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2020-11-25 18:14:44 • 20 second read

Make sure prospective clients know you're a specialist, not a generalist. Whatever your target market is, do case studies, success stories, warnings and examples around that target market to help activate contrast - so that prospective clients understand you are superior to their current provider and give them a reason to reach out and talk to you.

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2020-11-23 20:53:23 • 20 second read

Who views it as an accomplishment when you bring on a new client? Is it you for closing them, or them for qualifying because there's a good fit? Which is the track to advocacy?

Attend Mastermind in Palm Springs, CA to discuss strategies with other like-minded advisors looking to turn their top clients into referral-generating advocates. Springs 2019 dates have been added! Click here to learn more:

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2020-11-20 17:20:57 • 20 second read

One of the strangest aspects of writing The Blue Square Method is discarding some of the notes I've accumulated over the years. Observations of the mindset of top fee for service professionals as well as the proven strategies and best practices we've developed along the way get captured, archived and eventually converted from one-offs into a flowing draft. And then they're gone. It's true that sometimes new beginnings involve letting go... 

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2020-11-18 18:17:22 • 20 second read

Ask readers to ask for something as part of your content call-to-action. Write a white paper and you create content that becomes a hook to a first interaction. This helps you sift out prospects from the mass of suspects.


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2020-11-16 14:30:53 • 20 second read

As I take a break from The Blue Square Method, I went for a walk past a Steak House here on the ski hill that won't reopen for a couple of weeks, and I'm reminded of the best two minute video on sales created by Elmer Wheeler in the 1940's. One of his 5 principles was "Don't sell the steak, sell the sizzle." Of course he was referring to the experience more than the thing itself.

In other words, it's not what your value is, it's what your value does. It's not what you do but what the client wants and how you get them there that matters. Your clients want, among other things, to achieve a work-optional lifestyle. To be liberated by financial independence to pursue all their aspirations. To go to work because they want to, not because they have to.

As I write this, I'm sitting here in our place in the mountains, I did a webinar in my makeshift "studio", a couple of calls and plugged away at a book. Pretty lucky. My team is humming along back at the office, my wife is holding down the fort and my kids are studying away. I bet it's only the dogs that noticed I'm gone. We're in an amazing era to be portable, flexible and have goals that seem so lofty and yet are attainable. So always remember the impact you can have on the lives of your clients.

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2020-11-13 16:44:08 • 20 sec

You can't want it more than they do. The idea of attracting anyone is all about an alignment of interests: It's all about a fit. You're not trying to convince someone to do something – they’re acknowledging fit.

This is one of the most important concepts we address with the advisors we work with, and that we follow ourselves at Pareto. Any professional that is interested in engaging with us, we take them through a fit process which includes gaining an understanding for our process, and our approach. These daily posts are a great starting point to see if there is an alignment between what we do, and what you are looking to achieve. We hope that some of these posts are having an impact on you and your business.

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2020-11-12 18:44:57 • 20 second read

As I chip away at The Blue Square Method, I take moments to think about books that have had an impact on me. Now that winter is here up in the mountains, Jim Rohn's book "The Seasons of Life" comes to mind. It's a great read because it gives perspective to the ebb and flow of life. Peaks and valleys are par for the course in any journey. When things are great, we're in the autumn harvest, but winter always follows autumn and we have to plan accordingly. And so it goes. I personally prefer summer but when we're in winter we have a choice to make - get through it or make the best of it. And of course we need the cold to appreciate the warm just as we need the dark to fully appreciate the light. 2020 has been bizarre to say the least (thanks Captain Obvious), just as some winters are more severe and drag on longer than others. I'm optimistic that in the not-so-distant future we are going to turn an incredible corner and head into an absolutely stellar spring and beyond.

There's nothing quite like blue sky after a storm.

