Advisorist Podcast – Episode 10: 5 Steps To More Seminar Sales With Karl Wolf


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With a batting average of about 70%, Karl Wolf is an expert at generating new sales and clients with seminars. Here’s his outline for seminar success.

Karl Wolf is the founder of Atlantic Asset Management, and one of the most successful and talented speakers in the industry. He holds more than 50 workshops a year and regularly enjoys 70% conversion rates for new appointment generation – directly from his seminars.

Karl Wolf shares expert seminar success tips directly from the front lines, including:

  • Why your seminar ISN’T about selling your product, and what to sell instead
  • How to manage unruly attendees in a way that BUILDS relationships, instead of ending them
  • The ONLY metric you need to measure seminar success
  • Why you SHOULDN’T buy dinner for your audience, and what to focus on instead
  • How the room set-up can make or break your seminar
  • A SIMPLE “two-part” seminar technique that skyrockets conversions
  • Why, and what, you need to GIVE attendees for better follow-up conversions
  • The KEY role email plays in long-term sales conversions from seminars
  • The ONE thing you need to understand to keep high ratios all year round
  • How to give yourself a 75% chance to close at every follow up appointment
  • One simple story you can swipe to sell more annuities
  • How to EASILY compete with the Big Boys in the financial markets


Note:  This Advisorist Podcast transcript was created in part by computers – Please forgive any grammatical or spelling errors…or sentences that just downright don’t seem to make sense!  Please compare to corresponding audio if clarity is needed.

Jeremiah: Hi, this is Jeremy Desmarais, Founder of Advisorist and today’s podcast is being hosted by my good friend Frank Maselli. Frank is arguably one of the top trainers in the entire insurance and financial services industry, a sought after keynote speaker who specializes in teaching insurance and financial advisors the advanced strategies to more powerful sales presentations, and more dynamic in-person seminars. Frank is the author of several best-selling books and is a highly sought after consultant and keynote speaker. Here he is, Frank Maselli.

Frank: I’m Frank Maselli, and you’re listening to Advisor Academy. Karl Wolf has had and is still having an incredible financial career. He’s currently an advisor, a retirement specialist, and a registered financial fiduciary in Bonita Springs, Florida right next door to Naples on the gorgeous West Coast. Karl is the Founder of Atlantic Asset Management and has been doing seminars and workshops in some form for over 35 years. His firm today does over 50 workshops per year and he’s one of the most successful, enjoyable, and naturally talented speakers in the industry. I first met Karl back in 2006 at a program called Seminar Success – University in Tampa. Most recently, he was the person who first turned me on to White Glove Workshops, which is why I’ve asked him to be the first interview on this podcast. Karl’s connection to White Glove goes back almost to their beginning. Since then, he’s been generating an appointment ratio of over 70% from Social Security seminars in Naples, one of the wealthiest communities in the nation. Karl’s story is about determination, persistence, hard work, and tremendous joy. His success comes from giving his audiences and clients overwhelming value, wisdom, and insight. You can learn more about Karl in the show notes, but I really think you’re going to enjoy listening to his story and applying some of his ideas. With that, please join me in welcoming Karl Wolf. Well, good morning, everybody. We’re very blessed to on our first podcast to have a special guest, somebody that I’ve wanted to talk to for a long time. Obviously, Karl and I, we go way back, but I wanted him on the first podcast for this group because Karl was the one who turned me on to White Glove. It’s been a fantastic journey. Karl’s one of the great industry experts on seminars and workshops. I think I can give you that title. Would you agree with that, Karl?

Karl: You look, you’re really, really, really long in the tooth. We’ve been in the business for 35 years, and you should know about something to have survived this long.

Frank: I mean, you’ve probably done more seminars than the vast majority of Advisor, but any hundred advisors put together. I mean, how many seminars would you say you’ve done in your career? Just roughly.

Karl: Oh my God. Right now we’re doing 50 a year and in the days when I met you at the Seminar University with response mail in Tampa, Florida, I was a General Manager of Amerilife Health & Services. I had about 20 agents working for me and we were doing 7 seminars a week in the agency every week. It was a lot of fun.

Frank: Let’s start at the beginning. Let’s get a little bit of history on you. I’m going to post your bio in the show notes and I think it’d be great for people to get to know you a little bit. But take us back. So you started the same year I did in the business, 1983, and you were up in Canada, right?

Karl: I was up in Canada. I was looking to get into the United States to work. It was very difficult back in the 70’s and 80’s. To give you an example, when I applied to the US government to let me in there were quotas and unless you had direct family down here, you were not able to get in that way, but they wanted $150,000 for you to invest in the business to even be considered to come into the country.

Frank: Wow.

