What’s the best way to prospect for new clients? Focus on keeping it simple.


Prospecting is the most difficult task when it comes to building our business — especially if we’re trying to figure out how to do it with more clients.

I was reading a book over the weekend called The Distraction-Proof Advisor by Paul Kingsman. He talks about how he prepared for the Olympic Games. As a swimmer, he said, training was simple, but it was not easy. A lot of people ask me, “How can I make prospecting easier?”

The answer is that we need to shift our focus like Paul Kingsman did. We need to talk about simplicity, not about making it easy. Paul talked about how training was simple. He had to be in the pool a certain number of hours. He had to lift weights a certain number of hours. He had to eat right to fuel his body. That’s not easy. But it is simple.

The same is true with prospecting. Let’s think about how we can make it simple. There are three steps to take:

  1. Referral Track: The first step is to really have a good referral track for every appointment — and for every time that you give someone value. Getting a referral isn’t just asking for the next person. You must have a real, clear image about who you want to build your business with over the next 10 years and you need to be able to paint that picture for the person you’re talking with. They need to be able to visualize your next-level referral.

  2. Automation: We have hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of email addresses. They largely go unused. We need to make sure that we are implementing nurturing campaigns for existing clients to take them to additional products and additional services. For most of our clients, the first few products we showed them didn’t meet their needs. We persisted until we found the right solution. As financial professionals, we need to continue to nurture those relationships, to get more ingrained with our clients and continue to provide solutions.

  3. Technology: You may think that technology and automation are the same. I disagree. I consider automation the process. Technology is the tool to keep your client focused on you. How many times have you gone to or conducted a seminar and not been able to get the number of appointments you wanted? And, at the same time, not been able to get the clients back into the office? It makes holding a seminar seem like a waste of time and money. But today’s technology can change that. Now, consider employing geofencing to target your attendees. For 30-45 days following the seminar, they’ll receive targeted advertising reminding them of the problem that is still unsolved. And reminding them that you have answers.

Use the next week to focus on developing a solid referral track, learning about how automation can help nurture client relationships and using today’s technology tools to enhance your reach.


Transformational Tactic

Keep it simple.

high performing practice retirement simple prospecting

More Prospects to Meet


Our day-to-day activities pull us in different directions. Sometimes we feel like we are going 100 mph in a 55-mph speed zone and getting no where. We are servicing clients, preparing and monitoring financial plans, and listening to rapidly changing market conditions on the television in our office. We suddenly look up at the clock and the day is over. Repeat that often enough and we will look at our business in a couple of months to find that we don’t have any new prospects. Or a plan to grow our business.

We must always be finding ways to recruit new prospective clients if we want our business to grow. We need a consistent pipeline of individuals that have a problem that our expertise solves. Because we are already so busy with running the existing business, we don’t find time to devote to the key metric in our business – marketing. And, if we find the time to think about it, the marketing efforts we implement are general and not specific to a targeted audience. In some cases, we know that recruiting is such a vital activity that we outsource it to a 3rd party to “get me in front of more people.” We end up with the wrong clients and therefore compound our day-to-day activity problem. At the end of the day, we should be choosing whom we do business with instead of the other way around.

There has to be a better way. I suggest three simple changes to create an ongoing flow of high-quality people that want to speak to you due to your expertise.

1. Clarify your message. People make decisions on initial reactions. They don’t take the time to research anything about the quality of person behind the story. You must be crystal clear on what you do and for whom you will help.

2. Use technology properly. We all have websites. Even if there are chock full of pleasing graphics if they don’t produce results or show up in search engines they aren’t serving their purpose. Figure out how to use your existing email lists better while you clarify your message to your targeted audience. This saves time, money, and effort on your part. Don’t waste time weeding through everyone to get to the truly high value prospective client.

3. Make referrals a part of your presentation. Whenever you meet someone, you should ask what a good prospect looks like for them. In doing so, you have created value that will reap benefits down the road. Create a closing script that includes this verbiage to separate yourself from any competition.

