Sept. 26, 2022

Marketing Strategies for Financial Advisors with Charlie Van Derven


Charlie Van Derven has coached and worked with financial professionals since 1998. Throughout his career, Charlie has worked with recognizable names such as Morgan Stanley, LPL Financial, Farmers Insurance, UBS and others, to assist in developing digital strategy. This successful work with major firms gives Charlie a unique glimpse into the interaction between corporate compliance and their sales channel, resulting in successful marketing and business development campaigns.

Charlie founded Social Advisors in 2013 after years of leadership roles with major marketing and business development firms in the financial services industry. He is also the host of the popular podcast RIA Collective.

Today, Social Advisors offers clients an entire complement of professional support. Their product suite provides all the knowledge and tools necessary for financial professionals to scale their growth.

As a father and husband, much of Charlie’s time outside the office is dedicated to family. In his spare time, you’ll find Charlie paddle boarding, golfing, RVing across the country or rehabbing his home in Florida.

https://www.social-advisors.com/

Transcript

Josh Wilson
 Welcome to the deal. Scout. I love this show because all day long we talk with deal makers about deals. The mission and purpose of this show is to put deals and deal makers together, right? We've interviewed people from Spacks to lemonade stands and kind of everything in between. We see a lot of stuff going on in the world of the stock market and wealth Advisors and you'll see their stuff on LinkedIn. What I want to do is find the industry leading expert on meeting for these kind of industries. I brought my buddy Charlie to talk about it on the show. Charlie. Welcome to the deal, scout. 


 Charlie Van Derven
 Josh thank you, man. Pleasure to be here. 


 Josh Wilson
 Absolutely. So you also live in Florida. Why don't you kind of give us an idea about who you are and what you do. 


 Charlie Van Derven
 Goodness, yes. I live on the east coast of Florida in Belusha County. Cool place to be if you're looking east. Actually looking west isn't too bad either, but I like to look at east. We're close to the ocean, spend a lot of time there. I married a Florida girl. Josh. I don't know how I ended up well, I do know how I ended ups here, but never in my wildest dreams. I think I live in Florida, right? I'm a ski guy. I grew up skiing and snowboarding and partaking in winter sports. Here I am in Florida and trying to figure out how to surf and paddle board and whatever. So yeah social advisors is our company. I started that about nine years ago. I've spent the previous 15 years prior to starting Social Advisors in Financial Services, working for a handful of business development marketing companies in the industry and thought I had a better way. 


 Charlie Van Derven
 That industry is so heavily regulated, right? Compliance and what you can and cannot say is a big component of financial services. The way the industry reacts to marketing is let's give you a can suite of things you can do. Don't do anything outside of these parameters and keeps everybody safe. But marketing becomes really sterile and duplicated. If how to navigate the, let's say, pitfalls of that compliance regulatory environment and you can do some personalized meeting, ID messaging, you got an opportunity to succeed there. That's what we did nine years ago. After working for some can templated content companies, I started Social Advisors with the premise of working High Touch white club service for advisors to help them develop a brand, personal brand, professional brand and leverage the distribution channels of our day to get their message out and find new clients. That might be a little too general, but we'll get into it, I'm sure. 


 Josh Wilson
 Yeah, we're going to dig deep in this. In a world of highly regulated compliance, right? We see this in Wealth Advisors, we see this in funds, we see this in group. Anytime you're talking about money, whether it's insurance or whatever, there's a lot of people who say this is what you can and can't say. What you've experienced is and things are highly regulated, what most people typically do is boxed, canned, safe, but boring. Every other agent in the world is using it. 


 Charlie Van Derven
 Right. 


 Josh Wilson
 And it doesn't have good success. Is that what you experienced? 


 Charlie Van Derven
 Absolutely. In fact, not only does it not have good success nowadays, I think it actually has a negative impact on marketing. We use the word compliance a lot in the regulatory environment. Let's not kid ourselves. Right. Compliance. These are risk mitigators, right? These are attorneys and people who are hired to protect the firm. They have to govern to the lowest common denominator. If you're at a firm that has 1000 advisors, they've got to govern all 1000, just like the riskiest person out of those thousand. Right. So it's compliance. That sounds kind of friendly, but really they're risk mitigators. They want to keep Morgan Stanley out of trouble or maybe even a small RIAA. You got to play. Right. I think the stats are that financial advisors are, like, the second least trusted profession. Really? It shouldn't be that way. I think behind them is used cars. 


 Charlie Van Derven
 Honestly, that's the bucket they fall into. Right? If we go back to the days of a stockbroker where the whole industry was transactional, so they got paid a commission when they made a trade or sold a product. If you were a person who was managing other people's money but didn't do a very good job managing your own money and you didn't make your Porsche payment for the month, you could call up the little ladies in your book that trust you because they don't know otherwise and say, you got to buy this stock or you can force those transactions to happen. Us the advisor at that time, stock broker get paid on that transaction. Now, the industry is mostly fee based now, right. Instead of getting paid on a transaction, you get paid a fee to manage someone's money. There's biases there. That's certainly a step in the right direction. 


 Charlie Van Derven
 It takes a lot of kind of the crooked approach to the greed out of it. The issue with that is, I mean, you might manage $3 million for a 70 year old. You're getting paid on $3 million. You talk to that 70 year old twice a year just to make sure that everything's going well and you're making good money on that $3 million that you manage. You might manage $30,000 for a 40 year old who's going through a divorce having kids. You got to talk to this person every week, right? You've got a 70 year old who's paying a lot of money for little service. You got a 40 year old who's paying little money for a lot of service. So they're not criminal issues anymore. Now with that feedback, it's still a pricing structure that doesn't necessarily work for the advisor in that case, unless they're talking to the 70 year old. 


