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Financial Planning > Behavioral Finance

Bounty Hunting for Business

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Research June CoverIf you ask any red-blooded American boy what he wants to be when he grows up, he’ll most likely tell you one of two things: a professional football player or a financial advisor. Even a little kid knows these are the two best ways for a guy to make a lot of money and get chicks.

In addition to obscene wealth and sex appeal, these two careers also share at least one other commonality. It’s the dark side of the financial advisor business that no one wants to talk about. It’s the unthinkable. I’m talking about bounties.

As the New Orleans Saints proved, one way to the top is to take out the competition. Take them out. Hurt them before they can hurt you. It’s simple. The field goal kicker can’t beat you, if his leg is broken. The QB can’t beat you, if he can’t remember his name. And, the coach can’t beat you … if his car blew up on the way to the game. Am I right?

Would it surprise you to learn that similar despicable tactics have been used in the financial arena as well? Of course it wouldn’t. As history has proven, whenever great wealth, fame and sex appeal is at stake, there are some who will go to extraordinary lengths to have it all.

As an investigative journalist, I was faced with two choices in writing this article. The first choice involved countless hours of interviewing thousands of financial advisors and their staffs. The second choice involved a beer and a shot (for creative purposes only).

After deciding on the second choice, I sat back and thought to myself, “Hmm, if I were an advisor … how could I use bounties to advance my personal wealth and myself?”

Please keep in mind that I don’t condone or recommend these activities. I only thought them up.

Bounties for Beginners

The obvious goal of your bounty program should be for you to make more money and not get caught.  It’s that simple. Offer your staff the opportunity to earn some extra cash or some extra days off. Make them do the dirty work, like you usually do.

Don’t forget, your financial advisor bounty program should be primarily about motivating your employees (and others) to tarnish your most dangerous competitors. I understand that everyone’s tolerance for this kind of work varies, so I’ve come up with a few possible bounties that range in practicality and iniquity. Feel free to pick the method(s) best suiting your soul.

Some bounties you might consider:

$1 — For every piece of a competitor’s marketing materials plucked from your prospect’s mailbox. They can’t buy it if they don’t know about it.

$5 — For every competitor’s client statement you can get from your prospect’s mailbox. This will allow you to go to your prospect and tell them how great your company is for emailing customer statements and not mailing them.

$10 — For every confused senior citizen from a competitor’s investment seminar.  Let the promise of a better buffet do all the work.

$100 — For starting alcohol/drug abuse rumors about your competitor and his/her spouse. Cheers!

$1,000 — General character assassination of key competitors involving sexual or racial discrimination.

$5,000 — For a successfully planted flash-drive (containing inappropriate images) and a phone call to the authorities.

$10,000 — For the successful placement of competitor on TV show To Catch a Predator (Internet and chat room knowledge a plus).

As you can see, a good bounty program doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg … or it could. It’s up to you. How bad do you want it?


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