This article is for attorneys and financial advisors alike. Referrals require a strategy. They sometimes happen in very large, mature law practices, but a process can make referrals flow with more frequency. Referral processes can be put in place and processes actually work well.
Would attorneys like to receive consistent referrals from 10 or 15 financial advisors each month? It can be done. Would financial advisors like to have a resource that would help them gain clients? You bettcha. Financial advisors come in all types. There are insurance agents, investment advisors, investment advisor representatives, registered representatives, and many others. They all have one thing in common. They try to get clients to invest money with them. Attorneys like referrals from them but there's a critical error that is not addressed. The financial advisor only refers clients. These clients are usually “tapped out” on their ability to bring new revenue to the advisor. So, there is our clue to referral success. We need to explore how you can generate revenue for the advisor.
The advisor is generally referring as a courtesy to the client. He can't make any more money, so it's not important to refer. One exception is if the client has estate tax or income tax issues that can be partially solved with legal documents or similar solutions that generate revenue. Advisors should bring prospects, not just clients, to attorneys. The advisor has huge potential and incentive to bring prospects because they have not "tapped out" as a revenue source. He has ample incentive to want to bring the attorney referrals.
Before I sold my financial practice, my relationship with an attorney brought in over $300,000 a year in revenue to my firm. His revenue increase was over $100,000 because of my referrals of prospective clients from my firm. It was a matter of convincing the prospect that a proper financial plan integrates investment options with legal options. I would bring the prospects to the attorney for a free consultation. The attorney would ask the necessary questions for his research. The same information is valuable to the advisor, so I would simply take notes in the meeting. Of course, I had permission in writing to be in the meeting with the attorney.
This became my discovery process. All of the prospect’s financial and legal weaknesses were exposed in one meeting. Revocable trusts were executed and I volunteered to handle the funding unless real estate was involved. The attorney handled real estate titling. Since I handled the funding at no charge, I also had plenty of ideas for the destination of the assets that were superior to where they were. All parties were winning. The new client received a solid financial plan with supporting legal documents. The attorney created the documents. I, the advisor, had the opportunity to handle the investments.
My attorney (Tom) did an excellent job of assuring the client that I was a competent advisor and a good choice. I had demonstrated my sincere resolve to create a solid financial plan by offering a service for which I was not paid. The one thing Tom could have done to further enhance his practice was to expand his referral sources to additional advisors. He didn’t create a mechanism for recruiting them. He should have created a program to offer other advisors his expertise and knowledge about a process that would work for both the attorney and advisor.
Imagine ten advisors like me. The advisors will bring quality prospects because they will be assured that the attorney will do his best to help convert them to clients. Since the advisor will vet them for quality, the attorney will get quality referrals. I presented seminars and integrated legal documents in my presentation. Presenting how legal documents were important to a good financial plan, I had plenty of prospects to bring the attorney. I presented these seminars with a legal document component. Since I can’t give legal advice, I simply told three brief stories about clients who suffered serious financial loss due to a lack of legal documents. Stories about what happened as a result of not having a healthcare power, durable power and living trust. I would have a significant number of attendees who wanted to be referred to an attorney. I went further than that. I introduced them personally. Tom also loved the idea that I was spending my money on marketing.
The advisor and attorney must be trained on their roles. Also, in order to give the advisor the attorney’s blessing, the attorney must know what the advisor does and due diligence on background would be appropriate. There are advisors who the attorney does not need referrals from. They are incompetent or too restricted in their practice options. I can help with the training and selection.
The seminar I presented was called 7 Ways Retirees Crack Their Nest Eggs. One of the 7 ways was a lack of proper legal documents. Around 30% of my seminar attendees wanted to meet with an attorney. The attorney will need advisors who are actively marketing. Of course, I can help them with the marketing.
Clearly, this will take time to develop, but will be well worth the effort.
Marketing is a fickle creature. Some tactics work well and others fail miserably. To add to the confusion, there's no lack of advice floating around the Internet from "experts". Since advice on how to create great marketing campaigns is plenteous, it's wise to take a moment to identify the pitfalls of marketing.
Lack of Commitment
One of the greatest sources of grief for marketers is a lack of commitment. When it comes to investing in marketing, especially in the elder law business, it causes several problems. It's easy for doubt concerning a low-performing campaign to creep in premature. When doubt leads some to abandon campaigns before they've had time to mature, they waste money and time instead of saving it.
