Sunday, July 29, 2007

Advisors as Leaders

Another short but sweet article from the fine folks at Pareto Platform online CRM. The more I use it, the more I like it. The knowledge base alone is worth the price. Todd V. is correct when he says for a lot of advisors, feeling overwhelmed is part and parcel of not having a 21st century office. Investing time and money in technology now can yield substantial savings in the future. Please let me know how you have saved time and money in YOUR practices. TD

The Leadership Challenge

By Duncan MacPherson, Co-founder, Pareto Systems

The moment your first client bought into your philosophy and empowered you to guide them, you became a leader, and to me, this is a big deal. Think about it: there is a good chance you are going to be in your clients' lives longer than any other professional they deal with.

You will help put who knows how many kids through college, and the advice you provide will affect several generations. Clearly, you have an important responsibility to your clients. What makes your job even more challenging – and interesting -- is that there is a substantial amount of delayed gratification tied to the solutions you provide. You a€™re not selling something that provides benefits today; you are providing clients with a promise for the future.

The Role of a Financial Advisor

Have you ever really thought about the magnitude of the role you play in your clients' lives? You don'€™t just manage money, you lead people. You manage your clients'€™ emotions and temper their expectations. For some clients, you'€™ve probably even become an important confidante. You are more than an objective and rational voice of reason; you guide your clients through a journey that will eventually transform their dreams into reality. You must occasionally marvel at this responsibility.

Peter Lynch said that successfully investing and managing your own money requires as much stomach as it does brains. When it comes to investing and managing someone else'€™s money, you need ten times the stomach. When you agree to be someone'€™s financial advisor, you accept the leadership challenge.

The Leadership Challenge

As a financial advisor, you accept responsibility for keeping your clients on track throughout the financial planning process, so that they can achieve their goals. For some clients, you literally have to protect them from themselves. Your clients'€™ friends and family members give them advice, and your clients may be tempted to act on these ideas.

Unfortunately, these ideas may sound enticing, but they are often flawed. Unsolicited advice like this can sabotage your well-crafted plan and wreak havoc on your clients'€™ financial futures. If you'€™ve read John Kenneth Galbraith'€™s book A Short History of Financial Euphoria, you know all about how dangerous it can be to €œrun with the wrong crowd. You need to protect your clients from the well-meant but poor advice of others.

You know how dangerous it is when investors start to believe the hype. Galbraith was right when he said, tongue firmly planted in cheek, that €œfinancial genius is a rising stock market. (I have a friend that isn'€™t quite so delicate. He says that €œeven turkeys can fly in a strong wind.)

When markets are good, people can second-guess their advisors and turn to online brokerages. Sadly, when markets shift, as they always do, then the stories inevitability come out about people who had their entire future invested in one company or sector and who watch their financial security evaporate.

You'€™ve read the stories of individuals who felt they had all the answers when it came to money when in fact they hadn'€™t even heard all the questions. You have resisted the urge to say €œI told you so when someone claims to be a victim of circumstance, when in fact they were victims of their own errors in judgment. It wasn'€™t the wind that blew them off course, it was the way the sails were set.

The Renaissance of Advice

Because you hear stories like this, you regularly encourage your clients to look past short-term events, and to focus on long-term outcomes. Sometimes you may worry that you sound like Charlie Brown'€™s teacher. After all, when you plead with your client not to get faked out by the fad of the year, your fail-safe value investment approach is not terribly exciting. Investment success is incremental, and you need to provide your clients with minor mid-course corrections while keep them focused on the beacon.

And there is a renaissance taking place: people are realizing the value of advice. Rather than focusing on what you cost, people are tuning into what you are worth. In the future, I think you'€™ll see fewer people calling you with an idea asking, what do you think? You'€™ll see more people responding to your suggestions by saying whatever you think.

Clients are recognizing financial advisors as leaders, and they are therefore becoming more receptive to the advice you provide. They feel good knowing that you have the knowledge to guide them through the financial planning process.

