Monday, December 31, 2007

Choosing A Professional Designation

by Tammy de Leeuw
Financial Advisor Netzone

In the companion FINANCIAL ADVISOR NET"ZINE", I have been attempting to answer the burning question: "Are there ANY designations worth getting anymore?"

This was prompted by an unusual request I received from the Certified Retirement Financial Advisor (CRFA) coordinator asking if I would host a webinar for them. When I finished laughing, (those of you who know my background will realize why I laughed) I began to think that the designation industry, while it is wheezing and sputtering, isn't dead yet.

Put away those "magic bullets", Festus...

I am frequently asked "Do I need financial designations?" Now, come on people, how am I supposed to know that?

Are you having credibility issues? Are you 35 but you look like you are fresh out of college so no one takes you seriously? Then maybe a few ABC's trailing your name might assuage some of the doubts your prospects feel when they gaze upon your baby face. That, and actually KNOWING what you are talking about could do the trick.

However, a designation, while perhaps educating you beyond the lame training you got from your company or broker-dealer, will not generally create an instant rapport with your clients. It will not make you infinitely smarter than the competition, nor will it make you well-known and admired by all.

Seniors and others in your ideal demographic will probably not gasp in awe and exclaim
"Well dadgummit, Martha, that young feller's done got him a Chartered Certified Retirement Analyst Professional (ChCRAP) designation. Pull out the coffee can and give him our life savings!"

Not gonna happen...

So, when considering getting a designation you really and truly have to know your own motivation for getting it.

1. To impress other people.

Sorry to burst your bubble, but the general public only recognizes a few designations- the ones you probably already have: CPA, CFP, CSA, These might be recognizable to your prospects- but it doesn't necessarily mean they understand or appreciate the VALUE of the required expertise. That being said, the public does expect EXPERTS to have at least a spoonful of alphabet soup, so the right designations might be useful in making a good first impression for some of the people you meet.

2. As A Marketing Tool

In my opinion, this is the absolutely worst reason to want a designation. Most of the world outside of the financial services bubble doesn't give a rat's patooty about the letters on your stationary. They just want to know "What can you do for ME?" Designations do not put butts in the seats at your seminars- good marketing and good reputation DO.

Some of you considering spending $2,000 for another designation might be better served just learning how to become more entertaining, polished presenters or in producing higher-quality invitations, or in buying a decent filtered mailing list so you can crack the one half percent response rate.

Don't rely on designations to fill in the gaps of a poorly designed marketing program. They just can't.

3. As A Way To Better Serve My Niche By Becoming An Expert in THEIR Issues-

Ah ha... Now you are on to something. What if you got a designation just because you wanted to become a better advisor? Now, that is worthwhile. And guess what? When you explain to Mrs. Jones that you became a certified whatever so you could better understand and assist her, you have created a marketing opportunity.

4. My company pays for it

Go for it. A little free education can go a long way. Besides, some of those designation workshops are in go-to destinations. Take advantage of the situation and get some knowledge with your margaritas.

5. They give ME Free Marketing, Including a Listing in Their Directory (wow!)

Nearly all designations claim to have websites and directories which generate tons of leads for their clients. Past experience tells me this is rarely the case. Unless designations chip off some of their margins and spend a whole lot of money advertising, paying for keywords, and doing a ton of search engine optimization, the general public pays them little heed.

Most of the designation websites marketed to the public are weak at best, and from personal experience a lot of the data they generate consists of bogus names and bogus emails. So, how useful are 100 leads of non-existing prospects? For an example of a poor designation marketing website see: Is this really going to generate loads of viable leads?

Could you possibly get lucky and find the client of a lifetime just because you got chartered or certified? Possibly. Scatter enough seed and something might eventually grow but are you willing to waste time and money finding out?

Once you have identified your motivation for getting the designation, you need to do the type of research I have been doing on the ChFEBC(sm) designation.

This is the Chartered Federal Employee Benefit Consultant designation. I had an advisor contact me about a program which uses this designation as a way for advisors to do seminars for Federal employees.

Since I wasn't trying to get the designation myself, I asked advisors who already HAD the designation about its value as both a marketing AND educational tool.

So far, on the educational front, the designation looks to be legit. "You just can't pass the test without knowing the stuff," opined one ChFEBC. Another said, "it was exceptional material and I learned a lot." However, and here is the interesting thing, none of the advisors I spoke with were planning to RENEW their designations.????

Why not? Well, you can guess that their personal motivations for getting it had to do with seeing it as a magic bullet to get more clients OR they got themselves involved in seminar programs which REQUIRED it.

According to a smart cookie advisor who forwarded me his own independent ChFEBC research, advisors in North Carolina complained to him that attempts at doing seminars had failed again and again and when they tried to get refunds from the designation company, they were stonewalled.

This might only be the case in the Carolinas, which are notoriously difficult states in which to prospect, but it does ilustrate the need for you to take the time to call someone in your area who has the designation in which you are interested and ask them a few questions. To me the number one question would be" are you planning on renewing your XYZ credential?" If they say "No." ask why and proceed with caution.

In conclusion, designations can be useful and worthwhile, but only if you have realistic expectations and take the time to do your homework.

PS: I welcome your own experiences and comments about designations. Address them to:

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Liberal Arts Grad Made Good-TJ Walker

Financial Advisor Netzone is proud to announce a new webinar for 2008. TJ Walker's blog is one of my most frequently visited sites, so I am thrilled to give you the opportunity to hear this dynamic presenter LIVE.

“Attention-Grabbing Financial Presentations- The Story Behind The Numbers” with TJ WALKER.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008
10:00 AM - 11:00 AM PST

Register at:

A frequent news commentator
, TJ Walker has appeared often on MSNBC, Fox News Channel, Court TV, and Bloomberg TV. He has also been a syndicated TV and talk show host, appearing or hosting on more than 2000 TV and radio shows, and has hosted talk radio shows on seven different networks.

