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Proven Strategies Blog

2021-01-28 • 5 min video

What are your goals for this year? How can you achieve them? Watch as Duncan dives deeper into his STRATEGIC Framework and discusses incorporating technology and increasing enterprise value.

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2021-01-27 • 20 second read

Use symbols to give your process personality and identity. Having that tie-in can trigger a moment of recognition and awareness for your value.

2021-01-26 • 8 min video

What do we stand for? What do we hope to accomplish this year? In this video, Duncan discusses the first step in his STRATEGIC Framework, your Strategic Summary, and by how with starting with the end in mind you can develop a plan that focuses on what matters the most.

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2021-01-25 • 20 second read

Frustration and anxiety are born in the space between expectation and reality. If your expectation is high and the results you get are low, you're going to be let down. Work the process and results will come.

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2021-01-22 • 20 sec

Count the costs, be mindful of cause and effect, and be unwavering, borderline unreasonable about continually surrounding yourself with people who bring out the best in you based on the law of environment.

2021-01-21 • 4 min video

Goal setting and developing a plan to achieve those goals can sometimes be a daunting task. Join Duncan as he provides insights on how to accomplish both tasks effectively so you’re not asking yourself "how will I accomplish my goals?"

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2021-01-20 • 20 second read

Our decisions have to be aligned with our sense of purpose. All of our relationships have to be aligned with our sense of purpose, as well, which is why in many cases a stepping stone to self-actualization is professionally and respectfully disassociating from relationships that are not a good fit.

2021-01-19 • 7 min video

Watch as Duncan provides actionable strategies to help you not only survive, but thrive in 2021.

This video is an excerpt from a recent webinar: Strategic Planning for 2021. To watch the full webinar visit: www.paretoacademy.com/recorded-webinars

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2021-01-19 • 2 minute read

Branding is different from marketing in that it more quickly impacts how a prospective client perceives you at the moment they become aware of you. Literally, that first and lasting impression that snaps them out of their fog, gets their attention and resonates over the long haul. Branding also impacts how your clients and other influencers in the marketplace describe you to others when the opportunity presents itself.

Our approach is proven and is drawn directly from our 1:1 coaching program used by some of the most effective financial advisors in the business. It can ensure that you are perceived as a consultant by prospects and described as a professional with a process by clients and influencers.

And that is really the point. How are most financial advisors perceived – as sales people selling investments or as consultants providing an investment process? Many people today associate a financial advisor as a broker asking them to buy investments as opposed to a consultant asking them buy into a process and long term relationship. That’s their expectation and you cannot feed that – you have to differentiate using effective messaging in all of your verbal, printed and multimedia communications.

Furthermore, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to stand out from the pack because the investment industry is becoming more and more commoditized each and every day. Along with that, there are forces at work that prompt people to focus on what you cost rather than what you are worth. Price is only an issue in the absence of clearly defined and relevant value. A solid branding strategy helps people focus on your unique value.

In addition to standing out, your goal is to get people's attention and be memorable. The velocity of noise your clients and prospective clients are exposed to is dizzying. There is a natural signal to noise ratio in this business – you want people to tune out the noise and tune in your signal. Branding helps you achieve this while ensuring you are positioned as an expert rather than being perceived as a salesperson.

As a consulting company for thought-for-profit professionals, we are often asked what someone can expect from our practice management and business development consulting program. My answer is simple: we want to help you work half as hard and earn twice as much.

That is achieved by helping advisors deploy a full suite of best practices, use a fit-process instead of a sales process and implement a branding strategy that is more compelling and attractive to affluent clients.  

Continued Success!

Contributed by: Duncan MacPherson

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2021-01-19 • 3 minute read

As a financial professional, you are in the knowledge-for-profit business. In other words, you think for a living. You aren't selling investments, you are promoting the promise of the future. This can be an abstract business with so many factors out of your control. So it's important to constantly remind yourself of what is truly proprietary and of value in your business. After all, you don't have a job where you trade your time for money, you are building a business with real equity value that should be increasing each and every year.

Your most valuable assets are as follows:

  • Your client relationships and everything you know about your clients
  • Your business procedures and best practices
  • Your time and how you allocate it

Now you might be asking why I haven't made reference to your investment acumen and asset management skills. While I will never trivialize what you know about investing, this business is becoming more commoditized every day and there are forces at work that are constantly emphasizing what you cost rather than what you are worth. Truth be told, what you know about investing is not proprietary. It's a given that you have a solid plan and approach. It's expected. But as you have probably seen, there is little correlation between how much someone knows about investing and how successful they will ultimately be.

What Separates the Best From the Rest?

The most effective advisors don't ask clients to buy investments. They ask them to buy-into a meaningful relationship and in the process these advisors fixate on the lifetime value of a client relationship rather than on transactions. Loyalty, empowerment and refer-ability are built on a foundation of trust. And building trust is a process. It's by design, not by chance. An important component to the trust process is client chemistry. Top advisors strive to be interested rather than interesting. They get to know everything they can about their clients. As you know, the more a client trusts you, the more they reveal to you about themselves. Now you probably know a lot about your clients. Where do you and your team members store that incredibly valuable and proprietary information? In your heads? If it's in your heads, it isn't an asset nor is it an intellectual property.

Done is Better Than Perfect!

You might be saying to yourself, "I get it. But HOW do I do all of this?" You need an Operating Playbook. Some elite advisory teams have an actual procedures manual - a complete playbook consisting of a full array of documented procedures. Updates can be made and this binder and there is no mystery in terms of how predictable, sustainable and duplicable processes are deployed. Other top teams are using software, specifically a XRM (eXtended Relationship Manager) which is a CRM integrated with a full suite of best practices. Either way, when you document all of your daily activities, getting them out of your head and creating an intellectual property you improve your productivity as well as the equity value of your business.

The Process of Client Confidence

There is an entrepreneurial saying that suggests that "You must work ON your business, not in it." Being a good financial advisor goes above and beyond the returns you post. To keep clients for life, you must create a SWAN environment. Your job is to ensure your clients Sleep Well At Night. A sound investment plan along with consistent best practices will create this environment enabling you to fully maximize your client relationships, make your business more efficient and put time on your side.

Your business will serve your life rather than the other way around and when the time comes for you to sell your business, the value will be dramatically higher. It's time to squeeze more juice out of the orange.

Continued Success!

Contributed by: Duncan MacPherson

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