The Power of Advocacy

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In this week’s episode of the Truest Fan Podcast, our Chief Growth Architects, Rob Brown and Phil Calandra, are here to discuss the power of advocacy. In its simplest form, advocacy is a process for turning clients, centers of influence (COIs) and other influencers into promoters of you and your business. Advocacy, done well, leads to a more steady flow of referrals and introductions.

Advocacy can take many forms, from personal conversations to social media campaigns to networking in your community. But no matter the strategy, the keys to successful advocacy are planning and consistency.  You must regularly share your message. And you need to let your advocates know that you’re looking for new opportunities.

During their conversation, Rob and Phil share their insights on the most effective ways to amplify your advocacy efforts, including building strong partnerships and collaborations, utilizing social media platforms, and crafting compelling stories.

Whether you’re a seasoned advisor or just getting started, this episode is a must-listen. Join us as we explore the power of amplifying your message to create a steady stream of referrals and introductions.

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Podcast Transcript

Phil Calandra (00:05):

It’s a numbers game. It’s always been a numbers game. And remember, the other true measure of creating value with clients is not just the introductions, but the new money from existing client. 

Rob Brown (00:20):

So again, just a couple of really important thing to think about that, think about value. Think about consistency. Find your lane for doing it the right way that’s best for you and your personal style and your business style. And you can make it happen. And that’s where you’re going to get your biggest and best new clients.

Intro (00:39):

You’re listening to the truest fan podcast. And now here’s your host, Rob Brown.

Rob Brown (00:49):

Hello, hello. Welcome back to the truest fan podcast. Rob Brown here with my co host, Phil Calandra. Phil, welcome back to the podcast. 

Phil  Calandra (01:00):

Hey, Rob, great to be here. 

Rob Brown (01:15):

So today, we want to talk about advocacy. You know, one of the main steps in our we call our AUM Launchpad, how we help advisors grow their assets under management is called advocacy amplification. And the whole idea behind advocacy amplification, is to make sure that those people who wants to be advocates for your business, whether they’re your clients, your centers of influence, people that you know, influencers that you know, who can positively impact your business, know that you’re open for business, and the kind of clients that you’re looking for. 

And we think this is a really timely topic, because we’re at the end of the quarter. And as many of you know, we also advocate for doing quarterly sprints where we help our clients break their goals down into action items that we prioritize for one quarter at a time. 

So we can really get deep into those and work on those. And as we’re working with our clients now, one of the things that we’re seeing is that promoting referrals, promoting advocacy is something that’s been missing. And we want to make sure that we drive that home. So we thought that maybe as you’re thinking about your next quarter, your sprint those things that you need to prioritize that if you aren’t getting the consistency and the quality of referrals, introductions, that this might be a time to re examine what you’re doing to promote advocacy. I know Phil, that’s something that you regularly think about and your practice.

Phil Calandra (02:53):

totally correct. And this is the best time to do it. The first quarter buzzed by, and for most advisors that are in a kind of a growth mode, which I would say every advisor should be a practice is either growing, or it is in fact dying. So you come to the end of q1 of 2023. And either you did hit your numbers, or you didn’t hit your numbers. And in our case in our office here in Atlanta, advocacy and referrals are a big, big part of that. 

And like I always say, it is a myth that clients are going to refer you. It’s a myth, happy clients refer you and happy clients become advocates. The other thing I would say if you look at your numbers in the first quarter, a large part and we did hit our numbers, both our corporate objective and my own personal objective, which always seems to be a little bit higher. Are you getting new business from existing clients? That’s another telltale sign. Because if your existing clients are bringing you new assets, maybe it’s an inheritance, maybe it’s we had a client that settled a traffic accident for almost $900,000 that we’re going to unfortunate way to receive assets. 

But are your clients bringing you new money? That’s another form of advocacy that we measure, because I know if my clients are happy, I can count on new assets coming from existing clients in addition to them, bringing us or introducing us being advocates that amplify our message and either hit it or you didn’t write that’s the only way you can say it. No Kinder way. If you didn’t hit it in the first quarter. What are you doing to fix it? You need to reach out to rob or myself and get this fixed. 

Rob Brown (04:47):

It’s really important and you know, I’ll share a really kind of funny story. I have a clients that I’m working with who are in between two of our regularly scheduled coaching call have made a $20,000 investments in a lead generation program. 

And when we, when we got on the call he to talk about marketing and planning out his next quarter is next sprint. He very sheepishly told me about this investment. And just turns out, he just really felt so far behind on his goal for bringing in new business, his referrals had slowed down, that he just kind of was chasing a shiny object that he saw on a Facebook ad. And then when we spent some time digging into how it would actually help him, what was required of him to be able to use the system, it turned out, it wasn’t even a fit for his business. 