Karl: Needless to say, when you look at the kind of money that people were making in the 60’s and 70’s, I mean, $10,000 a year was big money. I certainly didn’t have $150,000 so I was very fortunate to have one of the people that had worked with from a different industry recommend my name to a company called Colonial Life & Accident of Columbia, South Carolina, who are leaders in the work side marketing arena. The three principles were told by this individual that had been hired by them. Go find Karl Wolf, and he’ll help you build Canada because they’re moving to expand into the Canadian market. To make a long story short, they hired me, and I went to work for them. They were sales people and they dangled the keys to brand new Cadillac if you’re half as good as you were. I’m a competitor, so I don’t play for 2nd. I ended up being the Number 1 agent in the country. Based on that, meeting my goals, they offered me the position of Director of Field Development for the whole country. I was 31 or 32 years old, but I got into the US. They were very well connected in the industry. They were politically connected and I was able to get in and I got my permits and then of course, I came down, went to work and traveled the country for basically 10 years in 1983. It was a great journey. It gave me an opportunity to see America. Couple of the places I went to, including the Carolinas. I didn’t understand them because they talked about ‘y’all’, ‘yonder’, different language, but it brought me into the US. As I came in, once I came off the road, then I had an opportunity to kind of pick and choose on where I wanted to work. I went from New Baltimore, which was my first place where I ended up getting married to my wife, and then Atlanta in the late 80’s, from there to Florida. I first started working to Florida in 1988. The advantage of doing that, of course, was that I saw that Florida was different. It was always especially for those that lived in the snow country to someday I want to play golf in Florida, someday I don’t want to see any more snow, eat snow cones, trouble snow, get rid of snow all together and then in 1992-1993 became State Manager in Florida and basically did set up the enrollment conditions for the employee benefits for all the state employees in Florida.

Frank: Wow.

Karl: It was a great deal. In 1996, I had an opportunity to go to Atlantic City by invitation to do the enrollment of PCS Services, which was Trump casino. That was the biggest project I ever put in front of. They said, “We want you to coordinate the enrollment of 25,000 employees.”

Frank: Wow.

Karl: For six months, my wife and I lived on the Boardwalk in Atlantic City. What an education, it taught me to work precisely to the clock because we had to see everybody on the Section 125 enrollment and we had 20 minutes to see every employee. The pit bosses were standing there with their stopwatches and if you went over 20 minutes, we got kicked out of the case. So that was really real really great. From there on, my wife and I went to Florida. In 1997, I started working in Florida, and I did an interview with an agency called the Barrel Life & Health Services. They invited me, and they were interviewing me, and the Monday meeting had 20 agents, and they had a routine, and they handed out paychecks. One of the things that happened is this, they were handing out paychecks that were like $7,000. I go, “Oh my god, these guys must be drug dealers. How are they making that kind of commission?” But they were selling annuities and I didn’t even know how to spell annuity, let them know what it was. Amerilife & Health Service is a very successful agency. They had 32 offices throughout Florida, the Carolinas, and Georgia. They sold medicare supplements, long term care, life insurance, and started to get into the annuities. That was really my first foray. Within two years, I became the General Manager of the agency in Spring Hill, Central Florida. That’s when I started doing seminars. Now, when I first started with them because I was brand new and I wasn’t the top agent I had never done seminars. I had an opportunity to watch a couple of those top agents that were given the right to do seminars. After about three months they said, “All right, you’re on.” So here I am. I mean, I’m nervous, I’m studying, and I remember the old 3×5 cards, right? I took my notes, I had them in order, and finally go to the seminar. I’m shaking like a leaf. It takes me back when I was 16 years old getting from my driver’s license, and back then there was no automatics and you had a standard and you had to shift gears. My hand was shaken so bad that I grinded the gears, and needless to say I failed. But when I did my first seminar, I went out there as nervous as hell and because I was reading from the cue cards, and then I dropped the cards. When I went to pick up the cards, I dropped another 10 or 15 cards. Now, I was out of rotation and I was out of sequence. I took the cards and I threw them up in the air and I said, “I’ve been doing workshops for years, I talk from the heart so let me tell you the way it really is.” When the cards were no longer there, I talked about what I wanted to talk about and it brought me back to one of the things that you taught me which is people don’t know what you don’t know.

Frank: Right.

Karl: That was my first workshop and it worked out really, really well. So 2003 I had the opportunity with Amerilife to take the wife checked into the Ritz Carlton in Naples and we watched to consider taking over the operation in both Bonita Springs and what’s not to like about Naples. Everybody is a millionaire. There’s more money down here than God but you have to make sure that you know what you’re doing. One of the tough things about the market in Naples is they have 3,500 financial advisors.

Frank: That’s enourmous.

Karl: It’s a huge market. Everybody that walks through my door has a broker, and it was Fidelity, Wells Fargo, you name it. I mean, there’s 3500. So what we had to do was a little different. In 2006, I opened up my own shop, and like you did going into business. It was then that I started more getting into retirement planning, estate planning, and my only method of getting in front of people was seminars, and through response mail. These guys are great and then I got the invite, “Come to Tampa for the 3 day seminar, Success University”, ran by the great infamous Frank Maselli. I mean, I remember like daylight, but it really did change my life. It really taught me how to do seminars properly. Doing seminars, I learned you’re not selling a product, but first of all, selling yourself. Talking about a concept, and then helping people and then how to deal with people that could cause you to deviate from what you’re trying to do. One of the things that I’ve learned from you that I used immediately after the seminar is how to handle people that are unruly, the Bronx. Let me tell you about seminars here in Naples. First of all, it’s all feeding. I used to complain in Vero Beach about having to pay $18 a meal including tip and gratuity overlooking the ocean on the East Coast of Florida. Here in Naples, it’s $150 bucks a head. It’s $125 plus tip plus gratuity, and boy, you couldn’t make a mistake. What happens in Naples with all the old people at four o’clock they have happy hour. If you did my seminar at Chris Ruth’s Chris Steak House, Fleming Steak House, The Capital Grille and these people go early at 4PM, they get half price drinks, and then they walk into your seminar and of course, what you end up doing is, you remember the invitations they sent out through response mail. Wedding invitations is a buck ahead, and they put in the invitation, two tickets to invite two couples. So all I could think of is, “Okay, we get the husband and wife and they bring two friends.” That’s 6 people times $150, $900 bucks a table. Now when they come in during the happy hour, they’re half in the bag. Here they come staggering into the seminar and not only are they drunk, but they’re unruly, they’re not listening. I remember one guy was just going to overtalk me and was very, very interruptive and then I remembered a great Maselli thing, you make them your friends. I had asked him very nicely, “I appreciate it if you let me do the workshop.” The more I talked, the more he was confronting me and so I eventually went over there and told them, “Listen, everybody’s listened to you, not me so I’m going to give you the mic. Stand up for a second.” I gave him the mic. I sat down in his chair, and I said, “Go ahead, you’re on.” He stood there and then I said, “Look, I need your help. You know, obviously you know this stuff and I want to use you as part of the workshop.” Then I made him my friend and everything went really well from there.

