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Ep. #31 – The Secret Sauce to Winning High Net Worth Prospects in the First Meeting with Erin Botsford, CFP®


How would you like to turn high net worth prospects into clients in the very first meeting, instead of chasing them or wondering if they are going to come back for a second appointment?

I think it’s safe to say that your answer to the above question is “yes” – as long as that prospect is a good match or your business.

First, they have to feel they can trust you.  (You’re probably pretty good at doing this already).

Second, if there is no triggering event going on in their life, you’ll need to create one. You want to uncover at least one critical issue that will compel them to take action to find resolution.

In this episode, Referral Coach Bill Cates sits down with Erin Botsford, CFP, Founder & CEO of The Advisor Authority, and author of Seven Figure Firm.

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In this lively interview between Bill and Erin, you will discover:

  • Erin’s “disturbing track” strategy to win a new client on the first appointment.
  • How Erin started her financial advisory firm without knowing anyone in the industry
  • The “out to lunch bunch” strategy and how it can help you get introduced to high net worth prospects.
  • How and why using stories is more important than presenting information.
  • How you can get a complimentary copy of Erin’s book, Seven Figure Firm.
  • And more!



Connect With Erin Botsford:

Connect With Bill Cates:


  • Show Transcript

    Welcome to The Top Advisor Podcast brought to you by ProudMouth’s PodRocket Academy. I’m your host Bill Cates, creator of the Cates Academy for Relationship Marketing. In each episode, I interview one of our industry’s top performers, getting them to pass on their secrets to success to you so that you can impact more lives and generate more income. Now onto the show.

    BILL: Welcome. Before I get started, I wanna let you know about some free resources that I invite you to retrieve. After you’ve listened to this podcast episode, you’ll find checklists, guides, videos, and other tools. Simply go to

    While you’re there, make sure you sign up for our free weekly tips. We’re always sharing best practices, and we’ll notify of you our newest podcast interviews as they go live. And while these are all free for you, I think you’ll find them quite valuable.

    My special guest for this episode of Top Advisor Podcast is Erin Botsford CFP.

    There are two big topics I plan to discuss with Erin today. First, I think we all will all benefit from hearing how Erin built and sold her extremely successful financial advisory practice. I know that she has some cool strategies and stories to share with us. And second, I want to learn more about her strategy she calls disturbing tracks. This is a strategy behind Erin’s ability to turn high net worth prospects into clients in one meeting.

    But first, let me brag on Erin just a little bit. I want you to have some context for Erin so you’ll appreciate what she has to say that much more. To say that Erin has reached the top of our industry would be an understatement.

    She’s been ranked in Baron’s Top 100 advisors in three different categories. Top Financial Advisor, Top 100 independent advisor, and Top 100 Women’s Advisor. Her career, Erin has made numerous television appearances including C. D, CNBC’s Power Lunch, Squaw on the Street, Fox Business and Wealth Track with Cons, Mac to name just a few.

    Erin Botsford is the author of two books, The Big Retirement Risk: Running Out of Money Before You Run Out of Time, I love that title, and the Seven Figure Firm: How to Build a Financial Services Business that Grows Itself. The latter book, Seven Figure Firm is available free to you and I’ll make sure that she tells us more about that later in this interview.

    In 2017, Erin sold her practice and now provides advisors with the ability to model her success to her Elite Advisor Success System training program. You’ll be interested to know that Erin donates 50% of the profits from her training company to support orphans helped by the Eez Foundation and an orphanage in Livingston, Zambia.

    Erin currently resides in McKinney, Texas, a Northern suburb of Dallas. Erin, that’s a long preamble here in Botsford. CFP. Welcome to the Top Advisor Podcast.

    ERIN: Well, thank you, Bill. It’s just so nice to be here and to see you.

    BILL: Thank you. It’s great to have you, I’m looking forward to this. So, Erin, frequent listeners to Top Advisor Podcast know that I don’t often ask guests to share their path to success. We usually dig into some specific strategy or tactic right away, but I’m going to make an exception in this case because I think the story of your rise to success will naturally contain some ideas and strategies our listeners can adopt and adapt for their own.

