Saturday, June 30, 2007

Tales from The Ripped (Off)- Advisors and Agents Speak Out

(Sorry about the all-over-the-place fonts, but these are "cut" from actual emails and I wanted to keep the authenticity.-td)

David H. gives We Set Appointments the big old thumbs down...

"Beware of this service. I paid $2,400 for what I was told would be 30 pre-set appointments. What I got in return was 5 pre-set appointments and 25 people who were told that I would be stopping by at such and such time. They were given a number to call to cancel the appointment. When this number was dialed it was a steady busy signal. I tried contacting the Better Business Bureau and the Attorney General to no avail. This shameful company is still in business to date. Beware of"

Dennis reports he has ..." had horendous results from various lead sources, and spent thousands of dollars. Do you know of a real worthwhile one that get results in the financial and insurance service industry. If so please pass it along to me. I have had empty promises so far. Thanks Dennis.

A ray of hope from JR:

This is the funniest yet- I may actually give a prize for this one!

Before the demise of Larry " I'm not a crook" Klein. I used a part of his system.

One of the solid, $18.00, verified leads, ended up being a 42 year old stripper, who wanted to know If I was interested in seeing her show.

That lead may have been the best and most qualified lead of the entire bunch. She has a job!

I’ve mainly tried to obtain leads over the internet for individual medical/health leads and have discontinued this from any lead source that sells them as I have found that all or most all sell even exclusive leads to any who will buy. I have proven this to myself by simply asking the prospect: How many phone calls have you received for you health insurance needs? Several years ago it was a good way to market but as time went on and more and more agents got on line (as well as lead sellers) the leads dropped in value dramatically and are a waste of time in my opinion. Direct mail still works for health leads as a 1% to 2% return nets fair to good results.

SR- Pearland, TX

If you consider using Ashton-Danbury leads, in a word, DON"T. Poor service, no feedback, and worst of all, no appointments. Very unprofessional. JS-Virginia

Any more happy or horror stories? Send them to me at: or


Toward More Reasonable Expectations

To further the discussion of lead programs, I have reprinted an article that originally appeared on the blog. It is TRUE that a lot of the success of a lead program depends on the advisor and some advisors can make silk purses out of most any sow's ear. However, my life experience tells me that the more likely scenario is that when you start off on the wrong foot- you usually wind up on the wrong foot. I think the tips I gave are a starting point to helping you find a company that at least ATTEMPTS to produce decent leads.

I want to take just a few paragraphs to respond to the following posted comment-td:

8:49 AM

Anonymous said...

Now... For the people that are complaining about the sales tactics used to get people to signup to various NFCom programs, please stop your whining!

If you let an NFCom sales person lead you down a road to failure, shame on you for believing their 'sales pitch'!

If the NFCom sales person made it sound like whatever they wanted you to buy was a "sure thing", "the greatest thing since sliced bread", etc you should have instantly known to take it all with a grain (or pound) of salt...

I mean, seriously, did you really think that you could make millions selling annuities over the internet (from the comfort of your home, sitting in your boxer shorts)??

Now you know how the average investor feels when they are sold an equity indexed annuity with a 15 year surrender period!

A lot of what anonymous noted was and is true enough. We are all supposedly grownups who abandoned our slavish devotion to hype as soon as we discovered that Wheaties won't help you become a world class athlete. We now know and accept that 99.5% of all advertising and sales patter is pure bullshit.
However, as I like to point out to people who say "Conned by Klein? So what? They got what they deserved by believing his crap!" there is a huge difference in believing outrageous claims and having reasonable expectations.

To believe "stop wasting time prospecting" is to believe hype. To believe the sales script that "we find qualified seniors on the Internet" is, I feel, to have a reasonable expectation. After all, a company helping advisors to seniors should at least be ATTEMPTING to hit the desired demographic.

Anyone who has been in the business for a few years as have I, has undoubtedly fallen into the "let us make your prospecting easier" trap. Most all of us have been burned by some lead or approintment-setting program at least once.

NFavelin's approach, however, is just one-half toe away from crossing the line into fraud and deception. Not only do they not control the placement of their own ads (used to obtain "senior" information) but they purchase filler leads from a company they know uses such tactics as co-registration pages, surveys (where the prospect can't get out of the survey until they check something) and FREE offers of items such as I-Pods and gift certificates. A former client recently told me that out of 19 prospects he eventually contacted, 16 of them told him the only reason they found the ad is that they got an email promising some sort of coupon.