Frank: That’s brilliant. That is very good.

Karl: A couple of really great things that happened to me when I was in Spring Hill, Maryland, Boston Cooker was the name of the restaurant and they built a room behind a restaurant that would sit 35-40 people. I was there doing a seminar on 9/11/2001. About nine o’clock, the General Manager came in and put on the TV and of course, there was a picture of airplanes running into the Twin Towers. I mean, what the hell do you do when that happens? I thought it was like the war of two worlds. I thought somebody was putting on a joke and of course, there was it was a reality. So let me tell you, it shows you what can happen immediately. Another situation that happened at the Boston Cooker is I’m doing a presentation, and I’m in the horseshoe and I had the dining table surrounding me so I had an opportunity to kind of walk around in the center of the room doing a seminar, all of a sudden, the guy’s wobbling falls over and ends up landing on the floor has a heart attack and now he’s lying there. Of course, I gotta stop, call 911, they come in, they put the guy on a stretcher, and they wheel him out and then somebody in the seminar says, “I hope he’s got insurance.” Thank God, it wasn’t me but it’s been a great ride.

Frank: It has been. It’s really extraordinary. Let’s back up. So we met at RME. RME obviously used to be the Gods of the direct mail marketing. Many advisors have had the experience that they started with direct mail, they started with the dinners, the plate liquors, the whole nine yards, but I remember starting with that as well. The response rate was 3% and then it dropped to 2% and then it dropped to 1%. Did you feel that decline? Because direct mail kind of fade in there for a while.

Karl: Of course. Let me tell you something, I learned very quickly that I do one of these seminars and people would come up and say, “Karl, you are the finest presenter and speaker that I’ve ever heard and this is really going to change my life.” I’m going, “Wow, I booked a ton of appointments”, and then realized very quickly that out of the 40 people in the room, you would end up with maybe 3 or 4 appointments. You’d have all these people coming up to you saying how great you were and then I realized that these people all went to the same university and so the seminar Success University, they want to play it like your university because they all said the same thing. Your best, you’re the greatest, you’re going to change my life, but they never came in.

Frank: I tell people, the only evaluation that matters is did they set an appointment?

Karl: Exactly.

Frank: Because they’ll tell you great things. You should know people will always be gracious and most of the time, they’ll be very gracious but you and I both learned that the hard way. So you used to feed them and Ruth’s Chris is the standard model I guess, that’s a lot of fun. So now let’s back up, I’m gonna get technical with you because your skills, you really are at a high level and a lot of advisors that are listening to this are either brand new to workshops, or maybe struggling with workshops. These are the folks that I coach, and I try to help them with White Glove. When you feed them, walk me through that. You start the evening, you do the entire presentation, and then feed them?

Karl: I don’t feed them anymore, Frank. I’ll tell you why. I found that when people come to my workshops now, living in Naples as I mentioned, 150 bucks a head. I live in a country club, and I get the invitations like I used to send out and I get invited to Ruth’s Chris, to Fleming Steak House to listen to a social security workshop. Obviously, these are the brokers. These are Wells Fargo, and Fidelity that are paying for the brokers to go to seminars. So when I do my seminars, I know they’re coming for one reason and one reason only. They’re coming to learn.

Frank: Right. You switch to the educational model that White Glove talks about.

Karl: Exactly. When people come into the room, in fact I get cocky about it, I say, “If you’re here for free steak dinner in the seminar, you’re at the wrong workshop. You’re here for one reason. You’re here to learn about things like will definitely make a difference as you prepare for your retirement. We’re going to teach you how to prevent the mistakes that I’ve seen over 35 years.” So people pay attention, people don’t expect to get fed. I mean, I don’t even bring water. I mean people come and I mean I’ve been doing them with White Gloves now for three and a half years and it has worked out phenomenally.

Frank: People love the educational event.

Karl: They’re for profit.

Frank: That’s right. They don’t feel that sales pressure. With the dinners and the lunches, they expect the advisor is going to try to sell them something, they’re guarded, they’re jaded, and then they escape as fast as they can. But, with the educational stuff, they know you’re there to help them so at least that’s my perception anyway. I think you shared that.