 Charlie Van Derven
 They love that. Yeah, but when they look at their books and they make $200 a month off that 40 year old and they're on the phone with them every three days because they've got a lot going on in their life that costs the advisor money. Right. Anyway, it's an industry, Josh, that largely has had to feel its way through the new distribution channels of communication that you and I leverage every single day. Email marketing, social media, content marketing. It's an industry that has been wrought with criminal activity in the past and now they're trying to handle these new communication methods and how to make that good for the industry and still flexible for the advisor. It's good for the industry, the compliance, it's not real flexible for the advisor. 


 Josh Wilson
 Right. In the way that things have been done in the past, you see this evolution because you've been in it for how many years? 


 Charlie Van Derven
 23, I guess. 20, 419, 98. Wow. 


 Josh Wilson
 D***, Josh, where does the time start? 


 Charlie Van Derven
 I know. Wow. 


 Josh Wilson
 It's been a while when you started it. Social Advisors, did you primarily think to start it as a social media management platform, like Social Advisors or where does the name originate for you? 


 Charlie Van Derven
 Yeah, sometimes I feel like we're pigeonholed by the name today. It was important back in the day. When we started at nine years ago, I was working for a company called FMG Suite. Got a lot of friends that are at FMG Suite, good company, but they have that kind of can model, if you will. Right. I don't know how many clients they have, but I would imagine it's an excess of 50,000 clients. All of those clients share the same 250 pieces of content that are industry approved. I'll say it's not actually approved. The industry would never say we approve it. They'd say we don't object to it anyway, that's just legal jargon to make sure they never get in trouble with something. Right, so you've got, let's say, whatever the numbers, tens of thousands social advisors out there all flying the exact same 250 pieces of content. 


 Charlie Van Derven
 Prior to that, I was with a website company doing websites for large wirehouses. Right? But as content marketing evolved and grew. You had companies like Fmgsuite that popped up. That had an in the box. Firm sensitive content solution that then advisors were putting on their website. Putting on especially independent advisors. Putting on their website. Putting on social. Putting in their newsletter. And in two years at FMG Suite. Of course the model is great for the FMG. The firms get behind it because again. It mitigates risk. It is not good for the adviser all to look like every other adviser in the country. We spun up social advisors and I say we, my wife and I, we do social media for social advisors that is highly personal. We get to know you as a member of your team so we can produce content for you that encapsulates who you are as a professional, who you are personally really looking for. 


 Charlie Van Derven
 We're developing stuff that is about relatability. It's not about how big your brain is and how smart you can look when you convey financial topics. It's about bringing people to you that are attracted to you because of who you are as a human. It's about relationship. Right. The industry is catching up, but we're ahead of the industry. 


 Josh Wilson
 Let's do a side by side comparison. Right? You say big wirehouse, big box, right? Big box brands. The Morgan Stanley's of the world. 


 Charlie Van Derven
 Raymond James. Raymond James, sure. 


 Josh Wilson
 Yeah. And then you specifically focus on RIA. What the heck is an RIA versus Morgan Stanley? Right? 


 Charlie Van Derven
 Great question. There's three levels of, let's call it independence in the industry. And you've got a Morgan Stanley advisor. Merrill lynch. UBS part of Raymond James. Raymond James has an independent arm as well. But Edward Jones, that's a captive employee. Social advisors, house, if you will, big bank. Right. Those advisors, heavily regulated, captive to Morgan Stanley. That's where you're going to have the tightest compliance. Right. You have to do things the Morgan Stanley way. Morgan Stanley would be referred to as a broker dealer. Now you've got independent broker dealers and some of the names, now those are less public facing names, but the largest in the world is LPL Financial. SATA is a big one, there's hundreds of them, but they're independent broker dealers. Where you've got an independent advisor that might be Joe Smith Financial, Main Street USA, but LPL is then their back office. 


 Charlie Van Derven
 Joe Smith Financial owns his clients on the other side, the Morgan, the Meryls, the company owns those clients. The adviser does not. There's more flexibility in that independent space because you're not representing the big brand, you're representing your smaller brand. There's some significant brands inside an LPL environment, but typically a smaller, more independent brand. Those two groups are governed by FINRA and require series seven to run that business. You've got RA's, registrar, investment advisory firms. They are not governed by FINRA. They are governed by the SEC. They are completely independent. They do not have a broker dealer. Some may, but then we get into subtleties of business. For the sake of conversation and laying it out there, the RA is the most independent piece of this industry. For a company like ours who is communicating on behalf of others, those are the easiest folks to work with. 


 Charlie Van Derven
 Though we do have a number of advisors that are independent. Broker dealer advisors as well. 


 Josh Wilson
 Got it. You like to focus on independent and semi independent. Right? Like big broker who manages and controls back office, helps with some compliance, helps with a few things. Right. The independent person gets to make the decisions of how to manage this person's money. The RIAA which is complete autonomy. This is how I do it. This is how I charge, this is how what products I push, whatever. Is that right? 


 Charlie Van Derven
 Yes. Now, they are still subject to the SEC. Right. They still got to play by the rules and they're still regulated, but they regulate themselves. 


 Josh Wilson
 Yeah, right. 


 Charlie Van Derven
 As opposed to being regulated through a big brand. 


 Josh Wilson
 So self regulated. Okay. 


 Charlie Van Derven
 Yeah. 


 Josh Wilson
 With those three tiers, you have the mortgage families of the world, like highly compliant employees, right. You have the middle and the bottom. Why did you choose, as a service based business, as you're growing and scaling and you're doing some amazing stuff, why did you choose to serve the independence of the world rather than the big box guys? 


