Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Social Security Income Planning - An Essential Element for Female Clients

Watch this free educational webinar now: 


Complimentary Book on Social Security Income Planning

Free ebook 

How to Grow Your Financial Practice with Social Security Planning - By Frank Horath


Client Acquistion Program Uses Social Security Income Planning as "Hook"

Marie Swift interviewed advisor Frank Horath on November 4, 2012 to find out how he has been so successfully filling his pipeline and attracting new clients with Social Security Income Planning as the "hook."

Listen to this 14 minute podcast now!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Learn about the "mother of all new asset pipelines" - Download recordings now


Access the webinar recording now 

Listen to the audio version of the webinar now

Download the slides

Advisor shares his Social Security Marketing & Practice Management System for capturing the "mother of all new asset pipelines"! 

Frank Horath, an independent financial advisor I recently met at an industry conference, has agreed to share his 4-step process for business building using Social Security Income Planning as a hook.

In this 35 minute webinar, Frank will tell us how he (1) enhanced his own business (2) stewards other financial advisors in growing their own new client asset pipelines. For example, Frank helped a fellow advisor grow his pipeline from $2MM to north of $10MM in just 6 months, converting more than $5M of these assets into new business.

How have Frank and his financial advisor clients achieved such great success?

1.  He developed adopted a simple, visual method to learn and convey Social Security Planning concepts for advisors and their clients.
2.  They employ best-in-class Social Security Income Optimization software.
3.  They work with existing clients and COIs, telling them how smart Social Security election decisions can add up to $100,000 to the average retiree's retirement "pay checks" from Uncle Sam.
4.  They put in place a disciplined Social Security Planning seminar marketing system that lands new business every time.

Clearly, the time is NOW for Social Security Income Planning. This may very well be the valuable marketing and practice management webinar you'll ever attend.

All attendees will receive a copy of Frank's new eBook ,“How to Grow Your Financial Practice with Social Security Income Planning”, in which he states the case for re-branding your business – at least for a portion of your marketing channel – by positioning yourself as a Social Security Income Planning Specialist.

Access webinar recording:
Fill Your Pipeline w/ New Social Security Marketing & Practice Management System 

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Join the Social Media Revolution - New Video and Book

Brand new updated #Socialnomics video from @EQualman. Check it out! http://ow.ly/fudBI Also highly recommend the book: http://ow.ly/fudGr (thanks to Michael Kitces for bringing this to my attention on Facebook).

Advisors, if you've been dragging your feet, better get on board.
  1. Skim this blog for more ideas. 
  2. Use the Gap Analysis Tool to assess your progress on the Online Continuum. 
  3. Follow me on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn
  4. Scour the Marketing Maven article archive on Financial Planning magazine's website. 
  5. Look for me at the Barron's Top Women Advisors Conference, T3 Technology Tools Conference, TD Ameritrade Institutional Conference, and other industry conferences TBD in the near future. 

Let's talk - in person or virtually, it's all good.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Are there Gaps in your Online Presence? This Diagnostic Tool can Help.

Independent Financial Advisors

Use this diagnostic tool to determine where the gaps are in your online strategy. 
Developed by @marieswift: http://ow.ly/fbmxB

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Continuity Planning is Essential for Financial Advisors - Take Action Now!

Recognizing a critical gap in advisors’ understanding of the difference between continuity plans and succession plans, Securities America has designated October as “Continuity Planning Month.” The independent broker-dealer is providing educational webcasts, agreement templates, an informational video and other resources such as a Continuity Planning Checklist to help advisors stop procrastinating and put a written plan on file.

Securities America advisor Tim Boyd of San Diego said a continuity agreement would have greatly helped in the fall of 2008, when the industry faced a financial crisis and his office partner died suddenly while jogging.

Read financial advisor Tim Boyd's story now.

“Advisors are stewards who direct, guide and care for the financial wellbeing of their clients,” said Kirk Hulett, Securities America executive vice president of strategy and practice management. “In focusing their attention and expertise on clients, advisors may overlook their important role as stewards for their family and their employees, whose well being is also dependent on the advisor. A continuity plan protects all the people under an advisor’s stewardship – family, employees and clients.”

Kirk provides 10 Reasons You Needed a Continuity Plan Yesterday in this article he penned for AdvisorOne.com. 

“Advisors who lump continuity planning into succession planning miss the point: the risk of dying today versus the relative certainty of retiring tomorrow,” said Roger Verboon, a senior practice management consultant at Securities America who coaches advisors about continuity planning.

