Check Out Bill Cates’ NEW Top Advisor Podcast™
Interviews with Top Advisors for Top Advisors!

Listen + Subscribe Now

Top Advisor Podcast™
Ep. #2 – Client Appreciation Events: Using Retirement Parties to Grow Your Business
with Joe De Sena, CFP®, MBA

Episode Summary

Retirement is such a major milestone in everyone’s life. And while there is no shortage of client appreciation event ideas out there, retirement parties are definitely one worth considering. Hosting one of these unique client events not only helps financial advisors maximize client engagement, it also provide an excellent opportunity for reaching qualified new prospects.

In this episode, Bill Cates is joined by Joe De Sena, CFP®, MBA, private wealth advisor at Siena Wealth Advisory Group, to discuss how Joe has leveraged this event marketing strategy to fully engage clients – and prospects – through both a value connection and a personal connection.

Bottom Line: Joe De Sena’s retirement parties yield new clients almost every time. These are not just “feel-good” events. These are business-building client appreciation events.

In this episode, Bill and Joe discuss:

  • the success Joe has found in hosting retirement parties for his clients – to help him exceed the $1 billion in AUM mark.
  • what it truly looks like to organize these client appreciation events, whether they are virtual or in-person.
  • how retirement parties lead to appointments with qualified prospects right at the event – without asking for them.
  • other events Joe’s firm has used to enhance client engagement.

Connect With Bill Cates:

About Our Guest

Joe De Sena CFP®, MBA is a private wealth advisor at Siena Wealth Advisory Group. Joe has been a financial advisor for 27 years. Joe is passionate about protecting his clients and their families from the unexpected. Joe loves to travel, read, run marathons and do charity work.

Connect with Joe De Sena

  • Show Transcript

    Podcast – 1

    [00:00:00] Welcome to the top advisor podcast brought to you by Proud Mouth Influence Accelerator Academy. I’m your host Bill Cates. In each episode, I interview one of the financial service industries, top performers to learn their secrets to sustain success. These short interviews, we’ll get right to the heart of what each top advisor is doing to acquire more right fit clients.

    [00:00:26] You’ll be reminded, renewed, and inspired to take powerful action you’ll impact more lives and increase your income at the same time. Now onto the show. You are a successful advisor with plans for additional growth. You just want some fresh insight on how to power that growth you are in the right place.

    [00:00:48] The top advisor podcast hosted by Bill Cates. This is the first episode of a podcast series that will deliver fresh ideas and specific examples that you can use. Bill is [00:01:00] an internationally recognized expert on client engagement, referrals, personal introductions, and communicating your value, all geared to help you attract high level clients.

    [00:01:10] I’m Patrice Sikora, and Bill promises to offer real world value to listeners every episode, including this one. So listen up, Bill, let’s start with the beginning. You’ve been in the financial services industry. You told me more than 27 years. Has your mission changed? What is it these days? Yeah. And before I get into that answer, Patrice, I just want to let people know that it’s not Bill Gates.

    [00:01:36] Yes. Bill Cates with a C his mission and Mr. Billionaire many times over is to give his money away. My mission is to help advisors the folks listening to this program make more money, but in the spirit of service to others. So I truly believe in the work that most financial professionals do. I think it’s very important.

    [00:01:57] I think in some cases they bring financial [00:02:00] dignity to people’s lives. In other cases, they help them maximize their opportunity and live the life that they always wanted to live. But it’s important work. And I even tell my staff. That our mission is to support our advisors mission. Our mission is to help them touch more lives.

    [00:02:15] And of course, the way that works is you make a little money in the process. So yeah, I want to help you make more money as well, but in the spirit of service to other people, that’s my mission. Help you meet more of the right people, the right people for you, whatever that means and really to help you build a business based on referrals, on personal introductions.

    [00:02:33] I know we can talk about that later. Is it possible to build a hundred percent referral based business while the short answer is? Yes. And that’s why I want to help you do as well. Why are you starting this podcast? I mean, aside from the fact that everybody’s doing a podcast these days, why did you decide to start, top advisor?

    [00:02:51] Well, I think it had to do with coming in touch with my, what is often called unique ability. I think the Dan Solven strategic strategic coach started that term [00:03:00] many, many years ago, and most people understand it. So it’s the one thing that we are our best at. And we often enjoy that the most as well. And then we’re, of course we’re called to do other things, but that unique ability.

