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Michael Kitces' #FASuccess Podcast: Gabriel Shahin's Growth Strategy

Falcon Wealth's Gabriel Shahin explains how he spends 10% to 20% of his revenue on marketing in order to grow his firm.



Welcome back to the 160th episode of Financial Advisor Success Podcast!

My guest on today’s podcast is Gabriel Shahin. Gabriel is the founder of Falcon Wealth, an independent registered investment advisor based in the Greater Los Angeles area that oversees nearly $200 million of assets under management for 370 clients.

What’s unique about Gabriel, though, is the way he’s built his firm to $200 million of AUM from scratch in barely five years by spending proactively on marketing as much as 10% to 20% of his annual revenue, amounting to almost $30,000 per month in marketing spending this year, on which he’s typically able to make back nearly double the revenue of his marketing spend in the first 12 months alone, and of course, may have a client for life for all the years thereafter.

In this episode, we talk in depth about how Gabriel allocates his proactive marketing dollars. From spending on outsourced SEO experts and Google AdWords to various paid web listings like NAPFA, the CFP Board and SmartAsset, paying for a weekly radio show and spending as much as $8,000 per mailing for an outside firm to help him market educational classes that he uses to teach personal finance and establish a relationship with the students, some of whom eventually decide to become clients as well.

We also talk about how Gabriel handles the sales process given the number of leads he’s able to generate with his proactive marketing. Why he ultimately decided to hire a standalone business development associate to respond to all the inquiries and screen them within 10 minutes of contacting the firm, how Gabriel conducts his two-meeting sales process to deliver initial value to clients and then encourage them to work with him on an ongoing basis to implement, and how Gabriel gracefully handles the leads his marketing generates that may not have the financial wherewithal to be a good fit for his firm.

And be certain to listen to the end, where Gabriel talks about struggles of going out on his own. How he ended out racking up nearly $50,000 in credit card debt doing his initial marketing to get his first clients in the door, the way he was able to attract some clients from his prior firm without violating his non-solicit agreement, and the challenge that even as the firm scales up the revenue much faster than the take-home profits, it becomes increasingly necessary to reinvest into the infrastructure of a growing advisory firm along the way, especially when he’s growing quickly.

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