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2020-11-11 19:09:52 • 20 second read

A few years ago our friends at Lavish Cards had the privilege of shooting Renee and Justin’s wedding ceremony on Justin’s grandparents’ farm, where he had been raised, followed by a beautiful toast given by Justin’s grandfather, standing on his tractor, surrounded by wildflowers and poppies. A spectacular sea of thousands of beautiful little poppies glowing in the afternoon sun. The perfect backdrop. The groom told Lavish his grandfather would be very happy that we’d used this field on their wedding day, since he’d been instrumental in Justin’s upbringing, and was a World War II veteran. His grandfather had toured Europe years after the war and visited the places he’d been during that difficult time. While he was in Flanders he collected some poppy seeds and brought them home and scattered them on the family homestead in remembrance, and they have flourished.
On the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month countries around the world will recognize the sacrifices made by people like Justin’s grandfather.
It will be Armistice Day, Remembrance Day, or Veterans Day. But we will never forget that a poppy by any other name will be as sweet, because it symbolizes love and sacrifice. Not surprisingly, these are two vital ingredients in a successful marriage…

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2020-11-10 18:29:18 • 20 second read

When you impose deadlines on yourself, do you thrive or buckle? Do you feel pressure or apply it? I got to thinking about this as I was adding to our upcoming new book, The Blue Square Method. Needing a break and distraction, I found Queen's epic performance at Wembley Stadium, in addition to Freddie's soaring talent, I was reminded of how many bands have covered this song. So here is my podium of the top 3 versions

Gold - Queen Live 
Silver - David Bowie Live
Bronze - Foo Fighters Live with Rufus
Honorable Mention - My Chemical Romance

How does your ranking line up with mine?

FYI, Vanilla Ice did not make my top 10

OK, back to work...

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2020-11-09 20:35:50 • 20 second read

Professionalizing and standardizing the client experience, using an org chart to outline roles and responsibilities, building a playbook to capture procedures and a service matrix that defines how your service model works provides immense value to your clients. There are many benefits to this for both you and your clients. One of the most important for you is to ensure that you're constantly investing 80 percent of your time with the 20 percent of the clients who generate 80 percent of your business.

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2020-11-06 18:54:48 • 20 second read

Remind people why they should value you beyond rates of return: Your process addresses continuity and succession, family investment legacy - when first-generation earned money becomes second generation found money. Your process addresses that, so just a couple of gentle reminders about some of the core values that you represent, but ensuring that clients never take your value for granted. As Warren Buffet would say, “Price is what you pay, value’s what you get.” Remind your clients of the value of your process - not necessarily what it is and what you do, but what that process does for a client now and in the future as their life unfolds and their needs evolve.

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2020-11-05 18:29:42 • 20 second read

Missed the webinar: "The Main Thing - The one adjustment top advisors are making to fuel growth with Steve Phillips & Duncan MacPherson"? Click here to watch the replay on Pareto Academy:

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2020-11-04 18:00:13 • 20 second read

The circumstances don't make the man; they reveal him. It's not about the glass being half full or half empty – the question is this: Is the glass growing? A mentor shared this with me a long time ago, he said, “If you fill a cup with water and you leave it there, when you come back, it will have evaporated. You’ve got to top it back up - but that's as big as the cup gets. When you top up with experience and take some risks, you keep personally and professionally developing your skills and refining your process. The Cup gets bigger even as you keep topping it up.”

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2020-11-02 18:46:51 • 20 sec

Don't pitch what you want or what you need. Position what you provide and how it helps people. Make it easy for your clients to articulate that value and the quality and quantity of referrals you get will go up.

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2020-10-28 16:41:38 • 20 second read

Clients don't just buy something, they buy into something. Moving customers who are just “buying something” into a client role can reveal a vein of gold, and that shift can come about when you go back and treat your existing customers as prospective clients. Reintroduce yourself, your process and your value to gain that empowerment.

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2020-10-26 15:29:48 • 20 second read

You need a process to sift real prospects from the mass of suspects. Your advocates will do that for you. Your most valuable prospective clients are the friends and family members of your existing clients. Your existing clients have more persuasive impact on them than you ever will, so don't go out there and try to convince new people - work better with the people who are already convinced. Show them how to convince people and you'll create client acquisition.

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2020-10-23 17:09:31 • 20 second read

Use a Fit Process so that, when someone opts in, they come to their own conclusions: They're buying in. You're not closing them - they're closing you.

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2020-10-22 18:12:54 • 5 min audio

Elevate the client experience by transitioning to a process driven environment and shift from organic to scalable growth. In this episode, Duncan provides valuable insight into overcoming the ‘red-zone’ of scalable growth to building a truly franchise ready business.

