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Financial Advisor Sales Funnels bite (make yours better)

In this podcast/blog you will learn why financial advisor sales funnels bite and what you can do to improve yours.

This podcast/blog is going to be about financial advisor sales funnels and why they freeeeaking bite. And then I’m going to tell you what nobody else talks about – the real story about how to make yours better!

Welcome to my blog/podcast!

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

Pleased to meet you!

For those of you new to my show, I am Sara Grillo, a CFA charterholder, marketing consultant, and former financial advisor. I do weekly blog/podcasts on financial advisor lead generation. Please subscribe to the podcast so you won’t miss any of these insightful and fun tips!

Please scroll to the bottom of this page to hear the podcast (if you are into podcasts and want to listen instead).

What to expect out of this blog

In this blog you will learn:

  • What a financial advisor sales funnel is
  • What the 3 critical elements are
  • What’s wrong with most financial advisor sales funnels
  • How to structure a successful financial advisor sales funnel

So now for the blog/podcast. Let’s get started!

What is a Financial Advisor Sales Funnel?

Let’s start with the definition of what a financial advisor sales funnel is. A financial advisor sales funnel is a series of interactions designed to get new leads and follow up with them until they agree to be your client. It is usually automated and can include:

  • Phone calls
  • Email
  • Newsletters
  • Social media
  • Drop in visits
  • Mailers

Some financial advisors have no sales funnel and do no follow up at all. Others do too much. To have an effective sales funnel, a financial advisor has to strike a balance in between the two. Follow up is important.


Don’t give me that line about “the service sells itself” or that you have such a good reputation that you don’t need to do this. Even if you get the most shining introduction/referral in the world, the deal is still yours to lose. It’s not closed until it’s closed. Having said that, every deal is different. Some you have to push along while others need to be nurtured.

Here’s another way to define a financial advisor sales funnel. It is the process of nurturing a relationship with someone you do not know so that they eventually feel comfortable enough with you and the value of your service.

What are the elements of a financial advisor sales funnel? There are three main parts:

  • Gathering the lead by getting the prospect’s attention through marketing
  • Nurturing the relationship through follow up
  • Closing the relationship by getting the prospect to agree to work with you (and they sign the papers)
This video goes over the parts of a financial advisor sales funnel in more detail.

Note, no prospect has moved out of the funnel until the papers are signed.

Yes, this is going to take work. But purely by the fact that you put effort into it you’ll be separating yourself from others who aren’t willing to.

Let me tell you a quick story. There’s an advisor on my membership who once told me that he wanted to get a reporter to interview him. Apparently the reporter had written a story about a subject the advisor knew a lot about, and he thought it would be a great sequel story for the reporter to interview him. Well, I have a whole video in my membership that discusses how to get a reporter’s attention. It’s not the typical line of “Hey my name is Jane and I think you should interview me for your next article because I know everything about Roth IRAs.” Boring! And totally self-centered. Remember that reporters hear from these takers all the time and they are exhausted of it.  

Don’t be a taker!

I clearly outlined the steps the advisors should take to get the reporter’s attention and nurture a relationship with him/her so that over time the reporter will trust the advisor and eventually call him up to interview him. I mean, these are proven techniques that work. However the advisor responded with, “That’s too much work. I’ll just email him/her as I originally planned.”

It’s not like we all haven’t done this and in fact it is quite common. Seeing sales follow up as pointless is a one-sided mistake is a trap that many of us fall into. That is why it’s so important for financial advisors to clearly understand the objective of a sales funnel – which is what I am going to cover next.

What is the objective of sales follow up?

Many financial advisors disregard sales follow up, saying that line of “if the prospect is interested, they’ll call me.” Well, maybe in some cases but given you are asking them to pay you $10k or more a year, most of the time you are going to have to give them a little bit more than a nudge.

Sales follow up is in many ways the most important part of your relationship with a prospect for a few reasons.

  • It is the time of highest learning between you and someone who doesn’t know you well
  • It sets the tone for the future of the relationship
  • It is the one of the biggest opportunities to separate yourself from other financial advisors if you do this right

Let me go the learning part in more detail.

