Finish Strong in 2021
with Duncan MacPherson
Includes Q&A Session
Thursday, October 21th at 12 pm ET
Q4 is the perfect time to finish the year with a bang, especially as we come out of an unprecedented disruption, and then fast track success in the New Year.
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Proven Strategies Blog

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2021-09-20 • 20 second read

Q4 is the perfect time to finish the year with a bang, especially as we come out of an unprecedented disruption, and then fast track success in the New Year. Duncan will highlight three key steps financial professionals should take to maximize their client relationships and position their businesses for a strong and profitable final quarter of 2021, and for a great start to 2022. Each of the strategies is easy to implement and translate into results quickly and predictably. Duncan will walk through a proven process to:

Rejuvenate relationships with their best clients

Amplify growth through advocacy

Make timely adjustments to increase efficiency and productivity

This webinar will include a live Q&A with Duncan MacPherson. You can ask your questions live, or enter one when you register:

Can’t make it, but don’t want to miss out? Don’t worry, register now and ask your question, and we will give you access to the recording following the broadcast.

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2021-09-24 • 20 second read

Communicating that you understand the concerns of your clients - what matters to them - family, occupation, recreation and money - is of immeasurable value in your referability and more. When it comes to consistent client acquisition through advocacy, when it comes to fee-worthiness, client loyalty and total client engagement over the lifetime of a relationship, your technical ability and core competency matter. But words matter, too.

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2021-09-23 • 20 second read

There is an old maxim that states that, "Marketing is what you say; branding is what they hear." At a basic level, marketing helps you sell something, while branding helps you build something. Marketing typically involves stand-alone campaigns and strategies that have a beginning and an end. Branding is ongoing and every investment into your professional branding strategy builds upon itself, and can become a proprietary asset over time.

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2021-09-22 • 20 second read

Incrementalism transcends personal development and affects how you strengthen client relationships. It would be nice if you could take a relationship to a higher level quickly, but that’s not how things work. Solid client relationships are based on trust, and trust is earned over time, based on your credentials and chemistry but also because of your consistency and congruency. Your consistent communication compounds over time.

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2021-09-21 • 5 minute read

Do your clients understand the difference between a financial plan and financial planning? A financial plan is an essential blueprint to provide clarity on the trajectory of your relationship and the pieces of the puzzle that need to be addressed by your people, your practice and your process, but that plan can become obsolete the moment any significant change occurs in the client's life. Ongoing financial planning, on the other hand, is the keystone to your relationship. It is the lifeblood of your fee-worthiness, primarily because it's fluid and dynamic and all-encompassing as the client's life progresses.

One of the most profound changes you can make is enhancing your role as a goals-based planner. I'm sure you already show interest in why financial independence matters to a client and what goals they hope to achieve in life. I'd like you to consider professionalizing it further and then embedding it into the seventh pillar of your process (Value-Added Services). You can use social proof when introducing this to a client by saying that “you are starting to have many deeper conversations with long-term clients about their evolving goals and aspirations, and that you're getting an even clearer appreciation for what financial independence really means to a client. It's not just about a number - it's a means to many important ends.”

So look for cues from the client and see how they respond to this introduction. If they engage, ask them if they see the merit in kick-starting a deeper dive using your approach to formalizing goal setting. If they say yes, simply ease in with this question, “Would you say that you are today where you thought you were going to be, or where you said you were going to be five years ago? In other words, five years ago, you had a beacon set for the future - and not just financially - are you there today?”

If the conversation that ensues is meaningful, pick your spot and then segue to the next question by simply asking, “What does Nirvana really look like for you in the future? If everything falls into place, what does that look like?” It's not uncommon for the client to open up like a flower in the sun, outlining a wish list. Be sure to capture and chronicle everything they say.

With clients that really get into it, you can go even deeper and tie them into your financial planning process. If they are engaged, simply write five W's on the backside of the agenda you're using for the meeting, or simply ask them to write them down on a sheet of paper if you happen to have this conversation over the phone.

Explain that you'd like to frame goals around W5 and expand by filling out What, Where, When, Why, and Who. The first question in goal setting is what are you grateful for? This may seem counterintuitive because goal setting is generally about what you want, but currently lack. However, gratitude for what we already have is a powerful force to propel us towards what we want. Aspiration is fueled by appreciation. It can be a good idea to show the image of Maslow's hierarchy as a reminder of the things humans strive for, but it also reminds us not to take what we already have for granted. You'll see the conversation go deeper.