    Let’s start close to the very beginning when you moved to Dallas where you didn’t know anyone, and yet you still got off to a fairly quick start, tell us how you built your business without having a natural market to tap into.

    ERIN: Boy that takes me back a lot of years, So yeah, I started in the industry in 1989 and then my husband, got out of the military and started working for American Airlines and he was based out of Dallas, Texas.

    So that’s why we moved. And you know, I was in Panama City, Florida to begin with and I had sort just started making some headway and I had to move and start all over again, which was very difficult and frustrating, but I learned a few things in Panama City that I was able to transfer over to Dallas.

    For one, I had built my business primarily doing public seminars, so that wasn’t difficult to start up in Dallas. I put an ad in the newspaper, whatever. And I had a lot of people come to public seminars. But the other one I adopted, I adopted a strategy. I teach my advisor students how to do, it’s called the “out to lunch” bunch.

    And literally I walked into the Chamber of Commerce and there was a woman standing there and I said, “Would you like to have lunch?” And she’s like, Sure. Like, who doesn’t want you to buy you a free lunch? So we went to lunch. And I employed a strategy that I teach advisors. And again, when I was doing it myself, I didn’t know it was a strategy. I just did it.

    It took me many, many years to perfect the art and then to have somebody follow me around years later and say, “Oh my gosh, that’s really cool.” But I had just read a book about this law of reciprocity. And so what I did with this lady who was not qualified to be my prospect, I spent the whole time talking about her.

    I asked her questions about her husband, her job, and the idea was compliment. and ask questions. And if she would ask me, “What do you do, Erin?” I’d say, “Well, I own a financial planning company.” And then I’d turn it right back on her and think about that Bill for just a second. Now maybe this has happened to you because you get interviewed a lot, but when was the last time a genuine person took you to lunch and spent an entire hour just asking about you?

    I mean, it just doesn’t happen that much in our culture.

    BILL: No, and I’ve had lunches that everyone can probably relate to this, where someone asks me a question, I’m about halfway into the answer, and then they start talking about themselves again. They may ask me a question, but they never let me finish.

    ERIN:  Yeah, and it’s hard, especially for advisors who are Type A personalities and they want to get to the sale, they’re the shortest route to the sale. And so this might not be the shortest route to the sale, but what ended up happening was, at the end of the conversation, that first one, I said, “Hey, I’m new in town. Who are the movers and shakers? Who are the people that I should get to know in Dallas, Texas?” And she’s like, “Oh my gosh. You need to get to know Bob the banker and Joe, the CPA, and you know, Tom, the attorney” etc. I said, “Well, would you mind making introductions, on my behalf?”

    She says, Oh my gosh, as soon as she could, because again, I gave her a gift that  rarely given these days and what I figured out, Bill, along the way was, it worked every single time. But what was really interesting, what I learned is there were five or six things that I could ask for and in her case, she wasn’t qualified to be a client.

    She was probably making $20,000 a year or whatever. But what I wanted from her and what she had to deliver back to me because of the law of reciprocity, was what I wanted, which was introductions to the “ movers and shakers.”

    And I’ll tell you one other little story cause I love stories. It worked so well. I kept doing it. I took people out to lunch. At least minimum three days a week, sometimes dinners. So it was breakfast, lunch, cocktails, dinner, and I got to know people and I gave them an hour to talk about themselves. And at the end, I asked them for one of the five things where they could help me.

    One example I’ll give you was there is a very famous Dallas cowboy. If I said his name, everybody on the podcast would know and go, Oh my gosh. Well, his bookkeeper came to a seminar I did. I asked her out to lunch and I knew she thought that all I would do is talk about this guy I knew.

    She thought that all I wanted was an introduction to this guy, and so I never mentioned his name. I asked about her and where she liked to travel, what she did for fun, where her favorite restaurants were. And it was just so interesting because it happened every time. At the end, she said, Oh my gosh, Erin, I think this is one of the most interesting conversations I’ve ever had.

