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Common Objections to Joining my Membership

Common objections to joining Sara Grillo's membership.

I’ve lately come to embrace the view that whenever someone objects to buying a service that I offer, I should pay attention to what they’re saying because they’re probably not the only ones thinking that way.

Here are my responses to the common questions that people tend to have when they are considering joining my membership. Maybe some of these have crossed your mind and if so I hope you find these answers useful!

Why is there a $100 sign up fee?

I hear you. People are often curious why there is a $100 fee for sign up due when you join the membership (monthly ongoing fee is $35/month).

This is because there is a significant amount of background work that goes into onboarding each member to the back end of the portal, LinkedIn group, webinar list, etc at inception so that everything runs smoothly. In addition, sometimes the members will require some help navigating the startup and accessing the content. I’ve created a FAQs document that they can use which addresses most issues, but sometimes there is more onboarding work that needs to be done.

You create free editorial content frequently (articles, podcasts, YouTube videos, webinars). Why should I pay for this membership when I get an email in my inbox from you each week for free?

Good point.

My membership provides you with:

  • Three short training videos. The videos are typically less than 10 minutes long and demonstrate steps to follow to attract new prospects online.
  • One exclusive interactive membership webinarin which I demonstrate the training video tactics via screen share and you can ask questions.
  • Access to coaching through my exclusivemembers-only LinkedIn group in which I will provide guidance and advice on the tactics I’ve demonstrated.

The membership content differs from my editorial content in a few important ways:

  • My videos demonstrate the actual steps you take in an easy to follow format and the replay is available on demand. You see the LinkedIn tactics demonstrated. In contrast, in my blogs and podcast I only describe these in general terms and no concrete steps are outlined. I may give an example but those are words only, not live, step by step instructions that are demonstrated with real life examples you can see.
  • In 2019, my editorial content is going to cut down a bit in volume and also it will be focused less on the nitty gritty of LinkedIn strategy and online branding and more upon my thought leadership and keynote speaking.
  • It’s not just articles; it’s coaching, too. While very few people take me up on this, you do get online coaching through the members LinkedIn group. You can also ask me questions on the members only webinar each month. While you’re not getting direct one on one phone time, you are getting access to my consultative advice which on an individual basis goes for $250/hour. So if you do the math on that, just because you’re getting the advice in a group setting, you’re saving a huge amount of money.

There are so many LinkedIn messaging programs. Why should I pick yours?

Yeah, I’m with you on that!

You’re probably saying this because you’ve checked out some of these artificial intelligence type LinkedIn messaging programs. They say they’ll send 100 messages from your LinkedIn ID to viable prospects every week or something like that, right?

Here’s what’s they’re missing (btw, I made a YouTube video summarizing the problem with social media AI services if you want to watch me instead):

  • After a certain number of unresponded to connection messages, LinkedIn (in the past) has put people into the “doghouse” where your ability to message new people without their emails is taken away. I can’t say for sure this is what they’ll do going forward but LinkedIn has recently taken many steps to eliminate spamming and it’s likely they’re not going to let people get away with mass messaging for too long.
  • When you are communicating one on one with another person, there is quite simply no shortcut to sincerity. If you want to get somebody to pay attention to you, you’ve got to pay attention to them first. In my membership I show you how to do this in a way that can build your pipeline over time.

Simply put, there’s no substitute for quality and authenticity. Although I’m a big fan of scalability, unfortunately with most of these LinkedIn messaging services you’ll just be paying to become part of the noise in their inbox that people want to ignore.

Authenticity wins. Without it, there’s no basis for growth and nothing to scale in the first place.

I already have LinkedIn Sales Navigator.

Great! My membership is extremely complementary with LinkedIn Navigator.  From Navigator you’ll be able to find people easily and that’s where my membership is really useful: knowing what to say, how to follow up, what to post to your feed, etc. so that you can get meetings with the people you find through searches.

There are so many LinkedIn training programs. Why should I pick yours?

In addition to the reasons stated in the response to the question above, the advantage is time efficiency.

My training videos are less than 10 minutes long and some are only 2-3 minutes long only. This was designed for busy people who don’t have a ton of time to spend on LinkedIn but still want to take action to get results.

Let’s be real: what financial advisor has time to sit around and be on social media all day?

What are the training videos about?