Then you can invest the past and the present into the future by pivoting to the next question, “Where do you see yourself in the future?” You can either remind the client or introduce the client to the acronym FORM (Family, Occupation, Recreation, Money) and talk about the importance of getting goals out of one's head and onto paper, or you can fuel the conversation by providing examples of other clients, family, occupation, recreation, and money goals. Be sure to write everything down because you will summarize what they said and archive it into their Personal Financial Organizer. Once they have verbalized 10 or more goals, ask them, “When specifically, do you hope to achieve those goals?” As they're responding, you can add some commentary around the importance of cause and effect - the power of compounding incrementalism, patience and how the most enlightened clients you discuss this with are clear and at peace with expectation management, external dependencies, and other key facts of life.

The conversation can get a little heavier in the next question. “Why is all of this so important to you?” It can feel heavy because it focuses on the esteem and self-actualization in Maslow's hierarchy. One’s sense of purpose and reason for being and how it's as much about who we become as a person as it is about how much we earn and accumulate.

Finally, the question that starts to bridge the client's goals and pursuits to your relationship and your value. “Who do you need to become? And who do you need to associate with to make all of this a reality?”

The lens for how important the Law of Environment is becomes more focused. Who we associate with and delegate responsibility to is crucial. The degree that we empower and not micromanage, the value we place on liberation and order that we achieve because of the professionals we engage with. The importance of aligning ourselves with people who are philosophically in sync with us, and the degree that their value is not just relevant to us today, but also in the future; all ensures that we focus on what that professional is worth rather than what they cost.

I won't be surprised if you talk about how you learned that you had to disassociate from people who are not a good fit.

As you grow your business down to a natural capacity of ideal clients you are perfectly suited for, your relationships will strengthen your fee-worthiness, referability will increase and your level of fulfillment will intensify.

Continued Success!

Contributed by: Duncan MacPherson

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2021-09-17 • 20 second read

Planning, philosophy and process are all interdependent. Educating a prospective client as to why this is – or re-framing your value with an existing client through the three Ps – helps them buy into your positioning as a professional consultant. 

2021-09-16 • 1 min video

This video is an excerpt of the “The 7th Pillar: Amp Up Your Fee-Worthiness” video available now on YouTube. To watch the entire video click here:

2021-09-15 • 1 min video

This video is an excerpt of the “The 7th Pillar: Amp Up Your Fee-Worthiness” video available now on YouTube. To watch the entire video click here:

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2021-09-14 • 2 min read

As we head into a new era, there's a tremendous opportunity for a financial professional to deepen their relationships with high-value clients and to put more distance between themselves and everyone else vying for the same clients.

Before I get into that, I'd like to ask you a couple of simple questions. Do you want to swim in a pool of sameness, by simply hoping a client will select from a generic menu of products and services? Or do you want to achieve professional contrast by having a client buy into your proprietary process?

Do you want a client to ask you if you sell, for example, long term care? Or do you want a client to ask if long-term care is part of your panoramic process?

Lastly, do you want to find out that a client bought a product or service from another provider because they weren't aware that it was a solution you could have provided? We’ll be releasing three more articles on the Seventh Pillar over the coming weeks. We'll lay out for you how to rejuvenate relationships, activate future pacing and ensure clients understand and appreciate your value fully and completely. If you've already adopted and customized our ‘Seven Pillars, One Process’ approach, you know how to frame your value, and this series will help you go even deeper. In this series, we're going to place a specific emphasis on the seventh pillar (Value-Added Services), because it's the most important for amping up your fee-worthiness and decommoditizing your value.

So as you can see from the Seven Pillars, in essence, you're not an asset manager. Asset management is part of your process. You don't sell insurance products, but risk management is an essential part of your process. On it goes to the seventh pillar, your value added services that clients will find to be of immense value. Not just because you are a good person, but because it's all part of your well-thought-out process. It wouldn't surprise me if you had 15 distinct value added services. Developing a financial plan, providing fluid and dynamic planning advice, being a sounding board for friends and family members, deploying your service model and so on. My three favorites - which we'll drill into over the next three articles – are being a goals-based planner, being a trusted life-coach resource and providing a formalized Value Added Support Team (VAST).

Continued Success!

Contributed by: Duncan MacPherson

2021-09-14 • 1 min video

This video is an excerpt of the “The 7th Pillar: Amp Up Your Fee-Worthiness” video available now on YouTube. To watch the entire video click here:

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