    And she said, I really think that Joe and Jill really need your help, this famous Dallas cowboy. And I said, Oh, really? She goes, I’d like to make an introduction and get you in front of him. And literally within two weeks I was in front of this very, very famous Dallas cowboy, and of course I thought he was probably covered up with advisors and things like that.

    And so I thought, “Well, it’ll be cool to see his office”, but I figured he’d give me about 15 minutes and I’d be out of there. And two and a half hours later I came out with a new client.

    So, this one of my favorite. I teach my advisor students 10 different ways to attract high net worth, high-quality prospects, and that’s just one of my favorites. You asked how I started in Dallas and that’s what I did the on day one.

    BILL: Well, that’s great. You give them the gift of being a good listener and we don’t get that a lot, so I agree. Alright, so somewhere along the way you got connected with a bunch of senior level executives with UPS, United Parcel Service in Atlanta.

    Even though you were in Dallas, I think you told me that at one point you worked with like 280 of these well-paid executives. How did that come about?

    ERIN: Well, actually it came about as a result of a partnership. A guy in our office, the branch manager said, “Hey, Erin,” at this time I had a little management role and this lady said, “You know, I hear he is got an access to all these senior level people at , but for some reason he’s not converting them.”

    And so I took him to lunch and I said, “How can I help you?” And he said, “Oh my gosh…” So we formed a little partnership and we started giving seminars literally all over the country because there’s UPS people everywhere. And it had taken him three years to convert nine executives, and in the next nine months we converted 57 of these guys.

    Well, interestingly enough, Bill, this guy was a little different and instead of reveling in our success, he really resented me and we ended up breaking up and I walked away from all 57 of those relationships. I signed an agreement that I would not contact them because he and I just went sideways and that happens in business. Was I disappointed? Of course I was, but less than a month, two months, three months later, they started contacting me. And so part of our separation agreement, I was never going to contact them, but if they contacted me, it was all fair game. So they all contacted me and then some. And so over the years I ended up actually building an office in Atlanta.

    So I had an office in Dallas, one in Atlanta, and I moved two employees there, actually three employees there. And we ended up that became one of our very, very robust office for my firm. So I think one of the strategies there that underlines this, it was educational events targeted to a specific company in this case, UPS, which whenever we’re targeted, it’s gonna be better, the value’s gonna be more.

    BILL: Was it just two executives? Were you only inviting executives or were you inviting everyone in UPS? But it just seemed to speak to the executives and that’s why they became clients.

    Cause there were a lot of UPS, blue collar, wealthy, once the stock went public. I’m curious about.

    ERIN: When I was with this guy and got the first 57, we’d built it by doing seminars and he was actually inviting the people. He had the list. I didn’t even have the list, I just stood up there and gave the presentation.

    When we split up and they came back to me, then I employed Bill Cates. And I used the art of referrals, so I did not do seminars. When they started coming back to me, the referral market there was so strong, and I used some of your techniques to get those referrals, and so that all became the 280 all came as a result of your teaching and the referrals I got from.

    BILL: Wow. Well that’s, that’s great!

    ERIN: And you can use that as a testimonial.

    BILL: Well, I’m gonna find a way. I didn’t know that was coming, although I knew you knew of my work. Erin, we were planning for this interview you told me a little bit about your personal story and how you believed it was important for advisors to be able to tell prospects a little bit about their background, kind of what brought them to the table, who they are.

    I think you call it your personal story. So I’m curious if you could tell us your story a little bit and how you use it and when in timing with a prospect or a client one would use a story. So I just given you free reign here to elaborate a little bit on that.

    ERIN: Okay. Well, I hope you have a couple hours. No, I’m kidding.

    I think what I teach my advisor students, and again, a lot of this I did intuitively, but now I realize there’s a formula to it, is that when a prospect in particular comes in to meet with you or visit with you, or, see you from afar doing a seminar, they’re all asking themselves one question and that is, can I trust this person?

    I mean, that is the only question they have. Everything else they figure you figured out because you have CFP next to your name or you’ve got a series seven or something like that. So what I realized was the sooner I can tell my own story and apply some lessons, the sooner I can break down that trust barrier.