 Charlie Van Derven
 Less friction. It's easier to do the job we have to do. I've had a foot in this industry for a long time. We just identified. Right. I've served both sides of that fence. I got started in the industry, I was with a company, if there's social advisors listing a company called 50 Below that is now part of the family of companies at Broadridge, but small company, 1213 people built that to about 350 employees. Some of the technology were running was that, again, keep in mind late 90s, early 2000s, type in your zip code, find the adviser near you. Those locator technologies, we originally a lot of that stuff. If you're social advisors with one of our firms, when you got located on that locator, you had a little website that hung off that for you as well. Templated, data driven website. Right. Pretty rudimentary stuff back in the day. 


 Charlie Van Derven
 Those products have come a long way. When I started to work with FMG Suite, that was really my first exposure to the independent side of the business. I knew it existed, but I didn't know the differences, the subtleties. When I went independent, 2013, of course, first thing you do when you hang your shingle, right, is to call everybody . I called a friend of mine that I knew through relationships in the industry, Kevin. Kevin worked for a company that had a coaching offering. So I got certified to coach. So actually, I still coach wirehouse advisors. I still coach some Jones advisors in Maryland. Morgan but all of the service offering that we do is all on the independent side. We're still drawing revenue on both sides but we're growing through the independent side. Coaching is great. Coaching is completely dependent on my time, and I love doing it, but I don't want to do it forever. 


 Charlie Van Derven
 I got to build a business outside of coaching. 


 Josh Wilson
 Yeah, copy that. As we're going through this route, you chose those bottom two tiers. Less friction, not bottom tiers. You chose more independence, less friction. Gives you the ability to do your job well in marketing, right? Right. Let's just say I'm working with actually, I worked with a big box a long time ago. I was thinking about getting my license, such like that. I worked for Morgan Stanley. They handed it back in the day, got a phone book, and I started just cold. 


 Charlie Van Derven
 That's right, man. 


 Josh Wilson
 It wasn't a rotary phone, so it wasn't that long ago, but I still had a phone book and white pages. 


 Charlie Van Derven
 Yeah. 


 Josh Wilson
 So comparison, let's say I work there. What are my solutions in terms if I want to go acquire new clients, if I want to put out a marketing piece or this versus an RIAA office, who I have my own brokerage, essentially. What does that look like? 


 Charlie Van Derven
 Well, if you're a mortgage advisor or I shouldn't just single them out. Right. If you're one of those big box, big bank type advisors right? 


 Josh Wilson
 Yeah. 


 Charlie Van Derven
 Everything that you say and do to nine or more people has to go through pre approval. If you say anything in that content, whether that's an email, a social media post, whatever that is, and every firm is going to be a little different. Right. This is just kind of FINRA, top level stuff. You got to archive everybody communication for seven years. Got to be able to recall everybody communication you have. If you speak of well, you can't speak of any products specifically. You can actually talk about the products you sell. Up until recently, you couldn't use client testimonials or anything along those lines for marketing. Now some of those rules are changing on the SEC side. Hopefully they trickle in a finger as well. It's just a highly restricted environment. All the reviews done with automation now. Right. I mean, it's not like somebody's looking at everything you do, but if you use the word sure, it's going to get flagged, compliance officers are going to look at it. 


 Charlie Van Derven
 Right. If you put maybe a decimal point in somewhere, it's going to get flagged. Right. The technologies that provide that oversight for those compliance officers have a lexicon of 200 and 5300, 400 words that if they pop up in an email or if they pop up in social or wherever they might pop up, that stuff gets flagged, get pulled down, transferred over to an attorney to take a look at before they either access or put it back up for you. Wow. Yeah. 


 Josh Wilson
 With that's one of those things where if you're trying to get new clients and you're on social media or whatever, it's just like, if I do this, I might get in trouble, so I just won't do it. Or I copy and paste their approved marketing materials. Is that right? 


 Charlie Van Derven
 Yeah. You just got to be vanilla. You just really have to be vanilla in the way that you communicate. The industry wants everybody to look the same. It's easy to govern that way. 


 Josh Wilson
 Copy that. Someone makes the decision to go, what? I'd like to do things my way, right? Like the entrepreneurs of the world who got into the business because they wanted to make a difference. They wanted to do things their specific way. I'm not trying to single out everybody, but people like me, I couldn't work for a big corporation. 


 Charlie Van Derven
 No. 


 Josh Wilson
 I just couldn't. 


 Charlie Van Derven
 I know you. 


 Josh Wilson
 Terrible employees. 


 Charlie Van Derven
 You couldn't do it. 


 Josh Wilson
 If I was in that world, if I ever got in that world, I would 1000% be an RIAA. 


 Charlie Van Derven
 Yeah. I'll tell you the industry is moving that way, right? So here's a very typical scenario, right? You got a young man or woman who gets their finance degree and they're altruistic and they're pure of heart and they really want to help people be successful with money anyway. Maybe they came from a difficult place with money in this own family anyway. They come to the industry with this pure notion of helping people. Of course people are attracted to the industry because it's an affluent industry, right? You can make good money doing what they do. You get your finance degree, you graduate, you take your job with Merrill Lynch and then you find out your greatest skill in your day harking back to what you said about cold calling, right? At that point your greatest skill is the speed in which you can dial a telephone, right? 


 Charlie Van Derven
 You realize the parameters that you live in. Right? Now I'm going to say some things that probably the big banks would get upset if they hear it. There's a term fiduciary. Most people will know what that means. If you don't know what fiduciary is, it basically means you've got a legal obligation as social advisors to make decisions in the best interest of your client. If it is found that you CRE marketing decisions in your own best internet there are some pretty hefty penalties for that, right? New York end up at a big box. Again, I won't use any labels because I certainly don't want a letter from anybody. You end up in a big box. Let's say that big box has a banking arm and you got to send so many people to the bank for lending leads. Even if it's not in the best interest of your client, you still have a quote to make for lending leads. 