    [00:03:14] So what happened is I was interviewing some advisors for a program. I was delivering a virtual program and I was doing my due diligence and getting to know them and the firm. And I heard some of the neat ideas that they were doing. Some of the things that they were doing. Reinforced what I already taught and that I could then curate and be a conduit to share that with others.

    [00:03:36] And also some new ideas that I hadn’t even thought about that I could also put through my lens and share with others. I was just jazzed by that of all the things that I do speaking on stage and coaching one-on-one, which I still enjoy. And a lots of other things it is that is that gleaning and, and, and curating that knowledge.

    [00:03:56] From other advisors, things that they’re doing that are working. I get excited [00:04:00] about it because I want to share that with other people. And so that’s why I started this. I started this because I, I love it. I think the work that the people are listening to this podcast through is important and I just enjoy curating and being a conduit for those ideas.

    [00:04:15] So it’s a, it’s a, it’s a win for everybody. Well, with that in mind, let’s take it a step further. What topics do you think you’re going to cover and give us a hint of some of the guests. Yeah, sure. So the overarching umbrella is relationship marketing. That’s I believe I’m a pretty knowledgeable I’ll sell.

    [00:04:34] I’ll say I have expertise in relationship marketing. Well, what does that mean? It means marketing based on relationships. It means marketing based on what you already know about. Certain individuals now, not all relationships are equal. In some cases we know a lot about someone and that might be asking for introductions.

    [00:04:53] So the whole introduction process, or, and maybe even using a little dab of social media [00:05:00] and the digital side of things, but still with people with whom we already had to have relationships. So under that umbrella, we are going to definitely talk about referrals and folks who built a referral based business and personal introductions, and the difference between those.

    [00:05:14] And we’re going to talk about centers of influence. Some of my guests have done an incredible job with getting introductions from their centers of influence. We’re going to talk about targeting and niche market. A lot of folks that I’ve have lined up are experts in that. And I often call that reputation marketing.

    [00:05:31] So that’s about a relationship. It’s a reputation that you established in a particular market. We’re going to talk about more ways to increase client engagement, to become more referable, to be able to leverage that social event marketing during the pandemic. Couldn’t do a lot of that, but now we’re seeing that in our rear view mirror, and we’re going to be able to do more of those client appreciation events, special invitation events, celebration events.

    [00:05:54] Uh, using video in our practices, just all kinds of neat things all under [00:06:00] that umbrella, uh, of building our business based on how people want to meet us, which is a recommendation and introduction, knowledge of someone else they already trust. And we’ll get to that in a minute, but you just mentioned social media and yet relationship marketing to me is really a one-on-one thing is social media just not usable are advisors wasting their time with that?

    [00:06:24] Some are for some for some it’s, it’s a shiny object that they feel like they have to go chasing. I see a lot of folks, particularly newer folks, but even, even veterans successful folks feel like they have to hire a social media specialist and they start doing all this content marketing and things like that.

    [00:06:40] And I’ll tell you though, I’ll tell you one place where I’m going to have a guest Joe Dissenter. Who’s going to be one of our guests early on. And I was saying to Joe, I said, Joe, you know, I’ve seen so many advisors doing social media, but I haven’t seen very many actually produce an ROI. A tangible result, new clients.

    [00:07:00] [00:07:00] And he says, well, I do it all the time. I said, well, okay, you’re going to be a guest on my podcast, but give me a, give me a preview of what you’re doing. Right? One of the things he’s doing is he has taken his facebook page, which I I’ve up until this point, I’ve made my Facebook page, just me and my friends and people.

    [00:07:18] I know. And I’ve turned down connections with, with professional folks and clients, but he’s actually, he made that decision to open that up and buy and being careful, obviously with what he posts and being compliant with what he posts he actually has, has expected. Banded his business friendships. He’s expanded with his clients and his clients see what he’s up to and he sees what they’re up to.

    [00:07:41] And then he starts to use his use some tools of social media marketing, like targeting friends of his clients and things like that. So it’s all based on a relationship that he’s expanded using Facebook. This was new to me because I just didn’t think that that was a place I wanted to go, or most [00:08:00] advisors wanted to go.

