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Game Show [Extremely Humorous]


This episode of the Sara Grillo podcast was a game show featuring a famous judge and four financial advisor contestants. Bob Huebscher, CEO of Advisor Perspectives magazine, acted as the judge. The four financial advisor contestants were Frazer Rice, John Conte, Eric Broda, and Douglas Boneparth.

The show was highly entertaining and comical, including such elements as:

  • Contestants attempting to refute the judge’s rewarding of points to the competition
  • Mudslinging
  • Host arguing with contestants
  • Contestants arguing with other contestants
  • Financial advisors getting brutally grilled about social media and marketing concepts
  • Cutthroat competition all around
  • A tie for first place which resulted in a high pressure overtime round

You will not regret listening to this humorous episode and please don’t forget to subscribe, rate, and review this podcast!

Correction: 64% of people ages 50 to 64 use social media.

Resources mentioned in this show

Kallas, Priit. (2 August, 2018). Top 15 Most Popular Social Networking Sites and Apps [August 2018]. DreamGrow. Retrieved from

Murnane, Kevin. (3 March, 2018). Which Social Media Platform Is The Most Popular In The US? Forbes. Retrieved from



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What it Takes to be Insightful with Bill Bengen


Bill Bengen’s 4% Rule was a revolutionary insight that changed the way portfolios are managed. To this day his thinking governs modern money management. I was honored to speak with Bill about what it took to generate that level of game-changing insight and how financial advisors who wish to set their brands apart may do the same.

Please subscribe, rate, and review this podcast.

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Marketing Tips for CFA® Charterholders [New Material]


From the perspective of someone who is both a CFA® charterholder and a businesswoman, I’m going to talk about how CFA® charterholders can use not necessarily just their credential but the experience that they have been through to get new clients and to develop new business for themselves. Here are some rare, practical, actionable marketing tips for CFA® charterholders.

You’re Way Tougher Than You Think You Are

This is something I messed up with in my own life when I was younger and got laid off from Lehman Brothers.

I (kind of) had a little bit of an entitled attitude where I felt like because I had the designation jobs should come easily to me, that people when they saw it would just pick me for the job.

Well, boy was I wrong.

No fault of the CFA designation itself, it was really my attitude. The first thing is, understand that in order to get the CFA designation you have to be pretty tough. I mean, there are always those whiz people who will say it was a breeze. Fine – this podcast is not for you. Go listen to someone else’s show. For most of us, the process was grueling and took a fair amount of determination and mental tenacity.

I know for myself, I was an English major. When I decided early in my career that I wanted to take the exam and become a portfolio manager, I met with alot of resistance. One person even said, “But Sara, you’re just a marketing girl. This is a finance exam.” Well, I’m the kind of person that if you tell me I can’t do something, it just makes me want to do it more.

Maybe I was just too naive to know any better, but even to this day I’m just not willing to accept what other people determine to be my limits. Understand that if you’ve been through this process, the same probably applies to you to some extent. To go through the exams, you’ve probably been through a fair amount of mental testing and you’ve had to have alot of perseverance to get there.

Now, I feel like many people kind of let this fall of when they get the designation and get into their practice. For many of us this is where the high determination ends. I think it may have something to do with our pride. When you are going for the exam, there’s all this hype about it. Everyone is asking you. There’s alot you have to swallow by telling people you failed. It’s public. So naturally that increases our motivation.

But what about your business? I know when I was a financial advisor, I was underperforming. I was not a great marketer. I passed the exam and from then on failed to go about developing my business as an advisor with the same tenacity.

Bring back that same determination. Do you know what it takes to get past the FRA material in the derivatives section? McCaulay vs. Modified duration. Remember the fair value accounting rules? Think about how you were punching the bag so hard.

Don’t let go of that. That is #1 of my marketing tips for CFA® charterholders. It’s a little bit abstract, but just hearken back to the days when you had a fire in the belly to pass the exam and understand how tough you really are.

I remember I told a reporter once that if it took me 80 years, it was going to say “Sara Grillo, CFA” on my tombstone. I wish I had been able to apply the same tenacity to the work I was doing at that point in developing leads for my business as a financial advisor.

