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2024-02-27 19:11:52 • 2 minute read

As a financial advisor, preparing for the sale of your practice is a meticulous process that demands consideration of many factors. Whether you're planning for retirement, exploring new opportunities, or seeking a lifestyle change, getting your house in order is key to a successful transition. The following is a comprehensive guide to help you navigate through the essential steps to prepare for the sale of your practice:

1. Get Your Financials Straight

One of the foundations for preparing for the sale is crystal-clear financial records. Your potential buyers will scrutinize your financials to assess the health and viability of your business. Utilize QuickBooks to maintain a clean set of records, including a detailed Profit and Loss (P&L) statement. Break down your revenue sources, such as asset-based fees, financial planning fees, commissions, and insurance.

Make sure to distinguish between business-related expenses and personal expenditures. Clearly demonstrate any add-backs that may not be considered ongoing expenses for the business. Ensure that your gross income accurately reflects the true revenue your practice generates, providing potential buyers with a transparent understanding of your financial position.

2. Skip the 1099's

Having 1099 contractors in your organization can be a red flag for potential buyers. To enhance the appeal of your practice, consider transitioning to W-2 employment contracts with your staff. Establish solid employment contracts with non-compete and non-solicitation clauses to protect the continuity and integrity of your client relationships.

By streamlining your team under W-2 contracts, you create a more cohesive and stable structure, presenting a positive image to potential buyers. This move can alleviate concerns about the potential departure of key team members after the sale.

3. Exit the Money Management Business

Consider divesting from the money management aspect of your practice, especially if it's not a significant value driver. Transitioning to a Pure Registered Investment Advisor (RIA) model with negative consent can simplify the sale process. This strategic move not only makes your practice more attractive to buyers but also facilitates a smoother transition of client assets.

4. Focus on Net Flows and Lead Generation

Demonstrate the value of your practice by showcasing strong Compound Annual Growth Rates (CAGR) and a robust lead generation funnel. Net flows - the difference between new assets gained and assets lost - can significantly enhance the perceived value of your business. Showcase your ability to attract and retain clients, emphasizing a sustainable growth trajectory.

Invest in a lead generation machine that consistently brings in new assets under management (AUM). A solid lead generation strategy can be a key differentiator and a major selling point for potential buyers.

5. Have a Succession Plan (G2 Plan)

Develop a comprehensive succession plan, often referred to as a G2 plan. This plan outlines how your practice will continue to operate seamlessly after your departure. Include details on key personnel, client transition strategies, and any ongoing support you may provide post-sale.

Having a well-thought-out G2 plan demonstrates your commitment to the long-term success of the practice and reassures potential buyers about the stability and continuity of client relationships.

In conclusion, preparing for the sale of your practice requires meticulous planning and execution. By getting your financials in order, transitioning to W-2 contracts, exiting the money management business, emphasizing net flows and lead generation, and having a robust G2 plan, you can enhance the appeal and value of your practice in the eyes of potential buyers. This strategic approach facilitates a smoother sale process and ensures the ongoing success of your practice beyond the transition.

If you're ready to explore the opportunity of maximizing some or all of your practice, contact JPTD for a consultation. 

- Article contributed by JPTD 

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2024-02-13 17:50:02 • 2 minute read

Advisors have seen that Client Advisor Councils (CAC) can be extremely beneficial to the growth of their practice and for refinements to their process that they continue to make over time. As an example, I recently spoke with one of our consultants, Mike Cy, about one of his advisors who broke down their process for everyone on the Always On podcast I do weekly.

Mike explained that it was enlightening for him to be able to be there and see the process firsthand, especially with an advisor that he'd become fairly close with over a period of years. 

Many of the things that he and the advisor had been working on were brought out for many of his clients during their most recent council meeting. The feedback to the questions provided was very open and honest, and it was extremely beneficial. 

Looking specifically at the steps taken, they first sought to create predisposition and buy-in from the target clients, in part by getting them to see the value in participating. 

Then, through continued contact with his clients, they uncovered and confirmed that which clients were interested in creating something like an advisory council. It was explained as a way to get everybody together for a round table discussion about things that they enjoy about the experience that they're having with the advisor, and to dig up less-positive things that might be in the back of their minds, or unmet needs. The vital point, Mike pointed out, was that getting a client side view of the matter through smart questions made both the process better and the clients more satisfied in and appreciative of the advisor's process.

Too often advisors don't understand the basic questions that clients are - or should be - asking. "How would I want to be treated? How would I view these different services?" are important questions, but very broad, and often asked of the advisor only to themselves. 

What this advisor did was invite the initial group together for the first advisory council meeting. There were about 12 individuals on council, which is a good number. Too large of a group can make people concerned about being open and honest with their input.

Prior to the meeting, the advisor took the most important step; he sent agendas out to describe the topics and questions that were going to be discussed, allowing council members to prepare a bit and decide what their thoughts were. In-depth questions that matter to clients are the fuel that powers a working CAC.

To help you spark your own CAC, here is a list of specific core questions you can supply with your agenda, or mention during other communications, or use as a guide during the meeting itself. We'd suggest that you select up to 10 questions (but probably not more) to address at your Client Advisory Board meeting:

  • How did you come to select us as your advisor?
  • What's the one thing you value most about our relationship?
  • Have we met, exceeded or fallen below your expectations?
  • What one thing do you feel we should improve on?
  • Is there one thing you feel we do especially well?
  • Are we communicating with you enough?
  • Are the materials we send you of value?
  • How do you describe us to family members?
  • Have we done a good job conveying our full array of services to you?
  • Do you see the merit in us engaging a Value-Added Support Team?
  • Directionally, do you anticipate your needs evolving?
  • How often would you like to be contacted? (Remember, you are describing your ideal scenario so don't be shy)
  • Are there other value-added services you would suggest we add to our business?
  • How do you feel about our [new letterhead, new logo ideas, etc.]?
  • Have we earned the right for you to feel comfortable enough to recommend our service to a colleague?
  • Did you find this session valuable? Do you think it would be worth doing again?

Implementing a Client Advisory Council is more than a strategic move; it's a commitment to growth, a testament to the value you place on your clients' voices, and a step toward a practice that is not just profitable, but also aligned with the needs and aspirations of those it serves. As we continue to navigate the complexities of financial services, let's remain steadfast in our quest for excellence: Always listening, always evolving, and always placing our clients at the very heart of our journey.

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2024-02-06 16:39:27 • 2 minute read

I've often emphasized the transformative impact of Client Advisory Councils. These councils are not just strategic tools, but platforms for profound engagement. They bring advisors and clients together to foster understanding, collaboration, and collective advancement.

What is a Client Advisory Council?

A Client Advisory Council is essentially a hosted meeting of a hand-picked group of ideal clients, brought together to provide honest feedback, impart wisdom, and engage in substantive discussions about the financial landscape and the financial advisor's services. It's a deliberate, structured, and meticulously orchestrated forum that leverages the collective intelligence and goals of clients to drive meaningful enhancements within an advisory practice.

Why Run a Client Advisory Council?

In an advisor's mission to deliver unparalleled services and innovative advice, the true driver of improvement lies in understanding our clients; their needs, concerns, and ambitions. Client Advisory Councils are pivotal tools to uncover those unmet needs and enable advisors to:

  1. Capture Genuine Feedback: In a domain awash with data and noise, authentic feedback is invaluable. These councils offer a rare platform for clients to voice their genuine thoughts and suggestions.
  2. Cultivate Client Loyalty: By involving clients in the evolution of an advisory practice, advisors demonstrate respect for their input, fostering loyalty and trust.
  3. Stay Proactive and Ahead: The financial advisory sector is dynamic. Insights from these councils enable advisors to anticipate shifts, refine strategies, and stay ahead of the curve.

How do I Build a Client Advisory Council? 