But first, let me ask you a question. Are you enjoying this blog? If so then please subscribe to my membership which will provide you with access to my exclusive content about financial advisor lead generation.

Now on to the rest of the blog.

When a financial advisor meets a prospect, either through cold marketing or a warm referral, the onus is on the financial advisor to close the deal. The advisor has none of the power, and the prospect has all the power.

How does the financial advisor wield power away from the prospect?

By getting the prospect to give him or her the information that he or she needs to gain trust. This is done through positive interactions in which the prospect is made to feel comfortable with the advisor and compelled to provide this information to him or her.

Now, if you make no effort to follow up at all, what information is the financial advisor getting about the prospect?


What information are you giving the prospect about you? That you don’t really care about the relationship.

No information exchanged during prospecting = no power exchanged between advisor and prospect

High information exchanged during prospecting = advisor gains power over prospect

Now, let’s say that you work along the funnel. With every interaction, the financial advisor gains a little bit more information. He or she then leverages that information to build more trust. The next interaction, the advisor gains more information. He or she then leverages that to build more trust, and one and on.

Now let’s look at how the learning is developing from the prospect’s point of view. The prospect is learning about the financial advisor through this process. It could be, geez, look at how prompt she was when she returned my phone call. Wow, I love how she wrote her last email newsletter. The financial advisor is making an impression on the prospect with every interaction. They started with no information and little by little gained information over time about the financial advisor and hopefully how great he or she is.

During the prospecting process, the follow up is the relationship!

So, what is the objective of follow up in the financial advisor prospecting process? The eventual goal is to get the prospect to sign the documents. But the immediate goal is to stage a series of interactions that get the prospect to response.

Remember, when they respond they give you information. And information = power as we already discussed.

And by the way, even if they don’t respond they are giving you information. They are telling you what they see to be of no importance to them.

Now that we’ve established that the objective of sales follow up is to get the prospect to give you the information you need to close the deal, let’s talk about how to arrange a series of interactions that will do just that.

Let’s start with what not to do first – shall we?

What a Financial Advisor Sales Funnel should NOT be

Look, you financial advisors have got to understand something upfront. Most of you are not IBM, you’re not Apple Computer, you’re not Amazon. You’re not selling pampers and twisty ties. And you don’t have 500 new leads a day to take care of. Well, maybe Ric Edelman does. But he’s the rare exception.

Although I absolutely see the need for routine and regular follow up, and I see the value in this follow up being automated to some extent, I strongly disagree with the idea that financial advisor sales funnels should be highly mechanical.

Come on people, you’re not asking them to buy a box of Pampers for $36.99. You’re asking them to tell you their deepest secrets such as how much they make, where they bank, and the fact that the hate their daughter’s fiancé and want him disinherited from their will.

And none of you have the volume of leads where you need to automate your follow up. Most of you have less than 20 prospects at any given time. You can’t deal with them one on one?

Tell me, financial advisors, who likes being so obviously a part of somebody’s sales funnel? Who likes being “sales funneled?”

(Nobody likes being made a part of some robotic, impersonal sales funnel.)

If you ask me, there is way too much sales funnel going on and not enough financial advisors taking the time to read into the prospect’s mind and try to figure out what they really need to hear about from you!

Let me put it differently:

When you follow up in a highly automated way without a personal touch or attention to the particular prospect’s needs, luxury buyers do not respond! You know these automated funnel things – you send an email and then whoever responds gets another email, and then

Get a list of 20 prospects.

If you did not listen to my podcast called Go Get 20, which is here, and by the way please subscribe to my podcast.

You don’t need 500 prospects. You can’t pay high attention to 500 people. Get 20 people who are qualified and the right type of person that you want to do business with. Highly profitable, good assets, not DIYers, not broke, not going to haggle you over fees. Get those 20 people and then get them into a funnel but don’t have it be robotic because R2D2 and C3Po were not programmed to read the high net worth individual’s mindset!

Use the force, Luke!

