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Proven Strategies Blog

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2020-11-16 • 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 • 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.

2020-11-12 • 6 minute video

You are at your highest level of refer-ability right now! Talking to your clients about what's going on right now helps them understand how strong your people, practice and process really are, and what it represents in terms of the value you provide.

To subscribe to Brian Westbury's Monday Morning Outlook, and other timely market commentary, head over to or contact your First Trust Wholesaler to learn more…

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2020-11-12 • 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 • 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 • 3 minute read

As you can imagine, social media is a hot topic in the financial services sector. At presentations and in conversations with advisors, I am constantly asked for tips and suggestions about what works and what doesn’t. Social media invariably comes up in the consultations our clients have with our coaching staff as well.

While this article will only scratch the surface, it should get the wheels in motion for you as you research your own social media strategy going forward. And consider this, while your success as a financial advisor doesn’t hinge on embracing social media, it is inevitable that the wave will continue to grow to the point where social media will become an indispensable and productive utility in business. So why not ride the wave?

It’s Not Too Late to Become an Early Adopter of Social Media

Clearly social media is not new. Facebook, Linked In, Twitter and others have been around for a quite few years now. For a variety of reasons though, including compliance, lack of free time and the perceived complexity for making it worthwhile, most of the advisors who have engaged in a social media strategy have really only dabbled to this point. Furthermore, while the existing players may hit a saturation point and plateau (as it seems is the case with Facebook), the concept of social media is here to stay.

Don’t Major in Minor Things

Social media can play a complementary role in your business building efforts. Just be sure to keep your priorities clear to make social media work. You shouldn’t pursue social media at the expense of your core advisor productivity strategies such as a call rotation, advocate process, service matrix, etc. That said, if your foundational systems and procedures are in place and being consistently deployed, social media can bolt on nicely and can become a powerful business development solution.

Start With the People Who Are Already Convinced

As a starting point, the most powerful benefit of social media is enabling you to efficiently strengthen your existing relationships with clients and partners. You can’t take existing relationships for granted. A natural “loyalty fatigue” can develop over time and you have to continually communicate your value in order to competitor-proof your relationships, uncover new opportunities and attract referrals. And when it comes to referrals, social media can be the final frontier, and here’s why. When a client is talking to a friend and you come up in the conversation, it is much easier for your client to steer his or her friend to your content than it is to introduce them to you directly. Social media can become a bridge to help prospective clients get to know you before they even meet you.

The Power of Predisposition

All prospective clients have a current financial services provider that they will contrast you to when they first come in contact with you. Social media can enable you to activate the Relationship Cycle, which unfolds as follows:

  1. Create Awareness – they get to kick the tires in privacy without fear of being pressured
  2. Develop Interest – they get to know you and your approach at their own pace
  3. Establish Trust – contrast is established and they become self-motivated
  4. Earn Empowerment – they are at a stage-of-readiness to meet with you and become a client
  5. Generate Endorsements – they are able to introduce you to the people they know

Don’t Sell, Educate!

You want your followers to have anticipation for your communications, not apprehension. If you have a mindset of stewardship rather than salesmanship, you develop a “Trusted Guru” status that ensures your postings get read and get forwarded. This is essential if you want your strategy to go viral.

All Roads Lead to Content

Become a content machine! Develop a habit where your knowledge and insights can become valuable intellectual properties that can be shared. You can create case-studies, white papers, and your own tip of the week with topical commentary on the fly. If you want to go from “surface to serious”, you can create a multimedia strategy with webinars, podcasts and even create your own YouTube channel for video postings. Obviously you need to get into a rhythm with compliance so as to not be out of bounds or lose your momentum, but the branding possibilities are immense.

The Power of Integration

One of the most remarkable aspects of social media is seamless convergence. All of your micro-blogging efforts and other postings can be efficiently integrated to give you maximum reach with minimal effort. I don’t want to oversimplify things because social media requires a balance of knowledge and effort. But if you are a serious student learning as you go and you set realistic expectations, you will incrementally gather momentum and get into a groove.

Knowledge is Power

With a little research and some trial and error, you can launch a simple “surface” campaign and run it yourself at a cost of about an hour a day. Remember, contrary to the old cliché, time is NOT money. Time is more valuable and the best way to ensure a solid ROI is to develop a skill set and be consistent and patient. If you want to get “serious”, I suggest you interview some consulting firms who specialize in social media support. But don’t out-source the work entirely. Instead, work along side the firm so that you can hold them accountable and learn valuable skills that will serve you going forward.

Continued Success!

Contributed by Duncan MacPherson

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2020-11-10 • 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 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 • 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 • 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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