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2019-02-06 • 20 second read

If you think about the relationship cycle, the first step when it comes to client acquisition is awareness. A prospective client needs to be aware you exist and you need a process to sift out the real prospects from the mass of suspects, but they need to know you are there.

2019-02-05 • 5 minute video

Crack the code with strategic partners.

While the source of your most valuable perspective clients are friends and family members of your existing clients, their service providers are a close second. In this episode Duncan discuss strategies to build a strong strategic partner referral network.

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2019-02-05 • 3 minute read

Let me sum up the interplay of branding and process that I have repeatedly touched on.

You want to be perceived as a consultant with a process as opposed to a salesperson with a quota, but you have to define yourself. Tell clients or prospective clients you have a process. Repeat it. Keep reminding them. If you don’t define yourself, you will be defined automatically.

It’s amazing how much trouble many top-caliber advisors have with this issue. Some advisors try so hard to make their value proposition unique that they end up reciting a long-winded elevator speech or mission statement that is, frankly, just a collection of words and sounds like everyone else. The goal isn’t to create something earth shattering or esoteric, the goal is to create something simple and clear while instantly differentiating and elevating you.

When someone gives you the opportunity to explain your value proposition, I want you to ask yourself, “What does this person really want?How you define yourself shouldn’t address what you do in the literal sense, it should address what the person craves; a relationship with an expert who helps them achieve what they aspire to - financial independence and a greater sense of control.

By adding the phrase “I have a process”, you get their attention and you are instantly more attractive and compelling.

This goes beyond how a prospective client perceives you; it also addresses how an existing client describes you. Over time, through consistent communication, your clients will absorb this phraseology and weave it into their conversation when they have the opportunity to describe you to a friend or family member. Wouldn’t it be great if a client shined a light on you by saying,

“You should talk to my advisor. I’ve never felt better about the track I’m on with my investments and, best of all, he has a process to ensure all the pieces of my financial puzzle are in place.”

or

“I’ve had other advisors in the past that didn’t even come close to the professionalism of my current advisor. She has a process to ensure that everything is addressed and her service is impeccable.”

That is just the beginning. A personal branding strategy helps people connect with you on a deeper level. The firm you represent has its own brand, but you need to build a brand within that brand. This adds credibility to your overall brand, but people are connecting with you, the messenger, not just your message in terms of solutions, products or rates of return.

You have to take your branding strategy beyond just the words you verbalize in a value proposition. It has to be integrated into all other forms of communication and every step of your process.

Continued Success!

Contributed by Duncan MacPherson

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2019-02-04 • 20 second read

We all look for balance. Think of balance in terms of work/life: The business is supposed to serve your life, not the other way around. Either you are running a business or it is running you.

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2019-02-01 • 20 second read

Say up front that you understand the prospective client is vetting you, and be clear that you are also vetting them to make sure that you are a good fit and there is an alignment of interest. It is about engagement, and the client empowering the team.

2019-01-31 • 2 min video

In this Blue Square Series video, Duncan discusses taking the abstract and transactional nature of your value and make it proprietary by re-framing it as a process.

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2019-01-29 • 2 minute read

The Power of the Introductory Kit

If you have read any of my articles, you will know I talk about about the importance of describing what you do for your clients and prospects as a process. Too many advisors, when asked what they do, say things like:

"I help my clients manage their assets and risk."

It has been proven to resonate far better, not to mention be far more memorable, to say:

"I’ve developed and refined a process that enables me to manage my clients’ assets and risk."

When you refer to your approach as a process rather than simply suggesting that you help people, it adds so much persuasive impact to your messaging because it sounds official and organized rather than generic and abstract. You see this all the time in the marketplace where a firm will give something they do a name by basically calling it something. Westin Hotels refer to their beds and showers as Heavenly Beds and Heavenly Showers. I can tell you that I have stayed in a lot of hotels and I'm not sure that their beds are any better than any other comparable hotel but many people are convinced that Heavenly Beds are better. In the minds of many people, every other hotel simply has beds, while Westin has Heavenly Beds - again because that's what they’re called. And, let’s face it, when it comes to selecting one hotel over another a good bed and shower is ultimately what people crave.

As I’ve said, a branding strategy addresses what your clients’ want, not what you do or who you are in the classic sense. So what do your clients want? They want to face the future with anticipation rather than apprehension and they want to feel confident with the track they are on. An advisor with a process projects that far better than an advisor who simply "helps clients...." 

From Vapour to Paper

You can’t stop at just saying you have a process, you have to demonstrate that you actually have one. I say that because advisors ask me all the time, "How can I create this process you keep talking about?You already have a process, the problem is you don’t refer to it as such and you don’t have anything to show them what it looks like. Think about it, when you on-board a new client and align solutions to their needs, you use a process. So start referring to it that way.

I ask coaching clients of ours to sit down and simply get their process out of their heads and on to paper - even in point form. A very effective advisor was shocked to realize that there are actually eight steps to her asset management process. But she never thought of it in those terms before. Now that she has listed out the steps on to a sheet of paper she can now show a client and prospective client with far more persuasive impact. It is now referenced as a bullet point on her agendas and she can help demystify what she does and help people conceptualize her approach and appreciate her more fully by showing them.

Among the many benefits, this is an essential step to ensure that your clients are telling their friends:

"You should meet my advisor, he has an excellent process and he’s a great guy."

As opposed to:

"You should meet my advisor, you’d really like him, he is a great guy."

Your Clients Will Do Your Prospecting for You

Again, your clients can do a great job positioning you in their friends’ minds as an ideal alternative to their current advisor and begin creating a nagging feeling in their minds that you are a far superior option.

You can take that one step further by providing an Introductory Kit as part of your introduction process. This is as important for the client referring as it is for the prospecting you are hoping to attract. For example, when you say to a client:

"If you ever have a friend or family member that you would like to introduce to me, simply call me to get the wheels in motion and I will put them into my introductory process. I’ll reach out and have a brief initial conversation, I’ll send out my introductory kit so they can get to know me a little better in advance and then I’ll carve out the time to meet with them to get to know them better and be a sounding board to help them make some informed decisions."

Your clients can envision this in their mind’s eye and describe you in a more compelling way. Your prospect gets to hold something in their hands and gets to know you a bit before they even meet you (and send it via 2-day courier to elevate its importance and increase the value the person places on the upcoming meeting). Of course, you further validate your professionalism by providing a printed agenda in the initial discovery meeting, and outlining your on-board process and personal financial organizing binder in the fit meeting. Again, tangible things they can hold in their hands that reinforce that you have a process. All of this has been proven to enhance a prospective client’s motivation to take action. You don't have to convince them with a closing strategy, the prospective client comes to his or her own conclusion.

I'm not suggesting that your clients will start referring to you as their Heavenly Advisor, but I can guarantee that their description of you will be far more effective than before. I can also guarantee that your prospective clients will perceive you as a professional with a process and will be drawn to you like never before.

Continued Success!

Contributed by: Duncan MacPherson

2019-01-29 • 5 minute video

Using the immortal words of Walter Gretzky, as passed on to the world through his son Wayne: “Skate to where the puck is going, not where it has been.”

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2019-01-29 • 20 second read

In Orlando with Craig Koproski of First Trust Portfolios for an FPA conference - Craig is a NY Rangers fan but we still get along (reasonably) well...

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2019-01-29 • 20 second read

One of the most important attitudinal qualities of an ideal client is that they appreciate your value and don’t question your fees. Do you really want to do business with someone who is completely focused on getting something cheap?

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