Fortunately, it wasn’t money thrown away, we were able to get the money back actually talked them through how you could approach the service and say, Hey, this is not a fit for me, got the money back. And then what we did is we said, what is the plan that is going to get the results. And it turned out that during the quarter because he had a bunch of different things going on in his business, he had gotten sloppy with his regular conversation with his clients, about the fact that he was open for business and looking for introductions. 

And so what we set out for that in the sprint is he meets with about five clients a week, I said, What would happen if for the next sprint for the next quarter, you just had two conversations a week where you spoke specifically with clients about advocacy, promoting referrals. And you had one conversation a week with a senator of influence. Having that advocacy conversation, how different would you feel about your marketing at the end of the quarter? Now, the proof will be in the pudding. I don’t have results to report. 

But I know that it will be very successful because I’ve helped advisors do that over and over again. But we pivoted, we went from, hey, let’s throw a bunch of money at a problem to, hey, let’s not throw a bunch of money. But let’s just make sure that we have happy clients giving us introductions, and we’re making it easy for them to do it. So truthfully, it’s something that anybody who’s an advisor listening to this call could implement a similar plan. 

Phil Calandra (07:29):

Yeah, that’s a great story. And it’s probably one that you had with me, Rob, five years ago, when we started working together. And the question really, every advisor listening to us today has to ask themselves is how do you promote advocacy? What is it that you’re doing? Do you need a script? Contact us? 

You know, I know that there’s one floating around Rob, because I used it multiple times before I created my own. So let’s get that out to people. Because how you promote advocacy is going to be directly proportional to the way your business is going to shift and think about all the ways that the financial advisory industry goes about this notion of growth. 

Right? You mentioned Facebook ads, tried that dinner seminars, did that television did that radio, I’ve done them all. But there is not a single marketing strategy or client acquisition strategy that works 100% of the time, that is foolproof. But I would say that referrals, introductions, and strong advocacy is about as good as it gets, and as close to Nirvana as an advisory practice could achieve. 

But so then why don’t we, it’s because we’re getting it wrong. In our mind. It’s our mindset. And we have to shift our mindset. And that’s where the advocacy amplification comes in. Some of the things that we do in I’ve done these in our practice for years now is it’s in the way you ask a lot of advisors are not comfortable asking for introductions. 

So one of the things that we do two times a year is we send out a snail mail letter, it happens to be my annual letter to clients and then my mid year letter to clients and in that we put a postcard in there very comforting, asking for introductions. Here’s who we’re looking for. Very specifically, these are the types of people we help. 

These are the type of people that fit well with our firm. Do you know anybody? That’s a postcard, webinars, a lot of advisors now, post COVID have gotten very good at doing client and prospect webinars. We do that as well. And in our webinars, and we’ve talked about this, my webinars are never it’s never any magic bullet. I’m never talking about current events or some new whiz bang strategy on Wall Street or drawdown mitigation or crap like that. I’m telling the same story, I’m telling the same message to reinforce my value proposition. 

And what does that lead to? Of course, it leads to happier clients more comfortable with our philosophical view of what we’re doing in their financial planning and portfolios. And that’s what starts the referral machine. That’s what starts the introductions. And those are simple things that you can do. It certainly wouldn’t cost me $20,000. Rob, to send out snail mail, yeah, two or three times a year to Wow.

Speaker 3 (10:43):

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Rob Brown (11:06):

And that’s also the nice thing about having regular conversations with clients and centers of influence, maybe it cost you a few lunches. But that’s about it. So it doesn’t take a huge investment, it just takes consistency. And Phil, I need to tell a story on you. Because when we first started working together before we and our partners, through our coaching work, you were a client of mine. And one of the things that we regularly tried was different client acquisition activities, to supplement what you were doing on referrals. 

Because the truth was, you were getting most of your new business and your biggest new relationships from referrals, but it didn’t seem consistent. And regular, you know, you wanted. And I think this is the way a lot of advisors are they want, you know, a new referral to come in, you know, every day or every week or some with some regular pattern. And, and it can be a little hit or miss. But when you look at it over the course of the year, if you put the actions into place to promote referrals, directly or indirectly, it does happen over cycles. And so but but it’s that consistency that taking the action, putting it to work. 

And I think two other things that are really important that came out of what you said, Phil, one is, you use the word value, that is really important. In a referral and advocacy situation, when you can get your client or the person making the introduction to really understand what it is they value about the work that you do. 

And then you talk to them about helping someone that they know, they feel like they’re sharing value. So that is that’s really, that’s really critical to the process is to make sure that the value is part of how you either promote or asked for there’s there lots of different ways to do it. 