Instead of letting doubt derail your marketing campaigns, research and network with other attorneys who have successfully utilized a certain marketing method. It will help you eliminate doubt and lead to long-lasting commitment.
Failing to Offer Services that Resonate
Another pitfall is marketing the services that don't resonate well with the general public. Plainly put, some services are less marketable than others. When it comes to marketing elder law services, you want an easy entry into a client relationship. When it comes to establishing a relationship with a new client, I've always liked solving existing problems rather than preventing potential ones.
Dentists know that it's much more difficult to get someone to make an appointment to prevent a tooth ache than to treat a tooth ache. A painful tooth will always get immediate attention. The same principle holds true in elder law.
People tend to postpone estate planning and even advanced directives when there's no sense of urgency. They feel that they can always "get around to it".
However, marketing to crisis planning addresses a problem that requires attention now. From there, you can expand the relationship to estate work based on the work you've already done. What's more, you'll create opportunities to reach the rest of your client's family by baking it into your client process. Don't leave family outreach to, "Oh, by the way, if you could mention my name to your family..."
Getting Tricked into High Maintenance Marketing
High maintenance programs most often fail for lack of attention. Starting a social media campaign or even an email campaign may fail just because of a lack of consistent attention. Someone in your firm must be committed to social media to make it work.
With a professional practice that has complex components, someone who has in-depth knowledge must handle social media for the firm. Just throwing an employee into the fray with little or no experience in social media marketing usually fails. It's not that social media marketing doesn't work, it's usually neglected after an initial jumpstart.
Turning Qualified Seminar Attendees into Clients
Creating seminar content, delivering that narrative, and booking appointments is a consistent problem area for elder law attorneys. Since elder law and estate planning can be quite technical, presenters may over explain the technical aspects. Instead of spending time during your seminar clarifying your audience's problem, identify the cure. Assure the attendees that the cure is affordable and attainable.
Don't tell them how you build the engine. That leads to confusion and, ultimately, procrastination. Instead, tell stories about where your engine will take them.
Failing to Tailor Your Marketing to Your Locale
It's vital that you learn what works where you are. There are some states and population centers that are more resistant to certain marketing tactics than other areas. Methods that work in rural Tennessee may not be appropriate in Southern California. Soliciting good feedback and researching the nuances of the selected geographic area will save resources and money. Make modifications to subject matter and supporting content. That alone can make a difference once there is a clear understanding of the recipients’ attitudes.
Not Committing to a Marketing Budget
A lack of a budget for marketing seems elemental, however not enough commitment to a budget creates inconsistent results. My daughter, Amy, owns an advertising agency. She created a campaign for a dental implant specialist. He budgeted $1500 per month, and she convinced him to commit to at least six months without expecting results. In the fourth month business started to trickle in and by the six-month there was a consistent flow of new patients.
This concept of a clear and consistent budget is essential to marketing success. It works the same way in the industries we serve. When you know that others have been successful with a particular type of marketing campaign, be ready to commit a consistent flow of revenue to that campaign. Campaigns take time to develop their full potential. I have seen many campaigns cut short because of moderate to poor instant returns.
Marketing must be evaluated on all of its impact. The first question I ask a new marketing client is “What is a client worth to you in a lifetime?” The initial amount of revenue from a new client is not the client’s average lifetime revenue. The average client may be worth twice as much eventually as they are initially.
The marketing campaign brought that client to your practice. The marketing campaign should get credit for all revenue generated by that client. In addition to that, how much revenue will be derived from referrals from that client? That’s another overlooked advantage to powerful campaigns.
There are three opportunities for new seminar content. I have secured more information on the progress of the 401(k) exit. The FMOs are getting on board. I believe this will be the next Social Security approach. The ISAR (In Service Alternate Rollover) continues to gain momentum. ISAR allows an employee who is participating in a 401(k) plan to roll out the money to an IRA without a qualifying event. It is new and it works. I have created a seminar mailer that will target a much younger audience. Demographics will be 50-60, which is much different than a typical retiree target.
The second mailer addresses crisis planning for Medicaid qualification. I have secured a resource that processes medicaid applications. They will work with an attorney to create the documents. This is a huge opportunity. This resource will also pay a finders fee to you for bringing them a client for application processing. It can be done in any state. There are plenty of opportunities available when creating a Medicaid plan, not the least of which is Asset based Long Term care business.
The third is a new update to a tried and proven seminar that gets a great response and business to follow. The Seven Ways Retirees Crack Their Nest Eggs continues to be a winner in attendance and relevance.
