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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
World Map
2019-05-30 • 3 min video

Combine your high tech with high touch to competitor-proof clients and provide consistent advocacy to generate quality referrals. In this video Duncan suggests sending high quality, summer greeting cards to add energy to your client relationships.

Visit our friends at LavishCards.com for the highest quality greeting cards that have lasting shelf life. Go to https://lavishcards.com or call them toll-free at 1.888.599.7599

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2019-05-29 • 20 second read

Whenever a client or partner introduces you to someone, you know that, at some point down the road, those two people will talk and the experience you provided will come up in the conversation. Ensure that the person that was introduced says “thank you!” to the rainmaker. Your commitment to service prompts him or her to validate their delight to the person who referred them, and that validation opens the referral floodgates in the future.

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2019-05-28 • 3 minute read

Full Disclosure Leads to Full Empowerment

When we coach a financial advisor on how to improve his or her productivity, profitability and efficiency, we start a process to identify their untapped opportunities as well as any overlooked vulnerabilities.  This enables us to quickly establish where the low hanging fruit is, as well as any issues that are undermining their ability to achieve a breakthrough.

Often, the most startling untapped opportunity stems from clarifying the distinction between a customer and a client.  A Customer does some business with you but they also have needs fulfilled by one or more other service providers.  A Client empowers you fully.  You are their personal CFO.  Every need they have, they empower you.  And just as importantly, when a new need presents itself, the client instantly contacts you looking for a solution.  A customer goes shopping.

But this goes beyond just the status of your existing clients’ needs.  Money is constantly in motion and needs are continually evolving.  It’s essential that you have a process to ensure that you are the go-to advisor when a new need emerges.  This way you don’t have to go chasing the business.  You attract it.

So the question to ask, as part of your own strategic analysis is, do you have any customers among your client base and what are the benefits of taking action to convert them?  The next question is, how would your business change if you started all new relationships from the perspective of full empowerment?

The practical benefits are obvious.  A business made up of fully empowering clients means that you can grow the amount of assets you’re managing without growing the number of relationships you manage.  Plus, you don’t have rely strictly on a client acquisition strategy to convince new people to come on-board.  Convincing people can be draining – like pumping up a leaky tire.  When you work with the people who are already convinced, as new money in motion develops, they contact you to meet those needs.

All of which, brings me to a series of symbolic benefits too.  Sure, a client that calls you for a college plan for a new grand-daughter isn’t going to impact your next paycheck very much.  But the action speaks volumes.  Clients are more loyal and they are better equipped to describe you persuasively to others.  Clients tell their friends that “My financial advisor takes care of everything for me and does a stellar job.”  That is advocacy in action. Customers say, “I have a couple of different people who handle my investments, insurance and other things.”

The key is to have a process that enables you to get in front of unmet needs so that the moment they appear, you are getting the phone call.  Going forward, you need to re-frame your existing relationships so that they see the merit of this strategy and become trained – for lack of a better term – to anticipate contacting you immediately. And with new clients, you want to plant seeds early in the on-board process to future-pace how the relationship will look as it unfolds.

On-Boarding New Clients

The key with a new relationship is to explain how you conduct yourself and the role you will play in the client’s life as your relationship progresses.  The best way to do that is to present an impressive binder loaded with tabs and explain your service process to set expectations for how you will conduct yourself.  A good starting point is to say your own variation of this:

“The financial planning process is very dynamic and there are many pieces to the puzzle.  My job is to put those pieces into place as your life unfolds and your needs evolve.”  Then present a document – we call it a Personal Financial Organizer (PFO) – which contains a listing of every single service you provide along with a Take Action box beside it. You then say, “This is a listing of everything I provide for my clients.  Many of these solutions aren’t relevant to you and your family today but they may become relevant in the future.  As part of our review process, we will use this tool to anticipate needs and strategize your personal plan to align with your goals to ensure everything is taken care of in a precise manner.”

Re-framing Existing Customers

In your next review meeting with clients and customers, simply present the PFO and say this:

“We take great pride in providing exceptional service to our clients and ensuring that we anticipate needs and provide solutions that complement your complete personal financial plan.  But we never want to become complacent and we know that we can always raise the bar.  So going forward this binder will become the centerpiece of our review process and become an important hub for the important documentation we send you.”

Then, as part of your agenda as you walk through the binder, introduce your document that outlines your various services, and outline a modified version of what we discussed above. You’ll be amazed at how many of your customers/clients will say to you, “I didn’t know you did all of that.”

The binder becomes a tangible symbol of the strength of your process.  It locks relationships down, uncovers assets that are placed elsewhere, and ensures that it’s a knee jerk reaction that clients call you when money is in motion.  It also makes it easy for clients to conceptualize your value and easy for them to describe you to friends and family members too. 

Continued Success!

Contributed by Duncan MacPherson

2019-05-28 • 5 minute video

Join Chris Jeppesen, Chief of Advisory Practices at First Trust, and Duncan MacPherson, CEO of Pareto Systems, as they discuss how some of the best advisors are not trying to be all things to all people, but all things to some people. It's not how big they can get but how small they can stay.

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2019-05-27 • 20 second read

On behalf of the entire team here at Pareto Systems, I wish our American friends and family a wonderful day as they commemorate their fallen heroes.

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2019-05-24 • 20 second read

One of the golden rules of conversation is that people tend to discuss the things that exceed their expectations, or that fall below them. People seldom discuss the things that meet their expectations, because those types of things do not make for a good anecdote. Your referability works in exactly the same way.