Accepting the Leadership Challenge

While people recognize the value of advice, they also need to trust the advice they are given. To earn your clients'€™ trust, you need to shift from a management to a leadership mindset. To do this, you need to focus on purpose just as much as on process. Steven Covey advises to €œbegin with the end in mind. When you do this, when you focus on purpose as well as process, your clients will have a clearer sense of why they are with you. They will acknowledge that you are their financial leader, and that you are important: you matter and your role has meaning and purpose.

Leadership can sometimes be thankless, because you sometimes need to protect people from themselves. You keep the fundamentals in place so that clients stick to a core philosophy which will turn their dreams into reality.

Leadership is also rewarding, however, because it is the fertilizer for organic growth. Your clients will only refer friends to you if they know it will reflect favorably on them.

If you provide sound advice and solid guidance, your best clients will become advocates for you, because they know that you will provide the same service to their family and friends. Clients know you will make them look good. Accept the leadership challenge and become referable!

Friday, July 27, 2007


Todd V. does it all! (and he had a bad experience with NF COMMUNICATIONS?? No way!!)

ToddV said... (writing about the recent demise of


This story underlines why I decided to do all of my own postcard mailings for seminars, client appreciation, client info, etc...

I originally decided to take this on myself after having a fairly bad mailing with the former NFCom's seminar mailing service (fortunately, I was able to convince them to give me my money back)

I have my own bulk mail certificate, I use a 3rd party to print the postcards and mail them to me, and I get the names for mailing from a company in Florida that uses someone other than InfoUSA for leads (I also contract directly with TeleDirect so that they handle all of the inbound reservation calls)...

When it is all said and done, I am able to get this done for under 28 cents per invitation... Could I have someone else do it for me? Sure... Would it cost more?? You bet...

However, the main reason that I decided to take this on myself is that I never wanted to be in a position where I wasn't going to be able to do a seminar mailing simply because I was getting shafted by a vendor (or a vendor went out of business).

Todd V


You are a SUPERMAN in the financial services arena! I think it is great that you are able to take on such a monumental task without compromising the time you have for other things.

However, a lot of advisors complain to me that they are overwhelmed, frustrated, and not able to put one more thing on their plate for fear of total meltdown.

For these folks (who I think comprise the vast majority of advisors) outsourcing to a reliable, reputable third party is simply the only way to go.

One of the reasons I started this blog was to find and highlight vendors who I feel have done right by their customers. This doesn't mean they never make mistakes or have off days, it means that whatever they break- they move heaven and earth to fix.

That is why I always tout SEMINAR DIRECT. I have gotten to know Tina and Doug Dixon and think they are honest, hard-working folks who really WANT their clients to succeed. Plus, they have been around a loooooooooooooooooong time (no offense, Tina LOL!) compared to most of the other seminar prep companies. They want to take those of you who have been burned by the NF's and Postmark's of the world and make it right.

In fact, Tina says for ANYONE who reads the blog and wants to try Seminar Direct, she will offer extra-special pricing and support. (1-888-629-1919) Just mention Financial Advisor Netzone and she will take you into the fold and make your presentations sp.arkle

Sometimes it is better to pay a bit more and spend your time on something better- like MAKING MONEY!

Monday, July 23, 2007

Water Cooler Talk

Postmark Direct- RIP?

It appears that Postmark Direct, one of the bigger players in the direct marketing business, has closed its doors.

Reliable industry sources tell FAN that Postmark Direct, long rumored to be on life support, is officially dead. FAN attempted to contact Postmark Direct's Houston headquarters numerous times for a statement but no one is picking up the phone there. Our emails have also gone unanswered.

This is bad news for anyone who is currently a client and may have items pending. If you or someone you know is a client of Postmark Direct and is left in the lurch, Seminar Direct is offering you special assistance and superior service to get the job done. Contact Tina Dixon for more information and be sure you mention the FAN blog to get VIP treatment. 888-629-1919.

Posted on Mon, Jul. 23, 2007
Legal Headaches for Allianz and More Bad PR for Annuities

Dan Margolies of the Kansas City Star reports on the massive lawsuit in motion for Allianz

A massive case over annuities marketed by Allianz Life Insurance Co. will proceed as a class action following a recent ruling by a federal appeals court.