You can automate your sales funnel somewhat, but I’m not a fan of having it on autopilot. I mean, it sounds good. Set up an email campaign and let the weekly emails fly. You don’t have to sweat out following up with every prospect and heck, you maybe even be able to get away with sending them canned content!

You can try it but I think you’ll have better results varying the automation. One week the follow up is an email blast, and then maybe the next week you send the automated follow up. But then get off autopilot. Assess results. See who is clicking and who is not clicking. See who has unsubscribed. Do an individualized follow up instead of an automatic one the next week.

What a financial advisor sales funnel should be

First of all, it should be fun! Connecting with other human beings, and getting a cool response, is fun! Let’s put some of the fun back into sales funnel.

Let me tell you my motorcycle story.

A while ago, there was a prospect that I talked to and the meeting didn’t go awesome. Afterwards the relationship went into a stall where he wasn’t responding to me. So I called up his administrative assistant and asked her what his favorite hobby was. She said that he loved motorcycles. So I got on Amazon, found a cool motorcycle book, and had it sent to his office. About a week later he emailed me, overjoyed, and within a few days the deal was signed.

Now, it’s not necessarily going to go as smoothly as that, but it’s clear that the personal touch took a depressing outcome of being blown off by a prospect and turned it into a fun outcome which was him having fun reading a cool book about motorcycles and me closing the deal.

To quote the Beetles:

And if you want some fun
Take Ob-la-di-bla-da

Now, to review, the components of a financial advisor sales funnel are:

  • Getting the lead
  • Nurturing the lead through a series of information-yielding interactions
  • Closing the deal

Getting the lead

How do you get people to come into your sales funnel? You can go about it a variety of ways. They are covered in this video below.

Financial advisors prospecting online are going to need a good lead magnet. A lead magnet is a downloadable document that a financial advisor gives a prospect in exchange for the right to get their email address and add them into their sales funnel. The invitation to “have coffee and chat” is not a financial advisor lead magnet.

Examples of financial advisor lead magnets include:

  • Retirement income calculator
  • Cash flow worksheet
  • Sample Investment Policy Statement

Moving people along the funnel

How often do you follow up with a prospect in your sales funnel? It depends on the nature of the relationship but a good guideline is once a week. These follow ups should be designed to illicit a response from the prospect although in some instances the goal is simply to provoke thought.

 It’s important to vary the type of interaction and definitely don’t send that “just touching base” email or voicemail incessantly like most people do. Here are some examples of creative ways for financial advisors to follow up with prospects in their sales funnels:

  • Send something in the mail
  • Find out what type of cartoons their kids like and send them a face mask
  • Send them a book
  • Like their Facebook page
  • Make a comment on their LinkedIn postings
  • Buy something from their business
  • Send them a client
  • Send them a referral
  • Send them a note in the mail
  • Leave them a cool voicemail that is funny or interesting

If you do this with even one iota of creativity and you’ll get their attention and separate yourself from 99% of other financial advisors with no brand.

Still enjoying my marketing tips? Join the membership and receive my exclusive content on financial advisor lead generation.

Closing the deal

Closing the deal is the last step of the financial advisor sales funnel. There is a common misperception, though, about what it takes to get this done. Most marketing consultants will teach you that you need some flashy lines and you have to deliver them with total perfection and then if you do all this then the deal will close.

The analogy I will make is that this is kind of like giving the prospect a task such as programming a computer in C++ and then expecting them to be able to do it by just reading the Cliff Notes.

You have not nurtured the understanding in their minds yet. And as a result, the words will have no meaning. They will fail to make the correct decisions when attempting to program the computer because they will be lost as to why to do this or that.

Now, suppose that you were to give them a weekly chapter from a book to read about C++. And all the while you are following up to make sure they comprehend, they got the point of what it was all about and why they needed to do what was outlined in the chapter. Now they are prepared mentally. Now things have meaning. You are leading them through the knowledge they need to be able to make the correct decisions on game day.

Executing a close is a science. It does have to be done succinctly and be done in a compelling way. However if you did things right during the sales funnel process then there should be enough force there to carry the deal through on its own with little prompting from you. So, to all those financial advisors who are frustrated by why they can’t close the deal, ask yourself this question.

