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Proven Strategies Blog

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2021-06-03 • 6 min audio

Everything is possible, but virtually nothing is certain. In periods of difficulty we find ourselves lurking. When you have a plan C and you think through all the contingencies, and spend a lot less time worrying. Join Duncan as he discusses the power of plan C and the impact it can have on you and your team when developing your strategy or plans.

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Do you have a ‘Plan C”? Visit our website to learn more about our customized consulting designed to help you re-focus your business and take it to new heights:

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2021-06-02 • 6 min audio

Join Duncan as he discusses the impact of repositioning your ‘Review Meetings’ into 'Strategy and Tactical Meetings' where you invest the past into the future and make it an extension of your overarching process.

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2021-06-02 • 20 second read

I spoke with a client last week about communication and how they transmit their message and, ultimately, they need a receiver to tune that in. Think of the room you're in right now. There are probably a thousand signals and with the right receiver you can pull anything in. But there is also a signal-to-noise ratio. There's a lot of noise out there. You want people to tune out the noise and really tune into what it is you're communicating.

Everything you say is either a "me too" or a "so what": A "me too" that resonates and stands out and differentiates, or a "so what" that's just part of the noise.

Do you want to make sure your communication stands out? Talk to my team about our Total Client Engagement process and ensure your signal is being received:

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2021-06-01 • 2 minute read

The Best Way to Improve What You Do is to Listen to the People You Do it For

All elite professionals understand the importance of ongoing personal and business development. Top performers know that they have to be continually sharpening their skills. It’s true, to earn more we have to learn more. But it can be a challenge to make the time and to measure the ROI. That said, and as the metaphor reminds us, you can never be too busy cutting wood that you can’t make time to sharpen your saw.

Now you might be thinking that I’m going to recommend that you attend seminars and boot camps, hire a coach, read books and participate in virtual learning programs to improve your skills and deliverables. All of those options are fine. But before you ever listen to an outsider giving you advice, listen to your clients. They are far better equipped to tell you what you need to do to improve. As Mark Twain said, “The customer is the only critic whose opinion really counts.”

There is a double-win when you listen to your clients. Not only do you get a clear sense in terms of how they perceive you (and describe you to others) but you also can use this initiative to drive business. The ideas in this Actionable Tip of the Week can create an invaluable foundation for on-going client acquisition. We’ve seen several advisors achieve meaningful breakthroughs using some of these simple strategies.

You can start with a low-key and informal survey using probing questions during your next round of client call rotations. As you know, we recommend that you consistently reach out to your best clients via the telephone as part of your ongoing service process. As you also probably know, we suggest that you approach each call with the goal of being interested rather than trying to be interesting. You aren’t calling to sell something or be the bearer of profound news or insight. You are simply touching base and asking good questions. This is about competitor-proofing and long-term relationship management. Obviously you want the initial questions to be about the client and their  F.O.R.M. (Family, Occupation, Recreational interests and Money) But there is a natural segue in every call where you can shift the focus to you while still asking their opinion.

1. To ask to get a sense for their satisfaction and loyalty is:

What’s the one thing that you really value most about our relationship?

2. To see if they understand everything you do and provide:

Have we done an effective job explaining our full array of services?

3. To get the client thinking about people they could introduce is:

When you talk about me with a friend, what do you say? How do you describe me?

It’s a good idea to start a question with this simple softening statement:

If you don’t mind me asking…

And then clarify the question with a little more details by saying:

The reason I’m asking is….

The key here is that you aren’t marketing to yourself. It’s easy to get into a bit of a vacuum with your business development efforts and lose objectivity. These questions get the clients engaged so that you can get a sense for where you stand.

From a loyalty perspective, your clients are exposed to countless competitive messages. You want to show them that you don’t take them for granted. From a money-in-motion perspective, your clients’ needs are constantly evolving. As a new need presents itself, you want the client to instantly think of you as the person to fill that need.

From an advocacy perspective, you don’t know when a referral opportunity will come about but when it does you want to be top of mind with your clients so that they will be compelled to endorse you.

Continued Success!

Contributed by: Duncan MacPherson

2021-06-01 • 7 min video

A very enlightened lady said to me, "I've got a book, not a business. That's why I'm working so hard with you." Because she wants to build something. She wants us to help her get out of this transactional world. She's completely fee-for-service now, and focusing more on the enterprise value of her business.

