Why You’re Not Achieving Your Financial Advisor Income Goals

Business Success

What’s the secret sauce to achieving your goals? Does anyone know? How are you doing with getting to the (insert cliché here) next level? Have you done much planning for your business? The New Year is a time for great reflection on how far you’ve come, thinking about the goals you’ve achieved, and charting a course for the future.


Below is what I have seen as typical with advisors’ business growth in my capacity as a financial advisor coach since 2004.

0 – 4 years

Are you new to the field? Just getting your feet wet and adjusting to “being your own boss” or realizing that “hey, I only eat when I go out and get a new client.” At this stage you are getting licenses, learning the business, prospecting like a crazy person, and earning just enough to see the possibilities of recurring income in the years down the road. It may be dawning on you that at some point you’ll have to service clients rather than just getting new clients, but for the moment you know that you need to get income and clients coming in the door.

5+ years

If you’ve been in the business five years or more you should have a pretty nice financial planning business percolating. You may have $10-30M or more in assets under management and a good following of clients. You may have established a good inventory of centers of influence to work with, refer to, and receive referrals from. Your business has yet to mature so that you can pre-sell your potential clients before they walk in the door, which requires a good look at your branding strategy. But the point is you are on the right track if you do the right things.

10+ years

If you have ten years or more under your belt, you likely have $40-100M under management, which is a decent enough base to cover your overhead and provide a living for you and one to two assistants. You’ve got your prospecting strategies down fairly well and you may even have a marketing person on staff to assist you. Your firm has matured and the type of clients you prefer to work with has crystalized into a nice ideal client profile. But you might not be secure in deciding your future direction.

20+ years

At this level, if you don’t have $100M under management, there is something wrong.

Either you have just been taking whatever business comes in the door or you’ve just never become intentional about your business.

If you do have over $100M, your business is bustling. You’ve got 5 or more staff members, a professional business model, a professional brand, procedures, job descriptions, an organizational chart. You’ve realized that when you invest in your skills, your staff’s skills, and your infrastructure, it pays off. But you still need that special someone to be your confidant.


If you have not achieved your business goals, what is going on?


Why haven’t you achieved more? Why are you still where you are? There comes a time where you must do something in order to make progress and changes in your practice. It becomes necessary to do something different so that you get different results. Don’t just keep doing what you’ve been doing. It’s not working.

Financial advisors generally all into 1 of 3 categories when it comes to growing their skills and income:

1.No Investment

You don’t know what you should be doing so you continue plodding along hoping things will get better next year. You’re so focused on money that you don’t realize you will waste years figuring out the right ways to develop your business.


2.Read a few books or attend a conference or two

There are many books that can help you figure out your strategic direction, how to be more productive, and how to brand your firm. But there’s so much to do, how do you prioritize and do the right things first? When you get back from a conference, how much of what you learned do you actually put into practice? If you work with me you will do it!


3.Hire an expert, like me, in financial advisor growth

Save yourself years of wasted effort! Don’t plod through the years doing the wrong things, half-heartedly, only to discover you’re no further ahead than you were 5-10 years ago. Instead of focusing on what you think will work, find out from an expert what REALLY works based on experience going back to 2004.

Most people cannot grow their income without the help of an outside expert providing strategies, direction, and motivation.

As a result, advisors who “go it alone” often flounder, for years, until they learn the skills, tips, and tricks necessary for financial success. And sometimes they never acquire the skills so they stay stuck in a low paying business model or in a business that don’t grow.

What lies ahead for you will depend entirely upon how much you are willing to invest in your skills!


Request a consultation to learn more!


Financial Advisor Seminar Marketing -Planning a Seminar

growing plant, isolated on white

Financial Advisor Seminar Marketing is still one of the best ways to gain new clients.

As a successful seminar and workshop presenter myself, I often receive questions from my financial advisor clients about how to plan an effective seminar. Much thought and effort goes into developing a seminar. Planning, marketing, implementing, and follow up. So getting it right is important.

How many people showed up at your last seminar? When was your last seminar? As a financial advisor building your business, it’s important for you to create an annual Marketing Plan that includes tactics that get you in front of an audience of potential investment management clients.

The problem is that poor seminar planning often results in low attendance, which causes the advisor to not only feel depressed about the lack of potential clients, but also contributes to the belief that that seminar marketing doesn’t work.

I am here to tell you:

Seminar marketing still works!

If seminars are not currently working for you, it could mean that you are missing the boat on one or more planning or marketing elements. I’d like to suggest that you do a complete analysis of how you’re conducting your seminars, review the points below, make a new plan, and tweak the elements until you get it right!

