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8 minutes | Jun 14, 2021
Appointment setting for financial advisors STINKS (don’t do it!)
Here are three reasons that appointment setting for financial advisors is crap, and you should probably avoid engaging with these services. It’s a lousy way to go; don’t do it. But before we get into it, for those of you who are new to my blog/podcast, my name is Sara. I am a CFA® charterholder and I used to be a financial advisor. I have a weekly newsletter in which I talk about financial advisor lead generation topics which is best described as “fun and irreverent.” So please subscribe! I am an irreverent and fun marketing consultant for financial advisors. Let’s get on with the blog! #1 It’s suuuuuuch marketing When you hire a third party to go out and set up an appointment for you, the expectations are high on your behalf. You’ve paid your hard-earned money, and you expect that you’re going to get delivered a qualified lead that you can close. This pressure may be passed on and felt by the prospect whenever you have your first meeting arranged by hiring appointment setting for financial advisors. This is a direct selling situation where the two of you don’t know each other and that’s never really that comfortable. People put their guards up in situations like that. #2 Disruptive to the brand The person who is setting up your appointment isn’t necessarily part of your organization. They don’t necessary follow your principles. You don’t actually know if the kind of prospect you get is reeeeeeeealy going to be “on brand.” It’s this random, not really branded kind of an initial engagement, and that usually is pretty hard for the prospect to overcome. It may even be downright confusing to the prospect. “I was told you could help me manage my retirement portfolio.”“Really? I’m a financial planner.” See what I’m saying? You’re kind of giving up control of your brand. Or how about: “Beth was great. How long has she been a part of your organization?“Oh no, she’s part of an external telemarketing service that we hired.” The prospect is going to see this appointment setter as an extension of you and a reflect of you, whether you like it or not. There’s no way this can be a seamless brand experience and that might work against you. You don’t know what the marketing company said to get the appointment. They are marketers, after all! It’s their business to set up appointments. They don’t care if you close it, though! The lead being a suitable and qualified lead isn’t their priority, it’s getting them to agree to the appointment. You’ll never really know what they said to get the appointment. #3 Robs you of the power of your network I see this all over the place. You established advisors really shouldn’t be having a need for this kind of a cold marketing service like one that provides appointment setting for financial advisors. When you have 100 people who are your clients and trust you, and those people have: Business contactsFriendsAttorneysAccountantsTherapistsRealtors …there are a ton of ways you could lock in and engage more deeply with them. It’s a huge opportunity lost if you aren’t. You financial advisors make it so much harder than it needs to be by overlooking the greatest marketing strength that you have. Most of the time when I ask a financial advisor, “are you connected to all of your clients, their kids, and their beneficiaries on social media? Are you sending them a newsletter?” I get back some BS crap like, “My clients don’t know how to use a computer.” Ridiculous. Get your clients tapped into everything you do online. Get them commenting on your LinkedIn posts and sharing your newsletters. Your clients should be your #1 source of leads, and there are ways to facilitate this using digital marketing. Stop being spoiled brats and do the work. #4 Meeting a prospect by way of appointment setting for financial advisors provides no social verification If you are going to go out a hire an appointment setting service for financial advisors, there is no social verification. There is nobody to vouch for you. It is dumping down the toilet what is the number one marketing strength you have; the ability for a client to say to a qualified prospect that you are legit. In a way, you are taking your own power away and level setting yourself with a new financial advisor who has no clients to vouch for him or her. Why would you do that? Sara’s upshot on appointment setting for financial advisors If you have no other options, I mean if you really don’t, then hiring one of these appointment setting services for financial advisors might be okay because what else are you going to do, sit there? It’s better than doing nothing. But not much better than that. Use social media instead of appointment setting for financial advisors. Here is my exclusive content for financial advisors who want to get new clients using social media: Learn what to say to prospects on social media messenger apps without sounding like a washing machine salesperson. This e-book contains 47 financial advisor LinkedIn messages, sequences, and scripts, and they are all two sentences or less.If you want a financial advisor marketing plan template, check out my e-book.You could also consider my financial advisor social media membership which teaches financial advisors how to get new clients and leads from LinkedIn. Thanks for reading. I hope you’ll at least join my weekly newsletter about financial advisor lead generation. See you in the next one! -Sara Music is Nice to You by the Vibe Tracks The post Appointment setting for financial advisors STINKS (don’t do it!) appeared first on Sara Grillo.
20 minutes | May 31, 2021
How hard is it to be a financial advisor?
How hard is it to be a financial advisor? A lot of people pursue this career because once you get established it is a very nice business. However in getting established it is brutal, bloody murder. Some people get to it fast and other people have been in the business for decades and they’re still going through it. Why is it so difficult? For the five reasons below. But before we get into it, for those of you who are new to my blog/podcast, my name is Sara. I am a CFA® charterholder and I used to be a financial advisor. I have a weekly newsletter in which I talk about financial advisor lead generation topics which is best described as “fun and irreverent.” So please subscribe! Let’s get on with the blog! #1 It’s a high liability job People are emotional about their money. Everyone has some illogical belief about money, even logical people, and there ain’t no telling ‘em any different! Finance tends to draw in people with an inclination towards the analytical. And when they get into the role of a financial advisor, they find it is anything but and that most of the time you are managing people’s emotions, not their money. Even if you do everything right technically, the client can sue you because they feel they weren’t treated fairly – which is true in any profession – but in this one, the legal repercussions are very serious. Assessing risk tolerance is a huge source of liability. The financial rewards for getting your clients to invest in equities as opposed to bonds or cash are higher. You are intrinsically motivated to get your clients to take on more risk. This bias makes it hard to determine your client’s true risk tolerance; it goes way further than just the risk tolerance questionnaire, and most FA’s don’t put enough energy into that because their emotions are acting on them too, moving them towards doing what they love – seeing the money in the account ready to be plugged into their model. Action steps Listen and understanding in the first meeting. Every train wreck of a personal and professional relationship I have ever gone through, it was clear to me in the beginning but I missed the signs. Luckily I learned a thing or two. Be careful about who you won’t do business with in the beginning. Learn to say “no” to ward off those damaging clients. #2 It’s unfairly competitive due to low barriers to entry First of all, let’s establish that financial advice is an industry not a profession. The insurance, wirehouse, and broker dealer training programs will take anyone they can teach to sell as long as they don’t have a major criminal record. These training programs are straight out of the 1980’s and are run by management who know how to play the game. It’s abhorrently sales-focused. Basically the trainees are taught that they are to sell their product to anyone who trusts them enough to buy it within three months, and if they don’t sell enough they’re fired and the company keeps the clients. It is a major source of business for these firms. There are firm who don’t operate this way, but there is still a huge amount of this going on, and it makes for a very savage competitive environment focused on selling. In many cases you are penalized for virtue. You have immoral individuals who are willing to lie, they are trained to lie, and going head to head it is hard to beat them because the client can’t see the difference. The industry and even the regulators all support this, even if they say they don’t, they still do. In fact, why do you think they are always saying they don’t? Why are they always virtue signaling? It’s because they feel there is something to compensate for. Why is there a fiduciary standard and a suitability standard? Have you ever heard of a doctor who had to follow the Hippocratic Oath sometimes? Don’t be confused, this is not a profession where the more qualified people win. It’s an industry where the better salespeople win. Action steps Get a good mentor with high morals who has learned to compete in this environment.Get good sales training and learn how to market yourself. #3 It’s not really set up to encourage long term investing The industry has its roots in Wall Street and there is still the perception that your job as a financial advisor is to be a superior investor. Many advisors are complicit and include this as part of their marketing pitch. How hard is it to be a financial advisor managing portfolios for clients? Consider these two factors. #1 Short-termism runs rampant You don’t really know who is good at management money until you observe their performance over at least one market cycle. Yet there’s no real transparency about track records, so whoever is best at presenting themselves as the next Warren Buffett is going to win. Investor perceptions are skewed to the short term, and it’s a constant battle to realign them. You won’t win in all cases. It’s hard to be a patient, long term focused investor because there’s always somebody else better out there who will do a portfolio review for free under the guise of “passing a second set of eyes,”, and convince your client that if they had invested with them for the last three years it would have been better. The client may or may not believe them. Then you have the DIY internet influencers saying they can do it on their own after they simple take an online course, the news and media talking about how you should buy XYZ stock on the dip, the annuity people saying all volatility is bad, etc. #2 Good portfolio managers are seen as boring If you do it right, you’re tremendously boring to the client. Being a long term investment manager is boring because you don’t time the markets and this means you don’t really have much to say other than to stay the course when the market dips or to adjust the asset allocation when your client has a life event. You’d better be good at managing people’s emotions during a crash because if you don’t, there are plenty of advisors who will rightly or wrongly be circling around like sharks smelling blood in the water. Action steps Focus on other aspects of relationship such as clients service, technology, and planning.Improve communications with current client base and their networks using social media, newsletters, etc. #4 It’s not really a financial job A lot of people get into this because they love the stock market. Wrong. If you are spending your time on Bloomberg all day your practice will suffer. That’s not who succeeds in this business, it’s more likely the people who are willing to be their clients’ personal butler. The personal bond between an FA and their clients is basically the whole relationship. It’s very emotional and you spend a ton of time on things that have very little to do with their actual money. How hard is it to be a financial advisor? Very hard, if you got into the business actually wanting to advise people about their finances! Action steps If you are that unhappy dealing with people’s emotions and would rather be focused only on managing portfolios, then hire someone to do so while you sit in front of Bloomberg.If you want to go manage money, don’t take this job in the first place #5 Very little difference from one financial advisor to another Financial advisors who have an easier time attracting new clients are the ones who do set themselves apart, but change brings risk. The more established you get, the rewards for taking risk decrease. It winds up being that across the industry there’s no real difference in service offering due to risk aversion, fear, and complacency. The more creative you are, the easier it is to get new clients, but most FA’s who are established are unwilling to shake anything up at all for fear of shunning their current clients by introducing change, or losing focus on their practice. Once you get successful and you’re making $300k-500k a year, it becomes even harder to rock the boat. If you are offering the same thing as everyone else, and this applies to 99% of the industry, it is going to be backbreakingly hard and the odds of making it are not in your favor. New advisors may listen to this message and set up something that is actually different – because they feel they have to, setting up a highly differentiated service offering designed exclusively for a target niche. However most won’t go through the bother of doing so, and the whole cycle continues. What is the consequence of risk aversion, non-differentiation, and becoming highly set in your ways? When an innovation happens you’re inherently at a disadvantage because you are doing well enough financially to not accept it, you think. Until a few clients leave or you start to feel the pinch, or you aren’t getting as many referrals as you used to, or you can’t charge the same fees you used to. Innovation can kinda sneak up on you and catch you flat-footed. Action stepsI’m not a financial advisor anymore, but if were to do it all over again, I would create a highly differentiated service offering laser-focused on a very small niche, and then market directly to that niche on social media and by writing SEO-optimized blogs targeting my niche. I would establish capacity at 70 deep relationships with clients that I provide value to on several different levels and have a constant eye towards how innovation can improve their experience. How hard is it to be a financial advisor? To summarize, the five reasons that is it hard to be a financial advisor are: high liabilitylow barriers to entry/immoral competitionhard to maintain long term investment focusnot really a financial jobno differentiation Did I miss anything? What is it for you? Sara’s upshot I hope you enjoyed my blog about how hard it is to be a financial advisor. Here is my exclusive content for financial advisors who want to get new clients using social media: Learn what to say to prospects on social media messenger apps without sounding like a washing machine salesperson. This e-book contains 47 financial advisor LinkedIn messages, sequences, and scripts, and they are all two sentences or less.If you want a financial advisor marketing plan template, check out my e-book.You could also consider my financial advisor social media membership which teaches financial advisors how to get new clients and leads from LinkedIn. Thanks for reading. I hope you’ll at least join my weekly newsletter about financial advisor lead generation. See you in the next one! -Sara Music is Nice to You by the Vibe Tracks The post How hard is it to be a financial advisor? appeared first on Sara Grillo.