Walker's credits include features in the New York Times, NBC News, ABC News, CBS radio and most major radio news outlets. He has lectured and conducted trainings at Yale University, Columbia University and Princeton University.

Walker was a merit scholar at Duke University where he graduated magna cum laude, with a B.A in Philosophy.

Be sure to register early for this exciting webinar.

Check out some of TJ's short "Bully Pulpit" Clips:

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Another Christmas Gift

"Rust (aka Tammy de Leeuw) never sleeps. In my vigilant quest to find financial professionals the best products, services, and people, I even work on Christmas Day. Many of you are starting to think about what challenges you will face in 2008 and what changes you need to make. I hope you will find some guidance and some good cheer here at your home on the Web- Financial Advisor Netzone."

Choosing a Broker/Dealer:A 60-Point Checklist
By Katherine Vessenes, JD, CFP

Picking the best broker/dealer for your business requires some due diligence on your part. Here are 14 major areas to consider when selecting someone you can work with for the long term.

A few years ago I got out my trench coat and fedora and went undercover. My mission: to scope out the inside workings of broker/dealers. I wanted to get an up-close look at how they ticked, their policies, and what they really thought about the advisors out there being their reps.

Let's call this one firm I observed ABC Securities, just to protect the guilty and the innocent. Before I had completed my first two months, ABC was summarily shut down by the NASD for violating net capital rules after an investor defrauded the firm! One day it was in business, making money, and preparing for an IPO. The next day, it was out of business.

If you want to see ugly, picture what happens when you can't trade for your clients. You can't even liquidate their positions. You are locked into a firm and can't switch to another broker/dealer. You have no income and lots of unhappy investors. In short, you're living your worst nightmare.

The experience made me think I could save a lot of reps a great deal of money and stress just by telling them to follow a few simple rules when choosing broker/dealer. So here it is: a checklist of 14 things to consider as you choose your next B/D.

Payout. Actually, this is not the most important thing on my list; I just included it first because it is the most important thing to many financial advisors. One of the surprising things I learned undercover was just how narrow the margins are in this business for broker/dealers.

This is a labor- and technology-intensive business that costs a lot of capital to maintain. That eats into profits. It is not unusual for a B/D to be operating at break-even or even a small loss.

Its biggest expense is commissions. High commissions can actually be a sign of trouble. It may mean the B/D doesn't have the resources to provide you with the service you want

Be careful when you start comparing payouts. There can be a bit of smoke and mirrors in how some firms advertise them. It is not unusual to see an ad for a 90% payout, or even more. But if you look at broker/dealer surveys, you will notice the actual payout can be less than advertised. Why the discrepancy? It's due to the extra fees many firms may charge reps.

A while back, I got a call from a rep who was furious with his B/D and wanted me to create a new B/D for him. The reason: He had ticket charges of $20,000 on total gross commissions of $120,000! I understood his anger but advised him it would be far cheaper for him to just find another firm with a different payout schedule.

Before you choose a new B/D, create your own spreadsheet of all the costs you could incur in the relationship. Compare at least three firms, and include any extra fees like technology charges, Web fees, and E&O insurance.

You might be surprised to find out that at B/D X, even with lower payouts, you are actually making more money than you would at B/D Y with higher payouts. This was the situation of a well-known B/D up until recently. For many years, it had a very complicated payout schedule. On the surface, it looked as if the reps were making significantly less than they would at another firm. In actuality, the reps' gross was so much higher, they were actually taking home more...

Katherine Vessenes, JD, CFP, a nationally known author and speaker, has the best job in the world. She turns average producers into stars by focusing on sales, marketing, compliance, and practice management issues for broker-dealers and advisors. You can contact Katherine at (952) 401-1045 or at (download this complete report at:

For more help choosing a broker dealer- use the free "matchmaker" service offered by Broker-Dealer

Friday, December 21, 2007

For Your Holiday Viewing Pleasure

Here's a sample of what you can expect from Malcolm Kushner. Be sure to register for the webinar on January 8.

In case zone you didn't get the Financial Advisor Netzone e-zine (be sure to sign up -there is a form on the righthand side.) Here is the HOW NOT TO USE POWERPOINT VIDEO from Don McMillan. It's funny because it's so true..

I was so impressed with this company that I placed their ad on this blog for free. If you click on the small ads on the righthand side of the blog- you will get 30 days free and 10% off!

Toastmaster of the Year Goes to...

Thursday, December 20, 2007

How To Create A Free Special Report...

that actually gets read and acted upon

Why is the free report necessary?

What should your free report accomplish?

by Mark Satterfield
Gentle Rain Marketing

We naturally want the report to accomplish a number of objectives.

First it should build your credibility. (Remember that this is a NEW relationship we are trying to develop.) You'll achieve a lot more success if you approach relationship building by developing a series of small steps. Failure often occurs when we try to accomplish too much too quickly.

It's important that we put ourselves in our prospect's shoes. For example, we can assume that the client is understandably skeptical at this point in time.

Thus at this very early step we want to gently move them through a series of steps to reduced that resistance. That's one of the main objectives of your free report. (The other naturally is to pave the way for the next step in the business development process.)

Now just a quick comment on lead generation methods. There are any of a number of techniques that can work. What you need to do is experiment so that you can determine over time, what works best for you.

My most successful clients use a variety of methods, direct mail, pay per click or paid internet search, direct response advertising in specialty trade publications, speaking, writing... I even have one client who has used billboards. (which you might not think would be particularly effective for marketing professional services but for him it works quite well.)