Roger provides his insights about continuity planning and how it is different from succession planning in this 15 minute audio interview with Marie Swift.

Listen now:

MP3 File 

As seen in Financial Planning magazine, November 2012 issue

Watch  informational video now:

What Makes a Good Financial Planning blog?

Did you miss the BrightTalk webinar with Marie Swift, Victor Gaxiola, April Rudin and Brent Carnduff on November 7th?  Here's the recording so you can hear their insights and advice on building a good financial services blog.


Thursday, September 20, 2012

Owning a Spot on Your Client's Brain Can Stimulate Referrals This is a great presentation by Steve Wershing, CFP, an advisor coach, mentor and trainer. Steve is the author of the forthcoming book, Stop Asking for Referrals, which should be out this fall (McGraw Hill). He is also speaking for a number of industry associations and groups in the financial services industry. Don't miss him if you see his name on a conference agenda! There is lots more good, free information on his site: http://www.theclientdrivenpractice.com.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012


If you missed the "Building Value" webinar and white paper that I produced in partnership with Interactive Advisory Software, I encourage you to access the webinar recording and white paper by following the link below.

The webinar was really helpful as a supplement to the white paper. It provided additional insights related to the white paper and featured Julie Littlechild from AdvisorImpact, Joe Reeves from ARGI Financial and Dr. David Grace from IAS.


Also, just read the article in RIABiz that gives us an inside look at why Hanlon Financial and IAS have now joined forces to gain market share and better serve advisors. Good move by Hanlon. Great news for firms that use IAS.


Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Searching for ways to boost your business? Become a Media Master.

MMU courses for 2013 being formed now. 

  • First and third Wednesdays
  • Beginning February 6, 2013
  • Ending May 1, 2013
  • 11:00 am - 12:30 pm CT
  • You will need an Internet connection for the webinar experience
  • You may use a phone line or your computer speakers to hear the audio portion
  • If you can't "make" a class, a recording and homework will be emailed to you

Enroll now for Impact Communications’ Media Mastery University. During the 3-month program, Impact Communications will give you all the tools and insight you need to succeed in the fast-paced world of media relations.

Interested in MMU? Listen to a 24 minute overview of benefits now:


Download Veres' review now: http://tinyurl.com/MMUVeres

 Here’s what you’ll get:
  • An in-depth understanding of media and how you can maximize each one of the different types.
  • 3 online media training sessions with a small group of your peers that will take the fear out of approaching the media and give you the ammunition – and confidence – you need for when a journalist says “Yes!”
  • Topics covered include:
    • Why do PR? The Power of PR in Your Marketing Plan
    • Why Credibility Marketing trumps traditional marketing tactics every time
    • Fundamentals of good media etiquette
    • 13 ways to alienate a journalist
    • How to create a good pitch and land an interview
    • How to formulate and deliver colorful, quotable quotes
    • How to prepare for and ace any interview
    • How to ensure you are quoted correctly
    • Ways to build a relationship with journalists
    • What to do - and what not to do
    • How to ensure you're contacted again for future stories
    • What to do if you don't feel qualified to answer the question posed
    • How to craft and pitch a television segment
    • What to wear if you land a television or webcast appearance
    • How to use your hands and body on air
    • What to say in telephone or radio interviews
    • How to adjust what you say for TV appearances
    • How talk shows and news casts differ
    • Why you should always keep a suit coat in the office
    • How creative thinking can help you land the cover
    • How to create a press kit
    • How to create an online news room
    • How to manage your news clippings
    • How to boost your search engine ratings
    • How to monitor and manage your online brand
    • How to take the best press shot of your life
    • Ways to leverage the media mentions you get
    • Creating the ultimate Credibility Marketing campaign
    • How to use and leverage the Media List you'll receive as part of this program
  • 3 live tele-coaching sessions where you can have your questions answered by a team of PR professionals and learn about a variety of subject areas.
  • Questions you may have -- and that we can answer:
    • Should I start a blog?
    • What about Twitter?
    • How do I use LinkedIn, Naymz and Facebook more effectively?
    • How can I create multimedia presentations for my site?
    • What's the best way to get video and audio clips on my site?
    • How can I create a podcast?
    • What is Web 2.0 and how can I use it to my advantage?
    • How do I select and use a newswire service?
    • How often should I be touching the journalists on my media list?
    • What should I do if someone bad mouths me online?
    • What's the best way to pitch a bylined article to an editor?
    • I'd like to write a book - what's your advice?
    • I'm not up to writing a book, but how about a white paper? Best steps?
    • How do I self-publish and promote my book?
    • Should I consider a "contributory" book - where do I find a good group?
    • What's the best way to help my clients and prospects see the press I'm getting?
    • Should I buy reprints of a particular article?
    • Can I link to, print out or copy an article without getting in trouble?
    • What about compliance - how do I manage and work through those realities?
    • What's a sound byte and how do I create a good one?
    • What's the best way to boost my search engine rating?
  • Unlimited access to your Media Mastery coaches and network of peers through a password protected Intranet, complete with: 
    • Shared calendar and event reminders
    • Discussion forums for spot coaching and ideas sharing
    • Document library filled with templates for your use
    • Online Media Mastery Manual
    • Links to recommended resources 
  • An 80-page Media Mastery Manual that will serve as a knowledge base and reference tool as you continue your media outreach plan in your local market.
  • Templates for press and marketing materials that you can customize to meet your business needs.
  • A targeted media list – complete with names, phone numbers, mailing addresses and email contact information for all the top journalists and producers in your local market. You will be GIVEN the list to use as you see fit. This is a big deal, people! Most PR firms will not provide this information at any price. 