Bring Back the Rigor

Take the discipline and translate it into action. Here are the kinds of things you should be doing to create more opportunity for yourself by taking action.

Think about the kinds of incredible actions you had to take to pass the exam. You see people studying all day on Saturday, telling their friends and family they can’t see them for days and weeks at a time. I remember once I went to Italy with my family and I had that book attached to my hip. Every single time we were waiting for a bus or at the airport, I cracked open the book and I was studying. It was those Schweser notes.

One night I was studying put-call parity and there was a blackout. I lit a candle so that I could study by candle light. In my episode Shoot the Ball, I talk about how much activity you really should be taking if you are in a business development role and you want to get new clients.

If you are a business owner or salesperson, there’s really no way to get around the numbers. In a way it is just as much of a test as the CFA exam. At the end of the day, you have to ring the bell and in order to ring that bell there is a certain amount of knocking on doors you have to do. You can’t get around it.

I have a call recorder sheet that tracks the amount of calls you should be making each day and the results of each. Contact me about that because at the end of the day it really does come down to how many people you get in front of.

This is perhaps the most valuable of my marketing tips for CFA® charterholders – take daily action. I’ve noticed in my own business that regardless of skill level, the advisors I coach who do the best in getting new clients are the ones who take the most action.

We Trust Each Other

I have found in my businesses that CFA® charterholders  do like to do business with each other. It’s kind of this tacit understanding that we have. I do personally feel like I can trust another CFA charterholder more than the average financial advisor when it comes to managing money for a few reasons.

  • One, they are bound to a code of ethics and if they break it then they get all they worked for taken away. After going through the painful process to get this, nobody want to lose it.
  • Two, there are some pretty tough questions on the ethics section of the exams. Just by virtue of the fact that you had to study this material, I feel a CFA charterholder has had training that goes way beyond the common level of knowledge.

If you’re a financial advisor, look for other charterholders who aren’t in the money management business and who respect the designation. Marketing people, salespeople, government employees, there’s alot of us; not everyone is out there cracking trades every day. There are in fact hundreds of thousands of people out there who are CFA® charterholders . I think they are more likely to connect with you than they would be with the average advisor.

It’s also a good position to be in to be someone’s Plan B. Even if the charterholder is managing their own money, everyone needs a back up that can be called upon if something happens to them.

Although the CFA is widely recognized within certain business communities, to the average retail person, they’re looking for CFPs when it comes to personal financial advice. Many people don’t grasp the real differences between CFPs, CFA® charterholders , and CPAs.  Be able to explain this.

The designation is more recognized among certain very educated business populations such as attorneys, MBAs, and accountants. Often these people socialize with other educated people and know someone who has been through the program.

That’s the third of my marketing tips for CFA® charterholders!

Utilize CFA Social Media Resources

The CFA Institute has done a great job creating a spectacular online presence for itself and its members. Use it.

For the fourth of my marketing tips for CFA® charterholders, I suggest using LinkedIn groups that you can join because you are a CFA Institute member. I used to post into the CFA Candidates Group which has over 180k members and a great deal of business came of it. There’s a number of other groups as well that I list out in my Advisor Perspectives article here.

Create CFA Charterholder Specific Financial Products

Now, we all know that CFA® charterholders  tend to be investment focused people. But are they as psyched about financial planning?


Why doesn’t somebody create a financial product, a course or a financial planning service, targeted towards CFA® charterholders  who already have the investment side covered? Don’t just offer the generic financial planning service that everyone else offers. Why don’t you put a twist on it and say, okay so I’m not managing your money but here are some things about your investments that you might want to be looking at. Have your beneficiaries changed? Is the risk tolerance on your account still correct?

Or even better, offer to be a second set of eyes and review their investments on an annual basis? Don’t try to take away the investment side when the person wants to manage it themselves. You’ll just annoy them and breach their trust. There’s alot of value in being that back up. You just never know when things could change and the person says, “I’m so tired of this. I don’t have time anymore.”

