"In Times of Distrust, Financial Advisors Turn to the Minibook"

New Format Showcases Expertise, Author Says

An invitation to spend a weekend on a boat off Cape Cod taught New York Times best-selling author Michael Levin a lesson about sales he never forgot.

The boat owner was a stockbroker,” Levin recalls, “and he moored the boat close to a prospect’s house on a large tract of land. He spent the whole weekend staring at the house, trying to figure out how to approach the guy. It seemed a little obsessive, but he ended up with a solution and the guy has been a client for decades.”

The answer was the land. The broker realized the prospect probably didn’t want to pay all the taxes that went along with such valuable property. So he called the individual and suggested that the two of them visit an estate planning attorney who could create a land trust to reduce the tax bite.

The prospect loved the idea, hired the broker as his financial advisor, and ended up conserving a mile of coastline. They have been working together to this day.

“Financial advisors today are all pretty much in the same boat,” says Levin, an author who specializes in working with financial experts. “They’ve got their eyes on high net worth prospects. But they have no idea of how to land them.That’s because they face this agonizing dilemma: How can you get people to trust you when they don’t even know you?”

Competition in the financial world has never been more brutal in the sense that there are so many advisors seeking to serve the same pool of high net worth individuals, Levin says.

At the same time, the financial world has never been under such a shadow of mistrust, he notes. From Bernie Madoff to the 2008 economic meltdown, people tend to view financial advisors as part of the problem, not part of the solution, he says.

And it’s difficult for a financial advisor to separate him- or herself from the pack. They all tend to “look alike” to the general public, Levin says.

Levin says the answer is to write a minibook.

Levin says minibooks are the hot new trend for professionals.

If you can’t close them in 50 pages, you won’t in 150 pages,” he says. “It’s an opportunity to show that you understand their problems better than anyone else, that you have proven solutions, and that it would be a mistake to go with anyone else.”

Levin offers a formula for the successful 50-page minibook.

“Chapter one demonstrates that you understand the reader’s financial issues better than anyone else,” he explains. “Chapter two positions you as the expert who has solved this problem effectively for past clients. Chapter three lays out the process by which you serve clients, and chapter four is a call to action, describing the kinds of clients you’re looking for.”

Michael Levin, founder and CEO of BusinessGhost, Inc., has written more than 100 books, including eight national best-sellers; five that have been optioned for film or TV by Steven Soderbergh/Paramount, HBO, Disney, ABC, and others; and one that became “Model Behavior,” an ABC Sunday night Disney movie of the week. His new minibook, “The Financial Advisor’s Dilemma,” teaches how to create trust and distinctiveness in the highly competitive marketplace.