Options to secure additional services (an additional fee will apply):

  • Help writing and distributing your first news release. Your PR Coach will interview you and write the first draft. You edit and send through compliance. We coach you through your first podcast interview. We set up the online news release page. We distribute the release through the newswire service of your choice. We distribute to your local Media List. You field any inquiries and leverage the media hits.
  • Invitation to attend our live Media Mastery Bootcamp where you will receive face-to-face training and advice on presentation skills and broadcast delivery. Everyone will be filmed and coached on how to be a more powerful and dynamic speaker. An additional Bootcamp fee will be charged.
  • A Chinese Menu of a la carte services available ONLY to MMU Graduates will be made available to you. 


Set your own pace for this easy-to-follow, highly interactive program.

Here’s how the program works:
  1. Complete the short form below to express your interest in joining the next program.
  2. Complete a short telephone interview with one of our coaches.
  3. Ask if an Affinity Discount has been established with your broker/dealer, custodian or subscription service (e.g., subscribers to Bob Veres' Inside Information are entitled to a special rate, NAPFA members and Garrett Members receive a special rate, Securities America, Investacorp, FNIC, TD Ameritrade, Fidelity advisors receive a special rate).
  4. If accepted to the program:
    • Sign and return the MMU agreement.
    • Pay your tuition by mailing your check to the Kansas City Main Office
      • One payment = $3600
      • Three payments = $1250 / mo
  5. Receive your username and password and begin using the MMU Intranet.
  6. Review the comprehensive Media Mastery manual via the MMU Intranet.
  7. Attend the 3 online Media Training sessions.
  8. Attend the 3 tele-coaching sessions to get additional coaching and advice from Impact's PR Team in between each Media Training session.
  9. During month #2 of the program, you will receive a local media list with all the contact information you need to launch a successful media relations campaign.
  10. Practice your newfound skills throughout the course of the 3-month program.
  11. You will have the option to use Impact’s professional writers and newswire distribution services to create and distribute your first news release and podcast – or you can do this step on your own. Optional service bureau fees will be explained on the tele-coaching calls.
  12. At the conclusion of the 3-month training period, you will have the option to enroll for ongoing support and tele-coaching — as well as Media Source Portal, the best place online for journalists to find financial experts and story ideas. Ask about our Premier Coaching Program and Gold Access Pass.
  13. You will be invited to participate in Media Mastery Bootcamp, where you will receive face-to-face training and advice on presentation skills and broadcast delivery. There will be an additional fee to attend the live, interactive bootcamp.
Complete the short form below to express your interest in joining the next program.


Be the first in your community to reach out to the media with your newfound publicity know-how.

Here's who this program is for:

The program is designed for independent financial advisors (RIAs) and registered representatives who are affiliated with independent broker/dealers (e.g., LPL, Commonwealth, Cambridge, Securities America).

Only those whose parent firms allow them to talk with the media and/or write for consumer publications will benefit from this program. We can coach you on how to work with your broker/dealer's compliance officers.

Your assistant or marketing director can participate with you on the Media Training and teleconference calls. You may share the information, tools and templates in the Media Mastery manual with your team.