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2020-10-21 17:21:26 • 20 second read

Gratitude and appreciation is fueled by understatement and humility. Don’t pivot away from goal setting, keep reaching, but keep everything in proportion, everything in perspective. There is purpose and meaning in achieving goals for what they make of us.

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2020-10-19 19:15:37 • 20 second read

It is more important to reach people who count than it is to count the number of people you're reaching. Branding helps someone understand their unmet needs and compare and contrast your value to their current provider. Conversion follows, where you take that intent and create consent.

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2020-10-16 18:59:55 • 20 second read

Take all your qualities, skills and intentions, and put them into a process. Build an intellectual property that somebody else could deploy. Make yourself obsolete. Build a business that runs like a Swiss watch whether or not you're there.

Your growth can be scalable without dilution, no matter how big it gets. Once it's professionalized, it can be standardized in a proprietary playbook that can be handed to somebody else, and that enables you to monetize that intellectual property.


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2020-10-15 18:47:01 • 20 second read

In this episode, Duncan discusses the importance and usefulness that video can have in your business. Video acts as an initial connection point to get to know you better and helps to address and answer the sort of unspoken questions that viewers may have.

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2020-10-12 16:16:42 • 20 second read

Warren Buffet said “price is what you pay, value is what you get.” Define Yourself. Define who you are and who you're not. Use the contrast principle. Let them come to their own conclusions; and remember, how you start that relationship will impact how it will unfold over its lifetime.

We help our Blue Square Method clients define and refine their processes to ensure they start their client relationships right and never need to negotiate their value. See if you are a fit for Blue Square:

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2020-10-09 15:28:43 • 20 second read

Where do you get new clients? From your existing relationships.

You’re not out there trying to convince new people, you’re working better with people who are already convinced, and that helps you to tap into the second and third generations of your existing clients.


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2020-10-08 20:10:22 • 30 minute video

In this video, part 2 of 2, Duncan answers more questions from last month’s e-Summit and provides valuable insight to help advisors take their business to another level! Click here to watch

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2020-10-07 18:31:08 • 20 sec

Your commitment to proactive and reactive service driven by your Service Matrix makes you referable, but you have to go beyond that. You can't be your own best kept secret. You've got to make it easy for your clients to tell your story.

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2020-10-06 20:09:45 • 20 second read

“What are some of the best ideas for client engagement in this new environment?” “What is your best piece of advice for creating efficiency within our business?” “What is the best book you’ve read in the last year?”

These are just a few of the many questions registrants asked at the recent ‘Foresight from 2020’ e-Summit. In this video, part 1 of 2, Duncan answers these questions and provides valuable insight to help advisors take their business to another level! Click here to watch

Want to make improvements to your firm’s Practice Management? Attend e-Mastermind with Duncan MacPherson on October 22nd! Click for more info

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2020-10-05 15:06:25 • 20 sec

Among the qualities that can make you better at what you do, a profound one is this - even at the highest level, the mindset is that the clay is soft. There's no fixation on inertia confidence, the best don't mistake movement for achievement, they are always trying to refine and optimize what they do. They never stop learning. Even if it is subtle, minor adjustments, they can lead to major improvements.

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2020-10-02 15:10:48 • 20 second read

with Scott Hamilton, Certified Pareto Business Advisor and Speaker – Scott is a long-time professional consultant and business advisor as well as the builder of a successful estate and tax practice and a nationally known Wealth Strategies firm. He now devotes much of his professional time to a select group of financial Advisors. His coaching clients now range from smaller boutique practices to a large multi-advisor RIA firm with over $2 Billion in assets under management.

Click here to view Scott’s presentation

Click here to schedule a Pareto Intro call

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2020-10-01 20:02:48 • 20 second read

Featured Presentation from September’s Foresight From 2020 Virtual e-Summit: Referable Moments with Terry Gronbeck-Jones and Sherri Palle, Certified Pareto Business Consultants – For many years now, Sherri and Terry have coached elite advisory teams on how to provide an exceptional client experience. In this session, Sherri and Terry share some of their favorite standout examples that showcase how top teams have gone above and beyond what's expected by expertly utilizing FORM information, Moments of Truth, Annual Anchors and more. These proven strategies should be a key component to your Q4 and 2021 strategic plans.