We have a client who consistently gets only a few people to attend a seminar, but enough for a solid return on investment. Clarifying the purpose of the seminar approach and understanding it's potential and limitations help to utilize seminars as an effective marketing method. Patience and consistency are required for any marketing method. It's clear that seminars can be misunderstood. The various elements are all equally important. The element of consistency is no less important than asking for an appointment.
The interest in the details of the 401(k) exit strategy has been great. I am now an affiliate of the company that trains advisors on the details of getting a prospective clients money out of their 401(k) plan without consequences. Give me a call if you have an interest in creating an entirely new and exciting market.
Have you wondered how you could get to the seven trillion dollars that are in 401k plans? So has everyone else. How would you like to be able to market to investors in 401k plans and also be able to get the money out of their plans. Well, now it can be done. We have always been concerned with producing seminars aimed at anyone under age 60 because of the lack of availability of their 401k money. Since we can now access to that money, seminars to that demographic now make sense.
We have located a resource that trains on the details of how to extract 401k money without the traditional requirements. Reaching employees with their money locked up in 401k plans is a bonanza that shouldn't be ignored. I can get you the methods and the marketing expertise that will reach this demographic.
Go to the contact page and give me some info on how to get in touch with you if you are interested in the details. Don't be shy. I won't "sell" you, but the details take about a half hour and you will have questions.
The most frequently asked question is "What's working?" It's our responsibility to get something in the mail properly, but we can't get repeat orders if people don't show up at seminars. The formula or recipe includes an ingredient that most advisors simply don't clearly understand. The absolutely most important part of a mailing is the message. If the message is wrong, nothing works. Our competitors say, mail more, or mail fancier, or mail a better list. In other words, just spend more money. I don't blame them. That's all they have to offer. I spend a majority of my days researching products and processes. That gives me tremendous insight into what the typical producer must do to get and reach an audience. The 7 Ways seminar is a the product of my research. It works, it's easy to present, easy to make appointments, easy to segue into a fact finder, easy to build a plan for each prospect and sell them what they actually need and want. It all flows. Take a serious look at our flagship seminar. You won't regret it.
"Offenses will come". There are life circumstances so difficult that your practice, marriage and even very existence will be at risk. Life throws curve balls just when you're hitting fastballs out of the park.
How do you survive when your world is collapsing? How does your profession, any profession, overcome the impossible? Is it worth it?
Six and a half years ago an avalanche of pain and despair invaded our wonderful life. I couldn't fix it and even today, it is gone unrepaired. My wife, Carol, received a call from a frantic teenager. She was using our daughter's cell phone to tell us that Kristin, our 19-year-old daughter, was on her way to an emergency room. She was unconscious and unresponsive. Kristin was driving, with her friend from a dinner party when she mentioned that her face was numb. She started driving erratically and her friend implored her to pull over. Kristen managed to stop the truck, grabbing the door latch and falling out of the truck into the highway. A passerby helped Kristin’s friend get her off the road then called 911. The paramedics were transporting Kristin when her friend made the call to Carol. Family arrived, almost simultaneously, at the emergency room to discover that Kristin had a brain hemorrhage. An arterio-venous malformation in her brain had caused an aneurysm and the artery wall couldn't hold the pressure.
After surgery, and three days of agonizing despair, the neurosurgeon informed our family that there was no hope of recovery. She died that night. With her death came emotions that I am not able to describe. I've attempted, many times, to describe the difficult life experience associated with losing a child. I have failed miserably to accurately communicate how it affects a parent.
During and after the funeral, the shock of the event allowed Carol and I to remain calm, and collected. We had things to be done. The passage of time brought reality. She wasn’t coming back. Our other children were willing to help. In looking back, we did a poor job of actually helping them as they were helping us. Only days, perhaps weeks had passed and we realized that we were actually quite dysfunctional. Achievement requires motivation. Our motivation was sabotaged. When your day begins with a decision on getting out of bed, the rest of the day doesn't go so well.
It would take much more room than I have here to describe what has happened over the last six years that have been serious roadblocks to recovering function and ultimately, real achievement in my work. Carol and I now walk with an emotional and even spiritual limp, but we walk and even run at times. It's not smooth or even pretty at times, but we’re quite functional. We had to function in short bursts. We had to learn how to task for short periods of time. I no longer had long-term goals. Sometimes my long-term goals were one hour. Sometimes we had to make it through the next few minutes; a few more and on, and on. A former divorce did not affect me like this. Financial collapse did not affect me like this. A handicapped older child did not affect me like this.