This program is specially designed for small to mid-size financial planning firms – mainly those that are interested in local media outreach ... although we will be teaching you how to get national media exposure. This training and empowerment program offers the information and coaching you need to develop a results-driven media relations approach that will help raise awareness of your firm and position you as the local financial expert.

To join this program, you must have a professional looking:
  • Logo
  • Photo
  • Bio
  • Website
If you do not have these items, you can hire Impact Communications to help you get them done. Visit Our Services to learn about the various other ways we can work with you.


Get past barriers FAST and start producing media results right away.

If you’ve always wanted to “do PR” but were intimidated by the media or unsure of how to go about it this program is for you!

Maybe you’ve never been able to figure out WHO exactly to contact – and when. This program will deliver the intelligence you need to target the right people at the right time.

If you’ve ever been jealous – or perplexed that the financial advisor down the road is getting media attention and you’re not – this program is for you.

Interested? Tell us a little about yourself and one of our coaches will call to schedule a Get Acquainted interview with you. Click here now.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

FPA San Antonio - Get Updates Here

Going to San Antonio for FPA Experience September 29 - October 2? My team and I will be there - 6 of us in all. Get updates and find out how to connect with us via our Social Media posts:
See you there! 
See you in Denver September 13-15, 2012!
First - Register for the Business & Wealth Management Forum
produced by Bob Veres and T3. Go to www.SignUpForConference.com and 
enter "ImpactVIP" to save $100 off the prevailing rate. 

Then - Sign up for your video time slot below. 
 Space is limited to the first 16 people who sign up. 

You tell me. Which makes the best impression? 

[   ]  Video A? (taken with iPhone, no lights, no microphone) - http://ow.ly/cE6bd 

[   ]  Video B? (shot with high-def camera, with lights, with microphone) - http://ow.ly/cE6Ce

In preparation for your video interview:

1. Consider what to wear. Prepare to look your best.

2. Consider what to say. Marie Swift can work out a few questions with you when you arrive or you can bring them to her (or you can do your own solo speech directly to the camera - Marie will be smiling and nodding silently on the other side of the camera).


- What makes you unique? How is your firm different?

- Why should people work with you?

- What key issues should your prospective clients keep in mind going into the next 1-3 years or x period of time?

- What are the biggest challenges your prospective clients face and how do you help them address those problems?

 - What keeps you up at night?

- Why did you get into the business? What motivates you to get up every morning?

- How did you get started in the business. Tell your story of then and now.

3. Consider who you are "being." Your confidence and composure will reassure the viewer and build rapport. If you are nervous about being on-camera this is a great opportunity for you to get some experience. Marie Swift will provide quick coaching for doing a better job with your stance, delivery, facial expressions, etc.

4. Consider having fun. Be excited! Video is something we all need to master. This is a very affordable way to get a professionally produced video clip that you can actually use in your marketing communications plan.

Click the "play button" below to:

-  Listen to 3 minutes of coaching and advice from Marie Swift.
-  Download a tips sheet: How to be "On" When the Camera is On.
-  Learn about special offers from Impact Communications for BWMF participants.

Download a flyer that contains all the information you need about the Interactive Media Center and the Video Recording opportunities at BWMF 2012:

Click the "Book Now" button to schedule your Video Interview while in Denver for the Business & Wealth Management Forum, September 13-15, 2012.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Incorporating Social Media Into Your Marketing and PR Plan

I was pleased to receive a phone call earlier this year from Caitlin Nish, a writer for Dow Jones Newswires Column "Practice Management." Caitlin wanted to know if I was hearing anything from advisors regarding social media and how it was paying off for them. The article below captures some of our conversation. 

In February, I was pleased to spend two full days working in the Social Media Lab for TD Ameritrade Institutional. Thanks to all the advisors who came by my table to share what's been working for them, ask questions and converse. I also presented a 20 minute mini-presentation on Incorporating Social Media into Your Marketing and PR Plan. If you are looking for the slides, you can download them here: http://www.4shared.com/office/8iVlgIXp/TD_National_2012_Social_Media_.html

I was also very pleased to spend a full day with members of the NAPFA South Region, in Atlanta last week. 60+ planners from 10 states came in for the day. We did a lot of great work together, all centered on marketing and business building strategies. A good portion of the afternoon was spent talking about how to build a strong online presence. If you are a NAPFA member who attended that paid workshop and are now looking for those slides, please contact Deidra Fulton, Mark Gibbs or John Gugle and they will forward you a link that will allow you to download the workshop slides. 

