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Early in my career, I discussed the merits of my decision to pursue the coursework necessary for the Certified Financial Professional (CFP) designation with one of my mentors. He said that it is a worthwhile program and that I should go for it. But he added that he felt the most successful advisors in the business were those that followed the principles of the STP. I had never heard of that and asked what it was. He said the most successful advisors are those that “See The People.” Of course, what he meant was that the advisors who build the most successful businesses do everything possible to consistently make the most contacts and appointments, and follow up on qualified leads.
Another of my early influencers taught me quite a bit about how to properly use financial education workshops to help generate qualified leads. I have been an enthusiastic speaker and educator ever since. I enjoy the process of education, like meeting new people, and think it is a very worthwhile thing to do both for the community and for my practice.

In speaking with prospective clients over the years, I have come to realize that many people are invited to financial seminars by advisors, have probably attended one or two, and have been generally disappointed in the presentation they saw. They are either overt sales pitches or they deliver superficial information in a 45-minute presentation. I decided to do this differently. Our meetings, which are over two hours in length, are true workshops. Like many others, we do provide a meal, but that is not the real draw in our eyes; it is delivering valuable, in-depth content.

I have hosted between six and 12 workshops per year since we started our practice. We use a third-party firm to help us identify a targeted mailing list with the right demographics and location. We also develop professional mailers that go out to thousands of households. We describe the meetings as investment strategy and asset protection workshops. We discuss retirement income planning, risk management for investments, tax planning in retirement, Social Security, legacy planning, long-term care, and much more. It is a very complete overview of topics pre-retirees and retirees need to start learning about.

If we mail 8,000 invitations, we might have 80 attendees over the course of three nights. Though that is only a 1% response rate, the math does work out. We might have about 20 couples or individuals who are interested in coming in for a no-obligation follow-up appointment. Around 15 of those will engage in our process, and almost all of those end up becoming clients. It is very worthwhile business-building effort for our practice in the absolute, and it also educates everyone who attends on the issues they need to be concerned with as they face retirement planning.

Disclosure: The opinions in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual. The opinions expressed do not necessarily represent the views of TD Ameritrade and its affiliates. Investing involves risk, including loss of principal. Libertas Wealth Management Group, Inc., is a NAPFA-affiliated, fee-only registered investment advisory (RIA) firm.

Photography by Nick Fancher