None of this is, of course, mentioned in the sales script. Yes, advisors SHOULD ask where they can go to see a live ad, they should ask exactly where these leads are coming from, and they SHOULD ask the true appointment ratio. If it isn't at least one appointment for each ten leads- then run- cold calling has better numbers!

Knowing full well that this is a numbers game, NFavelin and their minions hope that advisors will hit at least once in the first batch. After all, if you spray enough bullets around, you are bound to hit SOMETHING! If an advisor talks to enough people, he or she will probably find someone who has a need. The problem with that logic is that sooner or later, there just isn't time to "drip" on the volume of people needed to effect one sale.

The reason most people have fallen into the senior leads trap, I think, is not because of sloth or greed- it's because they are looking for ways to maximize their time and grow their businesses.

At first glance, senior leads seems attractive and logical- an ideal supplement to their current marketing efforts. It is no wonder so many have tried it only to discover that a phone book would have gotten the same results for much less money.

Picking A Lead System Part 2

by Tammy de Leeuw
Financial Advisors Netzone

(more signs that a lead system you are considering might be trouble ahead and what to do about it.)

They require a deposit or minimum purchase or registration fee.
Some lead companies charge you a sign-up fee before (or regardless of whether or not) you ever receive a single lead.

The pitch for this is to give you an "exclusive" territory or postal code. More often than not,
such fees are non-refundable, regardless of the amount of leads you receive.

In theory, you could only get two or three leads, making the cost per lead $40-$50 more than the original $10 price you thought you were paying.

Usually,this downpayment money is used to pay the salesperson, which is a double-edged sword. On the one hand, if they have no financial stake in the size of your territory or amount of leads generated, salespeople are less likely to push you to choose a large radius.

On the other hand, however, "I've got mine up front," might cause the same salesperson to be disinclined to assist you, should you have problems with your account. Also, you might be more
willing to stay in a bad program hoping to recoup at least the startup fee. Don't

Ask the question: "What is this "set-up" fee for and will it be refunded if I am unhappy with your service? If it is a non-refundable, all or nothing proposition- steer clear. There are plenty of companies out there that don't require startup fees.

8. They are vague when asked about references from satisfied clients or they say "Bill Cincinnati got three new clients using our system." Who is Bill H? How long was he in the program? How many leads did he have to blow through to get those 3 clients? And most importantly..."Is he still in the program?" I knew of one lead program that used bogus testimonials. One of them was from someone I knew personally who had quit the program months before after less-than-stellar results.

9.They refuse to offer a free trial or sample lead to try out. Ask the prospective lead company if it would be possible to try a lead or two before enrolling. Get an idea of how good the data is and if there is some attempt to hit your target demographic.

10. Customer service goes missing. If the only time you are able to call your lead service is when you they want to sell you something, you might find getting simple credits a frustrating, time-wasting experience. At the very least, a good lead service will answer your emails within a reasonable time period- say 48 hours at most.

I hope you find these tips useful in your search for a decent, honest lead company. They must be out there somewhere.

I look forward to hearing from those of you who have had good and bad experiences with lead and list companies and will publish your comments in future editions.

Friday, June 29, 2007

How to Pick A Lead System

by Tammy de Leeuw
Financial Advisors Netzone

BH's experience (see previous post) is certainly not unique,
frustration with lead services has been a recurring theme with
advisors who have contacted me.

The bad experiences, by the way, have not been confined to
Javelin or NF or Cold Solutions or any of the other services
which have incurred the wrath of both
experienced and inexperienced financial services professionals.

With this in mind, I offer you some ideas on how to pick a lead
service, should you feel the need to use one to supplement
your current marketing efforts.

Mama told you "You gets what ya pays for..."

It's true about cars, it's true about houses, and to a certain
extent, it is also true about lead and list services.

Top Ten Ways To Know Your Lead Service Might
Not Be On the Level

1.They have a PO Box or the street address that
is the same as the local Postal Annex.

ALWAYS run the address of any lead service you might be considering through
a YAHOO or GOOGLE search. Coming up with a Mailboxes Etc. "address" might
be a sign that they are either a small, rinky dink operation, or that they don't
want the lynching party to find out their true location.

This never seems to bode well when one is buying leads.

2. Their "agreement" is longer than than lines for the I-Phone
and is fraught with arcane, sometimes downright bizarre
provisions and terms. Take the time to READ it.