Hope you are having a super great week!
Marie Swift

Don't Go Social Alone

Social media isn't "magic fairy dust"
It should supplement, not replace, traditional marketing for wealth advisers
Snail mail not "back" exactly

By Caitlin Nish
March 2, 2012

NEW YORK -- Social media may be the hot topic for wealth advisers these days, but that doesn't mean they should abandon traditional marketing strategies.

Proponents of social media tout sites like LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook as an easy way to connect with existing clients and most effective to reach a broad number of prospects. But marketing strategists say social media should only supplement other marketing like hosting a radio show, writing articles for the local newspaper or conducting an in-person educational seminar.

Advisers have always wanted "magic fairy dust" when it comes to marketing, and social media is the latest version, says Marie Swift, chief executive of Kansas City-based Impact Communications Inc. She's encouraging advisers to pick a site or two to try the medium out, "but it's not a replacement for traditional marketing."

In fact, a recent report by research firm Aite Group found that advisers are seeing limited or diminished returns from their use of social media, but most have unrealistic expectations or fail to use it correctly.

"If you're not a good marketer in other channels, you're not going to magically become a good marketer because of social media," says Ron Shevlin, senior analyst at Aite Group.

The report concludes that wealth-management firms should focus on improving advisers' marketing ability in all media.

"If advisers are creating content that is simply more digital noise, they are doing themselves a disservice," Swift says. Building credibility by say, writing an article for a reputable publication like a local newspaper, is more important than ever, she adds.

So is knowing where your clients and prospects are spending their time and how they want to communicate with you. An adviser may be extremely tech-savvy, but that doesn't matter if his clients aren't using social media or want to use it only for their personal lives, notes Maria Marsala, a financial adviser coach in Poulsbo, Wash.

William Howell, a fee-only certified financial planner and CPA in Indianapolis, says he can count on one hand how many Facebook invitations he's received from clients in the past three or four years. Social media isn't "something that we see as high priority for the clients that we serve at this point," says Howell, who does have a LinkedIn profile. "If it does become something that is more noticeable in the future, we'll certainly go in that direction."

Howell's target market is mainly over age 55, nearing retirement or in transition from active work to retirement. And Howell says he's found those clients want to communicate by email, not Facebook or Twitter. Until that changes, he's sticking with a more traditional marketing strategy. He works with accountants and estate planning attorneys to develop referral sources, keeps his website current and does a segment on a local television station a couple of times a year.

An adviser's marketing should be designed to capture attention. And in an increasingly digital world, snail mail may well do that. Maribeth Kuzmeski, founder of Red Zone Marketing in Chicago, won't go so far as to say direct mail, the spam of yesteryear, is back. But it is "becoming more powerful than it has been over the past several years," she says. Sending a client a birthday or anniversary card adds a personal touch, and doing so through real mail can help an adviser stand out, Marsala adds.

-- Caitlin Nish is a reporter for Dow Jones Newswires who covers wealth management.

Monday, July 16, 2012

New Insights from Industry Experts

Kathleen Rehl on Honeycomb Marketing

Allan Slider on Building a Strong Online Presence

MP3 File

Matthew Bellis on Generating Warm Introductions to Qualified Prospects

Peter Montoya on the new TechLeaders Conference for IBD Executives in March 2012

MP3 File

Sunday, July 15, 2012

How to Elicit from Feedback from a Client Advisory Board

I've been out and about, attending conferences and speaking with lots of advisors about VALUE - what does it mean to clients and the public given everything that's gone on the past couple of years - and how they are refining their Value Proposition in light of all that?

The audience and panelists at the fi360 Annual Conference last week had some really good ideas on Articulating Your Value as an AIF or AIFA designee. If you are a part of the fi360 community, be sure to go to the designee portal and download my slides and presentation audio recording.

I've been on the discussion boards recently with Members of the Garrett Planning Network talking about Articulating Your Value as a Member of the Garrett Planning Network. So, Garrett Members, you know how to access that conversation.

It was fun meeting members of NAAIM - the National Association of Active Investment Managers - in Orlando on May 3 and discussion how to get started with a Media Relations plan.

More great news - Bob Vere's new white paper report on The Future of Advice is now available for FREE DOWNLOAD at http://www.bobveres.com/. You won't want to miss reading this 109 page missive.

Let the good times roll!

Next week, I host a discussion forum online for Financial-Planning.com - the topic? Articulating Your Value as an Advisor Today. It's free and open to all financial advisors, so do join what I hope will be a robust discussion there. Who knows, maybe I can use your comments in a future article or speech.