Karl: Well, it really is a wonderful thing. Even on the way back to the office this morning I had first appointment off site and came into the office, “I have your tape, your little disk in my car that I listen to.” Anybody wanting to do seminars, you get a hold of that discussion for God knows how many years and but it’s the same message each and every time. You go up there, the sale is the appointment. You’re not selling product, you’re not selling concept, you’re selling the appointment. It’s an opportunity for you to get in front of the room under the proper conditions, and based on what they put on a dog and pony show. That’s where I would definitely recommend what you offer especially for the people with White Gloves is do an audio, do a video, send it to Frank Maselli. We will definitely critique it for you, good or bad, but it will change your life. You will be better by doing the next workshop.

Frank: Yeah, we get them. I mean, they’re coming in like crazy right now but it’s a lot of fun. I tell you. I see a lot of common mistakes on the videos and I’m sure you do as well with the advisors that you’ve trained. They start out very, very focused on the content and then they begin to realize that the content isn’t doing the job.

Karl: It’s not.

Frank: I mean, what is this, is this about you wouldn’t you say?

Karl: Exactly. It really is about you. One of the things that I do and I’m never going to be Frank Maselli but I go out there and I make people laugh, I get in front of them, I interact with the audience. When I set up the room, and I have the opportunity to do that, I have tables, the chairs if possible so they can take notes and then I have a row in the middle so that I can walk up and down the row. I’ve got my bluetooth so I can move the slides and the presentation but being able to interact and using the people and having them respond to question, I end up making friends with these people. It’s very important. They’re relaxed. I’m telling them, “You’re not going to buy anything, I’m not here to sell you anything. We’re going to educate you on things that are going to be very, very, very important as you prepare for your retirement. The most important thing is for you not to make the mistakes that I’ve seen over the years that people have made where at age 85 they end up running out of money out living their retirement.” There are some loose solutions out there that I want to teach you so that you don’t make the mistakes from Stephen Dellelo, who you know who’s out of Boston, one of the things that he does in his workshop is a two-part seminar. The first part is in general overview on taxes and retirement, retirement income planning, and social security. The second part, the most important part, of this seminar is the follow up session. The opportunity for you to come on in and talk specifically about your unique situation, your retirement situation, your financial situation, address the unique concerns that you have listed on the seminar sheet that they turn in, and then I prepare deployment from them. It’s pretty amazing that people do come in. You have to give them something of value for them to come to that follow up session. Now one of the things that we end up doing in the Social Security workshop, which here in Naples works very well, we did two seminars yesterday here in Naples. This is the end of the year, people are already starting to pack to head back north, the snowbirds, the migratory journey back up the Michigan, Wisconsin, and the Northeast. These are the last two seminars for a month while the people are traveling back. So what we talked about yesterday, of course, is for the people to come on in, grab the information, do the follow up session. We’ll give you materials to think about so that when you come back in the fall, there’s an opportunity then to do something, which is the second part of your setting appointment presentation. Number one, you’re going to like what we do, you’re going to love it, and we’re going to end up getting ready to do some business. Number two is the timing might not be right.

Frank: Right.

Karl: Let us give you some materials, talk specifically about your needs and then we’ll give you some materials to take back with you and hope when you come back in the fall, we’ll then move forward.

Frank: That brings up a question. I don’t mean to interrupt. Do you stay in touch with them over the summer months?

Karl: Oh, absolutely.

Frank: What do you do? Just emails?

Karl: Yeah. I’ve hired a new kid by the name of Conrad Proust, you met him at the Host University. I mean, I call him Beethoven because he plays the keyboard, the computer keyboard like play piano. He’s doing things on the computer I never even knew existed. I mean, changing the Power Points, adding things to it, and he’s brilliant. We then end up doing, he set up a drip email, everybody that comes to the workshops in the computer, and one of the things that you say on your disk is if you’ve come to the seminar, I own you, you’re never going to get rid of me. That’s one of the things that Conrad is able to do now. We drip on them. The hope is that eventually they will end up coming back. Doing podcasts are real wealth. These are things that they’re continually in front of us. If they don’t like us, they can disengage, or unsubscribe. That’s working out the better and better and better. So moving into the 22nd century, if you will, with social media, with Facebook, and LinkedIn, and all those things, listen, I’m an old guy. These are things that I didn’t grow up with. My grandkids know more than I do about the computer. So the head is a youngster, Conrad. He’s got a master’s degree in financial planning, and he has masters in financial planning.

Frank: They do now.

Karl: They do know. This is the new gender. This is the new people coming in. He’s been a great addition to the organization. He’s only been here for weeks. I mean, he’s really changed the landscape of what we do and the direction that we’re going in.

Frank: That’s great.

Karl: That really, really helps.

Frank: Excluding the seasonal people, when you’re in season down in Florida, and you’re doing workshops, what would you estimate your appointment ratio to be?  

Karl: My appointment ratios are good all year round. The only thing that we do differently now is being able to read and understand your demographic. The people that stay in Naples, obviously, they’ve already made the decision to live here around. They also have money, they need money to live down here but some of these people are still working. We have more people now doing social security because if they’re working, they’re more in their late 50’s, early 60’s so the Social Security workshop, I mean, yesterday, we had 55 people in the room. Of the 55 people, we had 38 buying units. Out of the 38 buying units, we had 32 people turn in their seminar sheets wanting a follow up consultation.

Frank: Wow. That is off the charts. That’s fantastic.