Create a name for yourself

Your financial success depends upon spreading the word about what you do and getting in front of a large number of people. Financial success is a numbers game. Never forget that! The more people who are exposed to your name and your message, the more opportunities there are for you to get new clients and grow your assets.

Before we jump into the planning elements, here are a few things to think about.

What is your objective for the seminar?

Do you want to get the word out about your services? Are you aiming to build a warm marketing list? Are you seeking to provide value for attendees? What I hear most often is “I want more clients” and there is nothing wrong with that!

What are your goals for the seminar?

How many attendees would make this event a success? How many prospective client meetings would put a big grin on your face? Having seminar goals will help you test and make improvements with each seminar.

Who is your target market?

A good seminar is one that provides value for a select group of participants. So think clearly about a specific group of people that you would like to target. Are you seeking retirees or those nearing retirement? Do you target women in your practice? Single women, divorced women, widowed women? Do you work well with business owners? How about corporate executives? Not sure who to target? Read this article about financial advisor target markets.

How many seminar attendees are you seeking?

Think about the size of your audience. For most seminars, 20-40 attendees is ideal. You want to create a bonding experience, which is difficult to do with a large audience, unless you’re a Level 5 financial advisor on the hierarchy of income.

I like my clients to present to a full room. You are better off having standing room only than having a lot of empty seats. Psychologically speaking, a full room improves your credibility and an empty room creates doubt.

What are the best seminar topics?

The best topic is the one that is on the minds of your ideal clients. First, what is their pain and what is keeping them up at night? Secondly, the best topic is at the intersection of where you can provide value AND how you can solve a pain or problem your potential client is experiencing.

Make sure your seminar title is attractive. For more on creating a good title for your seminar, check this blog post: 5 Ways to Craft a Financial Advisor Seminar Title That Will Attract An Audience

How many seminars should you hold?

Seminars work best when scheduled one or more a month for at least 12 months. This is because you need momentum to work in your favor and you need to develop a name for yourself! Repeated exposure by your potential clients to your seminar schedule is essential for your success. If you hold one seminar and then stop, you will never get to the next level.

When is a good time to start planning a seminar?

As we say in coaching, “When is NOW a good time?” If you’ve put off writing your annual marketing plan and you’re halfway through the year, but you haven’t held a seminar, there is never a better time to start the planning process RIGHT NOW.

Give yourself 6-8 weeks out on your calendar so that you can plan and market effectively!


Seminar Logistics

Now that we’ve covered the most important points to think about, let’s move on to planning and logistics. Planning your seminar is essential because you won’t be able to adequately market without key information nailed down ahead of time. You’ll need to figure out the date and time, where to hold the seminar, whether to feed participants or not, and other details.

Date and time

Never hold a seminar on a Monday or Friday as these days are frequently busy for most people. By default, Tuesday or Wednesday are often the best days.

The time depends upon your target market. For business owners, a lunch and learn or 6pm event helps them make the most of their day. Retirees often don’t want to drive when it’s dark outside, so lunch or late afternoon start times are often preferred.

TIP: Make sure your date/time doesn’t conflict with popular community, civic, sports, religious, or national events. So check the community calendar before settling on a date.

Are there best months for seminars? Yes! January, February, March, May, September, October, and early November. April is tax time for affluent prospects and they will be busy working with their CPA or accountant. Late November and the entire month of December are focused on the holidays.

Where to hold the seminar?

This again depends upon your target market. An upscale, popular restaurant is best for higher net-worth prospective clients. If you’re just starting out or have a limited budget, you can use your firm’s conference room. Just make sure the venue is visually pleasant.

Unusual venues for seminars

I’ve had clients hold very successful seminars by creating magic around their events through their choice of venue:

  • Rent a room in a winery and hold a special wine-themed event
  • Use an event room at a historical inn or hotel
  • Museums
  • Castles
  • Lakeside restaurants
  • Racket clubs or sports venues
  • Spas or private workout clubs

Should you provide a meal or not?

If you want to attract quality attendees, it makes sense to provide a meal. But never, and I repeat never, speak while people are eating. Serve salad and bread, then speak. Then serve the entrée.

On the other hand, if your event is a lunch and learn for business owners or centers of influence, a brown bag lunch is often served while you speak in order to save attendees time.

If the topic is an urgent current event where people will come out in droves to hear you speak, you might be able to get away with only serving coffee and dessert, but this is rare.



Effectively planning your seminar is essential to your financial success. Thinking through these issues, coming up with your goals and target market, and planning far in advance will help you make the most of your next seminar!

Stay tuned for more on how to hold a successful seminar. I’ll be covering many separate topics in future blog posts.


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