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Michael Kitces' #FASuccess Podcast: James Bogart on the Benefits of Online Educational Webinars for Clients

Bogart Wealth CEO James Bogart explains how his firm nearly doubled its AUM since the start of the pandemic by hosting online educational webinars for clients.



Welcome back to the 243rd episode of the Financial Advisor Success Podcast!

My guest on today's podcast is James Bogart. James is the CEO and President of Bogart Wealth, an RIA located in McLean, Virginia that manages $1.8 billion of assets for 900 households.

What's unique about James, though, is that his firm has nearly doubled its assets under management organically since the start of the pandemic just 18 months ago, by leveraging online educational webinars that address very specific niche issues around employee benefits for those who work at specific companies in the energy sector.

In this episode, we talk in depth about how, although it took years to establish themselves as the “go-to name” for benefit planning needs for companies such as ExxonMobil and Shell, doing so led to an acceleration in growth when the layoffs came at large energy companies during the pandemic, how James used the foundational knowledge from his CFP certification as a base from which he could build out his benefits planning expertise by learning how to source and interpret the requisite documentation for specific companies online, and why the key to James’ firm’s success isn’t just the result of their deep understanding of employee benefits in general, but rather how to apply their knowledge specifically to particular companies’ benefits in a way that clearly differentiates their expertise for prospective clients who work at those companies.

We also talk about how, by making their webinars readily available on the firm’s website and via YouTube, James has created a marketing funnel that gives prospects the ability to refer their friends by sharing their videos (a dynamic which James says is even more valuable than client-initiated referrals), how James has tracked his client acquisition cost from $350 down to just $20 after pivoting away from doing dinner seminars and going fully virtual, and how James leverages an advisory board that consists of 12-15 clients to get feedback about his business (and then later makes sure he shows them how he’s implemented their suggestions so they feel empowered to give more constructive feedback in the future).

And be certain to listen to the end, where James shares how, during his webinars, he offers a “no cost, no obligation” full financial plan for prospects as a way to demonstrate the value his firm will deliver once they onboard as clients, why James says that recently adding tax preparation along with financial planning and investment management has been the real “secret sauce” to his firm’s ongoing success, and how James is managing the challenges that come along with such rapid growth, including finding adequate office space and experienced planners to hire who don’t have existing books of business so that they have the capacity to absorb all the new business that James’s firm is already bringing in.

So whether you’re interested in learning just how James doubled the size of his firm to $1.8b in 18 months, how he leveraged his expertise in the employee benefits programs at major energy companies to reach potential clients at a key transition point, or how he’s been able to manage and absorb that growth in such a short period of time, then we hope you enjoy this episode of the Financial Advisor Success podcast, with James Bogart.

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