A Discussion with Philip S. Franco on Using Marketing to Drive Growth in 2012

By Cynthia Stephens, VP of Marketing on Thursday, December 8th, 2011

First in a series advisor perspectives on marketing

Do you have a roadmap for how you’ll achieve your 2012 client acquisition goals?  I recently spoke with Philip S. Franco, Vice President – Financial Advisor at RBC Wealth Management to understand his perspective on marketing for 2012.  Philip manages more than $50 million in assets and heads the Franco Investment Group, a wealth management practice within RBC Wealth Management.

Have a Clear Definition of Which Types of Clients you Want to Target 

Cynthia:  At this time of the year many of us are looking ahead to 2012 and preparing our business goals.  How many new clients to you want to acquire in 2012?

Philip:  I have a goal to bring in $15 million of assets in 2012, which averages to 15 new “bread and butter” clients.  I segment my clients into two groups.  The first is my “bread and butter” clients.  I am based in upstate New York, near the Canadian border where most are in the comfortable middle class.  These clients typically have $500,000 to $2 million in investable assets.  The second client segment that I target, have more than $3 million in investable assets.  I won’t give up my core client base to go elephant hunting, however.

Cynthia:  Are these targets currently self directed or do they already work with another financial advisor?

Philip:  My core clients are Baby Boomers, who are roughly 60 years old.  Most have a nest egg and need to live on this money for 30 years.  These smart professionals (many are engineers) come to me to be their primary financial advisor to help them prepare for the future.  I also keep a portion of my time available to target young physicians and Gen X and Gen Y.

Understand How you Will Reach your Target clients

Cynthia:  Take a moment to describe your marketing plan for acquiring new clients.  What approaches do you use that work?

Philip:  You need to figure out how to attract and attain clients, especially in an environment where people are sensitive to being sold.  What I’ve found that works best for me are two things:

1.) A focus on my service model.  The first priority is to deliver on what clients expect so you get a referral base–although I generally don’t rely on referrals. A focus on client service and connection is critical.

2.) Holding educational events.  I offer a number of workshops/seminars during the year.  In some of these I bring in outside speakers and in some I make the presentation.  I am a continuing education certified instructor.  The goal of the event is to give people some excitement regarding what I do.  People aren’t looking to be sold on a “product” anymore.  They want to believe in an approach.  These seminars help me educate potential prospects and bring them into my event process where I can stay top of mind with them.

Cynthia:  Many advisors don’t have dedicated marketing staff at their disposal.  What resources do you have at your disposal to help with these marketing efforts?

Philip:  I have an assistant that helps me with the event planning.  I also have interns from a local college.  Many of them are working to get their marketing degrees.  I’m also fortunate in that RBC has a very good marketing department.  I have an assigned marketing representative that is putting a plan together to help get me more exposure.

Don’t Let Marketing Challenges Stand in your Way

Cynthia:  I recently surveyed advisors and asked them what their biggest marketing challenge is.  What would you say is your biggest challenge?

Philip:  Besides time?  My biggest challenge is conversion.  I can bring people into a room at an event.  However, I’ve found that my weakness is converting them into clients, which is what I’m now focusing on.  I need to focus on building the excitement around what I do so people feel a sense of urgency to connect with me on their retirement and advice for the future.

Cynthia:  What three tips do you have for other financial advisors that are trying to grow their business?


1.) Your value statement – Know what you do and why you do it. If you don’t have “what you do” and why someone should work with you nailed it is very difficult to attract new clients.  I am actively working on improving communication effectiveness.

2.) Don’t ever stop marketing.  People start getting their pipelines built and then stop paying attention to marketing.  I schedule my events one year in advance.

3,) Always continue your education.  It could be through continuing education at a local college.  It could be developing sales or communication skills by reading or working with a business coach.

Philip Franco heads the Franco Investment Group, a wealth management practice within RBC Wealth Management. He has earned the CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER® designation from the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, Inc., as well as RBC Wealth Management’s own Accredited Wealth Manager credentials. Phil believes it is important to continue to gain education and insights into the ever-changing subject of wealth management. The Franco Investment group specializes in Retirement Income Planning, Wealth Management, and the implementation of Investment Strategies. 

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