Here are the titles of the first 10 videos:

  • Getting Center of Influence Leads through LinkedIn Search
  • How to Not Screw Up Talking to a COI on LinkedIn
  • The Easiest Possible Way to Get a COI’s Attention on LinkedIn
  • How to Look Cool (Not Sleazy) in LinkedIn Groups
  • The Fun Way to Meet Prospects in LinkedIn Groups
  • Creating a LinkedIn Community That Rocks
  • December Bonus Video  – Proven Lead Generation
  • Rebranding Your LinkedIn Profile
  • The 1,2,3 Combo
  • 4 Killer Ideas for LinkedIn Content

A few sample links are included below.

How To Not Screw Up Talking To A COI On LinkedIn – Video 2

Rebranding Your LinkedIn Profile for Conversions

What results/ROI do people get?

I would never offer advice that I myself would not follow. I’ve used these techniques for years and my experiences, successes, and failures form the basis for this membership content. Using these techniques has brought me clients, speaking engagements, introductions to hard to meet people, and it’s all happened in a natural way that everyone was comfortable with.

Although the membership itself is at its nascency at the time of me writing this article, people are already getting these results. Some have reported getting meetings and referrals from COIs. Others have said that it has led them to expand their networks in ways they never thought and has been a great benefit as a result.

I can also tell you that in my overall work with advisors as a marketing coach (those who aren’t on my membership), many of them have had success using the techniques that I teach in my membership.

I’m not sure I can afford this. I want to make sure I keep total marketing costs down.

Right on. I love smart buyers and I myself am careful when it comes to spending.

If you would like a marketing budget sheet, I can send it to you. This will help you get a handle on your overall marketing costs for the year.

Having said that, this is arguably the best value out there that you can get for $35 a month. You’ll be guided through how to run a LinkedIn campaign to your target market from start to finish. If you bought this advice from me on an individual basis it would run you $250/hour.

This was created for the financial advisor who either:

  • is disciplined enough to drive the marketing effort themselves instead of hiring somebody else
  • can’t afford a huge marketing bill each month (bluntly put)

Let’s say you were to invest time in watching my videos, doing what the instructions say, and taking advantage of the opportunity to get coaching from my webinars or LinkedIn groups. All of the resources available to you through this membership are worth well over the $35 you’d pay each month (and of course the $100 sign up fee due at inception).

We’re too tightly regulated, especially when it comes to social media.

Let’s be real; financial advisor compliance at some shops is downright stifling.

The good news is that my whole approach to marketing is geared towards getting you away from how advisors typically behave (which compliance isn’t such a fan of) and more towards acting like a natural human being. And compliance usually has very few bones to pick with that, because we’re steering clear of the technical stuff.

I’m creating a new way of communicating and that applies to everything you do as an advisor, from social media to blogs, speaking engagements, the whole enchilada.

And if your social media compliance team has really got you on lock down, there’s still a great deal of value in knowing how to use LinkedIn as a research tool. I cover this in my first few videos. Some of these techniques don’t have to be executed through LinkedIn; you can use social media for the research and actually execute the communication through email.

Sara’s Upshot

Did I cover it all? If I’ve addressed your doubts, please go ahead and click here.

If not, I want to hear from you. What did I miss? Please go ahead and send me a message through my contact form and let me know what else is on your mind.

Thanks for reading and I hope you’ll join me as a guide through your LinkedIn journey!

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Membership FAQs

Sara Grillo membership FAQs

Welcome to my membership! Here are the common issues people sometimes have when they start out with my membership, and what to do to fix them.


How do I log on? / I can’t find my password

When you signed up you should have received a confirmation email with your username and password in it. The page where you should log in is here:

What to do:

  • Check your inbox for the confirmation email. It will go to the email address you used to sign up.
  • If you did not receive a confirmation email with your username and password, please check your Spam folder.
  • If you still can not locate your confirmation email, please kindly reach out to me at


My password doesn’t work

Don’t worry!

The password was sent to you in the confirmation email when you signed up. As noted above, please kindly make sure you are using the correct log in URL, username, and password as provided in the confirmation email.

What to do:

  • If the password provided to you does not work, please kindly reach out to me at
  • I will simply need to reset the password for you.
  • The new password will come to you at the email address you used to sign up.


I can not find or log on to the videos.

No worries! This is simple.