Yes, I know you are used to just clicking "I agree" and these kinds of
standard agreements are as boring as hearing the tax code
read aloud by Tibetan monks. However, you MUST read the thing
all the way through- because it WILL be used against you when
you file a complaint.

3. They tell you" We have the most advanced, high tech solution
ever devised by the brains of men."

Remember that HYPE IS HYPE. I know you want clients- we
all want clients, but don't let your emotional side rule.

Back away from the BS and do the math. Ask yourself how a
company could possibly generate 30,000 HOT leads a month
from a demographic (60 plus) that (a) doesn't go online that
often (b) knows enough to stay away from FREE offers and
(c) is very concerned about identity theft?

Once again Mama's voice of reason is validated"

"If it sounds too good to be true..." You all know the rest.

A good question to ask is: "How many people are currently using
your program and how many leads do you generate per month on

If the leads are TRULY generated in real time, the
numbers should be pretty low unless some sort of deception
(Free IPODS, Free vacations, etc.) is used to drive traffic to the

4. They refuse to show you an actual LIVE ad posted by them
on websites "frequented by seniors."

You ask to see one of their ads- "Can you please direct me to
a website where I can see your ad?" and they get very
vague and say things like"the ads move around all over the
internet so I can't find one for you."

Always ask "Can I see your ad at work?" INSIST on seeing a LIVE ad or
website they use to generate leads.

5. They use "co-registration pages" to gather leads. Ask the question
"do you use co-registration pages?" A good definition of what these
are and how they work can be found at:

Co-reg seems to only work well for financial services when all the ads are
regarding FINANCIAL services and not offering coupons for free Ipods
or free nude photos. There is a lot of traffic to the latter sites,
obviously, but is it the demographic you want? Probably not unless
you are selling silk teddies and acne medicine.

Some companies just place their ads on any co-reg page which
offers them a huge volume of traffic. It's the lead company
equivalent of "spray and pray," and it usually does not
work out well for retiree leads.

6. The company has a very vague or non-existent return/credit
policy and they make you jump through lots of hoops to get
that "Money Back Guarantee." Ask to know the return
policy IN ADVANCE. Ask them how many of their clients
ask for refunds or replacements.

(to be continued...)

Lookin for Leads in All The Wrong Places? One Advisor's Story

(I received this from "BH", an obviously intelligent and reasonable advisor
who got seduced by a web-based lead system. Does this sound
familiar to anyone? I will offer ideas in the next post-td )

Hi Tammy

I wrote you because I've become involved with Javelin's
lead program,and it is not what they've been promoting
it to be.

After having purchased somewhere in the vicinity of 80
"leads",I thought you might be interested in the
experiences I've had in working these "leads".

There appears to be a very clear pattern to the type and
quality of the leads. In the much lower than anticipated
number of people I've actually spoken to:

1. Very few can remember having ordered any reports
and in some cases,the people acted with extraordinarily
high amounts of conviction to this fact

2. On at least two occasions, people who think they
remember having ordered a report may have been seduced
into doing so, because there was an ambiguous offer
for a $100 or $500 gift certificate. They do not
know any other reason why they would have ordered
the information.

3. A very low number of them are above age 60,
and many years away from retirement.

When I spoke to Javelin about the first two points
above, they simply said that these leads were requested
by them, and that many people do not remember what they
did on the Internet within three hours
of doing something. I recognize and understand
that this is a possibility. I also understand that some
people are flat out liars. However, the sheer volume
and similar statements of surprise
at having ordered these reports,makes me very dubious.

In addition to this, I've experienced an extraordinarily
high amount of disconnected phone numbers.

On one occasion a work phone number was listed, and
(I was) told she no longer works there.

I have two specific situations that have caused me
concern over the legitimacy of the whole lead program.
One involves calling a phone number of a woman, with which
the number given was disconnected,but said "calls are being
accepted by" and then it gave a forwarding number.

When I called the forwarding number, the woman's son
answered and after explaining the situation
(that his mom had recently requested a free booklet)
he said, "That's impossible! My mom has been in the
hospital since September of 2006, and had lost
the use of one arm due to a stroke".

To punch a hole in the story, I told him
"the report was ordered from such and such
e-mail address.Isn't that her e-mail address?"
He said, "That's her work email address.
And she hasn't been
at work since September!"

