Events can be a great way to help enhance relationships with current clients, position yourself in front of qualified prospects, and build important mutually beneficial relationships with Centers of Influence (COIs).

Last week, I laid out several ideas for using events to generate buzz and create visibility. This week, I am providing a few more examples of how advisors are using seminars and themed events to get in front of key contacts and position their firms as the most competent, credible resource for a particular community.

Ride The Retirement Wave

Last week in Event Marketing - Part 1, I shared how John Jenkins and Greg Banner, two CFPs based in San Diego, are conducting education classes for affluent individuals interested planned giving strategies. These events are held at an upscale retirement community. Jenkins is a part of the “donor motivation program” offered through the American Heart Association.

Jenkins and Banner are also conducting "Income for Life" workshops as a way to show clients how their portfolios will be structured and where their retirement income will come from using a time-segmented investing and distribution approach.

Jenkins told me they have made a commitment to NextPhase™, a turnkey program offered by Securities America, the broker-dealer through which they offer securities to their clients.

“I am convinced that there is now a very large percentage of Baby Boomers whose dream of retirement has been decimated by the market and economy over the past eleven years, not just the past three. Too many of them have used their prior retirement savings to pay expenses due to a job loss and find themselves effectively starting over at age 60. Even our older and more well-heeled clients need a disciplined retirement income plan that is not dependent on market return during every segment of withdrawal,” Jenkins said.

In terms of capturing new assets, the two-man advisory team in the last quarter of 2011 brought in roughly $3 million of AUM from the NextPhase™ approach. In early 2012, Jenkins will be presenting two public workshops on this topic, with twenty new prospects coming to hear about planning and distribution strategies rather than accumulation strategies like most advisors still focus on.

Appeal To Allied Professionals

Just a few months ago Banner had lunch with a local CPA and was talking about the idea of guaranteed income and how through the NextPhase™ Program his firm, Asset Preservation Strategies had given a lot of clients peace of mind in these turbulent times by laying out an income distribution plan.  

A few days later he got a call from this CPA saying he’d been giving some thought to the conversation and he had several retired clients that would appreciate some guarantees for some of their income but still needed long-term growth in the portfolio. He then scheduled a meeting with one of his clients, who is a widow in her early 80's with about $1.4M. The widow is half in cash and half fully invested in stocks. The portfolio was managed by a firm in which the CPA didn't have much confidence. 

Working together, Jenkins and Banner charged the widow a fee to create an income distribution plan, which she agreed to. They are almost done moving all of the assets under their management according to the plan they created.

Build Trust Within A Community

Chris Storace, CMFC, owner and principal of Storace Wealth in Danville, Calif., is, according to his Transamerica Financial Advisor OSJ Rick Kagawa, a “marketing dog.” Storace is a younger advisor, an up-and-comer, who just made the Transamerica’s Top Producer’s list for the first time.

Storace courts and works with some of the biggest names in the Mixed Martial Arts community. To earn their trust, Storace attends the fights, the press conferences, and visits athletes at their gyms just to say hello. Of course it doesn’t hurt that he’s ex-military – a Navy man for eleven years. That gives him a lot of credibility and an instant sense of respect.

The Storace website has lots of photos and text that build a sense of trust. Visit his site and you will notice the theme immediately from the nav bar – it’s all about being a part of the community, a very special and elite community. As evidenced on the site, Storace is not afraid to be photographed in casual situations with athlete clients and prospects. There is a tab for Athletes and a special financial planning movie just for them. Other tabs on the site are called Windfalls, Get Organized, Affiliations, and Don’t Keep Us a Secret. The site has a short slideshow set up as a movie to help visitors get a sense of what the physical space at his office is like.

Build Name Recognition

Storace entertains – a lot. Anytime he picks up the tab at a restaurant or bar, he leaves a business card or two for the server. It’s passive, but what he’s found is that after doing that for a few months, people begin to recognize him and call him by name (and, of course, they all know what he does for a living). That’s great when Storace revisits the establishment with new or current clients. As the old “Cheers” television sitcom jingle said, “you want to go where everybody knows your name.”

Storace also had really some great pens made with the company logo. “Everyone likes a good pen that writes well and feels good in your hand,” Storace said. “I hand these to athletes and tell them to use it the next time they sign a contract and think of me when they’re dreaming of how to spend their money.” He has also included these pens in the Chamber of Commerce welcome packages that are handed out to new members. When someone can’t find their special pen they ask, “has anyone seen my Storace Wealth pen?” “The other thing about a great pen is that even if it’s lost, someone else picks it up and uses it,” Storace said.

Connect, Really Connect

Storace gives gifts for birthdays and weddings that set him apart. He tries to find something special about the person that most people don’t know and appeal to that. For clients, he adheres to the $100 a year gift limit. But for prospects he may decide to do something more, especially if it’s a special occasion. For instance, he bought an athlete and his new bride a gift card to a gun store, as they are big firearms enthusiasts. “They were able to purchase a his/her gun set, which they had engraved. Definitely more costly, but very meaningful and appreciated for this particular couple,” Storace said.

Storace has also been offering sports managers, as a value to their business, an opportunity to have him out for athlete financial presentations on topics such as, The Benefits of Incorporation, Pay Yourself First and Reduce Your Tax Obligation, and What is a Stock Anyway? He is currently in the process of getting these through compliance, but the idea is to become a resource to the sports managers.

A natural entertainer and conversationalist with this particular niche space, Storace hosts dinners and attends Mixed Martial Arts events. But my jaw dropped when he told me about the renting an eight bedroom house in Costa Rica and inviting some of his best clients – and their MMA friends (ideal prospects for him) – to join him for a week of zip-lining, jet-skiing, swimming, hiking and eating healthy meals prepared by the built-in cook, all in the beauty of an exotic, tropical setting. While the event cost close to $10,000, it has already paid for itself three-times-over due to the new business that Storace has booked. He is nurturing the relationships and expects more new business activity in the coming months.

What’s Ahead?

Next week, I’ll talk about building a strong online presence.  If you missed any prior installments, please see the library of Marketing Maven articles below.

On the conference front, I’m looking forward to seeing old friends and new at the following events:

Transamerica Financial Advisors – National Conference: Jan. 16 in Tampa

T3 Technology Tools for Today – Annual Conference and Exhibition: Feb. 16-18 in Dallas

TechLeaders Conference for Broker/Dealer Management Teams – Inaugural Conference and Technology Showcase: March 19-21 in Dallas

Tiburon CEO Summit XXII – Bi-annual gathering of top C-Level and E-Level professionals in the financial services industry: April 17-18 in New York City