    So in a nutshell, what I used to tell my personal story, like I’m gonna tell it to you right now, and then I got tired of telling it. And so I put it in the form of a video. So my final process, the last 10 years of owning my company, And actually I did two or three iterations. It’s called the Founder’s Video, and there is a formula for this as well.

    But I could break down until the crucial elements of my own personal story in two to three minutes, which was much more palatable than trying to, you know, drone on and on and on and in front of a prospect. It was just more time efficient, right? So, at the end, my founder’s video was actually played to my prospects before I ever entered the room.

    BILL: I see.

    ERIN: So that really saved a lot of time. So in a nutshell, my story goes, you know, my father died when I was 11. He left my mom with six children and a $10,000 life insurance policy. My father was a PhD professor, he died at age 50. He hadn’t planned to die early, so he did not enough life insurance.

    We went from middle class to poverty overnight. When I was 16, I was on my way to work at my first real job at McDonald’s. On my way to work, I ended up being involved in a car accident. I actually hit a guy on a motorcycle and he was killed, and I was charged with involuntary manslaughter by the state of California.

    When you’re charged with a crime, you actually have to defend yourself. So my mother and I met with this man called an attorney. I’d never heard that word before at 16. I wish I never heard it after that either, but, amen. But interestingly enough, this man taught me a couple of lessons. He said to my mother, “Well, Mrs. McOwen,..” that was my maiden name. He said, “This is purely a matter of economics. If your daughter will just plead guilty to this manslaughter charge, I’ll be happy to enter the plea at no cost. But if you wanna defend your daughter, it’s gonna cost you a lot of money because there was no witnesses.”

    So think about my mom. Think about some of your prospects out there, your clients. She had no money to pay for an attorney. So she picked up her purse and she shook the man’s hand and said, “Okay, my daughter will just plead guilty.”

    And I mean, at 16, I tell people I had like this out of body experience. I’m like, my mom just said I’m going to plead guilty to killing somebody. And I knew even at 16 that was not going to be a good outcome. So fortunately, I was begging and pleading with her and imagine my mother, she looked at me, I’m crying, “Mom, please don’t make me plead guilty.”

    I’m a good girl as a 4.0 student, vice president of my class, and imagine being my mother. And she looked at me and she said, “I’m so sorry honey. We have no money and therefore we have no choice.” And I always tell people, that was the day that I learned that money buys you choices or the lack thereof.

    Fortunately, we went home, my older brothers and sisters were like, “Oh my gosh, mom, you can’t make her. You can’t let her plead guilty to killing somebody. She’ll be screwed up for the rest of her life.” So my brother was 22. The wisdom of my family was 22 years old. He said, “Mom, you know, we did have a family home.Why don’t we take a second mortgage out on the house to pay for Erin’s defense?” We did. We found out it was not my fault. This young man was 18. He’d borrowed the motorcycle that morning. He was going 47 miles an hour in a 25 mile hour zone. I was going 17. He hit me. Not the other way around. So it was really sad, but it was a very traumatic experience.

    Then of course, shortly after the criminal trial was over, the family of the young man sued my mom and me for just a ridiculous amount of money, and I remember my mother looking at me and saying to me, she wasn’t very kind at the time about the whole thing. She said, well, because of you we may have to pitch a tent on the high school football field because she thought we were going to lose the only assets she had, which was our home.

    And I bring that to light with my prospects because I think these are the kind of issues people have to worry about, they have to deal with. I tell a lot of stories in my approach talk and we’re going to talk about disturbing tracks.

    The nice thing is most of the stories are mine . For better or worse, right? Anyway, I also tell the story about the way I met my husband. Believe it or not, my picture was on the front page of the local newspaper and my husband and I went to high school together. We were in the same algebra class, but he had never noticed me until my picture was on the front page of the paper.

    He goes, Oh my gosh, they’re girl’s in my algebra class and I always tell people like, How’s that for a new way to get a date? But anyway, it is what it is. By the time I was 22 years old, I’d actually saved $22,000 and paid all these attorneys fees because I was just a workaholic.

