Advisors: Consider a Different Path – the Guru Path

“…Two roads diverged in a wood, and I— I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference.” - Robert Frost

There’s so much meaning in this famous Robert Frost poem. I can’t help but think of it whenever I think about the future or make plans for the direction in which to take my business.

Being a financial advisor doesn’t mean you’re stuck in a single path. You have choices – but only if you can imagine them and see a clear path to achieve them.

Most advisors are on what I call the GROWTH path, but I’d also like you to consider a different path – the GURU path.

Whatever path you’re on – I’ve outlined some strategies below to give you a clearer vision for how you might proceed on that path.


Depending on what your vision for your business looks like, you might end up on the growth path – where you’ll make a plan to get in front of more prospects, take on more clients, and increase assets or fees (or both) to increase revenue… the growth path. Who wouldn’t want to 10x their income? More clients = more assets (or fees) = more $. The growth path is where you don’t necessarily want your current service model to change – you just want to earn more doing the same thing you’re doing now.

Here are some marketing ideas for converting prospects into clients (examples below focus on 401k market but you can modify for your market):

Start with building a “launch” funnel for getting new clients…

  • Offer a 3-part fiduciary training workshop (or course or series) that leads to an offer for a (paid) plan review
  • Offer a 3-part 401k plan fee analysis course that leads to an offer to run a (paid) benchmark report
  • Create a 3-part provider due diligence series that leads to an offer for you to conduct a (paid) RFP for the plan
  • Conduct a 3-part money 101 training/challenge that leads to an offer to meet with you (appointment) (where you close them as a client)
  • Teach a 3-part fiduciary training workshop that leads to an offer to do a (paid) 401k fiduciary training for the company’s investment committee or board of directors
  • ANY of these can be delivered in any of the following formats:

  • as a live workshop for your Rotary group or Chamber of Commerce or local SHRM group
  • as a series of Facebook live videos where you point and shoot and teach – live
  • as a series of blog posts you write and post to LinkedIn or your own blog (and email your list if you have one)
  • as a series of emails you send to your contacts
  • as a series of videos you pre-record and post online
  • The key is to educate and provide tremendous value, so your prospects know, like and trust you and when it comes time make an offer, they’re much more likely to say yes than if you had just tried to get an appointment and convince them to hire you. After they’ve paid you for a service, they’re much more likely to hire you to manage their plan assets or other aspects of their plan.

    NOTE: The ideas above are super easy to create and implement, but the success comes from knowing how to decide which offer your prospects wants, how to introduce it to your prospects, how to structure each piece of content and transition to the offer, and how to create an irresistible offer that your clients will thank you for.

    The path less taken… THE GURU PATH

    I don’t think most people say – I want to be a “guru.”

    When I hear the word “guru” in the financial industry, I see the faces of Dave Ramsey and Suze Orman and David Bach. But what makes them a guru exactly? Their positioning in the market? The fact that they’re now public figures? Their appearances on TV? (Actually, that opportunity comes because of their guru status)…

    Maybe you think of folks you see speaking at our industry conferences like Fred Reish, Marcia Wagner, Brian Graff. These folks are definitely experts, but the guru path is different.

    You earn “guru” status as a result of creating your own products and programs around your area of expertise.

    Here are a few examples of folks on the GURU PATH:

  • Jason Roberts – Pension Resource Institute
  • Charlie Epstein – the 401k Coach Program
  • Des O’Neill (Ireland) – The Profit Pro (Training for Accountants)
  • Emily Keating – the Medicare Coach
  • Ann Wilson – the Wealth Chef
  • Jeff Rose – Good Financial Cents
  • Sophia Bera – Gen Y Planning
  • Dave Grant – Finance for Teachers
  • Doing a quick google search I also found The Eventual Millionaire (book), The College Investor, Financial Mentor dot com, Military Money Manual dot com, Online Trading Academy, etc. The list goes on… but are you starting to see a pattern?

    They didn’t necessarily set out to be the guru in their niche (or maybe they did), but they all took a path that included the following strategies (which you can follow to head down that path too):

  • They branded themselves – or their product or target market (having a recognizable brand plays a big part in guru status)
  • They picked an audience (most have picked who they want to work with or what specific area they’ll focus on)
  • They created something of value (a book, a program, a training course, a product, software, etc.) around their expertise
  • And most importantly – they LAUNCHED – they put their expertise out there – they’ve made something available for the public to buy
  • The key is to pick a topic and an audience, brand yourself, create something of value that people are willing to pay you for… and launch!

    I’m confident whichever path you take, if you commit to it, and follow a few simple, proven strategies – you’ll get there.

    One of the easiest ways I’ve found to advance in ANYTHING is to leverage the expertise of those who have walked before you – those who have experience and have achieved the kind of success you’d like to have.

    Related: Best Practices for 401k Committees

    Dan Sullivan is a genius at teaching folks how to brand themselves and take their intellectual capital and turn it into a money making machine through his program called Strategic Coach.

    Jeff Walker is a genius at teaching folks how to market their brand and products and services through a program called Product Launch Formula (PLF). As much as the formula is used to launch new products, in the financial world I see it work extremely well to introduce you to new prospects online so they know, like, and trust you… to build authority and credibility and a relationship, making the appointment or sale, or engagement easy.

    In other words, Jeff’s formula for presenting yourself online to prospects, can help you convert a higher percentage of prospects to clients in a shorter amount of time if you’re on the GROWTH path, and can most definitely help you create and launch your own products and programs if you’re on the GURU path.

    Whichever path you choose - growth or guru - I hope the strategies above will help you envision how to proceed. Onward and upward.