    [00:08:01] And I know some won’t, but he’s done extremely well with that. So that’s just one example of yes, there is a blend. Sometimes I call this tradition. Tradigital marketing. Oh, I liked that you had tradigital it’s hard to say it’s a, it’s a blend of all, all the things we know about relationship marketing, but then how do we add the social media component to that?

    [00:08:22] Which is sometimes one to one and sometimes one to many. Then let’s go back to referrals and introductions. What is the difference? Well, let me give you my hierarchy. You’ve heard of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. I think it starts with, I dunno, food shelter. Beer pizza, Monday night football, right? Exactly.

    [00:08:44] Canadians, you know, hockey night. Gotcha. All right. And then it goes from there. So mine is this. The first lowest level is what we call leads for most people in most parts of this industry; leads are a recipe for mediocrity in this business. Some managers call it crack it’s it’s it’s [00:09:00] the people’s brains get wired to having those leads fed to them.

    [00:09:03] And so they stopped learning how to self generate their own business. And generally speaking the leads aren’t good enough to really build the kind of successful business you want to build. So that’s the lowest level. Second would be word of mouth. Now we should all be getting word of mouth, everyone, myself.

    [00:09:19] And anyone in business should have emails or voicemails coming to them by people who’ve been recommended. And that’s a sign of doing a good job. That’s a sign of being referrable. And so we, we, we want to have that, but that’s not usually enough to send always the right people to us or enough of the right people.

    [00:09:37] And then there’s the, a referred to lead call. George use my name. Well, George doesn’t pick up his phone anymore. And George is wondering why his friend gave his name out and. It just doesn’t work so well anymore. So we’ve got to think in terms of introductions, connections, whether it’s in person, whether it’s an email, I call it an email handshake.

    [00:09:58] A lot of folks are doing with texts these [00:10:00] days. There’s a lot of ways to get introduced, but we’ve got to make sure we get connected. Before I get to the highest level. Just make sure when you’re with a prospect, with a client, with a center of influence accountant attorney, whomever, make sure that you’re using the word introduction.

    [00:10:15] I will use the word referrals a lot, but sometimes I’ll use, I’ll say referrals slash introduction. Cause that’s what we really want. Now there is a higher level and the higher level is I’ll call the advocate. And the neat thing about advocates is that they will recommend us. They will vouch for us. And that usually carries a lot of weight with their friends and colleagues, and then they will pay attention to the connection.

    [00:10:37] In fact, they’ll bug us or they’ll bug their friend to make sure the connection goes through. And I was doing a coaching session with a team. And one of the guys that had the managing partner, Brian says, Bill Unity’s advocates, are they, are they nurtured? Are they born that way? Or is it in their DNA? And I said, well, Yes.

    [00:10:54] And yes, there are some people that are born to do this. We love those people that like to share the work we do with others, [00:11:00] and we have to educate them to make sure they send the right people to us. And then we can nurture those as well. And that’s where that, that notion of an engaged client and, and where we, and we celebrate and nurture the advocates in our business.

    [00:11:12] I’m going to be interviewing a gentleman, Brian Sweet. Who’s going to be talking about his ambassador program. Where he has identified all of these advocates and he, he feeds that system that he’s created with celebration and, and all kinds of neat stuff. There is a difference. And we want to think in terms of introductions and advocates as best we can.

    [00:11:32] What are some of the mistakes that you see advisors making when it comes to this, do they not understand the difference between referral and introduction? While you have, that is a, that is a mistake or a place where people get bogged down or caught up in that they identify folks that are willing to do this, willing to introduce, willing to talk about, but they don’t actually create the, the actual connection.

    [00:11:56] They’re not quite sure what to say, or the client may want to do it in a way that isn’t [00:12:00] particularly effective. So the client may want to talk to their friend first when that’s not necessarily necessary, but the advisor doesn’t know how to turn that around and, and, and make sure we get a really good connection.

    [00:12:12] That’ll work, that’ll produce the result we want. So that’s definitely a place where I, I feel folks not, you know, fulfilling the whole process of creating the introduction. Another place is if they do ask and some will ask some won’t. I was working with a guy by the way, the other day I’ve been coaching for a long time.