  1. Selecting the Right Participants: The composition of the council is crucial. A blend of seasoned and newer ideal clients offers a comprehensive perspective, enriching discussions and insights.
  2. Developing a Structured Yet Adaptable Agenda: While a structured approach is essential, flexibility is key. It's crucial to allow the conversation to flow naturally, ensuring comprehensive coverage of all important topics. Your agenda should drive conversation but not dictate its content.
  3. Implementing Action and Feedback Loops: The greatest value lies in post-meeting analysis. It's critical to study the feedback, make an action plan, and communicate the steps that will be taken based on this invaluable input.

The insights from these councils are game-changing. I can recall instances where the feedback led to significant shifts in advisory service models, aligning them more closely with what clients truly seek " transparency, partnership, and a commitment beyond financial metrics. All of which makes the advisor more referable and clients likelier to advocate for them.

Client Advisory Councils are more than feedback mechanisms; they are catalysts for mutual growth and evolution. They help advisors to actively listen, intelligently adapt, and continuously evolve, ensuring that their practices don't just survive but flourish. It's a path of learning, growth, and success, where both advisors and clients thrive together.

For an in-depth exploration of this topic, tune in to Episode 53 of the Always On Podcast where fellow Pareto Coach Mike Cy and I delve into the nuances of 'How to Run a Client Advisory Council,' offering practical insights and real-world experiences to guide you through this transformative journey by clicking here: paretosys.co/AODM_ep53

Written by Duncan MacPherson, CEO of Pareto Systems and author of The Blue Square Method

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2024-01-30 22:04:55 • 2 minute read

Developing an effective On-Boarding Process

My favorite topics for these articles stem from conversations I have with our coaching staff at Pareto Systems who share success stories from the field with me. Our coaching staff and I often have "Proof that it Works" conversations where they pass along feedback in terms of the impact our strategies are having on an advisor?s business.
Recently, I heard an interesting example about the importance of the New Client Process. As you may know, this process is the series of steps that take place from the moment you get a referral phone call right up to the point where you officially welcome a new person as a client, and everything in between. Many like to call this the On-boarding process.

At a glance, the New Client Process has five distinct steps:

  1. The Pre-Appointment Phase
  2. The 1st Appointment (or Fit Appointment)
  3. The Second Appointment
  4. The Third Appointment
  5. And finally, the New Client Welcome

Now, some might say that this seems like an awful lot of steps, and they would be right, but these are all necessary steps. This process is extremely attractive to potential clients, and more often than not, as a result of going through this process, the potential client ends up trying to convince the advisor to take them on as a client! On a regular basis, we also see advisors get referrals from someone shortly after bringing them on as a client! We see it happen all the time.

The coach who shared this story with me works with two brothers who have a successful practice in California. Both use this very same New Client Process, and they are enjoying a lot of success from this process and from their terrific implementation of it.

One of the brothers recently met with a prospective client, a wealthy lady who had north of $1,000,000 in investable assets.

As they sat down, and as the advisor pulled out the agenda to start the meeting, the lady announced the following: "I want you to know that I am interviewing different advisors"

The advisor, in a cool and collected way, replied: "Well, I would be surprised if you weren't. The reality is that we are interviewing you today as well. It is very important to our practice that my brother and I only take on clients that are a good fit."

I only wish that I was in the room at the time when they were having this meeting, so I could have seen how the dynamic changed after the advisor replied in this fashion. He didn't try to sell harder, or any of that nonsense, he simply stated the truth, which was that there were two decisions being made that day, both hers and his.

The wealthy lady became a client. It turned out that she had interviewed four different advisors in total, and the third such interview was with our client. It was just a few days later when a thank-you card arrived at the advisor's office. It was from the very same lady, and in the card, she thanked them for deciding to take her on as a client. What a change in attitude from that first meeting, and it all had to do with the attractiveness of the New Client Process, and the skill of our client in implementing it.

The woman wasn't done yet though. Shortly after the thank-you card arrived, my client received an email from her. She had copied her CPA on the email, and the message said: "You guys have to meet each other." The advisor gave the CPA a call, and they got together for lunch.


Over the lunch, my client learned that the CPA had a huge operation with 24 staff, and they specialized in ultra high-net worth types; the richest of the rich.
The advisor and his brother specialize in clientele in the 1-10 million range. The advisor candidly told the CPA this, and also told him that the ultra high-net worth types weren't really their niche.

Ironically, it turns out that the 1-10 million range wasn't the CPA's niche either. His focus was going to remain on the ultra high-net worth types, and he and my client are now discussing the CPA referring over business in the 1-10 million range to my clients as it appears. He regularly receives those types of referrals, but isn't really interested in that kind of business. The advisors certainly are though!

The next step is to show the CPA the highlights of the New Client Process, so that when the CPA does refer someone, he can take great confidence on that they will be well looked after, and how it will be done.

The bottom line is this. When you apply stewardship over salesmanship with a prospective client, you not only contrast yourself favorably to other advisors, you are also positioning yourself for advocacy with that person immediately. And then the domino effect begins.

Continued Success!

Contributed by Duncan MacPherson

 

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2024-01-23 16:37:29 • 2 minute read

In our on-going consulting work, we find more and more financial advisors want to position themselves to successfully: 

  • Buy a practice
  • Sell a practice
  • Bring on a protege'

From a demographic perspective, there are three distinct groups among the many financial advisors we talk to on a regular basis. There are the 50+ advisors who are looking down the road at the eventual sale of their business. These advisors have been in the business a long time, achieved a high level of success, and are now three to five years out from transitioning to the next chapter in their lives.

Then there are the 30+ advisors who are extremely ambitious and want to light the after burner in terms of growing their respective business. But these advisors don't want to rely solely on organic growth, they want to acquire a business (or two), ideally from someone who has patiently and methodically built a durable business and is looking to exit.

And then there are the advisors somewhere in between who want to remain in the business but have a unique view on succession. Rather than sell, they want to leverage their momentum and plan for the future by grooming an associate (often a 2nd generation) or partner with an advisor (be it a junior or equal). While there is no specific timetable for succession, this advisor gets to create some scale, liberate themselves to focus solely on top clients, and create options for the future in the meantime.

Remove the Mystery

In each scenario, the key is to multiply the outcome and there are specific steps that can be taken to add precision to the process and predictability to the results.

Partnering is Not for Everyone

In the traditional partnering scenario there are countless examples of success, mediocrity and failure. The shining examples stem from an emphasis on fit and process. The also-rans stem from the fact there were few if any true synergies and the only real alignment of interest was to enhance the payout until the older partner transitioned out of the business. And the worst examples of a $500k advisor partnering with another $500k advisor and in time the combined revenue became $800k stem from a lack of preparation, incompatibility, and poor execution. 1+1 = 1.5 and with it came an increase in overhead and hassle factor. 

In the case of partnering with a junior advisor, especially someone related to the lead advisor, it is essential that the protege' understand:

  • Success goes beyond rates of return. Success is as much about relationship management as it is about asset management.
  • Run the business like a business. Following predetermined and documented procedures creates a consistent client experience ensuring the conversion of clients to advocates.
  • There are no free rides. The junior advisor needs to generate meaningful and measurable client acquisition and business development results from their own efforts.

Too many mentors leave the protege' to their own devices to figure things out. You can't play to maverick talent, you have to play to process. The most successful advisors to partner with a 2nd generation or junior created essentially a franchise-ready environment. This not only freed the mentor to focus on the top 20% of clients knowing that the 80% were well taken care of by the protege', it created an upgrade feel for clients rather than a hand-off resulting in uncovering untapped new business along the way.

There are countless examples of successes, anticlimactic outcomes and outright failures in the acquisition world too - both for the buyer and the seller. The old model simply came down to the buyer focusing on what the business would cost, while the seller was fixated on what the business was worth with very little emphasis placed on the key intrinsic and proprietary assets. There was also very little thought applied to deploying a turnkey and proven process to communicate with the clients involved prior to, during, and after the transition. 