What I called up Javelin to receive a credit for this
lead, they rejected it based on the fact that
credits are only granted,when you cannot reach
somebody by ANY means.

This includes phone, e-mail or regular mailing.
When I requested they reconsider their stance for
me to receive credit,
they did re-lent - my contact there has been very nice).

Another situation occurred to fuel my doubts
over the legitimacy of some of these leads.

I spoke with a gentleman for about 15 minutes, and
after I asked him to verify the e-mail address, he said
he had not used it for a while.

I asked him how long had a "while" been.
He thought for a moment,and answered,
"At least two years".

I've concluded that there is a strong possibility
that the patterns I've experienced in working these
leads can be best explained by any one,
or more of the following reasons:

1. Some of the leads are recycled - certainly older
than the promised
seven days This would explain the high number of people who
do not remember
having ordered one (or more) reports, and the high number
of phone numbers
that are either disconnected,
or not correct;

2. The offer of a report is not pure; i.e. there is
some kind of
accompanying free offer, which waters down
the quality of the report.

Two other items of interest that have led to a
large amount of frustration:

1. When I go to to cross check their name,
and/or their address
and/or their phone number, I'm getting a high
percentage that cannot be
found to match any of the contact
information they gave.

2. As you may be aware, Javelin recommends mailing
out the booklets before you even talk to the "requesters"
of the booklets, and then call them
three days after to have your initial conversation.

Well, a number of people claim to not received the packet.
Between the postage, printing and
most important (in terms of costs and aggravation)
a large percent of the few who
I spoke with claim to have either not received it,
or just threw it away
because they thought it was sent to them an error.

I initially took their advice of attaching a two or
five dollar gift certificate for coffee.

This only added to my expense, and frustration.

I'm sending this to you for two reasons:

1. I would very much like to get my money back.

Other than appealing to my credit card company, do you
have or know of any tangible complaints from
other advisors (to direct the credit card company
to come, in order to
legitimize my reasons for a reversal
of charges). (oh boy, do I ever. Come on advisors-
speak up- td)

When I went to see fit her were any complaints against
Javelin Marketing onthe internet , I could not find any.
(look a little harder
and be sure to look under
NF Communications, too.-td)

2. Develop a source of information that other advisors
who have either had similar experiences and complaints
and can communicate with each other, and
perhaps warn anyone else who is contemplating
using Javelin Marketing's"lead system".

If anyone wanted to pursue this lead system, I
think given the quality of theleads, along with
the time and expense to pursue them they are only
worth $5 a lead - certainly not the $18
they are charging. (precisely my point BH)

I appreciate any help you can offer in
either of these pursuits.

Best regards,


More News From the World Of Finance

June 28, 2007

A State Questions UBS Ties to Hedge Funds

UBS, Europe’s largest bank by assets, was accused yesterday by Massachusetts regulators of “dishonest and unethical” practices in dealings with hedge fund advisers.

The bank’s investment banking division in Stamford, Conn., gave hedge fund managers below-market rent, low-interest personal loans and other benefits to retain and increase business, according to a complaint from the office of William F. Galvin, the secretary of the commonwealth and its top securities regulator. The treatment created conflicts of interest for fund managers that may have hurt their clients, the complaint says...(

Married Insurance Agents Charged in $750,000 Fraud Scheme

Tanya Cornelia Dampier and her husband, Charles Ray Dampier, both former insurance agents in Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., have been arrested for attempting to defraud at least 13 insurance (companies of more than $750,000, according to the California Department of Insurance.


Send In Your Stories!

As I said in a previous post, I am actively seeking stories and articles from agents and advisors. If you have some killer closing technique, referral system, seminar tips and tricks, or just a humorous story to tell- I want to hear it.

If you are an advisor or insurance marketer with a particular product you feel will benefit agents and advisors, please email me.


Thursday, June 28, 2007

Contest! Looking for Seminar Horror Stories..

"Thank you..thank you very much for inviting
me to your senior seminar.."

Moving away from the news and into more "fun" territory: I would like to encourage the same kind of animated participation in this blog as I got with

After all, I started FAN at the behest of one of my SBL readers who suggested having a place where advisors could recommend new marketing products, client retention strategies, seminar systems, lead generation services, and other information relative to growing a thriving practice.

A hot topic these days :"Are Seminars Still A Viable Marketing Strategy?" I would love to hear your most entertaining stories of seminar disasters, near-disasters, hilarious question and answer sessions, etc.