Do you honestly think you got the right information from the prospect during the time you spent following up?

When a close fails, financial advisors should go back to the follow up phase of the sales funnel and repeat the action of following up in a more meaningful way. Do this until the proper information is yielded and you are able to leverage it to build up enough trust. Do not attempt to close again until there is robust force present from the sales funnel.

Conclusion on how to make a financial advisor sales funnel that does not bite

Thanks for reading my blog. If you want to get a financial advisor sales funnel that does not bite, do a few things. 1) Get an awesome lead magnet that actually makes other people’s lives better 2) Follow up creatively and don’t be boring 3) Close only when you feel you and the prospect have learned enough about each other for the deal to naturally close on its own.

I have a membership that teaches financial advisors how to generate leads using social media and other methods. Please click here for more information.

I hope you will at least stick around and subscribe to my podcast because there is a lot you can learn about financial advisor marketing. Subscribe here.

Thanks for visiting me!

-Sara Grillo, CFA

Music is Much Higher by Causmic

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Are we still a Capitalist Nation? -with Lance Roberts

Are we still a capitalist nation?

In this podcast we contemplate whether or not the United States is still a capitalist country. My guest, Lance Roberts, is the chief investment strategist at RIA Advisors, an RIA with $900MM in AUM, and the editor-in-chief of, a weekly subscriber-based newsletter that is distributed nationwide.

Music is Much Higher by Causmic

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LinkedIn Prospecting Messages and Sequences that get Financial Advisors Leads

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

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

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

My podcasts are quite lively and fun. If you want to listen to the full podcast on this subject, please scroll down to the bottom and have a listen before proceeding to read the rest of this blog.

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

How do you create LinkedIn prospecting messages and sequences that generate leads?

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

Haven’t you? And what’s your response. Is it this?

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

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

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

Lets go!

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

You must embrace:

  • Patience
  • Sensitivity
  • Thoughtfulness

Let me say this again. If you are looking for overnight success and automated, thoughtless communication, this is not the blog. Please go elsewhere.

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

If not then adios, amigo or amiga!

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

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

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

#1 LinkedIn messaging should be viewed as a dynamic testing process, not a blatant solicitation

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

Start here with this.

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

Let me be clear.

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

-Sara Grillo, CFA

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Get the prospect into a meeting!

Sell them whole life insurance!

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

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

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

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

#1 Message rapport builder

#2 Question to peak their interest

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

If you found this blog helpful, please listen to my podcast below which goes into the subject in full detail. Remember to subscribe so you won’t miss future financial advisor lead generation pieces like these!

Or, are you ready to get started with some LinkedIn messaging? Join my membership here and let the fun begin!

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Having fun drives down the cost of a financial advisor lead! (true story)

In this blog/podcast I interview Josh Scandlen, a financial planner and successful YouTuber who has been able to achieve what most financial advisors only dream of: having fun and enjoying himself while finding low cost leads for his financial advisor practice. In this blog and associated podcast (scroll to the end to hear the podcast interview) you will learn the story of how Josh started his YouTube channel, how long it took to get his first lead, and how certain videos of his continue to get hits and generate leads without him having to do any additional work (hence driving down the cost of each additional financial advisor lead).

Please scroll to the end of this blog and listen to the podcast! Make sure to subscribe so you can be sure not to miss future shows I will make on this topic!

How Josh got started with online lead generation

Josh Scandlen is a prolific online content producer. He currently has a blog, podcast, YouTube channel with over 30k subscribers, and provides online courses. He has written four books and has one on the way at the time of this writing. Most of his marketing is done over the internet. When I asked Josh what his motivation was for starting to market himself online, he said that it was part of a bigger decision he made to go his own path. He saw most other financial advisors were going after high net worth individuals. He felt it was a crowded market with little product differentiation from one financial advisor to the next.

Josh quit his job and decided to strike out on his own instead of working for another financial planning firm. He just felt he wanted to do it his own way. He decided to go full throttle and that there was no turning back. He said, “It’s this or bust.”