Don't Sell a Book, Sell a Business

Many advisors who buy or sell a financial services practice are really only buying a book of business, not an actual business. There are several Key Performance Indicators that go beyond trailing 12. So what is the difference between a 1X transaction and a 2X or better multiplied transaction? Well clearly one of the most important issues is the quality of the client relationships. That has been proven to be just as important as the quality of their assets. How loyal are the clients based on how they have been served to this point of the relationship? Have they simply bought investments, or are they bought-in to a professional process? Metrics on empowerment, referrals, demographics and commonalities, commissions vs. fees and several other issues are key as well.

Put Time on Your Side

The bottom line is this, whether you plan to buy or sell a business in the future, it is essential that you get out-front and be well prepared to multiply the value of the asset and make the outcome as smooth and predictable as possible. Deploying a process demystifies the experience and ensures there is minimal opportunity leakage and that you don't squander your time.

There are More Sellers Than Buyers

As a seller, when you tighten up your business through organization and structure as well as essential best practices, you unlock hidden value in your business that differentiates you from all the others with similar aspirations. In 12 months or less you can execute a panoramic practice management process that a suitor will recognize as extremely valuable. Remember what a buyer wants; only pleasant surprises. They want the transition to be smooth, and the integration into their core business to be virtually effortless. 

Acquire a Real Asset, Not Just a Collection of Assets

As a buyer, there are so many tangible and intangible issues to address in your due-diligence process. The key is to look for a business that has been built on a foundation of predictable, sustainable and duplicable processes especially as it relates to service and relationship management. Again, the quality of the relationships driven by the expectations they have and the experience they've received will have a profound impact on relationship durability and untapped potential going forward.

Many buyers in the past have acquired sketchy books thinking there was a vein of gold or all kinds of low hanging fruit just waiting to be uncovered. As a result, the buyer was fixated on the price of the acquisition rather than the quality of the asset resulting in an outcome that spiraled downward. With the benefit of hindsight came a lot of regret.

Dig Your Well Before You're Thirsty - Confucius 

Remember, quality relationships last long after you paid for them. So get clarity on the issues that will impact your transaction and get organized with a plan and process. As a potential seller, the longer you wait and the less prepared you are, the less value you will get from your asset. As buyer, the longer you wait and less prepared you are, the more revenue and momentum you will forgo. In both cases, the dollars you make will be lower, but also in both cases the hassle factor and frustration will be higher. Preparation will help you squeeze more juice out of the orange.

Continued Success!

 

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2024-01-16 20:29:13 • 2 minute read

In the ever-changing field of consulting and financial advice, staying ahead of the curve is a necessity; but it's also a duty we owe to our clients. As the head of Pareto Systems, I've witnessed various technologies promising to transform our industry over the years. However, nothing compares to the impact ChatGPT and large language models are having on the profession.

The Power of AI in Enhancing Client Relationships

ChatGPT, a product of OpenAI, is not just another tech fad; it's a tool that is rapidly becoming indispensable. It's a digital brain, capable of processing vast amounts of information from the internet, turning it into actionable insights for advisors. Unlike traditional search engines geared towards advertising clicks, ChatGPT is designed to provide direct answers and solutions.

Consider a scenario where a client presents a complex 30-page real estate transaction for review. Traditionally, this would be a time-consuming task, potentially taking hours or days. With ChatGPT, you can get a comprehensive summary, key investment takeaways, and a balanced view of pros and cons in mere seconds. This not only saves time but also enhances your ability to provide prompt and informed advice.

Real-World Applications and Prompting Techniques

ChatGPT's utility extends beyond just data processing. It can be a partner in crafting communication strategies tailored to individual clients. For example, suppose you need to write a thoughtful email to a client about a specific issue. By providing ChatGPT with detailed client characteristics, it can generate a draft that resonates on a personal level, strengthening the client-advisor bond.

The key to maximizing ChatGPT's potential lies in effective prompting. Crafting precise prompts is an art that, when mastered, can yield highly customized and relevant outputs. Here are a few examples:

  1. Client Communication Enhancement: "ChatGPT, draft an email to a client who is concerned about market volatility, highlighting our strategy and reassuring them of our long-term approach."
  2. Complex Document Analysis: "Please summarize this 50-page financial report and identify the top five critical points relevant to an investment strategy for high-net-worth individuals."
  3. Personalized Client Interaction: "Create a list of thoughtful questions I can use to deepen my conversation with a client who is interested in philanthropic activities."

Embracing the Future

As financial advisors, our role is not just about managing wealth; it's about understanding our clients' aspirations, fears, and unique life situations. AI tools like ChatGPT allow us to transcend traditional barriers, offering personalized and efficient service. It's not about replacing the human element but augmenting it with technology's precision and speed.

In the coming years, AI will not only be a competitive edge but a necessity. The transition to AI-augmented advisory is not just about staying relevant; it's about elevating the value we bring to our clients. As leaders in our field, we must not only adopt these technologies but also become adept at leveraging them to enhance our client relationships and operational efficiency.

In embracing AI like ChatGPT, we are not just adopting a new tool; we are stepping into a new era of advising. An era where our expertise is amplified by the power of AI, enabling us to provide unparalleled service to our clients. As we journey into this exciting future, let us remain committed to our core values of trust, wisdom, and personalized service, ensuring that as the world changes, our commitment to our clients remains steadfast.

By Duncan MacPherson

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2024-01-09 19:11:48 • 2 minute read

On a macro level, you have to get clear on the mechanics and motivations that lead to consistent referrals. Start by asking yourself two questions:

  • Why don't they?
  • Why should they?

Most of your clients don't "go there" because they are unclear of how it looks to get involved in someone's life and potentially put their own reputation on the line. They are undermined by a subconscious "no good deed goes unpunished" mindset, so they don't get involved, even when the opportunity is presented. It's not that they're unconvinced or unmotivated, there is just some uncertainty about referring, so they don't. Unless a client or partner is crystal clear about how it will reflect on them, there's a blockage.

There is a nurture/nature dynamic at play. With some people, you don't have to overthink it. They are wired to be "power brokers." They like to come through for people and they are on the lookout to make connections. You can nurture that attitude with others.

Look at the word coincidence - stemming from the word coincide - a need a friend has, that aligns and coincides with the confidence a client has for your value - the friend bared his or her soul, the conversation prompted an instant thought of you, and boom - an incredible coincidence of wants and value. Your client wants his or her friend to be taken care of and wants them to be in good hands. Your client also wants you to thrive, but in that order, not the other way around. It's not because of a sense of obligation to you. It's about doing a friend a favor.

Lead with Purpose

It all has to be built on a rock-solid foundation of service and stewardship. You have to position the concept of speaking to a friend of a client as a service you are providing to the client - without any expectation that it may lead to business. The client has to then, in turn, view it as doing a friend a disservice by not lighting the path to you. That is the nexus of advocacy. It feels just as good to come through for someone as it does to be taken care of - and as it does to attract new clients to your business.

That foundation is framed in purpose and process:

  • Step 1 - define the what and why
  • Step 2 - define the who and how

What and Why

It's an introduction, not a referral. Take the word referral out of your language and focus more on the activity rather than implied productivity. Then, tell people why you do it. It's rooted in your sense of purpose. Helping people is why you chose this profession, and it's easily the most fulfilling part of it. Punctuate that by saying, "if you ever happen to introduce someone to me, they do not need to become a client to take advantage of this service. If they are important to you, they are important to me."

That form of professional scarcity and stewardship is also your bridge to clarifying who you're suited for.

Who and How

Be sure to tell the world who they should introduce - you'll talk to anyone who is important to the client - but you only accept new clients who are introduced provided it's a good fit. Describe your ideal client based on AAA PLUS and remind them that you are all things to some people, rather than the other way around.