    And what I did with the money is I took $3,000 and the way I got the money, believe it or not, Bill, I mean, I’m just one big story, is that my Bob asked me to marry him and the bride’s parents were supposed to pay for the wedding. Well, my mom didn’t have any money to pay for a wedding. And so I found out that Wheel of Fortune, I was in California, Wheel of Fortune, was having tryouts for bride’s week. So I went on, I tried out for Bride’s week. I got on the show and I solved the final puzzle. And the final puzzle that I saw was down in the dump. So I won all this money. I had $22,000.

    I took 3000 and I bought my first townhouse in California with $3000, I took the other $19,000 and I gave it to a stockbroker, and he lost all of it for me in the next six months. So that’s my backstory. But you know what? There are so many lessons that I’ve brought into this business. And one of the things, Bill, I teach my advisor students is stories sell information, doesn’t sell, story sell.

    And I tell them, use my story. It doesn’t have to be your story. It doesn’t have to be mine. But it’s got to be a story because you have to place your people in that situation. Oh my gosh, what if that happened to me, kind of thing? Right? Yeah. If they can see themselves in that story, even if just slightly, not the same circumstances, but just can imagine.

    You know, some unexpected experience or situation, would I be prepared? And that’s a wake-up call to a lot of people, right? So, Correct. Very powerful. So, to everyone listening in about 60 seconds, we’re gonna take a deep dive into how Erin was able to win most of her affluent clients in just one meeting. The very first meeting. This is the second part of this interview that you truly don’t want to miss.

    First, however, it’s time for a very brief word from the folks who make this podcast possible and who help many financial advisors launch their own podcast, and that is the folks with Pod Rocket Academy.

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    BILL: Before we continue with my interview of Erin Botsford, I want you to know about our on-demand video based training program that will allow you to learn almost everything I teach related to client acquisition, particularly referrals and introductions. Communicating your value and creating productive relationships with centers of influence.

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    Our featured guest on this episode of Top Advisor Podcast is Erin Botsford, who hails from McKinney, Texas.

    Erin built and sold a highly successful financial advisory practice and she is the founder of the Advisory Authority where she works with advisors to help them build their own seven figure firms. So Erin, you told me that you didn’t like to chase prospects. This meant you had to get really good at winning the new client on the first appointment because you weren’t going to chase him after that, but without being overly aggressive.

    So, in a nutshell, can you tell our audience, how did you win over so many high net worth prospects in the very first meeting?

    ERIN: Well, sure. And again, I did this, unconsciously. I was unconsciously competent when I did it in practice and it really took somebody following me around going, “Oh my gosh, I wish I would’ve known about that.”

    So that’s what I put into my course. But essentially, here’s the deal. There’s a formula for this. It starts from the time they enter your office or they get on the zoom call with you. I’ve got a seating and a greeting system and it’s very formulaic. But from a psychological standpoint, what I figured out was whether I was doing a seminar and I had 50 people in front of me, or whether I had one person in front of me, typically the reason a prospect will reach out to you or accept a meeting with you is that they’ve had some kind, or they’re anticipating some kind of a triggering event. So a lot of times it’s, they lost their job, they’re getting a job, they’re retiring. A mom dies. A dad dies. They have a grandkid, some kind of a triggering event that leads them or makes them want to meet with a financial advisor.

    Well, the problem with that is like, if I’m in front of 50 people, my thing. I don’t necessarily want to wait. I don’t want to have to sit around and wait. Nah, nah, nah, nah. I don’t want to wait for that triggering event to actually occur. So what I do is when I get in front of a prospect and of any size, I what psychologically, I create a triggering event in their minds.

    Now one of my rules is if there are two people in a relationship that are going to be decision makers in this process, they both must be there. In other words, I don’t meet with the guy and not the wife. I don’t meet with the wife and not the guy. They have to be there for a very profound reason, and that is typically opposites attract.