Hint: people are more motivated to hire a money managers after they mess up. We’re in a long bull market but once the next 20% correction happens, some people might kind of be open to your advice. This is one of the most surprising marketing tips for CFA® charterholders – be in the right position.

Be a Guest Writer

Financial Analysts Journal, CFA Institute Enterprising Investor.

These are all publications offered by the CFA Institute and to my knowledge they do welcome submissions from CFA® charterholders . True, mostly other CFA® charterholders  will be reading it, but you never know when that CPA or estate attorney may be reading.

And by the way, write about being a CFA charterholder on your own blog. Go past just stating that you hold the designation. Explain the value specifically in terms of the experience that the client has that they would not have if you didn’t have the designation.

Example: Write a blog about something like this.

When I was a candidate for the CFA exam, I studied extensively the ethics section because I had to answer questions about things like client confidentiality. Here was an example of the kind of question I had to answer (present some example of someone overhearing something in a restaurant or something).

In other words, one of the best marketing tips for CFA® charterholders is to show the substance of your training. Show people the kinds of concepts you had to master in order to score well enough to be awarded the designation. This will make them grasp what it really means to be dealing with someone with higher awareness of certain things, things like confidentiality that matter to them, and how their experience as your client may be better as a result.

Tap Into Millennial CFA Candidates

Use the CFA Candidate pool which is full of what we call HENRYs to get in front of high earning millennials or GenXers who may not have the portfolio right now but probably will in the future. There’s a CFA Candidates group and Analyst Forum has discussions about this as well. Whenever I talk about how to pass the exam on my YouTube channel people gobble this content up and that is because people are voracious about getting this advice.

Understand that not every CFA candidate is going to come out on top. Yes, I said it. Some people are going to die off after they fail Level Two a million times. Someone who you make contact with when they are a candidate and who later fails out is potentially a great candidate for your services. Some will pursue portfolio management careers despite having flunked out of the program while others will go work selling pharmaceuticals. Hardworking, intelligent, motivated – these are great potential clients. Sounds good to me!

If you’re trying to meet millennials, which you should be, check out my “How to Talk to Millennials So They Actually Listen” about how to do that.

Summary on Marketing Tips for CFA® charterholders

The CFA designation is a potent arrow in your marketing quiver – not just in the bragging value, though. Maximize the value as a prospecting tool whether you are a financial advisor or not. I have many other marketing tips for CFA® charterholders so please reach out to me here if you want to discuss.

I am also a public speaker on CFA marketing topics such as this, so if you are involved with your local CFA society then please reach out to me to come and speak. I know there is at least one person in your group that is going to benefit from what I have to say.

Thanks for listening and please subscribe, rate, and review this podcast!



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Is 1% Dead and Gone? With Scott MacKillop


Does the emergence of new technologies such as TAMPS and roboadvisors have to mean a deflated revenue stream for financial advisors? Not necessarily. Join me and my guest Scott MacKillop of First Ascent Asset Management as we discuss the new model for managing assets and how advisors can make it work for them without becoming poverty stricken.

[1:28] What Scott is working on nowadays – outsourced portfolio management services on a flat fee basis. The cost is $500 per year per account regardless of size. Households capped at $1,000.

[2:26] Scott’s motivation for introducing flat fees to the asset management world.

[3:33] How operationally does this flat fee model work? Similar to a roboadvisor, the technology is very advanced (paperless account set up, etc.) This is a tremendous benefit to an advisor.

[5:10] The gripes/fears that advisors tend to have about a flat fee investment management model like this. Concerns over service quality, etc.

[6:50] The dim outlook for AUM fee and why flat fees (retainer-based fees) are becoming the norm not just for investment management but also for the other services that advisors provide (planning, etc.)

[8:23] The underestimation that many people have about how far you can actually scale a business using technology.

[9:50] How this is a different kind of TAMP in terms of the ways fees are charged.

[11:14] How using technology such as this will free up time for advisors to market their firm, contact prospects, fill up the pipeline.

[12:24] Why a TAMP isn’t only good for small portfolios, contrary to what many advisors believe.

[13:03] Why the days of charging 1% for a large portfolio that is not complex and is “easy money” for the advisors are vulnerable accounts now for advisors. Advisors should use this TAMP technology as an opportunity to say, “I can save you $40k a year” and decrease even the internal expense ratios within that portfolio.

