Advisor Perspectives welcomes guest contributions. The views presented here do not necessarily represent those of Advisor Perspectives.

To use Asset-Map for business development, your first step is to identify a proponent of Asset-Map so that they use it and experience its effectiveness and value. The question is how to get to that point.

Build client support using Asset-Map

Look at using Asset-Map for business development as a program or campaign, one that takes proper planning and preparation to get the results you are seeking, business growth via new clients and assets. Big opportunities require big efforts.

1. Learn the offering and decide if it will work for you, your team, and your clients.

  1. My previous article provides an introduction.
  2. Getting a demonstration from the vendor will be of value and insightful to where it fits in your practice.
  3. Reviewing and building some sample Asset-Maps and financial goal Target-Maps for yourself will also be very helpful.

2. Work with your teammates to gain support for using Asset-Map for business development in your practice. “Selling” them will also improve your skills.

  1. Review the Asset-Map solutions by going through the process with them and discussing its potential value to them and the practice.
  2. Conduct a team meeting that includes a demonstration of Asset-Map.
  3. Share your thoughts on how you can use the program and plan within your practice.
  4. To get up to speed with your use of Asset-Map and how to discuss it, make an offer to teammates to build maps for them and their family and share your insights.

3. Have a small number of meetings with those families of your team members where you can feel comfortable making mistakes to refine your process.

  1. Build Asset-Maps for your willing team members based on what you already know about them, their family, and their financial situation in general.
  2. Share and update those maps with the specifics they will share.
  3. Develop Target-Maps and work with them as you would with clients and develop potential plans to resolve gaps.

4. Note, in written form:

  1. The process you used;
  2. The feedback you received, positive and negative;
  3. What went well?
  4. What could be improved?
  5. How you will do it differently next time; and
  6. Anything else you think you need to learn about the process, the family, your presentation

Don’t share private data across team members. (Households can be made private such that only the Lead Advisor can see them.)

5. With team support, build Asset-Maps for some clients based on what you already know about them, their families, and their financial situation in whatever detail you have as you will not be sharing that data except with them and your team as appropriate.

Identify and select perhaps two or three “B” clients with whom you have an excellent relationship and work through the process to build your experience with:

  1. Developing draft Asset-Map reports.
  2. Schedule meetings with those clients to discuss their Asset-Map reports with them.
  3. Understand the client’s reactions, positive and negative, and gain their perspectives.
  4. Point out some areas you have awareness or concerns about. This is your opportunity to bring your insight to the meeting.
  5. Build an approach for your next set of presentations.

6. Once your approach is close to what you would like it to be, you have received positive feedback, and developed revenue opportunities, move on to developing a plan to rollout this experience to your top tier of clients.

The Asset-Map reports you build will all be the same in structure and personalized in content. The map below shows household’s members and entities at the top of the report and the financial assets, liabilities, cash-flows, and insurance policies for each of the primary members and spouse on the left and right side of the report respectively with joint assets below the avatars of the couple. The single-page map shows everything about the family’s financial life like they have not likely seen before.

Once you have shown the Asset-Map report, correct and update the map, which can be done interactively in a conversational “working session” whether in person or online.

Target-Map reports

With the Asset-Map report refined, develop and discuss Target-Map reports that provide continuous goal tracking of financial progress and priorities. Target-Maps help financial advisors and their clients quickly identify funding gaps from their financial goals. You can then track their progress over time (and required actions, taken or not taken). Target-Maps like the one below, can easily be prepared for retirement, education funding, loss of life, disability, and long-term care.

This is the essence of building support for using Asset-Map as a business development approach.

Steps for using Asset-Map for business development

In each business development approach, the objective is to share a comprehensive advice experience that engages clients from start to finish and empowers them to make better decisions by getting on the same page – literally.

Asset-Map reports are based on the adage that a “picture is worth a thousand words.” What may take 20 pages to communicate with many planning experiences can be compressed to a couple pages that your clients will appreciate and hopefully love. An Asset-Map report is a visual experience that displays all household’s members, entities, financial assets, liabilities, cash-flows, and insurance policies, providing an advisor with a straight-forward way to quickly address gaps in a financial plan as well as uncover new opportunities to elevate their clients’ condition.

