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Proven Strategies Blog

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2021-04-13 • 3 minute read

Is it your fault as an advisor that the markets are volatile and the future is uncertain? Not any more than it’s your fault when autumn becomes winter. Your responsibility, however, is that your clients are prepared for winter, and that it’s not a shock to them when it arrives. However, if your clients tend to refer you only when things are rosy, you have a serious vulnerability in the way that you have positioned yourself. Things do not have to be this way!

If advisors would take a page or two from a profession that has already gone through this brand of disharmony, the dentists in the preceding section being a great example, they would finally have a business where clients can and will refer them regardless of how the markets are doing. This is not a pipe dream. There are advisors who have already integrated these things into their businesses. These advisors have clients who have been taught the doctrine and who are not faked out by volatility. As a result, because their clients’ expectations have been exceeded in the areas that the advisor can control, these advisors are immensely referable 365 days out of the year.

When ‘instant rapport’ takes place at your office and the experience is coupled with a client process where the complexities of financial planning have been simplified and future-paced, clients will embrace your efforts. They will also realize that it would be a disservice not to recommend this five-star service to others they know who are unhappy with their professional advisors.

Through a crystal-clear client process, clients are taught that financial planning is not an event, but a process that involves ongoing interaction with their professional advisor, repeatedly and consistently as their lives and needs unfold.

Like the “dental health” mantra, clients can learn a financial mantra and will deliver it to others just as naturally and eloquently. With this kind of structure, to blame a professional advisor for an occasional or sustained hit to a balanced portfolio would be akin to blaming a dentist for your impacted wisdom tooth. The end result is that the instant rapport and the Client Process are what the clients learn to value in their dealings with the advisor, instead of fixating on the rate of return on their investments.

To those advisors who doubt the veracity of this claim, the number-one piece of feedback I hear from the clients of professional advisors who have embraced this approach of perfecting what they can control and improve on is: “Finally! This is what we’ve been waiting for!” Typically, when affluent prospective clients hear about a superior brand of advisor, they will distance themselves from the transaction-oriented advisor as quickly as possible and gravitate to the full-service advisor.

The bottom line is that everything – every action and reaction – executed by you and your team makes you either more or less referable. Scrutinize everything and create a referable experience so that you can nail down the small changes that makes for major improvement; the processes that sharpen the winning edge.

Continued Success!

Contributed by Duncan MacPherson

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2021-04-12 • 20 second read

Professionalizing every aspect of your business – from your agendas to your onboarding process to your office itself – and infusing each element with your brand, governed by replicable process, is the key to moving from the business running you, to you running the business.

2021-04-08 • 15 min

The wonderful women behind ID will be presented "How to Look Your Best in Virtual Meetings" at last month’s "The Women Are Here!" Virtual Summit. Watch the replay here!

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2021-04-07 • 20 second read

It's easy to fixate on our technical ability and our core competencies, but we have to focus on ourselves as well. Jim Rohn said that "we are the average of the five people we spend the most amount of time around" and every now and again we have to assess our environment - because we are products of our environment.

2021-04-06 • 29 minutes

Missed last month's "The Women Are Here!" Virtual Summit? Watch the recording of Marci Fried's presentation "Your Vision, Your Practice" with Kristina Miller here!

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2021-04-05 • 20 sec

Thursday April 8th at 1:00 or 4:00 pm ET

Join Duncan MacPherson, founder of Pareto Systems, as he discusses three proven strategies that branch and complex managers can provide to their team right now.

Click here to register:

Not a manager? Please share this with your management/leadership team and if they register we will send you a free copy of Duncan's best-selling book: The Advisor Playbook. To get your free copy, just email letting us know who you shared this with.

#branding #businessdevelopment #practicemanagement

2021-04-01 • 17 min video

In this video, an excerpt from The Women Are Here! eSummit that was broadcasted on March 24th, 2021, Elaine discusses how to up your influence with Jackie Wilke of First Trust Portfolios. 

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2021-03-31 • 20 second read

Take a hard look at your operation. Would it run like a Swiss watch if you weren’t there all the time? Could you convince me, today, that your enterprise is a true business and not just 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 already know the freedom and control it has brought to your business and personal life.

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2021-03-30 • 2 minute read

It's an understatement to say that spring is a hectic time of the year for financial advisors. Tax season and other issues probably have you running at full throttle right now. But with every challenge, a unique opportunity can exist and I've seen in the past how the spring season can be a tremendous time to re-connect with your best clients in a unique and memorable way.

The Signal to Noise Ratio

The velocity of noise your clients are exposed to by news outlets, the internet and competitors is mind boggling. Couple that with the fact that these are still anxious and uncertain times and your clients crave clarity and leadership now more than ever. Your clients' confidence can drift and their conviction in your investment plan and philosophy can be undermined. That said, your service matrix should include a quarterly communication that goes beyond a pure financial message and stands out so that your client tunes you in.

So why not use the seasons as a metaphor in your communications? Send a nice "Welcome to Spring" greeting card. Spring is a time of renewal and with longer days and more warmth and sunshine, people naturally have more anticipation for the future.

The nicest cards you can find that will have the most impact and shelf life can be found at

Then, in your next conversation with a key client, if they sound a little rattled or uncertain, why not say this:

"The markets are like the seasons. When things are dark and dreary, we're in the middle of winter. But historically speaking, how many times has spring followed winter? Approximately how many times? And then comes summer and then comes the autumn harvest. We have a plan in place to position us to be prepared for the seasons."

If your client starts dwelling on the things out of your control, use another metaphor.

"Well it's like being in a sail boat in the middle of the ocean. We can't control the wind, but we can control the set of the sails. Our long term plan is designed to help us harness the most favorable winds."

This isn't meant as a departure from your usual communication style, simply a complement to inject some personality. Keep in mind, the products and services you provide and firm you represent is your message but you are the messenger. With the commoditization of this business well underway, you need to be creative and communicate in a way that helps you get your clients attention. Everything you say is either a "me-too" that your clients connect with or a "so-what" that doesn't resonate.

They Are on a Need-to-Know Basis

Chances are, many of your best clients don't need to know everything that you know. That's why they hire you. When it comes to your plan and process, they want to know that it works but they don't necessarily need to know how. It's like electricity. I don't really know how it all works, but I know that when I turn on the switch the lights come on.

My point in all of this is that you want to be conscious of being a voice of reason that instills confidence in your clients. And that doesn't always come from technical information. Again, that is the message and if that's all you've got you run the risk of sounding like everyone else and swimming in a pool of sameness.

Facts Tell, Stories Sell

There are other ways to take the abstracts of your business and make them more conceptual while injecting a little personality. One of my favorite books that can ground someone when things are so turbulent was written by John Kenneth Galbraith and is called A Short History of Financial Euphoria. I love this book because it distills several historical events as they relate to the markets and reminds us that circumstances may change but human nature remains the same. 

Continued Success!

Contributed by: Duncan MacPherson

2021-03-30 • 24 min video

Missed last week’s “The Women Are Here!” Virtual Summit? Here is the recording of Pareto Systems Business Consultant Sherri Palles’ presentation “Women in Leadership – Transitions and Differences” which features an interview of a great client of hers, Marcia Anton of Anton Financial. 


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