The key point it not to rely on one method, but to determine what portfolio of lead generation methods works best for you.

Now having said that, and recognizing that my clients use different methods depending upon their services and markets, the one strategy that they all share is the use of the one-page lead generation letter...

So regardless of what lead generation methods you use, remember that getting prospects to raise their hand and self identify themselves requires that they see a reflection of themselves in your marketing materials. And this is very important to keep in mind— at this point, when they are intrigued by your letter or your ad or whatever, their level of interest is usually quite small.

So what does this mean in terms of developing our marketing campaign?

From a practical perspective, unless they have an absolute burning need for your services (i.e. farmer who's barn is on fire and you sell water) they probably aren't terribly interested in actually meeting with you or speaking with you.

They may be interested in what you have to say, but there's this little fear they have that if they raise their hand they're going to get inundated with a full-court sales press. This is the reason why we want them to request the report anonymously. Ideally, through your website. How to set up your website to maximize its lead generation potential is a topic for another day.

Suffice it to say, your free report must accomplish a number of agenda items...

It needs to build credibility for you and propel the prospective client forward to the next step in the relationship building process. If they put down the report without taking that next step, then your report hasn't completely done its job.

So we want to build credibility AND move the process forward. Quite an agenda for a free report, but it's one that you can accomplish if you follow my guidance.

Now the concept of offering a free report isn't new.

In fact my entire Gentle Rain methodology is based on a classic marketing process that has proven to be enormously successful over time.

A quick story

I'm probably dating myself here, but when I was young I loved comic books. On the back cover of the comics in those days, often appeared an ad for Charles Atlas.

Now for those you who are old enough to remember, the ad largely consisted of a comic strip in which the skinny kid got sand kicked in his face by the bully, subsequently signed up for the Charles Atlas muscle-building program, eventually beat up the bully and got the girl. Now in the lower right hand segment of the ad was a coupon that you clipped out.

It asked you if you wanted bulging biceps, thighs of steel, a washboard stomach etc. Anyway, you'd send in the coupon and a week or so later you got in the mail a Free Information Report called The Secrets of Dyna-Tension. Now this was pretty well thought out.

It gave you some practical tips (push-ups as I recall) along with a pitch for the complete program. Then for weeks and months to come (and in fact they may still be coming) were regular mailings encouraging me to take action.

That's basically the same model I, and my clients, use. So naturally what we're talking about today is your version of The Secrets of Dyna-Tension.

Remember that what we don't want to happen when someone visits our site is for them to play around on it and then leave without leaving some sort of record that they were there. Naturally, since our goal with Gentle Rain is to build relationships, that's going to be very difficult to do if we don't know who's visiting our site.

I view the free report as an ethical bribe. Give me some information about who you are, and I'll give you some information about a subject that you're interested in. Naturally what we have to do to ensure that we're gaining long-term traction is to make sure that the report is actually read...

Purchase the Mark's entire report-generating course in 3 parts:

How to Create a Free Special Report
that Actually Gets Read and Acted Upon

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

When Seminars Attack..

As you plan your 2008 event calendar, be sure to do your homework
to avoid wasting time and money.
Tina and Doug Dixon of SEMINAR DIRECT offer you this advice.

The Top 10 Reasons Financial Seminars Fail

by Doug Dixon
Seminar Direct

Top producers from Boston to Bakersville are getting rich because they know how to market themselves with financial seminars. They understand that seminars can be the greatest tool for finding wealthy clients and dramatically building their business. And their bank accounts can prove it.

Unfortunately, some financial advisors haven’t learned the basic principles of seminar marketing and are disappointed with their results. Because they can’t identify the real problem, they blame imaginary outside forces they can’t control. Instead of looking inward at what they can improve to become successful, it’s just easier and more comfortable for them to believe that the market is “saturated” or the room is just filled with “plate lickers” who are only there for free food.

The solution can be found in understanding what causes some financial seminars to fail. By avoiding these common pitfalls, you’ll improve your income and avoid poor results.


Stale Invitation

The market isn’t saturated with seminars, it’s saturated with the same invitation. This happens because there are a few very large seminar marketing companies that dominate the marketplace. These companies have 1,000s of advisors all over the country mailing the same invitations. When prospects receive the same invitation repeatedly from different advisors, it absolutely kills response rates.

Not only is the credibility of the advisor questioned, but any sense of urgency is removed because the prospect knows another offer will be coming again soon. Response rates can be increased simply by avoiding the herd and not using the large seminar companies that advertise they produce 1,000s of seminars.

Betting on Postcards

Postcards are a great tool for seminars, but their response rate is about half of other mailing pieces. To achieve the results equal to other mailers, twice as many postcards need to be mailed. This increased mailing causes the market to become saturated twice.

This is why postcards seem to do very well for a short period of time, then response rates crash. Carefully watch results with postcards and be ready to switch to another type of mailer as response rates approach unacceptable levels.

Wrong Time

It may sound elementary, but seminars should be held when it’s convenient for the attendees. What complicates this issue is that the best time varies with the demographics of the audience. There is a huge difference between the best time for a business owner, a near retiree (55-65) and those that are above 65. Demands created by work, ability to drive at night, age, and family conditions make each of these groups unique. By identifying the concerns of your target audience, you can hold your seminar at the very best time, dramatically increase response rates.

(download the report now:



By Tammy de Leeuw

OK- I admit it. I was a member of the nerdy geek club-one of those kids in high school who was into Star Wars and comic book shows. I was in the drama club and on the debate team. In other words: I was tragically uncool just like Eric on "That 70's Show."

Perhaps that is why I think Diogenes Ruiz (love the name!) is a genius to come up with SuperHero business cards.