The way that Josh had marketed himself in the path was similar to how many financial advisors do – door to door. Josh was planning to do “drop ins” with one of his books where he would get people to sign up for his seminar by stopping by local businesses and giving them a book. However, his attitude changed once he was inspired by seeing the success of other financial advisors on YouTube such as Jazz Wealth Management.

Creating an engaging financial advisor brand online

Josh began making YouTube videos in which he read aloud chapters from his books, presenting novel concepts that people weren’t already talking about. He made the conscious decision to be different from other financial advisors on YouTube by not producing boilerplate content but instead being relatable and entertaining. And by being his cool, fun loving self!

He saw there was a dearth of different financial advisor content on YouTube. It was all boring content, the same old ho hum stuff, with the financial advisor wearing a suit and tie, with clichéd stock photos in the background of a retired couple sipping champagne on the beach. He made the decision to do it differently. For example, all the financial advisors were saying you shouldn’t borrow from your 401k – a concept he disagrees with.

Josh enjoys going out there with his opinions, many contrary to what the industry says, and this has only enriched his content and set him apart. According to Josh, you’ve got to have an opinion. You can’t just be plain vanilla. This was a critical reason why Josh was able to create an engaging financial advisor brand online.

At first he heard crickets

Josh calls it “building the muscle.” The views didn’t start coming in the thousands right away. He did one video a day for 90 days.

According to Josh:

Nobody watched. I didn’t get any subscribers for about the first month. At then I got a comment on a video I did on divorcee Social Security planning. I’ll never forget the first comment I ever got. I was like, “Holy Crap. Somebody actually commented on my video.”

This is a really important point for financial advisors to understand about online lead generation. Listen to the podcast below to hear the full conversation in detail. Josh said that nobody paid attention to him for the first month he was on YouTube. But he kept doing it consistently and eventually got a comment.

Josh had been very adamant about SEO optimization for his videos. He thinks is the reason he was able to gain visibility online. He was very conscious about making sure that his titles were terms that contained keywords that people were typing into Google. Financial advisors should remember that YouTube is owned by Google. Much like Google is a search engine, YouTube works the same way.

You don’t have to get too fancy. You don’t have to make it perfect. Just get something out there! People love you being real.  

Josh gets his first financial advisor lead from the internet

Josh continued to show his very fun loving personality in his YouTube content – and the audience continued to build. After months and months, one day he started getting a lot of comments on a video he made about Social Security for divorcees. He did another video and he got 100 views in six hours. By that point he had been doing YouTube for three months. For him that was viral.

In August of 2018 he had 1,000 subscribers. It took him six months. But he had been doing at least one video a day every single day. Josh did a seminar and told the audience to follow his YouTube channel. He saw a spike and saw traffic increase.

And then this happened.

He had a video on the subject of Taxes and Retirement Planning. He made sure to SEO optimize the video, putting these keywords in the title. He made a 500 word blog and put it into the summary field below the YouTube video. He also put the keyword phrase on the thumbnail. He got over 200k views on that video. According to Josh, it was crazy.

It made position two on page one of YouTube for this topic. And from there the channel started to take off.

By August of 2018, when his channel his 1k subscribers, he was starting to get leads. People were reaching out to him saying they were desperate for his help. He had been holding off from taking these clients to have time to focus on his YouTube channel – but decided to give it a chance.

To quote Josh, “I can’t believe how much money I have made since I started taking clients in April of 2019. It’s insane. I mean, it’s insane.”

What should a financial advisor lead cost?

I want to pause for a minute and address a question all of you reading this blog probably have.

By now you likely are wondering what a financial advisor leads should cost. Ideally financial advisors should aim for the cost of a lead to be as low as possible with a maximum average threshold of $2,000 which includes explicit and implicit costs.

Now, there are several factors to take into account. When a financial advisor first goes about setting up a lead generation system such as a blog, podcast, or seminar series, the costs will probably be much higher than the average of $2,000 I mentioned. As the cost of a lead takes into account both the hard cash spent and also the soft costs such as staff’s time spent closing down the lead, financial advisors should also consider the profitability of each new client relationship that comes from this system.

