Peak Conference Focuses on Prospecting, Improving the Practice

Giving away their trade secrets with competitors wasn’t an issue for the 350 or so advisors who attended the Peak Advisor Alliance conference this week in Omaha, Neb., where top FAs shared their best ideas on prospecting and improving their own practices.

While the conference opened with University of Nebraska head football coach Bo Pelini, Peak founder Ron Carson had some football insights of his own in terms of growth in the independent advisor space. “I’d say we’re down two to three touchdowns.” In other words, Carson said he hasn’t really seen assets going to the independent side. When you look at the assets independent advisors control versus those at the wirehouses, it’s insignificant, he said. Peak’s membership is made up mostly of RIAs and IBD advisors, but the coaching firm does include wirehouse members, I heard while attending the conference.

Peak is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year, but Carson’s speeches focused on the next 10 years of Peak, which he called “The Decade of Do.” He urged attendees to set lofty goals and keep those goals top of mind for the next 10 years. Carson’s goal for his firm Carson Wealth Management Group: “I want to raise $50 billion in assets.” Carson Wealth Management Group has been in the process of leaving IBD LPL Financial to go fully RIA. Carson also plans to launch his own b/d.

The conference was characterized by an open exchange of ideas between the advisors that attended, including a panel session featuring six of Peak’s charter members. Here are some best ideas that came out of it:

  1. Passion prospecting: Make a list of 10 things you like to do, and use those common threads to make connections with potential clients. This is a way to connect with people personally.
  2. Bring back one idea that you learn at the conference. Advisor Dave Purdy said one year some FAs he met at a Peak conference were raving about how lucrative the life insurance business was. He started selling life insurance when he got back, and ended up selling a $12 million term policy, which paid his monthly rent for an entire year!
  3. Hiring a CFP to work with small business owners and help them improve their business, suggested advisor Wayne Garrett.
  4. Start an advisory council at your firm. This is a group of about six to eight of your top clients, who you get together for a half-day event once a year or so, to get suggestions and ideas on how you could improve their experience. This is something Carson has done for years, and he has even gotten referrals out of it. “You’ll get beat up that first meeting, but you’ll get better because of it.”
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