It’s not one size fits all, like I said, you like you said, you have some ways that you recommended doing it that you’ve used over the years, I’ve helped you with some of those. 

But this other client I’m talking about, right, he’s very comfortable having a referral discussion he can do in a very elegant, professional way that doesn’t feel dirty to him. And some people, you know, that’s the other thing you said is why don’t people that was really important. Why don’t Why do people have trouble advisors had trouble with advocacy and with promoting referrals, and they get bored with it, they just stop for no good reason. 

But this client is actually good at it. Yeah. But he stopped, he got sloppy. And it was showing up in the fact that this pipeline wasn’t staying filled. So again, just a couple of really important things to think about that think about value. Think about consistency. Find your lane for doing it the right way that’s best for you and your personal style and your business style. And you can make it happen. And that’s where you’re going to get your biggest and best new clients. 

Phil Calandra (14:09):

Right. Right. And I think one simple thing that has worked for me over the years that can work for you, those that are listening to us today. how consistent are you with your communication, I send out a monthly client newsletter. 

Most of the advisors I know do that. I also send out video messages about every two to three weeks and then I supplement that with blog type posts. And inevitably what I can count on in my conversation with clients is simply this. I’ll give it to you as a roleplay. Rob, do you value the blog post and the newsletter that I send out every month? If you do, would you mind sending that to two or three people that could also benefit from  the type of work that we’ve done together, that’s it, here’s your script, you know, hit the rewind button on our podcast and try it something like that. I can’t guarantee that you’re going to get 10 New referrals or introductions. 

But I can tell you, if you do that consistently over time with the client, you’re coaching right now, that didn’t spend $20,000 for lead generation, if he has five new client meetings a week, and he doesn’t only twice, I will love to see the results that he’s going to have at the end of this 12 week sprint, it’s going to be there for him, right? 

Rob Brown (15:35):

I mean, the simple math that I like to think about when it comes to having those conversation is that for each conversation that you have, if you do it, well, you’re going to end up on average with two introductions, you know, some clients may not give you, any other clients might give you three or four introductions, but on average, it’s about two. 

So if you have two conversations a week over the course of a 12, week, Sprint’s that is 24 times at bat, yeah, and if you don’t average two, if you only averaged one, if you got one introduction, on average, from those 24 conversations, that’s 24 referrals that you have the opportunity to speak with, if half of those referrals suck, if they just aren’t good, you still end up with 12 good prospects in your pipeline. And if you only close half of those, there’s a half a dozen new relationships that you could bring in, you know, over the course of the next 12 weeks, or maybe takes a little bit longer because of of timing. 

But just that one activity, yeah, of having two conversations a week can be something that gets you to the point where you’re bringing in, you know, one knew good, high quality, ideal client relationship a month, it’s it can be that, it can be that simple. But you have to do it, you have to take action, 

Phil Calandra (17:00):

it is that simple. It’s a numbers game, it’s always been a numbers game, in my business and the maturity of my business, I want to stack those numbers in my favor. Because if I got those six introductions, and they were all of light quality, they’re probably going to be a million to $2 million relationships. 

If I do that four times, or four quarters in a year, I’m gonna feel pretty good about the growth of my business. And remember, the other true measure of creating value with clients is not just the introductions, but the new money from existing clients. I said that before. I track that very closely, because I know if I’m doing great work, and we need to do another podcast on client experience, Rob Yeah, if you’re creating that, that client experience, at the end of a quarter measure how much existing clients new assets you got, as well. So there, we gave a tease for an upcoming podcast. 

Rob Brown (18:00):

Yeah, obviously. Now, we already know we’re going to talk about next time. So let us bring it to a close here with a couple of thoughts. Number one, I have a referral script that I created. I call it the best referral script ever. That’s, that’s my name for it. I like it. If anybody listening to this podcast, would like a copy for it. You can get access to it in the show notes. So I’ll make the best referral script ever available to listeners of this podcast. 

And we want to ask for your referrals. So if you’re listening to this podcast, if you liked the ideas that you’ve been hearing, do two things. One, wherever you’re listening, whether you’re on Apple or Spotify, wherever you’re listening to podcasts, give us a five star rating. You know, we’re not asking for anything less. We want five star ratings, but it really does help us spread the word. The more people who listen who write the show, we ask you to spend some time and give the show a rating and submit your your comments and share the podcast with our people that other advisors know that we’re out here doing our best to cheer you on because we’re your truest fans and we’re rooting for your success. So with that, I think we’ll call it a day. 

Phil Calandra (19:15):

Take care of we’ll call it a day Rob,you too.

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