ELITE ADVISOR BEST PRACTICES

Making a Connection: Capturing Multi-Generational Wealth

If you are trying to open doors with a family, you need to offer insights and services that interest the entire family. Consider a cooperative private briefing

By Vic Preisser and Roy Williams

Key Takeaways:

  • At a time when we are experiencing the largest intergenerational wealth transfer in history, clients need a broader range of informed advisors.
  • Advisors tend to involve other trusted professionals with their clients only when they have an established relationship and the need is specific. This narrow viewpoint is defensive and can limit the growth of your practice.
  • A private briefing on a hot, broad-gauge topic, hosted cooperatively, is a very economical and effective way to get your skills known to a large number of potential clients.
  • In a cooperative private briefing, a financial advisor, law firm, accounting practice and a private bank can collaborate to bring in an outside speaker "who wrote the book" in a given field that appeals to your target client base.

“Private Briefings” Engaging Centers of Influence and Their Clients

Just like the Hippocratic Oath: “First, do no harm,” professional advisors protect their clients from potentially harmful relationships with others. At a time when we are experiencing the largest intergenerational wealth transfer in history, clients need a broader range of informed advisors. Professionals tend to involve other trusted professionals with their clients only when they have an established relationship and the need is specific. That narrow viewpoint is defensive and can prove limiting. Several professional advisory firms have recently come up with a novel idea: “The (cooperative) private briefing.”

The Cooperative Private Briefing

Note that it is not called a “seminar” or “presentation” or “instructional session.” The words “private briefing” have a bit of cachet to them. They do not describe a schoolroom or a “teacher/pupil” setting. The word “cooperative” means that three or four non-competing professional advisors get together; send the same series of announcements to their clients; and share the cost of the room, the speaker and any refreshments. Typically, a financial advisor, a law firm, an accounting practice and a (private) bank work together and agree on a date and place, and split the costs of the briefing.

The key is to bring in an outside speaker who is a published authority in a given field. If the speaker charges a fee, you can invite your favorite wholesaler to attend and sponsor the speaker’s fee! Typically, each professional sponsor will invite 25 to 50 people and experience a 25 percent acceptance rate (depending upon topic). Aside from the speaker’s fee, sponsors share equally in the $2,000 budget for food, venue and other refreshments. For the opportunity to address a room of 50 affluent attendees, $500 for each sponsor is an excellent marketing investment.

Topics That Grab an Audience

If you are trying to open doors with a family, you need to offer topics that interest the entire family. Topics that focus on changes in the tax laws, or economic forecasts, or new types of generation-skipping trusts are focused and of interest only to a few family members. Broader topics will attract a broader audience but require expert speakers. Invite the person who “wrote the book” on a given topic, and then ask the author for suggested topics that have recently drawn the most comment or audience response. Here are a few recent topics that have attracted overflow crowds:

  • Your Estate Is in Place, but Are Your Heirs Prepared?
  • Blended Families, New In-Laws, and Other Special Estate Planning Considerations
  • The Importance and Usefulness of a Family Mission Statement
  • How to Hold a Productive Family Meeting
  • Dos and Don’ts of “Connecting” with Young Adults on Financial Responsibility
  • Philanthropy as a “Stealth Tool” to Teach Accountability, Mission and Values
An Effective Venue and Speakers

Special venues to host a private briefing are often found at local arts centers, local museums or schools (they love the exposure and usually rent space at reasonable rates). Some venues will set up seating and appetizer/beverage tables and AV equipment; some won’t. The best seating uses a number of smaller tables, comfortable chairs and SEAT NAMECARDS. This way, the hosts at the door know who they are looking for, and can concentrate the attendees at their table and make certain their questions are noted and answered.

Each of the four hosts/sponsors can contribute portions of the evening as follows:

  1. The welcome and explanation of the event
  2. The introduction of the speaker(s)
  3. The summary at the end and receiving questions for the speaker
  4. The final closing statement saying what you, as hosts, can provide for those who want further information on this topic (books, news articles, a personal meeting, Rolodex reference to specialized coaches, etc.)

In this manner, the hosts are, themselves, brief speakers. They might even say what their specialties are. But the big draw is the main speaker. If possible, see if you can make arrangements for the speaker to autograph books – sold to you at a deep discount – that can be given out to attendees. Important: You should make arrangements to have some sort of an event sticker inside the front cover of the book, saying “Compliments of: [insert the names and contact phone numbers for the event sponsors].” People may throw away or lose your business card, but they will not do the same with a book.

Conclusion

A private briefing on a hot, broad gauge topic, hosted cooperatively, is a very economical and effective way to get your skills visible to a large number of potential clients.


About the Authors

This article was contributed by Vic Preisser and Roy Williams of of The Williams Group. The Institute provides research, education and training to professional advisors on family dynamics and wealth transition. The Institute does no investment management, offers no tax or estate planning advice, and sells no insurance or financial products.