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2020-10-13 • 3 minute read

The ‘elevator speech’ is a sales technique that has been around an awfully long time. Although it may certainly have its place for specific types of salespeople, I for one sometimes feel it is extremely ill-suited in the Financial Advisory world.

If you truly wish to have that consultative style practice, where referrals are the norm, it might be wise to abandon some of the sales approaches that were imprinted onto our psyches from day one in the business. The elevator speech is one of those approaches.

For an advisor looking to attract affluent clientele, the very notion that I can compel or predispose someone to become my client because of some snappy banter upfront, is unlikely at best.

I’ve heard Financial Advisors many times, and in various social situations, attempt to do this very thing. As an observer, it seemed that if they accomplished anything, it was probably turning the listener off and inspiring them to seek better conversation elsewhere.

The irony of it all is that people are attracted to things that they cannot have, or that are ‘hard to get,’ so why do we work so hard to ‘chase’ with the elevator speech, when we really should be working on trying to ‘attract’ instead?

That said, if you think about it, the elevator speech completely goes against basic human nature. Further, although the words have been prettied up greatly, the elevator speech basically announces to the world that you are on the hunt for clients. This is not attractive to me whatsoever. Is it to you?

So what then is the alternative? This is a recurring situation, in a variety of business and social interactions where we are asked what we do for a living. How best to make that compelling and attractive?

The answer lies in trying to paint a picture, in as few words as possible, that describes your business in a way that the listener wants to be a part of. You then stop talking about it. You then start asking that person questions about their life and their business. Trust me, even if you don’t say another word because the person is telling you their entire life-story, they will recall you later as that amazing conversationalist at the party. You know, the one with the exclusive Financial Advisory practice?

An example of some anti-elevator phraseology (delivered in a low-key and casual tone, and of course with a smile):

“Oh, well. I am a Financial Advisor. I have a practice in town here that intentionally has a smallish number of very terrific clients, and you know, ever since I started working with people that I like, it’s a lot more rewarding for me, it’s more exclusive, and I am really enjoying some terrific relationships with my clients. You know, I really wish I had taken this approach years ago. It is just a really exciting time to be in this business. Well enough about me. How about you Dorothy? What do you do? Oh really? How interesting, please tell me about that.”

So, to dissect that suggested phraseology, you have just described an attractive situation that any reasonable person would want to be a part of, but you made no overtures to doing business together. You alluded to your approach by talking about the great relationships you have formed, which displays your integrity.

You also projected great scarcity for yourself in the process, and you have made yourself attractive. Anyone reading between the lines sees someone who clearly does not need the business, and your probing questions about them show charm and confidence.

I know of a young advisor that used this exact approach. He worked previously at one of the ‘Baby Bells’ (phone company), and continued to network with his past colleagues, and some other local groups, and in seven months had seven clients that all had three-million or more each in investable assets. This last fact was by design as well, for he had set an ideal client profile for himself that stated his target market was people in the three-million plus range in investable assets, and he stuck to it religiously.

This advisor had incredible discipline and word started to get around. Every time one of his ex-colleagues asked him what he was doing these days, he stated his anti-elevator mantra, and then started gathering F.O.R.M. (Family, Occupation, Recreation and Money) information on whoever he was speaking with.

Because of his discipline, you can imagine it was only a matter of time before someone said: “You know, I am not that satisfied with my Financial Advisor right now. Are you taking on new clients?” He would reply: “Well, that possibility is there for sure, but it has to be a good fit for me, and for you of course. How about you give me your number, and I will call you when I am at the office. I have an initial meeting process I use whereby the two of us can mutually determine whether or not we might be a good fit for each other.”

After this, they would get back to having fun, or business, or wherever it is they happened to be. It is an incredibly disarming approach, and unlike what many have come to expect in those all-too frequent situations.

Continued Success!

Contributed by Duncan MacPherson

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2020-10-12 • 20 second read

Warren Buffet said “price is what you pay, value is what you get.” Define Yourself. Define who you are and who you're not. Use the contrast principle. Let them come to their own conclusions; and remember, how you start that relationship will impact how it will unfold over its lifetime.

We help our Blue Square Method clients define and refine their processes to ensure they start their client relationships right and never need to negotiate their value. See if you are a fit for Blue Square:

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2020-10-09 • 20 second read

Where do you get new clients? From your existing relationships.

You’re not out there trying to convince new people, you’re working better with people who are already convinced, and that helps you to tap into the second and third generations of your existing clients.


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2020-10-08 • 30 minute video

In this video, part 2 of 2, Duncan answers more questions from last month’s e-Summit and provides valuable insight to help advisors take their business to another level! Click here to watch

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2020-10-07 • 20 sec

Your commitment to proactive and reactive service driven by your Service Matrix makes you referable, but you have to go beyond that. You can't be your own best kept secret. You've got to make it easy for your clients to tell your story.