    [00:12:29] We helped build his website, lots of good stuff, and he wanted to get into asking, cause he never really asked 27 year veteran of this business. And he says, bill, I’m struggling so much with this asking. And finally, I just had to let them off the hook. I said, Dennis, You just may be one of those guys. Who’s just not going to ask, but look, you’re becoming super referrable.

    [00:12:49] You’re getting more without asking, you’re promoting or recognizing those situations. You’ve changed how you’re communicating your value. Your business is growing in the direction you want it to grow, right? He goes, well. [00:13:00] Yeah, absolutely. But I feel kind of guilty. Like I’m sitting on this coal mine. I go, yeah.

    [00:13:05] And, and we can keep working on this, but I feel like that’s just not a place you’re going to go. When I wa I want to create, take that stress away from you, a feeling you have to do that it’s hard asking is a hard thing to do. It can be, it doesn’t have to be, but there’s a Bentall constructs that, that sometimes keep us from asking.

    [00:13:24] But if you are going to ask back to the mistakes that I’ve seen is people here’s a classic mistake is throwing open the whole universe and saying, who do you know, we can help. Right. Who do you think should know about the work we do? And I suppose that’s better than nothing. And lightening does strike from time to time and they may think of someone, but the best way to ask and we’ll go into this in future episodes is what I’ll call a bulls-eye referral.

    [00:13:48] Specific people they know, or certain categories. And so there’s a way to narrow that focus, what you’ll produce a much better result. So those are a couple of the mistakes, I guess the biggest one also I see is not [00:14:00] creating a culture of this within their practice and their team. And so they see it as, just as asking, not asking no, there’s a lot more to it.

    [00:14:08] It’s really a culture that we build. You mentioned earlier that it is possible to have 100% new clients with referrals. Tell me about that. Yeah. People come to me say bill, is it possible? I go, yeah, it’s absolutely possible. In fact, I’ve helped people do it. And I I’ve seen a lot of people do it without my help.

    [00:14:25] So we know what’s possible. Let me give you a sense of, of, of, of how this happens. Just kind of our system. And a lot of people are doing this and they haven’t labeled it the way I’ve labeled it, but they’re doing it anyway. So the first thing is having the right mindset and thinking, and this is our goal, our goal, and telling everyone on the team and staff and what their role was in.

    [00:14:43] Building this culture of getting introduced to other people and everyone knows their role and what it takes to become more referable and who’s going to be proactive. And how do we follow up with these folks? And then we have to create this sense of engagement and it’s engaged clients that provide referrals or make introductions, not [00:15:00] just loyal or satisfied, but engaged.

    [00:15:02] So we’ve got to create that engagement and then we leverage it. How do we leverage it? We promote introductions. We ask at the right time, and then we get connected. We get introduced. And so what happens is when you follow this, this idea of engagement, leverage, connection, engagement, leverage connection, you can create a continual flow of people coming into your business, the right type of clients being introduced to you in the right way.

    [00:15:27] It takes a little bit of time, but it’s definitely doable. And can you do it without asking? Yes, it takes a lot longer being proactive is we’ll create that, that take that incremental growth and put it into exponential growth, but it’s even possible to do it without asking. I’ve helped people do that as well.

    [00:15:46] All right. You’ve got a new book, radical relevance. Let’s say it here. Yeah, I got it. I got to always keep it. Thank you. There you go. You go. Why did you write it? What is the focus here and what are the problems it solves for [00:16:00] advisors? The subtitle actually says it all because when I was writing it, my study group and a lot of advisers in the groups that bill, all right, what is the problem with solves?

    [00:16:08] Right? Let’s let’s get that in the subtitle. I said, okay, so it’s sharpen your marketing meshes. Cut through the noise, win more ideal clients. So get your marketing message honed sharpen. So it’s going to attract the right people, right. Cut through all the noise. So the problem really is just all that noise in the marketplace.

    [00:16:27] The inertia, sometimes the inertia is just getting people to move or getting them to fire the incumbent. Sometimes that’s a challenge. So we’ve got to cut through all that noise and all the barriers. And then win more ideal, or we like to call them right. Fit clients. So it’s not just about quantity, it’s certainly about quality as well.