Advisors will have to work harder to earn that $40k back in fees, but the reality is that if you don’t make this move then somebody else will. Create a relationship with a TAMP or robo and save the client fees (then find a way to earn it back by providing higher value) or the relationship is going to inevitably leave you.

How long do you think you are going to be able to charge 10x more? How long is this really going to last?

Clients care about all in fees and they like it when you’re not too mongering about your fees. Reduce fees by providing a lower cost investment management solution whose quality is just as good, and then earn the value back by offering more to clients.

Or else the account is going to be leaving you!

[17:40] How does a TAMP differ from a roboadvisor? Both are low cost technology solutions. How do you pick one over the other?

[19:10] What the fact that many robos have not been through a recession yet means for the robo service model. For example, in a market downturn, are you really going to be happy with a robo suspending trading on your client accounts with no handholding or client service or explanation of why or what is really going on?

[21:35] How does a TAMP interact with advisors? What is their experience likely to be at a firm like Scott’s?

[23:50] Fun advisor questions Sara gets Scott’s perspectives on. Should advisors have a beard? How can advisors drive leads using your car? How can you use your dog or cat as a marketing tool?

[31:00] Bad sales training that advisors should ignore or delete from their memory.

Resources cited in this show

Shoot the Ball by Sara Grillo

Shoot the Ball


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How to Talk to Affluent People Without Sounding Tacky with Charlotte Beyer

Charlotte Beyer offers valuable tips on how financial advisors should talk to wealthy clients and prospects so to avoid sounding tacky.

I was honored to interview Charlotte Beyer, founder of the Institute for Private Investors and the Principle Quest Foundation, because she is someone for which I have great respect. What I love about Charlotte the most is her tactful ability to straddle both sides of the wealth management line between advisor and investor; she allies with the investment community at the same time as acting as an advocate who truly understands the challenges and struggles that wealthy families face. Advisors can learn a great deal from Charlotte about how to communicate with affluent people without sounding like “that advisor” and the mindset you should embrace if you want to be successful in earning their trust.

In this episode of the Sara Grillo podcast, listeners will learn:

[0:45] What Charlotte is working on nowadays. She sold her company, The IPI, and decided that she wanted to make a difference in the world for women by creating her foundation.

[3:14] Examples of how most advisor marketing fails to connect and empathize with the affluent families it is intended to reach: cliché, jargon, being too shallow and not really getting to the real issues, peppering with bad or overly simplistic questions, reading from a script, and/or being just downright boring.

[4:14] Charlotte explains the origin of bad advisor marketing. Where does it stem from? The answer will surprise you.

[5:20] What Charlotte recommends as the right questions that advisors should ask. Try these, advisors!

[7:13] The #1 thing advisors should do to put investors at ease, according to Charlotte, right at the start of the meeting.

[9:40] What smart firms do to maximize the soft skills an advisor needs: empathy, listening, nurturing, caring.

[12:46] What style of fee Charlotte finds that investors prefer instead of an AUM fee – a smarter way to charge fees based on complexity and time spent rather than just the straight 1%.

[15:00] Charlotte’s 10 principles for successfully working with clients. Hint: for more information, read her book Wealth Management Unwrapped (info below).

[19:55] Rip up the marketing brochures! Rip up the marketing brochures! But, if you have to do one, here’s what Charlotte suggests.

[21:56] The value of creating a community of trusted peers for your wealthy clients and why it will make a difference in your practice.

[25:00] The way to ask for feedback from your clients without coming off as awkward or making them feel uncomfortable or annoying. You need to know this information – you need to be this self aware as an advisor – if you want to create a powerful brand. You are not going to weaken the relationship if you ask the right way – you are going to do the opposite and strengthen it.

Please subscribe, rate, and review this podcast!

Resources cited in this show

What Rich Clients Really Want vs. What Financial Advisors Say = Total Disconnect by Sara Grillo. Read it here:

Wealth Management Unwrapped by Charlotte Beyer. Get it here:

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How I Built My Lead-Generating Social Media Empire with Winnie Sun

Winnie Sun talks about how financial adviors can get leads from social media by building an empire.