Communication on who is important for many reasons. By sticking to your defined approach, you've added a circuit breaker that prevents you from going beyond your capacity. However, it needs to be reinforced, because occasionally you might have a client tell you, "I was thinking about introducing my friend, but I don't think he's big enough for you." Which might seem like a sensible interpretation and reaction, until you find out that the friend has a successful business and a variety of needs that would, at least on the surface, suggest an alignment of interests. Professional scarcity can be a double-edged sword. If that ever happens, remind them first of the PLUS component - that the primary factor of fit is that they are People Like US. Secondly, remind clients that an introduction to be a sounding board for a friend is not tied to "how big they are," and then let the process figure the rest out.

Now, we reach the pivot to outlining for a client "how to get things rolling."

"There is a process in place that my clients use to make an introduction. If you feel compelled to steer someone my way, step one is to give me a call. Tell me about your friend and get the wheels in motion. I'll take it from there. I'll reach out and have an initial chat. There is no expectation it needs to go any further than that. I'm led by them. If they want to meet, I'll schedule some time and send out my introductory kit so that they can learn a little about my people, my practice and my process in advance, and then we can go from there, and you can hold me accountable that this will be a good use of their time."

Provide specifics in terms of what will happen, and then instructions for the actions they can take. Based on your compliance realities, you can encourage an introductory text or email, or even a direct message on social media. Whatever the method, clarify the process precisely. When they are well coached, they will know to be on the lookout for triggering events, and know how to bridge their friends' dissatisfaction with an easy-to-understand statement - "My guy works with business owners and he knows his way around liquidity events like no other, I can make an introduction."

Remember: Advocates call you directly on behalf of a friend. Clients endorse you and tell their friends to call you, and you know how that generally works out.

 

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2024-01-02 19:20:52 • 2 minute read

Take a moment to think back to the last time you stumbled upon a fabulous idea. Maybe this new concept was about your financial practice or maybe it had more of a domestic spin to it. Regardless of the idea, the all-important question is whether you followed through with your plan. I would bet that you achieved some of your initial goal but that your progress stalled somewhere down the line.

What happened? Was it that you were too busy to get your idea off the ground? Perhaps there was a major change in your life that had you side-tracked. Regardless of the specific details causing you to leave your plan unfinished, your inactivity can be attributed to the "Law of Diminishing Intent."

In simple terms, the Law of Diminishing Intent states that when it comes to finishing a task that seems absolutely crucial at one moment, our motivation wanes at about the same rate as the task's significance in relation to other aspects of our life and business. This is largely due to the fact that the emotion associated with the action dwindles, causing the motivation required to finish the project to fade.

New Year's Resolutions

A classic example of the Law of Diminishing Intent unfolds every year on New Year's Day. January 1st is a time of new beginnings. On this day, we are highly motivated to put negative thoughts, habits, or character flaws behind us. We commit to change and dutifully begin to follow our resolutions. Perhaps we start a new exercise regime, decide to establish a new work ethic or to implement organizational plan. Despite these good ideas, the rest of our lives eventually get in the way and we fall back into our old routine a few months (or weeks or even days!) later. When it's all said and done, we chalk it up to a good try and resume our old ways.

What does it take to move forward with a new plan -- to make sure nothing stands in the way of our success? When you decide you want to start something new, be sure to ask yourself whether you really want to accomplish your goal in the first place. It is possible that, subconsciously, you are sabotaging your success even before you start. It could be that in the back of your mind, you might already know that you don't have the infrastructure in place to maintain your success once the task is completed. The first thing you must determine is whether you have what it takes to finish such a task. You also need to identify whether the result will ultimately improve your situation.

Consider, for example, that you decide it's time to take the bull by the horns and do everything you can to grow your business. You resolve that the easiest way to increase your assets under management is to multiply your number of introductions. However, in the back of your mind you are not sure how to handle an influx of business. You're already running at maximum and are a little nervous about the outcome of more business. Chances are that because you are a little wary of the outcome of your plan, you are not going to give this new resolution the energy it requires for completion.

Achieving Your Goals

Once you have decided that your goal is indeed one you want to achieve, it is imperative that you take action right away. You need to get the ball rolling while you are still excited and motivated; before your attention is drawn to different areas. The sooner you put your plan into action, the more likely you are to achieve your goals.

It also makes sense to start your quest in logical order to make sure everything runs smoothly every step of the way. In the example above, before increasing your number of clients, it would be wise to implement ways to handle the new business.

So to avoid the losses associated with the Law of Diminishing Intent, make sure to take action right away. Decide that the goal is one you want to achieve. Then look at your plan logically and confirm that you are pursuing your goals in the best order. And establish milestones so that you can mark your progress and remain motivated to reach your goal.

Continued Success!

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2023-12-19 19:36:37 • 2 minute read

What would happen if you took a month off starting tomorrow? Would your business spiral into chaos or would it run like a Swiss watch? What would happen if one of your key team members told you that he or she is resigning starting immediately? Would your business be severely disrupted or would you be able to hire a replacement and fast-track him or her to competence?

As strange as it may sound, true business success can only be achieved when you have made yourself obsolete. When the day comes that you don't need to be present and your business can still be productive, you are on the verge of a breakthrough. Furthermore, when your business practices are documented, you not only liberate your staff to be more efficient but you ensure that you are never at the mercy of maverick talent. 

Another one of the biggest benefits of deploying and maintaining an organized and structured business is predictability. The outcomes and results you are striving for become predictable in terms of productivity and the business serves your life instead of the other way around. It also has tremendous impact on your client relationships too. You set expectations for your clients and deliver a consistent client experience that amplifies the trust and confidence they have in you. 

When we consult with a financial advisor on a one to one basis, at this point of the strategic analysis we reveal that overall their life is good. They earn a good living and have earned the right to be content. However, deep inside, ambition nags at them. They know they could break through the plateau. But they just can't seem to take their business higher. And, of course, they have a lifestyle to support and cannot allow their business to go any lower. 

Ultimately, they don't want to work harder. Of course, they could work more hours, but the collateral damage to their personal lives would be unacceptable and would take them down the path of diminishing returns. Furthermore, fear of rocking the boat inhibits them. If it isn't really broken, why try to fix it? In other words, if they attempt to tinker with or re-engineer their current approach, they risk adjustments which might not lead to improvements or could possibly even set things back. 

As one advisor put it, "I can't afford to be right, eventually. My monthly expenses on both business and personal levels require results right now." This mindset results in people sticking with the status quo and maintaining a business which simply hovers. 

So, you can't work any harder. And you're not prepared to resign yourself to "this is as good as it gets." What is the answer? 

More often than not, one, two or all of the following three factors must be addressed in order to take your business to the next level, to evolve from survive to thrive. 

Mistaking Motion for Action 

When we ask a financial advisor, "How are things?" nine times out of ten, the answer will be, "I'm extremely busy." Our response is always, "Busy doing what?" The Law of Cause and Effect states that your activities will determine your productivity. If you want your productivity to increase, the first place you should look at is the activities you engage in which give you the best return on your investment of time and energy. Think about it. The Pareto Principle states that 80% of your productivity stems from about 20% of your activities. In other words, you make about 80% of your income every day in about an hour. So, what goes into that hour? Talking to and meeting with your favorite clients and the most predisposed prospective clients available to you. All other activities must support these two essential activities.  

Unless you are a one-person operation, one of the most obvious ways to increase your capacity to do more of what you really get paid to do is to delegate as many supporting activities as possible. 

For many entrepreneurs, managing people and all the accompanying hassles can be a big issue. Many perceive managing people as actually exacerbating the problem because it can be a distraction. Hiring new people adds yet another expense and could potentially upset the chemistry of the staff currently in place. 

These concerns can be addressed if you step back and scrutinize your business. Determine whether it is truly built on predictable, sustainable and duplicable systems driven by accountability and consistency. Does everyone on your team know their job description? Do they follow predetermined systems and procedures, or are they left to their own devices? 

We have seen many, many entrepreneurs with successful businesses supported by talented people but who unknowingly created self-imposed limitations because, frankly, everyone in the organization flew by the seat of their pants. Time after time, the creation of an Organizational and Structural Chart followed by the refinement of systems outlined within a Procedures Manual has proven to be essential. 