For example, if the cost of a lead is on the higher end because you are targeting hard to reach prospects with bocu bucks, then this may be acceptable. If the client has a $50MM net worth and stays for 20 years then the profitability is off the charts despite the higher cost of the initial financial advisor lead.

What factors should financial advisors consider when evaluating the cost of a lead?

·         Average duration of each client relationship

·         Lifetime value of a client

·         Profitability of client relationship

·         Time required to close the lead

·         Resource costs both hard and soft required to close the lead

·         Ability to scale the practice serving these types of clients

Now, back to the story!

How online content can drive down the cost of a lead for financial advisors

It took Josh a year of producing content every single day to him to get to where his YouTube channel creates leads for him. It was probably $100,000 opportunity cost if you took the value of his time invested in making these videos. He took a $100,000 distribution from his IRA to pay himself for his time.

There is some kind of a compounding effect from Josh’s highly successful videos, many of which have over 100k views and are still attracting traffic to this day. These videos were the byproduct of his $100,000 investment of time – but now that he has created these assets, there is no further action required. He doesn’t have to do anything else and the video still drives leads.

Much like a bond that pays interest or a stock that pays dividends without the owner having to investment additional capital, Josh is reaping the benefits of “compound interest” on the marketing assets he has created. In a scenario like this, successful online content helps financial advisors to reduce the cost of a lead.

Moreover, the cost of a lead for this financial advisor is further reduced by the fact that he is popular in the search engines. He has established authority for his brand, his website, and his YouTube channel on Google. Now that Google knows him (and loves him), he doesn’t have to do as much to keep the leads coming in the door.

There have been other benefits for Josh. Because Josh’s channel is monetized, he makes money off the YouTube advertisements that air during his videos. This also has offset the cost of his initial investment. Josh also sells more books, webinar he charges for, and he offers online courses to his subscribers that he is paid for.

Benefits of having a successful financial advisor online brand

Josh enjoys being a YouTuber. He makes three to four videos a day. Josh says that you have to enjoy it. Because if you don’t, you’ll stop and if you stop then you’ll always stop too early. If you don’t like it, then find something else you do like, and do that instead.

This is important for financial advisors to understand if they want to create an online brand – you have to love what you are talking about because they audience can judge your authenticity. If you aren’t comfortable or passionate about being on the internet this way, it’s going to be impossible for financial advisors to create an online brand that the audience loves.

Where is Josh today?

The ability to source low cost leads from the internet hasn’t just led to more clients for this financial advisor – it has also allowed Josh to branch out and reach his audience in other ways. Since Josh has raised prices for his financial plans, he has had to turn away leads in cases where the cost is too high. Instead he offers them an online course teaching about social security, tax planning, and retirement. Followers also buy his books.

But even if they chose to do none of the above, Josh would be happy with them just being out there listening to him. What makes Josh particularly valuable to his audience is the freedom they have. They don’t have to buy anything from him to be positively influenced by him. By simply following him they benefit from all his wisdom, and if they ever get to the point where they feel they need more – then they know where to find him!

This is the beauty of having a successful financial advisor online brand – that you can meet people where they are. In some ways it is so simple. Josh gets to be who he is, and they get to be who they are, too. You don’t have to force clients into some model or make them try to fit into what you offer. The ability for a financial advisor’s online brand to serve people in novel ways that are well-suited to them is a graceful thing. It’s this grace that people see and love about Josh, and love and is so novel in the industry. It would be great to see more financial advisors be able to create online brands for themselves and help people like this.

So there you have it – the true story of how having fun drives down the cost of a financial lead for Josh Scandlen, the financial planner.

The full podcast of this episode was great and I really hope you get the chance to listen. Please listen to the podcast below, and subscribe here so you can be sure not to miss the future shows about financial advisor branding and lead generation.

Resources mentioned in this show

Josh’s website

Heritage Wealth Planning

Josh’s YouTube channel

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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

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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


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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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?


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.

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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!

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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.