SuperHero cards are like no other cards I have ever seen. You can have your fancy-paper, triple embossed, foil impressions- give me something that will stand out from the crowd and won't get tossed into the junk drawer abyss.

Admit it- how many times have you been handed a business card that you barely glanced at and either tossed into the trash can or the bottom of your computer case?

Well.. other people are doing the same when you hand them YOUR card. Why not be DIFFERENT and show them your inner hero?

Not only does the card command attention, but people are loathe to throw them away due to the tug of nostalgia they feel. Remember all those cards you used to collect? What if you had kept that Nolan Ryan rookie baseball card ( I had 10 of these!!!) or those Beatles cards?

Recipients of your card are instantly transported back to their childhoods, when life was simple and computers lived only in banks and universities and were as big as 18-wheelers; back before
WII and broadband and malware ,Rosie O'Donnell and American Idol.

Far from being "unprofessional" Dio's cards show the world that you aren't afraid to grab life by the, uh.. horns and that while you ARE a serious professional, you have a self-effacing sense of humor and warm approachability.

These custom cards are used by one of my favorite sales trainers- JEFFREY GITOMER.
If they are good enough for Jeffrey, they are good enough for me.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Variable Annuities: Are They Ever OK To Sell?- One Attorney Says "Yes!"

(editor's note: Katherine Vessenes and her husband Peter teach advisors how to break down barriers and achieve the practices of which they have always dreamed. For more on their unique comprehensive workshop, visit:( )

FAN readers get $250 off the registration fee if they contact me at 888-571-8383 or email: for more information and a brochure.)

By Katherine Vessenes, JD, CFP®

The problem:

There is going to be trouble in boomer retirement-land. Big trouble and a lot of firms haven’t figured it out yet.

How do I know? I have the best job in the world—I help protect our clients from the pain of an investor lawsuit or complaint. Our clients are wholesalers, financial advisors, broker/dealers and insurance companies who all want to do the right thing for the investor and raise profits at the same time.

So I am on a mission—I want financial advisors and corporate execs to be able to sleep at night knowing their investors are happy, in great products and the companies they recommend are solid and secure. I don’t want any lawsuits, complaints, or worse: criminal prosecutions, on my watch.

Here is the situation: Baby boomers are woefully ill prepared for retirement. Based on numerous statistics I have seen over the years—it wouldn’t surprise me if 50% of them had the unthinkable happen to them—run out of money in retirement. Could be more.

Baby boomers have their heads in the sand when it comes to retirement. Two thirds of Americans believe they will have the same life style in retirement as they do now, even though less than 42 have ever bothered to even calculate their retirement needs, says a study by EBRI. The US Department of Commerce reports the average savings rate is now close to a -1.7% and the average savings for retirement is a pitiful $50,000.

According to Price and Associates 80% of top executives who are making between $500,000 and a million dollars a year in income (not net worth!) are worried about running out of money in retirement—and with good cause, it is likely to happen at all levels of society.

To compound the situation, boomers will have a longer retirement than any other generation. Some think it could be as long as 30 years! They might even be retired longer than they actually worked.

So let’s connect the dots: Baby boomers are likely to run out of money in retirement. It is going to be a big surprise to them. Investors hate surprises. Unhappy investors, particularly surprised and unhappy investors, run to their attorney’s office...
(rest of story at:

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Yo, Tis Da Season Fo Making Merry

"I grew up in a tough neighborhood. Walking towards the subway, a kid held me up with a knife.
I could tell
it was his first mugging because there was butter on it." - Rodney Dangerfield

A while back, I went to the local convenience store (which in my neighborhood is commonly referred to as a "stoh") and saw the first signs of Christmas in the Hood: A guy with a Santa hat and beard drinking swill out of a brown paper bag. After wishing me a drunken "Happy Holidays," he ambled off back inside the store for another 40 ouncer.

I thought to myself, "This wouldn't happen if I lived in Brentwood."

For many people, times are harsh and it is hard to hold onto visions of self-employment and a great lifestyle. Even mere solvency seems a pipe dream with the current mortgage crisis and inevitable downturn in the economy.
Those of us who live and die by commissions, gratuities, and management fees deal with uncertainty and budgetary crunches on a daily basis. We can't afford to take our eyes off the pipeline for even one second lest the
stream dry up.

I can't tell you how many financial planners, brokers, even CPA's have reported a significant downturn in their businesses. One RIA told me had to take a second job to meet his obligations and another has given up altogether and gone back to working as a teacher.

At the risk of being trite I want to tell you: "don't give up." Your clients need your creativity, knowledge, and foresight more than ever. They need your guidance and encouragement, and your skills in asset preservation and tax reduction. They need your friendship and kindness.

If you have to- take another job to feed your dream- just don't let it die. I have had to work two or three jobs for most of my life. it won't kill you and it can even get you out of the rut of office life. One successful RIA I know has a parttime job just to keep him in the flow and help him meet more people. Find a good direct marketing opportunity and stick with it. It might be a good source of cash flow and it definitely will make you more positive
about prospecting.

Become a visionary, a thinker of great thoughts, a doer of great deeds, and a more fun person in 2008. Don't let your practice run your life, but don't forget to invest in it either.

Above all, re-examine the reasons why you went into business in the first place. I hope it is to make money by
providing excellent and honest service to your clients.

I hope to post again before Christmas Day, so come back for a visit. And, if this is your first visit to the blog- don't forget to check out the archives and subscribe to the free e-newsletter.



Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Last Chance to Register for Tomorrow's Webinar!


How to Make More Money

By Giving Your Clients and Prospects a WOW Experience

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

9:00 AM - 10:00 AM PST

Join us for a Webinar on December 12
Highly regarded as a compliance expert, attorney,
and presenter, Katherine Vessenes is also adept at helping build better advisors and
service professionals.