    And male and female. Or female and female. Male and male, whatever the combination is. They typically have competing interest, they have competing values or expectations. Or priorities mostly. So typically the woman in the relationship, she, typically wants to protect her nest egg at all costs for children, for her grandchildren,

    The guy? Maybe not so much. He’s like, she’ll be fine. I got a lot of insurance, she’ll be fine. As far as the guy, he’s like, if I lost it all on the market, as long as I got a 75 inch TV and a futon, I’m good. Right?

    So, they just think differently. And so to get both of them on the same page and just to say yes to you, there are things that you have to appeal to the guy and his need for lots of gains and what he can do, You got to give him the Ferrari and for her, she’s got to know that she’s going to be protected at all costs from anything that could possibly happen.

    So then what I do is I’ve got a line of questioning, I call them disturbing tracks, and there’s 20 what I figured out. There’s 22 different places I can go with these people. And all I have to know is their first names. I don’t even need to know their net worth. I don’t need to know a whole lot about them.

    But I do need to know the names of their children and the ages of their children, and that’s typically pretty easy to get. Sometimes they’re reluctant to give you their net worth. Sometimes you can guess. And so, the Bottom line if I know a little bit about them  I’ll just ask them questions.

    And there again, there are 22 places I can go. In our course of our conversation, they may have said, they had a lake house. And I’ll be like, Oh, I hear you have a lake house at lake Levon, or wherever it is. I started asking them a question, So tell me, how is your lake house and is it in your own personal name or is it some kind of a trust or an llc or whatever, and I just wait for the answer.

    Typically, regardless of their answer, I come back for why that could be problematic. Okay. When it comes to their estate planning, I’ll ask them, you know, can I assume that when the first of you dies, the majority of the money is left to the second of you? Yeah, typically that’s where it comes out.

    Okay. So let me ask you, when the second of you dies, how does it go to your three children? Does it go to them outright, they get it all at one time, or does it go to them in some kind of a graduated distribution, like some at 30, some at 35, some at 40? How does the money go to your children? And then I just shut up and I wait for their answer.

    And regardless of how they answer me, both are wrong. So they don’t know how their money goes. And fyi, you never ask to see their estate planning documents in advance because this would not work at all. Because if you’d gotten their estate planning documents in advance, they would expect you to know the answers to these questions.

    And so that would ruin this line of questioning. And so then I’ll just say like, Oh, They’ll usually high net worth people say, Yeah, it’s, uh, graduated. That’s how we left it. They get, yeah, I think they get a, some at 30, some 35 and some at 40, I’ll say, Hmm. I find that interesting. I, you know, I do a lot of pausing and stuff like you do and like you teach.

    And then they’ll say, Well, why? I say, Well, let’s just say for instance, the second of you dies and your youngest child is 42 years old. Well, he’s effectively blown through the graduations 30, 35, 40. And effectively what you’ve done now is leave all your money, his money to him outright.

    And what if that 42 year old child happens to be a medical doctor? And what if he’s going through, a malpractice lawsuit? Did you really want the money that you leave to your son to be available to satisfy a medical malpractice judgment or what if your daughter at the time, and I use their names, what if your daughter, Alyssa is 45 and she happens to be going through a divorce?

    Did you really want the money that you left to your daughter to be available in a divorce settlement? And what if and what if and what if? And I what? Lots of, lots of questioning until they’re like, No, no. I mean, we would never want that for our children. And I’m like, Hmm. Okay. I said not to worry.

    So we can get that. If we work together, we can get that fixed. So essentially, Bill, what I try and do is think of a hierarchy. The prospects think of a hierarchy too. They hold their attorneys way up here on top, then their CPA next in line in terms of hierarchy. Then their Mercedes dealer and then us, right?

    And really that is true because everybody knows the barriers to entry to become an attorney are very high. They’ve got to go through a lot of hoops. CPA is much higher, and then everybody knows to become a financial advisor past your series seven and you’re in business, right?

    So my objective is I’m going to, through this line of questioning, I’m just going to keep pummeling them with questions. And what it’s going to do is going to disturb them into thinking, “Oh my gosh, my current advisors, they left some gaping holes in our overall planning.