Is it actually possible for financial advisors to get leads from social media? In this episode you’ll hear from Winnie Sun, founder of Sun Group Wealth Partners. Winnie built her digital empire from scratch through commitment and hard work to the point where it has been a source of new clients. Yes, Winnie! Here’s the story of how she did it and the advice she gives to other advisors who wish to do the same.

In this episode, listeners will learn.

[0:56] How and why Winnie got started on social media and built her presence to where she now has over 300k followers on Twitter and 28k followers on LinkedIn.

[2:09] The experience of getting her first lead via social media.

[3:57] The time and level of commitment it took to build a large following.

[7:36] How Winnie leveraged a relationship with a publicist to reach her success.

[10:01] Some of the things she did that Winnie feels worked in her favor.

[11:00] The things many advisors do that don’t necessarily help lead them to clients.

[15:24] Leveraging promoters and influencers.

[16:27] The best way to work with compliance to get content approved with minimal disruption to the process.

Thanks for listening and everybody please subscribe, rate, and review my show!


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Diversity in Financial Advising with Jocelyn Wright

In this episode of the Sara Grillo podcast, we discuss diversity in financial advising with Jocelyn Wright.

In this episode of the Sara Grillo podcast, my guest Jocelyn Wright of Ascension Wealth Management and I discuss the important topic of how to increase diversity in the field of financial advising. This is great advice for those who are trying to increase diversity on their team, at their firm, or for those who are advocates of diversity in general.

In this episode, listeners will learn:

[0:55] What Jocelyn is working on currently – an initiative with the American College to double the number of African American financial advisors in the profession over the next 10 years, as well as creating opportunities for women. Awesome, Jocelyn!

[2:36] What does inclusion mean?

[6:03] How diversity has been a factor in her work as a financial advisor in her own practice.

[8:31] The value of shared experience in relating to the people you serve. Example: being a female breadwinner.

[13:50] Some of the characteristics women may have that could potentially give them the ability to succeed as financial advisors.

[14:50] The one or two most effective things that are most effective in promoting diversity within financial advising.

[18:51] How compensation can be a roadblock for those entering the profession. Tips for advisors entering the profession about how to hit the ground running. Our advice on how to get the pipeline full and take advantage of all resources so that you can get established in your business quicker and financially comfortable more easily.

Please subscribe, rate, and review this podcast!

Resources cited in this podcast

Wallace, Kelly. (2016, Oct 7th). Husbands of female breadwinners most at risk for cheating, says study. CNN. Retrieved from

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Ep 13: How to Make Your Social Media Look Gorgeous with Guy Kawasaki of Canva

This episode discusses how to Make Your Social Media Look Gorgeous with Guy Kawasaki of Canva.

I was deeply honored to have the pleasure of having Guy Kawasaki as a guest on this episode of The Sara Grillo Podcast.

Guy Kawasaki is the chief evangelist of Canva, an online graphic design tool, as well as a brand ambassador for Mercedes-Benz and an executive fellow of the Haas School of Business (UC Berkeley). In the past, Guy was the chief evangelist of Apple and a trustee of the Wikimedia Foundation. He is also the author of The Art of the Start 2.0, The Art of Social Media, Enchantment, and nine other books.

In this episode, Guy Kawasaki and I will discuss how Canva has essentially done for financial advisor social media what the Excel spreadsheet has done for financial planning and the opportunities that digital marketing presents for advisors looking to meet affluent clients.

Listeners will learn:

[Frame 1:26]

How is the word of graphic design being democratized and how this changes the game for financial advisors. Just as the word processor enabled you to do your own writing without having to find a professional to do it.

[Frame 5:59]

The future of communication in business is moving towards pictures and video and away from blogs and the written word. Simple text doesn’t work anymore. You have to have graphics and they have to be beautiful. The bar has been raised, and it has been raised for everybody.

[Frame 7:30] Guy addresses the belief that many financial advisors have that affluent people are not on social media. Guy says that social media is a viable channel for financial advisors who want to meet somebody with $1MM or more of net worth.