Systems Create Success 

The Organizational Chart is simply a snapshot of everyone on your team with a brief description of what they do. One sheet of paper is required and, when completed, becomes the cover sheet of the Procedures Manual. Now if you have never done this before you may be wondering, "Is this worth the effort?" Time and time again, when conducting a Business Evaluation Process (a strategic Gap Analysis) for one of our coaching and consulting clients, we have determined that in order to develop a systematized business this is an essential step back in order to take several forward.

The Random House Dictionary defines systems as "a group or combination of things or parts forming a complex or unified whole." Does this sound like your business? Dry as it may be, it fits not only the dictionary definition, but is critical for your success.

Take a good hard look at your operation. Would it continue to function like a Swiss watch if you weren't there all the time? Could you convince us, today, that your enterprise is a true business and not just simply a company that sells things? Have you created something with great value, predictable outcomes and ironclad systems? Could you provide documentation detailing exactly how to operate and run your business right down to the smallest detail?

If you have created a business with true systems, you probably already know the freedom and control it has brought to your business and personal life and your business is truly Franchise-Ready. The haphazard approach simply cannot compare.

So where do you start? If you are going to build a business based on systems, the first step is to clearly define each individual's responsibilities within your organization. You and your team have to sit down and determine who does what and when. On a daily basis, you and your team engage in proactive and reactive activities. Based on the Law of Cause and Effect, all of these activities affect your productivity. You and your team need absolute clarity of who is accountable for each of these activities. 

Continued Success!

Contributed by Duncan MacPherson

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2023-12-12 21:33:06 • 2 minute read

I’ve never been a big fan of the jargon that exists in this space: “Book of business”, “production”, “circle of influence” and “holistic planning”, just to name a few. To me, they speak more to the advisor’s interests, or are simply not intuitive to a client. It’s the lexicon of salesmanship rather than stewardship. I would much rather you refer to your value as being addressed by a panoramic process. To your network of trusted service providers, as a value-added support team. Some might consider that semantics, but I think everything matters and that everything should be client-centered.

Formalizing Your Strategic Partner Process

To that end, I’d like you to consider formalizing how you engage other professionals into your process such as trusted accountants, estate planning attorneys, and real-estate agents to name a few. Rather than simply referring clients out to a different professional, formally create a listing of trusted and vetted professionals. There could be two tiers - core strategic partners that compliment your technical ability as well as others, including clients, who deliver value in a specific area.

Consider this - I’m sure you’ve had clients who have recently opened up to you and bared their soul about things going on in their lives. Good or bad, silver linings or dark clouds, or information about new or rekindled hobbies and interests. Getting into shape, taking better care of themselves. Newly discovered benevolent activities and the like, all the way across the spectrum to relationships, fears and anxieties, even mental health issues. Make a listing of services - not specifically names, but areas of expertise – that focus on those client concerns. A list so you can reach out to those specialists and inform them that you want to create a Value-Added Support Team (VAST) formed from your array of relationships - and to the specialist members of which you could introduce someone where there’s a potential need.

Creating a Value-Added Support Team (VAST)

If they see the merit in being involved, ask them this: “If an opportunity presents itself where I can make an introduction, what would you like me to say? How would you like me to describe you?” Be ready for a lively conversation, punctuated by the same question asked of you, to which you can reply by quickly outlining the strength of your people, the quality of your practice and the panoramic nature of your process. You can even go so far as to exchange introductory kits to bridge intent to actual consent.

When it comes to introductions, stirring the pot like this will create a culture of advocacy and reciprocity and an elevated client experience. You will find yourself with more opportunities to collaborate in terms of events, webinars, and in social media, so that you can be exposed to the first-degree-of-separation relationships. That could be not only your MVPs, but their clients and acquaintances, some of whom could be your future most valuable prospects.

Commitment and Patience

I don’t want to oversimplify this initiative. It requires a logistical process, a commitment and patience. If you stick with the process, you can add value to client relationships, making them deeper and more loyal. You also convert professional relationships into a mutually beneficial two-way street network, where you can be consistently introduced to more entrepreneurs and professionals that closely resemble your ideal client profile. There is an art and science to this, but in the end, giving does start the receiving process.

Continued Success!

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2023-12-06 20:10:24 • 2 minute read

In the rapidly evolving landscape of wealth management, the fusion of artificial intelligence and financial advisory services has ushered in a new era of precision and efficiency. Financial advisors, entrusted with the responsibility of navigating clients through intricate investment decisions, are increasingly turning to advanced AI tools to gain insights, enhance communication, and personalize recommendations.  

This article spotlights 10 AI tools that are reshaping the way professionals approach their craft. Choosing the right AI tools for your business is a nuanced decision, contingent upon the unique needs and aspirations of your enterprise. The impact of AI is multifaceted across various business domains, and in various areas of focus, including:

  • Chatbots and Virtual Assistants
  • Customer Relationship Management (CRM) with AI
  • Email Marketing Automation
  • Data Analytics and Business Intelligence
  • Marketing and Advertising
  • Content Creation
  • E-commerce Recommendations
  • Human Resources and Recruitment
  • Cybersecurity
  • Finance and Accounting
  • Supply Chain and Inventory Management
  • Natural Language Processing (NLP) 
  • AI-Powered Analytics Platforms

In the evolving world of business, staying ahead of the curve is the name of the game. The spotlight of efficiency in 2024 falls on Generative AI, marking a paradigm shift from experimental curiosity to an indispensable component of daily workflows. It’s the secret sauce enhancing processes, sparking a revolution in how teams gauge success and productivity. \

Gartner, the oracle of tech predictions, foresees a staggering growth spurt in the global artificial intelligence market. They advise you brace yourself for a compound annual growth rate of 37.3% from 2023 to 2030, propelling the market to a jaw-dropping $1,811.8 billion by the end of this decade.

As the AI landscape expands, the quest is on for tools that will stand the test of time. Here, we list 10 AI options that we expect to redefine success in 2024. These aren’t just tools; they’re resources armed with capabilities for better decision-making and liberating teams to be more productive with their time. It’s not just about keeping up; it’s about propelling forward into a future where success is redefined by the transformative force of AI.

Whether you’re an established enterprise or just starting out, these AI tools are shaping the future of business:

 

  1. ChatGPT: Conversational Genius

    chat.openai.com

    Meet the trailblazer that set the AI world abuzz back in 2022 and continues to dominate: ChatGPT by OpenAI. More than just a chatbot, ChatGPT leverages conversational AI to engage users in meaningful dialogue, answering questions and fostering interaction.

    This AI powerhouse is rooted in an advanced language model, honed by diverse internet text and fueled by transformative innovations in architecture, with the latest model, GPT-4, taking sophistication to new heights. However, it’s important to note that all ChatGPT versions, while delivering unparalleled responses, may introduce security risks and response hallucinations. To navigate these challenges, it’s crucial for teams to define safe use-cases when deploying any version of ChatGPT for business purposes.

    Key Features:

    Natural language understanding
    • Contextual responses
    • Multi-lingual support
    • Knowledge base integration
    • Instructional response customization
     
  2. Read.AI: Meeting Recaps & Insights

    www.read.ai

    Get instant meeting recaps from Read.AI. Deliver automated summaries to clients including: topics discussed, action items, key questions, coaching tips, and recommendations after every Microsoft Teams meeting.

    For the ultimate hybrid meeting experience, Read.AI offers real-time engagement and sentiment scores, a meeting timer, talk time, words per minute, and coaching tips—all conveniently accessible in one place. Post-meeting, receive a comprehensive report complete with a transcript, audio and video playback, and AI-driven recommendations.

    Key Features:

    • Real-time engagement and sentiment scores
    • Meeting timer, talk time, and words per minute metrics.
    • Automated meeting recaps with comprehensive insights.
    • Transcript, audio, and video playback for thorough review.
    • AI-driven recommendations for continuous improvement.
     