    We could be vulnerable. What if we get sued? What if this, What if that happens?” And again, it’s just lots and lots of stories of actual things that have happened, either people I know, clients I know, and what I do is it really, I typically tell my students, I only have to go down three lines out of 22, I can pick three.

    And when I see the guy, either he starts sweating or she starts nudging him going, “Oh my gosh, we got to get that taken care of. We got to get that fixed.” Then I know I have a new client, so it’s really very simple and I tell people it’s very formulaic and my students literally, it’s called my secret sauce.

    And, it’s about eight or nine hours of audio that they listen to. But I mean it’s just unbelievable the results they’re getting because it’s not rocket science. And so they’re walking into business owners who are worth 30, 40 million and they’re closing them on the first meeting. So it’s, it’s pretty cool.

    Well, it falls under the strategy of asking good questions. That will kind of expose the gap and educate the prospect or client at the same time. And one thing I know in marketing is that if we expose a problem, if we are able to then fix that problem, close that gap, then it can be a very powerful kind of situation. You don’t want to disturb things just to disturb them. No. Bring a solution. Well, on the other hand, I don’t want to solve the problem for them right then and there if they have to hire me to solve the problem.

    And I want to say one other thing that I’ve realized, over the last three years, I’ve taught 853 people, Stu advisors. And you know, a lot of times what they think happens, and this is a big problem in our industry, is they think that if prospects walk out and they go and then they never hear from them again and they’re like, Oh my gosh, you know what I felt like, we connected, we bonded so well. But the problem with that is connecting and bonding is not going to convert a prospect.

    What you have to do is you have to disturb them. And if they want to write this down, this is huge. Okay. When the prospects leave your office or your zoom call or whatever, the prospects have to understand. You have to be able to articulate that in action. To them, we’ll have consequences. Yeah, there’s a cost to doing nothing and that’s correct.

    That’s what’ll take, or I’ll call an aspirational problem. Something that should probably take care of that someday into a critical problem. Once they realize that there’s a cost to not solving it and most people will take action on something they view as critical. Right. But not on something they see as aspirational.

    That’s what you’re talking about there. Yep. So, good stuff. Let’s shift gears just a minute here. I just want people to be more aware of the work you do. Tell us a little bit about your current business, why you don’t describe just describe a bit of the work you do with financial advisors and how they benefit and then we’ll wrap this thing up. Oh, then we’ll talk about how they can get a copy of your book. Seven Figure Fiem. That’d be awesome.

    ERIN: Yeah, so what I did was I took everything I know there was a guy that came, he was in a financial advisor, he was also a tech expert, and he followed me around for two years.

    This is while I still owned my company, so for 15 and 16, actually, part of 17. And I finally figured out, I used to have advisors come to my office and spend one day with me, and so every quarter I had 15 to 20 advisors just because I wanted to give back to the industry that allowed me to become successful.

    And I took all the money that I charged them, and I fed kids. I have an orphanage. I take care of 500 children in Zambia. So what I realized is after they spent the day with me, I also gave them two hours of time with any member of my staff. But they had to submit their questions in advance.

    And what we figured out was they all essentially had the same questions. So I thought, what if I could create content to answer all those questions? And so I did. It took me two years to come up. It’s an online course and basically, it takes, if you have 30 minutes to an hour a week, I will send you an email every Monday and say, This week I want you to listen or study this next week I’m gonna send you this after six months.

    Spending 30 minutes to an hour a week, you will know everything that I learned in the business and you can start being proficient. And the results we’re getting is advisors are totally moving up market. I’ll just give you one example. One of my advisors, his name is Dustin. He’s been in the business 25 years, just, excuse me, 15 years.

    And he said, Erin, I’d never charged a financial planning fee. I’ve always done aum. I’ve never charged a fee. And he said, my average client had two to $3 million with me. He said I had the opportunity to get in front of a 40 million prospect. And he said, So I listened over the weekend, I binge watched, I listened to the secret sauce, and then I went into the meeting and he said, I did everything you told me to do.

    And at the end, the guy goes, Okay, what’s it gonna take to get this done? And he said, So I wanted to charge my financial planning fee, and he said, I couldn’t figure out in the moment how much to charge . So he said Oh, remember you saying have the biggest number that you can possibly come out of your mouth, say the biggest number.

