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Proven Strategies Blog

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2021-01-05 • 3 minute read
"Knowledge is learning something every day. Wisdom is letting go of something every day."  - Zen

My team and I at Pareto Systems speak with literally hundreds of financial professionals each week and we hear firsthand what they’re hoping to achieve in the future. Some goals are quite common, while others are counter-intuitive. On any given day we will speak to an advisor who aspires to more and wants to grow their business, and then on the very next call we will speak to another advisor who strives for contentment and wants to simplify their life.

At the 30,000 feet perspective, on virtually every call we can categorize each advisor into one or more of these three areas:

  • Explore - meaning the advisor wants to conduct a strategic analysis to identify untapped opportunities and overlooked vulnerabilities
  • Evolve - meaning the advisor wants to break out of the status quo and make the refinements necessary to get to the next level of efficiency and profitability
  • Expand - meaning the advisor wants to develop personally and professionally to achieve greater fulfillment and predictability on a daily basis.

When we drill down on our calls and uncover the core motivators, these are the most common goals advisors share with us:

  1. Right-size their business to restore liberation and order to their lives as they focus on their best clients
  2. Transition to a fee-based model in a professional manner so that clients focus on what the advisor is worth rather than what he or she costs
  3. Align with another advisor to create scale, efficiency and a 1+1=3 environment that is more profitable and fulfilling
  4. Be better prepared for market volatility to ensure they thrive rather than just survive in any market conditions
  5. Buy a business from a retiring advisor and predictably integrate it into their existing business 
  6. Switch to a different firm where the culture and core philosophy are complementary to the advisor’s
  7. Sell their business for maximum profit by amplifying the proprietary assets beyond just ‘Trailing 12’
  8. Create Organization and Structure to unlock efficiency and profitability
  9. High Level Client Acquisition by attracting like a consultant, rather than chasing like a salesperson
  10. Developing Outstanding Branding so that the advisor is perceived and described as a professional with a process.

Two Rules Top Achievers Never Break

  1. They don't wing it.
  2. They don't wait for conditions to be perfect.

The most enlightened advisors understand the harmony between planning and taking action with a sense of urgency. Substantial goals after all, are achieved by design not by chance.

 “Dig Your Well Before You are Thirsty”Confucius

When an advisor comes to us with a vision for how they want their business and life to look in the near future, the key mindset we want to support is to get out in front of the issue and proactively drive it with a methodical and sequential plan. Of course that's a lot easier to talk about than it is to actually do, but time and time again we see firsthand how success is achieved by letting disciplines compound over time. We all know the rule of 72, but it's not just money that compounds, disciplines compound as well. So too does neglect. If you have a vision for how you would like your life and business to look in the next 12 months, it is essential that you break down the necessary actions and chip away at it over time. This puts you on a trajectory that enables you to make mid-course corrections quickly so that you don't drift off track.

Successful advisors with serious mileage and experience will tell you that meaningful change takes longer, requires more resources, and is more difficult to execute than expected. To that end they understand that there can be a very positive power that comes from negative thinking. Just as a savvy investor knows that it's dangerous to think "It's different this time", the advisor who aspires for bigger and better things has to temper their optimism and know that external dependencies may not always cooperate. And overcoming that adversity makes the achievement that much more meaningful.

 If it is to be it is up to me!

Those are quite possibly the 10 most powerful two-letter words ever put together in one sentence. And that is what separates the best advisors from the rest. They take action, and they take responsibility for their outcome. They don’t blame conditions or wish things were better. They strive to become better.

 Continued Success!

Contributed by Duncan MacPherson

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2021-01-04 • 20 sec

There are plenty of difficult obstacles in your path. Don’t allow yourself to become one of them - Ralph Marsten

Pareto Systems' Total Client Engagement Process will help you overcome obstacles and achieve a breakthrough in your business. Click here to learn more:

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2020-12-30 • 20 second read

Talk to your clients and insulate them from the many factors out of your control. The more they trust you and feel comfortable with you, the more likely they will respond with advocacy when a friend asks them if they are happy with their professional advisor.

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2020-12-23 • 20 sec

For branding to work, it has to be consistent and congruent. Professionalize it and standardize it in your playbook, your messaging and your resources to strengthen relationships and create advocacy.

We help our Blue Square Method clients develop a consistent and congruent branding process. See if you are a fit for Blue Square:

#branding #businessdevelopment #practicemanagement

2020-12-22 • 4 min video

Invest your wisdom, philosophy and skillset into the next generation to achieve the purest form of benevolence. Join Duncan MacPherson as he discusses the concept of passing the torch and impact it has on the next generation, personally and professionally.

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2020-12-21 • 20 second read

I am excited to announce that my From-the-Field series is now available on Apple Podcasts and Google Play Music! We will be posting exclusive content here as well, conversations, interviews, and consultations that you will not find anywhere else! Subscribe today!

Apple Podcasts:

Google Play:

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2020-12-21 • 20 second read

Join Duncan for this informative webinar on Thursday, January 14th at 2:00pm ET where he will provide actionable strategies on how to become a franchise ready advisor. Click to register free 

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2020-12-21 • 3 minute read

From Sustainability to Scalability

The next natural step for a successful financial advisor to take once they have achieved consistent, sustainable organic growth is to then consider scalable, acquisition growth.  