  3. Pictory: Crafting Stories with Ease

    www.pictory.ai

    Enter Pictory, the AI video generator revolutionizing content creation without the need for editing expertise. This cloud-based app transforms scripts or articles into high-quality videos effortlessly. Whether you’re a blogger or a business, Pictory turns your written content into engaging videos fit for social media or websites. Its user-friendly interface makes editing webinars, podcasts, Zoom recordings, and more a breeze, delivering professional results in minutes.

    Pictory’s standout features include:

    • Video creation based on articles or scripts
    • Text-based video editing
    • Shareable video highlight reels
    • Automatic captioning and summarization
     
  4. Jasper: Your Writing Sidekick

    www.jasper.ai

    Jasper isn’t just an AI writing assistant; it’s a companion for content creators, marketers, and businesses navigating the content jungle. This versatile tool crafts diverse content types – blog articles, product summaries, promotional text, and emails. What sets Jasper apart is its brand-voice capability, allowing users to infuse their unique brand identity seamlessly into AI-generated content.

    Key Features:

    • Engaging content creation
    • Tailored AI for your brand voice
    • Real-time information retrieval
    • Seamless integration into your workflow
    • Secure, scalable, and customizable writing assistant
     
  5. Murf: Giving Voice to Text

    www.murf.ai

    At the zenith of AI voice generators stands Murf, a text-to-speech app useful for professionals in varied fields. This tool lets you convert text to speech, voice-overs, and dictations with a myriad of customization options for natural-sounding voices. Murf’s AI voice-over studio includes a built-in video editor, offering a comprehensive solution for creating videos with voiceovers.

    Key Features:

    • Library with 100+ AI voices across languages
    • Expressive emotional speaking styles
    • AI Voice-Over Studio
    • Customizable through tone, accents, and more
     
  6. Synthesys: Elevating Video Content

    synthesys.io

    Create hyper-personalized AI videos at scale in minutes, not days. Synthesys AI Video Generator lets you create engaging, beautiful videos for your brand without the cost of traditional studio time.

    Generate unique, professional text-to-video clips by leveraging AI avatars made with real actors (Humatars) that can create voiceovers in more than 140 languages, Synthesys makes it easy to create lifelike videos for any use case.

    Get creative with more than 60 avatars to choose from. No matter what your target demographic is for the video content you’re creating, Synthesys AI Video Generator has an avatar that can speak directly to them.

    Key Features:

    • 69 real Humatars
    • 140+ languages and 254 unique styles
    • Excellent for explainer videos, eLearning, and social media
    • Easy-to-use interface for editing and rendering
     
  7. Lovo.ai: The All-in-One Voice Wizard

    www.lovo.ai

    Lovo.ai is an award-winning AI-based voice generator and text-to-speech platform. Renowned for its real human-like voices, Lovo.ai offers over 500 AI voices, granular control for producers, and video editing capabilities through its latest innovation, Genny.

    Key Features:

    • World’s largest library of voices (500+ AI voices)
    • Granular control for professional producers
    • Video editing capabilities
    • Resource database of non-verbal interjections, sound effects, and more
     
  8. Fireflies: AI Meeting Harmony

    www.fireflies.ai

    Fireflies.ai is an AI meeting assistant orchestrating seamless collaboration. With NLP at its core, Fireflies eliminates the need for note-taking during meetings, providing instant recording, transcription, and searchable voice conversations.

    Key Features:

    • Automated meeting transcription
    • AI-powered note-taking
    • Action item tracking
    • CRM integration
    • Collaboration tools
     
  9. Lavender.ai: Email Harmony Redefined

    Lavender.ai

    Lavender steps into the limelight as an innovative email assistant, rewriting the rules of communication and productivity. With AI-powered insights and real-time suggestions, it goes beyond traditional email tools, understanding recipient nuances and optimizing communication effectiveness.

    Key Features:

    • AI email coaching
    • Personalization assistant
    • Real-time optimization
    • Email intelligence
    • Sentiment analysis
     
  10. Zoom Video Communications: AI-Powered Collaboration

    www.zoom.us

    Embark on efficient and user-friendly video conferencing with Zoom. This platform seamlessly integrates AI for virtual meetings, webinars, and collaborative discussions.

    Key Features:

    • AI-driven noise cancellation for clear audio.
    • Virtual background and facial recognition.
    • Automatic transcription for meeting notes.
     

*This article was written by the Marketing team at Pareto along with a little help from AI

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2023-11-28 19:58:47 • 2 minute read

As a financial professional who has transitioned from managing a book of business to running a full-fledged enterprise, your focus on practice and relationship management is as crucial as asset management. To truly excel in this role, having the right technology, specifically the right Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system, becomes imperative. A well-chosen CRM can streamline your operations, enhance client experiences, and help you translate your business philosophy and strategies into tangible results.

Over the years, we’ve engaged with financial professionals who share a business owner mindset. They deeply appreciate the philosophy and proven strategies outlined in The Advisor Playbook and The Blue Square Method. However, they seek a solution that empowers them to seamlessly translate these concepts into actions, consistently elevating the client experience they deliver. To ensure that you are effectively managing your practice and enhancing client relationships, we present the following 10 essential considerations when exploring CRM solutions:

1.  Automates Best Practices

One of the most crucial aspects of a CRM for financial advisors is its ability to serve as a platform for implementing best practices within your business. To thrive in the competitive world of financial services, it’s essential to have a system that not only stores client data but also guides you toward proven strategies that drive success.

A robust CRM can act as a central hub for best practices, allowing you to automate processes, track key metrics, and ensure consistency in your interactions with clients. By leveraging the power of your CRM to implement industry-proven strategies, you can elevate your client service, increase efficiency, and ultimately achieve better results. Look for a CRM that not only stores information but actively supports your journey to becoming a more effective and successful financial advisor.

2. Keeps Your Data Proprietary

You work on your business, and you understand that every investment of effort you make contributes not just to day-to-day profitability, but also to your intellectual property and enterprise value.

All of that - your best practices, client relationships and business systems - are valuable proprietary assets. They’re your life’s work. Your data is proprietary. Make sure your CRM keeps it that way.

3. Keep it Simple

To be candid, virtually all CRM solutions are far too complex. Feature creep is a tech term that speaks to how developers keep adding layers of functionality to a solution - features that don’t address real-world needs and, instead, bog down the user.

Make sure your CRM is intuitive and easy to use, with customizable, automated procedures that balance high-tech with high-touch. Remember, technology is supposed to serve your life, not the other way around.

4. Will it Support an Automated Service Model?

The keystone to maximized, long term relationships is to segment clients and then deploy an automated service model tied to the caliber of those clients. Bookending reactive client service with a scheduled and consistent client experience is why successful business owners thrive over time.

Make sure your chosen CRM can automate those practices and keep you on track. The number one reason a client leaves a service provider is lack of consistent communication. The number one reason why a service provider hits a plateau is because they unknowingly spend 80 percent of their time reacting to the 80 percent of their clients who generate just 20 percent of the business.

A solid CRM with an automated service model will avoid those pitfalls

5. Organization, Structure and Redundancy

Your clients, and your team, crave consistency. The Rule of Three in practice management says that anything you do three or more times and has three or more steps, must be a standardized operating procedure.

Your CRM should provide your team with oversight, redundancy and accountability, because roles and responsibilities are aligned with your org chart. This ensures nothing falls through the cracks and you’re not at the mercy of maverick talent who have your operating system in their heads. Instead, build and automate your procedures in your CRM

6. Achieve Professional Contrast

When you connect and interact with a prospective client, especially if they’ve been introduced to you by an advocate, your fit process is designed to differentiate you in a way that demonstrates how elevated you are in comparison to their soon-to-be-former provider. As the saying goes, for you to get hired, their existing provider has to get fired.