16 minutes | May 24, 2021
Financial advisor follow up emails that rock!
In this blog, I’m going to discuss financial advisor follow up emails that rock, and present a sample script you can follow if you are a financial advisor emailing a prospect after the first meeting. For those of you who are new to my blog/podcast, my name is Sara. I am a CFA® charterholder and I used to be a financial advisor. I have a weekly newsletter in which I talk about financial advisor lead generation topics which is best described as “fun and irreverent.” So please subscribe! Let’s get on with the blog! Financial advisors follow up emails – the basics When should financial advisor follow up emails be sent? Remember you want to convey that you are a high quality advisor with priorities other than chasing down the next gig. You don’t want to show people that you have a ton of free time to email all day. Wait 3-5 business days from the meeting. Judge how interested they are and how quickly they seem to want to move forward. I How long should financial advisor follow up emails be? 2-5 sentences long If you want the prospect to fall in love with you, you have to fall OUT of love with your own voice first. Brief yet meaningful communications always win. Rambling is #1 way you can waste your time What is the #1 way people waste their time? Pointless conversations. It doesn’t cost them any money and they don’t have to move to do it. Plus, people are naturally inclined to fall in love with their own voice instead of others’. Talking to people they shouldn’t be talking to.Talking about things they shouldn’t be talking about. You could waste your whole entire life with this. That’s why I love my Two Sentence Rule and if you haven’t read my book about 47 financial advisor LinkedIn messages, you should because every message is two sentences or less. Clear communicators have time. People who ramble have no time. It has nothing to do with how successful you are or how many things you actually have on your plate. I have never ever met someone who was rambler and who was in control of their time. whenever I meet a rambler, and this is actually a disqualifier for anyone I will work with, I always know that they’r about to waste my time and theirs, and then the next words out of their mouth is going to be how they have no time. What should financial advisors say in a follow up email to a prospect? When you send financial advisor follow up emails after the first meeting, how do you know what to actually say to a prospect? Use the RAG process. RecapAskGoals Step #1 Recap the meeting key points briefly Why? You want to remind them of what you talked about. Especially if you waited those 3-5 days, it’s likely they forgot the details. You also want them to feel as if you are listening to them. Repeating back what they told you and the key points of the meeting will do that. Now, I know you financial advisors love to go on and on all day about finance. This is not the place for it. Keep it brief. Only use 1-2 sentences on the recap part of your financial advisor follow up emails. #2 Ask a reflective question Why? You want them to move forward with intentionality. You don’t want them to just go through the motions and agree to another meeting without being fully onboard, hence wasting your time. Here is where you build value in the relationship instead of just talking in order to talk. This is reeeeeeally important. To get a first meeting with someone is not that big an investment of time and also there isn’t a high commitment level from the client. You’re kinda just meeting and talking, there is no real relationship. You want them to intentionally commit to the next steps for a real reason that they thought about. Keep in mind that after the first meeting is when the doubts and objections start. Even if they are intent on moving on with you, there are still some doubts. No prospect is 100% sold at that point. This is where they originate. Don’t ignore them. Before you move to the next step, address them using your reflective question. You’ve got to be willing to take that risk. If you don’t, you may end up getting the next meeting, but it may go nowhere, or these objections will materialize later after you’ve invested even more time. So lay it out right after the first meeting, and get their commitment to move forward addressing whatever the concerns are. Yes, you will have to be objective and detach from the outcome of always getting to the next step. You are going to lose some people here. However you would have lost them anyways later down the line so you just did yourself and them a favor. Yes, it is up to you. You have to focus their attention and get them to think it through. You’ve got to make them see the big picture because if you don’t, they probably won’t. I mean, some people will, but very few. You’ve got to prompt them to think about it. And once you do that, they’ll have more clarity of thought, and it’ll be easier for them to commit to the next steps. #3 State a goal Often neglected. Show them you see the value of every single minute of your time. Have you ever noticed someone who complains they have no time? Now, I have four kids and a business. Yet you don’t see me running around telling you all how I no time to do the things I want. Because I’m highly organized about how I spend my time. the worst thing you could do to me is waste a minute of my time. The people who complian they have no time don’t value it. Show you value your time and theirs by putting a marker on it with goals. Financial advisor follow up emails: one example So here is an example of a financial advisor follow up email. Of course, this is in my own style. You should customize this financial advisor follow up email script to your own tone and style. Sally,In last week’s meeting we talked about your teacher pension plan and your goal of saving for Jenny’s college.From what I can see, the prominent question at this juncture appears to be how much time you are able to invest creating a plan for all this given you are about to get divorced. How do you see the pieces of this puzzle fitting together, given the time requirements we discussed in our meeting?Should you chose to move forward, the goal of the next meeting is to gather the needed information to get started on the analysis.Let me know how you wish to proceed.-Sara G You can see each of the three parts clearly present: Recap – we talked about teacher plan and college planning Ask – can you do this given all you have on your plate? Goals – the next meeting we’ll gather the info Sara’s upshot I hope you enjoyed my blog about financial advisor follow up emails. Here is my exclusive content for financial advisors who want to get new clients using social media: Learn what to say to prospects on social media messenger apps without sounding like a washing machine salesperson. This e-book contains 47 financial advisor LinkedIn messages, sequences, and scripts, and they are all two sentences or less.If you want a financial advisor marketing plan template, check out my e-book.You could also consider my financial advisor social media membership which teaches financial advisors how to get new clients and leads from LinkedIn. Thanks for reading. I hope you’ll at least join my weekly newsletter about financial advisor lead generation. See you in the next one! -Sara Music is Nice to You by the Vibe Tracks The post Financial advisor follow up emails that rock! appeared first on Sara Grillo.
13 minutes | May 17, 2021
What financial advisors should say on LinkedIn
This blog is about what financial advisors should say on LinkedIn. Use these five phrases. For those of you who are new to my blog/podcast, my name is Sara. I am a CFA® charterholder and I used to be a financial advisor. I have a weekly newsletter in which I talk about financial advisor lead generation topics which is best described as “fun and irreverent.” So please subscribe! Let’s get on with the blog! How financial advisors should start conversations on LinkedIn Before I get into what the five phrases are, let’s talk about your overall approach and the principles that should guide you. This is going to guide you into the knowledge of what financial advisors should say on LinkedIn. Most financial advisors built their businesses from word of mouth or referrals. The idea of talking to somebody who doesn’t know them, and having to win the trust, is very foreign. The analogy I would make is that it’s like a wall with a secret phrase written underneath 15 coats of paint. With each question you ask or statement you make, you either add a coat of varnish, or take away one of the existing coats of paint. Your goal with every statement you make is to take off a layer of paint. I think a lot of you financial advisors operate under the assumption that people are just going to open up their lives and tell you about their pending divorce or that they’re about the inherit $2MM. You can’t always judge a book by its cover. I hear financial advisors all the time saying ridiculous things like there are no qualified clients on LinkedIn, or that the prospect was being a jerk in the meeting and just wanted free information. If you are constantly encountering this situation, it’s your fault. There is something about how you are communicating that is preventing the qualified people from wanting to engage with you, and/or when you get into a conversation with a buyer you aren’t saying the right things. Let’s start with the surface, the way we perceive each other prior to any engagement. You’ve got to read people like a book. My painful anecdote about how assumptions about other people are often wrong Once when I was a financial advisor, I become involved with a group of people through volunteering. One of the people said to me, “You know Sara, I’d like to sit down and talk with you about my portfolio sometime.” Well, I didn’t think that John (not his real name) had any dough, so in the first meeting, right smack in the beginning, I let him know that my portfolio minimum was $1MM. And boy did I feel embarrassed when he responded with, “Oh Sara, don’t worry about that. I’ve got well over $2MM.” Little did I know, years ago he was a luxury goods salesman. That was soooo presumptuous and even years later it hurts to reminisce. What I learned, though, is that the way someone acts, dresses and behaves during hang out time isn’t necessarily correlated with how much money they have. That is why I suggest that you treat everyone on LinkedIn as if they are a possible buyer/referral source. Most won’t be, but many will surprise you. That is why you should treat them as if they are and see where it goes. You never know the value someone may impart to your business and it’s not always plastered in bright letters to their LinkedIn page for everyone to see. There is a part of ourselves that we hold back and for some people it’s not a risk to put some of it out there, for others it’s hidden under 15 coats of paint. There are no shortcuts to removing the coats of paint There is no step by step playbook for what financial advisors should say on LinkedIn that will work 100% of the time, and no shortcuts. I know you have a quota and bills to pay. But going about LinkedIn according to your schedule is going to get you ignored. You have to let the client lead you through the conversation. You have to give up control in a sense, let them drive, and you redirect the conversation when it’s the right time. You have to listen for these opportunities to redirect. This takes skill and practice. Try it at home. If you have kids, try it with them. Instead of asking them leading, presumptuous questions, just ask totally open ended questions and see where they go. Don’t talk over them. Just wait until you hear them say something that can connect to the information you want them to give you, and gently move the conversation towards that topic. Do you know how much children get talked over? This is a real issue. Children’s feelings are constantly invalidated, and then when they grow up they do the same thing. We are a society of boundary invaders. Talking over people gets you ghosted Silence is the most powerful word in any conversation between two people because it allows them to breathe. Fail at this, and you’ll be ghosted, written off, and have an empty pipeline. On the other hand, it is extremely rare when someone can actually do this, so once you learn this skill you’ll be noticeably different from the other financial advisors who talk over everyone. If you want to succeed with other people it’s not about being funnier, smarter, or cooler – it’s about being more understanding of them. Let’s talk about the language of understanding. What financial advisors should say on LinkedIn – 5 phrases Now for the feature presentation. Here’s what financial advisors should say on LinkedIn if they want to get people interested in working together. #1“Tell me more.” (and then SHUT UP and let them talk) Someone is talking about something in their life – let them talk. They know you’re a financial advisor as long as you’ve clearly outlined this on your LinkedIn page. Let people talk about what is important in their lives, and eventually they will somehow mention something related to finance. You’ll eventually get a clue or a signal that will allow you to transition in. See this blog about transition strategies on LinkedIn for the full explanation of how to do this. This is not that easy to do. It takes skill and practice. But once you gain the ability to do this, you’ll see that when people talk and you really listen, they tell you what you need to know to understand them. #2“I’m listening.” (and then SILENCE to show them you’re listening) It really surprises people to hear this. #3 “Could you please elaborate more on what you just said?” Let’s say that they are getting into an area where you could redirect it to something pertinent to their finances. For example, someone says, “My wife and I have been working hard on our business, with the COVID we had to let a bunch of people go.” You transition in with: “Could you please elaborate more on what you just said? I hear this from a lot of business owners but in every case the financial repercussions are different.” See? I didn’t turn them off by jumping into the suggestion for a meeting. #4 “I need to understand you (what you said, your last statement, etc.) better.” This is beautiful to hear. Do you know how hard it is for someone to feel that you are not listening when you say things like this? The more you can play back someone’s words, the more they feel listened to. This statement immediately removes some of those coats of paint. #5 “Before I respond, let me take a pause and ask you some questions about what you just said.” Conversations get derailed when people ask you a direct question. I really don’t want financial advisors giving away a ton of free person-specific information in your meetings with prospects. Read this blog about financial advisor prospecting meetings and how much you should give away for free in the first meeting. This drives me NUTS. It takes away your own value, and also it’s not completely fair to the prospect. If you haven’t done the proper diligence that you would do for a client, how can the advice really be true? If you have the flexibility to do hourly or flat fee pricing, you should tell the client that you can’t answer the question without entering into a formal engagement. “This is a very serious question and I can’t answer this from just our conversation alone. It may be better to sit down and work on this in a session, that way I can truly attend to all the details that are being mentioned here.” When someone asks you a direct question that you can answer in a credibility building way, you’re engine gets revving. I know. You think if you answer it intelligently it will impress them into wanting to hire you. And some of the time you may be right, but it depends on the intentions of the person you are talking to. Some people use financial advisors for free information. Or, they may very well intend to hire you, but if you are going to give them the information when they ask for it, what basis do they have for shelling out the $4,000? A business owner says, “My wife and I were thinking about setting up a retirement account for our business but we can’t decide between 401k and defined benefit plans.” STOP don’t answer that! Don’t do it financial advisors! I want you to hear Sara G’s voice in your head holding you back. Send them a question back. It should be a stultifying question that makes them think. “What is your capacity for IRS non discrimination testing. How would you be prepared to handle that?” Or “Do you view this as being more intended for the owners and shareholders or is this to benefit all employees equally?” You kinda wanna get them to squirm a little bit. When they go to answer that, they are going to stumble and that’s when you go in with the transition and get the meeting. They’re feeling they’re on shaky ground and that is the time to ask for the meeting. “From what I’m hearing, the answer is not clear to me. I think we should sit down and have a conversation about it.” You didn’t ask them for the meeting before they were ready. You have developed demand here. They’ll know they’re in over their head and they’ll probably agree to the meeting or even ask for it. When you take the time to listen to and observe other people, you will find that they more or less will tell you what it is that you need to know about them. Sara’s upshot I hope you enjoyed my blog about what financial advisors should say on LinkedIn. Hope you enjoyed it! Here is my exclusive content for financial advisors who want to get new clients using social media: Learn what to say to prospects on social media messenger apps without sounding like a washing machine salesperson. This e-book contains 47 financial advisor LinkedIn messages, sequences, and scripts, and they are all two sentences or less.If you want a financial advisor marketing plan template, check out my e-book.You could also consider my financial advisor social media membership which teaches financial advisors how to get new clients and leads from LinkedIn. Thanks for reading. I hope you’ll at least join my weekly newsletter about financial advisor lead generation. See you in the next one! -Sara Music is Nice to You by the Vibe Tracks The post What financial advisors should say on LinkedIn appeared first on Sara Grillo.