Along with her husband Peter, Vessenes is author of Building Your Multi-Million-Dollar Practice:
8 Success Strategies of Top Producing Advisors and is a champion of the
client-centric approach to financial services.

In this exclusive webinar, Katherine will show us how making a few
simple changes in our daily routine can result in turning an indifferent client into an advocate and making a mundane visit into a WOW experience.

Who should
EVERYONE interested in retaining clients, getting referrals,
and having more
fun with their business.

System Requirements
PC-based attendees
Required: Windows® 2000, XP Home, XP Pro, 2003 Server, Vista

Macintosh®-based attendees
Required: Mac OS® X 10.3.9 (Panther®) or newer

your Webinar
seat now at:

Sunday, December 9, 2007

New Webinar: Something A Bit Different..

Join us for a Webinar on January

Malcolm Kushner is a lawyer
with a sense of humor
(is that an oxymoron?)
who lives in Santa Cruz, California-
a place even weirder than San Francisco.

He is also a gifted speaker
and author of books such
as Presentations for Dummies,
Public Speaking for Dummies,and the Light Touch.

Malcolm is "slightly famous", having successfully
conned Larry King, National Public Radio, CNN, and
David Letterman (among others)
into either dropping his name or allowing him
to shamelessly self-promote over the airwaves.

Join Malcolm for what I trust will be an entertaining
look at how our presidents have used humor as
an effective weapon- and how financial professionals
can learn from, and adapt, their techniques to
make their presentations sizzle.

Leading With Laughter-How U.S. Presidents Use Humor To Relate,Motivate and Communicate And You Can Too

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

11:00 AM - 12:00 PM PST

System Requirements
PC-based attendees
Required: Windows® 2000, XP Home, XP Pro,
2003 Server, Vista

Macintosh®-based attendees
Required: Mac OS® X 10.3.9 (Panther®) or newer

Space is limited.
Reserve your Webinar seat now at:

Friday, December 7, 2007

Apologies for the Cancelled Webinar Yesterday

If a computer crashes in the woods and no one is there to curse it...
(was this a VISTA(c) computer? Only my IT guy knows for sure.


Sincere apologies to all who registered for and attempted to attend yesterday's
"Get Slightly Famous" webinar with Steven Van Yoder.

Unfortunately, Steve somehow got locked out and when I went to rescue him from
the stinking maw of technology gone awry, I found myself locked out as well.

There are some things a Swiss army knife and can of WD 40 will not fix..

Fortunately, something good came out of this in that Steve is sending all
who registered a free copy of his insightful and useful survey-The Personal
Fame Assessment .

This survey will serve two purposes: for one it will help you discover
whether or not getting slightly famous might work for you and
it will also help Steve customize his makeup presentation according
to audience needs.

Below is the invitation for the rescheduled webinar. Please don't be
afraid to join us this time- seat cushions may be used in
case of a water evacuation.

Join us for a Webinar on January 10

Want to Attract More Business With Less Effort?
Get "Slightly" Famous!รข„¢
(NOTE: this is a makeup webinar for the cancelled December 6th presentation)

Seasoned journalist and author of the seminal treatise on personal branding and niche marketing "GET SLIGHTLY FAMOUS," Steven Van Yoder says:

"Some business owners attract clients and customers like magnets. Their marketing seems effortless. They don't advertise. They haven't made a cold call in years. They charge more. They're regularly asked to speak at conferences and are featured in newspapers and magazines. Everyone knows their name, and they get all the business they can handle.
It's almost as though they were famous..."

Van Yoder will show us six do-able strategies for becoming a recognized and in-demand expert; the kind of person who gets interviewed by Katie Couric or quoted in the New York Times.

Anyone interested in personal branding and niche marketing should attend this exclusive presentation by one of America's leading authorities on getting yourself known.

Six Ways To "Get Slightly Famous" With Steven Van Yoder

Thursday, January 10, 2008

11:00 AM - 12:00 PM PST

System Requirements
PC-based attendees
Required: Windows® 2000, XP Home, XP Pro, 2003 Server, Vista

Macintosh®-based attendees
Required: Mac OS® X 10.3.9 (Panther®) or newer

Space is limited.
Reserve your Webinar seat now at:

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Last Day To Register- Get Slightly Famous Webinar

Reminder: Today is your last opportunity to register for:

Six Ways To "Get Slightly Famous" With Steven Van Yoder
Thursday, December 6, 2007 12:00 PM - 1:00 PM PST

Want to Attract More Business With Less Effort?
Get "Slightly" Famous!™

Seasoned journalist and author of the seminal treatise on personal branding and niche marketing "GET SLIGHTLY FAMOUS," Steven Van Yoder says:

"Some business owners attract clients and customers like magnets. Their marketing seems effortless. They don't advertise. They haven't made a cold call in years. They charge more. They're regularly asked to speak at conferences and are featured in newspapers and magazines. Everyone knows their name, and they get all the business they can handle.
It's almost as though they were famous..."

Register at:

ALSO: Don't forget to spend an hour with noted compliance attorney, author, and coaster aficionado KATHERINE VESSENES as she discusses how to turn prospects into clients by giving them a WOW experience.

Wed, Dec 12, 2007 9:00 AM - 10:00 AM PST, 11AM Central and 12 Noon Eastern
Presenter: Katherine Vessenes
RSVP: (register):

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Normally, I Wouldn't Do This But..

My new friends at Bottom Line Radio have pointed out some things to me: namely: Where is MY bio?- Who is Tammy and why is she doing this blog in the first place.? (bio to follow soon)

The second thing Bottom Line Radio has done for me is highlight these very excellent videos which I want to share. Until this post, I have never put politics on this blog, but after years of living in a socialist country myself, and watching the garbage spewing out of the mouths of politicians and celebrities- I am hungry for common sense.

