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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
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2019-09-10 • 20 second read

Having a great day in The Twin Cities with Dan Lavin and Rich Jacquemart with First Trust along with Mark Gherity at the Advisor Growth Forum.

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2019-09-10 • 3 minute read

I was speaking with a consulting client around this time last year who excitedly informed me that their new Thanksgiving Day card process had just been initiated for the first time.

Those that read our weekly articles and have seen us in the field are likely aware that we at Pareto are fixated with process, and it is always a thrill whenever we hear that one of our clients has taken it to heart and applied process within their own practice.

As well, this specific process is one that we feel particularly impassioned about because we have been promoting the notion of giving out Thanksgiving Day cards for about 15 years now.  In fact, we always get rave reviews from the advisors that have employed it.

Although it is fine to send a Happy Holidays or New Years card, we have always argued that sending a Thanksgiving Day card will set you apart.  There are a lot of gifts and communications going back and forth around the New Years and Christmas holidays, and your Christmas card tends to blend in with the many others.

Historically speaking, the Thanksgiving Day card has never been a strong tradition. Therefore, when you send one out, it is quite likely the only card that your clients will receive.  You stand out as someone who is genuinely interested in them and sincere about wishing them a great Thanksgiving holiday.  As well, in this age of the Internet it is often rare to get a physical card of any kind for any occasion.  This last point creates a further opportunity to really stand out and to make a statement about your level of commitment to them.

In order to execute this Thanksgiving card idea effectively, there are a few things to consider, and one of those is the all-important message on the card.  Many advisors look for a quote which resonates with them of course.  Perhaps they might speak to the state of the nation, the time of year, and of course the clients they are sending it to.  In today’s world, it takes but a few moments and an Internet search before you have several worthy quotes to choose from.

Next, arrange to have your chosen message written on the card by someone in your office or inner circle who has admirable and legible handwriting.  I realize that you may think this is a lot of writing, but it is well worth the effort.  It is important to note, based on your service matrix, this is not going to be sent out to all your clients – it is going to be sent out to your best clients.  You also have to decide who will sign the cards.  My personal preference is that the cards are signed by all your team members (if this applies).  Again, what is the statement that you want to make to your best clients about the level of service that you provide, and the respect that you have for them?

Your Cards should have Impact and Shelf Life.

Lastly of course, what kind of a card do you want to send?  In short, we have always suggested that you send the nicest card you can possibly find.  It has to be something that someone really doesn’t want to ever throw away (we often call this ‘owning the mantle’).  It has to be so attractive a card that the client will keep it on their mantle or desk for months to come.  

Now, as it relates to our client, I was curious as to what steps they had put into their Thanksgiving Card process, and reviewed it.  It was airtight.  Anyone, even brand new to the office, could have followed it with ease - perfect for documenting in a Procedures Manual, a great bonus.

Step 1, which was already in motion, was to order the cards by a ‘drop dead’ date to ensure that they would be sent out in a timely fashion.

They had called me that day because they were taking the “best card you can find” to heart, really wanted to “wow” their clients, and felt a bit stuck at finding something suitable so I told the about Lavish Cards. Their cards will set you apart from others as they are stunningly beautiful and produced on the highest quality paper, and they have a very diverse selection of beautiful photographs.  I personally have ordered them for use with my friends and family, and often get phone calls from friends thanking me for the card (if you can imagine that).  One friend framed one.  I love it that people enjoy them so much.

So remember: take process seriously at all times.  Don’t leave anything till the last minute and even though it is still many weeks away, it is a great time to plan and begin executing your Thanksgiving Day card campaign.  If you are initiating change and sending Thanksgiving cards yourself for the first time, be sure to order them soon.

Continued success!

2019-09-10 • 5 minute video

Generate referrals from friends and family members of your best clients.

In this episode, Duncan talks about how to work with the family members of your best clients, setting yourself up for the next generation.

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2019-09-09 • 20 second read

When a client is relentless on fee negotiation and you are tempted to back down, ask yourself “are you fighting for the fees, or are you fighting for the relationship?”

If the answer is the relationship, is this client a ‘AAA’ client? If they have the assets, do they also have the attitudinal qualities and the advocacy?

If you can’t answer yes to those questions, what does this relationship look like in three to five years - and do you want to walk that road?

Pareto Systems Consulting Clients learn to focus their efforts on the clients that matter most and never need to negotiate their value. Learn more about our consulting programs:

2019-09-05 • 5 minute video

This Lightning in a Bottle audio is from a recent consultation I had with one of our Blue Square consulting clients. I speak with John about how to make himself obsolete and empower his team to liberate him to do what he get paid to do.