2019-05-23 • 5 minute video

In this episode I discuss the strategy of using the wall décor and greeting cards to enhance and reinforce your personal branding. Please note, as my kids have reminded me, there’s no Chinook Salmon in Mission Creek or Okanagan Lake, they’re Kokanee!

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2019-05-22 • 5 sec

Being good at what you do is expected by a client. For clients to feel it would be a disservice to a friend not to make an introduction requires you to be better than good.

Providing an exemplary level of service and communicating your value with clarity allows clients to buy into a relationship with you, not just products from you. It lets you exceed their expectations. Being refer-able actually does lead to referrals.

2019-05-21 • 5 minute video

In this episode Duncan discusses fine line between a Rut and a Groove and how to overcome challenges to remain on track to take your client relationships to the next level.

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2019-05-21 • 3 minute read

Be Organized & Professional: Use an Agenda

An Agenda is instrumental in ensuring you deliver a consistent and professional financial planning review meeting process. It’s really not that difficult to implement. And, once you start to see the benefits it creates in terms of simplifying both meeting preparation and delivery, you’ll be hooked. Not only that, your clients will take immediate notice of your more structured and organized approach to meeting with them. Who knows, maybe some of those ‘hard to get in’ clients won’t be so difficult any more. This could be exactly what they were waiting for. 

When you provide an agenda to each meeting participant, you are signalling the beginning of the business part of the meeting. Therefore, before you do so, be sure you start the meeting off with some rapport building with the client. Establishing rapport is important to set a positive tone before diving into business. Limit this to no more than 5 minutes and then begin the meeting. 

Here’s an overview of how to walk through our standard review meeting agenda.   

  1. Meeting Overview. You need to begin by providing a brief overview of the meeting, which simply means walking the client through the bulleted topics on the agenda. The “Meeting Overview” should be at the top of all of your agendas.
  2. Introducing Us to Others. It is important to remind your clients in a consistent way that you have a defined process for how others are introduced to you. That way, when your client knows someone who could benefit from your services, they will already understand the process you have for bringing them on. Remember, this is not an ask; it’s an educate. There is a profound difference. And, for that reason, be sure you cover this part of your meeting in a very matter of fact, low key manner. Although this topic only takes a couple of minutes to cover, it’s very important and can have a significant impact on the quantity and quality of introductions you receive from your existing clients. We recommend you develop a script to follow and commit it to memory.   It is also important to note this agenda topic is deliberately at the front of the meeting agenda and should stay there. This process is important and you don’t want it to be perceived as an after thought. The “Introducing Us to Others” should be included on all of your agendas.
  3. Our Approach. Next you need to take a few minutes to quickly review with your client your financial planning approach. Again, this serves as a reminder and ensures we don’t take for granted that they know all that we do. This reinforcement ensures that when speaking to others about you, your clients are very clear about the types of financial planning services you provide. We also recommend you develop a script to follow and commit it to memory. This item should also be included on all agendas.
  4. Review Your Clients Goals and Objectives. Here’s where the financial advisor focus ends and the client focus begins. You should begin with a quick recap of the goals and objectives of your client. This will reinforce the long-term focus of your financial planning services; it’s the “why” that supports the “how” in what you do. It will also provide you with an opportunity to capture any relevant changes with respect to their goals and objectives, which may impact the financial strategies you implement on their behalf. This is important for you to continue to do the best job possible for your client.
  5. Strategy Review. This is a main part of the meeting where you would review all of the financial strategies you are implementing on their behalf. This may include the following types of strategies: retirement savings, educational savings, family security, insurance and estate planning – and anything else you are implementing on their behalf. Of course, any concerns or changes you would recommend about these various strategies would be discussed at this time. Similarly, we would expect any clients to discuss with you the concerns or questions they have about any of the strategies you are implementing for them.       
  6. Investment Update. This is where you provide an update specific to their investment strategies.  This can involve more detail and may or may not evoke questions from your clients. Any changes you recommend to their investments would be communicated at this time. 
  7. New Business. This provides everyone with an opportunity to discuss items not included on the standard agenda. This is an important feature to ensure clients know their financial planning concerns and issues will be discussed and/or addressed in the context of their review meeting. It also allows you to record any new items that need future follow up.
  8. Where Do We Go From Here? At the conclusion of the meeting you can wind up by letting them know what happens next. This may be one of the following scenarios:
  • Everything is fine and you look forward to seeing them at their next financial planning review meeting in six months or a year (however frequent their review happens to be scheduled). Make sure you tell them you are always available should they have any questions. And, end by letting them know it was a pleasure to see them again.

OR: 

  • Changes are required and will be managed accordingly. This may trigger follow up actions by you, your staff and/or the client. Let your clients know what to expect in terms of their next point of contact on what was discussed: this includes who and when.

It is important to document all follow up items accurately so nothing falls through the cracks. Use your agenda as the place to record follow up action items accordingly. This makes it easier to delegate and hand off to your assistant who can trigger the follow up actions accordingly for those involved. Again, make sure you tell your clients that you are always available should they have any questions through this period of transition while the changes are taking place. Again, end by telling them it was a pleasure to see them again.

You should always conclude each meeting with a “Where do we go from here” type of wrap up. This ensures both you and the client are clear on the next step in the process.

And with that, the review meeting concludes. Everything was covered. You finished on time. You are pleased with the process and even more so, your clients are. It’s clearly a win-win.

Finally, it’s also important to standardize any meeting tools you use during the course of your client review meetings. This might include financial fact finders, questionnaires, reports or process diagrams. So, once you have your agenda templates completed, you can endeavour to tackle that. The more consistency there is in the client meeting process, the better – for everyone. 

Continued success!

Contributed by: Duncan MacPherson

Pareto Systems
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