    So he said, Well, my annual financial planning fee is going to be $44,500. And the guy goes, Done . He goes, Erin, he never he never blinked. So I tell my other students, I go Dustin’s, and he has a testimonial on my website. Dustin’s first financial planning fee was 44 5. got a 40 million client, and I always say, Do you think Dustin is ever going to work for free again?

    Probably not. Definitely not. So that’s not an unusual outcome. That’s just a real fun one of, I have dozens of those and it’s just really fun to see advisors move up market close business in the first meeting and really build businesses. The other thing I focus on is what does your exit look like?

    And I can tell you right now if your business depends solely on you meeting with every single client. It’s going to have very little value in the marketplace, and I give them the real life story. The day I sold my company, Merit bought another woman’s firm. She had about the same amount of AUM as me, same amount of clients, but she had one big problem.

    Well, she had two big problems. One, all of her clients were used to meeting exclusively with her every quarter, every year for the reviews. Okay? None of mine did. I sold the philosophy of my firm and I said, nobody gets me. You have to agree to work with various members of my team. And unfortunately for her, she’d had a massive stroke, so she couldn’t meet with those clients.

    So Bill, she ended up getting literally 25 cents on the dollar compared to me. What a huge cost to always being the front person and always being the guy in the room, the smartest person in the room. That costs her a lot of money. And I tell advisors like, Oh yeah, I’ve heard stories like that. But you know, my question is, how do you know you’re not going to have a stroke next march and have to do the same thing. So we do so much planning for our clients. We do longevity planning, we do risk management planning, but a lot of advisors really haven’t thought through what do they want that last day? What size check do they wanna get?

    I really liked the check I got, I got a hundred percent of my money in cash upfront. Day of closing.

    BILL: I like that. Yeah. No, that’s good. So how do people get a copy of your book Seven Figure Firm. They go to your website. Tell us how they get, Yeah, just to you and get. The book. Sure. and we have so many resources like you, we’ve got lots of things they can look at videos of testimonials.

    They can download the book for free. Seven Figure Firm. They can look at our courses I have, they can sign up for trainings. All you have to do is, especially if you wanna sign up for our future, we do about one webinar a month with just free training. You can also email me,, and you can, I will put you on our list to invite you to future trainings.

    So yeah, www Great. And it’s in the show notes for you guys to look at when you have a chance. So as you could tell, my special guest today has been Erin Botsford, CFP, founder and president of the Advisor Authority. Erin, thank you so much for being my best on Top Advisor podcast.

    ERIN: Thank you so much for having me. It was really nice to see you again. Likewise, thank you.

    BILL: If you haven’t already, head over to to sign up for our weekly tips and access a ton of free guides, scripts, and videos.

    This is Bill Cates reminding you that ideas do not make you more successful only acting on those ideas will bring you the success you desire. Thanks for stopping by Top Advisor Podcast today.

About Our Guest

Erin Botsford started in the financial industry in 1989 at a time when there were practically no mentors.

But, after spending over 30 years in the financial services business and achieving at the highest levels (Barron’s Top 100 in all categories – Independent, Advisor, and Women Advisor), Erin sold her business in 2017 in a successful exit, to found The Advisor Authority to help financial advisors as a way to give back to the industry that allowed her to grow.

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About Your Host

Bill Cates, CSP, CPAE, works with established financial advisors to speed up their growth without increasing their marketing budget. Advisors tap into Bill’s proven process to multiply their best clients through introductions from advocates and Centers of Influence (such as CPAs and attorneys), communicate their value proposition more effectively, and create a reputation in a profitable target market. Bill helps advisors move from push prospecting to magnetic marketing – to attract more Right Fit Clients™.

Bill is the author of four best-selling books, Get More Referrals Now, Don’t Keep Me a Secret, Beyond Referrals, and Radical Relevance. Bill is a highly sought-after international speaker and coach, as well as the founder of The Cates Academy for Relationship Marketing™.


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