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2019-02-12 • 20 second read

In the land of (frozen) lakes with Dan Lavin at First Trust Portfolios and Stephen Kruchten at Bremmer Investment Services. Canadians feel at home in Minnesota especially because it is The State of Hockey.

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2019-02-12 • 3 minute read

Through many market cycles over the years, I’ve been saying that a good financial advisor is at his or her highest level of refer-ability during times of volatility. Money becomes more topical and many people start to have nagging doubts about the track they are on – both in terms of their current advisor and financial plan. As a result, friends and family members will often confide in and then bare their souls to your clients: 

“Are you happy with your financial advisor, because I think I’ve just about had it with mine.” 

Capitalize on this growing stage of readiness so that your clients will feel compelled to shine a light on you at that moment of truth. Trigger a moment of recognition and awareness for your value through proper positioning and imprinting. 

Getting Out in Front 

Call all of your favorite clients. A proactive call can serve as a mid-course correction to prevent them from drifting into a mindset where they fixate on specific products, pricing and performance, back to an enlightened philosophy, panoramic planning strategy and methodical process around financial independence. 

From MORF to FORM 

Be certain that you also bridge your “how” with their “why”. Transition yourself from the traditional Money, Occupation, Recreation and Family approach. Instead, focus on their Family Investment Legacy, their Occupational pursuit to a work optional lifestyle and their Recreational bucket list. This way, you can keep Money as a means to an end. The more they stay focused on why financial independence matters, the more value they will place on how you get them there - and in the process you will de-commoditize yourself. This is essential to keeping clients focused on what matters and what they can control.

Imprint Your Value 

“Just before I let you go, as you can imagine, I’ve been speaking to several clients recently, many of whom have friends and family members who are a bit unsettled and are starting to look to the future with apprehension rather than anticipation. I’m telling you this because I want to remind you that, as a value added service, I will gladly be a sounding board for anyone who is looking for a voice of reason. And keep in mind, they do not need to become a client to take advantage of this service. If they’re important to you, they’re important to me.” 

Act on Their Permission 

Many clients will thank you for your comment. Others will give you permission to elaborate by saying:

“I wasn’t aware that you did that.” 

Tell them WHY you do it – it’s because of your sense of purpose

Tell them WHO you do it for – by defining the person who fits your ideal client profile

Tell them HOW to make an introduction – by demystifying your process 

You ultimately aspire to become a client’s personal CFO, ensuring total client engagement over the lifetime of the relationship. You can’t achieve that by solely being their CIO. They need to know you are a CEO who runs the business like a business, creating a solid client experience, and you need to be a CMO with a marketing, branding and communication process that ensures clients understand and appreciate your value and continually focus on what you’re worth rather than what you cost. 

Continued Success!

Contributed by Duncan MacPherson

2019-02-12 • 6 min video

In this episode Duncan discusses developing and continuously refining processes in your practice to ensure your clients appreciate your value and never take you for granted.

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2019-02-11 • 20 second read

It’s easy to fixate on our technical ability and our core competencies, but we have to focus on ourselves as well. Jim Rohn said that "we are the average of the five people we spend the most amount of time around" and every now and again we have to assess our environment - because we are products of our environment.

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2019-02-08 • 20 second read

What is the purest form of client acquisition? It is not going out and trying to convince new people, but rather working with the people who are already convinced and showing them how to convince people on your behalf. They go out of their way to wave your flag; not because they are trying to help you grow your business, but because they feel they are doing their friends a disservice if they do not make the introduction.

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2019-02-07 • 20 second read

In St. Louis with Tim Trudo, Joel Donnelly and Christopher Struck of First Trust Portfolios presenting to an elite group of fee for service professionals at an Echo meeting.

2019-02-07 • 4 min video

Would your business run like a Swiss watch if you were to take a month off tomorrow?

In this episode Duncan discusses the need and importance of professionalizing and standardizing everything into a proprietary playbook that will ensure your business runs smooth, even without you or a key team member. 

Want to develop your playbook? Register yourself and/or your team for the upcoming webinar:

FORMulate: Your Plan to Elevate the Client Experience

Thursday, February 21st at 4:10 PM EST (1:10 PM PST)

In this informative webcast, Duncan MacPherson and Elaine Christakos will outline a proven approach that enables team members to become indispensable to the team. Register here:

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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.”


“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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