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Proven Strategies Blog

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2020-10-23 • 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 • 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 • 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.

2020-10-20 • 6 min video

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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2020-10-20 • 3 minute read

How Being Interested Makes You More Interesting

Whether you’re speaking to a client or a strategic partner, you can improve your refer-ability by getting them to think about their own refer-ability. When you’re having a conversation, ask them this question:

“The next time I’m talking to someone and the opportunity to wave your flag comes up, how would you like me to describe you?”

There is a good chance that your client or partner will say:

“I appreciate that. No one has ever asked me that before, but come to think about it the best thing to say would be this...”

You can then drill-down a bit and validate your question by saying:

“That’s perfect. I’m asking you this because I have a pretty vast network and I’m always looking to make introductions where I see an opportunity and potential fit.”

Inevitably your client or partner will ask:

“What is the best way for me to describe you when I get the opportunity in the future?”

This gives you permission to restate your value proposition and reinforce your personal branding strategy. You might say:

“Thanks for asking. As you know, I manage the wealth of a select few successful business owners across the country using a process that we’ve developed and refined through many cycles and market conditions.”

If they inquire further, you can remind them that you make yourself available as a sounding board should they ever feel compelled to introduce a friend, family member or client to you in the future.

In keeping with not looking needy, frame the reminder with this phrase: This is part of our process. It’s a value-added service our clients find to be of benefit.

Ultimately, this approach needs to be driven by a professional philosophy and mindset, not as a gimmick or tactic to drive sales. Sure, capitalism is rooted in self-interest, networking and endorsements, but you are trying to create a culture of value and awareness for referrals. That can be supported by proper positioning.

There is an old saying that giving starts the receiving process. The world is round and positive actions come back full circle to us in time. The beauty of this approach is that it doesn’t make you look needy and congruently supports the premise of positioning a referral as a service you provide. It conveys your mindset: You like to identify opportunities where there might be an alignment of interests. In the process you attract referrals rather than chase them.

It’s good karma to be looking out for your clients and partners while demonstrating that you are interested in them and are bringing value to them. The concept of advocacy appeals to our core drivers as business professionals. Think about it. When you ask someone the question, “How’s business?” often, after they respond, they will ask you how business is for you.

Let me add one more scenario to reinforce this concept. Think of your favorite wholesaler. Sure, he or she knows their stuff and works for a good firm that provides good returns, but that isn’t why he or she is your favorite wholesaler. They are your favorite because they are interested in your business and are often trying to add value beyond just good rates of returns.

The most consistent professionals in this business, who thrive in all conditions, don’t live solely by the performance sword. They stand out and differentiate by being interested in their clients. This not only makes you memorable and referable - it makes you indispensable, too.

Continued Success,

Contributed by: Duncan MacPherson

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2020-10-19 • 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 • 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 • 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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2020-10-13 • 7 min video

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.

Looking to incorporate high quality video into your practice? Check out our friends at Idea Decanter who can help you prepare, shoot and edit video to professionally convey your messaging:

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2020-10-13 • 2 minute read

A Low-key Approach to Create Awareness For Referrals

At a recent conference, I had conversations with several top-caliber financial advisors about how to attract a higher quality and quantity of referrals from their best clients. Once again it was confirmed that the elite in this business don’t use esoteric referral systems or pushy sales tactics. They simply remind their clients that they are available to meet with a friend, family member or business associate. What’s more, these advisors have found that they don’t even need to actually ASK for referrals and look needy or desperate in the process. Again, they subtly and repeatedly create an awareness for their clients that they accept referrals and they position the concept as a service they are providing to them rather than as a favor they are asking of them.

Now I don’t want to oversimplify this concept. Ultimately you have to be refer-able in the first place by having good credentials, strong chemistry with clients, and consistent service driven by the habitual deployment of best practices. But there is one last number in the combination that has to be dialed-in to unlock your referral potential: communication. You have to talk about it.

And while every advisor has been told repeatedly at seminars and through coaching programs that they “Should always be asking for referrals”, many don’t go there because they don’t want to put their clients on the spot and jeopardize the relationship. The distinction between salesmanship and stewardship is that a salesperson wants to impact their next paycheck and as a result they project a climate of expectation or obligation that the clients need to refer people. Consultants know that the lifelong value of a relationship is more valuable than occasional commissions, and as result, they are more reserved. The irony though, is that you can still have persuasive impact without being pushy. Keep in mind, the more you push, the more you actually repel. So the key is attract don’t chase.

I mentioned that you want to create an awareness for the concept of referrals. This is the first step in the process. There is a natural stage of readiness that exists between your clients and the people they can influence. Said another way, you don’t know when a friend of a client will give them the opportunity to talk about you, but it is inevitable. You just want to make sure that when that moment of truth occurs when a friend asks your client, “Are you happy with your advisor?” you are top-of-mind and easy for the client to endorse.

Here are 4 Pieces of the Awareness Puzzle and a Few Actionable Proven Strategies:

  1. Give them a reason to talk about referrals. Nothing is more powerful than a client inquiring about the concept of referrals or even asking you if they can introduce someone to you. You can create that situation with gentle, subtle reminders. For example, we’ve told many advisors to professionally frame and display this quote in their offices to serve as a trigger to get clients thinking about and inquiring about waving your flag: “A referral from a client is a tremendous compliment and a huge responsibility that can never be taken lightly.” You will be amazed at how many clients will say to you, “I didn’t know you were accepting new clients.” And best of all, you weren’t the person who started the conversation. But their comment gives you permission to segue into your sounding-board value proposition.                                                 
  2. Make it Easy for Clients to Discuss Referrals. When you put someone on the spot and ask them for a referral, I believe it hurts you more than it helps you over the long haul. But when you create a relaxed atmosphere, you disarm the client and eliminate any tension or anxiety. The best way to do that whenever you are discussing the concept of referrals is to mention this, “Keep in mind, if you ever happen to introduce someone to me, they do not need to become a client of mine to take advantage of my sounding board process.” You simply want your clients to feel relaxed and comfortable with the concept of making a call to you to introduce someone. You want your phone to ring. Your Fit-Process will take care of the rest. 
  3. Remind Them Forever. In every form of communication you have with a client, you can remind them that you accept referrals without asking for them. Again, just keep putting it out there. In phone calls, review meetings, at events and even in emails, you can remind them. Many advisors we work with add this tag at the bottom of their emails: “Keep in mind that if you have a friend or family member who is anxious about their personal financial plan, they can take advantage of my Sounding Board Process – a one-hour consultation where I offer them feedback about the track they are on. It’s a free value-added service that people find to be of real value.”  You may only want to include that in emails to your very best clients. And resign yourself that this activity – based on cause and effect – leads to great productivity. As Confucius said so long ago, Water dripping on a stone will eventually leave a mark. Keep reminding them and the stars will align for you. 
  4. Validate Them by Deploying an Impeccable Process Driven by Best-Practices. Whenever a client or partner introduces you to someone, you have to know that at some point down the road those two people will talk and the experience you provided will come up in the conversation. Ensure that the person that was introduced says to the rainmaker “Thank You!” Your commitment to service prompts him or her to go back and validate to the person who referred that they were delighted with you. And that validation opens the referral floodgates in the future.

Continued Success!

Contributed by Duncan MacPherson

Pareto Systems
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