In a one-line order earlier this month, the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals denied the insurance giant’s request to appeal the trial court’s certification of the case as a class action.

Some estimates of the number of people who bought the annuities in question from Allianz and make up the class exceed 400,000.

Although the case was filed in Minneapolis, where Allianz is based, it was initiated in February 2006 by a retired school nurse in Lenexa, ..."

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Horsesmouth-What I Am Trying to Do- But Better

I first became aquainted with HORSESMOUTH when I worked for a financial services marketing company. Recently, a friend of mine got a free trial and sent me some excellent articles. I went to the site myself and discovered a wealth of useful information, such as I have tried to provide on the blog. My goal, as always is to negotiate special pricing for FAN readers. Stay tuned and in the meantime enjoy some of the articles HR sent me. Find a topic you like- copy and paste the link or use the hyperlink. Articles are printable, so if you don't have time to read them all today-save them or print them. GOOD STUFF!

Getting to 'Yes' With Older Clients
Older clients make decisions largely on the basis of intuition and gut reaction. Here's how you can tailor your presentations to gain their approval.

What to Do With All Those Financial Records

When a family member dies, the organization of financial records and personal information can suddenly become critically important. Make sure your clients are prepared.

7 Ways to Protect Your Clients' Assets

A client can spend his entire career accumulating assets--and then lose them in one nasty lawsuit. Take action now to help clients shield their assets from creditors, as well as from excessive taxation.

Income Shifting

1: Basic Techniques

Transferring assets to family members with ease involves choosing the technique that works best for your client.

Estate Planning Isn't Just for the Wealthy client's estate could get hit with a big posthumous tax bill if you don't help with planning today.

Case Study: How a Country Club Niche Yielded Big Assets (great article on niche marketing!-td) financial advisor Charles Kochel immersed himself in a local country club, but didn't stop at just the golf course. See how he established several lucrative micro-niches--all centered around his clients' pastimes.

9 Ways to Convey Credibility to Clients know you're trustworthy--but with corporate crooks making headlines daily, you might want to make sure your clients do, too.

4 Low-Key, Sincere Prospecting Strategies great thing about these approaches is that they help you get business by doing things you probably do anyway! Add a pinch of business finesse to your daily routines, and you'll find you're effortlessly generating prospects.
PR Packets 101- Do them Right and Prosper!
Another informative article from Pareto Platform. Business-enhancing articles are part and parcel of the Pareto 80/20 Platform., which is more than just an online-organizer. I have been using it for a few weeks now and love the ease of use (little to no learning curve, referral-focused content, email/mail merge, custom and pre-made templates, scripts, and more..
Try it today -specials for FAN readers.)

The Introduction Kit: Above and Beyond

By Dennis Moseley-Williams

If you are at all familiar with Pareto Systems and our philosophy for attracting great clients, you have probably noticed how often we emphasize the importance of creating information kits for prospective clients. In marketing terms, this is known as packaging.

By packaging yourself properly, you create high visibility, credibility and desirability in the target niches you have selected. As always, your goal is to attract new clients who resemble your ideal client profile and who want to meet with you to discuss their financial situations.

When you send prospects material that is mostly a product feature-dump, you are communicating that you are a product pusher. Quite simply, being a product pusher isn't attractive enough to prompt a prospective client to take action.

Remember that what you sell is a service, not a product. There is a huge difference. When you sell a service, you are selling a relationship.

What follows is a list of some essential components for an effective kit that will pique the interest of your ideal prospects. Use a few weeks this spring to assemble a number of them for ready use.

The Usual Suspects

Letterhead, logo, business cards and a matching presentation folder are a must for continuity, and I'll wager you knew that. The rest of the material that you put in your kit should hint at what the experience would be if the prospect were to become a client.


Don't write resumes, try to convey the strengths and experiences of your team.
Emphasize past successes that support each person's role within your organization.

Keep biographies to a page, and touch on the personal side. Your prospects want to connect
with the people inside your office, so avoid a stiff, formal approach.