Click here to view Sherri and Terry’s presentation on YouTube

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2020-10-01 16:26:06 • 6 min audio

Join Duncan as he discusses the impact of repositioning your ‘Review Meetings’ into 'Strategy and Tactical Meetings' where you invest the past into the future and make it an extension of your overarching process.

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2020-09-30 21:12:47 • 2 minute read

with Sharon Gottula & Laura Garfield, Co-founders of Idea Decanter.

Video can help you get more leads booked. And when you use it the right way, you can convert those prospects to clients, then turn those clients into a great source for more referrals. Are you ready to kick start your video marketing strategy? Idea Decanter co-founders Laura & Sharon will share:

Their top scripting tips

Tried and true gear recommendations

How to prepare for you shoot

The secret to the right setup for recording

Click to view Sharon and Laura’s presentation on YouTube:

To learn more about Idea Decanter visit:

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2020-09-28 21:15:22 • 2 minute read

Aaron brings 19 years of industry experience, focusing exclusively on advisory practice mergers and acquisitions consulting in the wealth management industry. Prior to SkyView, Aaron founded an M&A Consulting and executive recruiting firm, Northrop Consulting, providing sell-side representation to wealth management firms wherein he developed a strategy entitled Generational Partnerships to promote long-range succession planning with short term growth, and fueled the industry with talent through executive and experienced employee advisor recruiting.

Click here to view Aaron’s presentation

Click here to learn more about Skyview Partners

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2020-09-25 17:45:56 • 20 second read

Outline the introduction process; explain the why, the who and the how. Don’t leave your clients to their own devices to figure out how to make an introduction. This closes the gap between endorsement and introductions.

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2020-09-24 20:17:29 • 20 second read

Join Duncan MacPherson, the Pareto Team, and other leading industry experts in a full-day virtual practice management summit as they discuss the best in the industry are doing to finish strong in 2020 and position themselves for a breakthrough in 2021.

  • Learn what top professionals are doing right now
  • Create your strategic plan for 2021
  • Refine and optimize your business to create efficiency and capacity

Click to watch:

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2020-09-21 18:45:07 • 20 second read

Selling a business is the biggest liquidity event you'll have. It's your opportunity to monetize your life’s work. A great advisor doesn’t spend their life selling investments, products and solutions. Instead, they build relationships and build a practice. It's not a ‘book of business’; it’s a business, and it has immense enterprise value.

Enterprise value goes well beyond AUM. What is it a buyer is acquiring? At one time valuation would be based solely on the assets bought, but that’s not always a representative measure. It's not just the AUM – the buyer is buying a practice and they're buying relationships, and the more work you put into building those relationships, the more enterprise value you will build.

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2020-09-18 16:54:26 • 20 second read

There's a lot of noise out there. You want people to tune out the noise and really tune into what it is you're communicating. Everything you say is either a "me too" or "so what". A "me too" that resonates and stands out and differentiates you or a "so what" that's just part of the noise.

Ultimately, connect it with your process. Don't tell people you “help your clients”, tell people that you've “developed and refined a process that helps your clients achieve their financial goals”. That’s a “me too.”

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2020-09-16 18:28:57 • 20 second read

The investment world is all about confidence and trust. Whether you are buying or selling, the more effectively and consistently you communicate with the clients involved, the more you will multiply the value of what you are buying or selling.

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2020-09-14 18:58:14 • 20 second read

Think of your service model. You may provide 85 services for your client over the lifetime of the relationship, but none of those 85 services are proprietary to you; a client can find them elsewhere.

Think of those 85 things like 85 bricks in front of you. Your process is the mortar that holds it all together. You're not selling products. You're not asking people to buy something. You want clients to buy into your process.

To see how a Pareto Systems Business Advisor can help you define and enhance your process schedule a complimentary 20 minute call:

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2020-09-10 16:44:47 • 6 min audio

In this episode, Duncan suggests, as one of the silver linings that have come out of 2020, that this is an excellent opportunity for fee-for-service professionals to grow down their business. This will free up your time for the clients who deserve you as opposed to the clients who need you and allow you to shift from broadcasting to the masses to narrowcasting to your most deserving clients where the alignment of interest, now and in the future, is just absolutely ideal.