Who was the weirdest "prospect" who ever came to a seminar? Ever have pesky equipment problems? Crossed signals at the restaurant? Serve beef brisket to a group of vegetarians? Best joke you ever told (clean, please- LOL!)

Before we get into the meat of what works and doesn't work in marketing financial services these days, let's have a bit of comic relief.

I will of course, keep it anonymous.

1st Prize for the best story is : $20 gift certificate to Starbucks and a book from my personal marketing library (my choice- but it will be a good one, I promise.)

2nd Prize: Copy of "Thriving Office" ( CD- to make your office sound like a big shot's office should..

Send your entries to:
or post them here.

News From Around the Web Your Comments Are Appreciated!

Conventional Annuities Poor Value- Advisers
(from IFA Online)

Wednesday 27th June 2007: 08:30
By John Bakie

Prudential’s adviser index research also revealed that over 70% of advisers think that rates for conventional annuities will remain low and many are looking at alternatives for their clients.

The research found many financial advisers realise the limitation of conventional annuities, but figures from the ABI show around 90% of the annuity market is placed via the conventional route.

Advisers often recommend conventional annuities because they are simple for clients to understand, they are often the most viable option, they have a simple sales process and the cost of advice is relatively cheap, the survey says.

One major alternative to conventional annuities are with-profits annuities, which advisers expect to grow in popularity by up to 20% over the next year. With-profits annuities offer the potential to hedge against the impact of inflation and use a bonus system to reduce the impact of fluctuations in the investment market, according to Prudential... (rest of the story at:

Implosion Watch 2007:

Felix Salmon of Conde Nast says it isn't as bad as all that..

"In reality, credit spreads haven't widened out very much; the Bear Stearns hype seems to have been overblown; there's still huge amounts of liquidity in the loan market (if not quite as much as there was a few months ago); and the credit bubble seems on track to deflate gently rather than burst disastrously. Of course, it's always possible that things will go horribly pear-shaped from here on in. Indeed, sooner or later, something bad is bound to happen: it's a statistical inevitability. But right now, the doom-mongers are in dire need of a Tim Price skewering like this. Thank you, sir!

(By the way, talking of doom-mongers, the incomparable Nouriel Roubini is today talking about "$100 billion plus of losses for banks, financial institutions, hedge funds and investors once these CDOs and subprime mortgage backed securities are marked-to-market". $100 billion, as Michael Milken reminded us in April, is the amount that Intel stock alone fell in one day during the dot-com bust. Or, to use a present-day example, it's less than one tenth of China's foreign exchange reserves. Let's keep things in perspective here, people.)" (read the article:

What do YOU think? How is the subprime/hedge fund mess going to affect your business? What strategies will you use with your clients to mitigate the negative impact of the "implosion" of over 90 major lenders?

Email me at or post here!

Thanks and have a profitable day!

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Sadly Official- More on Brookstreet

At the time of my last post, I didn't know the official word on Brookstreet. Shepherd, Smith and Edwards excellent blog reports: Rest assured- this is just the beginning -expect many more bankruptcies, screwed investors, and lawsuits aplenty...-td

Posted On: June 25, 2007
by Shepherd Smith & Edwards

Son of Brookstreet Founder Joins Wedbush Morgan Securities and Invites Brookstreet Brokers to Join Him

First announced on this Blog last week was news of problems at Brookstreet Securities. Midweek, the firm then reported that “disaster” had struck because CMOs owned by the firm and its clients had been marked down in price and margin calls had caused the firm to reach the brink of failure. On Friday, Brookstreet closed for business.

Over the weekend we heard a rumor, not confirmed, that Scott Brooks, the son of Brookstreet founder Stanley Brooks, had joined Wedbush Morgan Securities of Los Angeles and invited the Brookstreet brokers to do the same. That rumor was confirmed today in news reports.

Brookstreet’s brokerage business was conducted through independent contractor brokers similar to giant Linsco Private Ledger and other firms. Before now, Wedbush Morgan did not have an independent contractor brokerage arm, as do other firms including Raymond James Financial, Inc.

It is reported that Scott Brooks, the former executive vice president of Brookstreet, will “substantially build and staff” that part of the business. “I understand that you have options,” he told the reps in an e-mail. “I believe this is an optimal solution for you.”