They especially want to understand motives. So in the opening paragraph, take a position and state what each person stands for; then back it up with supporting facts. A nice photo of each person is a must.

Services Available

You don't think it is necessary? Ever had a client say, "I didn't know you did that?"
Include a general description of the services you offer and the benefits of these services to your clients. Most importantly, describe the sort of person who would most benefit from the specific service.

Case Studies

Tell a success story about a client who has benefited from your services. Obviously, you will have to adhere to your company's compliance regulations but using a client's initials often eliminates this problem. Remember to paint the client as the hero of the story rather than yourself. You want the reader identify with the featured client.

Describe the problems and concerns the client had that brought that person to you, the process you followed to get to the heart of the matter, and the end result.

A good success story might describe how a client hung on to the family business and passed it along smoothly to his or her children.
If you work with more than one niche market, consider the impact of having a series of success stories that are specific to each.

Also, if your client and the compliance office will allow it, include a photo (but get signed permission to use it).

Article Reprints & Other 3rd Party Insights

There is nothing like social proof, so include a few articles from magazines or newspapers that lend credibility. Remember that the value you bring will be contrasted against the value that your prospect feels he or she is receiving from their existing advisor, so be sure to leave a profit.

You are much more attractive to a prospect if you can bring them value right from your initial contact. Consider sending a financial insight book or audio cassette.
Avoid industry material such as brochures or prospectuses, which have their place but not here.

Again, don't associate yourself with products. By including third-party comments and by bringing value from the get-go, you validate in the client's mind that (a) this really is important, and b) you monitor the investment climate and value what others have to say.

In addition, your prospect will feel that you watch for details and place a high importance on keeping your clients (or prospective clients) informed.

PR packets are a must for getting into large companies, speaking to CPA's and attorneys, and for seminars with high-end clients. Do them correctly, and you will find you are getting more and more of the kinds of clients you want. Seminar Direct does a very nice PR packet, which includes a glossy, personalized newsletter and any other materials you want. It is fully customizeable. FAN readers, as always get VIP treatment and better pricing. Call Tina Dickson at 888-629-1919. Be sure to mention this blog to get a discount on your order. -td

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

An Add-On Clients Appreciate

Thanks to MJT for pointing out this interesting evaluation of Prepaid Legal. Wall Street is impressed, your competition is impressed. Why aren't you offering it to all your clients? Since the average American imore likely to need a lawyer than a hospital, it makes sense to have this affordable service.(and the stock is doing GREAT!)

Email me if you would like an associate application mailed to you:

Pre-Paid Announces 2007 2nd Quarter Membership and Recruiting Results

Posted: 2007-07-02 17:39:49
ADA, Okla., July 2 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/

-- Pre-Paid Legal Services, Inc. (NYSE: PPD), reported new memberships produced and new sales associates enrolled for the 2007 second quarter. During the 2nd quarter of 2007, new sales associates enrolled decreased 16.1% compared to the second quarter of 2006. Memberships produced decreased 4.2% while new membership fees written decreased 4.6% and our active membership base increased 1.2% compared to the comparable period of the previous year.

On a sequential quarterly basis, new associates enrolled increased 23.0%; new memberships produced decreased 9.5%, new membership fees written decreased 5.5% and our active membership base increased by 8,441 memberships. (read the rest from AOL Financial News)

The Competition is Offering Pre-Paid Legal- Why Aren't You?
  • Enhanced benefits package
  • On-site enrollment
  • Quality benefits clients need
  • Wide range of specialty plans for commercial drivers, law officers, teachers and more...
  • Electronic enrollment & paperless billing options
  • No assigned territories
  • Virtually untapped market
  • No claim forms
  • No deductibles
  • Advanced commissions paid daily directly into your bank account

Monday, July 16, 2007

Advisor Feedback on Rollover Coach

Some of you probably know about the 40% off FAN discount for the Rollover Coach training program. I have gotten a bit of feedback on the program. (don't worry- I will print anything negative I get too. But so far- so good.) If you order, be sure to put the discount code FAN in the box on the order form.

