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Hurricane SMAX

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Natural disasters are something to avoid at all costs, but something interesting occurred when Hurricane (er, Tropical Storm) Fay hit Florida in late August–it whipped up a weird energy–a strong group dynamic–at the 2008 Senior Market Advisor Expo.

More than one attendee pulled me aside and said something along the lines of: “I’ve attended your past expos and really enjoyed them. But, man, I don’t know what you did this time. This show is great! It really blows other shows away.”

I guess we’ll have to blame the success, at least to some degree, on the storm.

Held at the Royal Pacific Resort, the expo had the makings of something special to begin with, including terrific motivational speakers like John Boe and Scott Burrows, great networking events and a special session on SEC 151A.

But Fay seemed to bring everyone together. And there was good reason for that. The storm delayed several flights and cancelled others. Those who made it to Orlando had invested time, money and shaken a defiant fist at the sky to get there.

I can’t list all the highlights from the Expo in this space, but for those who weren’t there, here are a couple of items that stood out to me:

The previously mentioned opening keynote speaker, Scott Burrows, hit a home run. A former financial advisor, Burrows tapped into the psyche of producers during his emotional speech. Also a former college football player and competitive kick boxer, Burrows was paralyzed in a 1984 car wreck. He’s faced numerous physical roadblocks since that initial injury, but hasn’t let it get in the way of his success. One thing in particular Burrows said resonated with me: “Focus on the things you can control; not the things you can’t.”

One thing advisors can control is their brand. Manon Langenberg’s talk on “Building Your Brand” was an eye opener. Sometimes success (or even greater success) is just around the corner, if only you can boil down the message you want to convey in the simplest of terms. For instance, Langenberg showed a power point presentation on the importance of names–your name, your company’s name. Her name is unique, with her parents naming her after an opera, and she uses that information to “brand” herself and her business.

For additional highlights from the show, check out our series of video interviews at If you have questions or comments about this year’s show or you have some suggestions for the 2009 Senior Market Advisor Expo, which moves back to Las Vegas, email me or call me at (303) 662-5393.

Talk with you soon.

Daniel D. Williams