 Charlie Van Derven
 Or I can't produce a document that would show this. I don't know that one exists. Those big banks, they sell products from third parties, right? Those third parties charge and incentivize the big banks in different ways. There is a pay to play and I don't think anybody who works for any of those big banks would open up to this. There is a pay to play for those third party products. Those people who do whatever they need to do to get to the top of that list so that there's more of their products being pumped out into those clients portfolios. Those folks are there for a reason. Those are the products that get sold, even if they're not the best products for the client. The industry, for a number of reasons, is migrating to independent. It has been the whole time I've been involved in the industry. 


 Josh Wilson
 You might be challenged to be a true fiduciary. What did you say? How do you say that? 


 Charlie Van Derven
 Fiduciary. 


 Josh Wilson
 That might be a challenge with certain organizations because these are the products you're allowed to offer. You can't offer anything else and we're going to incentivize you. We're going to have a spiff on these kinds of gigs. 


 Charlie Van Derven
 Yes. You say challenged, I say you can't do it. I don't think you can be a fiduciary and work with a big bank. 


 Josh Wilson
 You have a special place in your heart for Raas in the independence of the world. Right? 


 Charlie Van Derven
 Well, I like the rebels and the entrepreneurs. Yes. 


 Josh Wilson
 With that, we're actually working on a project together and you have a podcast show. Why don't you give a shout out to your podcast? 


 Charlie Van Derven
 Yeah, great. You and your partner, Chris, do a great job. The podcast is called Rallective. I think we've got Josh eight or nine episodes up now. We probably got five or six more interviews, banked and more people on the list for interviews every day. So it's cranking. As I've watched the industry change, the one trend I've seen in 20 years right. The one trend I've seen is this migration from captive big bank to independent. I've always kind of asked myself why. I've got some answers to that. I've also watched people make that migration and in some cases do it with very little friction, move their clients over no big issue from the big bank they were working with. I've seen others do a terrible job at that transition and in fact, so bad to the point where they get out of the industry because they've lost all the assets they built when they were with the big bank. 


 Charlie Van Derven
 Now they all signed agreements that said that those were the big banks clients. I'm never going anywhere. These clients belong to you, not me. At the end of the day, those relationships still belong with the individual adviser. The premise behind RAA Collective, and I think it's a valuable one for the industry, is why do people make that move? What are the people that are doing it with less friction doing than the ones who are struggling with it are not? So we're interviewing RAA Leadership and others. Our mutual friend Corey we interviewed, his episode come up in the next couple of weeks here, but he's a breakaway attorney. Great knowledge, great interview. Looking forward to that. To air it is a podcast interviewing RAA Leadership, people who have gone through that transition. It's designed for listeners who, again, graduated that finance degree trying to make a difference in people's lives, ended up at one of these big boxes and said, whoa, what did I just get into? 


 Charlie Van Derven
 And aspire to be independent in the. 


 Josh Wilson
 Coming months and years, what have you found? On this topic, what have you found is some of the main things. You mentioned entrepreneurship, right? Like, what are some other determining factors would inspire a person to go RAA? 


 Charlie Van Derven
 I can answer that a couple of different ways. In the people we've interviewed, Rachel Burns, who, again, is one that we've got in the bag, and we'll produce that here in the next in the coming weeks. Rachel Burns. I didn't even know this. We do a 30 minutes phone interview before we do the recording, right? Rachel made that move after being at I want to say Morgan Stanley UBS. Merrill Lynch made that move to because she had some her family had health complications. She needed a more flexible route. People who come to this industry knowing they could make a good living. When you work for a big wirehouse, you give a lot of the revenue that you produced to that warehouse for your office, for your technology, for your assistant, whatever, right. The more independent you become, the more money you retain. You get to make decisions on how to use that money instead of piggybacking on their decisions. 


 Charlie Van Derven
 Now, of course, the more independent, the more responsibility you have for your business, too. When you're at Morgan Stanley, man, you're an asset gather. As much as you want to put together portfolios and really do all the strategic work behind your clients needs, mostly you're out there getting clients. Mostly you're the sales arm of Morgan Stanley rather than the fiduciary and financial arm of making portfolio decisions and such. So, yeah, certainly there's that independent entrepreneurial mindset. In Rachel's case, we found out that health had something to do with it and more flexible lifestyle for her and her family. I'll tell you, one of the great drivers that I've gotten to see was as technology evolves, it becomes easier to become independent, right? It used to be that if you wanted the best technologies, you had to work with the companies with the deepest pockets. Actually working with the companies with the deepest pockets probably hurts you in that arena now, because when again, when you're a big box man, your technology upgrades, those are projects, right? 


 Charlie Van Derven
 I will tell you, I'll throw names out there. I got a lot of knowledge. Wells Fargo, for example. Wells Fargo. Wells people will listen. Wells Fargo, notoriously, has been behind on marketing in this industry for a very long time, right? They finally, whatever corporate decision making process they go through, they finally say, we're going to dedicate $2 million to marketing technology in 2022. And they did that. And things have changed. And Wells marketing platforms are better today. Their advisors can actually do. Webinars. Wow. Revolutionary. Right? They put a bunch of money into a project in 2022. Listen, the next time they put a bunch of money into meeting ID, history tells us anything is probably 2029 or something. Right. What they build today is going to sit on a shelf for seven years. They'll put bandage on it over the years. They'll do what they got to do, but in an open market, where's technology going to be in 2029? 


 Charlie Van Derven
 Wow. Right. And I'm throwing that number out there. Maybe it's 2027. I don't know. I don't know what their cycle is like there. I can tell you that up till this year, their marketing technology was behind the industry. Meanwhile, you've got great technologies in the open market, like E Money or Ryan. I shouldn't start naming them because I can name a lot of them, but these folks are putting R and D in every day. The big box is treated as a project, and you might have the greatest, latest, greatest, shiny thing today, but you're going to be rubbing the rust off that sucker in three years. I think technology is a big driver of that change, and you can actually get better technology in the open market now than you can working with the big stores. 


