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Welcome to another insightful episode of the Truest Fan Blueprint podcast, where we are committed to empowering you with actionable insights to elevate both your personal and professional life.
Join your hosts, Rob Brown and Phil Calandra, as they delve into the world of financial planning and investment management and unveil the four key steps that hold the power to turbocharge the growth of your assets under management (AUM). As a financial professional, you know that managing and expanding assets is the cornerstone of your success in the industry.
In recent years, volatile financial markets have had a profound impact on asset levels, leaving many financial advisors struggling to attract new business. Even with this year’s market rebound, asset levels in numerous practices remain stagnant, barely surpassing levels from years ago.
In this week’s episode, Rob and Phil shed light on the following crucial topics:
Whether you’re a seasoned financial advisor or just starting in the industry, this episode is packed with invaluable insights that will help you take your AUM growth to new heights. Tune in now and unlock the secrets to becoming a true asset management champion!
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Rob Brown (00:04):
Hello, friends, exciting news. The truest fan podcast is now the truest fan blueprint podcast, just one additional word to the title. But we think it is an important word you see, as Phil Calandra. My partner in this podcast and I talked about what we were hearing from our audience and the message that we were delivering, we realized that not enough folks understand that our podcast is not just something to listen to.
It’s a set of action steps that you can take, that are based on our blueprint, that whether you’re a financial advisor, looking to grow your AUM, or you’re a business leader looking to grow in your leadership skills, or you’re trying to grow more personally to be a better version of yourself. There’s a step by step process to do that.
And for us, it’s a blueprint. And we talk about the blueprint all the time, in the work that we do, coaching and consulting with our clients. And we want to teach that same set of activities to our podcast audience. So buckle your seats, listen to the podcast. But most importantly, ask yourself, What can I do that will make my business or my life better, because I’ve taken the time to take action on one of the ideas that I picked up from in the latest edition. Listen in banks.
Rob Brown (01:47):
Welcome to the truest fan and blueprint, a podcast for financial advisors, and other professionals looking to get the most out of yourself and your business. I’m Rob Brown, and my partner Phil Calandra. And I promise to walk you through a journey that will allow you to take action in your business and your life, so that you can be the best that you can possibly be. Thanks for listening.
Oh, hello, welcome to the truest fan blueprint podcast. And if that sounds a little bit different it is, we are changing the name of the truest fan podcast. The true is fan blueprint podcasts, because we’re going to walk through during this podcast, very specific ideas for taking a path for growing your business or to being a better leader.
And we see that as a blueprint is a step by step process. And we’re also going to be doing different episodes of different styles and formats. We’ll do some podcasts, which are mostly for financial advisors, because Phil and I work a lot with financial advisors. And others will be for a more general audience folks who are looking for leadership or personal development. So it’s a little bit of a different twist, truce fan theme, and we’re really excited about So Phil, welcome back or to the truest fan, blueprint podcast, this is gonna be a lot of fun.
Phil Calandra (03:29):
This is exciting. Yeah, because it’s kind of like a rebirth moment. And that’s exciting, because we’re going to be able to touch on the things that we know are important, the things that are critical for financial advisors, people that never then trenches in a financial advisory practice, but then also talk from the heart, about other things that are also important to us, leading people fulfillment of goals and dreams. And sometimes those are separate of what we think of the day to day financial advisor does so yeah, this is gonna
Rob Brown (04:02):
be Yeah, or any professional who’s building a career or building a business. Yeah. So so we want to mix it up. Absolutely. And we’re basing this not just on what we like to talk about, we also know that the things that we’ve been talking about through the podcast over the course of the last year are things that our listeners most importantly want to hear about. So we have to keep that in mind.
Right. So where we’re going to take off today though, is we’re going to talk about a topic that’s very near and dear to the hearts of most financial advisors and that is growing your assets under management growing your AUM man, it’s been kind of a weird, you know, couple of years.
A lot of advisors that I talked to because they saw their asset levels go down during some bad markets a year ago are now just seeing those assets get back to where they were. And also some have struggled to bring in the new relationships.