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2020-10-06 • 20 second read

“What are some of the best ideas for client engagement in this new environment?” “What is your best piece of advice for creating efficiency within our business?” “What is the best book you’ve read in the last year?”

These are just a few of the many questions registrants asked at the recent ‘Foresight from 2020’ e-Summit. In this video, part 1 of 2, Duncan answers these questions and provides valuable insight to help advisors take their business to another level! Click here to watch

Want to make improvements to your firm’s Practice Management? Attend e-Mastermind with Duncan MacPherson on October 22nd! Click for more info

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2020-10-06 • 4 min read

In the first three seconds, your prospects form a basic idea in their mind about you. What is that basic idea? This is an important question because what your prospects think about you in the first three seconds determines if they become a client or not. 

In those first three seconds, your prospects form an idea about who you are, what you are about, and whether or not they should spend more time engaged with you. For example, when you see a barbershop, you form the basic idea “hair” in your mind. If you see a dentist office, you think “teeth”. The question is: what basic idea do your prospects have about you? Keep in mind: This basic idea is not what you want them to think, it is what they actually think. If you are honest with yourself, you will admit they put you in a basic category such as “financial advisor” or “insurance” or “investments.” They have this idea because these words are probably in your company’s name, on your business card, or what you tell them in your elevator speech or value proposition. Why is this so important? It is important because a prospect is comparing you to their current financial advisor. They are contrasting you to that person to help them decide if it makes sense to switch.

Do You Stand Out?

Relying on a basic idea to convey what you do can have a serious negative impact on your business for three reasons:

  1. Basic ideas are not very interesting. If people think you are a “financial advisor” or an “insurance agent” or something equally basic, there is nothing for them to be curious about. There are no follow-up questions for them to ask because they figure they already know all about your business. As such, you don’t get their attention, you don’t engage their interest, and they see no reason to take the business relationship further. You are swimming in a pool of sameness.
  2. If people have a basic idea about you, they will think you are a salesperson who is trying to sell them a basic product or service, which is not surprising because that’s probably what you are trying to do. If they think you are a salesperson they will be more likely to put up a barrier. They won’t take your phone call. They won’t answer your email. And they won’t meet with you. It doesn’t matter what you are selling. You could have the best product in the world, but if your prospects think you are a salesperson, it will be harder to get an appointment with them. If you are perceived as a salesperson it becomes very difficult to position yourself as an expert.
  3. If prospects have a basic idea about you, they know they can get that basic idea from many other suppliers. You instantly commoditize yourself. It’s like you have a store in a mall, where all of the other 200 stores sell exactly the same thing as you. Customers come into your store and they only have one question: “How much?”, and if you don’t have the lowest price they will go to the next store. This puts you in a very competitive, price-sensitive situation because price becomes the dominant issue in the absence of distinctive value.

Can Your Clients Describe Your Value to Others?

Now you will inevitably acquire some new clients even if you are perceived as a salesperson. But how many referrals will you get? How compelling is it when a client describes you to a friend as being “Ok”? Being described as an “Ok” financial advisor will not make your phone ring off the hook with people wanting to meet with you. Advisors who are perceived as sales people create relationships with clients who become indifferent quickly and that puts them at risk in terms of being lured away or empowering someone else as new needs develop. Money is constantly in motion and needs change. You want to be attracting that business effortlessly, not chasing it or competing for it like a salesperson.

Continued Success!

Contributed by Duncan MacPherson

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2020-10-05 • 20 sec

Among the qualities that can make you better at what you do, a profound one is this - even at the highest level, the mindset is that the clay is soft. There's no fixation on inertia confidence, the best don't mistake movement for achievement, they are always trying to refine and optimize what they do. They never stop learning. Even if it is subtle, minor adjustments, they can lead to major improvements.

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2020-10-02 • 20 second read

with Scott Hamilton, Certified Pareto Business Advisor and Speaker – Scott is a long-time professional consultant and business advisor as well as the builder of a successful estate and tax practice and a nationally known Wealth Strategies firm. He now devotes much of his professional time to a select group of financial Advisors. His coaching clients now range from smaller boutique practices to a large multi-advisor RIA firm with over $2 Billion in assets under management.

Click here to view Scott’s presentation

Click here to schedule a Pareto Intro call

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2020-10-01 • 20 second read

Featured Presentation from September’s Foresight From 2020 Virtual e-Summit: Referable Moments with Terry Gronbeck-Jones and Sherri Palle, Certified Pareto Business Consultants – For many years now, Sherri and Terry have coached elite advisory teams on how to provide an exceptional client experience. In this session, Sherri and Terry share some of their favorite standout examples that showcase how top teams have gone above and beyond what's expected by expertly utilizing FORM information, Moments of Truth, Annual Anchors and more. These proven strategies should be a key component to your Q4 and 2021 strategic plans.

Click here to view Sherri and Terry’s presentation on YouTube

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