Please do yourself a favor and read "A Foreign Policy of Freedom" by the only man who is worthy to be President, but who sadly, never will be- Dr. Ron Paul.

And watch these outstanding videos:


Sunday, December 2, 2007

Investment Advisor Finds His Niche Market

Steven Van Yoder will host a special webinar for blog readers on December 6th "Six Ways to Become Slightly Famous. Sign up now and learn some tips on niche marketing. I also highly recommend Steven's e-zine. You can get it free from:
Be sure to check out the video below- it's cool and YOU CAN DO IT TOO!

Atlantic Financial Uses Online Video to Promote Dubai Niche

Bruce FentonBruce Fenton is an investment advisor and founder of Atlantic Financial Inc., an independent investment firm that advises American clients on investing in the Middle East. Fenton is also the editor of The Fenton Report, a Global Wealth Management magazine focused on changes to the global economy.

Fenton embraced online video a few years ago to support his goal of reinforcing his expertise in investing in Dubai. Online video helps position Atlantic Financial as a thought leader in Middle East investment opportunities. Moreover, it works in concert with other elements of Fenton’s Dubai-niche marketing efforts, including speaking for the Kuwait Ministry of Finance.

Describe your overall business.

We are an investment firm that focuses on global investing, founded in 1994; prior to that, I was with a major Wall Street firm. We serve individuals and institutional investors, typically those with several million dollars to invest, who want to participate in the changing global economy.

We help U.S. investors invest in the Middle East. This includes high net worth individuals or endowments and pensions. Unlike many investment companies that work in the region, whose primary goal is to get money FROM the region, we bring U.S. money TO the region.

(rest of the story at:

Friday, November 30, 2007

RIA Teleconference Update...

Thanks to all of you who joined us for the RIA IN A BOX teleconference
with Zach Gronich.

Zach gave us a to-the-point overview of the process involved in setting up your own RIA and becoming an IAR.

With five years experience in setting up RIA's, Zach answered frequently asked questions and discussed doing it yourself versus using a consulting company to do the setup.

If you didn't get the chance to listen in here are some options:

Listen To "So You've Decided to Become An RIA" On Your Phone... (NOTE: This option is available for a limited time only)

Dial - (641) 715-3443
Enter Access Code - 247444#


If you have iTunes™ or an RSS client, you can listen to your recording from there. You simply copy one of the links below and insert it into your client (depending on which client you use). When you have a new recording available, your client will notify you.
iTunes Link:RSS

Downloads: If you want a .wav recording- please send an email to:


If you have
decided to go the RIA route but don't want to hassle with the paperwork- you can have RIA IN A BOX do it all for you and save 15%.

Order consulting services from them by DECEMBER 31st and you will get 15% off.

You must use the following website and put TAMBLOG in the "organization field" on the order form in order to get the discount. If you elect to call first, be sure to mention the blog or teleconference in order to get the special pricing.


SAVE 15%

  • FINRA Entitlement
  • Form ADV Part I (online)
  • Form ADV Part II (paper)
  • One Form U-4
  • Investment Advisory/Financial Planning Contract
  • Investment Policy Statements
  • Privacy Policy Statements
  • Complete Written Polices and Procedures Manual
  • Chief Compliance Officer Training
  • Free On-Going Compliance Officer Support

    *** No Templates! We Fill Everything Out For You! ***

  • Wednesday, November 28, 2007

    RIA IN A BOX Teleconference Dial In Information

    If you have not yet registered for the "SO, You've Decided
    to Become an RIA"
    Teleconference with Zach Gronich, CPA, of
    RIA IN A BOX (
    please do so with the form on the right hand
    side of the blog.

    I just need your name and email so I can send you the offer
    codes and other information.

    The call will be approximately 30-35 minutes long.
    When you enter the conference, please announce
    yourself and then MUTE your line until question
    and answer time.

    Normal long distance charges
    apply but no other charges.

    RIA IN A BOX Teleconference
    Friday, November 30th
    Noon Pacific, 2PM Central, 3PM Eastern

    Conference Dial-in Number: (616) 597-8000
    Participant Access Code: 247444#

    Monday, November 26, 2007

    RIA Teleconference November 30 & Phoenix Workshop!

    Just a reminder:

    RIA IN A BOX Teleconference
    with Zach Gronich
    Friday, November 30th
    12 Noon Pacific, 2PM Central, 3PM Eastern

    To register: send an email to:

    Numbered List



    FAN is excited to sponsor a two-day Bumper-to-Bumper
    Business-Building Workshop with Katherine and Peter Vessenes.

    If you are serious about growing your business in 2008
    and want a practical,affordable strategy for doing so-
    you will want to be in Phoenix January
    28-29, 2008.

    For a brochure and special disount code-
    email me

    This is definitely something you will not
    want to miss.

    As always, FAN readers will receive a special


    If you've ever been asked the question, "So, what do you do?"
    and been at a loss as to how to respond in an exciting, creative
    way, you'll want to get Mark's new mini webinar: "How to Create A
    Great Elevator Pitch."

    Find out more at:


    Planning your 2008 seminar schedule now?

    Then you will want to get Seminar Direct's free
    planning calendar:

    Saturday, November 24, 2007

    Wealthy Producer? Sigh...........

    Several people recently forwarded an email to me asking about this "new" lead system from a certain Mr. Brad Hinson and others at ""

    Let's set the record straight: this is not a new lead system- it is the same old stuff from NF Communications-Klein/Javelin-Klein.