But I work with a number of clients. And fortunately, because of the work that we’ve done, they’ve been able to stay ahead of that. So we want to talk about accelerating your AUM growth. And Phil. And I really think that right now when we talk about growing or accelerating your AUM, there are four key areas to look at Phil, you want to kind of do a quick overview of those four areas, and we’ll dive into them individually.
Phil Calandra (05:28):
Yeah, right. Absolutely. So I agree with you wholeheartedly. Rob, I think back the last, really three and a half years, we’ve all kind of run this gauntlet that began around COVID. And we get to the other side of this, and in most cases, the advisors, and certainly the advisors we talk with and work with, they’re tired, they’ve wasted time, they’ve spent money and wasted resources on one primary objective.
And that is how do we once and for all attract your perfect client, your avatar client, what we call the ultimate client, and advisors spend countless hours and dollars trying to figure out away that’s the number one thing that they always want to know is how do I get in front of more people? Well, the solution is really very simple.
It’s identifying who the ultimate client is, and then crafting a specific process a specific process program that’s going to get you in front of those ideal or what we would call ultimate clients. But then it’s that’s not enough.
When you get in front of the ultimate client. What do you say? How do you say it? And how do you repeat it over and over? So it’s very clear how you differentiate yourself from every other advisor that’s on the street.
And oh, by the way, if you’re competing against the big boxes, the Goldman Sachs, the Merrill Lynch, the Wells Fargo Advisors, guess what, you’re never going to compete at their level, unless you differentiate yourself. That’s what we call the signature solution. It’s a way that we can get in front of people in a unique way. So you have your ultimate client, you know, what you’re going to say? And how you’re going to say it.
The third thing is, how then do you build an acquisition strategy? How do you acquire the actual ultimate client, that’s a discipline, that’s a something that has to be learned. And it’s something has to be repetitive. And it’s something that you have to really, really believe from the inside out? And then finally, the fourth thing we would say, is, how do you deliver then, forever in a day, the ultimate client experience, so you got it identified, you know, what you’re going to say?
And how you’re going to say it, you have an acquisition strategy to get them, but then you got to keep them. And that’s the whole game and growing your assets under management, it’s not enough to get the client
This is not a transaction based process, like some other parts of the financial services industry. Building AUM is about retention. How do you get 9596 97 98% retention rates, you and your team which you’re responsible for you build an ultimate client experience? That’s it? Pretty simple.
Rob Brown (08:24):
Yeah, you know, it really is simple to say, that can be difficult in the execution. But as I was listening to you go through those things, talking about identifying your ultimate client, having a signature solution, having an acquisition system, and then having a system for taking care of your clients.
I don’t think anybody who has been a financial advisor for any significant period of time could disagree with those four points. And in fact, most advisors have probably use those words in some format or another when they thought about how they want to build their business. So that’s why I said it really is kind of simple and concepts, because they aren’t revolutionary concepts, right?
But it’s the execution of them and actually doing them. So let’s dig into them. So we said first, it’s really important to understand who your most ideal client is, or as we call it, your ultimate client. Because until you know, who you want to work with, it’s hard to decide how to serve them or how to find them. So that becomes really important. And I can’t tell you how many times I’ve talked with an advisory.
So yes, you know, I have an ideal clients. I work with folks who are getting ready to retire, or folks who are already retired. I am in the retirement planning business. Well, let me point something out. Everybody is either pre retired, or retired.
So your ideal client is everybody. But it’s, it’s when you start to narrow that down and think about those people that you really enjoy working with, and look for ways to attract more of them because you enjoy working with them, then you can build more and more ultimate clients. And it doesn’t mean that you can’t accept other people who come your way.
But it helps create a focus. I’m working with a client right now in my private coaching practice, who we’ve redesigned his whole marketing approach around attracting women in transition. And he has a different term for it, that I’m not going to share, because it’s kind of unique to his his practice. But he’s found that those are the clients that he enjoys working with the most. And when he is open about that desire to work with that client group, he attracts them more naturally finds them more, and people have better questions about his business, even though he works with couples, and he works with with men. It’s been a unique process.
And he’s been very, very intentional about it. So if he’ll talk a little bit about that, from your perspective, when you think about that ultimate client, and why it’s so important to identify who they are.