What to do:

  • The videos require a different password than your log on.
  • Use your username and password to log on to the membership page at
  • On the left, click “dashboard”.
  • Videos are located on your dashboard.
  • When you click on the page for each video, the password is displayed directly under the picture of the video screen.
  • Look below for a picture showing where to find the password:

If you are still having problems locating the passwords, please kindly reach out to me at

How can I find all my membership content in one place?

It’s simple. Just log on and click this link.

I need to change my credit card information.

Easy to do! Please watch this video which will walk you through the steps to change your credit card information.

If you’d rather read the instructions than watch a video, here is what to do:

  • Log on at
  • On the left side, click on where it says “my subscriptions.”
  • Where it says “actions” select “change payment.”
  • On the bottom where it says “credit card”, enter the new card info.
  • Click “change payment method” to update your payment info.


My payment got denied.

No problem! This could be perhaps due to outdated credit card information (if you changed your card, if your credit card expired). Other times it could just be a systems blip.

What to do:

  • Please confirm that your credit card information is up to date and that the card you have there is active and working.
  • Log on at
  • On the left side, click on where it says “my subscriptions.”
  • Click on where it says “payment methods.”
  • If your credit card information is up to date and correct, then the problem lies somewhere within the back end of the system. In that case, please kindly reach out to me at


Any other problems?

If anything else comes up, I’ll be there on the double! Just email

Thanks for joining me!

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To Crack into Prospects, Try Cracking Them Up

Good humor is irresistible and rare, and the uniformly dry, boring cannon of financial marketing suffers from a lack of it. Humor is a lethal weapon. To connect better with your audience, refresh them, relieve tension in stressful situations and be more relatable and real to the people you want to impress, here are ways to infuse humor into your business, and some that you’re better off leaving out.


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How to Tell If Your Office Set Up Is Killing Your Financial Advisor Lead Generation

As I’ve put forth in past blogs about fee compression, higher activity will expand the pipeline, boost financial advisor lead generation, and allow advisors who are willing to fight to prove their value in a market that is supposedly racing to the bottom. This is a brutal task so make it easier by doing everything you can to increase motivation, starting with how your office is set up.

Advisors Hate Telemarketing

To all the advisors who are reading this, tell me how many times you’ve called back after you had a meeting and somebody didn’t respond?

Probably two people will say they’ve ever done this.

There is an abysmal lack of follow up in sales, in general, and financial services is no exception. I find that when I follow up more than twice, the prospect is often awed by my action. I’ve closed so many sales because I had to grit to make the call one more time, despite being ignored.

Look, I’m not going to sugar coat it. Financial advisor lead generation over the phone is brutal bloody murder. But the people who do it consistently, in conjunction with other forms of marketing such as social media or blogging, and with some degree of skill can get amazing results. I made a nice business for myself calling young attorneys at Big Law firms in New York City.

The Bottom Line:

If you want a bigger pipeline, get on the phone and call some rich people up.

Yes, I know it’s painful and easier said than done. But the simple fact is that you can write all the blogs you want, but at some point somebody is going to have to get the prospect on the phone and get them to come in for a meeting.

If you want to get better sales results then make sure that every single factor is working in favor of supporting the people who are in the hardest role at your firm: the sales people. Here’s how to do it using your office design.

Nap Rooms

When I was pregnant with my first child, I was at a point in my career when my job involved heavy phone prospecting. I used to get so sleepy after lunch (every single day at 1:30 in the afternoon) that I literally couldn’t keep my eyes open.

No lie, I had to hold my head up with my hand and doze off sitting in my chair for 5 minutes at a time (and hope the bosses didn’t see me).

It made the whole thing so tiring. I would call nonstop for 15 minutes at a time and then stop for 2 minutes, and then start again. If you do that, it’s easier to get into a groove and you get less distracted. But it’s pretty exhausting mentally.

Takeaway for higher financial advisor lead generation:

Take a little corner of the conference room and put a yoga mat on the floor. Tell your employees to bring their own blanket and pillowcase and allow the salespeople to take a nap after lunch.


Do you know how hard it is to heavily prospect over the phone all day? I mean, to really sit there and dial staring at the wall, getting hung up on, blown off, treated like a second class citizen, cursed at, and shamed, over and over and over again?

The easiest way to motivate people is to make their jobs fun. By incorporate games into the office, you can help them structure their day with work/play intervals that chop up a block of boring phone calls.