42 minutes | May 3, 2021
How financial advisors can add cryptocurrency to a client’s portfolio
It seems like financial advisors and cryptocurrency are like oil and water. Your clients are probably going to be asking about this, if they haven’t already, so let’s break this open and talk about the major aspects of how financial advisors can add cryptocurrency to a client’s portfolio. We’ll learn: What is a fiat currency?What is cryptocurrency?What is Blockchain?What is an NFT?What is a Blockchain miner?What is the case for investing in digital assets?What are the issues and obligations for advisors who want to invest in crypto for their clients?How can financial advisors potentially invest in cryptocurrency for their clients?How do you see the future of Cryptocurrency and Digital Currency in people’s daily life?Should Bitcoin as an asset allocation have the same rebalancing strategy (tolerance bands or time interval) as other holdings? For those of you who are new to my blog/podcast, my name is Sara. I am a CFA® charterholder and I used to be a financial advisor. I have a weekly newsletter in which I talk about financial advisor lead generation topics which is best described as “fun and irreverent.” So please subscribe! Let’s get on with the blog! Podcast video is here if you’d like to listen/watch: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HdM45rM6Bs4 Financial advisors and cryptocurrency, and never the twain shall meet This podcast interview features A.J. Nary of HeightZero which is a turnkey digital asset management platform (TDAMP). I wanted to make a podcast about how financial advisors can add cryptocurrency to a client’s portfolio because I feel like there is alot of trepidation about this issue – but also a great deal of curiosity. In a recent LinkedIn survey I did about when financial advisors expect to invest in cryptocurrency for their clients, I found that most think that cryptocurrency is too dangerous to invest in on behalf of clients, or won’t do it until they learn more about it. But before we get started, I want to be clear that nothing in this podcast or blog can be interpreted as an investment recommendation of any type. I have no financial affiliation with any company mentioned in this podcast. Do your own research before investing and do not interpret anything in this blog or podcast to be a recommendation specific to you or any clients of yours. Also, nothing in this blog or podcast can be interpreted as legal or compliance advice. Cryptocurrency terms for financial advisors to know Before we get into the discussion of how financial advisors can add cryptocurrency to a client’s portfolio, let’s start with some basic definitions. What is money?What is a fiat currency?What is Bitcoin?What is Blockchain?What is an NFT?What is a Blockchain miner? Money: Money is a medium of exchange whose value has traditionally been transferred as payment for goods or services from one party to another through coins and bills. Fiat currency: Way back in days of yore, the dollar was pegged to gold. Then FDR made the dollar unpegged to gold. You could create extra money without creating any underlying value to go with it. Nixon did away with the gold standard 100%, and the US dollar became a fiat currency, backed only by the full faith and taxing authority of the US government. Blockchain: Blockchain is not some mythical creature like Narnia. It’s simply a shared database with many actors. If you were to walk into a bank and deposit $100 and the transaction were on the Blockchain, they would write an entry into that database. Another bank on the Blockchain could also see it. Other banks could verify that transaction. That’s all Blockchain is, a shared database. There are private blockchains, and public blockchains. The example described above is a private blockchain. They are in production at the time of this podcast. Examples of public blockchain would be Bitcoin and Ethereum where if you have a computer and an internet connection, you can download all the transactions that are on the Bitcoin blockchain. You can see on there a transaction from one wallet to another public wallet with a time stamp. It is as if you gave someone $20 on the street, and there are 10,000 people witnessing that transaction. Blockchain miner: Someone who approves Bitcoin transactions. Imagine there are 10 people sitting in a room, and they’re all sitting at a desk with a 1,000 piece puzzle in front of them. Eventually someone is going to solve that puzzle. Once that is done, everyone can look at the puzzle and say, “Oh yes, that’s a square.” Everyone can agree it’s a square, but solving the puzzle is extraordinarily difficult and expensive. The Blockchain miners do not hold the digital assets; a custodian does. Or, you could have your own hardware wallet which for the record A.J. does not recommend. The latter case is commonly referenced when you hear stories about people losing their money because they forget their passkey. Cryptocurrency: A digital currency that is encrypted and decentralized (not relying on what the central bank does). There are many different types of cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, Ripple, and Ethereum. Not all cryptocurrencies are created equal – the security, regulation, and history involved with each are worthy for investors to take note of. Just like any capital market instrument, a cryptocurrency’s value changes based upon supply and demand for the asset. Bitcoin: See definition of Blockchain above. NFT: Non fungible token. Several decades ago, people were ripping off music during the Napster era and there was no way to prove that you were the only person who owns that digital asset. There was no way to make it scarce. An NFT is a digital asset that sits on a Blockchain. It could represent something physical like art, or it could represent a digital file like a famous tweet. You are the only one with that item. TDAMP: Turnkey digital asset management platform. A technology platform that allows investors to invest in digital assets. You have an account on this platform that is reported upon, and data from the platform can be exported into other systems. Why would someone invest in cryptocurrency for themselves or for their clients? Before we get into how financial advisors can add cryptocurrency to a client’s portfolio, let’s talk about why financial advisors (and the world at large, it seems) is curious about cryptocurrency. While performance of any asset can never be guaranteed, and nothing in this blog and/or podcast can be interpreted as investment advice relevant to anyone specific, there is a belief that cryptocurrencies are going to change the way that society functions in three major ways. #1 Store of value/universal currency of exchange Some people believe that banks and governments can’t be trusted, and cryptocurrencies are potentially going to be the new global reserve currency with goods and services being priced in cryptocurrency. Companies and people are starting to use cryptocurrency as a store of value. #2 Inflation hedge There is an idea prevailing that fiat currencies are being devalued and inflation is due to rise, as a result of all the stimulus money that has been printed and other economic factors. There is a finite amount of Bitcoin, for example, that can be created. #3 Potentially low correlation to the market Cryptocurrencies have become attractive to some as a potentially diversifying alternative investment because of their alleged zero correlation to the market. Such diversifying investments can potentially lower overall portfolio volatility, if managed appropriately in accordance with the investor’s risk tolerance. #4 Some financial advisors have found that being knowledgeable about investing in cryptocurrency is a way to bridge the gap with younger generations of their clients’ families. All of these are potential ways that cryptocurrency may have an impact in the future – none of them are certain. What are the issues and obligations for advisors who want to invest in cryptocurrency for their clients? As a financial advisor, you have responsibility to manage your clients’ assets prudently. If you are going to be investing in cryptocurrency for your clients, consult with your compliance and/or legal council and be aware of your obligations. Being prepared and through before doing so is a big part of the answer to how financial advisors can add cryptocurrency to a client’s portfolio. Here are some of the issues to be aware of for financial advisors who are potentially investing in cryptocurrency for their clients. This is not an exhaustive list; there are others that may potentially exist. #1 Check your errors and omissions insurance Make sure investing in cryptocurrency for your clients is covered in your e&o insurance policy and any other insurances where this may apply. Make a phone call if you’re not sure. Some policies cover this already, and some don’t. #2 Educate yourself about digital assets Part of your responsibility is knowing what you are investing in for your clients in all circumstances. You must have a reasonable basis for making these and all other investments on behalf of your clients. You also need to be able to articulate and explain these investments to your clients in a way that enables them to understand clearly. #3 Understand that not all digital assets are created equally With certain cryptocurrencies, there is a gray area in terms of regulations that pertain to them. Some more than others. It may be more prudent to stick to cryptocurrencies that the SEC has already deemed as appropriate for investment. #4 Encourage clients to report it correctly on their taxes Ask your clients if they hold cryptocurrency, and if so, encourage your clients to report any tax events associated with cryptocurrencies when they file their taxes. Cryptocurrencies are treated as property. Just like any asset, an individual will be liable to potentially owe a short or long term gains tax if they recognized a gain over the cost basis that cryptocurrency was purchased at. If your clients are at a loss to understand how to report cryptocurrency on their taxes, encourage them to consult a tax advisor. #5 Disclose properly on Form ADV, especially Part Two Digital assets are not necessarily one of the investable asset classes disclosed on your ADV. On your Form ADV, Part Two, there is a list of investments that you are able to invest your clients’ money in as a financial advisor. Have your legal and/or compliance team review it and determine the best way to disclose that you are able to invest your clients’ money in digital assets. Again, this list is by no means exhaustive and may not be interpreted as specific to any one individual, so please consult your firm’s legal and compliance advisors for advice. Should the same rebalancing strategy (tolerance bands or time interval) be applied to cryptocurrency as an asset allocation as other holdings? Financial advisors should not make an exception for this asset class when it comes to rebalancing. Stay true to your strategy for rebalancing, whether it be bands, time intervals, or otherwise. You should never change your asset allocation strategy for any particular asset class. How can a financial advisor add cryptocurrency to a client’s portfolio? Now that we’ve covered the groundwork, how does an advisor actually invest in crypto for his or her clients? How can a financial advisor add cryptocurrency to a client’s portfolio? There are a few possible ways. Financial advisors might use a TDAMP to invest in cryptocurrencies for their clients. On such a platform, reporting is centralized for all clients. In the past, it was difficult to invest in digital assets for clients because you used to need a login for each client. A TDAMP must be approved by the financial advisor’s company and compliance before they can use it.GBTC, or Grayscale Bitcoin Trust, has gathered some assets from financial advisors looking to invest in digital assets for their clients. This is a Bitcoin trust. It trades on an exchange. You don’t own shares of Bitcoin or Ethereum. You own shares of a trust, almost like a closed end fund. This is a proxy for cryptocurrency but it is not technically the same as investing directly in the cryptocurrency.It is also possible to invest in companies that are involved with Blockchain technology, or that hold cryptocurrency on their balance sheet. Again, you don’t own the asset directly in this case. Some financial advisors are not interested in investing in cryptocurrency for their clients at all, and in these cases they would simply direct their clients to retail platforms for the clients to trade it themselves. Sara’s upshot I hope you enjoyed my blog about how financial advisors can add cryptocurrency to a client’s portfolio. Hope you enjoyed it! Here is my exclusive content for financial advisors who want to get new clients using social media: Learn what to say to prospects on social media messenger apps without sounding like a washing machine salesperson. This e-book contains 47 financial advisor LinkedIn messages, sequences, and scripts, and they are all two sentences or less.If you want a financial advisor marketing plan template, check out my e-book.You could also consider my financial advisor social media membership which teaches financial advisors how to get new clients and leads from LinkedIn. To contact A.J. Nary, visit HeightZero’s website. Thanks for reading. I hope you’ll at least join my weekly newsletter about financial advisor lead generation. See you in the next one! -Sara About A.J. Nary A.J. Nary is the Founder and CEO of HeightZero. HeightZero is a technology platform that enables institutional investment firms, independent RIAs, and financial advisors to efficiently add market-leading digital assets to their clients’ portfolios. Prior to founding HeightZero, Mr. Nary launched four ETFs at Natixis Investment Managers, one transparent active ETF and three nontransparent active ETFs. Before Natixis, Mr. Nary was senior trader at F-Squared Investment Management. He was responsible for establishing F-Squared’s private client business, F-Squared Capital LLC, and managing over $4 billion of discretionary assets. Previous to F-Squared, Mr. Nary was a senior trader at Windhaven Investment Management. Mr. Nary received his BS in Finance and MBA from Boston College. Disclaimers Grillo Investment Management, LLC does not guarantee any specific level of performance, the success of any strategy that Grillo Investment Management, LLC may use or mention in any of its content, or the success of any program it may mention in any of its content. Grillo Investment Management, LLC will strive to maintain current information however it may become out of date. Grillo Investment Management, LLC is under no obligation to advise users of subsequent changes to statements or information contained herein. This information is general in nature; for specific advice applicable to your current situation please contact a consultant or advisor. I want to be clear that nothing in this podcast or blog can be interpreted as an investment recommendation of any type. I have no financial affiliation with HeightZero or any other company mentioned in this podcast or blog. Do your own research before investing and do not interpret anything in this blog or podcast to be a recommendation specific to you, your situation, or any clients of yours. Also, nothing in this podcast or blog can be interpreted as legal or compliance advice. For advise on such matters, contact a legal or compliance advisor. Music is Nice to You by the Vibe Tracks The post How financial advisors can add cryptocurrency to a client’s portfolio appeared first on Sara Grillo.