I stayed late tonight to listen to the CD's. Lots of information.
Great insight to the different rollover processes. I did not know
about the division layoffs creating opportunities. Opened my eyes
to new opportunities !

Thanks so much !
Joe (CFP with 10+ years experience)

What an education!
This series is a must listen for anyone who is
serious about cracking the 401k rollover market.
From prospecting to affirmative decision to place an account with you, Scott covers
the whole spectrum! The section covering age 55 separation from
service allowed me to teach our family financial advisor how to
handle our personal rollover and saved us nearly $100k in
unnecessary taxes. This information is past informative. It's
actionable. Get it now! -External Wholesaler with 2oYears in the Business

I have been in the business nearly 20 years and I learned a few
things from your manual. I will incorporate those in future
rollover business.

Doug R....

If anyone else has a training program that you are using and it is HELPING you in your practice or it was a TOTAL WASTE OF TIME AND MONEY, please let me know.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Coaching And Referrals for the Rest of Us...

In response to my post on "coaching" one of you wrote:

''Clearly, there are lots of people that are poised and ready to help agents/registered reps get new clients... What I don't understand is why there aren't nearly as many people selling systems that help agents/registered reps to well for their clients (once they have them)... Any suggestions on where to look for this kind of advice?''

by Tammy de Leeuw

You are correct in noticing that the pitch for most systems sold to advisors and agents today is focused on the holy grail - "GETTING NEW CLIENTS."

This is due in great measure to a gross lack of training provided by companies.
Companies work like the devil to find "CLOSERS" and when they do, they often
throw them into deep water with a few slick corporate brochures to use as flotation devices. "SELL, SELL SELL!" is about the only advice some companies give new reps.

It was this dearth of training which led to a slew of gurus claiming that their path of enlightenment will turn you from a hopeless loser into a MILLION DOLLAR
PRODUCER in just a few short weeks!

Most of these pitches are geared toward new advisors
who are somewhat clueless about marketing and sales in general.

While attrition rates ensure that most advisors and agents will always
have to do some marketing, the time and effort required in getting
new people almost always means that your good clients are getting short shrift.

And that, of course, lessens your chance of becoming at least 80% referral-based,
which is WHAT YOU WANT.

Choosing A Coach or Trainer

One thing I do suggest, if you are looking into any training or coaching programs
is that you interview your potential coach before you sign a long term commitment.

Ask them how they can help you increase your referability and retain the clients
you already have. Read all articles and books they have written to find
out whether their focus is creating salesmen versus creating
referral-based service professionals.

Ask for letters of recommendationfrom companies or
individuals who have used their services.

A good COACH, versus a "sales trainer", will sit down with you and ask you
the right questions about your business. He or she will discuss longterm goals
and design a program which will help you play to your strengths and
mitigate your weaknesses. A good coach has both substance and style.

Though we sometimes forget, we are involved in a people-based business.
Effective training should help you improve yourself as a person,
help you discover how to find clients that "fit" your business, and give
you best practices suggestions.

Rather than being one-trick ponies, effective coaches and trainers
provide you with both psychological and practical insights, enabling you
to keep the clients you have and turn those clients into your
strongest advocates.

There are lots of trainers and coaches out there.
While I do recommend MAX BOLKA, I also invite you to tell me about
any other effective trainers or coaches you have used.
I will gladly present their information here.

The Dripping Faucet No One Minds

I have mentioned in this blog my firm belief that drip marketing is
essential to a successful practice.

Most advisors think of drip marketing only in terms of client aquisition,
but to me the most important use of drip marketing is
to retain your existing clients and turn them into your greatest allies.

A streamlined, effective drip marketing methodology
is your best defense against top-tier clients defecting
to other advisors.

It shouts loudly and clearly, "I care about the people I serve,"
and assures the clients that you are a stable, professional organization
that invests in its customers.

Increasing Your Referability

Recently, I was involved in a fender-bender and took my automobile to the insurance company-approved paint and body specialist.

Driving up, I noticed a big sign: "By referral only."
A few weeks before, I had seen the same notice posted at my mechanic's garage.