 Josh Wilson
 Yeah, that's super interesting. I never thought of it that way. If I were to come on, let's just say I'm behind the ears. I'm going to step out and I got all the license here, and I'm kind of exploring, what do you guys have to offer over here? Versus I could do it on my own. If I'm looking cost benefit analysis or whatever, I go, well, I could actually acquire more clients with less friction for myself and take more profit. I have to like you said, I have to focus on not only acquiring clients, managing the clients, managing the portfolio and all the business side of it. Let's talk business side of the hunt. The deal scout, right? We focus on putting deals together. For an RIAA who said, what, I see it, and I think I would do better because of my network and my ability to do this, I'd do better on my own. 


 Josh Wilson
 They go, all right, this marketing thing, I studied finance. I did not study marketing. So. Charlie, I need your help. What are some strategies that you use to help me and RIA get clients? Two, how do I know I'm not going to get in trouble with compliance stuff? 


 Charlie Van Derven
 Sure. 


 Josh Wilson
 What do you think? 


 Charlie Van Derven
 Even as an RAA, you are likely to partner with a third party that handles your compliance. Right. Those things still are going to have eyeballs on them. Now, working with a firm like a Social Advisors that has 20 plus years of experience in the industry and has navigated compliance for dozens and dozens of firms over the years, there's certain things you say, there are certain things you don't say in working with that third party is going to take care of your compliance. They're going to walk you through all of the archiving you need to do. They've got solutions for that. Probably once a year, they audio all that archiving just to make sure that everything's going well. I don't want to make it sound like being an RIAA is any more risky than being an adviser at Merrill. Right. Because, listen, lots of cowboys at Merrill, too. 


 Charlie Van Derven
 Right. Lots of people kind of pushing the envelope on those relationships. I've worked with them over the years. Yeah, you shouldn't be doing that. Well, do it anyway. Okay, well, send me an email that says you approve of it. Right. The big boxes don't want to hear that, but it goes on, and they know what goes on. We go through we take each of our clients through four step process. Number one, they've absolutely got to know who they want to work with. Right. Over the years, I've asked, I don't know, Josh, probably tens of thousands. Social advisors. Who's your target audience? Who's your with money? Anyone with money, man, you can fog a mirror and you got some money. H*** yeah. Bring them. That doesn't work real well. This is one of the most competitive professional services industries in the country. Right. Probably in the world. 


 Charlie Van Derven
 There are fingers, numbers, like 681,000, I think, of advisors, licensed advisors in the country. RA is included, probably, let's say 400, 450,000. Practicing a lot of people. 


 Josh Wilson
 Wow. 


 Charlie Van Derven
 Yeah. If you say every retiree and every pre retiree, which is literally everybody is your audience, then you've got a lot of competition there. The more narrow you get, the less competition, the more narrow you get, the more personal your content your communication becomes, too. Right. My good friend JuD works with automotive executives. Right. His content speaks to automotive executives. Ford just had a big layoff. His content speaks to that stuff. Right. He's not trying to be something to everybody. He is serving a specific industry with specific needs. Now, no doubt where Judge lives, which is Michigan, there's others in that space, but not everybody. At least you narrow it. Now when you're hosting seminars or doing a webinar or putting out a white paper or whatever you're doing from a marketing perspective, you're speaking to automotive executives or medical professionals or engineers or affluent business owners. 


 Charlie Van Derven
 First step is picking a niche. You got to know who you're talking to. Absent of that, it's hard to market for you. 


 Josh Wilson
 Before you go through the other steps, that's step one, which is so good. Right. When you try to market to everyone, you market to no one because you're just ringing a bell. Hopefully someone pays attention. 


 Charlie Van Derven
 Yeah. 


 Josh Wilson
 How do you choose your niche? Right. So you're working with Josh? Hey, man, I'm new, and you're like, all right, we got to choose a niche. I'm like, I don't even know where to start. How do you develop that? 


 Charlie Van Derven
 If it's somebody that comes to us with a book of business, we want to look at that book of business. Right. If you got 50% of your people at a specific company, well, let's just go serve the rest of the people that company. Right. So there's again the word friction. Now, we're always looking for frictionless moving forward. Right. If there's an easy and obvious place to be where you can get into the actions, you already know their language. Right. That's logical. Now, if you say, I hate working with those people, I just tell them, because they have money. Well, then we don't want to go there because we don't want life to be miserable. Right. Second, obviously, based on the ability to make money is fees on the money you manage. You got to be speaking to a fairly affluent audience. Right. There's got to be money there. 


 Charlie Van Derven
 That's what you do. You manage money. We don't want to manage $5,000. We want to manage $500,000. You need a lot of $5,000 clients. I would argue you're not going to make a living that way, but certainly it's got to be a fairly well organized, fairly affluent arena where it's easy to get in front of people for our money. We love professional because we do a ton of work on LinkedIn. LinkedIn. As far as meeting new people, filling that funnel full of opportunity, there's nowhere else like LinkedIn. Maybe your parents had a business in your community, and I'm looking for passive lease resistance right. Where you can offer some help. And you're already recognized. Now, if you like working with engineers, a lot of advisors do not because they're super detail oriented, which means, to me, the adviser doesn't like to be questioned. There's a lot of advisors say, I do not want to work with engineers, and I do not want to work with medical professionals for those reasons. 


 Charlie Van Derven
 Right. Detail oriented people, they're going to absolutely unpack that portfolio and question every fee in there and why you made your decisions. Well, if you're a person who's comfortable backing up the decisions, you make great audiences because a lot social advisors don't want to work with those people. 


 Josh Wilson
 Wow. Yeah. 


 Charlie Van Derven
 Right? 


 Josh Wilson
 That could be a really good niche because it might be tougher to work with. So they go for it. Right? 