If you really want to get them cranking, I recommend having your phone marketers call for 20 minutes, take a 2 minute break, and then start on the next set. At the end of very two hours they get a 10 minute break to go play ping pong.

Takeaway for higher financial advisor lead generation:

If you make work fun for people they’re more likely to be productive. Try a video game center maybe. Google has slides, no kidding, it’s a slide like your kids play on at the playground. Whatever you need to do to introduce an element of fun, do it.

Try ping pong tables, board games, video games, or even a full fledged game area.

Healthy Food


Do you ever notice that you tend to eat bad food when you’re under stress? In a bad moment, people tend not to appreciate weight gain from eating the first piece of junk they can get their hands on at work. Usually it’s soda or potato chips. Make this a positive rather than negative experience for them.

Takeaway for higher financial advisor lead generation:

At the end of the day we’re all animals subject to the same basic needs. Once in a while, let’s say once a week, hire a chef to come in and prepare meals. Offer your salespeople healthy snacks (vegan, gluten-free, vegetarian, organic, etc.)

Phone Booths

When I used to phone prospect, I was in an open plan office environment and everyone heard my calls. It was pretty embarrassing when I’d get rejected.

Takeaway for higher financial advisor lead generation:

Not everyone has thick skin so create a place where salespeople can have a discrete conversation with a prospect. It can be as simple as a conference room with a comfortable chair and a computer terminal.

Or, you could integrate a phone booth, yes an actual phone booth, into the design. This will be of great use to your financial advisor lead generation but it will also help your team in general. With open plan offices, it can get a bit touchy when someone has to take a personal call. Take the awkwardness out of the equation and improve the comfort level of your entire team.

Sara’s Upshot

Creating a fun work environment for your team can motivate them to take more action over the phone and expand your pipeline, and a great office design can make a difference. Financial advisor lead generation to some extent is about the numbers and about taking action. Advisors who whine about competition from the roboadvisors or about fee compression can beat these challenges by taking action and filling up the pipeline.

The phone is still a lethal weapon if you have trained professionals who are willing to dial the call. It’s a painful process but if you are willing to take as much pain out of the experience for them as possible you may find they see it as not so bad after all.

Thanks for reading!

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

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7 Signs Your Financial Planning Website Is Outdated – Guest Post

This guest post about financial planning websites comes from Samantha Russell of Twenty Over Ten.

There’s no denying that having a polished website is a critical asset to your financial planning firm’s digital marketing strategy. If your going into 2018 unsure if your current website is up to par then it’s likely it might be time for a redesign. At Twenty Over Ten, we believe your website should attract and engage customers. And in the highly digital world we live in today so many decisions are made online, which is why it’s so crucial your online presence remains current and relevant.

We get asked the question a lot – “Does my website need to be updated?” If you haven’t touched your website in a year or more then it’s likely likely your technology is lagging. But more importantly, you may be losing customers. Still unsure if your website is past it’s prime? Our team has put together a list of the top seven signs your website may be in need of a redesign.


If your website was built over two years ago it’s most likely far behind in terms of looks in functionality. We’re going to take a guess too that it has outdated code that may be slowing down its loading speed or they way it responds on different devices (if it’s mobile friendly at all). Additionally, it might also not be compatible with some of the latest popular browsers.

Search Engine Land reported last year that already 60% of searches were from mobile devicesand the numbers just keep rising. Having website that is responsive is now a necessity. Just think about how often you pick up your phone to search for something. It’s more often then not, right? Developing a website that can be viewed and easily explored on any device is crucial to increase your conversion rate and improve your client experience. Not sure if your current site is responsive? Check out this handy tool. Simply pop in your URL, click go and see if your site is responsive.

At Twenty Over Ten, all of our frameworks are created with a mobile-first approach. When developing our frameworks, our designers held priority on a seamless experience regardless of the device a user was viewing the website on. Through our platform, advisors can choose the framework that best fits their business and leverage it on a desktop, mobile phone, tablet, and any device.

Content is king when it comes to any successful online presence, as it not only engages your visitors but also directly impacts your SEO. One marketing goal for any financial advisor trying to build their business should always be to develop your own unique original content and post it directly to your website (in the form of blog posts, videos, podcasts, newsletters, etc.)

A website can really start to show its age with content clutter. Meaning, websites that have been around longer or have not been updated for years tend to have accumulated unnecessary content. And we’re not talking about those old blog posts you have laying around – those are actually good to keep! But rather, the long-winded, redundant pages of copy.