To hear the full audio, subscribe to our podcast, just look for Duncan MacPherson From-the-Field on Apple Podcasts or Google Play.

Apple Podcasts

Google Play

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2019-09-04 • 20 sec

Don't pitch what you want or what you need. Position what you provide and how it helps people. Make it easy for your clients to articulate that value and the quality and quantity of referrals you get will go up.

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2019-09-03 • 3 minute read

Integrating FORM into Your Client Goal Setting Process

Of the many steps of the personal branding process that can fast-track clients to advocacy, integrating FORM has to be among the easiest. When you on-board a new client or have a review meeting with an existing client, ensure that there is a tab in their Personal Financial Organizer (The PFO Binder that is the central hub of your relationship) that outlines the importance of FORM. Simply explain that you take a holistic and panoramic approach to client relationships and that part of your process is to know as much about your clients' Family dynamics, Occupational issues and Recreational interests as you do about their Money.

Many clients will be amazed that you are so thorough and comprehensive. A few will wonder what the real benefits are. Either way, to drive the point home further, integrate FORM with your client goal setting process. But again, be panoramic and all encompassing. Sure you want to understand their financial goals, but you really want to understand what money means to them holistically as it relates to their family, occupation and recreational aspects of life.

We recommend our advisors use our W5 goal setting process with clients and include that document into the FORM tab within their PFO. This is a tangible and meaningful way to effectively make connections for the client as it relates to Family Investment Legacy and Transition issues, Occupational Retirement goals as well as Business Succession objectives, Recreational wish lists, etc - all of which become more predictable when tied into the solutions you provide.

When the Why is Clear, the How is More Appreciated

When you and your clients are crystal clear about all the reasons why they want to achieve financial independence, they place far more value on how you plan to get them there. This competitor-proofs your clients in a way that ensures that anyone trying to steal your clients will meet resistance and dead ends with every dripping effort.

And again, you get a double-win because the more your client buys-into your process and understands and appreciates it, the easier it will be for them to describe your process to someone else.

On that point, many advisors tell me that their clients have told them that they don't talk about money with their friends and family members. In truth what they are saying is that they aren't clear about your process or how endorsing you to someone will ultimately reflect back on them, or they are concerned that you will try to sell their acquaintance on buying an investment product and becoming a client. If that ever happens, use the misconception as an opportunity to re-frame their perception and start the process of helping them understand your commitment to stewardship rather than salesmanship. To accomplish that say something like this: 

"Fair enough. The reason I'm asking is because a major component of my value proposition is in making myself available to act as a sounding board for friends and family members of my clients. They do not need to become a client of mine to take advantage of this service. Especially when it comes to family members because I have developed and refined a Family Investment Legacy Process for clients who are thinking about succession issues. So no worries if this isn't relevant or something you are comfortable with. I just want my clients to be aware that I will make myself available to be a sounding board for people who are important to my clients. Frankly it's the most fulfilling aspect of my job and one of the primary reasons I became a financial advisor."

Continued Success!

Contributed by Duncan MacPherson

2019-09-03 • 5 minute video

In this video, Duncan discusses how you can create professional contrast in the market place so you can:

  • Find Good Prospects
  • Create Advocacy
  • Engage Strategic Partners

Use video to promote your brand and take your business to the next level! In this 4 part series I’ve teamed up with the fine folks at to showcase the power and impact of video can have on your business.

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2019-08-30 • 20 sec

Brand yourself to Business Owners, Professionals, and Executives. Podcast available NOW at the Apple Store and Google Play. This Lightning in a Bottle audio is from a recent consultation I had with one our Blue Square Consulting clients. We talk about his branding and messaging as he moves up market working with business owners, professionals, and executives.

Apple Podcasts:

Google Play:

#practicemanagement #businessdevelopment #branding

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2019-08-30 • 20 second read

Remind people why they should value you beyond rates of return: Your process addresses continuity and succession, family investment legacy - when first-generation earned money becomes second generation found money. Your process addresses that, so just a couple of gentle reminders about some of the core values that you represent, but ensuring that clients never take your value for granted. As Warren Buffet would say, “Price is what you pay, value’s what you get.” Remind your clients of the value of your process - not necessarily what it is and what you do, but what that process does for a client now and in the future as their life unfolds and their needs evolve.

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