Without going into detail on the tool, this is done in several steps:

1. Show and review the single-page Asset-Map report that presents the known or estimated financial decisions that need to be made today. You will discuss the various aspects of the report, confirm accuracy, make necessary updates, and catalog open items for individual discussions.

2. For each financial “want,” “desire,”, or “current goal” use selected Target-Map reports to show the percent of the key goals that are funded at this point in time and what is required to meet the capital needs for that particular want, e.g., retirement, college funding, vacation, second home, etc.

3. Discuss that having a series of reports will show the progress made over “N” periods of time. The FA can prepare reports on any frequency, say six or 12 months, and show progress over time via a set of “cloned” reports (duplicate reports updated for changes and additions to the data over time). Each report shows not only status at each point in time, but the:

  1. Assumptions used for each report;
  2. After-tax cash flow desired;
  3. Cash flow sources, insurance benefits, and assets available;
  4. What the report means, e.g., the percentage funded to meet the capital required to fund retirement expenses, the hypothetical expected net return on capital, and either,
    1. The amount of surplus net capital assigned to fund this need, if any, or the equivalent monthly surplus over “N” years; or
    2. The amount of additional capital required to fund this need today (deficits), if any, or the equivalent monthly contributions required for “N” years.

4. Conducting interactive, “what if” sessions with the client, discussing and illustrating changes to both assumptions and data. Advisors know the alternatives:

  1. Earning more;
  2. Working longer/retiring later;
  3. Spending less or more if there are surpluses;
  4. Downsizing;
  5. Working part-time; or
  6. Modify assumptions, e.g., expected net growth rates, inflation rates, COLA.

As previously noted, the importance of those approaches are the conversations they generate with clients and making them an integral part of the decision-making process.

Ideally, advisors can develop a composite view of the data over time:

  • What the client wants: capital requirements/after-tax cash flow desired;
  • What the client has: capital available/present value equivalent of cash flow sources available; and
  • What it means, as described above.

This series of steps would be used in each of the business development approaches discussed below. They are also defined in my book1 in more detail and in various articles on my website2.

Using Asset-Map for business development

With existing clients

Use Asset-Map to get introductions from existing clients who believe in its effectiveness in describing their financial lives and a way to see where they and want to go. The following approaches have the best ROI for developing new business within your current practice.

1. Introductions from clients who value Asset-Map

You first must be referrable by delivering a service that has your client highly3 satisfied. Have the introductory conversation after you have requested and received positive feedback. Use the principle of “aided recall.” Aided recall means prompting respondents (clients) by inducing an association of ideas (or people) to help them recall other similar individuals. For example, an employee of Exxon (or any firm) should more easily be able to identify others who are also employees of Exxon, especially in her or his own department. For example, saying, “George, I enjoy working with you. I’m very pleased you’re so satisfied with our services including Asset-Map. I wonder if there are any other Exxon engineers like yourself who might be interested in seeing their entire financial life in a single page and understanding any gaps in their financial lives? Would you be willing to introduce us?”

Similarly, “You mentioned your parents and siblings. If you think developing an Asset-Map with them would be of value, I’d be pleased to meet with them.”

2. Targeted roundtables

These are private events that focus on a group of people that include one or more of your clients. The people in the group may know each other or be part of the same community. Identify companies your clients work for where you can offer a “lunch and learn” or an after-work event to understand how to visualize their financial lives and identify actions to improve them. Suggest a roundtable to introduce you and the subject of developing a comprehensive picture of their financial situation and needs to a few of their fellow employees.

You can also conduct roundtables for your client’s friends, family members, social groups they are part of, and more.

3. Advisory boards

Create an advisory board with top clients and members of your team to separately give you feedback on services, marketing, and other aspects of your business and share ideas on how you can grow your business. Client advisory boards can be powerful tools for building relationships with top clients, capturing detailed feedback, and growing business.

Use Asset-Map as a research topic for an advisory board meeting to get feedback and suggestions using the approaches above. Who else might appreciate this process called Asset-Map?

With prospects

The following approaches have the best ROI for developing new business with prospects:

1. Introductions from COIs

Professional referrals remain a solid source of business growth and a top-five marketing activity. Developing a two-way strategic relationship with a quality COI requires treating that person uniquely and with a similar approach as a top-10 client. Developing this level of relationship takes a year or more with consistent contact with a very limited number of COIs.