    I would LOVE to see new "testimonials" from this system, some verifiable advisors who have made lots of money with no effort- just sitting around waiting for those FRESH HOT leads to flow in from the Internet.

    It is possible that one or two people got lucky; after all even a blind person can hit a target if they spray enough bullets around. What I would like to hear, however, is a true tale from someone that gets one appointment for every ten or so of those hot internet leads- CONSISTENTLY.

    Instead, on the senior lead page we have the same exact fauxmonials they had in the NF days. One of the testimonials showing on the page is from someone I have actually MET who told me that not only was the quote used out of context, it was not used with permission. More tellingly, the same person told me that they stopped the lead program shortly after they started because the leads were of dubious quality, especially factoring in time wasted in followup.

    I have an intimate knowledge of this system and think you would be a lot happier and meet better types of clients (often for free) by learning a few simple prospecting techniques.

    In the coming months, I will be doing a series on how you can accomplish that most onerous of tasks- prospecting-without breaking the bank and without stressing yourself out. I will be sharing with you real case studies, real advisor methodologies and introducing you to people who will freely share their insights and experience.

    Sign up for a webinar or two and perhaps it will stimulate your own idea factory. Then you can be the one who comes up with the next great innovation in lead generation.


    Friday, November 23, 2007

    MARK YOUR CALENDARS- Upcoming Events

    Lots of great people will be visiting with us here at FAN in the coming months and you won't want to miss a single event. Here is what we have lined up so far:.

    BECOMING AN RIA- THE NEXT STEP- with Zach Gronich, CPA- founder and CEO of RIA IN A BOX.

    12 Pacific 2Pm Central 3Pm Eastern

    This is a TELECONFERENCE (so you won't even need to be on the internet) and is designed for those of you who have already decided to become RIA's or IAR's. It is NOT an attempt to pursuade you to do so. This teleconference will help you decide if it is worth it to hire a consultant versus doing all the paperwork yourself.

    To Register:
    Use the form on the right hand side of this blog or send an email to


    Thursday, DECEMBER 6TH
    12PM Pacific, 2PM Central, 3 PM Eastern

    Register soon! https:/ /

    KATHERINE VESSENES will be here on December 12th (9AM Pacific, 11 Central, 1PM eastern)

    How to Make More Money By Giving Your Clients and Prospects a WOW Experience

    Wed, Dec 12, 2007 9:00 AM - 10:00 AM PST, 11AM Central and 12 Noon Eastern

    January 8, 2008(?): Doug Dixon from Seminar Direct: SEMINAR MISTAKES THAT COULD BE COSTING YOU MONEY! (to be confirmed soon- stay tuned to the blog)

    January 9th David Miller of Pareto Platform (topics and times to be announced)

    January ???- Malcolm Kushner on the art of "Using Humor to Enliven Any Presentation"

    If you have any topics you would like to see addressed or guests you'd like me to invite- please send suggestions to


    Tuesday, November 20, 2007

    I'm Bringing Classy Back

    Katherine Vessenes, "High Priestess of Compliance" and the" Miss Manners for Financial Folks" has agreed to carve an hour out of her always-overbooked life and do a webinar for FAN. I hope you will enjoy hearing Katherine as much as I have. You don't want to miss this one- I can personally testify that she "walks the talk." (K: I am still marveling over the matching wicker and towels rolled with military precision..-td)

    How to Make More Money By Giving Your Clients and Prospects a WOW Experience

    Wed, Dec 12, 2007 9:00 AM - 10:00 AM PST, 11AM Central and 12 Noon Eastern
    Presenter: Katherine Vessenes
    RSVP: (register):

    Highly regarded as a compliance expert, attorney, and presenter, Katherine Vessenes is also adept at helping build better advisors and service professionals.

    Along with her husband Peter, Vessenes is author of Building Your Multi-Million-Dollar Practice: 8 Success Strategies of Top Producing Advisors and is a champion of the client-centric approach to financial services.

    In this exclusive webinar, Katherine will show us how making a few simple changes in our daily routine can result in turning an indifferent client into an advocate and making a mundane visit into a WOW experience.

    Who should attend? EVERYONE interested in retaining clients, getting referrals, and having more fun with their business.

    Thursday, November 15, 2007

    Build Your Brand-One Step At A Time

    More good advice from MARK SATTERFIELD of Gentle Rain Marketing. Download the full report at:

    ...So what are the steps you should take to build your brand?

    • Determine precisely who you want to target.
    Make sure this includes both those that can actually hire you as well as those
    who are a part of the prospective client’s inner circle. Not surprisingly this
    is the easiest step.
    • Determine what your message is.
    Not surprisingly, this is the most difficult step in the process. Your message
    needs to focus on the benefit(s) that clients get from hiring you. For firms that
    offer multiple services developing the Umbrella Branding Theme can be a challenge.
    But without a clear, concise and succinct message, the odds of building a recognizable brand
    are slim.
    • Determine how you are going to communicate the strategy.
    There are a number of options at this point. What’s best for you will depend
    in large part on who you are targeting.

    The most important point when developing the implementation campaign is
    that each component link with the next.
    • Maintaining brand awareness.
    The ongoing communication is where most campaigns ultimately fall short.
    The key is consistent messages of relevance and interest.

    Although most everyone understands this on an intellectual level, actually
    implementing a system to ensure it takes place often falls into the category
    of good intentions not fulfilled...

    The rest of the story at:

    Sid Walker's Tips for November


    When you make a statement in a sales interview, your client may or may not completely hear what you are saying depending on what is going on in his mind at the time. He or she may be trying to listen but can often be distracted by other things that are going on in the background like worries, concerns, deadlines, etc.

    However, when you ask your prospect or client a question, you get a much different response. Here are six reasons it is more powerful to ask a question than to make a statement.