Phil Calandra (11:41):
I love what you just said, to point out, the captain obvious there is someone who’s either pre retirement or they are retired, I always kind of looked at it in a similar light, but in a different fashion in that I knew my ideal client was generally around the age of 50 to 55. That’s a 10 year ramp up or lead up to the actual retirement date.
I like to work with the mass affluent, I know a lot of advisors will take nothing less than a million, some would might be 2 million, some might be 5 million. I always found that my ultimate client was the mass affluent, they had a 401 K.
They believed Similarly, from a philosophical viewpoint that may be politically that may be spiritually, but I think the point is being able to drive down just below the surface to identify the 234 different things that to your point are that fit you and that really get you because you’re similar in a lot of ways.
You know, the mass affluent, the needs of someone that has 500 to a million, may not be very different than someone that needs a million or 2 million, but I just found that they were more, you know, upper middle class, which is kind of where I always felt comfortable in and helping those types of people.
Sometimes when you gravitate upmarket, which you hear that all the time coaches tell you, you know, you got to increase your minimum, you got to work up market. But guess what, you know, there’s a lot more competition for the up market. I didn’t really like that guy could carve out a very nice niche and a very nice business.
But I think it’s getting to building that ultimate client, who is it that you want to work with? In some ways? I also would say, Rob, it’s two way qualification process. Absolutely. Obviously, prospects clients are qualifying you, they want to make sure that you’re a fit for them. But let me tell you, as I became more and more successful in my own practice, I’m qualifying them to make sure that they’re a fit for me, and that they’re appropriate to join my client family.
Because if I don’t do that, then I’m always going to have to alter what it is I say, what it is I do what I believe in fundamentally as their advisor to deliver the ultimate client experience, which is, you know, kind of our point number four, so don’t kid yourself. You’re qualifying them just as much as they’re qualifying you.
And for a younger adviser, somebody that may be new into the Aum growth accumulation process. You know, what’s the old saying, you know, if they could fog a mirror, I’m going to take them on as a client. No, no, no, don’t go down that path. It’s a recipe for disaster, and it’s going to explode on you. So make sure they’re a fit for you. Yeah,
Rob Brown (14:50):
yeah. No, I totally agree. Those are some great points. And I think when I think about your practice in particular, and I heard you describing it, you know, some people might say, well, a mass affluent target isn’t, you know, an avatar, it isn’t an ultimate client? Well, it is if you decide who that is you want to work with.
So you’re very intentional about deciding that. That’s another thing that I know about you because I got to go to one of your client events, where you had over 100 of your clients come together, even though the concert was almost certain to be canceled because of weather.
And it was, but I watched and talk to your clients who couldn’t wait to get a chance to speak with you or hug your your business and life partner Trish. And you, I knew that I was in a place full of your ultimate clients, because it was that two way street, they love being with you and hanging out with you. And vice versa, you loved being with them.
And so it’s really important to really figure out who that ultimate client is. And it’s not something that you can make up. You can’t just say, I’m going to work with, you know, people with $5 million or more who are brain surgeons, you know, unless, of course, you actually know what it’s like to work with brain surgeons who have more than $5 million in assets.
It’s something that you develop, it’s a process, but it’s intentional. And I think that’s what’s really important when you think about that AUM growth and growing your business, whether you have no clients, or a lot of clients, you’ve got to really be intentional about selecting that, who you want to go on that journey of building your business with and those are your ultimate clients.
Phil Calandra (16:41):
That’s right, one last point if I could on one last point real quick. Another way to think of that, and you hear this tossed around a little bit. It’s like your tribe, right? Not the Cleveland Indian tribes, thinking of baseball, but you know, your tribe is the people that are just natural to your surrounding your environment. That’s another way to think of your ultimate client group is it’s it’s your tribe, it’s who you vibe with. So
Rob Brown (17:10):
yep, yeah. And you know, in using a term is very near and dear to our hearts. They’re your truest fans. Yeah, and you’re their truest fans, you want nothing but the best for them and the work that you do.
And it’s easier and better to do that, when you really understand that ultimate client, and vice versa, really enjoyed being with you and want to help you with your success.
That’s right. But you can’t just say, Okay, this is who my ultimate client is, you’ve got to then kind of take step number two, which is, think about the way that you do business with those ultimate clients that makes you stand out that helps you display that unique way that you serve them.