Monday, June 25, 2007

Subprime Debacle Tanks Brookstreet

..but then didn't we see the subprime mess coming here in California, where paper boys were buying 3,000 sf homes for $800 a month and speculators were snapping up condos like candy?
Latest victim: Brookstreet Securities- CMO's bit them bigtime.

Irvine broker Brookstreet faces liquidation

Attorneys say clients lost money on risky investments tied to complex mortgage securities.


In another fallout from Orange County's subprime mortgage industry collapse, Brookstreet Securities Corp., an Irvine broker dealer, shut its doors and laid off 100 local employees because it could not meet margin calls on complex securities backed by faltering mortgages, company spokeswoman Julie Mains said.

Mains said Brookstreet went from $16 million in capital Friday to being $3 million under water Wednesday because its clearing firm, National Financial Services, demanded payment for securities bought on margin.... (see the rest of the story at:

Sunday, June 24, 2007

The Web Talks About Money

Tam trots around the globe in her comfy bunny slippers, via a wireless connection, a Hot Spot (TM) ,and copious amounts of coffee ,to bring you this digest of some of the best on the Web. These are just a few.

From the excellent KIRK REPORT BLOG ( comes the weekly wrap:

Friday, June 22, 2007

Weekly Wrap

A market run on easy credit, hedge-fund leverage, and worldwide-liquidity gets nervous when any factors show up that could serve to spoil the party. Hedge fund blowups and widening credit spreads certainly didn't make investors feel too warm and fuzzy.

For the week just ended, we have losses across the board. The Dow declined -1.96, the S&P 500 -1.95%, the Nasdaq 100 -1.05%, and the Russell 2000 -1.66%. More importantly, we finished the week with the S&P 500 under its 50-day moving average - the first time since late March.m, an add-on for Internet Explorer that remembers all your passwords for different Web sites and fills them in for you. (read the rest of the article by pasting"" into your browser)

Another great site for investment professionals, A Fly on The Wall's excellent blog ( reports on:

Airgas: A Classic Gas Play

When corporate types start talking about expansion by acquisition, folks naturally think of the technology sector. The practice works just fine elsewhere, though. There is an outfit in Radnor, Pennsylvania that exerts much pressure in the gas distribution game, by virtue of more than 350 acquisitions over the past 21 years ...

(go to for the rest and many more useful articles)

Another great place to take a morning coffee break is the great THINKBLOG ( Excerpt from a recent article:

Yin and Yang Society

June 18, 2007

I went to the Far East last week to get a first hand account of the new Wild West. Everybody by now accepts as popular wisdom that China is where it’s at and its position atop of the economies of the world is inevitable.

Ten percent GDP growth, foreign investment at $60 billion a year, its stock market doubled in 2006 and is up over 50% in 2007. China is already the largest cell phone market in the world with 350 million subscribers, and it is predicted to be the number one car market, the number one PC market, and the number one broadband market shortly...

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Do You Fish?

From the Rebel Agent blog: (see Tam's picks) A great article on incorporating marketing into your game plan.

Do You Fish?

by Rebel Agent on June 22nd, 2007

You know that old saying, give a man a fish and you feed him for a day, teach a man to fish and you feed him forever?

Actually these are very true words and the other day I was asked by 2 agents in separate phone calls if I had any internet leads for annuity prospects. It occurred to me that this was like the fish fable, give them leads and they will ask again. Don’t get me wrong, I know we all need leads - but wouldn’t it make sense to have a system in place that devoted at least a solid percentage of an agent’s time to marketing?

From experience I know that the need for leads and someone to tell our story to is as basic as it gets. So to solve my problem I decided to overspend on marketing and it worked. The piece of mind of having too many people to see set me free. Try it and see how it makes you rethink the annuity business. Now that my business has matured I budget 10.5% of my gross income to marketing. It has been at that level for almost 5 years and those are numbers that are within budget and affordable.

To jumpstart your marketing try mailing 10,000 direct response (direct mail) cards over a 2-3 week period and I bet you will experience the same results as I did. If you realize a 2% rate of return then 200 hundred leads would certainly result in sales let alone a ton of activity.
Run the numbers yourself based on the products you wish to sell and you will see how affordable a crash marketing campaign really is.

Fish, baby, fish.

Why Didn't I Think of This? Inexpensive and Kinda Cool...

An idea whose time has come!

Managing your practice from home DOES have its' perks: You can save tons on gas, clothing, and bridge tolls, and the fridge is always only a few steps away.