2021-05-27 • 6 min video

We all make mistakes, sometimes big, sometimes small, but it's what it reveals, how we respond that really separates the best from the rest. Join Duncan as he discusses how setbacks and adversity can help us improve, refine and optimize what we do.

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2021-05-26 • 20 second read

Remember, you are not marketing to yourself. What matters is how you are perceived and described by your clients. You don't sell insurance. You're not an insurance broker. Risk management is part of your process. You're not selling something, you're building something. You're building financial independence for your clients. You're building advocacy within those clients. You're building enterprise value, not trading your time for money. Don't be your own best-kept secret, relying solely on skills and intentions that a client can get somewhere else. Skills are important, but everything you do is part of your process. Imprint the panoramic process. Make sure your clients can internalize it, that so they can socialize it to others.

2021-05-25 • 5 min video

In this episode Duncan suggests that anxiety is born in the place between expectation and reality. Losing yourself in your work can help you find your purpose and your calling and that honoring your nature and nurturing your qualities will lead to the best of your possible ability.

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2021-05-25 • 2 minute read

Clients should be loyal to a process not just to a person and performance

Stephen Covey, the legendary author of the book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, advised that we should always begin with the end in mind. It is for that reason we suggest that you apply a mindset of building a business with the intention of selling it for maximum value at some point in the future.

Your Business Should be Built to be Sold

Even if the thought of selling your business hasn't really crept into your mind, or is a distant vision for many years down the road, it's still a good idea to apply the philosophy of maximizing the equity value in your business on an ongoing basis.

This goes beyond just practice management in the traditional sense. Sure deploying best-practices creates a client experience that generates loyalty and refer-ability. But if you don't document those procedures you are still only trading your time for money. You have a job that ultimately generates an hourly income for you. Don't get me wrong, you can earn a tremendous living that way but you still want to keep an eye on the prize - maximizing the equity value of your business beyond just Trailing Twelve Months (TTM).

Beyond Trailing Twelve Months

The best business is one that earns you a living and builds your legacy. This dual-track stems from creating and deploying predictable, sustainable and duplicable procedures that are documented in a playbook and are consistently implemented. This creates the consistency that your clients crave that insulates them from competitive factors and other issues beyond your control. But the double-win is that when it eventually comes time to sell your business, the suitor realizes your clients are loyal to your process, not just to you and the performance you generate. Additionally, they realize that your procedures have not only created a durable business - he or she can also apply your procedures to their existing business. 1+1 really can actually equal 3.

When it comes to maximizing a business valuation, the buyer wants to ensure continuity through and beyond the acquisition process. When all of your processes are documented in your playbook, and you present a transitional process to professionally communicate with clients well in advance of the transition, predictability elevates. And this applies even if you plan to sell just a portion of your business through a right-sizing process.

The Rule of 3

Every action you do three or more times and that has three or more steps in the process, should be documented in your playbook. Get everything out of your head and the heads of your team members. The benefits of a playbook go beyond just consistency and continuity. The efforts compound over time creating momentum - regardless of who is deploying them. If a business is driven by maverick talent - talented people who operate daily out of their heads - the value is lower than a business driven by the procedures contained in a playbook. Remember, the faces on your team may change over time but the processes remain.

That's not to say that you will always remain on auto pilot after you create a playbook. The Law of Optimization suggests that every process can be refined over time. It's funny, when I ask an advisor "Why do you do things that way?" The answer is often the same: "That's the way we've always done it." They unconsciously drifted into a pattern and then arrived at a set-it-and-forget-it mode. Einstein was right when he defined insanity as being the repetition of an action over time and expecting a different outcome. This explains why many advisors who have been in the business for 15 years really have one year of experience 15 times. Sure they are making a living, but they aren't building a business that is valued for more than the industry average.

Let Pareto Systems help you create a playbook to harness and deploy the true value of best practices. The value of your business will increase and so too will the fulfillment you realize from it.

Continued Success!

Contributed by Duncan MacPherson

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2021-05-24 • 20 second read

Quality introductions are by design, not by chance. Don't leave your rainmakers to their own devices trying to figure out who to introduce to you; tell them. In fact, many of our clients go so far as to show them. When they are in an engaged conversation with someone on the topic of who is a good fit, as an extension of their value proposition, they show a list of the qualities of their ideal clients. Excerpt from The Advisor Playbook

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