. Don’t give them their cake and eat it too. Follow this 3 step process as outlined in the podcast below.

Please subscribe here and don’t miss my future shows on financial advisor marketing and lead generation!

To learn how to attract more clients to yourself so that you can tell these DIY clients to take a hike, join my membership here.

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Real Talk: If you are this financial advisor then STOP doing any marketing

I see many financial advisors who are good advisors who do not do any marketing and the people who need them do not get to work with them.

However, I also see alot of financial advisors who are marketing their businesses – but they shouldn’t be. If one of these five conditions apply to you, then stop marketing your business.

Real talk.