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Pareto Systems is a consulting firm dedicated to knowledge-for-profit professionals. Our practice management and relationship management programs are ideally suited for:
  • Financial Professionals
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2019-03-05 • 3 minute read
“Unlocking my client’s potential and achieving liberation and order in their life, is my guiding principal.” - Marci Fried

Marci Fried- Strategic Consultant/Professional Speaker

I have the advantage of partnering exclusively with a select group of highly skilled and successful teams, therefore their experiences provide insight that might otherwise not surface and I believe it is my responsibility to share these insights. 

As a seasoned Business Advisor, my responsibility is to listen, consider and when appropriate, point out fine tuning opportunities to our Advisors and their teams using learning moments and challenges to step back, slow down and focus in on what makes their clients tick.

Something to consider: 

I have been speaking with our Advisors and their teams about year-end volatility and why this was perceived as different. 

All my teams without exception, felt confident that they had positioned their clients prior to December 2018, that the likelihood of volatility was evident, while at the same time staying focused on the “plan” and the “process”. They all agreed that focusing on what they could control – as per Shoot Your Trailer - and firmly positioning the team as their client’s personal CFO (Complete Family Office), was firmly in place. Why, then were they receiving calls from a number of their best clients concerned about their year-end statements? The answer, as they knew, was December 2018. 

Why was this year-end different? Or was it not different at all? 

We all are familiar with the classic Ibbotson Chart, and have heard story after story. You think to yourself ‘well if you think it’s bad this time around, you only need to look back at other significant events including the Kennedy assassination, the crash of ‘97, and so on.’ 

The point is, it’s not if something will happen, it’s only a matter of when. It is essential to have a plan and a process; stay the course and when necessary fine tune, based on the direction the clients’ lives take, as their life unfolds and their needs evolve. 

Again, was this year different or not? 

I believed one of my Advisors tapped into the essence of why clients may have viewed this time differently, and it is rooted in behavior. 

Clients are confident that their Advisor and their team serve as their personal CFO and that goes hand-in-glove with monitoring their progress (i.e. Monthly Statements) but the year-end statement, in particular the month of December, was different. Remember, too, that in many cases the client will be sharing their year-end statement with their accountant, who will have their own commentary. This is where we witnessed unprecedented levels of volatility. It was stunning. Even the most seasoned client could not help but notice the jaw-dropping numbers, regardless of how prepared they were for volatility, but that was the reality of December 2018. Fast forward a matter of weeks to January 2019 and the trajectory was forward and up.  

This may have addressed why this behavior surfaced, but in hindsight, what could the Advisors and their teams have done to prepare for the December/January statement reality? This is where we find a learning opportunity, a moment to reflect and put into place a process for addressing the inevitable.  

Thinking with the end in mind, our Advisors and their teams by nature always seek to raise the bar in terms of the client experience. We need to be reminded to never take anything for granted in terms of what the client may be thinking and feeling, the Law of Familiarity is a reality and with this in mind we need ensure that we convey clarity, confidence and conviction.

To paraphrase Andrew Grove, author of Only the Paranoid Survive; regardless of the Advisor’s positioning leading up to December, clients may have listened, perhaps even prepared in their mind, but human behavior is strong. It can take over and make the reasonable sound unreasonable. 

We have a philosophy at Pareto Systems: The voice of our Advisors and their teams are the most important voice we listen to. I would like to share a recent conversation I had with one of our teams around this topic. 

“We have had a number of conversations with our clients and continue to schedule appointments with our best clients. We believe that it is imperative to get out in front of issues that impact our clients, and naturally the January statement was one of those topics we needed to address. We follow Duncan and use the Pareto strategies and resources to reinforce our messaging. We have our Agenda, we acknowledge their concerns and then we get back to what we can control. Our mission is to keep all this in context, basically not leaving our clients to their own devices, which could negatively impact their plan for years to come. We remind them that we never lose sight of what is most important to them and we circle back to stories around their family, occupation and recreational pursuits. We continue to keep the focus on their aspirations and goals. We address the “how”, we will continue to work together as their lives unfold and needs evolve and that the beauty of our Process, which is designed to address the ebb and flow as their life unfolds and needs evolve. We then shift to the Strategy and Tactical Review Meeting Agenda items and we get them back on track and excited about their future. We have a process.” 

Marci Fried: Pareto Systems Certified Consultant | Franchise Ready Specialist-Scalability | Enterprise Relationship Specialist -Train the Trainer | Practice and Relationship Team Management Expert, powered by the Pareto System.

Learn more about Marci:

2019-03-05 • 5 minute video

Convert your ‘customers’ into fully empowering ‘clients’ who see the value of your process, panoramically, fully and completely, and generate a steady stream of quality referrals.

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2019-03-04 • 20 second read

There's an element of business success centered on congruency. Do what you say. Your clients follow your strategy, but more than that, they look to your character. They're led not pushed.

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2019-03-01 • 20 second read

AI will never have EI, emotional intelligence, so emphasize practice management and relationship management. That’s where you can differentiate and stand out.

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2019-02-28 • 20 second read

Attracting the right clients that fit with your team… Pareto Coaches Network SPOTLIGHT!

Elaine Christakos is one of my trusted consultants and is a senior level results-oriented professional and strategist with two decades of management and coaching experience in the financial services sector. Here is more from Elaine:

“A team that I work with had plateaued at a pretty respectable level of production. We worked together to find efficiencies and gaps in their current processes and found that they were so busy adding clients that they didn’t realize they were making their business “bottom heavy”.

Once we applied the 80/20 rule, and introduced a stringent fit process into their new client onboarding, their world changed. They no longer focused on bringing in a volume of clients, they focused on attracting the right clients that fit with their team.

“Empowering” is the word I love to hear when advisors realize that they no longer have to struggle, and that they have the ability to attract clients that align with their skill and philosophy.”

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2019-02-28 • 20 second read

"Down South" in Minneapolis with Dan Lavin and Rich Jacquemart with First Trust Portfolios after a presentation on client conversion and enterprise convergence. I always love it here - Minnesotans are as close to Canadian as you can get.

2019-02-28 • 5 min video

If it is to be, it is up to me. In this episode, Duncan suggests the best way to take care of a team, and a community of clients, is to take full responsibility for the outcome of our decisions.

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2019-02-27 • 20 second read

It's your adversity that gives your accomplishments meaning. Appreciation and aspiration must go hand in hand.

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2019-02-26 • 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,

Duncan MacPherson

2019-02-26 • 4 min video

The law of environment says we're products of our environment.

In this episode, Duncan discusses forming a legendary team to strive for success, not just for what it gets you but for what it makes of you.

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