In the more than two decades she has been in financial services, Katrina Lessard has had her share of industry coaching and training. But nothing comes close to what she has experienced with The Elite Advisor program by industry veteran Erin Botsford.

“I have never seen results like I have seen with her class. It’s truly amazing. I am kind of mind blown,” said Lessard, who operates Lessard Wealth Management in Arizona. 

Lessard signed up for the six-month online training course, which promises “all the pieces you need to build the business of your dreams,” in December after learning about it through LPL Financial, with which she is affiliated. She had recently lost her mom and she wanted to make sure that her dad was financially secure. So, working harder and smarter to achieve growth was her focus.

“I wanted to grow my business. I wanted to be a better advisor and that’s what it sounded like she was able to do for me,” Lessard said of Botsford, who modeled the course on her 30-year career as a financial advisor. “It’s literally, ‘Here’s my recipe, follow it exactly. Do as I say and you, too, will have success.’"

Lessard said she dived into the course material and skipped ahead to the section that Botsford’s referred to as “the Secret Sauce,” which explains the language and tools you need to get a positive outcome from a prospect or client, because she had a big prospect meeting coming up. She parroted Botsford during the meeting and it worked, she said. Botsford is big on charging for your financial planning, Lessard noted. “I sold a $2,500 financial plan and at the same time, they said yes, we want to move over all our assets to you as well,” she said. “After that I was, like, this is really something different.”

Botsford, CEO of The Advisor Authority, where she established the program’s Elite Advisor Success System, owned and operated Botsford Financial Group, an LPL-affiliated firm in Frisco, Texas, and Atlanta.-based-LPL-affiliated firm, before selling it to Merit Financial Group in 2018 for “a very healthy multiple.” The deal created a super-OSJ with $2.6 billion in total client assets.

Botsford, who has appeared multiple times on Barron's list of the Top 100 Women Financial Advisors and Top 100 Independent Financial Advisors, is also an author and frequent speaker at many industry events, including the Invest In Women conference, sponsored by Financial Advisor. Her second book, "Seven Figure Firm," explains how she built a firm with seven figures in revenue and nine figures in assets under management.

It was in 2015 after she had “essentially worked herself out of a job” at her firm that she got the idea to create the online course, which is based on questions she solicited from advisors. Botsford said that in her many years of attending business coaching, she has never found one where the coach was a financial advisor, and the session tailored to her business. In building the Elite Advisor Program, she wanted it to be prescriptive in nature such that “an advisor could copy every word I said to every prospect to get them to say yes,” she said. “I call it a modeling program, they can model every aspect of my business, so it doesn’t take them 15 years and lots of mistakes to figure it out.”   

The five-module online training course, which went live in 2019, consists of one subject area per month, plus a live monthly Q&A call with Botsford and her team. In addition to the "secret sauce" of learning how to win a prospect, the course focuses on how to master your mindset to get you to the next level, how to attract clients in less time with less money, how to train your staff to make your business efficient, and how to hire and implement the best compensation models to create your dream team.  

The program costs $10,000 and there is a monthly fee of $195 for those who stay on after the six months. Botsford noted that most people continue. Also, broker-dealers assist their employees with the cost.

Botsford said she wants advisors to know that they, too, can do what she did, which is to create a multibillion-dollar self-managing company. “First of all, I didn’t know that was possible, but it’s kind of like the old story of Roger Bannister, the runner who was the first guy to run the mile in under four minutes. Once he did it, others saw that it could be done, so they did it too,” she said. “So, that’s what I’m trying to provide the students,” she said.

And based on numerous testimonials from the nearly 1,000 advisors that have gone through the program, it has been working.

For Lessard, growth has been so rapid that she is looking to hire an assistant. She said she is on track to double her revenue this year and her goal is to continue that track for the next three to five years. She recently closed a $20 million client, just after four months into the program.

“This program fits exactly where we wanted to go and it turned out to be everything and more,” said Don Morgan, a financial consultant with Independent Wealth Connections in Spokane Valley, Wash, also an LPL-affiliate. He noted that the program has been especially effective because of the way it integrates with LPL’s structures. Morgan has been in the industry since 1995, and prior to that, 17 years in private finance. The firm has been with LPL for five years.