FYI I'll be in Chicago next week for the NAPFA National Conference May 19-21. I'm moderating a panel discussion Friday May 21 on What's Working Now: Best Marketing Ideas with 4 accomplished NAPFA members from various sized firms. Looking forward to seeing old friends and new there.

Then in June, I'll be speaking twice (Power of PR / Ask the Media Stars is presentation #1 and Redefining Your Value as an Independent Financial Advisor is presentation #2) at Securities America's annual conference in Huntington Beach June 2-8 and then at Pershing Insite on June 11 (the topic there is Redefining Your Value as an RIA Today).

So ... back to the interactions I've been having with Garrett Members. Sheryl Garrett, founder of the Garrett Planning Network, Mary Lacey Gibson, business planning coach for the Garrett Planning Network, and I came up with a few tips on how to gather feedback from your clients so that you can build a strong Value Proposition.

Here, with a little reworking, is the gist of that conversation.

To get it right ... your Value Proposition, that is ... you know what your best qualities and, gulp, weak spots are. A good way to start the process of understanding the real value you bring is to speak with your clients directly. While surveys can be good, personal conversations oftentimes yield a more candid and meaningful conversation.

Here are some tips on getting feedback from a select group of your clients - in person.


  1. Determine your list and invite the right people.
    · Review your client list.
· Select 8 to 12 clients that you feel you have a real solid relationship.
· Give them a call.
· Tell them that you're forming a client advisory board and you really appreciate their friendship, respect their opinions and would love to get their feedback on how they feel you could best improve the quality of your clients' experiences with you.
· Invite them all to meet with you together. If that’s not possible, visit with them individually in-person or over the phone. In-person is best as you will have a more rich and honest conversation that way.
· Tell them you will send an email (or mailed) confirmation and short list of questions in advance of the meeting. Ask them to come prepared to talk about the questions.
  1. Get them thinking between the invitational call and the feedback meeting.
· In an email or letter, recap the time, date, location and purpose of the meeting. Include a list of questions. Ask them to come prepared to talk about the questions.
· Questions might include:
a. If you were to describe me and the work we've done together to a beloved family member or friend, what would you say?
b. My business grows through referrals from satisfied clients. What would you suggest I do to increase the likelihood that clients will recommend me to their family and friends?
c. When you were first searching for a financial advisor, what factors caused you to select me? What could have made that process better for you?
d. What do you appreciate most about our relationship?
e. Is there anything bothering you about our relationship?
  1. Host the meeting.
· Pick a quite, comfortable setting. Use a conference room or private meeting room and have breakfast, lunch or refreshments catered in. Minimize distractions.
· Welcome people as they arrive and get everyone settled.
· Provide an opening statement about the purpose of the meeting. Ask people to be totally candid.
· Ask your questions and take notes. Have a staff member or trusted business colleague take a duplicate set of notes (you may not be able to hear and capture everything on your own).
· Thank the attendees and promise to use their advice.
  1. Send a thank you letter or email.
· Recap the top take-aways.
· Tell them you are in the process of incorporating their feedback into your business.
· Invite them to a Progress and Update Meeting in 60 days so that you can report in and get additional ideas on how to improve your service to them.
  1. Repeat Steps 2-4 above, but instead of asking them the original questions, ask them to come prepared to offer additional insights and advice based on the key takeaways from the last meeting and the progress report you’ll provide.
In addition to a client advisory board, we also suggest a business advisory board. Find successful business owners, in particular, service businesses, in your community that you can learn from, share your ideas, gains and pains with. These people, once they understand what you are trying to contribute to the health of the community will become your referral sources and cheerleaders. All of them are serving the same small market and may have experiences that mirror yours.

You may be amazed how generous people are when they know you and like you and you ask for their help. We like to help people we care about. These clients won't expect anything in return for their candid feedback and wonderful ideas, other than seeing you take action and keep the channels of feedback flowing. Your clients want you to stay in business. They will help in any way they feel they can. Just ask.
Consider a Legacy Profile written by award-winning journalist and celebrity profile writer Jane Wollman Rusoff!

As a financial advisor, you are always looking for ways to add value and bond with your clients. Here is one of the most creative and insightful ways I've found to help you do just that.

Listen to this 17 minute interview as I speak with Jane Wollman Rusoff and get her thoughts on building trust and affinity with clients. Jane has developed a special offering just for financial advisors so that you, too, can provide a wonderful gift to your most important clients.