Go through a discovery process to understand what value you bring to a partner. Describe your process and how it brings value to that COI and their clients. Use Asset-Map is a way to do that. This is a tool you can share to enhance the COIs relationship with their clients, develop a relationship with the COI, as well as offering the COI a map of their financial lives and those of others on their team.

Naturally, COIs who offer advisory services are not your target.

2. Book of life

Many advisors, especially when they are new to the business, put together a list of all the people they know to create a “suspect” list. This book of life spreadsheet is focused on who you know, such as friends and family but not limited to those groups. Many FAs have explored this area, but may have not been formal about it or updated it in many years.

Using Asset-Map, you can explore their interest in seeing their entire financial life in a single page and let them know you will help identify any needs or shortfalls they may have in their financial lives, at no cost or obligation. I am sure you can develop a discussion that works for you.

3. Prospect events (virtual/live) or public forums

Unlike the other approaches, events are one-on-many versus one-on-one efforts. Asset-Map can be used via webinars as well as live and interactively to show its flexibility using the steps discussed above.

Despite the appeal of webinars, live events have many significant advantages that I would not overlook. There is no replacement for the connectedness, interactivity, and after-event discussions. They can be more costly and challenging to gain attendance. However, investors willing to make the effort can be more committed than those willing to view a 40-minute webinar.

Webinars and live events can be coordinated, where webinars are used first and followed by live events to get to another level of detail where you can offer individual sessions to develop personized maps to individual families.

4. LinkedIn

For clients with whom you are connected on LinkedIn and have a solid relationship, review the their connections (your second-degree connections), to determine which could be qualified introductions, e.g., job title, company, employment history, education, etc.

Assuming they have a relationship with the person, there are effective approaches to ask your client if they would be willing to introduce you to a connection using Asset-Map as a vehicle.

5. Drip campaigns

Drip programs keep your name in front of prospects. It’s rare that advisors will directly acquire clients from mailings, so follow-up phone calls are musts to ask about interest in the material you sent or if they would prefer different material.

Sending articles about and sharing how Asset-Map reports have helped others can introduce the tool to prospects. Then you can follow up and offer personalized maps.

I suggest caution with generalized drip campaigns for several reasons:

  • Despite claims that articles sent to prospects and clients are curated (by definition, curated means “carefully chosen and thoughtfully organized”), they are generally not truly personalized as they relate to specific individuals.
  • It is reported that, “email sends per day worldwide…are expected to grow to almost 320 billion daily emails in 2021.” People are already inundated.
  • Most generalized drip campaigns include six or more pieces. While many or most are interesting, people don’t want to read that much every week or month.

It is relatively inexpensive and might keep your name “topper” in mind, but drip programs are low impact. Yet, if you target your lists and topics, a drip campaign may be of value. For example, for investors who would appreciate a highly pragmatic and visually appealing, flexible financial planning process, Asset-Map can be the basis for an effective, specific drip program.

In summary

I have outlined the best eight business development approaches using Asset-Map as a tool. For the past 20 years in working with financial advisors, I have used these same eight approaches in similar fashion with and without Asset-Map. Asset-Map offers another level and a natural entry point for FAs to help clients with their financial well-being.

David Leo has not been compensated by and has no commercial relationship with Asset Map.

David Leo is Founder of Street Smart Research Group LLC. He is an author, speaker, coach, consultant, and trainer to financial professionals. David is an experienced business manager who works solely with Financial Advisors, Planners and firms who want to organize, structure & grow their businesses by attracting, servicing, and retaining affluent clients.

If you would like additional details or have any questions about his articles or an interest in coaching schedule a free 45 Minute Strategy Session @ or contact him @ [email protected]. Call 212-598-4229 (Office) or 917-379-1249 (Cell) and visit @

1 The Financial Advisor's Success Manual: How to Structure and Grow Your Financial Services Practice – December 7, 2017


3 “Highly” satisfied is almost a 5 out of 5 rating. “Satisfied” is NOT equal to “Highly” satisfied.

More 529/College Planning Topics >