Your value is bought, not sold. Your CRM should enable you to stand out from the pack by being the most methodical and communicative. This lets you attract new clients, rather than chase them.

7. Fast Track New Clients to Advocate Status

How you start a relationship will have a profound impact on its profitability and durability, not to mention your refer-ability over the long haul.

A good CRM will enable you to effortlessly deploy a refined and optimized on-boarding process that will transition new clients to your environment and, in the process, validate their decision so they feel compelled to share their enthusiasm with friends and family members, activating referrals quickly and predictably.

8. Future Pace Relationships through FORM

As a financial professional you must have a needsbased approach to diagnose unmet needs and get out in front of evolving needs as a client’s life unfolds. There was a time this was enough, but today it’s a minimum requirement.

A CRM that lets you harness the power of FORM (Family, Occupation, Recreation and Money) information means your data-driven actions will ensure your clients know that you don’t just care about them, you care specifically about what they care about. Don’t rely on your memory, always have the most important client data at your fingertips.

9. Service & Support

The client service bar in a variety of business sectors has lowered dramatically over the years. When you reach out to call most companies today, an automated bot answers the phone, tells you that your call is important and proceeds to demonstrate that your call is not important by asking you to jump through hoops, doing everything possible to avoid actually talking to you.

Make sure your CRM provider offers real service, real onboarding and real answers when you have questions. The amount of time and money saved here can be immense.

10. Streamlined Team Collaboration

In business, teamwork is vital. Look for a CRM that simplifies team collaboration. It should offer shared access to client information, task management, and real-time communication tools. This ensures everyone is on the same page, reducing miscommunication and duplicated efforts.

Efficient collaboration means smoother processes and better service for clients. It allows for a more integrated approach to client relationships, with every team member having access to the latest data and insights. Choose a CRM that strengthens teamwork, and watch your practice thrive through enhanced coordination and communication.

In your journey to elevate your financial advisory practice, choosing the right CRM is paramount. It can be the difference between a streamlined, efficient operation that delights clients and a cumbersome, time-consuming endeavor that hinders your growth

While there are various CRM options available, it’s worth considering the Toolkit CRM by Pareto as one of your choices. It aligns with the vision and values of professionals who prioritize practice and relationship management. With exceptional CRM support and streamlined team collaboration, the Toolkit CRM can empower you to succeed in running your practice like a true business. So, as you explore CRM solutions, remember these ten essential considerations. Your choice will shape the way you manage your practice, foster client relationships, and ultimately, define your path to success. Choose wisely, and elevate your financial advisory practice to new heights.

Visit ToolkitCRM.com to learn more and schedule a demo today.
 

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2023-11-21 16:31:25 • 20 second read

As a business owner or team leader you wear a lot of hats, but an enlightened philosophy and approach can create accelerated trust. That trust comes through contrast, initially, and then develops into durable trust over the miles you cover with your clients.

The five Cs of the C-Suite can help define your route…

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2023-11-07 17:18:02 • 2 minute read

I’ve been speaking a lot recently as it relates to communication, engaging your clients to tell your story.

Social proof is a powerful force, and, as you probably know by now, there are some parameters in place around using client testimonials and success stories, focusing more on what your value does and less than what it is...

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2023-10-31 19:39:05 • 20 second read

The Intersection of the Blue Square and Blue Zone

From the boardwalks of Atlantic City to the shores of Okinawa, Japan, the concept of purposeful living and work is more resonant than ever. Today, I’d like to explore the confluence of two profound ideas - the Blue Square Method and the Ikigai.

You might wonder how a bustling city in South Jersey relates to a serene Japanese principle of fulfillment. As I recently mused over the redevelopments of Atlantic City, I was reminded of the continuous

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2023-10-17 18:54:12 • 2 minute read

The Case for Stewardship Over Salesmanship

When it comes to client acquisition and business development, the most enlightened philosophy is that of stewardship, not salesmanship. Salesmanship asks a client to buy something, chasing them with closing techniques and trying to convince them to take action. It often over-promises and under-delivers. Stewardship asks a client to buy into something, attracting them with a process-driven, win-win approach, and letting them come to their own conclusions - convincing themselves with reason and self-motivation…

Click to read more on LinkedIn: paretosys.co/dmac_68

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2023-10-03 20:59:11 • 2 minute read

New Rules mean New Opportunities

The recent amendment by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to allow financial professionals to use testimonials has brought about a transformative change in the financial services sector. In this digital era the significance of online reviews is hard to overstate. Testimonials are emerging as a crucial tool for financial professionals to reinforce existing relationships and forge new ones...

Click to read more on LinkedIn

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2023-09-19 15:38:48 • 2 minute read

In the journey of personal and professional development, a mentor is a guiding beacon. They see and foster virtues in a budding protégé, qualities that will create a foundation for a thriving…

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2023-08-15 17:06:05 • 20 second read

If you received six referrals in the last 12 months, you were probably talked about and endorsed 30 times. It’s about a five-to-one ratio between endorsement and introduction. Closing that gap is not only where the lowest-hanging fruit lives, but your growth model elevates you from transacting…

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2023-07-25 19:50:41 • 2 minute read

The Key to Meaningful Client Relationships

As professionals, we revel in our industry knowledge and technical ability, often taking pride in our mastery over a plethora of financial terms. But have you ever paused to think about your client’s perception? Every industry has its jargon, and the financial sector is no exception with over 13,000 financial terms at its disposal. While these terminologies may demonstrate our competence, they often leave clients feeling overwhelmed and excluded.

Take a moment to consider this analogy. Imagine you’ve recently purchased an e-bike, a device you enjoy and appreciate for its convenience and adaptability...

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2023-07-11 17:47:38 • 2 minute read

You’re taking all aspects of your enterprise value seriously. You’ve got a fundamentally sound business. The metrics are impressive. Client loyalty, longevity and engagement are measurable. The EBITDA is strong. Your feeworthiness is undeniable. You have tidy books, documented procedures, a sticky staff and IP with meaningful intrinsic value. Maybe you should just sit on that, enjoy the ride, and wait for a buyer down the road who meets your criteria, while paying you 6x rather than most of your competitors who get 2x?

Click to read more on LinkedIn: paretosys.co/dmac62

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2023-06-21 17:39:08 • 2 minute read

The Power of Personalized Content

In the ever-evolving world of financial advisory services, relationship management is an indispensable aspect of your work. As someone who deeply values client connections, I want to share my belief that the future lies in content marketing…

Click to read more of Duncan’s Featured article on his on LinkedIn page: paretosys.co/dmac61

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2023-06-06 20:23:50 • 2 minute read

Why Acquiring a Business May Not Be the Right Move

In a world where business growth and expansion are highly valued, the decision to acquire a business can seem like the logical next step for many entrepreneurs. However, it is essential to consider the potential pitfalls and challenges that come with such a move…

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2023-05-10 16:05:06 • 2 minute read

Many of my friends are business owners, and many of our clients have gone deep into attracting and keeping great clients who are business owners. I’d like to share with you a little bit about the why and the how. Why business owners are the ideal clients, and how to attract - not chase - a steady stream of high-quality business owners…

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2023-05-02 19:28:42 • 2 minute read

The idea of "go big or go home" is often preached in the world of business development. That you must constantly strive for bigger and better things is deeply ingrained in our culture, and is often seen as the key to success. I believe that there is a different way of approaching business growth that is just as effective, if not more so…

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2023-04-25 20:30:53 • 20 second read

Market volatility, political uncertainty, competitive forces and various external dependencies are facts of life for a knowledge-for-profit professional.

It would be great if the world cooperated with our plans on a consistent basis, but that is not the way it is. That’s why clients hire you. Your ability to deal with this reality is a major factor that separates the best from the rest...

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2023-04-18 20:32:40 • 2 minute read

The popular show ’Love It or List It’ focuses on homeowners renovating their home to maximize its value, intending (initially) to sell it and move somewhere else. However, as they go through the process, they often find themselves falling back in love with their original home...