More and more we see top professionals transform their proven best practices into intellectual properties that can be deployed over and over again. This is what it means to turn a book of business into an actual business that has no limits while achieving steadily improving enterprise value. 

From Working IN to Working ON Your Business 

Bestselling author Micheal Gerber captured this premise beautifully in his book The E-Myth.

The core premise is that an entrepreneur must shift from having a job where they sell something (ultimately trading time for money) to building something that has many multipliers in terms of efficiency and value. It's easy to get bogged-down in "busyness" transacting services rather than building a business that puts you on a track to a meaningful and measurable inflection point.

A Force of Nature

 If franchise-readiness is something you've been considering, allow me to remind you of something that supports why your timing is impeccable - demography. 

There is a massive group of current advisors who are 5 years out or less from an exit. This community is thinking about how to take at least some money of the table or to fully monetize the equity value of their business. And the truly enlightened also want to ensure their clients are well taken care of once a transition takes place.  

Interestingly there is essentially a "2 for 1" benefit to this reality. You see there are also many clients of financial advisors who have their own continuity and succession issues too. When someone becomes financially independent at that moment the burden shifts from "will I have enough?" to "what becomes of my legacy?" Who better to become indispensable to that client with a new unmet need than an advisor who has addressed it himself or herself in real time? 

But it gets even better. In addition to the many advisors who are on the home stretch, there are 2 other addressable markets as well. First, you have a large group of advisors who aren't looking to leave the business but are frustrated by the friction that compliance and commoditization present. This group longs to draft in behind an advisor with turnkey and all encompassing procedures that liberate them to do what they enjoy - interacting with clients and not getting bogged down in the minutiae. 

Thirdly you have the advisors who want to transition to a work-optional lifestyle and decide to disassociate from a large block of clients to focus on a smaller group of ideal clients while pursuing other interests in life. It's common to see a process-driven advisor acquire remnants of clients and squeeze a lot more juice out of the orange through an elevated client experience. Just the other day I spoke with an advisor who acquired 10 million dollars of cast-away clients and turned that vein of gold into 15 million in 30 days! A methodical transition and reframing process prompted his newly onboarded clients to say, "Where have you been all my life? This is a dramatic upgrade!" Granted the bar may have been low based on neglect by the former advisor but the elevation and lift were both immediate and measurable. 

Prime the Pump 

So where does as an aspiring franchise-ready advisor start? To paraphrase Michael Gerber again, "Every business should be built to be sold for maximum value even if you have no intention of selling it." 

In other words, get out in front of franchise readiness even if the only benefits are competitor-proofing your existing clients and restoring liberation amd order to your life. Then decide if you want to deploy your scalable growth model. 

Convergence and Conversion 

Those two words are like true-north to the franchise-ready advisor. Convergence means that you get everything out of your head and document it in a duplicable playbook. If what you know resides in your head it is a commoditized skill. If it's documented it is a repeatable intellectual property. 

At Pareto Systems we follow The Rule of 3 - anything you do 3 or more times that has 3 or more steps must be invested into your playbook so that no one is ever left to their own devices reinventing the wheel. Maverick talent transitions to predictable and consistent execution. 

The framework of the playbook is broken into 3 core components: 

  1. The Wealth Management Process - everything to do with deliverables around your core solutions and competencies 
  2. The Practice Management Process - everthing to do with operations, standard operating procedures and the client experience  
  3. The Relationship Management Process - everything to do with how you articulate and communicate your value so that clients fully and completely understand and appreciate your value 

Remember, you don't just manage money. You manage a business and you manage people - all three are of equal importance to your playbook.  

Subscribing to our "Done is better than perfect" mindset, most of our teams get 80% of the playbook done in 90 days. That is the red zone and getting home from there is inevitable. 

As you shift from cobbled together deliverables to a converged and integrated process, you then have to shift to a mindset of conversion. Simply stated you have 3 types of clients: 

  • Customers who dabble with you but don’t empower you fully
  • Clients who empower you fully but don’t send referrals
  • Advocates who are the dream client 

A major part of the reframing process involves going back to existing clients and essentially reintroducing yourself and your value so they have the complete picture and see the merit of converting from customer to client to advocate. 

We all know the power of entropy - nothing improves through neglect. And it's not as if neglect is conscious. Long term relationships are susceptible to The Law of Familiarity which states that over time value can be taken for granted or trivialized. This is where loyalty fatigue is born.  

Partner With Pareto 

If you aspire to become a franchise ready advisor why not buy-into our proven process rather than reinvent the wheel. Not only can we methodically make you franchise ready but we can even shine a light on your success and showcase you to the many thousands of advisors in our community. Start by contacting us and going through an initial gap analysis and together we can determine if there is a good fit.

Continued Success!

Contributed by Duncan MacPherson

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2020-12-21 • 20 sec

Technology can help us elevate the client experience for the 80 percent who generate 20 percent of the business - to tap into that vein of gold as those lives unfold. But it also to buy us some time to elevate the client experience for the 20 percent who generate 80 percent of the business.

2020-12-18 • 4 min video

Your business should serve your life, not the other way around. Join Duncan as he discusses shifting from organic to scalable growth to become a franchise ready firm that’s professionalized and process-driven.

WEBINAR INVITATION: “Are you Franchise Ready? A Process for Scalable Growth” Join Duncan for this informative Go-to-Webinar webcast where he will discuss how to become a franchise ready advisor. Click to register free

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