Steve Phillips is a longtime friend and partner of Duncan MacPherson and the entire Pareto Systems team, having first engaged with Pareto as a client in 2010. With over 25 years of experience in the financial services industry as a speaker, team leader and passionate educator, Steve was an early adopter of the processes around practice management, business refinement and client acquisition. It was a natural next step for Steve to become a Pareto Certified Practice Management Consultant, and part of the Pareto Coaches Network.
After living, working and consulting in Scottsdale AZ for 5 years, Steve and his wife Laurie recently moved back to their home city of Overland Park KS. They have two grown daughters, Lindsay and Leigha and stay busy being involved with them and other family members living in the Kansas City area. Steve and Laurie are movie buffs and also enjoy traveling.
Interestingly, Steve's college study was herpetology and he spent those formative years collecting and working with venomous snakes. As he describes it, the study and love of the snakes and their natural history remains in his blood and he still gets out on collecting and observation trips with colleagues as often as he can.
Pareto: Why did you buy into Pareto’s process as opposed to what the industry was doing?
Steve: Pretty simple actually. After doing presentations for thousands of advisors over 15 years, it became increasingly clear that the path to sustainable growth for already successful advisors was not around product or marketing. Moreover, the idea of working with the ‘already convinced’ in a practice, and turning current clients into advocates who then became the best client acquisition initiative anywhere, was the absolute proof that these proven processes work year after year. Helping the advisors I worked with create professional contrast in their communities and seeing what a shift to a philosophy, planning strategy and process approach meant to creating enterprise value in a firm, not only changed the trajectory of the firms and advisors I worked with, it changed my own path and in fact my life.
Pareto: After becoming a founding member of the Pareto Coaches Network you founded the initial version of Advisor Protocol nearly five years ago and I know that through the collaboration with Duncan and Pareto Systems you’ve seen significant growth in the last several years. Talk to me a little about what AP does for its advisor clients.
Steve: Well first, all of us at Advisor Protocol are thrilled to have had this relationship with Pareto for the last 5 years and Duncan has certainly been a guiding resource for us all along the way and was instrumental in the idea around what Advisor Protocol could become. We take the “In Collaboration with Pareto Systems” very seriously.
We’re actually a brand and coaching consultancy, so we develop and create personal and professional branding strategies, which of course leads advisors to articulating their value so that clients and prospects fully and completely understand and appreciate everything they do. As Duncan would say, we help advisors take the 50 or 80 or 100 things that they may be able to provide to a client over the life of a relationship, condense it into the 7 Pillars and then down to the One proprietary Process. We provide client-facing branded marketing pieces all based around the principals taught in the Pareto System, TCE and Blue Square.
We don’t let our advisors confuse a logo or fancy marketing pieces with the brand though. When you think of famous logos like Nike or Apple those are not just logos or pictures. They are the outward-facing representation of a deeply seated brand. For example, when you see the Nike Swoosh what do you think? “Just do it” of course. That’s a brand not a logo. So we work deeply with our advisor clients and their teams to identify, capture and bring to life their unique brand. You can imagine then what happens when we create the client pieces or provide coaching, not to mention the reaction of clients and prospects after the brand has been created.
Pareto: So in short, what affects or changes have you seen on the practices of advisors who participate in the AP program?
Steve: Well within a matter of weeks of engaging with us our advisors see an increase in the quality and quantity of introductions they receive. The Pareto mantra of course. The thing is, is that once the brand is created and advisors can communicate it with passion and emotion, it of course gives clients a compelling way to share the experience they have with their advisor with friends and family members and instead of “sending referrals” they now “make the introductions.” And there’s a big difference there, as you know. Additionally, the strategies apply to both new client acquisition and to re-framing of current client relationships so think retention as well.
Pareto: So, your processes affect both acquisition AND retention. Speak to that for just a moment
Steve: Again, applying what we’ve learned from Duncan and through our own experience with advisors, I think it’s safe to say that competition and commoditization will continue to increase and not go the other way and we believe, and have heard from some of our client advisors, that retention might be the most important aspect when it comes to increasing the enterprise value of their firms.
So through our branding and coaching we teach our advisors that “the words matter” whether or not they’re speaking with a new client for the first time or re-framing the relationships of their best clients. The opportunity to create professional contrast always exists, maybe now more than ever. The focus always has to be on providing an elevated and perfected client experience, and to move prospects and clients up the loyalty ladder to advocates.
To date we are extremely pleased and gratified about the response we have received and certainly about the ongoing collaboration with everyone at Pareto.
For more information on Steve or Advisor Protocol visit: https://www.advisorprotocol.com/