15 minutes | Apr 26, 2021
LinkedIn for financial advisors in a single word
I would summarize LinkedIn for financial advisors in one single word: energy. If you want to get better at LinkedIn and you’re a financial advisor, it’s about how well you are able to transfer your energy to the audience and how it makes them feel. In this article I’m going to explain how and why. I am an irreverent and fun marketing consultant for financial advisors. For those of you who are new to my blog/podcast, my name is Sara. I am a CFA® charterholder and I used to be a financial advisor. I have a weekly newsletter in which I talk about financial advisor lead generation topics which is best described as “fun and irreverent.” So please subscribe! Let’s get on with the blog! LinkedIn for financial advisors is about transferring your energy I see what some of you financial advisors are posting on LinkedIn, and it’s almost like you are screaming out into the Grand Canyon. You get two people to respond and the posting is going nowhere. I’m going to tell you why – there is an energy shortage. They didn’t feel it. You know how you see a singer on stage at a concert? And you see how the audience responds when they do certain things. You know how they’ll do certain facial expressions or certain dance moves, or they’ll annunciate a word a certain way? And then the audience goes “whoo hoo!” Or you know how sometimes the singer will sing one line, and then hold out the microphone to the audience and they’ll sing the next line? That’s a great concert! The reason is that the energy is flowing from the stage and inciting the audience. That’s what makes a great performer. Being a performer on LinkedIn It’s the same thing for financial advisors. You have to be the show that people want to go to on LinkedIn. They have to feel your presence through the platform. That’s what being successful on LinkedIn for financial advisors is really about. If Eminem wanted to convey the point of his rap “Lose Yourself” from the Movie 8 Mile, he could have stood there on stage and said: I’m ticked off because my father left me, my mom was an alcoholic, and I grew up poor in a trailer park. And I just caught the girl I like messing around with my best friend. But the thing that makes it fun to sing along to his lyrics is that you feel like you are too. You have people who didn’t grow up in a trailer park, but they’re feeling it like they did. It makes them relate to a time when somebody abandoned them or treated them wrong and they had to live with a bad situation. And it’s okay because you’re there with Eminem going through it. At least you’re there with someone! Even if you aren’t. Form vs. content and how it relates to LinkedIn for financial advisors I know, this is really different from what all the other marketing consultants will say. They’ll tell you it’s all about who gets the best format, the best color scheme, posting at the right time. It doesn’t hurt to pay some attention to those items, but that’s not going to make you successful as a financial advisor on LinkedIn. I see plenty of beautiful postings that go nowhere. LinkedIn for financial advisors is made successful by making your audience feel a certain way. You have to make something alive in the audience with your energy. I think that content matters more than the form. What are you really saying, and does it liven up the audience? Does it strike them? Does it wake them up and make them want to stop scrolling past? How will this posting make the audience feel? Ask yourself that before you post. This is the most important aspect of LinkedIn for financial advisors. Very few people know how to do this. The tension band I see these financial advisor LinkedIn postings that go nowhere because there’s just no tension to them. What do I mean by that? A great posting has multiple dimensions to it. It makes people want to engage in many different ways. In this way it is more accessible. Let’s look at some bad examples. Have you made postings like this on your LinkedIn feed? Hey everyone! Today I got my first dose of the vaccine! Typical response: Hooray! And then it goes flat. 529 plans are essential for getting enough saved up to send your kid to college. Typical response: I agree And then it goes flat. Private REITs have great capital appreciation. potential. Typical response: I agree And then it goes flat. And this is why you shouted into the Grand Canyon and all you heard was an echo. Instead, you want a posting that’ll get the party started and allow all people to bring their opinions to the table. Not just one view, but many viewpoints from all different angles, not just one angle like the examples above. You want a healthy tension in the idea – it shouldn’t just be obvious or one dimensional. This is what makes things go flat. You want the opposite of this – a multi-faceted question that can’t just be answered one way and then there is nothing else to say. This is called “the tension band.” Tension in the idea is what makes it intriguing, thought provoking, and an actual discussion which will drive up views in the feed and make you more successful at LinkedIn for financial advisors. That’s what you want – the tension in the energy of the posting that will drive people in so everyone wants to just pile their own comment on top of someone else’s. It’s not about who’s the smartest – you will only attract a hell of a lot of attention on LinkedIn if you get people to post comments and discuss your idea.-Sara Grillo, CFA Good vs. bad financial advisor LinkedIn postings The questions matter. Is it just a matter of posting questions, then? What do you post to get the energy to transfer? Well, not exactly. Not every question is created equal. There are certain bad financial advisor prospecting questions that are going to be overly rhetorical or are just none of your business to ask. In the podcast at the end of this blog, I go over specific examples of postings that I see in my LinkedIn feed, and discuss where I feel the energy was or was not transferred correctly. Check out the podcast and please subscribe in by the way if you like what you heard. Sara’s upshot I hope you enjoyed my blog about LinkedIn for financial advisors. But that’s not all there is to it! Here is my exclusive content for financial advisors who want to get new clients using social media: Learn what to say to prospects on social media messenger apps without sounding like a washing machine salesperson. This e-book contains 47 financial advisor LinkedIn messages, sequences, and scripts, and they are all two sentences or less.If you want a financial advisor marketing plan template, check out my e-book.You could also consider my financial advisor social media membership which teaches financial advisors how to get new clients and leads from LinkedIn. Thanks for reading. I hope you’ll at least join my weekly newsletter about financial advisor lead generation. See you in the next one! -Sara The post LinkedIn for financial advisors in a single word appeared first on Sara Grillo.
24 minutes | Apr 19, 2021
Schlocky financial advisor prospecting questions NOT to say on LinkedIn!
Many of you are asking bad financial advisor prospecting questions that are getting you nowhere on LinkedIn. Or just as bad, some of you financial advisors aren’t prospecting at all on LinkedIn for fear of “sound like a salesperson.” What do you say to someone? Here are some questions to avoid asking. Also, I’ll teach you how to come up with your own good prospecting questions for financial advisors to ask so you don’t feel “like a salesperson”. You’ll learn: How does a financial advisor get new clients?Why direct solicitation stinks usually, but doesn’t have toThe bad financial advisor prospecting questions you should never ask on LinkedIn (or anywhere else)The good questions for a financial advisor to ask a prospect For those of you who are new to my blog/podcast, my name is Sara. I am a CFA® charterholder and I used to be a financial advisor. I have a weekly newsletter in which I talk about financial advisor lead generation topics which is best described as “fun and irreverent.” So please subscribe! Let’s get on with the blog! How does a financial advisor get new clients? First of all, the question: how does an advisor get new clients in the first place? There are three ways: word of mouth, creation of marketing “pull” assets, and direct solicitation. Word of mouth This is clearly the #1 way to grow a business because the trust is higher than in all other forms of marketing. For that reason, you should be connected to all your clients on LinkedIn, send them a monthly newsletter, and take great care of them. However, you can’t control what your clients say and for that reason I advise people to consider the chance of getting referrals to be a bonus rather than what you rely upon to grow your business. Marketing “pull” assets You create blogs, podcasts, YouTube videos, guest blogs, etc., that people consume. This is nurture marketing. You are looking to earn trust by educating people over time. Keep in mind, this doesn’t happen overnight. You have to teach people something that goes further than what the last advisor said. Also, you have to make sure it gets distributed to enough people and that may mean you have to get those who have influence over them to push your content out. The other thing is that you will get a good amount of people who benefit from your content, but never buy anything. There are takers who will read your blogs and do it themselves. I’m a blogger and I’ve given away so much value to people who will never pay me a dime for it. However this is effective for me because enough of the people eventually convert. If you don’t like occasionally get used for your content, this isn’t for you. Direct solicitation Going out and knocking on doors. Let’s talk about it. Direct solicitation stinks…but it doesn’t have to Some people don’t like solicitation because it makes them “feel like a salesperson.” They can’t do it, they feel uncomfortable. Let me tell you why. It probably has to do with your own personal ideology. The people who get irritated at telemarketers and who can’t stand when people sell them things are likely the ones who are uncomfortable doing it themselves. It has to do with your belief system. And that’s okay. Some people just can not ask for business. For me, I had to go out and at a young age, have jobs where I had to sell. When I was in high school, I had no connections, my parents had no connections and couldn’t get me a good job. So it was either checking groceries at the supermarket, answer phones for $7 an hour, or I had to learn how to telemarket. I remember this one summer, I had to call college students at a certain university and it was the same summer I broke up with my high school boyfriend who went to that college, and I was so worried I was going to call and Raul (not his real name, btw) was going to answer. So to say the least it was humbling as all hell. But I learned how create business out of nothing at a very young age. I found that with the skills I gained, I could get better telemarketing jobs and eventually ended up making kind of a lot of money for someone that age. And, I was able to become an entrepreneur using these skills. The point I’m making is that solicitation is humbling. Some may call it soul killing. Look, I get it. But it doesn’t have to be like that. To some extent it is a numbers game and it does involve putting yourself out there. Let’s redefine it, though! But what if you could do it in a way that makes people feel you are a valuable resource, somebody with answers that they need, somebody who possesses useful information that will make their lives better? The key to getting here is great, high quality questions. But first, let’s clear the slate of the bad financial advisor prospecting questions that I see a lot of you asking. Bad financial advisor prospecting questions If you could retire right now, would you?I have a question for you today. Could you be saving more money?When do you plan to retire?What’s your retirement plan?What’s your risk number?Are you looking for financial advisor?Do you need help with your money?Are you happy with your current financial advisor?Do you have any credit card debt you’d like to pay down? You know it’s a bad question if, by answering yes, the next statement out of your mouth would naturally be, well then let’s meet and discuss. That’s the litmus test. You see where I’m going with this. They are obvious bait.Also these questions are none of your business until you’ve earned the right to ask them.Asking these questions makes you look like you’re not humble because you’re making the assumption that the person trusts you enough to engage by answering. For all of these reasons, it makes you look like you’re not high quality. How to ask good financial advisor prospecting questions #1 Look at it as business socializing Yes, the people who are best at this do it so naturally because to them it’s just another conversation. They see it as a person to person conversation in which they get to interact with another person. The game changed for me once I realized that positive interactions with other people are the key your success; much moreso than your experience or how skilled you are. You never know when someone you talk to may just say something to change your life for the better. Understand that the way the numbers work, if you talk to enough people most won’t be interested at that time, a few will be, and some will be total jerks. For the jerks, look at it that you found out who to cross off your social agenda early in the game, and be thankful you know to block them out of your LinkedIn network from now on. For the people who aren’t interested at that time but might be in the future, think of it that you planted a seed. You can make those seeds grow through consistent, positive