 Charlie Van Derven
 Yeah. So less people working with them. 


 Josh Wilson
 Yeah. 


 Charlie Van Derven
 Okay, cool. 


 Josh Wilson
 All right, so that's step one, is let's choose who do you want to work with your niche? It could be based on your past experience, based on your level of influence, based on all sorts of geographic right. What's step two? 


 Charlie Van Derven
 And something I'd add to step one? Pick something you're interested in. Right. You can do this for a long time. Pick something you're going to enjoy doing. Step two, you've got to find those people. You got to get in front of as large an audience as possible. Over the last nine years, over the last I just reverted back to something. I don't know what happened. I was going to say the number of 50,050 below came up. Over the last nine years, Josh social advisors has built a database of like 45 or 50,000 email addresses. Right. Advisors are easy to find, they're easy to get in front of. The business is going to be successful, if for no other reason than the people we talk to every single day, whether that's through a newsletter or a social post, whatever it is, we talk to a ton of people every day. 


 Charlie Van Derven
 Advisors have to do that too. The easiest place to find most targets is LinkedIn. It's easy, right? There's a culture around LinkedIn. It kind of went spammy for a while, but it's coming back. There's a culture around LinkedIn where it is truly a networking platform where people are open to meet new people. Now, if you go in there selling hard, you're not going to have a lot of success, but you got to go in there and build relationships and be relatable. You got to get in front of a huge and you can do that in some cases with advertising, though, advertising is a little tough. The advisors we work with do not have the budgets of the big boxes we've been talking about. Right. Your competition, if you're running ads, your competition is steep. By the way, as consumers, we see like between 6010 thousand ad impressions a day. 


 Charlie Van Derven
 Wow. So cutting through, that's really tough. Right now there's a place for ads, but it's typically not that top of funnel get to meet people we like to retarget just to keep the brand present. You got to be able to build as large a database, as many friends and as many people as you can meet within that niche that you choose. That's number two. You've got to nurture that, right? Where LinkedIn got a bad name is that people would automate the invitation process and as soon as you hit accept, you get a message saying, hey, buy my widget. Hey, I don't know you. I don't know. 


 Josh Wilson
 First name? 


 Charlie Van Derven
 Exactly. I love that. Hello, first name? Yes. Buy my widget. Right? I don't know nothing about you by my widget. So you've got to have some tact. Right. Like any purchasing decision, it's all about timing. Right. There's all these milestone events in life that real estate, the need for an adviser, whether that's you just had kids or you're just getting married or you just bought a house or you're approaching retirement or whatever it is, there's a lot of milestone. The harder you sell up front, the worse you're going to down the line because you're going to alienate people. You nurture not by asking someone to buy your stuff right away. You nurture by demonstrating your expertise, certainly. Now, in large part, I like to say you're an expert because you tell people you are, and there's truth to that. Your designations, your experience, your education, all this stuff, those are credibility factors. 


 Charlie Van Derven
 Those support that claim of expertise. Content marketing. I'll tell you where I think the industry is really bad at content meeting, ID, all that can stuff we talked about at the top of the hour. It's all about showing how smart you are. It's all about financial concepts. It's not personal at all. The industry misses the point of content marketing. Content marketing is not about flexing your big brain. It is about being relatable. It's about attracting people to you and you being attracted to people. It's about telling stories about yourself personally and professionally. It's about letting people into your office culture. It's about letting people into your family culture to whatever degree you're comfortable with. It's really about painting a picture that attracts people to you. Now, if you're talking to five people, that's hard to do, right? If you get one of those, that's 20%. 


 Charlie Van Derven
 If you're talking to 5000 people, that's easy to do. 10,000 people, 50,000 people like we've built over the last nine years, it's easy to find that. 


 Josh Wilson
 This is an assumption, but I'd like you to say, Josh, you're right, or, Josh, you're absolutely wrong. Right. I think a lot of people start with the list. They're going, okay, here's a list of people with money, and then they start marketing and all this crap. Rather than, who do you actually want to talk with? Build something personalized, focus on them. Right. I think people start with, all right, I got a phone book like I did, and I start dialing numbers, or here's a list that I bought off wherever. 


 Charlie Van Derven
 Yeah. 


 Josh Wilson
 Am I right on that assumption? People start the wrong place. 


 Charlie Van Derven
 Well, I think your experience with the phone book, that might be the part that you remember the most, but I'd be willing to guess that the day or week before you got that phone book, it was, make a list of your 40 closest relatives. 


 Josh Wilson
 Yeah. Draw circles on the board and yes, absolutely right. 


 Charlie Van Derven
 Now you got to go freaking prime your family home and noxious. Is that right? Yeah. I'll tell you a fun story about when I was an MLM, or for about, like, two weeks, one time I got bad news eaves from just being an athlete my whole life, right? My buddy was selling monovie juice, and they had a glucose in me, and, man, I drank it for a couple of weeks. I get all my essential vitamins, and I get this close to me from my knees. I was meeting. Great. Josh. Like, I was probably 35 at the time. I felt like I was 22 again. I like to sell this stuff, some miracle stuff about the sticker for the back of my car, right? Anywhere I showed up, I was the juice guy. And I was like, Screw that. I took the sticker on the back of my car. 


 Charlie Van Derven
 I drank the juice for a long time. I don't anymore. I probably should, but I show up at a family function like, oh, Jesus, here comes Cousin Barely Morgan Stanley guy going to try and sell us all while he's here, right? Jeez, you don't want that. That's where you probably started before the phone book, right? There's this churn and burn mentality that used to exist. Sales has changed dramatically, man. It used to be to go to the car dealership to learn about the specs on the vehicle. Yeah. D***. Now you don't go to the car dealership at all. Probably go to carvana fauna or whatever it is. Right? I got a good friend of mine who's a GM at a local dealership here in Daytona Beach. I can tell you the dealer model is changing, right? That sales has changed dramatically as we become a more educated consumer. 