And then there is the quiet...ah yes.. Unless you are like me and have a rambunctious kindergartner, the house can be such a very quiet place in which to work. That has to be a big plus, right?

Not necessarily. Study after study shows that working at home, especially during the peaceful morning hours when the rest of the world is doing the commuter shuffle, can be much less productive than work in a traditional cubicle.

One fun way I just found (and I love this idea!) is creating a "faux office" environment, sans the cranky sales VP or compliance guy, of course.

California entrepreneur Bill Freund has done just that with his THRIVING OFFICE cd. At first I thought this was a joke CD. Turns out, however, that Freund is on to something.

Thriving Office creates the illusion of a busy, dynamic, professional office and has all the background noises a person would expect to hear when they call such an office.

Prospects and clients hear the sounds of success when they call you. I also think it benefits the advisor or agent by creating that energy and buzz often missing when you operate from the spare bedroom.

Even if you don't work from home this CD can help turn your small, quiet outside office into a hub of hustle and bustle, creating a sense of urgency for people who call in.

THRIVING OFFICE has been reviewed by many major publications such the Wall Street Journal, Business Week, and the San Francisco Chronicle. The CTO of Microsoft Partners Group (UK) calls it "essential, genius."

Check it out at: If you order by JULY 15 and enter the code" FAN" when you check out, you will get a 15% discount.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Beyond 401 K Rollover Training

by Tammy de Leeuw
Financial Advisors Netzone

A 10-year veteran of the financial services industry, Scott Brooks was amazed at how little information was available was available to help advisors deal with the intricacies of 401 K rollovers.

"What material I discovered I found to be incomplete and nearly all of that focused on the distribution phase, seminar planning, and seniors. There was virtually nothing dealing with people in transition; people in their 40's, 50's, and 60's facing important decisions about their IRA's due to early retirements or layoffs," says Brooks, who is currently based in Houston, Texas.

Having worked in the banking industry as well as with individual clients, Brooks saw the obstacles faced by ordinary advisors trying to capture a piece of the lucrative rollover market.

"No-load record keepers dominate 80% of the rollover market for large companies. Most of large companies have no-load companies administering 401k and pension benefits. Because so much money is involved, the record keepers use all their efforts to ensure that advisors can't get on their turf very easily," says Brooks. "The record keepers have a definite advantage because they possess all the critical plan information needed to do a successful rollover."

Having the unique perspective of having seen what goes on behind the scenes at no-load record keepers, Brooks decided to launch a program to train advisors to compete against the "big boys."

"Advisors need to know EVERYTHING about the company benefit plans of the larger companies before they do rollovers. I developed Rollover Coach to provide IRA rollover training they have never had before and to teach them to obtain and organize critical plan information," says Brooks.

Brooks idea was not to make tons of money selling "stuff" but to give his fellow rollover specialists expertise in dealing with transitional rollovers. "I was tired of hearing the record keepers bashing advisors," he says,"I wanted to give them a new tool in their battle for a piece of the pie."

Scott offers Rollover Coach to FAN readers at a substantial discount. Get a free chapter to preview at: If you decide to order, let him know you found out about it from FAN.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

"We Have the Glengarry Leads..." Lead Systems In Review

If you have never seen Glen Gary Glen Ross with Alec Baldwin, you are missing out on one of the best commission sales movies ever made. I don't usually like Alec, but he really nails the stereotypical sales manager muckey-muck in this classic scene. Look in "Tam's Picks" for link.

While we are on the subject of those pesky old LEADS here are some reviews and comments from your fellow advisors about lead systems they have used.


MT in Mass. says: "Javelin leads were an absolute waste of time and money. They were nothing but the old stuff that NF Communications used to push."

(and here again are some of the previous ones found on my other blog)

"Totally worthless. I can't even get a single person on the phone and no one has responded to the emails." AH- San Diego

"I did everything exactly as they told me to and got NOTHING." PH-San Diego

"I could have gotten better results just dialing out of the white pages. Maybe I will and save myself $18 bucks a lead!" -BS- Texas

"I am telling all my agents to cancel. " FMO President, Texas

"I got a huge bunch of leads dumped on me and I need to know how to make them stop. I got nearly a thousand dollars worth at once, even though I did not change my radius or anything!"