interactions with them. But just like a tree can’t be rushed to grow, neither can a relationship. That’s why I love LinkedIn. You can connect to these “maybe later” people, and they’ll be frequently seeing your content if you post good stuff and the algorithm likes you. I can’t tell you how many times, out of nowhere I get contacted by someone who I’ve been lightly messaging and who has been liking my content, and then BINGO out of nowhere they buy my LinkedIn book or signs up for my membership. #2 Smile Smile before you click send or dial the phone. Think of how fun it’ll be to interact with someone that you can maybe help, or be helped by. And by the same token, if you’re not in a good mood, then don’t do this. Wait until you are. #3 Ask yourself what seed you want to plant Before you open your mouth or write that message, ask yourself how you want to help the person. How do you want to lift them up?What do you want to give them?How do you want to change them?How can you serve them?How can you be their hero? Planting seeds is fun! #4 Use the two sentence rule Two sentence financial advisor LinkedIn scripts help you lead into the question instead of just dropping it on the person. Adding context strengthens your credibility because it makes it look like you are not just dropping in on them with a sales pitch. Keep in mind also that if you are doing this on LinkedIn, you really should be proceeding in sequences of three messages. You have to lead up to the question somehow. I explain this in this blog on financial advisor LinkedIn messages and sequences. Here are some examples of good financial advisor prospecting questions that you could ask on LinkedIn after you have set it up with your prior messages: Maria, I sometimes post here about retirement related topics. Are there any questions you’d like me to answer in my next post?Roberto, what information can I get you, if any, that could possibly make retirement easier to understand?Carla, how do you think knowing somebody like me could possibly be useful to you, other than working directly with me? I say this because I only work with a small percentage of people but don’t want to limit my influence to just my clients.Lashelle, my goal is help everybody around me have a better retirement – and I don’t care whether they are my clients or not. What questions do you have about retirement?Emily, what do you feel we financial advisors misunderstand about doctors like you? I am looking to further my ability to empathize with those whose lives I want to enrich.Pierre, dentists typically have a lot of trouble saving money while they pay down their debt. Is this something you want to self-learn, or are you open to reading a blog I wrote about it? When you show people that your first goal is to understand them, it creates a sense of distance and removal from the sales pitch, for both the seller and the buyer. This objectivity is rare. It gives clarity to the purpose of what you are trying to do for them, for both you and the buyer. A word about desperation and objectivity that goes beyond just the questions you ask When you are doing direct solicitation, it’s easy to slip into the mindset of “I’ve got to get them to buy this specific thing (or do this specific thing) right now.” This is a loaded gun and it can’t have a place in financial advisor prospecting. This is harmful and dangerous. This closed-minded approach is going to limit your long term success. Essentially you are pointing the gun at the buyer’s head. It’s not a good feeling for either of you to feel. Being a financial advisor isn’t like selling washing machines. People’s financial futures are at stake. It’s not like selling someone a $200 washing machine that is going need to be replaced in two years anyways. There is alot of harm that can be done by making decisions under pressure. Look, I understand that it’s a cold world full of people who will turn their back on you so fast, and you’re out here trying to make a dollar. I’ve been in this position many times and what I’ve come to see is that there is a right way and wrong way to do this. Your needs can never be the driver because it’s so easy to lose objectivity. With that comes a loss of objectivity. Financial advisor prospecting has to be done with integrity and inevitably pressure leads to its compromise. If you are in a position of desperation and it is leading you to compromise objectivity, do something about it before you solicit. Maybe it means getting a second job to take the financial pressure off you while you build your business. Maybe a “eat what you kill” sales job isn’t for you. Maybe you should have gotten a salaried position somewhere. I just say that because I’m sick of financial advice being a profession with a bad reputation. We can say all the fiduciary rhetoric that we want, but if until we get to the point where we can hold back from being biased, financial advice is always going to be a schlocky industry where people get asked schlocky financial advisor prospecting questions like the ones I’m trying to get you to avoid. My point is that it’s not in just the words you say. It’s in an overall approach of non-desperation, patience, objectivity, and nurturing positive outcomes in all you encounter on LinkedIn and elsewhere. Sara’s upshot Here is my exclusive content for financial advisors who want to get new clients using social media: Learn what to say to prospects on social media messenger apps without sounding like a washing machine salesperson. This e-book contains 47 financial advisor LinkedIn messages, sequences, and scripts, and they are all two sentences or less.If you want a financial advisor marketing plan template, check out my e-book.You could also consider my financial advisor social media membership which teaches financial advisors how to get new clients and leads from LinkedIn. Thanks for reading. I hope you’ll at least join my weekly newsletter about financial advisor lead generation. See you in the next one! -Sara The post Schlocky financial advisor prospecting questions NOT to say on LinkedIn! appeared first on Sara Grillo.
41 minutes | Apr 12, 2021
New SEC Marketing Rule 2021 – 5 parts financial advisors should be aware of
The new SEC Marketing Rule 2021 is a gamechanger that will bring new dimensions to several important parts of financial advisor compliance such as testimonials, cash solicitation, and more. In this pod/blog, I interview legal and compliance advisors Richard Chen, and John Ivan and Andrew Lippman of Capital Forensics about the following topics: At a high level, what is the new SEC marketing rule?When is it effective?An overview of the 5 important areas to be aware of within the new ruleTestimonialsThe Cash Solicitation RuleMoving to a principles-based approach and away from the rules-based approachPerformance AdvertisingEntanglement & AdoptionWhat are the opportunities and risks? For those of you who are new to my blog/podcast, my name is Sara. I am a CFA® charterholder and I used to be a financial advisor. I have a weekly newsletter in which I talk about financial advisor lead generation topics which is best described as “fun and irreverent.” So please subscribe! Let’s get on with the blog! The New SEC Marketing Rule 2021 is HUGE – don’t attempt it alone! The new SEC Marketing Rule 2021 gives advisors to do the flexibility to be able to many of the things they have always wanted to do. The new law takes an entire set of rules that were written with a chisel and a hammer, and that everybody has been living by for so long, and changes them. It gives advisors a lot more freedom with their marketing, but there is a great deal of risk that comes along with it, too. Some of the changes are really easy and others are very esoteric. And that is exactly why it is highly recommended that financial advisors should seek higher guidance on this topic than just doing it on your own. Don’t just go by what we’re saying here in this podcast/blog! This material can not be construed as legal or compliance advice specific to any one person or situation in particular; for situation specific advice please consult a compliance or legal advisor. Let me say it another way. I know some of you are doing self compliance and not using an internal or external compliance officer. I feel that the gravity of this law is too severe that in this case, you should consider seeking counsel, guidance, and training. There are a lot of stumbling blocks here so if you are trying to go this alone please be advised there is a lot of room for error. The fines can be large and the SEC is merciless. They will be looking for this in exams, reviews, and in your ADV disclosures. When is it effective? The new rule becomes effective on May 4, 2021, but advisers don’t need to come into full compliance until the compliance date, which is November 4, 2022. However, according to Richard, as of the effective date (May 4, 2021), you can start to utilize some of the freedom provided by the new marketing rule. The catch is that once you start to take advantage of that new freedom, you have to come into full compliance with the marketing rule at that time. And there is a lot involved with doing that. You can’t just take the icing off the cake; if you are going to take advantage of the flexibility the new rule provides you are going to have to meet all of the requirements that come with the marketing rule as well. #1 Testimonials The opportunity Advisors are very excited about this part of the rule. It provides the opportunity to present comments from clients and existing fund investors, if they have a fund, about the advisor and their experiences with the advisor. For those who aren’t clients, it gives the opportunity to provide what is called an endorsement which is a statement of approval or a statement about an experience the person has had with the advisor. In the past that has been prohibited. The obligations and risks There are alot of requirements that come along with this. The SEC is all about disclosure. For example, they care that the audience knows: Who is providing the testimonial or endorsementIf they have a reason for promoting the advisorIf there is a conflict. If they are getting paid, what are they getting paid? The advisor also has to make sure that the person making the statement has a reasonable basis for doing so. The person can not be statutorily disqualified. If the person is getting paid for making these statements, you have to have an agreement. It has to be fair. Everybody has to understand it. You have to have recordkeeping about it. It’s not going to be like testimonials thrown out there like you see on makeup websites. It has to be a controlled environment. The testimonials have to be balanced and you have to make sure your disclaimers state this may not be representative of all client experiences. As you start to gather statements from your clients, think about how to present a great testimonial. #2 The Cash Solicitation Rule They folded the cash solicitation rule in with the testimonial rule. But the requirements of the cash solicitation rule will largely stay in place. The advisor has to have an agreement with the solicitor. However, they are removing a very onerous requirement that the advisor has to obtain a signed acknowledgment from the client indicating that they received disclosures about the conflicts the solicitor faces when recommending the adviser to the client. The agreement requirement will go away in situations where the compensation is less than $1,000 in value. Advisors who give clients a token gift to promote them won’t have to enter into an agreement. However it does expand the definition of compensation to include not only cash compensation but anything that is of non cash value that somebody could receive. This part of the new SEC marketing rule 2021 may apply to certain matchmaking/ financial advisor lead generation services. I’m not sure those services work anyways but that is another discussion. #3 Moving to a principles-based approach and away from the rules-based approach The opportunity By and large, our systems are rules based. Now there will be certain guiding principles that the SEC wants you to abide by. For example: Don’t put out any false or misleading statements. Make sure you have supporting documentation. The big one is that you make sure any presentation you provide is fair and balanced. You can put all the good stuff in the front and then hide all the disclosures in the back. This is going to be a challenge on a social media page for example with limited space. The obligations and risks It is somewhat of a moving target. It’s not as easy as following the rules because there is room for interpretation. For example the principles don’t apply the same way to all audiences. Institutional investors, for example, may be able to get more information fed to them without certain disclosures than a retail investor. Rules are clear with very bright lines. When it’s a principle, you need someone objective to look at it. You may be thinking you are adhering, but you may be breaking it over and over again and by the time the SEC comes in you have this whole history. #4 Performance Advertising The goal is to provide investors with meaningful information. This could be comparisons of gross vs. net performance. Under this rule the SEC has eliminated circumstances where you can present only gross performance results and requires you provide net performance results. They’ve also required you to provide 1, 5, and 10 year track records as applicable. They have relaxed requirements around hypothetical performance results which include models of backtested or projected performance, but they still caution against providing that to certain audiences such as in mass publications. #5 Entanglement & Adoption The opportunity The SEC has said that if an advisor is involved with a third party’s communications that