From the October 2009 Issue of Senior Market Advisor Magazine

Who said that independent advisors are lone wolves? While they often are, producers stepped outside of their natural environment for three interactive workshops at Senior Market Advisor Expo in Las Vegas.

Held Aug. 24-26 at Caesar’s Palace, roughly 420 advisors were on hand to learn the best marketing strategies, sales tips and the latest suitability standards. But among all the highlights of the three days–including keynote addresses by Brian Tracy and Dan Norman–one thing really made an impression on me: a whole lot of teamwork.
You didn’t misread that last word. Independent advisors are often pigeonholed as being, well, independent, but they defied that stereotype during this year’s SMAX. In particular, the interactive workshops allowed participants to provide their thoughts and insights, while learning to work together.

2008 Advisor of the Year finalist Stefanos Loisou moderated “Your Elevator Pitch.” As he told attendees, “You only have a few seconds to make an impression.”

His own pitch? “I guarantee (clients’) assets and make sure they have an income for the rest of their life.”

And despite the session’s title, Loisou insists advisors need more than one pitch. In fact, he says advisors should have “several statements of sincerity.” “It’s not just the words, but what you say and do with the words you say,” Loisou added. “We are auditioning every day. We need to convey that we care and are knowledgeable.” At the end of the day, he said, “It’s not about making money or the compensation (that will come), but doing something we care about and putting people in a better place.”

In industry veteran Al Atha’s “Prospecting” workshop, attendees were handed three case studies to analyze. It was interesting to see how quickly the advisors took to the interactive format.

While there were no shrinking violets in attendance, leaders emerged from the breakout groups.

In one of the case studies, an advisor has a monthly seminar business, but is not converting the number of prospects he should be. Atha offered a valid reason: “If an advisor is doing seminars, he needs to be both a great salesperson and a great speaker. He’s not going to reach his potential if he’s a lousy public speaker.”

Atha suggested that an advisor in this scenario should find someone they know and trust and “get them to serve as a mentor.”