 Josh Wilson
 Yeah. 


 Charlie Van Derven
 You're not going to call me and say something magical to me that's going to make me decide that I want to do business with you, having never met you. Now I just got a phone call, right? I'm certainly doing my research. There's so much opportunity to become a more knowledgeable consumer that the role of a salesperson has changed. Ian Hill tell you I'll make a stake, right? Good marketing, supersede sales all day, every day, forever. Right? If you're good at marketing, you do not need sales. 


 Josh Wilson
 It should do it for you, right? You got little armies on the website, in your email. You got little armies on LinkedIn working for you. We're getting you ready for the close. Right? In your three step process, I heard, choose your niche, choose your people. Right? These are marketing strategies for any industry could use this, but this works really well with financial advisors. Choose your niche, choose the people you want to work with. Two, let's build the database. Let's start working on that. Three, nurture, educate, start building those credibility factors. What's number four is, you got to. 


 Charlie Van Derven
 Be able to measure, right? You can do that in a couple of different ways. A really simple way to measure. You're talking. When we run strategies, we're usually adding about ten people in that niche every single day to an advisor's database through different strategies. LinkedIn is a piece of that, right? Every day, you're getting seven to ten new people. That's 250 people at the end of the month. How do you know of those 250? Maybe there's four people in Team Chat are the timing is right, it's resonating. You can do that in a couple of different ways. The easiest way to do that is to host a monthly webinar, right. Using LinkedIn events, it's super easy to market those webinars. As your email database grows, your webinar tenants rate is going to grow. If you do a webinar every month and maybe you rotate the same four webinars, doesn't have to invent something. 


 Charlie Van Derven
 Certainly the education that comes from that webinar is great. As a marketer and a business developer, I'm less interested in your topic and I'm more interested in who was there. Those people are raising their hand. Those people are like, I need this information, I'm at your webinar. I'll tell you a story about my buddy Steven. I have a call with Steven in an hour here, so good friend of mine, right? I like Steven's, client of ours, but a guy we've worked with for a long time and lots of rapport there. I talked to Stephen, he hit me up on a Friday morning, Josh, and he said, hey, I got a webinar coming up at noon, or 1230 or whatever. First thing he said, give me a little coaching on that. We had a scheduled call that afternoon and Steven coach me through this. How do I do this? 


 Charlie Van Derven
 First thing I said is, don't do it on a Friday. Too late now, do it right. We went through some, just some basics on producing a webinar and make an offer at the end. So you got people stick around. This is the whole story. DA DA. I talked to him in the afternoon. I said, Steven, how did the webinar go? And he was p*****, dude. He had three people there, right? The first webinar he'd ever done, he had like twelve people sign up. He had three people there by Wednesday. That following week. One of those three was a client. Those three people are the three people that at that stage of his process needed something. That's why they were there. Because he's diligent and a good professional and relates well with people, one of those three were a client three days later. So he was upset about the attendance. 


 Charlie Van Derven
 When that person became a client, he was ecstatic. Dude, you get twelve there, 25 there, and this stuff grows on itself, right? That webinar becomes your measuring tool. Now there is a more sophisticated way to approach measuring, which is a better way, and that's through good CRMs, right? CRM is the most important technology using marketing, bar none, I would argue it's the most important technology you use in your business, not just marketing. Now, our industry has some CRM. I say CRM, most advice go I got a CRM. I got red tail I got wealth box. You go, okay, but what are you going to do with that? That's a good customer platform because you can do a mail merge. You get your quarterly fee disclosures out, you get all their account information there. That's great. There's very little automation of those platforms. We resell a platform called Sharp Spring. 


 Charlie Van Derven
 And we love Sharp Spring. We kick tires on a lot of technology before we settled on this one, but there's plenty of other good CRMs out there. The most important thing for me is two fold lead scoring, the ability for if we're adding seven to ten, 250 people a month to that platform, we got to go to Lead score. I'll get into that in a second. And also revenue prediction. If we hook up LinkedIn to a CRM, and we're funneling 250 people off of LinkedIn and advertising into that CRM every month when you go to your website, you load all your social content through the right platform. Your key YouTube videos are loaded. There any marketing collateral that you use. When they hit your website, they get three points. They watch that video, they get five more points. They open your next email, they get a few points. 


 Charlie Van Derven
 They click that link, they get three points. They do this, they do that. The points. If you're adding 250 people a month, the points are going to tell you which 10% of those, let's say which 1%, which three of them are interacting with your communication consistently, then leveraging automation if they hit 150 points, or whatever arbitrary number we put into the system. Now we start to get Call to Action in front of them, right? We don't want to be sales. We don't want to ask for an appointment every time you send an email. We only want to ask for that when we know that they're vibing with our brand and what we have to say. Now you put Call to Action in front of them. All this is done automatically, and at the end of it, they show up on your calendar. If they don't show up on the calendar, but they reach those points system, you get a notification to reach out only when they haven't self scheduled. 


 Josh Wilson
 You help set this up for other raas and group like that. You might have a small office, 1210 people, whatever. These kind of things could be running automatically. I could see a report in the morning on my whatever, dashboard saying, oh, by the way, Josh looked at ten of your different pages reading about you. So, hey, you might want to give Josh a call. Yeah, he might be worth buying something nice. Send him a pen or whatever, who knows, right? 


 Charlie Van Derven
 Yeah, set it up. You get a task on your calendar. Josh reached 100 points, you get a task or Josh ends up on your calendar because we put Call to Action in front of it. But, yeah, it's all automated. The beauty of it is, Josh, is it's predictable as your sample grows. Of course, we got large samples because we've been working with a lot social advisors for a handful of years, but we can set up a revenue workflow if you will. You know that when people are at stage one of the process, 3% of those people might close one day. Three out of 100. Right. When they real estate two, that becomes 10%, and then it becomes 25% as you go through the steps of your process. People who funnel all the way down to the second last step, a good percentage of those people are going to close. 