The complaint you hear now from many younger people is that “Oh my gosh, my parents are on Facebook now.” What this means for financial advisors. Hint: it’s good news!

[Frame 9:48] What Guy thinks of the high end investment firms who try to solicit him as a client on social media or by cold calling.

[Frame 11:05] What it would take for a highly successful, business savvy person like Guy to leave his financial planner of 15 or so years. What to say, and what not to say – hear his take on things.

[Frame 13:50] How does Canva prevent entrepreneurs from making the typical mistakes they tend to make in business?

[Frame 15:24] Is the W-2 bound for extinction or is the Gig Economy bubble bound for collapse?

[Frame 17:17] Guy’s recommendation for the next hot app that people should be looking at.

Thanks to everyone for listening and most of all thanks to Guy Kawasaki for being my guest. If you found this show useful, please subscribe, rate, and review this podcast!

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How to Talk to Millennials so They Actually Listen

The fact that millennials are the next generation of wealth is well-documented. What remains to be explored, however, is how advisors can best design their practices to communicate with Millennials as clients. Using the right words is an important part of reaching this population. Advisor language has typically been dry, impersonal, and full of cliché and jargon. This has to change if advisors want to retain assets and succeed with intergenerational wealth transfer within their books of business. If not, fee compression and roboadvisors pose a very large competitive threat.

This webinar will teach advisors what they need to know about how to communicate effectively with Generation Y. It will cover:

  • The buzzwords that been commonly used in the past but won’t work with Millennial clients and should be avoided.
  • Terms and phrases that Millennials are more open to hearing, and that advisors should integrate into their communications with clients
  • The tone and voice that advisors should use when communicating with Millennials
  • What body language, office design, and choice of apparel (tie or no tie?) say that words never could
  • Client follow up strategies using digital communication that will be more effective than ones of the past
  • And more!


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Don’t Fight the Robos! – with Betterment’s Cara Reisman

Despite what is commonly believed, financial advisors aren’t competing with the robos; you are competing with your own ability to provide higher value.

Robos are not your enemy but an opportunity to overcome fee compression if applied strategically. Technology has arrived whether you like it or not. Embrace what it has to offer, learn a few new things, and go deeper to provide the value that your clients will pony up the dough for.  In this podcast with Cara Reisman of Betterment for Advisors, we’re going to teach you exactly how to get that done.

Show notes:


How does this work from the point of view of the client?  Do they see the roboadvisor brand or the advisor’s brand?


Who pays? Does the advisor or the client pay?


Where are assets safekept? What are the advantages of having the roboadvisor also be the custodian as opposed to using a third party custodian?

[4:53] How in depth do the services really go? For example with tax loss harvesting. How frequently do you actually do this for the client’s portfolio, and if so what are the gains or trading cost consequences?


Betterment has over 400 advisor firms (not advisors, but advisor firms) using the platform today. How are they using this platform to scale their businesses? By automating the back office, it allows the advisor to bring their value to the table. That value may be defined by bespoke financial, tax, or estate planning. Or maybe the advisor wants to focus on business development and building relationships.

[8:59] The word “roboadvisor” means so many things. Is Betterment still a roboadvisor, really?

[11:44] How advisors who want to massively scale their businesses can use roboadvisors. These platforms are tools that you can use strategically. They are not the competition; that is a myth. A common use case is an advisor who is focused on wealth management as opposed to investment management. Perhaps they want to stay in touch with next generation clients but don’t want to suffer through serving clients who don’t meet their minimums, perhaps the children of their affluent clients. Yet at the same time they want to be there 20 years from now when the client inherits wealth or finally does reach the level of assets you’d desire.  You can streamline the operations so that ultimately you are position to go full service when the right time comes.

And you can do this profitability using this technology.

It’s not about changing your entire business. It’s not exclusive. You don’t have to use a platform like this for all your clients, just the ones where it makes sense.

[15:50] What roboadvisor platforms should advisors consider as options, and what are the benefits and drawbacks of each?

[20:19} Three action items that advisors who are thinking about using a roboadvisor should take.