It’s not easy to be clear and concise, especially in a complex financial services practice. However, if you follow our guidance using the StoryBrand seven-step framework, you can create an environment where you become a magnet instead of a megaphone. Stop wasting time and money on the outdated marketing strategies of yesterday. Instead, use a plan that brings the people that need you the most to your doorstep. Automation allows you to continually prospect, even during your busy day-to-day activities running a financial planning practice. The consistency of your message combined with automation lifts you to new levels, helps more Americans, and adds time for you to do the things that are important to you.

Transformational Tactic: Use technology and the right words to create a consistent flow of prospective clients to your firm.

high performing practice retirement prospecting

Grow with the Best Prospects – Easily


At every sales meeting, my staff talks to me about concerns that our advisors have in trying to build their business. Our industry has a nearly unlimited opportunity to help American families retire and protect their wealth. With the number of financial professionals today plus the erosion of talent over the next 20 years, it’s easy to say that every planner has enough prospects to help grow their business.

So, why is it such a problem to grow the number of clients in your practice?

The problem is building your practice in a way that doesn’t overwhelm you and your staff, do it profitably, and have a higher performing practice than when you started. Most people tell me that having a higher performing practice means adding new clients. That solution works well if you truly need to add more clients, potentially add assets under management or new sales, and achieve more revenue. But, just adding more people might not create the leverage you need to make a high performing practice.

Adding more clients also means more service, more plans, more time, more effort, and more costs. That means a similar level of profitability, less time with your family, and most likely less enjoyment out of your business. You have to pay attention to how your grow your business and with whom you grow your business. If adding more clients is your solution, you have to be deliberate in the clients you choose to add.

This critical choice boils down to these key points:

1. Define your target audience.

2. Be as specific as possible.

3. Determine the #1 value you bring to that group.

It’s that simple. While we all feel a responsibility to help as many Americans as possible retire more securely we must make the careful and diligent choices that make a difference in our clients’ lives. And in our own lives as well. You must have a plan to grow your business purposefully. You may feel that you will project a negative impression by not working with everyone that comes your way. Or, you might feel that you could lose a potential sale by referring a prospective client to another person. What’s important is to understand your purpose, of your business, and to your client. You have to define your value.

Your value starts with understanding what you can deliver to your potential audience. By choosing the processes, products, and services that you specialize in, you can better articulate your value to your intended audience. And, remember, there are plenty of people that need our services for you to be laser-focused on your audience. That’s the key. Understand your audience better than everyone else and you are likely to win the client. Speak in their terms empathetically and authoritatively to demonstrates you can deliver on their needs, dreams, and goals.

Transformational Tactic

Understand your target audience better than anyone else.

If you would like more information on how to transform your business to a high performing practice, sign up for our free course and register to receive weekly updates from High Performing Practice.

high performing practice retirement growth

Why Annuities Are Sold, Why Annuities Are Important


Why Annuities Are Sold, Why Annuities Are Important


It’s time to reacquaint ourselves with the benefit of annuities.

Contrary to recent articles from media outlets, annuities can be a valuable tool in a portfolio. Too often, the product gets bad press and people jump on the bandwagon. For the last two decades, our industry has been focused on recurring revenue and assets under management. That served our businesses and our clients well during the accumulation phase. But the game has changed.

Tax-deferred growth is a large benefit for any non-qualified assets – especially if they are generating long-term retirement income. Assets will grow and accumulate faster using a tax-deferred vehicle. One could argue that the lump-sum tax at the end of the accumulation period would be hefty. That’s true, but it’s not the best use of an income-generating vehicle like an annuity. Annuities allow for control of the tax disbursement, which avoids a lump sum distribution at a capital gains tax rate.


Fees are always synonymous with annuities, regardless of whether they’re fixed or registered. Clearly, some annuities are fee-heavy, and I don’t disagree. But most aren’t - in fact, fixed indexed annuities offer the same or similar income riders as their variable counterparts. Rider charges are much less expensive due to the stability of the general account, versus the fluctuation of underlying sub accounts.

Using the Principal

Traditional SPIA and DIAs are making a comeback due to the retirement crisis. People need to generate higher levels of income, for longer periods of time, with less assets than previous generations. Using principal and interest to do that over a person’s lifetime – for both qualified and non-qualified assets – makes sense. Once guaranteed income is in place, the remaining portfolio can be invested more aggressively. Equities have historically outpaced inflation, so future losses in buying power can be offset.