Karl: One of the things that we do is if you’re familiar with the family estate organizer that Clarity 2 Prosperity has developed with Jason Smith. I bring the families a state organizer, a survivor checklist, I bring that and hold it up on the front of the room, I also have a social security maximization analysis report, which gives you the 4 best options of taking social security based on what your retirement needs are taking into account, social security, required minimum distribution from IRAs, and 401k plus income if you’re still working in some capacity and to be able to give that to people which is important to chart a retirement direction. You come in, we’ll give it to you for free as well as a family estate organizer, and then one of the insurance companies that we work with has a social security book, which is beautiful hardcover book that’s 21 pages. It has everything you want to know about Medicare and social security. So if you come in, you get 3 free things that were really going to help you change your retirement.

Frank: Wow.

Karl: So they come in. Now once they come into the office, I have an opportunity to take a swing at the pitch right then, then it’s up to you. That’s all you really want is you want the opportunity to sell them on the most important part of the workshop, which is the follow up appointment. Now when they come in and they bring their social security earnings is statements which I tell them they need to bring in if they want to report and they check that off on the seminar sheet. When they come in, “Here’s my earnings, my wife’s earnings and we’d like one of these reports.” Well, of course, we’ll have to set up a follow up consultation next week because, God, we had like 70 people in the room and we got a bunch of these reports. So come in next week, and I’ll have the report for you. But in order to give the report, let’s find out what do you have in 401k and IRAs. Do you have a pension? You see where we’re going. Now I’m finding out everything about them and then when they come in next week, if they come back for a second appointment, there’s a 75% chance we’re going to be doing business.

Frank: Absolutely, yeah. I mean, you’re gaining commitment and they’re investing in the process. But you’re giving away a lot of great stuff, though, Karl, that’s really, that’s nice. Let me ask you this. So somebody comes in to see you. First appointment, you’ve given them the stuff, they go, “Okay, Karl, it’s great. We want to think about it.” That’s a classic. That’s usually a classic put off. We like to think about it. Do you have a response to that or you have a standard response or you just wing it as you feel appropriate at the moment?

Karl: Well, one of the things that I’ve learned many years ago from the good old lead DuBois days. I don’t know if you know who he was but when I was the Director of Training there and their training system was DuBois. He was a guy out of the 50’s but, one of the things that we used to teach was people don’t want to think, people like to feel. So I know that you are a proponent of emotions and when people want to think about it I never say, “Well, what do you think you like it? How do you feel? In your opinion, do you feel that this product might enhance your retirement plans?” All you want to be able to do when people want to think about it is, “Fine, in your opinion, what are your concerns?” I very seldom get thrown off track. If people don’t have enough information, then you get back on the sales track and give them a little bit more information. Once you see the sparkling on and then they unlock their arms and they lean forward and they ask, “How much is it going to be? Am I going to be able to afford this?” It’s a done deal, right? But that’s what you learn in training. If you give people exactly what they’re looking for, and the fact finder that we do with Clarity 2 Prosperity, we find out what’s important to people. Once I’ve got it listed down then my question is, “Well, Frank, if we can get you exactly what you’re looking for and I’ve list what we’ve written down, is there anything else that you need in order to put together secure retirement, and then we can add a couple things? But if I can give you two things that you’ve listed here, give you the safety, give you an income that you cannot live not only for you, but also for your spouse, and then also leave a legacy to your family. If we can do that with an organization or a company, this A ratings that you need, then in your opinion, do you feel that we’re going to move forward?

Frank: You take it out of the realm of thought and you bring it to the field.

Karl: Exactly. I paint pictures. Ten years from now, Frank, and here you are with your wife, and the kids are married, and you’ve got grandkids, and you’re putting together a retirement plan that is not only going to provide for you but the things that you need in retirement. You’re never going to run out of money and here you are, the grandkids come and the kids come and you show the kids that you have a retirement plan that’s not going to involve them for long term care needs. When all was said and done, you and the grandkids, and the kids are going to end up having a legacy when you’re no longer there. Isn’t that what you really, really want? If they say yes, it’s over. So you got to paint the pictures and use the emotions and this worked out very well for us. So a lot of people really don’t think I very seldom get I want to think about because of the way I do my presentation.

Frank: Okay. All right. Well, that’s good. Do you notice a difference? When you’re talking to a couple, you explore the difference between husband’s goals and wife’s goals. Is that something that comes up frequently? I’m seeing that more and more. They’re going to outlive all of us, obviously, they’re gonna inherit all the money and sometimes their needs and desires may not be aligned. Do you sense that at all?