the SEC wants to treat that communication as the advisor’s own, because the advisor is “entangled.” Additionally, advisors that adopt materials from third parties as their own can not disclaim responsibility away to the third party. The advisor now has a responsibility to make sure that the content of that third party communication is now accurate. That communication is now considered to be the advisor’s own. The obligations and risks This aspect of the new SEC marketing rule 2021 has a lot of implications for advisors because they will need to document how much they are involved with a third party communication about the advisor to make sure they are not entangled. Also, if you adopt third party communications, you will need to maintain documentation of the diligence you did to make sure those statements made in the third-party communications are true. It is a question of how strongly the advisor is involved with the publication and refers to it. This may potentially pertain to certain third party websites that review and rank financial advisors (Wealthminder, etc.) but it depends on the circumstances. In general, I’m not a big fan of these so-called awards anyways. The best thing you could ever do for your marketing is to get your clients to go tell their friends about you – it’s not about what Barron’s or Investopedia says about you or what list you were named to. These are construed as bragging and nobody likes listening to someone brag about themselves all day! People are tired of it but yet advisors spend their dough on these awards all the time and have to have it, and IMHO it’s totally wasteful. Sara’s upshot on new SEC Marketing Rule 2021 The new SEC Marketing Rule 2021 brings huge changes to financial advisor marketing. For guidance on how to make the most of the new flexibility this rule offers, check out these offerings of mine below. Here is my exclusive content for financial advisors who want to get new clients using social media: Learn what to say to prospects on social media messenger apps without sounding like a washing machine salesperson. This e-book contains 47 financial advisor LinkedIn messages, sequences, and scripts, and they are all two sentences or less.If you want a financial advisor marketing plan template, check out my e-book.You could also consider my financial advisor social media membership which teaches financial advisors how to get new clients and leads from LinkedIn. Thanks for reading. I hope you’ll at least join my weekly newsletter about financial advisor lead generation. See you in the next one! -Sara Biographies – resources for information on SEC Marketing Rule 2021 Richard Chen Richard Chen is the Founder of Richard L. Chen PLLC, a law firm that serves the investment advisory community (including wealth managers, hedge and private equity fund sponsors, and service providers). Richard provides guidance on compliance matters, including investment adviser registration; compliance program development and implementation; mock audits; and representation in SEC examinations. Richard also advises investment advisers on business formation/structuring, review and drafting of advisory agreements, mergers and acquisitions, employment matters, succession planning, private fund formation, and operational due diligence. Before launching his practice, Richard spent many years at several preeminent law firms including Arnold & Porter, Schulte Roth & Zabel, K&L Gates, and Simpson Thacher & Bartlett after graduating from Harvard Law School and Harvard College. As a blind entrepreneur, Richard is passionate about helping advisers achieve their goals. You can learn more about him and his practice at his website and by connecting with him on LinkedIn. John Ivan John Ivan has led both compliance and legal departments for major financial institutions, with a focus on wealth management, brokerage and advisory issues. At Capital Forensics he has continued to work with the industry on wide range of consulting engagements, including Regulation BI, regulatory enforcement remediations (often with outside Counsel), and expert testimony on Supervision and industry practice issues. His work with RIAs has focused on independent channel and former Wealth Management Financial Advisors. Prior to joining CFI, he served as Chief Compliance Officer for Raymond James & Associates, Inc., the full-service retail St Petersburg, Florida, and was also head of Compliance for all of Raymond James’ retail, independent and dual registrant businesses. Prior to that, he was Managing Director at Bank of America Merrill Lynch covering Compliance for its Global Wealth and Retirement Services products and services including the Merrill One advisory platform. John also served in senior compliance and legal roles at Janney Montgomery Scott in Philadelphia, Goldman Sachs in New York, and at Wells Fargo Advisors’ predecessor firms in Richmond, Virginia. He began his career at the United States Securities and Exchange Commission. He is a graduate of University of Virginia and University of Richmond Law School. Andrew Lippman Andrew Lippman has over 35 years of front office experience solving ambiguous and complicated problems, extensively working with Senior Management and Business Leaders, along with Legal, Compliance and Supervision to create scalable and practical solutions for firms. With prior roles as an internal and external consultant, Mr. Lippman understands complex business issues and successfully partners with back office support areas to define and help them understand the end-goal. He then oversees the design, implementation, and the ultimate communication, acting as a change agent for the organization. Disclosures Grillo Investment Management, LLC does not guarantee any specific level of performance, the success of any strategy that Grillo Investment Management, LLC may use, or the success of any program. Nothing in these materials may be considered legal or compliance advice. For legal or compliance advice, consult a legal advisor. Grillo Investment Management, LLC will strive to maintain current information however it may become out of date. Grillo Investment Management, LLC is under no obligation to advise users of subsequent changes to statements or information contained herein. This information is general in nature; for specific advice applicable to your current situation please contact a consultant or advisor. Music is Nice to You by the Vibe Tracks The post New SEC Marketing Rule 2021 – 5 parts financial advisors should be aware of appeared first on Sara Grillo.
14 minutes | Apr 5, 2021
Financial Advisor LinkedIn profile page tips
All the financial advisors look the same on LinkedIn. Follow these financial advisor LinkedIn profile page tips to get a page that will set you apart, not be a ho-hum presentation, and get attention from the prospects you want! You’ll learn: The types of language to leave off of your LinkedIn profile pageThe typical jargon financial advisors use on LinkedIn and why it doesn’t workWhat the important parts of your LinkedIn profile page are for a financial advisorThe importance of the niche focusHow to make a good financial advisor LinkedIn profile page For those of you who are new to my blog/podcast, my name is Sara. I am a CFA® charterholder and I used to be a financial advisor. I have a weekly newsletter in which I talk about financial advisor lead generation topics which is best described as “fun and irreverent.” So please subscribe! Let’s get on with the blog! What to leave off your LinkedIn page’s “about section” Financial advisor LinkedIn pages are full of junk. So let’s start this blog about financial advisor LinkedIn profile page tips by clearing it all out. Does your bio have any of the typical financial advisor crap in it? #1“I’m an independent, fee-only fiduciary financial advisor, I follow the fiduciary standard, and I have been a practicing the fiduciary standard and putting my clients’ best interests before my own since the idea was invented! Did I mention I’m a fiduciary by the way?”A little virtue signaling? It’s not that it’s a bad thing to mention how you are paid and that you are a fiduciary. But it’s not something that really sets you apart; there are a lot of advisors who are, and many people don’t even know what it is in the first place. Avoid trying to don the fiduciary halo and call it quits. It’s not a brand, and it’s not enough to set you apart. You have a lot more work to do.#2“Contact me for a free portfolio review.”This is one of the oldest sales lines in the book. Not only is it obtuse to suggest that somebody who knows nothing about you be ready to turn over their personal information to a stranger, it’s also not even that useful. Does a free analysis constitute the same level of diligence as the work you would do for a client? No. It’s merely a chance for you to show off your skills and knowledge. Take this line off your page, and the next time someone asks you for a free portfolio review, say, “Sure, that’ll be $2,000. Will you be paying by Visa or Mastercard?”#3“I have 25 years of experience.”Who cares? What have you done specific to ME? Hint: It has to be about ME not YOU if you want me to trust you! An example of a more targeted statement: “In my 25 years of experience as a financial advisor, I have helped over 30 female entrepreneurs retire, put 50 kids through college in New York state, and save over $1MM in assets for retirement.” Now that’s saying something! #4“I work with individuals, families, executives, and business owners and help them retire comfortably.”Could you be any vaguer? This is like saying, “I work with anyone who goes to sleep at night.” Get a niche. I know, I know, you all are scared to exclude people who aren’t in the niche. I think it’s probably the exception though rather than the norm that a person would say something like, “I think she’s a great financial advisor, but I really wanted someone who works with dentists and she works with surgeons.” You’ve got to present it the right way. Obviously you don’t make it totally exclusive. Say something like, “I am a financial advisor serving medical professionals in Charleston, South Carolina, with a focus on surgeons.” Make a niche statement, but leave it a leeeeetle open, see?#5“If you want to discuss your financial situation, contact me to set up an appointment.”You know, the other day I needed a contractor to do some work on my bathroom. I looked up a bunch of websites on Google but I didn’t contact any of the companies. I wasn’t sure if they were open to taking new appointments or not. See how silly that is? Obviously if you’re out on the internet advertising yourself, you are open for more business. If not, usually there’s a waiting list you can join. The About Section is essentially your chance to put forth your elevator pitch. Make a brief, powerful statement, and then shut up. Financial advisor LinkedIn headlines The title is important because it’s essentially your headline. But you advisors mess it up all the time using meaningless jibber jabber like the titles below: I make work optional for my clientsHelping my clients live their best livesFinancial steward of your hopes and dreamsPersonal CFO for busy familiesHelping you achieve financial peace of mind so you can sleep at nightHelping my clients achieve financial freedom Now, this is a serious profession and so I can appreciate you not wanting to sound overly frivolous. If you want to keep it 100% serious, at least don’t use these tired old cliches above. If you’re a bit more daring, consider adding an emoji, a symbol, or something describing a hobby or interest of yours. Example: Financial advisor and avid astronomer Just a touch of character, no? Financial advisor LinkedIn profile page tips What should a financial advisor’s LinkedIn profile say? Well, I can’t tell you exactly the words to use because that kind of information is what I teach people in my membership. However, here are some general guidelines and financial advisor LinkedIn profile page tips: Include a call to action above the “see more” line in your About section, because people are unlikely to scroll down. You want them to take action right away when they visit your page.Elements on the top of the page tend to get more attention than the middle or bottom. Include all important information at the top.Don’t neglect the banner photo behind your headshot.Spend the most time designing a compelling title and About section because those are where you are going to differentiate yourself the most.Include a Featured Post that speaks to your differentiating characteristics. Sara’s upshot – going beyond just financial advisor LinkedIn profile page tips If you haven’t guessed by now, I’m really sick of the BS. Unlike most of the other people doing what I do, I think most financial advisor marketing is crap. I focus on a quality over quantity approach that emphasizes engagement at the expense of volume. If this is for you, check out these offerings of mine below. Here is my exclusive content for financial advisors who want to get new clients using social media: Learn what to say to prospects on social media messenger apps without sounding like a washing machine salesperson. This e-book contains 47 financial advisor LinkedIn messages, sequences, and scripts, and they are all two sentences or less.If you want a financial advisor marketing plan template, check out my e-book.You could also consider my financial advisor social media membership which teaches financial advisors how to get new clients and leads from LinkedIn. Thanks for reading. I hope you’ll at least join my weekly newsletter about financial advisor lead generation. See you in the next one! -Sara Music is Nice to You by the Vibe Tracks The post Financial Advisor LinkedIn profile page tips appeared first on Sara Grillo.
12 minutes | Mar 29, 2021
Blocking on LinkedIn: cut these losers out of your life!