Intrigued, I asked the mechanic how he was able to get so many referrals.
Looking at me as if I had just asked him the world's dumbest question, he replied,
"I asked for them."

It seems painfully obvious, but often the best way to get something is just to
ask for it. An informal query I conducted amongst financial professionals led
me to believe that often they "have not because they ask not."

Ask yourself these questions to find out if you have the necessary
referral mindset.
  • Do I have an effective WRITTEN referral strategy in place or:
  • Do I just "wing it" when it comes to referrals?
  • When people compliment me do I record it for posterity or:
  • Do I just blush and say "Aw shucks," and ignore it?
  • Do I regularly ask my top-tier clients to recommend me?
  • Or do I just ASSUME that they will do it on their own?
Don't assume your good clients are going to automatically recommend
you to their friends and family. They usually won't.

You need to be the catalyst- by providing the very best client-centric
service you can, by staying in contact regularly and consistently, and
by ASKING them to become your advocates.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Got Coaching?

Some of you have asked me if I knew of any good coaches or trainers to whom you could look for practical business and personal growth strategies. There are a lot of such "life trainers" around, but I only found a couple who really captured my attention.

One of them is Max Bolka, whose no-nonsense, no fluff approach to coaching I found to be a refreshing alternative to a lot of the hot air and hype often encountered in the training sector.

Talk to Max today and ask him about training specials just for readers of the Financial Advisors Netzone. In the meantime, enjoy this article graciously provided by Max.

By Max Bolka

The Psychology of Success:
Examining Core Beliefs


Emerson once said, "Who you are shouts so loudly in my ears,
I cannot hear what you say."

Your success as a Financial Advisor depends primarily upon who you are,\
and only second, upon your talent (financial expertise),
business skills and ambition.

We can all think of examples where someone is full of talent, skill
and ambition,and yet they never quite seem to succeed.

Similarly, we can all thinkof people who are really not all that talented
but are hugely successful.

So who are you? In the psychological sense, who we are is called
our personality,
and is made up of the culmination of our beliefs
about ourselves and our relationship to the world.

In short, our personality is defined by our core beliefs about who
we think we are.

Is it possible for you to double your income?
How about triple?...Quadruple?
How hard do you think one has to work to earn
that kind of money?
If you feel you don't have enough time now,
how can you possibly triple your income?
Would you have to give up your family? Your health?
Your vacation time? Your fun?

More than just positive thinking, your answers to these types of
questions start to reveal your core beliefs, your personality and
subsequent behavior. Let's keep going...

Do you deserve to double, triple or quadruple what
you currently earn?

Do you really deliver that much value to the marketplace?
Conversely, do you charge according to the value you
provide to clients?

The Law of Attraction

The immensely popular book and movie called The Secret talks
about The Law of Attraction,
based on the principle of like attracts like, and that
our thoughts create our reality

And while many people intuitively feel this is true, very few understand
how the process actually works, or the tremendous implications it
holds. This lack of understanding has lead people to throw
the phrase around to the point where it has almost become a meaningless
It is relevant here because, contrary to some opinions,
most financial advisors are, in fact, people.

Do you have a fear of over committing, of not being able to
deliver what you promise?
Are you a perfectionist? A procrastinator? A control freak?
(Or perhaps all three?)
Do you fear the increased responsibility that goes along with
increased rewards?

Why You Earn What You Do

You earn what you do because that is how much you have allowed yourself to earn right now.

(My job as your coach is to first help you create a vision of what you really want to achieve,
and then give you the tools, techniques, templates and business skills to
help you accomplish it.)

Our self limiting, core beliefs hold us back from earning higher income,
far more than anything “out there” such as education, experience,
sales/marketing abilities, etc. What is the nature of these self limiting thoughts,
and how can we expand them as well as expand our income?

Most of our negative thoughts or self limiting beliefs usually fall into one of three categories:

Fear - Examine any negative belief you hold and ask yourself what are you really afraid of?

The answer may astound you.

For example, we may have a fear of failure, but most people

have a greater fear of success. Why? Your answer is key to revealing your true motivations.