A Legacy Profile starts with a personal conversation, over the telephone or in person. Jane has an immense talent for drawing people out. The telephone or in-person conversations with Jane are recorded, transcribed and edited by Jane. The oral history becomes much more than a transcript, though, as Jane -- who is a veteran journalist -- exercises her judgment to create a Legacy Profile that serves as a short autobiography and legacy document for your client.

The client's Legacy Profile is likely to be one of the most cherished documents you can ever provide for them. Your clients will be pleased with your thoughtfulness. You'll get new insights into their values, attitudes and goals. The Legacy Profile will help you understand, in a life planning type of way, what your clients want out of life. And the process could even open the door to your meeting with the next generation in your client's life.

I know from personal experience how powerful and wonderful these Legacy Profiles written by Jane Wollman Rusoff are. My family and I hired Jane to write a book length autobiography that captured my father-in-law's most important life stories. This digital history of his life will outlive him and honor his memory once he is gone. It will help generations to come understand their family legacy.

While you may not wish to provide a book length document to your clients, every advisor can afford and should consider providing a Legacy Profile to their best clients.

You can learn more at www.FamilyStarProductions.com. 


Saturday, July 7, 2012



Free Webinar on Tuesday July 17, 2012 at 2:00 pm ET / 11:00 am PT


All financial advisory firms strive to be profitable. But some profitable business models are more stable and sustainable than others. A firm that operates efficiently is more profitable than a firm with shaky operations and an overwhelmed staff. A firm that is not dependent on one or two “star” producers is more sustainable than a firm that relies on a star. A smoothly functioning firm also is better able to focus its energy on obtaining more “ideal” clients and creating an enterprise that will be valuable when principals wish to cash out. 

Strong, sustainable firms begin by delivering superior service to clients. These firms also forge superior operational efficiency and effectiveness. And they are committed to continuous improvement, both in updating staff members’ skills and defining, documenting and executing workflows for greater productivity. Finally, technology such as the single-database wealth management platform by Interactive Advisory Software (IAS), pulls it all together by providing all staff members with access to client information and advanced tools so that they can deliver the highest level of service. 

When that level of excellence is reached, client retention will be almost automatic, and client referrals will soar. Wealth managers on staff will be able to use their advanced analytical skills, instead of “putting out fires.” Regulatory compliance will be systematic. The firm will be able to smoothly absorb new clients or even add new advisors with existing books of business. And the firm will be attractive as a buyout or merger candidate, if that’s the direction that the principals choose. 

Leaders of advisory firms realize that client service and operational efficiency are the primary drivers of their businesses. However, they don’t always know how to get where they want to go. They get lost in the day- to-day challenges of running their business, and they neglect long-term strategies. For a while, even a firm with shaky operations can succeed if the principals have good sales skills or a good track record as an investment manager. Eventually, however, the weaknesses will catch up with the firm, especially as it adds clients. 

On Tuesday July 17, 2012, at 2:00 pm ET / 11:00 am PT in a free educational webinar, Marie Swift and a panel of experts will explain how to build a stronger firm that cannot only accommodate growth, but can actually generate it by providing services that turn clients into lifelong advocates. 


Thursday, May 31, 2012

See you in Chicago July 16th for a full-day marketing workshop?
Hi NAPFA Members and other financial advisors in and around the Midwest!

Good news: I’ll be leading a full-day marketing workshop in Chicago on Monday July 16th!

This fun, interactive workshop will provide you with the tools to implement an effective marketing strategy based on the media your ideal clients are relying on today for information.

We will spend a full 8 hours together talking about “all things marketing”.

At the end of the day, you'll leave with:

1.   An action plan for building your online presence
2.   A 13-month marketing calendar
3.   A clearer vision of how you can articulate your value to the right people, in the right ways, at the right time

In addition to the full day interactive workshop and professional advice you'll receive from me and your financial planning peer group, you will have the opportunity to film a short video message that you can use on your website, blog, Facebook page, social media sites, etc. Simply come dressed in business casual clothes and be prepared to answer this one question: What is the most important thing for a consumer to consider when looking for professional advice? Your video clip will be emailed to you within one week.

Special bonus: I’ll be bringing a member of the younger generation with me who will share his insights on using social media platforms to communicate and build stronger relationships.