    [00:16:46] So how do we get that message through to people? How do we pull them into our world? Another part of it, Patrice is most financial advisors, financial professionals get taught. How to prospect, whether it’s leads or cold [00:17:00] calling or doing seminars. And these are all forms of prospecting. And I would say referrals and introductions is a form of prospecting and that will never go away.

    [00:17:09] There’s always a form of it in your process. However, One of the things this book seeks to do is to bring a lot more attraction marketing into the equation. So people are raising their hand and saying, I’m interested. Tell me more. And we know that’s always a better person or more comfortable person to talk to right when they’ve raised their hand and says I’m in, I’m interested.

    [00:17:29] So that’s part of what the book does. All right. You’ve got 17 rules of radical relevance. Give us the top three, top five. Yeah. Yeah. I, I kind of have memorized, but I want them to make sure I get the numbers. Right. So the first one makes perfect sense. Does anyone who knows me would expect this, that the shortest route to relevance, the shortest straightest line to relevance with someone who doesn’t know you is an introduction from someone they do know.

    [00:17:54] Right? So that referral, that introduction, that’s how we become relevant in somebody’s life. Number two is [00:18:00] give your clients a seat at the table. Meaning when you’re working on your value proposition, when you’re working on marketing ideas, strategies, whatever it is you’re trying to do have that advisory group, or just go one-on-one and break bread and talk with some of your clients and get their input.

    [00:18:14] Don’t do it in a vacuum, a number five only differences that matter matter. Boy, when I help advisors think through what makes them different and how to communicate, what makes them different. They struggle at turning it into an actual benefit. They get confused with the feature of the differentiation, with the actual benefit to the prospect or client.

    [00:18:37] But if you don’t tie it to the benefit and it doesn’t matter to the prospect and that differentiation doesn’t matter. Let me give you a last one. Number 17 is actually a resist the urge to expand the 10th or expand the net. Here’s what I mean. Sometimes when we’re working on our messaging and our marketing, we think, well, I don’t want to leave this group out and I don’t want to leave this group out.

    [00:18:59] And so let’s [00:19:00] expand this a little bit. The problem is the messaging actually becomes weaker. And so we want to resist that and we want to actually. Think in terms of narrowing our focus, the more narrow, the more precise, the better. Now it’s gotta be a big enough group to make it worth our while. But if you’re going to have more than one bullseyes within your target, then you need different messages for each one of those bulls eyes within the targets.

    [00:19:25] I’ll just give you an example when COVID hit a while ago. My urge, my first urge was to go, all right. Maybe I expand a little bit. Maybe do I expand outside of financial advisors? Right? Do I make my tent a little bigger now or net bigger? So I can, or the mixed metaphors that I could attract folks? And I thought, no, no, no.

    [00:19:45] I got a double down. I, I do my best. My best work is for financial advisors. And so if I just stay focused and narrow my focus even more, then I will be more relevant. And if I’m more relevant in these [00:20:00] times, when things are tough, the market crashed and people didn’t know how to handle the virtual environment.

    [00:20:04] If I become more relevant in that market, then I’ll be even more successful than I was before. So we got to resist that urge and we’ve got to double down on who our target is. How can advisors reach you? Well, thank you for asking. It’s pretty simple. Bill Cates, C A T E S.

    [00:20:26] And my website obviously is Or you can get into my world. We have a lot of free resources. If you want to go to referral forward slash resources, a lot of free stuff. You can subscribe to our weekly tips, just a ways to get into my world and reach out to me. I’m always happy to help in any way I possibly can.

    [00:20:45] And all you listeners out there, you can up your game with Bill Cates, top adviser, podcast, takeaway practical knowledge. You got it today from Bill and he’s going to have a lineup of some heavy hitter guests to subscribe. Get an alert, when a new episode is ready, share with friends, [00:21:00] you can make them jealous.

    [00:21:01] You knew about Bill’s podcast before they did comment and like. I am Patrice Sikora and let’s talk again later. Thank you for listening to the top advisor podcast brought to you by Proud Mouth’s Influence Accelerator Academy. Click the subscribe button below to be notified when new episodes become available.

    [00:21:21] Visit my website, referral for links to my books, courses, and online tools, and to register for the Kate’s Academy.

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™.


Do you know someone Bill should interview (including yourself)? 
Do you have a topic you’d like to see covered?  

Contact Bill Cates directly:     

Referral Coach