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2020-09-09 16:37:11 • 20 second read

When you talk in specifics about your Ideal Client, and you professionalize all forms of communication, your clients internalize this and then mirror it back. Your ability to verbalize your value helps them internalize that value and then socialize it to someone else.

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2020-09-04 18:01:48 • 20 second read

Quality is a habit, not an act; we are what we repeatedly do.

We are products of our habits and rituals. Creating a new habit can be difficult because traction and meaningful results take time to manifest. Our daily routines get hardwired into our mindset and whenever we deviate we often subconsciously revert back to our original ways of doing things.

An important step is to develop an approach where you take action and build the bridge as you cross it. If you know you have to start doing something that’s in your best interest - or stop doing something that is not in your best interest - take action and let the momentum of your new habit compound over time.

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2020-09-03 14:13:04 • 8 min audio

In this episode, Duncan MacPherson provides actionable strategies to help you finish 2020 strong and position yourself for a great 2021! By focusing your efforts on the 20% clients who helped generate 80% of your business, and ratcheting up your service matrix, you will differentiate yourself from the crowd and convert clients into referral generating advocates.

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2020-09-02 18:22:22 • 20 sec

You probably have a handful of existing clients today who are ideal. The question is how can you best convert and create more of these ideal clients from within your client base? How can you keep them when things are chaotic? You have to coach them and lead them through a methodical communication plan, and the best time to start this is when market conditions are positive. Farmers work hard during the autumn harvest because they know winter is inevitable.

Grow your crop of Ideal Clients… schedule a call with my team today:

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2020-08-31 16:14:07 • 20 second read

Do you ever have a client who says to you "Hey - our upcoming quarterly review meeting - I can't make it, and listen, it’s all good, everything looks fine, I trust you, whatever you think"? Often an advisor responds with "Well, yeah that happens a lot" in a tone that projects that this is no big deal, or is in fact a good thing.

It's NOT a good thing.

I get that they’re busy. Good, upmarket clients are always busy, their time is valuable. The client is saying that they do not perceive there being enough value to make the meeting a priority in their day. That is where loyalty fatigue is born. That’s where the relationship starts to be at risk. Stop calling them “quarterly review meetings” and instead call them strategy and tactical meetings. Communicate the value of that meeting and top clients will engage.

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2020-08-28 15:53:17 • 20 second read

Whatever your goals are, if you want your business to serve your life rather than the other way around, you have to get your business out of your head (and your assistant’s head) and start documenting your procedures. I know it sounds like work, but the payoff can be massive.

Learn how to document and organize your process with Total Client Engagement:

#businessdevelopment #practicemanagement #theadvisorplaybook

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2020-08-27 15:12:03 • 20 second read

In this episode Duncan discusses the benefit of being in a “state of flow” and how right now there's an opportunity for you to rethink your business, and your focus, to get to a real state of fulfillment and potentially go up market to a higher-caliber client.

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2020-08-26 15:55:19 • 20 second read

Quality is a habit, not an act; we are what we repeatedly do.

We are products of our habits and rituals. Creating a new habit can be difficult because traction and meaningful results take time to manifest. Our daily routines get hardwired into our mindset and whenever we deviate we often subconsciously revert back to our original ways of doing things.

An important step is to develop an approach where you take action and build the bridge as you cross it. If you know you have to start doing something that’s in your best interest - or stop doing something that is not in your best interest - take action and let the momentum of your new habit compound over time.

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2020-08-21 15:45:41 • 20 sec

A personal branding strategy helps people connect with you on a deeper level. The firm you represent has its own brand, but you need to build a brand within that brand. This adds credibility to your overall brand, but people are connecting with you, the messenger, not just your message in terms of solutions, products or rates of return.

Learn how to refine your branding with our Total Client Engagement Process:

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2020-08-19 16:02:15 • 20 second read

Listening doesn’t just make a client confident and happy; it gives you real information that makes you better in turn. It’s possible for your judgment to be clouded by inertia confidence, by neglect or by getting into a feedback vacuum. Your clients are the best board of directors/advisory panel you can have. They will keep you on track.

Excerpt from the Advisor Playbook:

If you need to open deeper communications with your ideal clients, talk to my team, we can help. Ask for our consulting coordinator: 1.866.593.8020

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