Explore Our
“Off The Wall” Blog

Unique, straight-forward, unfiltered opinion on topics of concern for individuals with newfound wealth.

How to Develop Advocates for Consistent, Ideal Referrals


Our first in an ongoing ‘Adviser’s Consultant’ series, featuring successful practice management strategies of advisers.

By Liz Skinner

Read article on InvestmentNews >

Monument Wealth Management depends on its “advocates” for 90% of its new business, so president and co-founder Dean Catino spends much of his days keeping investment banking and other professionals up to speed on what his firm has to offer them.

At least every three months, Mr. Catino, or others from the Alexandria, Va.-based advisory firm, meets with the investment bankers, business brokers and estate-planning attorneys who send Monument Wealth Management the business owners and entrepreneurs who are its ideal clients. Most advisers call these professionals “centers of influence,” but Mr. Catino refers to them as advocates.

Courting them is not a “set it and forget it” kind of an effort, he said.

“You have to be consistent with it and constantly remind your advocates how great you are,” Mr. Catino said. “If they understand what we do, it’s not hard. We are a direct benefit to them.”

The seven-year-old firm, which manages about $200 million from about 50 family relationships, brings on 10 new clients a year on average. Nine of them come through a referral from another professional.

It’s important to show advocates “how you’ll help their clients and how you’ll help [the advocates] if you take on their clients,” Mr. Catino said.

In addition to reciprocally referring clients to advocates, Monument Wealth Management helps these professionals with unrealistic clients who become fixated on getting a certain sky-high price for their business. Mr. Catino and co-founder David Armstrong can help them figure out how much they need in order to have the life they want and how much is “excess,” he said.

Business brokers typically deal with these clients through a particular transaction, which usually lasts 12 to 18 months. After that, a client who may have been worth $500,000 before the sale may now have $25 million, Mr. Catino said. And they’re looking for help.

“Even if [the client] has been working with ‘a guy,’ typically that person isn’t enough anymore,” Mr. Catino said.

Monument Wealth Management hosts signature events for advocates and clients, such as a “Mad Men”-themed March Madness night at a private cigar club. About 45 people came and watched college basketball games and smoked cigars with the firm’s 10 employees last week.

Planning events that people will look forward to every year is important, Mr. Catino said. The venue is important and the quality of any speakers should be paramount considerations.

In addition to hosting events several times a year, Monument Wealth Management brings its advocates to the office regularly to show them how they help clients with comprehensive wealth planning.

“We bring them in and let them know about process, and show them we’re not running this out of a basement,” he said. “People don’t want to make a bad referral.”

Cultivating referrals from other professionals isn’t something that happens overnight, Mr. Catino cautions. It also can take years before the lunches, meetings, events and other personal touches pay off.

One special touch Monument Wealth Management sends to those who refer clients, as well as to clients themselves when they sell firms, is a Louisville Slugger.

“It’s unique,” Mr. Catino said. “It’s not like someone’s going to throw away a baseball bat.”

While it’s important to be consistent and determined in these efforts to draw referrals from other professionals, recognize when such efforts are futile, he said.

For instance, Monument Wealth Management has had disappointing results cultivating new business through relationships with certified public accountants.

The firm knows several good CPAs and recommends clients to them, but doesn’t find those referrals are being reciprocated, Mr. Catino said. Therefore, CPAs are not a central focus of the firm’s efforts.

Tip sheet

  • Find advocates who are in a prime position to refer ideal clients.
  • Figure out how your business can help those advocates do their job better.
  • Make sure advocates understand what your firm can do to help their clients and how you do it better than the competition.
  • Keep your firm top-of-mind with your best advocates through frequent touches, events.
  • Plan events that will be memorable by choosing speakers and locations carefully.
  • Reach out consistently; it can take years for an advocate relationship to pay off.

Read article on InvestmentNews >


Please remember that past performance is no guarantee of future results.  Different types of investments involve varying degrees of risk, and there can be no assurance that the future performance of any specific investment, investment strategy, or product (including the investments and/or investment strategies recommended or undertaken by Monument Capital Management, LLC [“Monument”]), or any non-investment related content, made reference to directly or indirectly in this blog will be profitable, equal any corresponding indicated historical performance level(s), be suitable for your portfolio or individual situation, or prove successful.  Due to various factors, including changing market conditions and/or applicable laws, the content may no longer be reflective of current opinions or positions.  Moreover, you should not assume that any discussion or information contained in this blog serves as the receipt of, or as a substitute for, personalized investment advice from Monument. To the extent that a reader has any questions regarding the applicability of any specific issue discussed above to his/her individual situation, he/she is encouraged to consult with the professional advisor of his/her choosing. No amount of prior experience or success should be construed that a certain level of results or satisfaction will be achieved if Monument is engaged, or continues to be engaged, to provide investment advisory services. Monument is neither a law firm nor a certified public accounting firm and no portion of the blog content should be construed as legal or accounting advice.

A copy of the Monument’s current written disclosure Brochure discussing our advisory services and fees is available for review upon request or at www.monumentwealthmanagement.com/disclosures. Please Note: Monument does not make any representations or warranties as to the accuracy, timeliness, suitability, completeness, or relevance of any information prepared by any unaffiliated third party, whether linked to Monument’s website or blog or incorporated herein, and takes no responsibility for any such content. All such information is provided solely for convenience purposes only and all users thereof should be guided accordingly.

Historical performance results for investment indices, benchmarks, and/or categories have been provided for general informational/comparison purposes only, and generally do not reflect the deduction of transaction and/or custodial charges, the deduction of an investment management fee, nor the impact of taxes, the incurrence of which would have the effect of decreasing historical performance results.  It should not be assumed that your Monument account holdings correspond directly to any comparative indices or categories. Please Also Note: (1) performance results do not reflect the impact of taxes; (2) comparative benchmarks/indices may be more or less volatile than your Monument accounts; and, (3) a description of each comparative benchmark/index is available upon request.

Please Remember: If you are a Monument client, please contact Monument, in writing, if there are any changes in your personal/financial situation or investment objectives for the purpose of reviewing/evaluating/revising our previous recommendations and/or services, or if you would like to impose, add, or to modify any reasonable restrictions to our investment advisory services.  Unless, and until, you notify us, in writing, to the contrary, we shall continue to provide services as we do currently. Please Also Remember to advise us if you have not been receiving account statements (at least quarterly) from the account custodian.

Stay up to date!

Subscribe to our “Off the Wall” Blog for articles and videos on all things wealth management, by all members of our Team. Unlike Facebook, we will never share your data with anyone.