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Are you a professional who wants to:
  • Consistently attract and retain great clients?
  • Run a more efficient and profitable practice?
  • Elevate the client experience?
  • Drive enterprise value?
  • Deploy a scalable growth model?
  • Create a panoramic branding strategy?
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Pareto Systems is a consulting firm dedicated to knowledge-for-profit professionals. Our practice management and relationship management programs are ideally suited for:
  • Financial Professionals
  • Insurance Specialists
  • Estate Planning Attorneys
  • Accounting Professionals
  • Trust Specialists
  • Wholesalers
  • All knowledge-for-profit professionals
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2019-11-12 • 20 second read

Had a great time in Atlanta with Ted Jenkin and Lee Heisman discussing entrepreneurship on The Shrimp Tank Podcast.

Catch the podcast here: https://shrimptankpodcast.com/episode-209-duncan-macpherson-making-clients-see-their-value/

2019-11-12 • 5 minute video

A discussion on leveraging the mentor/protege team dynamic to elevate the client experience.

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2019-11-12 • 2 minute read

The Power of the Introductory Kit

If you have read any of my articles, you will know I talk about about the importance of describing what you do for your clients and prospects as a process. Too many advisors, when asked what they do, say things like:

"I help my clients manage their assets and risk."

It has been proven to resonate far better, not to mention be far more memorable, to say:

"I’ve developed and refined a process that enables me to manage my clients’ assets and risk."

When you refer to your approach as a process rather than simply suggesting that you help people, it adds so much persuasive impact to your messaging because it sounds official and organized rather than generic and abstract. You see this all the time in the marketplace where a firm will give something they do a name by basically calling it something. Westin Hotels refer to their beds and showers as Heavenly Beds and Heavenly Showers. I can tell you that I have stayed in a lot of hotels and I'm not sure that their beds are any better than any other comparable hotel but many people are convinced that Heavenly Beds are better. In the minds of many people, every other hotel simply has beds, while Westin has Heavenly Beds - again because that's what they’re called. And, let’s face it, when it comes to selecting one hotel over another a good bed and shower is ultimately what people crave.

As I’ve said, a branding strategy addresses what your clients’ want, not what you do or who you are in the classic sense. So what do your clients want? They want to face the future with anticipation rather than apprehension and they want to feel confident with the track they are on. An advisor with a process projects that far better than an advisor who simply "helps clients...." 

From Vapour to Paper

You can’t stop at just saying you have a process, you have to demonstrate that you actually have one. I say that because advisors ask me all the time, "How can I create this process you keep talking about?You already have a process, the problem is you don’t refer to it as such and you don’t have anything to show them what it looks like. Think about it, when you on-board a new client and align solutions to their needs, you use a process. So start referring to it that way.

I ask coaching clients of ours to sit down and simply get their process out of their heads and on to paper - even in point form. A very effective advisor was shocked to realize that there are actually eight steps to her asset management process. But she never thought of it in those terms before. Now that she has listed out the steps on to a sheet of paper she can now show a client and prospective client with far more persuasive impact. It is now referenced as a bullet point on her agendas and she can help demystify what she does and help people conceptualize her approach and appreciate her more fully by showing them.

Among the many benefits, this is an essential step to ensure that your clients are telling their friends:

"You should meet my advisor, he has an excellent process and he’s a great guy."

As opposed to:

"You should meet my advisor, you’d really like him, he is a great guy."

Your Clients Will Do Your Prospecting for You

Again, your clients can do a great job positioning you in their friends’ minds as an ideal alternative to their current advisor and begin creating a nagging feeling in their minds that you are a far superior option.

You can take that one step further by providing an Introductory Kit as part of your introduction process. This is as important for the client referring as it is for the prospecting you are hoping to attract. For example, when you say to a client:

"If you ever have a friend or family member that you would like to introduce to me, simply call me to get the wheels in motion and I will put them into my introductory process. I’ll reach out and have a brief initial conversation, I’ll send out my introductory kit so they can get to know me a little better in advance and then I’ll carve out the time to meet with them to get to know them better and be a sounding board to help them make some informed decisions."

Your clients can envision this in their mind’s eye and describe you in a more compelling way. Your prospect gets to hold something in their hands and gets to know you a bit before they even meet you (and send it via 2-day courier to elevate its importance and increase the value the person places on the upcoming meeting). Of course, you further validate your professionalism by providing a printed agenda in the initial discovery meeting, and outlining your on-board process and personal financial organizing binder in the fit meeting. Again, tangible things they can hold in their hands that reinforce that you have a process. All of this has been proven to enhance a prospective client’s motivation to take action. You don't have to convince them with a closing strategy, the prospective client comes to his or her own conclusion.