You want prospects to be able to easily find you online, right? This requires your site to have SEO optimized content. This not only applies to the main pages of your website but also includes publishing regular blog posts with trending industry keywords. Whether you take the DIY approach to sprucing up your website content or you seek outside help, content clutter is a clear sign of your site being outdated.

Our platform makes it easy to add and update content on your website. You can add unlimited landing pages at anytime to invite clients to your holiday open house or to inform them of your new office location. Some of the advisors we work with even create new blog posts every week to keep their clients engaged. Content is still king and we’ve made it easy.



Mistakes in the navigation of your website not only affect your user experience but they also have a direct impact on your rankings in popular search engines, like Google.

Your site navigation should be intuitive to visitors leading them to the information or pages they’re seeking. We also recommend using wording in your navigation that is deliberate and descriptive. Stay away from fancy wording or industry jargon. Rather, make it obvious to the visitor what they’ll get by clicking on the page. Consider using the Google Keyword Tool to determine what descriptive keywords to use in your navigation. Your website’s navigation can be an easy thing to overlook. However, it is one of the most important aspects of your website. Bottom line: if it’s not easy to use, you’re losing business.


So maybe your site has CTAs but here are some reasons why your CTAs are not working. Just a few simple changes such as placing your CTAs mid-website to catch readers before they bounce or being clear in your CTA content (i.e. “Download Now – Free”) can lead to doubling your conversion rate. CTAs that appear to be overly aggressive typically tend to look outdated and not to mention a bit desperate! We consider CTAs “overly aggressive” if they possess the following:

  • Neon colors
  • All caps
  • Multiple exclamation points
  • Text that is bolded, underlined and italicized


If your website still uses HTTP your site is living in the Stone Age. When you are working with confidential information everyday, all of your online platforms must be secure. Especially in the financial services industry, the sensitive data you may capture from clients makes your website and business a target for third-parties who may be looking to steal sensitive information. Your clients are trusting your firm to carefully transfer their personal and financial information, whether it’s in-depth documentation or a simple form with their contact information. Clients will expect your website is secure and we don’t blame them!

Because of the lack of security HTTP websites have, it is essential that financial advisors have SSL certifications, or HTTPS websites. In fact, Google’s search algorithm will rank your website lower if it does not have an SSL certification. Google will now also warn visitors when they go to load your website that it is not secure and this will most likely scare off any prospective clients. So what is SSL? SSL or a Secure Sockets Layer encrypts data when transferring it between the server and browser. Here at Twenty Over Ten, we integrate SSL in every website we create and design to keep you and your clients secure.

All Twenty Over Ten websites are integrated with SSL to keep you and your clients secure.


You should always think of your website as a visual extension and representation of your brand. You wouldn’t want to poorly portray your brand now, would you? We didn’t think so. Web design trends change rapidly and if your website is just a few years old it can start to look real outdated real fast. Today’s look is all about clean design and easy navigation (see our point above).

It’s true, design trends come and go but there are some trends that we promise are likely to never return. Splash pages (that say “enter here”), flash animation, image carousel’s and anything that blinks on and off are long gone. So if your site includes any of those it’s time for a refresh. At Twenty Over Ten our award winning designers have taken into account the specific needs of financial advisors and broker dealers to develop only the best website frameworks for your digital presence. With five highly customizable framework options to choose from the end result is a beautiful & unique site that captures your brand, vision and style.



Having a solid digital marketing strategy for your financial planning firm means integrating all of your online content – from your website, blog, social media, calendar and more. It’s now become second nature to find most places of business on social media and it’s not going anywhere. Your website should include links to various social media accounts to not only optimize your site traffic but also provide a better user experience to visitors who want to check you out on social media as well. It’s important that your website and social media work hand-in-hand to promote your online brand.


About Samantha Russell

As the Chief Marketing & Business Development Officer for Twenty Over Ten (an online marketing and website development company for financial advisors), I focus on helping advisors understand the value of their online presence and connecting them with the marketing tools and digital solutions they need to effectively manage their brand.

As part of the team that launched Twenty Over Ten, I’ve learned first hand how to develop and refine digital marketing strategies in real-time to produce explosive growth. These include website development, content marketing, SEO, email marketing, Google Analytics and social media.

Empowering advisors to market themselves effectively online using digital tools and see the ROI they get in return is what motivates me most.