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2023-04-11 19:41:46 • 2 minute read

The arrival of spring is a time of renewal and anticipation, and as we move from the cold winter months into a time of growth and new beginnings, it’s the perfect opportunity to rekindle relationships with clients and colleagues alike…

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2023-04-04 20:27:48 • 2 minute read

Proactive Communication Ensures that Your Clients focus on Your Plan Rather than on the Markets

We all know that communication is often as big, or an even bigger factor, to refer-ability than performance. Obviously rates of return matter, but long term relationships stem from trust, and trust is created by a comfort level that is supported by consistent communication... 

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2023-03-28 20:25:09 • 2 minute read

Through many market cycles over the years, I’ve been saying that a good financial advisor is at his or her highest level of refer-ability during times of volatility. Money becomes more topical and many people start to have nagging doubts about the track they are on - both in terms of their current advisor and financial plan…

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2023-03-21 20:41:20 • 2 minute read

by Duncan MacPherson

Use my summary of John Kenneth Galbraith’s book A Short History of Financial Euphoria to add impact to your messaging to be compelling and attractive to clients:

As a financial advisor, you know all about the distinction between the message and the messenger. The message is more about the products and services you represent. The messenger is more about you and your ability to be the voice of reason to clients during times of intense turbulence and uncertainty....

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2023-03-14 20:06:22 • 20 second read

The statement "every business is built to be sold" may sound counterintuitive, especially to business owners who have dedicated their lives to building and growing their enterprises. However, upon closer examination, this assertion reveals itself to be a valuable piece of advice for all entrepreneurs, including financial professionals.

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2023-03-07 21:16:53 • 2 minute read

Leading up to 2023, what made a financial professional successful? What activities did they focus on? What did their team actually implement? Do years of experience necessarily mean that you will be more successful? Does having a larger team mean that you run a better practice? Overall, where does the industry stand in practice management?

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2023-02-28 21:52:16 • 2 minute read

An Always On approach to conversion and convergence propels you down a path where you can eventually pivot from a strictly organic B-to-C growth model to a scalable B-to-B growth model. It enables you to buy an undervalued business from a retiring competitor or colleague. You can attract protégés who have plateaued because of the friction of the world, who can draft in behind your process and replicate your outcomes without being left to their own devices…

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2023-02-21 21:32:26 • 2 minute read

The Fee-for-Service business environment is a fascinating business model and very conducive to scale. For comparison, look at other sectors that don’t just transact, but can create recurring revenue, lift and scale...

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2023-02-14 21:30:17 • 20 second read

If you get to the point where you say, “it’s go time” on the business-to-business (B2B) model and you’re confident in your business to consumer (B2C) IP and adoptability, the next things to clarify before you go to market are your hook and your B2B process...

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2023-02-07 20:49:44 • 20 second read

Part of our core mantra is that service is branding. Service is marketing. If that sounds like a generic statement to toss in for the sake of it, allow us to clarify. A while back we had a consultation with a pretty substantial Advisor…

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2023-01-31 20:14:46 • 20 second read

A quick tribute to Peter Parker’s Uncle Ben, here. You probably weren’t expecting another Spider-Man reference, but to paraphrase, with great knowledge comes great power and great responsibility. The lesson is simple, gather FORM knowledge and engage ALL meaningful stakeholders into the process as the relationship unfolds.

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2023-01-24 20:44:06 • 2 minute read

As you can gather by now, the recurring theme throughout this book is “have a process.” It can seem tedious at times, but the multitude of benefits on the other side of development and deployment are worth the effort.

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2023-01-17 17:33:36 • 2 minute read

A quick word about seeking out options for outsourcing some of the commoditized aspects of your Technical Ability and Core Competency (TACC) over to bona fide models and platforms that are proven to add efficiency to your overall deliverables. As an example, a financial professional in his 50s was hitting his stride and finding renewed enthusiasm for his business by...

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2023-01-10 17:35:05 • 2 minute read

The energy shifts from the first to the second meeting. Leading up to your first meeting, the prospective client might have felt some apprehension – but that was squelched quickly – and then moved to a state of anticipation for the potential of the relationship. As you onboard the soon-to-be client, the mood shifts to validation. This is where your actions continually confirm their decision and appreciation that this might even be better than they expected.

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2023-01-03 17:01:45 • 2 minute read

Meeting with Prospective Clients If you’ve ever been to a large sporting event and a spontaneous chant or wave erupted and took hold throughout a stadium filled with thousands of people, it’s essentially a social form of phase transition where the energy in the building evolved into an organic harmonic pattern. After a concert or theatrical show, the crowd bursts into an applause where the clapping is in sync and transitions to a standing ovation – nobody told them to do it. It’s said that two metronomes will synch up within 30 minutes. It’s said that the hearts of two people in close proximity and with affection for each other will start beating together.

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2022-12-27 18:42:04 • 2 minute read

A best practice that can take more time to produce, but strongly reflects and supports your branding strategy, is content marketing. When you create and promote your content, and make it the call to action, you ask the world to ask for your thought leadership IP, rather than asking for appointments or new business. You are attracting with permission marketing, rather than chasing with sales techniques.

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2022-12-20 21:20:57 • 2 minute read

A Process to Engage Strategic Partners

For many professionals in your inner circle of strategic partners, and for those connected to your clients that you haven’t met yet, understand their wiring. It doesn’t always occur to them to proactively make introductions. Their head is down, grinding out their technical deliverables. They might think in terms of 101-level networking, but not all of them are very savvy beyond that. It isn’t an innate skill for everyone, and it certainly wasn’t taught to them in school. In the absence of the entrepreneurial pedigree – they’re running a practice not a business – there is a higher degree of skepticism when it comes to this type of initiative…

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2022-12-13 21:27:29 • 2 minute read

Another client of ours – who was admittedly just going through the motions initially with our process – got jarred one day. In the space of an hour, he received an amazing degree of praise and an incredible referral from a raving client, and then got fired by a raging client. It was enough to tip him over to a sense of resolve…

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2022-12-06 20:45:17 • 2 minute read

The idea of getting together with a client to rehash something that has already happened is just one reason why some of your clients might brush it off and tell you, “Hey it’s all cool. I’m busy, I trust you. Whatever you think.” You might convince yourself that it’s great that your client feels that way. It’s not great. It’s great that they trust you, but not great that they don’t see the merit in getting together. That’s where loyalty fatigue and drifting are born. The noise-cancelling headphones are now officially off and competitor messages are going to be heard…

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2022-11-29 17:31:00 • 2 minute read

In business and in life, it’s not about wins and losses but about how you play - and if and when you’ll stop learning and growing. Getting set in our ways is understandable, especially later in life. Coasting is easier, so it’s impressive seeing someone on the back-nine of life still committed to health and wellness, attending yoga sessions and gym classes…

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2022-11-22 21:07:34 • 2 minute read

In the spirit of reaching people who count, rather than counting the people you reach, we strongly urge you to have a laser focus on your primary addressable audience – people who are already convinced. Your existing relationships have a degree of familiarity and trust for you – that train is rolling – so let’s add to that momentum before you expend the effort to get new ones moving.

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2022-11-08 20:03:50 • 2 minute read

The value proposition is not an elevator pitch (How many elevators do you get trapped in?). It’s a brief, concise statement that defines you and leaves someone wanting more. If they’re intrigued, they’ll give you permission to elaborate. If they aren’t, they ask about your tie. Just embrace the exercise of not winging it and avoid the long-winded data dump. Some people want to know what time it is, others want you to build them a clock. Some want to enjoy the bratwurst, others want to know how the sausage is made. Be led by them.

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2022-11-01 19:33:08 • 2 minute read

An excellent example of future pacing is how a fee-for-service financial provider can enable a client to expand their thinking by looking far down the road and re-imagining how the trajectory of the relationship will impact them. Take a typical first generation, self-made affluent client who sets a goal to become financially independent. They follow the advice of their financial professional, stay…

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