Getting real about the fears beneath your beliefs is a good place to start. Admittedly, it takes

courage just to get honest about your fears.

Lack - Another root cause of many self limiting beliefs is the concept of Lack. You either believe

the universe is unlimited in energy and resources, or you don’t. There’s no in-between.

For most people, their world consists of Lack; Lack of time, lack of energy, lack of money,

lack of health, etc. Is there enough to go around for everyone, or isn’t there? You tell me.

Either way, you are right, and your world will reflect your beliefs. Think Oprah, Donald Trump,

Sir John Templeton, Bill Gates, you and me. We are all given only 24 hours a day.

So how are you investing yours? Ultimately, all time management is self management.

Do you need to change the way you think about time, money and work? As a business
owner and entrepreneur, you will never have more opportunity to control your own destiny,
as well as influence that of your clients.

Struggle - A third area that trips up most people is the underlying belief that life is a struggle.

We have to be serious, especially in our business, right? After all, the harder you work,

the more you deserve a higher income. Says who? Where did this belief come from, and is

it really true? Look around you. Most people love to prove how hard they work and how

they’'ve overcome obstacles. So much so, they even create the obstacles to overcome!

Many movies consist of laying out the problem, struggling, and finally overcoming in the end.

89 minutes of struggle, with one minute of happy ending....We love the drama, don't we?

The Secret Behind The Secret

Are you attracting the wrong clients, despite having an Ideal Client Profile?
How hard do you work for your money, despite having a written Business Plan?
How easily do you obtain new business, despite having a Marketing Plan?
What about when you do all the right things, and you're still not seeing the
results you want?

You know, you're writing down what you want, being very clear and
specific about your goals.

You really, really want to accomplish this goal, and even visualize
and do affirmations.

And finally, you take the action steps necessary to move things
forward, and yet...nothing.

The biggest secret that the movie The Secret left out is that
most of our beliefs are unconscious.

Our core beliefs drive our current thoughts, which in turn trigger our behavior
and thus, results.

How do you react to the following statements?:
I have all the time I need to accomplish what's important to me.
I have all the money I need to accomplish what's important to me.
I deserve to be happy. I deserve to be rich. I deserve to be loved.

Once again, your initial reactions in these areas start to reveal your core beliefs.
If you are certain you're doing all the right things according to the "success experts"
and yet still not getting the results you want, chances are you have an underlying,
unconscious, conflicting core belief that is self sabotaging your stated intentions.
How do you replace old, unconscious belief systems based on fear, lack and struggle,

and transform them into ones of love, abundance and ease?

This will be the topic of future e-tips as well as a series of teleclasses on

Spirituality & Business for all entrepreneurs.

But for now, the short answer is: One step at a time, with the first

step being Awareness.

It's is a process of unfolding. Once you get the idea, you can

apply it to every area of life.

Start from where you are. As you take each step,

the positive results you see will reinforce

your new beliefs as well as the process, enabling you to think

bigger and take bigger steps.

Awareness is the first step to change, but there'’s

one more critical component.


Got Change?

What kind of person do you need to become in order to

accept more abundance in your business and life?

What do you need to develop?

We'’re not talking about outer skills here, such as marketing or another designation.

But rather, do you need to become more patient?More generous?

Eliminate anger? Become more organized? Learn to set healthy boundaries?

Your income can only grow to the extent that you do, and

to the degree you can believe it.

If there’'s any limit to your income, look within first, and see what

you need to work on.

Look at your self limiting beliefs and why you hold such beliefs.

Then figure out what you need to change about yourself in order to

allow more business to flow through you, attract the right kind of
clients, work less, accomplish more, and even have some fun along the way.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

One CSA's Response to The Designation Issue

Todd's response to the NY Times articles on designations.. Thought it deserved a little more space, since this is a hot topic lately. Interested in hearing from more CRFA's, CSA's, CFP's, etc. etc. Coming up on the blog: More about Leads, breathing life back in to seminars, using technology to increase your productivity.