We call that your signature solution. And we talk about this a lot, Phil, we and we’ve talked, we’ve dedicated a podcast to this, I think it was three or four episodes ago, but but just like, give me a couple of minutes why it’s so important to not be a me too advisor, and have that unique, identifier way of describing your client journey.
Phil Calandra (18:21):
Right? So think about it. Our clients or your potential clients are bombarded 24/7, by news media, by print media, by social media. And if you’re saying the same thing that everybody else is saying, it’s kind of like what do they call white noise, there is no distinct tone to white noise. You don’t want that.
You want to be unique, you want to be differentiated. And the way that you do that, I’ll give you two buzzwords that I use in my signature differentiator. I call them obstacles and threats. Just two buzzwords that my clients will hear over and over. We want to remove the obstacles that are preventing you from hitting your most cherished financial goals. And we want to eliminate or try to prevent as many of the threats that are external to your financial plan and your portfolio as we possibly can.
Those are just two simple things that are in my signature solution. But the point is, you’re now identifying in a very consistent, a very repeatable and a very methodical way, who you are, what you do, and how you do it. And that message never change. I do a number of webinars throughout the years for clients. I have one coming up my mid year review.
And I will have in the q&a section of my webinars two or three clients that will type in, you know, some very cordial wording and say, Phil, great webinar. Thanks for the update. I didn’t really learn anything new. But you did very Are you didn’t deviate from what I know to be true, we’re following a proven path called a financial plan.
And we’re managing ourselves and our financial outcomes and our behaviors and temperaments based on how wonderful is that I’m not trying to give a market commentary or forecast or market timing prediction, I’m telling my clients the same thing over and over. And that’s embodied in what we call the signature solution, call it whatever you want. It’s just the, it’s the track, it’s the track you’re gonna run on, call it a broken record, if you have to. That’s what makes the client feel more and more comfortable with you as the advisor and the outcome that they’re expecting you to deliver over time.
Rob Brown (20:41):
Because they know the journey that they’re on with you the journey that you’re helping lead them through. And by using those words over and over again, use the word repeatable, but I like to add to those, I think that the signature solution, your signature solution, makes your business more memorable. People understand the journey that they’re on with you, because of the unique way that you work with them. It’s repeatable.
They hear it over and over again, because you say it over and over again. So that if they have the opportunity to say why they work with Phil, they can actually tell them because they can say things, you know, that attach to that signature solution in it, which makes it preferable, so when you that’s when I think, you know, your signature solution, the way that you’re describing your business and in all formats is right is when it’s memorable, repeatable and referable.
So we’ve talked about the importance if you’re really trying to accelerate AUM growth of number one, really identifying who your ultimate client is, number two, having a signature solution for describing your practice.
Number three, is we call it marketing from the inside out. And what we mean by that is that most advisors that we run into, already know or know of the people that they either want to work with, or can introduce them to the people that they want to work with.
But as you said, at the open, fail, there’s a lot of money being wasted on those services that flashed across our Instagram and Facebook feeds that say, you know, I’ve got a way that I can put, you know, 20 new prospects in front of you each and every day guaranteed, or you don’t pay, you know, but but somehow you do pay and it costs 1000s of dollars, I was talking to an advisor earlier this year, who spent $50,000, on a website that easily could have been built for a couple of Grands, with the idea that this website was somehow going to generate all these leads.
And I said, Well, what was the process that was involved in deciding that this site was going to do it? They said, Well, I don’t know. I’ve just never built a website before. So and then we started talking about, well, you know, who do you know, who is your ultimate client? what service do you deliver.
And we investigated, those clients that he works with the people that he knows, through his spheres of influence are a centers of influence. And we decided just by putting a couple of inside out, starting by thinking about who your clients are, and then gradually working your way out that we could have three or four activities, running on a consistent basis, costing very little money, mostly involving time, but not a lot of time, just a consistency of effort, that were able to get him on track for that growth.
And the $50,000 website really, really didn’t matter. And so in working with you, Phil, because for those of you who don’t know, not only to Phil and I partner together and through his fan coaching, I have been Phil’s coach.