Morgan enrolled in the program seven months ago with 50 other cohorts from LPL. “First off, she was able to take my normal first meeting introductory period from 15 minutes to three minutes and I had much more of an impact,” he said of Botsford.

He and his cohorts, Morgan said, have experienced “amazing growth” since enrolling in the course. His growth rate last year “was over 50% in terms revenue growth in a bad year and a lot of that happened at the tail end of the year when Erin’s training kicked in,” he said. Moreover, he said due to business development structural changes in the first quarter, his firm is getting new plan clients with eight and nine figures instead of six and seven figures. “And that’s because of the training and the confidence it gives you."

Former professional football player Cory Procter also has been having success with the program. Procter opened his practice, Pro Capital Wealth Management in Southlake, Texas, in 2019, and enrolled in the course about two years ago after learning about it from a wholesaler. “I wasn’t looking to recreate the wheel,” said Procter, who played a total of six years in the NFL for the Dallas Cowboys and the Miami Dolphins before an injury in 2010 ended his career.

Botsford, he said, has influenced his conversations and has shifted his thought process so that he speaks to the value of what a client wants. She also helped him develop the language to speak with confidence so that he could close a client within my first meeting, he said. In his first year of the program, Procter said his business grew 57% and last year it grew just over 80% in total revenue.

He recalled “feeling naked real fast” during his first conversation with Botsford. “She goes, ‘Well, tell me about your process … how do you onboard new clients or a prospect?'” Procter said he explained that they gave him the information and he creates a plan for them and tells them what to do. “And she leans in on the Zoom screen and said, “So, you don’t have a process?”

She then proceeded to ask how I have been getting clients. Procter said when he told her that people have been trusting him, she responded, “Oh, well that will end.” She added, “I might trust you to hang out with and have a good time, but I’m not going to trust you with $1 million.”

In that moment, Procter said Botsford reminded him of his former coach. “She is like the female version of Bill Parcells. She cares but she holds you accountable,” Procter said. “I love that because I love people who are direct. She has been fantastic for me.” At the end of the meeting, Procter said he had a clear definition of his systems and processes on paper that he could lay out in front of clients.

Botsford said it took her 15 years to figure things out. That breakthrough came in 2000 after an encounter  with Paul, a man who was in a business training program she attended. He also was in financial services, and shared that in three years his business had grown from $300,000 to $3 million, and he also mentioned that he did not meet with clients anymore because he had built a team around him. So, he basically went out and prospect for the team.

“It was like an ALS bucket challenge moment,” Botsford said, noting that she approached him at the end of the and asked if she “could just buy a few hours of his time.”

He invited her to visit with him and his team for a day at his firm in Atlanta. She spent the day at the firm. “And I never saw and talked to him again, and it changed everything in my business,” Botsford said. Three years later, she had reached the $3 million mark and her business catapulted since. 

“I was thinking way too small. I hadn’t really thought what my ideal client looks like,” Botsford said. Now, she teaches her students to “determine and write down exactly what that ideal client looks like because then you can eliminate the clutter.”

That, plus charging a financial planning fee and setting a minimum account size, the advisors said, are  probably Botsford’s most impactful lessons because they have produced immediate results.

“For the first time in my career, someone can come into my office, and I can say we are not a good fit for you because you’re not able to pay the $3,000 fee or you have less than $2 million in liquid assets,” Morgan said. 

And Procter, who started out working with clients who did not have a lot of money, “basically anybody who could fog a mirror,” has set his minimum requirement at $1 million of investable assets. He also added a planning fee of $7,500. Last year, he scored one of his biggest clients, a Cowboys player, who also referred another player, Procter said. He has a few other current and former football players as clients, he noted.

“The program gave me the will to step up the people I can speak to,” he said. “So, now I will not turn on my computer unless I’m paid a planning fee to do it,” he said. “My time is valuable and unless I’m getting paid for what I’m doing, I’m not going to do it.” 

It is worth noting that another of Botsford’s passion is Ebenezer Foundation in Livingstone, Zambia, an orphanage with 500 children that she and her husband, Bob, has supported for years. Half of the profits from the training program go directly to save, raise and educate impoverished and orphaned children.