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Are you a professional who wants to:
  • Consistently attract and retain great clients?
  • Run a more efficient and profitable practice?
  • Elevate the client experience?
  • Drive enterprise value?
  • Deploy a scalable growth model?
  • Create a panoramic branding strategy?
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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
  • Insurance Specialists
  • Estate Planning Attorneys
  • Accounting Professionals
  • Trust Specialists
  • Wholesalers
  • All knowledge-for-profit professionals
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2019-10-24 • 20 second read

In Dallas along with Ann Koblenzer at First Trust launching a Total Client Engagement process that converts clients into referral generating advocates.

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2019-10-23 • 20 second read

There is a distinction between a financial plan and financial planning. A financial plan for a client is essential, but it’s proprietary and is being increasingly commoditized. With any material change in my life - a critical life event – it will render that plan obsolete. Financial planning is not fixed and transactional. It’s fluid and dynamic. You can’t outgrow it. Clients grow into it, especially when it comes to continuity and succession.

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2019-10-22 • 3 minute read

You are a leader. You lead your clients through market turbulence and help them tune out the noise while staying focused on a plan and process. And while I will never trivialize the importance of providing a solid investment strategy for your clients, your character and your ability to manage a relationship is just as important as your ability to manage a portfolio.

Think of it this way. The products and services you provide and the firm you represent are all part of your message. YOU are the messenger. When a prospective client meets you for the first time, they're really connecting with the messenger before they buy into the message. When a client brags about you to a friend, they spend as much time talking about the messenger as they do the about the message. Ironically though, many advisors spend most of their time promoting the message.

The message isn't proprietary and much of it can be abstract to the client. It is also at the mercy of many external dependencies. I'm asking you to look at ways that you can complement the message by connecting with your clients on a deeper, more creative level. In the process you will make yourself indispensable to them, not to mention more refer-able. This approach is essentially an extension on your client service approach that helps symbolize your value to them.

There are many ways to do this that are both proactive and reactive. Proactive service consists of actions that can be automated and built into your on-going service plan. Sending a birthday card every year to your clients, providing a welcome binder as part of your on-board process and using agendas in review meetings, are just a few of the many examples that can help you stand-out, get people's attention and be memorable. Reactive service speaks to how you respond to unique events - something we call moments of truth. Moments of truth are usually one-off or rare events that take place between you and a client where they are basically saying "I trust you." They might bare their soul to you and reveal a challenge or setback they are experiencing. They might refer someone to you for the first time. Perhaps the client achieves an important personal milestone or accomplishment. Even becoming a client is a moment of truth. Let's face it. They are leaving a relationship and selecting you. It's a big deal. And just as important is how you pay tribute and respond to that moment of truth. Here are a few examples:

Your Client Reveals a Setback They are Experiencing

Chances are you've had a client who told you about some bad news they received, or an unpleasant event they are going through. Occasionally the news can be severe. I remember telling an advisor to send a client going through a really tough patch a book called When Bad Things Happen to Good People. The advisor sent the book along with a card with a thoughtful comment. A few days later the client called saying that the gesture was the most thoughtful thing anybody had done during that difficult period.

Your Client Reveals a Personal or Family Accomplishment

An advisor told me about a conversation he had with an affluent client who revealed that his son had finally, after several stops and starts, graduated from University. I suggested that the advisor send the son - a future client ideally - a copy of the book The Richest Man in Babylon along with a card congratulating him on his success. A few days later, the dad called the advisor thanking him profusely for getting his son thinking about his own financial future.

Your Client Refers a Friend to You for the First Time

An advisor told me about a very affluent client that had just sent his first referral in their seven year relationship. The advisor asked me how he should say thank you. I asked him to tell me about the client. After a few brief descriptions of interests the advisor mentioned that client had just purchased a big motor home so that he and his wife could travel North America to visit friends and family while playing some of the more famous golf courses in the US and Canada. I suggested that the advisor send a thank you card as well as a subscription to RV World Magazine. The cost would be about the same as box of golf balls but the impact and shelf life would be far greater.

I'm not suggesting you get into the gift-giving business. But when a moment of truth presents itself, it is important to be thoughtful and creative. When a client tells you something that goes beyond the superficial, or when a client takes action to your benefit, again they are saying "I trust you." How you respond to these moments of truth will take your relationship to the next level and ensure the goodwill continues.

Really what it comes down to is expectations and contrast. Your client wasn't expecting you to respond with as much impact as you did. It therefore stands out in their mind and galvanizes your relationship. They also have a frame of reference in terms of how they expect a financial advisor to conduct himself or herself. Their former advisor didn't have a mindset of proactive and reactive service when it came to moments of truth. Therefore, your actions validate their decision to move over to you, and activate their conversion from client to advocate. And that is where the value is in this business. Not in how many clients you have, but in how many advocates you have. A client does business with you. An advocate is competitor proof, they empower you fully and they wave your flag to friends and family members.

Continued Success!

Contributed by Duncan MacPherson

2019-10-22 • 4 min video

Crack the code on client gift-giving.

This week I discuss how to strategically incorporate gift-giving into your company’s processes to solidify your client relationships and turn them into referral generating advocates.

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2019-10-21 • 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

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2019-10-18 • 20 second read

Many professional advisors I work with are successful, enjoy an impressive lifestyle and should be content, but many of them are still ambitious and are frustrated because they have hit a plateau. While every advisor’s scenario is unique, often the plateau stems from inertia confidence. Simply put, the advisor is busy repeating habits and patterns, and has been for an extended period of time. They are getting results, but they can raise the bar and achieve more.

2019-10-17 • 2 minute video

It's more important to reach people who count than it is to count the number of people you're reaching.

Your MVP’s are your most valuable prospects and the best source for reaching them is your existing client base who are your gateway to tremendous opportunity.

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2019-10-16 • 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.

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2019-10-15 • 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

2019-10-15 • 5 minute video

Protect your most valuable assets, your client relationships. In this episode Duncan discusses strategies to help create professional contrast and differentiate yourself from the pack.

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