And I felt like one of the things I had to talk about repeatable one of the things I had to constantly repeat to Phil’s Phil, what are you doing to make sure that your referrals are more and more consistent, because the referrals that you receive from your clients are significant, they are the biggest part of the growth of your business, then that’s truly working from the inside out. Well, they’re
Phil Calandra (24:26):
the only part these days because I don’t have time to do anything else. And the word that we use is advocacy. How do you position yourself to your clients to allow them to be the biggest megaphone they possibly can be for you. And that’s advocacy. I received a text message just the other day. I think I might have deleted it now.
No, I did it. I got this yesterday. Hi, Phil. FYI, I’ve referred Patty cable, a long term coworker and friend that I work with, you know, that text came out of the blue. And I just replied back, thank you, I look forward to hearing from this particular individual.
So that is what is possible. But it only becomes possible when you’ve gone through, like you said this inside out examination, it’s a discipline, it’s just like going to the weight room or just like preparing for the marathon, you’ve got to have the discipline and the fortitude, persistence, to stay with it, you got to keep working that bicep, or the bicep doesn’t grow, you got to keep running laps, or you’re not gonna get any faster.
And advocacy, a referral based practice is very similar to that it’s a discipline. And frankly, I’ve been there guys and gals, I know, you get burned, you get tired of it, but you got to keep at it, you got to keep doing it. And then you got to believe because it will work in your business, if you have that acquisition, belief system in place.
And, and getting back to the signature solution. It’s interesting how all these things tie together, and as you work through them, but when you have a consistent message to tell, and you’re not wavering, you’re not coming out with a market commentary, like 95% Of all the things from Wall Street. They’re all bogus.
Anyway, they’re trying to predict the economy or forecast the market, you’re wasting your time. Talk about a repeatable process of how you help your clients. And guess what your clients begin to do. Your advocates begin to repeat that. And that’s what starts the referral machine. It’s always been a myth that happy clients refer you. Happy clients don’t refer you unless you continuously reinforce why they’re happy. And that, of course, that is you’re helping them get further and further to their most cherished financial goals.
Rob Brown (26:54):
Yeah, those are some great points. And I think one thing that you said that really jumps out to me is that it is like building muscles when you’re getting into the gym, you know, you have to be willing to identify which exercises are the most important.
And that’s one of the things that we do in our coaching is okay, what are you comfortable doing? Who can you do that with, and let’s build a routine to make that happen, make that consistent. And inevitably, given just a little bit of time, a little bit of persistence, it just has a way of working itself out. And so that’s a little bit around the idea of building this inside out client acquisition system, something that we think is really important to do.
And it’s not just saying, I’m going to do seminars, or I’m going to do radio, or I’m going to get referrals from centers of influence if no matter what the process is, you’ve got to look at it where it is on the spectrum of goat working from the inside out.
And then if it’s an area that you’re going to work in, what’s the system that you’re going to put into place? And how will you measure your results. That’s the other big mistake that a lot of advisors making in their marketing, and client attraction systems, they don’t have a way of measuring success.
So that leads us to the fourth point, and we’ll be really brief on this one because we’re running towards, some might say, a little bit over time. But another big part of growing AUM is taking care of your clients is having was delivering what we call the ultimate client experience, which is another one of those repeatable things that makes your business referral because you have a consistent way that your clients hear from you
Phil Calandra (28:47):
That’s right. And you all know this. You’ve heard these types of statistics before, the number one reason that a client leaves a present advisor has nothing to do with performance, which is what we all might think it is its lack of communication.
So what is your strategy? What is going to be your methodology unique to you to deliver the ultimate client experience? What is your cadence of communication? I send memos to clients just about weekly via email. I do video communications about once to twice a month. I have webinars at least a new year and a mid year. And then interspersed with special topics estate planning, tax planning.
My clients also get a monthly newsletter. And oh, by the way, we’re going to have an annual review face to face at the minimum. And some clients even require a little more attention than that. But it’s intentional, and it’s actually communicated on the front end. The client knows where I stand because I’m sending these cadence of communications and that makes the client feel more and more comfortable, more and more comfortable.