Karl: Oh, absolutely. Men are Kamikaze. I mean, give them a machete and send them out into the woods, they’re going to chop down everything. They’re at risk, they want to stay in the market where the wife is, “Hey, I’m going to outlive you. What are you going to do for me when you’re no longer here?” One of the things that we try to do, of course, is when we’re doing social security, and when we’re doing the retirement workshops, when I get into the audience, I pick a couple and say, “Look, how many people in the room have pensions?” Of course, a number of people put up their hands, there’s still some out there. I say, “Let’s use you as an example. I’m not going to ask you what your pension is but let’s say that you have a pension that is $50,000. Now, when you pass away, you’ve already told me that you are on an option where the joint survivorship is 50% to the spouse at that.” That if you have a $50,000 pension, and that you end up passing away, your wife ends up getting half of that or $25,000. What that means then the other $25,000 that was coming into the family is no longer there because you’re gone. On top of that, when you pass away, your wife as a widow only gets to keep one of the social security. Yours is 2500 a month, which is 30,000. The wife because she have a career but then raised three children, and then look going back to work only is going to get 1,500 dollars a month or 18,000 a year. Obviously, when you pass away, she ends up with the $30,000 but then is no longer getting her own at $18,000, she loses $25,000 pension, which is $43,000 now not coming into the family at a time when she really needs it more because filing individual taxes at a higher tax rate, less deduction. She’s ending up getting $43,000 less, what is going to happen to the wife? Don’t you want her to be happy? That’s when you get into talking about life insurance and so forth. The wives, they’re not risk takers. They like the fixed indexed annuities. They want the guaranteed lifetime income that can’t be outlived, whereas with the guys there in the market, but happy wife happy life. I get the buying signals from the wife. If the wife come to the appointment then I hone in on the wife, if the wife is shaking her head positively, then I know I’m going in the right direction. Now you also want to keep him happy so take a bit of the money and put it into a wealth management platform so that he can play with the funds or the stocks, whatever. But if I can put a holistic plan together, that gives them a guaranteed lifetime income that gives them an element of safety from the market losses that provides for funds if in one long term care happens then all is good.

Frank: That’s a home run. Absolutely. You’re full spectrum planning, you do everything.

Karl: Absolutely.

Frank: Yeah. There are a lot of folks out there who are just one thing. They’re just annuities, or they’re just AUM. Any recommendations for them? I mean, would you suggest that they expand their reach at all?

Karl: Absolutely Frank. I mean, listen, I’m not a brain surgeon, I’m not the smartest guy in the world, but I’m smart enough to realize that I don’t have the money of a Merrill Lynch, Bank of America, Wells Fargo, Edward Jones, A.G. Edwards, and on and on. What I have to be able to do is I have to do something different that’s the brokers don’t do. You are in a broker’s world, you work for Dean Witter, Morgan Stanley. Come on. I’ve played golf with guys that make a million dollars a year doing nothing but managing funds. It’s amazing. But, they don’t talk about social security. Give me an example. One of the people talk to me at the Social Security workshop that ended above 7:30 last night. They said, “We have a broker”, and I’m not going to mention the agency his with buddies with one of the numerous agencies and my husband, you know, here we are April 4 last night. I talked about making sure to post your required minimum distribution by April 1, otherwise, you end up with a penalty. The penalty is 50%. Why did my broker and a half a million dollar IRA at age 70 and a half $18,250? Your penalty is $9,125.

Frank: Oh, my god, you’re kidding me.

Karl: You see? Brokers aren’t certified Social Security instructors. One of the things that I would recommend that was available through White Glove is Marc Kiner who owns the NSSA, which is the National Social Security Association. For $500, you do his certification course and you become a certified Social Security instructor. When I get in front of the room, and I told the people that John and I here are the only two certified Social Security instructors through the NSSA and southwest Florida, people pay attention. I guarantee you. Fidelity guys, Morgan Stanley guys, Merrill Lynch guys, they’re not certified instructors because they don’t even do social security. Having that designation is very, very important. One of the other hotspots today. First thing people ask when they come through the door, “Are you a fiduciary?”

Frank: Yeah, big time.

Karl: Big time. So, and I got this from Stephen Dellelo. He says, “Karl, go take the course. Go take the test, and become a certified financial fiduciary.” For 1,200 dollars, I become a CFS. I put down my business cards and we even have a banner in the office where it says ‘Certified Financial Fiduciary’. Most of the people don’t even know what it means but they know enough from their friends that ask them or on the internet, when they search, find out if they’re a fiduciary and believe me, they’ll ask you. If you can respond positively to that, now we get down to business.

Frank: There’s only one good answer to, “Are you a fiduciary?”

Karl: Exactly. You have to keep the woman happy in the room, you really do.

Frank: That’s incredible.

Karl: They end up making the decision. If the woman says now it’s over, then I don’t care what the guy says.

Frank: That’s right.

Karl: They’re gonna listen to the wife.

Frank: Back up a second. You do social security seminars in one of the wealthiest markets in the country. Now to the average workshop advisor, they would say, “Well, that’s the wrong place to do social security. People wouldn’t be interested in social security in such a wealthy environment”, but they are, they’re coming out like crazy for you.

Karl: One of my first social security workshops with White Glove Workshops, and I never forget the date, November 16, 2015, at the Naples library. I get a phone call on Friday the 13th and it’s White Glove and you had requested doing some workshops with us, but we already had an agent in the Naples area. The territory is covered by him, but will put you on a waiting list. Sure enough, on Friday the 13th, I get a phone call. It’s White Glove. We have 75 people coming to the Naples library on Monday, the 16th and the first thing I’m seeing is Friday the 13th. This is a joke. Sure enough, I said to them, “Well, do you have a PowerPoint?” Yes, we do. Then send it to me while we’re talking on the phone. I open up the file, looked at the thing and I said, “Sign me up. When does it start? Six o’clock.” I said, “I’ll be there.” When I show up at the seminar, there’s like 75 people in the Naples Main library. It’s pretty amazing. One of the appointments out of that library, we booked I don’t know about 60% of the people to come in for the follow up session. One of the guys that came in, he sat down, we do the Fact Finder. It turns out, the guy wanted to know, what should I do? He was like 61 years old going to be 62 soon. What opinion do you feel? What should I do? 60, 66, 70. The guy was worth $8 million. I’m going, “You’re worth 8 million dollars, who cares?”