This event brought me to the point of surrender. I couldn't fix it and move on. I could only live with it and keep moving. Yes, I gained weight. Yes, I became short tempered. Yes, I became intolerant. However, Carol and I are still very happily married and best friends. All the kids and grandkids are well financially and physically. Our businesses are thriving. Our faith is strong. Our relationships with other people almost all survived.
If something major has happened to you and you're struggling in confusion and difficulty, it is survivable. You can do this. It is likely that a series of events or even one major event will affect your ability to perform. You're either going through extreme difficulty, will go through extreme difficulty, or have gone through extreme difficulty. You must still function. You must still plod forward.
Narrow your field of view so you can remain focused on the important issues. Block out distractions generated by people, circumstances and events. Other people are usually the source of roadblocks to continuing achievement, so you may have to avoid a few of them.
You still have to prospect for your practice. You can shorten goals to weeks, days, hours, or even minutes. You can still have great relationships with the ones you love and achieve wonderful things in your work. You can overcome depression, if not get rid of it. You can overcome financial pressures, relationship pressures, physical difficulties, failures, and almost anything with a strong faith and an understanding that the future is still bright.
Life events are not always financial. However they can add financial stress to the equation. Many of them can’t be avoided. Self-employment requires self-motivation and that’s extremely difficult to maintain when your mind is invaded with worrisome distractions. The people you love are depending on you. It’s lonely and nobody understands, but they don’t have to understand. You’ve heard stories about strong people surviving huge setbacks. How do normal, every day people get through it all? With a quiet determination that they will not be defeated.
Since prospecting for new clients is an activity, it requires a clear and motivated state of mind, or it requires a determined spirit. A determined spirit will do if that’s all you can muster.
I write articles like this for thinkadvisor.com each month. There are over 110 on prospecting for new clients. Many of the ideas are transferrable to other professions. Just type in Kim Magdalein in the search.
This is a very special holiday. It honors those who have paid the ultimate price. They have given their lives. They can't read this or any other article on how much we appreciate them. We are taking time off from our daily routine to remember them. However, we are the ones who benefit. We are free to choose because of them. We are free to achieve because of them. We are safe because of them. We are comfortable because of them. We are alive because of them. Today, there are many young men and women who are enlisting in our armed forces to continue the legacy of those who have gone before. They may be called upon to go into harms way. In memory of those who have given it all, may we be mindful and pray for those who will follow. There are many reasons that people join armed services, but someday, no matter what their purpose was, they may lose their lives protecting the rest of us. It's a noble cause, a noble profession, sometimes thankless. It shouldn't be so.
I'm certain that someone who has lost a loved one or close friend in the service of our country is reading this. I just want you to know that this American appreciates, with all my heart, those who have died so that we may enjoy the freedoms of this, the greatest country that God has ever allowed to exist.
This is a question that many answer in the negative. what is an"good speaker"? It's actually someone who connects with the audience. There is a difference between a "good speaker" and someone who can influence opinion while speaking before an audience of any size. I think the better terminology would be"good influencer". TED talks can be found on youtube.com. As you observe the speakers, you may notice that the presenters, by and large, are not what people would call good speakers. However, they do persuade. Most of them actually read a prompter with a narrative that was written with feeling and passion for the subject. The subjects usually fit the presenter. They are very comfortable with their subject and have great conviction about the subject matter. That conviction is projected to the audience. I have presented to audiences of all sizes and on various topics. The response from the audience has varied. The subjects I am most passionate about have received the best audience acceptance. My performance must be respectful of the time that the audience has invested. They are taking a certain amount of time out of their lives to listen to what I have to say. I must deliver a message that has value. If it has no value, even the best presenters will not connect. Subjects that are presented by passionate speakers are always well received.
My speaking history began with a passionate disdain for speaking, however, I knew that my career was dependent on overcoming my fear of presenting. Accepting failing grades in school in order to avoid a 2 minute book report was normal. I failed an entire year of English because of my refusal to present. So, I am no stranger to this phenomenon, but the embarrassment of failing is worth the achievement of improvement.
When presenting your practice, remember to discuss those elements of what you do that you are passionate about. Tell stories that illustrate your passion. Your audience will connect.
Kim has personally presented over 800 seminars and produced over 8,000 for other producers.