You’re pleased they’re happy, they’re happy. They refer they become your advocates. And I’ve seen a lot of advisors that don’t really have a well thought out. process, this is a strategy, this is something that will make or break your practice. And don’t let it be the thing that breaks your practice. This is the easiest one of them all.
Rob Brown (30:20):
Yeah, it really is. And, Phil, what you described, although you, you didn’t say it, necessarily with this specificity, which I actually see you delivering it, I see your communications, and how they’re measured.
They’re intentional. clients know when to expect them. Because of the type of communicating that you’re doing and type of market that you’re working with. You don’t have to meet with your clients as often because as a group, that’s right, they’re getting that message delivered to them.
So but it’s, it’s unique to you and that word unique. I think some advisors go well, there’s nothing unique about what I do, you know, we all do financial plans, we all, you know, have access to the same investments, well, that’s just not true.
If you really have an ultimate client that you enjoy working with, no two advisors are the same. So just by virtue of the fact that no two advisors are the same. And the way you serve, most of the way you serve your clients is different than the way other people are, that makes it a unique client experience.
And if you, as you said, create a cadence to that, how often are you going to communicate with your clients? And how often do you communicate with your clients about how often you’re going to communicate, so that again, becomes part of that whole, memorable, repeatable referral concept, that is not just about the signature solution, it’s also about the way that you serve your clients is so important.
And it is not the newsletter that you can buy from xyz.com website company that everybody looks the same. You know, my LinkedIn feed, for example, is probably different than advisors listening to this podcast, because most of my connections are in the business. But I can tell who’s got the greatest like sales campaign, going on for newsletters by looking at my LinkedIn feed and seeing how many advisors are sending out the exact same message. And I read them and there’s no personalization to them.
That’s not delivering the ultimate client experience. You know, I work with advisors who, because of the type of client they work with, that they they communicate personally, with their clients once a month, through a phone call, or a Zoom meeting, or an in person meeting, or maybe a personal email, it’s a monthly intentional personal communication. And that is their cadence, they do little else beyond that.
And their clients don’t care, because they know if they ever have a question, there’s going to be that opportunity to talk with the advisor the next month. Right. And that’s the key. Yeah, it’s really, really customizing that. And I think maybe that’s something that’s a thread throughout all four of the steps that we’ve talked about, Phil is the key to growing your AUM really accelerating that growth, is identifying what really makes you different in terms of who you work with your ultimate clients, how you deliver what you deliver in terms of your client experience, or your signature solution, how you uncover new opportunities, because you are looking for unique clients that fit your practice, and then how you create that repeatable system of taking care of them. Because they’ve agreed to work with you. It’s just so important. That’s right. Any last thoughts, Phil, and I’ll close this out in just a minute.
Phil Calandra (33:51):
Good stuff. Good stuff. I mean, we could continue on and love to share more of these ideas with folks.
Rob Brown (33:57):
Yeah, absolutely. Yeah, we apologize. We let the first episode of our renamed podcast go on longer than we like. But I think it’s because we just we really feel strongly about these four concepts, in fact, is part of our one of the reasons that we call it a blueprint is we actually have a blueprint, a set of steps that are our signature solution that we walk our clients through.
And these four areas that we discussed today are four, four parts of our Blueprints. And you’ll see in the show notes depending on when this show is released, that we are going to be offering a new program called the Aum accelerator where we will help advisors implement these ideas that we’re talking about today.
So in the show notes, you will see that you can go to truce fan coaching.com and learn about the Aum accelerator program that we’ll be starting. You can get more information there. So thanks, everybody are actually first thank you Phil for embarking on this new journey with the new truce fan blueprint podcast.
It’s a mouthful out to start saying and practicing it so it doesn’t I don’t stumble over those words but But I truly enjoy with you. Absolutely. And I’m truly looking forward to building out what we’re doing so that we can help our audience become stronger, better advisors as you take your clients on that journey. So important to them.
Rob Brown (35:33):
Thanks for joining us for this episode of the truest fan blueprint. You if you want to learn more, head over to our website truest fan.com. On the site, you’ll learn more about becoming a true us fan. You’ll also find today’s show notes and links to the other gifts and resources we talked about during this episode. Again, thanks for listening and remember, we’re rooting for your success.
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