Frank: He was wondering when he should start taking social security.

Karl: Think about it. Think about it. The people that are successful, those that have 6, 8 or 10 million or more even 2 or 3 million. They were very successful business owners, number one are executives of major corporations. They didn’t get to where they were in their working life by making mistakes and by being idiots. Even people that are worth 6, 7, 8 million dollars don’t want to give away money frivolously. They want to keep every dime they can. One of the things that I find out with social security, the numbers 10,000 people every day turning 65. The demographic on the social security workshops are 58 to 66. I get people in their middle 50’s, I get people that are 60-63. So it gives me an opportunity then to make sure that they don’t end up making the mistake. The rules have changed with social security now. The Bipartisan Act of 2015. One of the changes was you have 11 months and 29 days to think about if you made the right decision on taking social security. If you go 12 months in one day, you’re stuck with your election. 72% of the people take social security early, or their full retirement age. Why? Because they can. So you’re able to educate them on something that they know very little about. It’s amazing how little people know about social security, and then also about Medicare. So what I’m finding on the social security workshops here is everybody is going to be eligible for social security and their advisors aren’t going to be able to talk to them about it intelligently. Their CPA do taxes, they’re not social security experts, and neither are their attorneys. But if I’m a certified social security instructor, I’m going to give them more information than what they’re going to get from social security because when they go over into the social security office after waiting 4 or 5 hours in line, the information that they’re going to end up getting is not going to be the same information that I’m going to be able to educate them on. People that work in social security will be able to answer the question ‘yes or no’. Can I do this? Or can I do that? They’re not going to give you financial advice as to the very best options based on what your other sources of income are as you move into retirement. You tell that story when you’re doing the workshop. I’ve done the taxes and retirement workshop, the retirement income workshop is a great workshop. We did that yesterday morning. Retirement income planning, and then social security in the evening. Social security is all about education. You don’t talk about any products, whereas retirement income planning workshop, you talk about life insurance, you talk about long term care, you talk about fixed annuities, fixed index, variable annuities, mutual funds, ETFs, and so forth. So you have an opportunity to talk about product. One of the things that I’m finding when people come through my door, and if they’re in their early to 60’s, they’ve all got hit in 2008. Some of the old ones got burned in 2000 and they’re realizing now especially after what happened at the end of 2018 where the market went down 25%-30%, I mean my God, they ended up sleepless nights because some of them ended up losing $30,000-$60,000, 60% of their portfolio, 30% of the portfolio. They decided at this age, we haven’t had the big one yet. If I end up losing 50% of my portfolio, what impact is it going to have on my retirement? So when they walk through the door like you in the seminars, this Seminar University, I’m not looking to replace your advisor, but there’s something missing that you’re not getting from your broker. Do you want a little bit about safety? Do you want to talk about the long term care? 70% of us are going to end up with long term care needs before we end passing away. How are you going to pay for it? So I get to do the things that the brokers don’t talk about. That keeps me in business. And as long as people turn 65, I have job security.

Frank: Well, you will for a long time. So big picture, okay, this is great. I mean, you obviously can go on all day. I love listening to just so fantastic wisdom. Talk to the newer advisors out there. Talk to the advisors who are just getting started with workshops who maybe have had their first experience, maybe it didn’t go so well. Now remember, I’m seeing a skewed sample of the White Glove universe. I’m probably seeing people who are not at your level. They’re not at the 70%-80% appointment ratio. What advice would you give a newer seminar workshop presenter?

Karl: First thing I would recommend them to do is to read your book.

Frank: No, don’t do that.

Karl: No. Not because you’re on the other end. But for me, and I’m a great salesman, and I always have been and I don’t remember ever not selling in life. But when you’re going into a special market of doing workshops, there’s nobody better to give me a platform of what needs to be done and what not to do than what I see in your book and listen on your tapes. So that’s the first thing. The second thing that I would recommend if it’s available to them at no cost is to do an audio and the video of the workshop, send it to you to make it better, number two. Then what I would do is I would certify myself in those areas that make you different than the competition. Become a certified instructor with the NSSA. I mean God, it’s what? $400.

Frank: No brainer.

Karl: Yes, a no brainer. You got to study, you got to take the test, proctor an exam, it’s a wonderful thing. Also becoming a CFS. Then look at your look at your demographic and then find out the most important thing for the demographic in the area that you’re living in. The number one concern people have is outliving their money, outliving their income. So talk about some products that give you a guaranteed lifetime income that you can outlive not only for you, but for your spouse. Talk about long term care, the cost of long term care today for a 65 year old getting $100,000 a year is $12,000-$14,000 a year with 20% rate increases every year. It’s not the way to go anymore. Those companies that you know are going out of business. So being able to talk about life insurance, the hybrids that offer long term care, life insurance with accelerated benefits talking about long term care issues and how to pay for it. Now these people that are in their 60’s, they can’t afford long term care have an opportunity of getting funds available through these new products that give them something that they all want. One of the questions I asked my audience yesterday, remember now we had 38 buying units, 50-60 people. Out of the room, how many people in this room have a long term care plan? Seven or eight people put their hand, that’s it. Again, educate yourself on the things that your brokers aren’t going to do. Tax elimination strategies using life insurance to take IRAs and pull one case from taxable with tax free. These are things that the brokers don’t talk about because the wire houses don’t work for brokers to do that. They put blinders on and these are the funds of the week. You know the deal.