Unlike the person responding to the NY Times article, I do know quite a bit about CSA (and other such designations)... I have a CSA so I can tell you from first hand experience that what you learn from that designation will NOT help you provide better financial services to retirees...

It will help you better understand what it is like to be a senior citizen, but it falls woefully short of providing tools necessary to help them with their financial needs.

That said, the education needed to get a CFP also falls short in this area... I've studied all of the CFP materials in anticipation of getting the designation and I quickly learned that it is severely lacking when it comes to helping people make sure that they have enough $$$ to last... It's great if you want the tools to help people accumulate wealth over their lifetime... Just not quite as good at providing the tools for the distribution phase...

So, I absolutely agree with the NY Times article in that it is painfully clear to me that designations like CSA are being misused to project an image that is intended to give retirees a feeling that they are dealing with an "expert" in their situation.

Is that CSA's fault?? Absolutely not. I think that the 'fault' is that of the insurance companies by offering such rediculously high commissions that life insurance agents try to step into the role of financial advisor armed with only the annuity as a tool...

What do I think should be done about it? Well, I've got a few ideas (that aren't too popular with my annuity selling friends ;-)

1. Increase the free-look period to 12 months for annuities sold to people 60+

2. Require that people 60+ be offered the option of selecting the "no surrender-charge" annuity instead of only being offered the one with the long surrender charge (and highest commissions)

3. Create an industry-wide compliance document that would be required on any annuity sale (similar to what I have to fill out when I sell a Variable Annuity) that spells out things like Liquid Net Worth, Total Net Worth, Total % in annuities, etc and then require the insurance company suitability dept to review every application (this would stop the situations that I see every day where 100% of a retirees liquid cash is placed in an EIA because it is 'safe').

Sorry for being so long winded on this, but having more oversight in the financial services world is something that I feel very strongly about.

July 11, 2007 7:45 PM

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

LTC Newsletter Rebuts Times' "Yellow" Piece

a friend of mine who subscribes to this LTC newsletter
sent me their rebuttal to the recent NY Times article
on designations. I do agree with the statement that
the Times is not the most trustworthy source of
information and enjoys sensationalizing things.

LTC E-Alert #7-088:

NY Times Attacks CSA

Monday, July 9, 2007

LTC Comment: The New York Times' in-house yellow journalist
has struck again. Front page, above the fold,
in the Sunday paper, yesterday.
Here's the story.

Read the underlying article by Charles Duhigg,
"For Elderly Investors,Instant Experts Abound,"
New York Times, July 8, 2007 at

This time Duhigg smears Ed Pittock's
Certified Senior Advisor (CSA)
program among other short-duration training
and certification programs for
people who market to the elderly.
(Not including, by the way, the
CLTC or LTCP programs for long-term care

All my interactions with Pittock, the CSA
program, and individual CSAs
have been positive, but I don't know enough
to refute any of the accusations made in the article.

What I do know is that the author, Duhigg,
has a history of making broad unfounded
accusations based on little evidence and
a lot of bias against the private sector.

You couldn't ask for a better example
than his attack on private
long-term care insurance published on the
opening day of that industry's
national trade conference.

For a link to that
article and our critique of it, see "LTC E-Alert #7-041:
LTC Embed: Report from the Policy Front
in Chicago, April 2, 2007" in The Zone at
You'll need your user name and password to
access this piece.

I'm reminded of the Biblical admonition: "Why do you see
the speck in your neighbor's eye, but do not notice the log
in your own eye?" (Luke 6: 41). In other words, when will
we see the New York Times and hit man Duhigg point
their attacks at the public sector's shortcomings?
For example, Medicare's and Social Security's $91
trillion unfunded liabilities or Medicaid's disastrous impact
on the long-term care marketplace.

Those are the big problems facing America's seniors.
And those are the real risks the private sector,
including insurance carriers and their
representatives, are struggling against huge odds to
help clients mitigate with private savings, investment
and insurance products.

Every barrel has some bad apples. Journalists should
search every vessel looking for them. But their
investigations ought to include the public sector,
"social insurance,"Ponzi schemes that predominate
and not just the private financing alternatives
that the public programs crowd out.


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