Other perks:

1.   Continental breakfast and a boxed lunch will be provided
2.   All paid attendees will be entered to win a 32 GB I-Pad – the sooner you register, the more tickets you’ll get in the gold fish bowl

$45 for NAPFA members (a total bargain!)
$100 for non-members (a real deal!)

Join me on Monday July 16th and learn:
How to Leverage the Power of “Fee-Only” Planning in Social Media, Public Relations and with Centers of Influence 

See you at:
DePaul University, O’Hare Campus
Monday, July 16th, 8:30-4:30

Click this link to register now: Midwest Region

Contact Bill Keffer at bill@kefferfinancialplanning.com or 630-842-5609

Watch 2 minute video now 

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

May is Heritage Planning Month - Options to Learn More 

On May 16th, two special webinars will be streamed live online. These free, 90-minute broadcasts will be led by Rod Zeeb, CEO and co-founder of The Heritage Institute, and co-creator of The Heritage Process.  

Webinar 1: May 16th, 10:30 AM Central time 
Transformational Philanthropy (for advisors)

The ‘Transformational Philanthropy’ perspective is revolutionizing how advisors and non-profits work with clients and donors on a multi-generational basis. Learn how building deeper, more significant relationships transforms donors into philanthropists, and what that means to advisors and non-profit organizations. Register here for the live webinar.  

Webinar 2: May 16th, 3:30 PM Central time 
What Matters (for all audiences)

This highly interactive workshop introduces heritage planning by asking a simple, yet vitally important question: What matters to you? It examines the proven keys to building a stronger, more unified family today and for generations to come. Register here for the live webinar.

 In-person Events

Together with Heritage partners from Navigator Legacy Partners, they organization will be leading workshops for professionals and the general public around the country including Colorado and throughout Southern California during the month of May. To see where events will be held, or logon for the live webinars on May 16th and learn what Heritage Planning offers to you and the clients/donors whom you serve, visit: http://theheritageinstitute.com
What Matters?
An Interview with Cameron Thornton and Rodney Zeeb

The authors of this new novel share their thoughts with Marie Swift in an exclusive audio interview.

MP3 File

Cameron Thornton and Rodney Zeeb
Americans routinely focus on the importance of financial planning, retirement planning and estate planning. Each is important for the well being of one’s financial life, and for providing for the loved ones left behind after death. But according to Cam Thornton and Rod Zeeb, the authors of a new novel called What Matters?, traditional planning only deals with the money we accumulate, not the meaning of our lives. 

“Most people are concerned throughout their life with money,” says Thornton. “How much do they have now, how much will they have in retirement, how much will be left to their heirs? Those are important questions. But we should be equally concerned with the legacy we leave that can have far more impact on our families than the money: our stories, experiences, life-lessons, values and traditions.” 

For Thornton and Zeeb, the distinction is that financial planning passes what one owns, while heritage planning passes who one is.

Their new novel, What Matters? (January 2012, $25.00, Heritage Institute Press, ISBN 1-933694-20-3), springs from the principles of The Heritage Process™ which aims to bridge the gap between the ‘products’ of traditional planning (like wills and trusts) and the hopes and dreams that parents and grandparents have for their family to be unified, productive and healthy for many generations. 

In What Matters? Readers meet Martin Forrestal in the last weeks of his life, soon after makes the decision to share his real legacy with his family. Martin wants to ensure that his children, grandchildren and the generations who follow will know who he was, what he believed in, what he fought for, and about the values that guided his life. What Matters will help readers to appreciate one of the most important ways that they can help to ensure that their own families can remain unified, productive and healthy for many generations to come.

During a long night of reflection, eighty-two year old Martin identifies the values that matter most to him. His list begins with the value of Love. By the time the sun is rising outside his hospital window, he has identified fourteen values, from Responsibility to Family Unity.

As family and friends come to say their goodbyes, Martin records his stories. The action of the novel flows back and forth across more than a century, from an icy mountain cave where he was trapped by an avalanche with his Scout Troop, to a tiny coral island in the Pacific that saw some of WW II’s bloodiest combat. From a pioneer cabin in old Montana on Christmas morning, to the sweeping plains of the Argentine pampas, Martin recounts how each of the values on his list were forged into his character. He is not financially wealthy. But he knows that by sharing What Matters with generations of his family, he is passing a far more important and enduring legacy than material wealth.
What Matters brims with original stories, heartfelt emotions, and the eloquence of simple truths. Many of the chapters can be enjoyed as stand-alone stories.

Listen to the audio interview for more insights from Thornton and Zeeb.