Frank: Oh, yeah.

Karl: But we talk about the whole thing. So if you want to develop a successful agency, talk about everything that’s important. We’re certified with CMMS, a Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services, we’re able to talk about Medicare, coach you on Medicare, coach you about the growth plan and the options. I don’t want people to go across the hall to my competitor to do Medicare Supplements because of I can give a Medicare supplements, I can talk about social security. I can give them safe money strategies. I talked about tax elimination strategies. I don’t need to go anywhere else. You know what happens eventually? Karl, we’re going to move the money that we’ve got left with our broker, and we’re going to move it over to PCA and we’re going to allow you to do our whole management platform. And now we have it all.

Frank: That’s right. That’s awesome. Well, listen, buddy, this has been fantastic. So glad you’re our first guest on this program. You are really are shooting lights out. I have to say, I’m very, very pleased and honored that you turned me on to White Glove. I’m not trying to do a White Glove commercial here. White Glove is reinventing the entire game.

Karl: Well, I’ll tell you one thing is one of the things in this business, you never want to burn bridges. When you’re in the business with me, like you 35 years, 36 years now, you develop relationships with some very successful people. Most of them being a heck of a lot smarter than me and make a lot more money than me but we’ve maintained the relationships over the years and that if any of us in our little group find some things that can enhance what someone else may do, we share ideas. One of the things that I end up sharing with them is the platforms like seminars that do really, really well. Then I also turn them on to you. You really did change my life in seminars because I was shoot blind in the early days. Here’s a guy, that’s, first of all, you’re funny, you’re a great speaker to listen to and I really, really believe that if the people at White Glove Workshops had an opportunity to bring you on as a speaker, you really could change the world for those young guys going into the business like made 30 years ago that really needs some structured and discipline. It’s been really a great marriage. I mean, it really is. White Glove, I don’t see me going anywhere else. They keep coming up with more workshops. I’ve tried them all, but I know the ones that worked for me in my area. That’s what I would recommend that to people coming in do is do them all, try them, see which ones work for you and then hone your workshops by using some of the skills that are available through you. It’s an honor to be selected to be part of your first podcast.

Frank: Well, hopefully, I don’t think any of them will be as good as this one but this has been great. I really appreciate your time today. I mean, I didn’t even have to say anything, I just turn the mic over to you and just let you go but that’s just fantastic. Thank you, Karl. Thank you so much for everything you do and for everything you’re doing down there for the people in that marketplace because at the end of the day, and I know you agree with this. It’s not about making more money, it’s about helping people.

Karl: Well, and that’s the most important thing. On my age, and believe me, I’m older than a lot of the people that come to my workshops. People say to me, “Well, what happens when you’re ready to retire?” I tell them, I’ll say, “I am retired.” This is how I envisioned my retirement. I play golf three times a week, I play tennis twice a week, and I get to come to the office in three and a half days a week. One of the things that we always worry about as we get older, do I still have it? Can I still hit a home run? Am I still good enough to close the deal? Am I still good enough to make a difference in people’s lives? One of the opportunities that I have having been in the business at my age, and the people coming in are in my demographic, I have an opportunity of allowing you to learn from the things, the mistakes that other people made over the 35 years of my life. I’ve been where you are. I have lost millions in the market. I have made mistakes but I’m here to share with you some alternatives to prevent you from making the mistakes as you go forward into your retirement. Being old, I go up there. Let me tell you, the last two seminars yesterday was a high. I get out there and I have fun. It’s like going up, the hands are waving, and I’m in the audience like you, I make people laugh, they’re interacting and when people clap and they come up to you and they say, “Karl, this is great and we want to meet with you next week.” Guess what? I want to do this for as long as I’m alive.

Frank: So funny. That people laughing and they go, “How could Mick Jagger or how could The Rolling Stones still be playing at 75 years old?” Well, you know what? This is a drug man, isn’t it? It’s the greatest high in the world.

Karl: I can’t run as fast with these guys but when I get in front of an audience, the audience’s mind. The one thing that I’ve got to recommend is if they’re looking for a venue and I know with White Glove they help you do that but in the library yesterday there’s room for 100 people and they have an overhead projector, they have a room that kind of slams down to the front with the stage, and overhead projector. All I do is plug in and way I go. The one yesterday evening was in the Bonita Springs fire hall, which is the EMS training center and they do their council meetings in there and they have enough room for 100 people. Again, it’s an overhead projector now you don’t even have to plug in. It’s all wireless. It’s all Bluetooth. Thank God I got Conrad hooking me up wirelessly. But, that’s what you want to be able to do. You don’t want things breaking down. Even though I have a screen on the projector, I don’t need it anymore because the venues I rotate. I have 4 venues in this area that I rotate. South, Naples, Bonita Springs in sterile South Fort Myers and then I just rotate Social Security retirement income planning and taxes and retirement. That’s it.

Frank: Beautiful. Karl, thanks so much, buddy. I’ll be seeing you soon man.

Karl: Alright, have a great week. Thanks again.

Frank: You too.


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Jeremiah Desmarais

Jeremiah Desmarais

Jeremiah is the founder and CEO of Advisorist® and is a 23-time award winning financial marketer, a TED speaker and philanthropist. He’s been featured on Forbes, CNN, and Worth. His work has generated over $2 million insurance leads and helped advisors in over 51 countries generate over $300 million in sales commissions. He is the author of the best selling book, SHIFT.

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