I think blocking on LinkedIn is something people do not do enough of. I blocked a bunch of losers recently and it felt great. For those of you who are new to my blog/podcast, my name is Sara. I am a CFA® charterholder and I used to be a financial advisor. I have a weekly newsletter in which I talk about financial advisor lead generation topics which is best described as “fun and irreverent.” So please subscribe! Let’s get on with the blog! How LinkedIn works I don’t know the algorithm because I don’t work there but I have devoted a good amount of time to studying LinkedIn and in my observation, it’s a lot easier if you really think about how LinkedIn works. Everyone focuses so much on getting the perfect image, posting at precisely the right time, using the right words. Here’s what matters even more than any of those factors: The people who are following you Guess why! Because all LinkedIn reeeeeealy cares about is who gets the most engagement. They don’t care who the smartest is, who has the best postings, when you post. All that matters is that when you post something, a certain number of people like and comment within a certain timeframe. Only include people in your network who value you because that is going to set you up for better results. The people are what is going to make you successful or not. Why you should block Think of LinkedIn like this. You’re throwing a party online. You decide who gets invited and who gets stopped at the door. Who you have at your party determines the quality of the engagement between the attendees, right? Have you ever had someone at the party that maybe didn’t say anything but just because they were there you were kinda uncomfortable? Like your ex-boyfriend or something? Even if they only looked at you occasionally, their presence was enough to make you uneasy. You don’t need this stress. It’s YOUR party. This is YOUR song. A lot of you put your heart into your work. Don’t give you heart’s work away to just anyone! Plus, if you don’t think this person is that cool, why would you want to allow them to interact with the other people following you? You’re building a community here, remember! Think of it financially. Your postings are an investment of your business time, your capital. You are taking your time to design content that helps other people. If someone hasn’t treated you correctly, they have no right to benefit from your hard work and get the right to devalue your capital. Only give your business capital away to those who will value it because those are the people most likely to return something of value to you later on down the line. Get the losers out and start blocking on LinkedIn! I’m an empathetic person. I think having four kids can do that to you. But I haven’t always been. In the past, I used to turn my back on losers so easily and it’s been to my fault as I’ve become a more understanding and nurturing person that sometimes I am slow to cut people off. But I have learned to listen to myself when my instincts tell me I am in the presence of a zero. Having the ability to judge when someone doesn’t care is a critical business skill. On LinkedIn, in your business, and in general just get the negative associations out of your life! Not just the egregious killers, the ambivalent ones- the people who could take or leave you.The people who look at you and say “meh.” The takers.The two-faced traitors.The ambivalent ones.The abandoners.The leeches.The ones who blow you off Start blocking them on LinkedIn, and then go and get some people who will reciprocate, vouch for you, think of you, voluntarily do things to help you without you even asking because they know that you’d do the same for them, or because they appreciate you. I have a list of them. I call them “Team Grillo.” They’re my LinkedIn buddies. I help them, and they help me. But in the process of building Team Grillo, I have been surprised when there were some people who didn’t get it. Surprising, yes, but it became a matter of just crossing that person off the list and replacing the ghoster with a much more valuable person. You should use Microsoft Excel to keep track of all this. Who to block on LinkedIn – a list to get started Cut these people loose! Ex-clients who didn’t appreciate you. I had one who tried to stiff me on the last bill. Blocked!Competitors who (kinda) swipe your stuff. I had one guy who ignored my request to start up a conversation on LinkedIn messenger, and then copied my content. But he never got the chance again, because he found himself swiftly blocked.Trolls who slander you. Healthy conversation is one thing and debates generate activity which is good for the algorithm. But when people start misrepresenting or getting stuff wrong about you because they didn’t take the time to pay attention to what the truth is, that’s not cool. Cheapskate prospects who have zero intention of hiring you. It’s hard to tell when someone is just taking their time versus freeloading off you. If you get the sense they just want to use your content to do-it-themselves, block them from seeing it.Deadbeat referral partner. You know my stance on CPAs who never reciprocate the favor – kick them to the curb!Any ex-colleague, ex-employee, ex-coworker, ex-employer, ex-friend, ex-boyfriend, ex-girlfriend, or ex-spouse who was a jerk. Like I said, only the cool people get let in to your party. Blocking on LinkedIn is fabulous, so block, block, and block some more! And laugh at the picture of their face while you’re doing it. Sara’s upshot If you haven’t guessed by now, I’m very non-traditional, a quality not quantity type of person. Unlike most of the other people doing what I do, I think most financial advisor marketing is BS. I focus on a quality over quantity approach that emphasizes engagement at the expense of volume. If this is for you, check out these offerings of mine below. Here is my exclusive content for financial advisors who want to get new clients using social media: Learn what to say to prospects on social media messenger apps without sounding like a washing machine salesperson. This e-book contains 47 financial advisor LinkedIn messages, sequences, and scripts, and they are all two sentences or less.If you want a financial advisor marketing plan template, check out my e-book.You could also consider my financial advisor social media membership which teaches financial advisors how to get new clients and leads from LinkedIn. Thanks for reading. I hope you’ll at least join my weekly newsletter about financial advisor lead generation. See you in the next one! -Sara The post Blocking on LinkedIn: cut these losers out of your life! appeared first on Sara Grillo.
29 minutes | Jul 6, 2020
Success story of a financial advisor who gets leads from the internet with Benjamin Brandt
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 produceOptimize your content for internet keyword searchesCreate 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 videosSocial media sites such as LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, etc. Podcasts about retirement, college planning, and other wealth management related topicsOnline or in person seminars Email newslettersIn person networking eventsReferrals/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 GoogleBe 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 needGrow 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 pieceIf you hear a question 10 times, it becomes your next lead magnet (the free thing that goes on your website that people have to give you their email address to get)If you hear a question 15 times, it becomes your next webinar Answer the questions in a way that people can understand (as opposed to financial advisor language). Relevance is an important part of creating a successful content strategy that will allow financial advisors to get leads from the internet. Love your content and your audience, and have passion for what you are delivering. Nobody wants to listen to a financial advisor reciting the CFP manual. It’s got to be fun if you want to attract financial advisor leads. Financial advisor leads from the internet can be much higher quality leads According to Ben, podcasting is very intimate in the sense that you are living in someone’s cell phone. You are talking directly to someone’s ears. They know what it sounds like when you breathe. If they listen to you for a month or two months, when they finally pick up the phone they are going to literally be able to finish your sentences. Creating content and nurturing your audience along is the driver of how financial advisors get leads from the internet. The level of familiarity is much higher when it is somebody who has been listening to their podcast or reading their blog. It is a night and day difference from meeting someone at the Chamber of Commerce meeting or teaching a class at the local college where people get to meet you once. To use Ben’s words, they’re already rounding second base headed for home instead of at home plate swinging at the pitch. If you are consistent with your publishing schedule, you are inserting yourself into their daily schedule. If you watched your favorite program for years, you could still tell me the time and day when the show airs. Building yourself into their life creates an incredible trust. Financial advisor leads from the internet that are found using this strategy can be much higher quality leads for these reasons. Ben estimates that this year he will potentially talk to 60 new leads for his financial advisor firm, all from his internet podcast. Summary of how to get financial advisor leads from the internet Financial advisors who want to get leads from the internet should be very intentional about what type of content to produce, and how they are optimizing it to be found by the target prospect through internet search. The higher the relevance of the content, the more it drives leads. Check out the full podcast episode with Ben Brandt below, and we hope you’ll stick around and subscribe to the show! Resources mentioned in this show Retirement Starts Today Radio Music is Much Higher by CausmicThe post Success story of a financial advisor who gets leads from the internet with Benjamin Brandt first appeared on Sara Grillo.
12 minutes | Jun 30, 2020
Financial advisor lead generation services stink!
Financial advisor lead generation services stink. Please read this blog and listen to the podcast below to hear about the 5 reasons that buying financial advisors leads does not work out most of the time. To listen to podcast discussing the 5 reasons that financial advisors should not buy leads for their businesses, please scroll to the end of this blog. For future episodes, subscribe here to be notified automatically. 5 reasons financial advisor lead generation services stink I would never claim to be all knowing when it comes to financial advisor lead generation services. However, in my experience, most of the financial advisors who buy leads have had a negative experience. Here are the 5 reasons why they stink: #1 Weird data collection methods #2 The ROI is a disgrace #3 The lead is not given exclusively to you #4 It’s one step above telemarketing #5 A personal brand is difficult to outsource I am going to briefly discuss each of these reasons in the blog that follows. To listen to podcast which goes into much greater depth, please scroll to the end of this blog. #1 Weird data collection methods There is really no way to know if the information reported by the lead is true. The data these services rely on is reported by the investor. It is not verified by the financial advisor lead generation services company itself. At no point does the company say, “Alrighty now show me your latest Fidelity statement because I am going to charge a financial advisor $200 and tell them you have $2MM in investable assets. I need to be sure you’re not just making that up!” Although every company goes about this differently, the process for collecting information from the investor usually goes something like as follows. The financial advisor lead generation company publishes a blog about a topic that will attract high net worth investors. Or they create a Google ad or something. Whichever way they do it, the investor is led to a lead magnet that they must input their information to download. Every company gathers financial advisor leads in a different fashion. If you are curious to learn about what I believe to be one of the methods that SmartAsset uses, watch this video below. The investor is then required to input his or her phone, email and personal information about their assets, income, etc., in order to receive the lead magnet over email. This is a typical marketing move that many companies do in other to gather the investor’s information. However, here is where the process that these financial advisor lead generation companies use doesn’t quite hold up. If I input my email and name so that I can get a copy of a report about which podcast microphone to buy, that is one thing. However when we are talking about someone’s personal information such as how much money they have, it gets a bit weird. If I were asked to answer a length questionnaire about my personal finances, I would gloss over it and not spend the time required to do it right. We tend to blow off questionnaires in the first place and especially when it is a questionnaire of this type. People feel weird about fully disclosing all their information this way over the internet to a company that they don’t know. Investors are naturally distrustful of financial services companies in the first place. In a sense the process is setting itself up for failure because at no point do the financial advisor lead generation services company acknowledge this. They just gloss over it, collect the investor’s info with some marginal, barely there disclaimer/consent form that the investor agrees to potentially be contacted by a financial advisor. At no point is it usually made clear to the investor that his or her information is going to be bought by a financial advisor as a lead. Normally there isn’t much clarity provided to the investor, so they don’t really expect what comes next, which is typically a bunch of financial advisors calling them up and trying to get them to meet. It’s not like there are neon lights blasting say, “NEWS FLASH: IN EXCHANGE FOR THAT RETIREMENT CALCULATOR YOU ARE GOING TO BE BOMBARDED BY FINANCIAL ADVISOR SOLICITATIONS FOR THE NEXT THREE WEEKS.” Because quite simply, if the investor knew that, then very few of them would be willing to hand over their personal details. The result? The financial advisor pays $200 or whatever for the lead, calls the investor up, and what do they get? Crickets, crickets, and more crickets. My point is that the process that these financial advisor lead generation companies follow in getting these leads is often very lacking. The leads aren’t vetted as fully as they need to be, and the investor’s interest in not fully gauged. As a result, response rates tend to be very low. #2 The ROI is a disgrace The ROI for financial advisor lead generation services tends to be low. Let’s say you pay $200 for a lead. In my experience, I’ve seen advisors buy 20 leads and not even get a single meeting. But let’s say you get lucky and 1 in 30 leads converts to a client. Well, what is the cost/benefit of a financial advisor lead in that particular case? A total cost of $200 x 30 = $6,000 in fees is paid to the financial advisor lead generation services company But that’s not where it ends! Now you have to take into account the implicit costs of the lead, the time and energy it takes you to close the deal. This means: Time spent in meetings Following up by phone Following up by email Etc. Let’s suppose you spend another $200 in your time and your company’s time, materials, etc. on follow up. Even if you close 1 out of the 30 leads, your total cost is now: $6,000 explicit cost + ($200 x 30) or $6,000 in implicit cost Total cost of this lead is $12,000! Hope they decide to stick around for a few years! You may say that a low ROI is at least an ROI. Point taken. However there are other methods that have much higher ROI such as building your own brand and your own lead generation system in house. There are a variety of ways to do this and I describe some of them in this membership here. #3 The lead is not given exclusively to you Unlike getting a lead from a private conversation you had on the golf green last week, these leads are not exclusive to you. The financial advisor lead generation services company sells the lead to you, and they also sell it to a few others. Essentially you are tossed into the ring and it’s a battle of who gets to the investor first and best. This is highly competitive. In fact, it probably couldn’t get much more competitive than this. You’re competing against other financial advisors and the prospect has no way to tell you apart initially. It’s so easy for the investor to toss you out for the littlest thing, and they probably will because they have at least two other advisors blowing up their phone! You are wrestling for the investor’s attention. You’re way better off sourcing leads from relationships you have or that you create in your personal or professional life. At least this way there is at least some likelihood that it won’t be so cutthroat. For an example of ways that financial advisors can find new leads online, please watch the video below. #4 It’s one step above telemarketing In my view, $200 or more is expensive for what is essentially a step above a stone cold lead. As I mentioned in #1, in some cases the investor isn’t really looking for anything. Once you buy the lead, you have to call the person up or email them and you are starting from a position of total distrust and invisibility. It’s really hard to get these people’s attention this way. Who likes getting phone calls from people they don’t know? Let’s face it: instead of a high value financial advisor, the keeper of their future, hopes, and dreams, you look like a telemarketer. Given the type of business this is, cold leads are hard to close. There is no trust, nothing to base anything on. They will feel free to mistreat you and even be nasty in some cases. If you want to earn their trust, be prepared to execute a strategy with multiple touch points (phone, email, snail mail, social media), not just one. Be prepared to work hard as you are starting from the lowest possible level of trust in the prospect’s eyes. And even when you do, you’re going to face a great deal of humbling and rejection. #5 A personal brand is difficult to outsource For most of you financial advisors, your brand is highly connected to you as a person. It’s not like you are Apple Computer. Outsourcing to a financial advisor lead generation services company is giving control of the first impression of your brand to someone else. There you have it – the top 5 reasons that financial advisor lead generation services stink! I hope you will listen to my podcast below which expounds upon my teachings. Please subscribe to my show here and we will see you next time for more financial advisor lead generation advice. Want to learn how to get more meetings in the first place? For more tips about financial advisor marketing, join my membership. Music is Much Higher by CausmicThe post Financial advisor lead generation services stink! first appeared on Sara Grillo.