Asset Location

We often get caught up on asset allocation models. Instead, we need to focus on asset location, which is the key to annuities adding a benefit inside a portfolio. The purpose of the asset is more critical than the class. If the asset is intended to generate retirement income, you need to consider at least a portion in guaranteed income.

For most Americans, the promise of ongoing income – guaranteed for life – makes annuities one of the most beneficial parts of their portfolio. Don’t take my word for it! The power of guaranteed income can be proven through our tool, JourneyGuide. I encourage anyone to take their typical middle-American client and evaluate the use of guaranteed income in a $1 million portfolio. You’ll find a $275,000-$325,000 difference in total income increases for mass affluent customers.


Winning Strategy: Look at the true benefits of annuities in the retirement income strategy and not the recent headlines.


About the Author

Mike McGlothlin is a team leader, retirement industry activist and disciple of Indiana Hoosier basketball. In addition to being EVP of retirement at Ash Brokerage, he is a sought-after writer and speaker. His web series, “Winning Strategies,” provides insight and motivation for financial advisors in many forms – blogs, books, videos, podcasts and more. His latest book, “Free Throw for Financial Professionals,” is available now – learn more at





retirement annuity time

2 Minutes to 4 Hours


We’ve either done it or seen it – the mad dash through the airport, desperate to reach the gate before it’s too late.


I was recently flying home from Kansas City, Missouri to Fort Wayne, Indiana. My connecting flight in Detroit was running late. It was a Friday afternoon and bad weather was causing delays. My layover was less than hour, and as we landed, my phone pinged – my flight to Fort Wayne had begun the boarding process five minutes earlier. And there I was, stuck at the back of the plane waiting on others to get off.


I began checking alternatives. I could get a rental car and drive home (invariably over three and a half hours after dealing with the rental company and afternoon traffic). There was a later flight that would get me in about the same time or a little later. Or, I could run like fury and hope I made it to the terminal in time.


I decided to chance it. I ran through two terminals in Detroit’s airport and made it to the gate as the agent was making the last muffled boarding call.


I’d made it – just – with two minutes to spare.


I found my seat on the plane, stowed my carry-on, got comfortable and began to relax, knowing I would be home much earlier than if I had missed this flight. I could breathe again. From the time the notification popped up on my phone until the time I sat down, I was rushed, worried, anxious and feeling a bit irked toward the airline.


It’s entirely likely that our clients feel the same way about our industry – frustrated, anxious, and making last-minute decisions on their retirement. They only relax when they have a plan and they know they are secure in their income for life.


Retirement is creating more anxiety for more Americans than ever before. There are huge uncertainties due to longevity, health care, taxes, legacy concerns and charitable tendencies. Retirement is a time when Americans should be enjoying the fruits of their labor, not worrying further. We can help alleviate that anxiety by doing some simple things for our clients:

  1. Make a plan, and make it early. Our research shows the purchase of guaranteed income as early as age 55 for later use increases the probability of success in retirement income plans.
  2. Understand the three sources of guaranteed income: Social Security, pensions, and annuities. These are the only vehicles that can shift the risk of longevity.
  3. Educate clients on the benefits of guaranteed income in the portfolio, regardless of source.
  4. Teach clients the value of Social Security and how to make smart decisions about benefits.
  5. Use technology to better improve client interface and build client base to reach underserved markets.


If we focus our attention on income during retirement, and not just asset allocation and return, we will have a better conversation with clients. Those conversations will be more meaningful and helpful to a greater number of people.


Winning Strategy: Don’t wait to plan for your clients’ retirement. Talk about income with them and educate them on how guaranteed income makes a difference in the portfolio.



About the Author

Mike McGlothlin is a team leader, retirement industry activist and disciple of Indiana Hoosier basketball. In addition to being EVP of retirement at Ash Brokerage, he is a sought-after writer and speaker. His web series, “Winning Strategies,” provides insight and motivation for financial advisors in many forms – blogs, books, videos, podcasts and more. His latest book, “Free Throw for Financial Professionals,” is available now – learn more at


retirement annuity time