RE: Cold Solutions

Cold Solutions Was just that COLD!!!!!!!! A WASTE of time & Money...DS

DH, from Pennsylvania writes:

PT Marketing

I have been in the industry for 39 years and plan to retire in 1 more.

I had the unfortunate experience of using PT Marketing, from Pittsburgh, for almost 2 years and they did not provide what they had offered. They offered meetings with motivated company owners who were interested in Exit Planning. The owners many times were not qualified or did not have any interest. My partner and I spent enough to buy a Corvette and ended up with 6 good appointments. This is not a good use of promotional dollars.

I still believe the best business model is to have some regular income from group or payroll deduction and some attorney or accountant refierral sources. I have been very successful getting the referral sources by offering to be their free resource to evaluate life and annuity policies without expecting to be given the clients name. After a testing period the names are given and because they realize the service is valuable they start to suggest some cliients call you. It is a very pleasant way to operate.


Friday, June 15, 2007

Platelickers, Buffet Bunnies and Info Junkies

Are your seminar attendees
starting to look like this?

By Tammy de Leeuw
The Financial Advisor Netzone

No doubt about it-
survival in the financial services industry requires nerves of titanium, an affinity for roller coaster rides, creativity to rival Leonardo Davinci's, and superb networking skills. It also requires the ability to effectively reach more than one person at a time with your compelling message.

The general whine these days is that seminars aren't working anymore- they cost way too much and take up too much of an advisor's precious time. Advisors getting ready to ditch the seminar model of prospecting tell me their seminars are only attended by a sub-species of humans fondly referred to as "platelickers," "buffet bunnies" or "info junkies."

Listening to the seminar horror stories of numerous advisors gave me nightmares in which organized gangs of under 50's go on seminar rampages- eating everything in sight and putting bogus information on evaluation sheets. YIKES!

Instead of helping grow an advisor's business, seminars seem to seem to have de-evolved to the point where they are little more than "Feed A Starving Senior" sessions.

But... does this mean that seminars are dead? contraire..

No one and I mean NO ONE I have personally met who is successful in this business gets that way without doing some kind of seminar or presentation. Until you get to the point to where you can legitimately print "by referral only" on your business cards, you have to do something that multiplies your efforts.

On -on- ones need to be reserved for your active clients and not used to pursue Aunt Jenny's uncle's cousin's $3,500 IRA account. Otherwise, you will spend more time in your car than doing things which make money for you and your clients. Seminars and their variants get you in front of more people than you could possibly reach dragging yourself from house to house.

If you are doing the same old things and getting the same lackluster results perhaps it's time to try something different. Something as simple as changing your list provider, your invitation provider, the restaurant you are using, or the day of the week on which you give your seminar can make a world of difference.

Before you throw in the towel completely, email me at: and I will send you a free seminar planning calendar, plus samples from a printing company you may have never tried before which does beautiful invitations that GET OPENED. Please be sure to include your full name, a mailing address and postal code. Tell me a little about your current seminar situation and what has or has not worked for you in the past.

Another not-so-ubiquitous (yet) alternative is webinars. Until very recently, webinars were almost exclusively used as sales tools for corporations. However, a lot of advisors (especially ones with far-flung clients) are discovering webinars as a viable method of reaching LOTS of new people and also to keep up with exisiting clients.

Contrary to popular belief- webinars do not require any special software or training. If you are doing seminars now- you can do webinars. In fact, webinars can be a terrific tool to enhance your current live presentations. Email me if you have an interest in trying out webinars. I have done them myself and I KNOW they work.

Again, welcome to FAN. I hope you will find something valuable here and I urge all of you to contribute your own articles, personal experiences and tips and tricks. I am pursuaded that helping each become successful is the key to growth in our industry.


Tammy de Leeuw
AD Radiant Communications

Introducing the Financial Advisors Netzone

I was going to blog for world peace but then I thought to myself: "Hey! I bet I could do more good in the world by blogging for financial advisors." So that's what I am doing. It is my hope that I can connect you to the people, places, and things which will help you grow your practices, and along the way give you a laugh or two. Also, check out my website at

I will be providing you with links, product reviews, news articles, and interviews with successful people in the financial services industry. I welcome any input, personal experiences or a chance to review systems which are working (or NOT working for you.)

Also, if you are a qualified advisor who writes articles of interest to other financial professionals, send them in to me and I will review and publish them from time to time.

Please send all ideas, articles and questions to:

Tammy de Leeuw
Skype me! tdeleeuw60