    1.When someone asks us a question, our natural response is to try to answer the question.

    2.Answering a question requires more attention, focus, and mental processing than just listening.

    3.Your client likes the attention.

    4.The client feels honored that you would ask for his or her thoughts on the subject.

    5. It is more interesting to the client to be able to participate.

    6.Your client will often discover more about what he thinks and feels about whatever subject he is talking about as he answers your question. He gets to hear what he has to say just as you do.

    How about you? What do you think? Do you think it's more powerful to ask a question rather than make a statement?

    Do you like it when someone asks you a question?

    Do you find yourself telling prospects or clients what you think before you ask them how they feel about it first?

    Do you get a sense that there may be something to this "asking more questions" thing?

    Do you notice that you tend to think people are smarter who ask a lot of questions?

    Would you like people to think you are smart?

    The next time you are getting ready to make a statement, would you consider turning it into a question instead and see if you like what happens?

    Aren't we all just waiting and hoping that someone will ask us a question?


    When your peers sign up for my free monthly newsletter (Sales Tip of the Month) they also get a free eBook - 12 Quick and Powerful Ways to Coach Yourself to the Next Level ($47 value) and free instant access to recent teleseminars. Go to and click on the white button on the upper left side of my home page.

    Have a productive November,

    Toll-free: 877-985-3297 (Free Training Preview)

    Sales Performance Coach to Financial Advisors

    Wednesday, November 14, 2007

    Does PR Work For Financial Advisors?

    Will PR Work For Financial Advisors?

    Mark Satterfield
    Gentle Rain Marketing Inc.

    In most professions, getting the word out about what you do is a relatively straightforward proposal.

    Unfortunately that’s not the case for financial advisors.

    As compliance continues to remain a challenge, advisors find themselves relying on networking, referrals and word-of-mouth for most of their new business. While these methods undoubtedly do work, they also have significant limitations.

    The problem with relying on word-of-mouth and referrals is that you give up control over the business development process. One never knows when (or why) a stream of new referrals will call, or alternatively dry up like a Georgia creek bed in August.

    While networking with the right associations and groups can pay dividends, as anyone knows who’s done it for a while, it can be an extremely labor-intensive process. Not only do you have to budget personal time for the meetings, but even at the most productive events it’s unlikely that you’ll come back with more than just a couple of prospects who are seriously worth following up with.

    So what’s an alternative? Is there a method by which financial advisors can get prospects to consistently seek them out? Although it may seem a bit like the holy grail of business development, the answer is “Yes”.

    As an increasing number of financial advisors are realizing, PR can play a significant role in positioning you as a leading expert among those who can either do business with you, or refer you to others.

    However, one or two mentions in the press are usually not enough. As with any other marketing strategy, a sustained and consistent effort is crucial if you are serious about becoming one of the recognized financial experts in your field.

    What constitutes an effective PR campaign? We believe that it’s three things.

    1) Creativity. Can you position your services or products in a way that make people curious and interested? In our own situation, when we first promoted Gentle Rain Marketing we used a survey as a lever for getting publicity. If we had simply announced that a new marketing firm had opened, no one would have cared. Using the survey as a hook got us a lot of press, which ultimately led to a large number of brand new client relationships. Naturally, surveys are just one of the methods we use to creatively attract the attention of the media for our clients.

    2) Distribution: An effective PR campaign reaches both wide and deep. Simply just sending the release to a handful of names gleaned from a few publications is not an effective distribution strategy. In our database we have contact information and detailed profiles on over 460,000 writers and journalists. From this comprehensive universe we are able to develop highly focused micro-targeted lists. Effective PR is about developing relationships with the media contacts that can make you famous with their readers, listeners and viewers.

    3) Consistency. While a single press release can occasionally be highly effective, a far more effective approach is to be communicating with your key media contacts regularly and consistently. In order to do this you need lots of creative ideas for how to position what you offer in ways that make you stand out. The Gentle Rain methodology of consistent messages of relevance and interest is a crucial component for an effective PR strategy.

    If you are struggling for effective methods to differentiate yourself from the competition and would like to become a highly recognized financial advisor in your market, a targeted PR campaign can pay enormous benefits. More information about PR and other ideas for building your brand can be found in our latest free report, How To Become The Recognized Expert In Your Field which is available here

    Mark Satterfield
    Gentle Rain Marketing Inc.

    Breaking Barriers, Building Business with Peter and Katherine Vessennes (Episode 001 )

    Monday, November 12, 2007

    So, You Want to Become An IRA or IAR?

    If you have made the decision to become an RIA or IAR, you won't want to miss:

    BECOMING AN RIA- THE NEXT STEP- with Zach Gronich, CPA- founder and CEO of RIA IN A BOX.

    12 Pacific
    2Pm Central
    3Pm Eastern

    Who should attend this 30-40 minute teleconference?

    1. Those who have made the decision to take this step in their practices and want to be on the fast track- with LESS STRESS and LESS wasted time.

    Use the link on the right (ignore my poor HTML- I was in a hurry and I am not a programmer by trade..) I need a valid email and name to send you the registration information.

    If the link does not work, or if you have other concerns- send me an email with RIA TELECON in the subject line to :

    Zach wn

    Friday, November 9, 2007

    Keir Education Needs Instructors

    Do you have a passion for teaching?

    Are you an experienced NASD Series 6,7, 63, 65, 66 or 24 instructor?

    Keir has been inundated with requests for on-site classes for many of the securities exams. They need experienced instructors who are interested in traveling and who have flexible schedules. If you are unable to travel, but live in a large metropolitan city, you might be just the person.

    Please send your resume, desired compensation and at least two references via email to Henrietta Nye, President of Keir Educational Resources