 Charlie Van Derven
 You can see exactly what the worth is to your business. You can see six months out here's what's coming. It's a cool system. 


 Josh Wilson
 Yeah, I like that. For our own business. 


 Charlie Van Derven
 Webson memphis. 


 Josh Wilson
 Next time you build it for us also. 


 Charlie Van Derven
 Yeah, that's right. 


 Josh Wilson
 Lodge and then step ups. So, Charlie, this has been good, man. Let me ask a few questions and maybe some calls to action for our audience, right? Because we've been jamming for almost an hour. 


 Charlie Van Derven
 It's crazy, man. 


 Josh Wilson
 Ten plus, where could people go if they want to check out your podcast one more time? What's the podcast, maybe? 


 Charlie Van Derven
 Yeah. Riaacollective and Raacolective.com. 


 Josh Wilson
 Okay, so who would be a good guest? 


 Charlie Van Derven
 Awesome guest. Yeah. Good. Thank you for leading me into this, by the way. Yeah. We really want to interview leadership at Ras who have come from that broker dealer model, that wirehouse model. Right. People who have made that transition again. Breakaway attorney Corey computer was awesome. Corey had perspective. That was not necessarily RA leadership, but Corey's representative RAA is in that breakaway from the big bank. He had a ton of great insight, really looking to tap into those types of experiences, to figure out if you had a lot of friction in your transition, why was that? What would you do differently? What advice would you give to a young audience that's thinking, gosh, I landed in the wrong spot. Right. I ended up at a big bank, and I really need to have the independence and freedom to serve my clients the best I can. 


 Josh Wilson
 Super cool. If someone there's, a financial adviser out there who needs some help with their marketing and building out their funnel, but building out their marketing machine automation, getting that lead, scoring, helping to provide better insights and projections, like, where could people go to connect with you and do a deal that way? 


 Charlie Van Derven
 Yeah. I think I'm the only Charlie Van Durbin on the planet, so I'm super easy to guy. Super easy. Got to find if you Google me or hop on LinkedIn. I'm pretty constantly on LinkedIn. Cool. 


 Josh Wilson
 Charlie, during this interview, there's probably a question that I should have asked you that I screwed up and did not ask you. What question is that? 


 Charlie Van Derven
 Gosh, how long does it take to work? 


 Josh Wilson
 How long does it take to work? This kind of question. 


 Charlie Van Derven
 It's not overnight, right? Like I said, we've been working it for nine years. So now we've got very predictable results. I know if we do XYZ, this is what would be the outcome of that. Right. We do twelve month contracts, and the reason for that is because our typical client sees their first client from our services usually around month five or six. Often that's a person they met in month one. If you come to this strategy, any other strategy out there, and you give it three months, you're going to be sorely disappointed in everything you try. I've talked social advisors to you that marketing doesn't work. Marketing doesn't work. Of course marketing works. Of course it does. You don't have any patience. Right? I was at a Snappy Crack, and in fact, our mutual friend Robert, right, snappy Cracken hosted a marketing conference earlier this year in Vegas called Jolt. 


 Charlie Van Derven
 I was a panelist at Jolt, listened to a bunch of other panelists. It came up repeatedly. Whether you're listening to my friend Katie about video, whether you're listening to my friend Matt about podcasting, doesn't matter who you're listening to. 24 to 36 months. If you're going to commit yourself to social advisors, we want you to. Whether it's us or anything else that you're doing out there from a marketing perspective, 24 to 36 months. 


 Josh Wilson
 Yes. 


 Charlie Van Derven
 You really have to stick with it. You have to be dedicated to it. One of the issues that folks that serve this industry have is that a restaurant might spend 12% of their revenue and marketing. Right. I don't know. Another local business might be eight or 9%. Social advisors average 1% of revenue spent on marketing. 


 Josh Wilson
 No kidding. 


 Charlie Van Derven
 It's crazy. If you're investing 34% of your revenue and marketing recognize that you're below what the average business is investing, but you're tripling or quadrupling what your competitors are investing. 


 Josh Wilson
 Wow. We'll do other interviews and work together. There's so many other questions I have as to why, so but Charlie, we're out of time. Fellow deal makers in the audience, as always, reach out to our guests, especially if what they're saying resonates with you. Find a way to work with them and do a deal. Their contact information will be in the show notes. If you're driving or jogging or whatever, you can always go back to the show notes and connect with our guest directly. Say, hey, I heard you on the Deal Scout and want to do a deal with you. If you are working on a deal and you want to talk about it here on the show, head over to the Deal Scout.com, fill out a quick form, maybe get you on the show next. Charlie, love you, buddy. Great job today. Everyone else will talk to you all on the next episode. 



Charlie Van Derven Profile Photo

Charlie Van Derven

President

Charlie Van Derven has coached and worked with financial professionals since 1998. Throughout his career, Charlie has worked with recognizable names such as Morgan Stanley, LPL Financial, Farmers Insurance, UBS and others, to assist in developing digital strategy. This successful work with major firms gives Charlie a unique glimpse into the interaction between corporate compliance and their sales channel, resulting in successful marketing and business development campaigns.

Charlie founded Social Advisors in 2013 after years of leadership roles with major marketing and business development firms in the financial services industry. He is also the host of the popular podcast RIA Collective.

Today, Social Advisors offers clients an entire complement of professional support. Their product suite provides all the knowledge and tools necessary for financial professionals to scale their growth.

As a father and husband, much of Charlie’s time outside the office is dedicated to family. In his spare time, you’ll find Charlie paddle boarding, golfing, RVing across the country or rehabbing his home in Florida.