I'm not suggesting that your clients will start referring to you as their Heavenly Advisor, but I can guarantee that their description of you will be far more effective than before. I can also guarantee that your prospective clients will perceive you as a professional with a process and will be drawn to you like never before.

Continued Success!

Contributed by: Duncan MacPherson

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2019-11-11 • 20 second read

"In Flanders Fields, the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below."
- John McCrae

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2019-11-08 • 20 second read

How do you welcome new clients? How do you say thank you for client referrals? How do you respond to client service issues? Do you recognize milestones? As a business owner, branding is everything to your business, and everything you do is part of your branding. Everything you do matters. Scrutinize the entire client experience, and make a list of how you will respond to moments of truth. This is the first step in creating velocity, building confidence and ensuring that you are continually refining and optimizing your systems and procedures. Everything has to be rooted in process and habits.

2019-11-07 • 5 minute video

Branding is incredibly powerful in terms of persuasive impact! In this episode, Duncan discusses positioning your value and creating professional contrast to help position referrals as a value-added service.

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2019-11-06 • 20 second read

In Los Angeles with Dan Murphy at First Trust discussing proven strategies outlined in The Advisor Playbook as well the mindset and best practices of top fee-for-service professionals outlined in The Blue Square Method - landing in Q1!

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2019-11-06 • 20 second read

A lot of people in your market area need your expertise, but you shouldn’t spend time with people who need you at the expense of people who deserve you. You are only one person with just 24 hours in a day. Work with the people who are already convinced and let them convince their acquaintances for you.

2019-11-05 • 7 minute video

Your number one addressable audience is your top clients and implementing a Client Advisory Council will help competitor proof, capture money in motion and create advocacy.

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2019-11-05 • 3 minute read

In the first three seconds, your prospects form a basic idea in their mind about you. What is that basic idea? This is an important question because what your prospects think about you in the first three seconds determines if they become a client or not. 

In those first three seconds, your prospects form an idea about who you are, what you are about, and whether or not they should spend more time engaged with you. For example, when you see a barbershop, you form the basic idea “hair” in your mind. If you see a dentist office, you think “teeth”. The question is: what basic idea do your prospects have about you? Keep in mind: This basic idea is not what you want them to think, it is what they actually think. If you are honest with yourself, you will admit they put you in a basic category such as “financial advisor” or “insurance” or “investments.” They have this idea because these words are probably in your company’s name, on your business card, or what you tell them in your elevator speech or value proposition. Why is this so important? It is important because a prospect is comparing you to their current financial advisor. They are contrasting you to that person to help them decide if it makes sense to switch.

Do You Stand Out?

Relying on a basic idea to convey what you do can have a serious negative impact on your business for three reasons:

  1. Basic ideas are not very interesting. If people think you are a “financial advisor” or an “insurance agent” or something equally basic, there is nothing for them to be curious about. There are no follow-up questions for them to ask because they figure they already know all about your business. As such, you don’t get their attention, you don’t engage their interest, and they see no reason to take the business relationship further. You are swimming in a pool of sameness.
  2. If people have a basic idea about you, they will think you are a salesperson who is trying to sell them a basic product or service, which is not surprising because that’s probably what you are trying to do. If they think you are a salesperson they will be more likely to put up a barrier. They won’t take your phone call. They won’t answer your email. And they won’t meet with you. It doesn’t matter what you are selling. You could have the best product in the world, but if your prospects think you are a salesperson, it will be harder to get an appointment with them. If you are perceived as a salesperson it becomes very difficult to position yourself as an expert.
  3. If prospects have a basic idea about you, they know they can get that basic idea from many other suppliers. You instantly commoditize yourself. It’s like you have a store in a mall, where all of the other 200 stores sell exactly the same thing as you. Customers come into your store and they only have one question: “How much?”, and if you don’t have the lowest price they will go to the next store. This puts you in a very competitive, price-sensitive situation because price becomes the dominant issue in the absence of distinctive value.

Can Your Clients Describe Your Value to Others?

Now you will inevitably acquire some new clients even if you are perceived as a salesperson. But how many referrals will you get? How compelling is it when a client describes you to a friend as being “Ok”? Being described as an “Ok” financial advisor will not make your phone ring off the hook with people wanting to meet with you. Advisors who are perceived as sales people create relationships with clients who become indifferent quickly and that puts them at risk in terms of being lured away or empowering someone else as new needs develop. Money is constantly in motion and needs change. You want to be attracting that business effortlessly, not chasing it or competing for it like a salesperson.

Continued Success!

Contributed by Duncan MacPherson

Pareto Systems
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