15 minutes | Jun 28, 2020
Financial Advisor Prospect Meeting: How much to give away for free?
How much should Financial Advisors give away for free during a Prospect Meeting? The least that you can and still be seen as credible enough to close the deal. But how do financial advisors do that and still have a great financial advisor prospect meeting? I am about to tell you in this podcast. To listen to podcast, please scroll below. For future episodes, subscribe here to be notified automatically. Financial Advisor Prospect Meeting: the Critical Exchange of Value I mean, let’s be real. Why would they pay if they can do it themselves? In my experience I have seen a great deal of overcommunication in these financial advisor prospecting meetings. You could probably communicate about half of what you typically do. But by this I don’t mean hold back items of value. What I mean is, communicate differently in a way that gets them interested and curious, not feeling like they got their cake and can eat it too. Interested = they feel that what you offer is relevant to them and can help them Curious = they are willing to devote at least some amount of time to hearing you talk about it and it won’t be like pulling teeth to sit there listening to you I will say it differently: the object of the exercise is not to give away so much information that they see you as the most credible financial advisor on earth. Let’s keep in mind the goal of any meeting that a financial advisor has with a qualified prospect: The goal of the financial advisor prospect meeting is to give away enough information so that they are interested and curious enough to exchange their money for the knowledge you have that they perceive as valuable.-Sara Grillo, CFA In this podcast, I am going to cover a 3 step process to make the prospect realize the exchange of value and to get the deal done. To listen to podcast, please scroll below. Now, just to be clear, this is not a discussion for the first go around. The first meeting is all about them and you don’t get technical. The process I am going to outline below is for the second financial advisor prospect meeting or even third depending on when you get into their account analysis. Is there a sure fire way to get the prospect to close during the meeting? No. Even having said this, even with the best of execution, all meetings are not going to go your way. Sometimes it’s a personality conflict. Other times they’re just not ready to move forward, or things might not click. How can you prevent this from leaving you with an empty pipeline and even worse, and empty wallet? That is why you should have an abundance of leads and new prospects interested in talking to you. Financial advisors should try to fill up their sales funnels. In the video below you will learn some ways that financial advisors can get new leads. How to Have a Great Financial Advisor Prospect Meeting: 3 easy steps If you want to have an awesome financial advisor prospect meeting in which you move closer to closing the deal, there are 3 steps to follow. Now, you have to plan out the meeting in advance. Set up this strategy before you meet with the prospect and be mentally ready for whatever may happen. This is a battle. Be ready to fight! Step #1: Think about what you would barf overcommunicate) about during the meeting Examples of questions that you would barf up information all over the prospect about may include: When do I take social security? What do you think of my portfolio? Your view on the market and how to play it? Step 2: Prepare strategic answers to the questions you typically barf about Have prepared answers that generate as much confusion as clarity. You never want to give a direct answer here. People will be more attracted to you if you provide an answer that is unclear but makes them think at the same time. Examples of how to do this during your financial advisor prospect meeting: They say, “When do I take social security?” Instead of “probably take it at 62 if you are not working” say something like this, “Let me ask you, have you sat down and mapped out your net cash flow, adjusted for inflation, for the next 5 years?” They say no. You say: “If net cash flow is above a certain amount of your current income, and that percentage is determined on a regular basis according to our actuarial assumptions, then it makes sense to take it earlier. However if it is below that certain percentage, then it makes sense to take it later. Hard to tell without the hard data in front of me.” Now, this is a simple response and I know that didn’t sound that smart, but I’m not the social security expert, you financial advisors are! You get my point? Say something technical and provide options. But don’t get too technical (example: “that percentage is determined on a regular basis according to our actuarial assumptions”) and be a little bit mysterious. You want to give them enough so that you seem credible and they get it that a certain process has to be followed, but in no way are you giving them enough that they could do it themselves. Remember this key rule: The goal of the financial advisor prospect meeting is to give the client the space to appreciate you by being attracted to the information you provide and how you provide it. -Sara Grillo, CFA Throughout your meeting, you have to include an element of mystery because if you spell it all out then they will perceive you as a lower value advisor. Essentially right then and there in the middle of the meeting, you have told them that they do not need to pay you for your knowledge. Here is another example. Prospect asks, “What is wrong with my account based upon your analysis?” You say: “Geraldine, I reviewed your accounts. On a scale of 1 to 10, I would say your portfolio is at a 6 or 7 in terms of overall health. The biggest opportunities for improvement are: 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.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.I’m sure this is going to be a little bit surprising, but a few of your GRATS are structured in ways that weren’t obvious to me and atypical of how I usually see them. it would be great to speak with your estate attorney and learn about the rationale for setting them up this way. They say, “Which holdings, can you tell me specifically?” They say, “Which position was the concentration?” They say, “Which GRATS were those and what were the other possibilities?” They say, “Can I have a hard copy of your analysis?” You say: “In my experience I have found that these discussions are better kept for when we are formally engaged as advisor and client.” And then shut up. Don’t back down. Don’t explain why. Do not negotiate. Just shut up. You have them curious and remember that: Curiosity is one of the greatest human motivators that exists in our psychology.-Sara Grillo, CFA When you have them this curious, it’s time to get the deal done. At the point in the financial advisor prospect meeting when curiosity is at its height, you either propose an hourly arrangement where they can meet with you and you provide this for a fee, or they sign the retainer contract. That is how you end it. Step 3: Practice and log results Get a journal. Plan out the meeting beforehand. After it is done, assess yourself a score for how well you did what you wanted to do. At the core of it, financial advisor marketing and sales are about how well you understand the prospect psychologically. Here are some tips for taking the time to do that and doing it intelligently (instead of just barfing up information all over the prospect). Better self control is what we should all strive for, it is hard but it feels great when you see yourself growing as a human being. I’m someone who is very talkative, gets excited about other people and sometimes can be less strategic in my conversations than would be the best. Not always, but sometimes. I have learned that silence is value adding. I’ve learned to slow down a bit and use silence. During any meeting, you can always pause for a bit longer than you think before you talk. Before you answer any question, remind yourself that you want to say just enough to get them interested but not one more word than you need to. And then let them imagine…. Summary of 3 step process for getting great results during your financial advisor prospect meeting Step #1: Think about what you would barf overcommunicate) Step #2: Prepare strategic answers to the questions you typically barf Step #3: Practice and log results This is how you can be seen as a high value financial advisor and have a great financial advisor prospect meeting. I hope you will listen to my podcast below which expounds upon my teachings. Please subscribe to my show here and we will see you next time for more financial advisor marketing advice. Want to learn how to get more meetings in the first place? For more tips about financial advisor lead generation, join my membership. Music is Much Higher by Causmic The post Financial Advisor Prospect Meeting: How much to give away for free? first appeared on Sara Grillo.
16 minutes | Jun 23, 2020
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 charterholderHas a CFP in the familyWorks at a high tech company such as Intel, Cisco, MicrosoftFormer or current employee of a financial firm of any type in any capacity, or of a bankReads seeking alphaHave 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 offArgue with everything you sayConstantly be creating more work for youExpect you to be their servantFault you for bad performance when they were the ones messing things up all the timeGive away all your trade secrets to their DIY friends but never introduce you to any of them Stand up for yourself! You have to respect yourself and not tolerate this BS. You have to stand up to them and call them out on their BS. Act like you are good enough, and they’ll believe you. Act like you are not, and they’ll believe that too. So I’m going to tell you the specific things you need to do. 3 ways to handle a DIY client Now this is going to be hard for many of you to do, beause youv’e been brainwashed by ths industry and all these nicey nicey management consultants or whoever that just want to sell you a yoga retreat. I’ll save you the $6k and tell you right now how to act. It’s very simple. 3 things. You are going to have to be willing to cut the bad DIY clients lose. This will mean you have to be able to attract prospects to yourself easily. Having other options that you know you can go to is the only way you will be able to cut out this “pleaser” or “butler” behavior. You will have to exercise self control and hold your fears in check. Want to learn how to get new leads? Check out this video below. #1 Make the DIY client chase you During the prospecting phase, you have to let them do 70-75% of the calling, texting, and emailing. You can not pursue these clients heavily because then they will view you as the butler. During the meeting, establish multiple points of value not just one or two, and it shouldn’t just be that you have access to awesome private equity funds that they can’t get on their own. Make a chart or diagram to illustrate to them what they need you for. You really have to spell it out. Get a white board and write it all down. For example if you are talking about financial planning, give them a sample financial plan to look over in the meeting, but then take it back before they leave as you recall they are DIYers and will copy it. Tell them what every single component of the plan will be. If they ask for references, blatantly say no. mystery creates obsession. It will make them more intrigued. Tell them that you only open up references after the person signs up and ACATs the money over. Also restrict any marketing content. Don’t be sending the DIY client your quarterly economic outlook piece. That is playing right into their hands. Tell them that you only have a few spots left. Limited time offer. Then do not follow up with this prospect. #2 State the DIY declaration There is no beating around the bush with a DIY client. You have to crush them right away before they get the chance to surge up. In the beginning of the relationship, you should say these words: I look forward to working with you, but I’m not going to be your personal butler. We are not co-managers of this portfolio. If this isn’t what you want, then I’m prepared to sever all ties, walk away and forget this conversation ever happened. Let me know what you want to do. You almost have to dare them to say no, and then when you do that they will say yes. #3 Implement DIY pricing Now I know you advisors aren’t creative with anything and especially pricing has to be the same. But its just not fair to the good clients if you are spending so much time on a DIY relationship that it become unprofitable. In that case the profitable, good clients are paying for the bad clients. Tell them this: Now, we have two options for working together. One is the typical model in which I am the portfolio manager and financial advisor. The normal fee schedule on my website applies. However, if you want to co-manage the portfolio and be involved with every tradesy wadesy I make, then we can work together differently. You can ask me unlimited questions and we can research the trades together. I will simply charge you $30k per month because that is the cost of my firm’s time and the expenses associated with taking on an engagement of this type. Which option would you choose? You’ll have to amend your ADV if you are offering option #2. Also tell them that if the sign up for the normal service and then start treating you like their personal butler, then you’ll be in touch with them about transferring them to model #2 which will cost them $30k per month. Summary of how financial advisors need to deal with a DIY client These DIY clients are bad news. Don’t give them their cake and eat it too. Follow this 3 step process as outlined in the podcast below. Please subscribe here and don’t miss my future shows on financial advisor marketing and lead generation! To learn how to attract more clients to yourself so that you can tell these DIY clients to take a hike, join my membership here.
12 minutes | Jun 21, 2020
Grounded goals (non corny)
This isn’t just some corny pep talk about goal setting.
18 minutes | Jun 17, 2020
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.
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