Seminars: The Best Presentation Advice One Can Receive

The majority of the financial presentations delivered in our industry are not actually created by the person giving the presentation. This isn’t highly unusual and is only a real problem when “Awkward memorization” presents itself. That’s a term used by one of my favorite marketers, Seth Godin. In fact, he  penned a blog a while back that I thought would be worth sharing with my audience…

Awkward memorization

The spread of TED talks means that more and more people are being put on stage and told to memorize their talk.

This almost always leads to failure.

It’s not because people memorize too much, it’s because they don’t memorize enough.

Watch a great performance and you’ll see no artifacts of memorization. Instead, you will see someone speaking from the heart.

This is what it means to know something by heart.

Memorizing the words is half of it.

And woefully insuffiicient.

My suggestion: Don’t memorize your talk. Memorize your stories. Ten stories make a talk. Write yourself a simple cue card to remember each story’s name. Then tell us ten stories.

Be you.

We didn’t come to hear your words. If that’s all we wanted, we could have read the memo and saved a ton of time.

Bring your heart.

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So to summarize…

  1. Know the material (regardless of whether you created it or not)
  2. Tell stories. (Real ones work best.)
  3. Be authentic (this is one of the most important components to building a community… check this out if you want more on it.
  4. Bring your heart (be passionate… the audience can tell)

 

The Monday Plunge

As the markets seem intent on adding to their volatility this week, this episode of Advisor Skinny is focused on commentary related to the stock market environment caused by the drop in oil prices, and accentuated by the fears surrounding the widening coronavirus outbreak. I share how and why the “circuit breaker” triggered in the S&P 500 on Monday of this week, and how you can use this information to help your clients better understand the market, and properly manage their concerns.

Brand Essentials Needed Before Building the Sales & Marketing Funnel

Ready, Fire, Aim. It’s the approach many small businesses take with their marketing. Financial advisors are no exception. While this approach certainly beats an approach that never executes on the “fire” step, the aim step is too important to skip over.

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When it comes to financial advisor marketing, the “aim” step has to do with the building of your brand collateral. Have you taken the right amount of time to develop your brand collateral? Have you gone through a brand audit? If not, I’d encourage you to do so before constructing your sales and marketing funnel.

A comprehensive brand audit will look at things like:
Strategy & Story Development – this includes research and insights, your communication strategy, defining your brand, and of course the messaging and story associated with your brand.

Identity – this includes the nomenclature used within your firm to define certain things. It includes your brand marks and visual style.

Experience – This aspect of your brand covers everything from your business papers/documents to digital communications and social networks.  Furthermore, it starts to call into question the process for new client acquisition and presentation materials.

Is your brand represented consistently across all mediums or is it a bit of a hodge-podge production? Let’s face it – professionalism is a big deal when it comes to people and their decision to invest with you. The small step of a brand audit can go a long way in your quest to create professional contrast; it is a step that is best taken before you begin plowing time, money, and energy into marketing campaigns.

Looking for a sample brand audit worksheet? Check that out HERE.

 

Sara Grillo: On the Two Sentence Rule and Elevator Pitches

Join me on a new episode of 16 Ways from Sunday where I interview Sara Grillo, financial author, podcast host, marketing consultant, and keynote speaker.  We’ll dive into conversation on elevator speeches, the two sentence rule, and the effectiveness of social media as it relates to financial advisor marketing.

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Ep. 19 Sara Grillo: On the Two Sentence Rule and Elevator Pitches

 

Sad news for the USA Financial advisor family and financial planning industry

While the news cycles of the week have been focused on the shocking and tragic death of legendary basketball star Kobe Bryant, the family at USA Financial mourns the recent loss of two individuals who made a profound impact on us directly.

Over the past month, the USA Financial family lost two long-time friends and advisors. For those of you that have been connected to USA Financial for some time, it’s likely you may have had interaction at some point with Ray Lussier and James Twigg. I’m saddened to share that both have passed away within the past month or so.

These two men had such uniquely different personalities, but they both had their own special way of impacting the lives they touched. I’m no exception. Ray and James were fiercely loyal individuals and passionate about making the lives of others better, especially their clients.

USA Financial was privileged to have been referred to Ray in 2009. From the moment we met Ray, we knew we wanted to have him as a part of our advisor family. A former green beret, Ray was a no-nonsense straight shooter. His word was his bond and you never needed to question whether he would follow-through on what he said he was planning to do. If we ever hit bumps in the road throughout our professional relationship, Ray handled himself professionally and always trusted that we would navigate the challenges together. He was a mentor to other advisors, frequently setting them straight about what in life was truly worth stressing about. Ray wasn’t one to talk much about his time in Vietnam, but anybody who knew him well could recognize that his time in the military taught him a lot.  As many of our service men and women did, he saw things during that period of his life that would shape him into the level-headed man he was. In fact, he was quick to share that his pursuit of an education in psychology after his time in the service was largely driven by the desire to fix himself.

Ray was somebody you just loved talking with, and not just because of his wonderful Boston accent. You always felt you were going to learn something when you chatted with Ray. I always gained a better perspective on my own life after a conversation with Ray. It wasn’t long ago that Ray was fortunate enough to retire from the financial planning business. Sadly, shortly after selling his practice, he was diagnosed with brain cancer. Ray passed away on December 19, 2019. He was 72 years old.

It was less than a month later, on January 18, 2020, that James Twigg passed away unexpectedly as the result of a motor vehicle accident near Phoenix, AZ. James joined USA Financial near the end of 2003. He was one of the very first advisors I recall having a conversation with as a new employee of USA Financial. I remember thinking to myself “if every advisor is as kind and appreciative as this guy, this is going to be the best place in the world to work.” There are so many kind words I could say about James, but the one thing that comes to mind immediately is how thankful and appreciative he was. James made it a point to let you know that he was thankful for anything you did to help him. You couldn’t have a conversation with James without hearing the words “thank you” come out of his mouth.

James had an amazing laugh. Even during times of frustration, he would find ways to laugh and smile. I’ll never forget the day he shared the story of him making squirrel gravy. While I found the idea of squirrel gravy so bizarre, James somehow made me come to the conclusion that it would be worth trying some time. I still owe this to him.

The financial planning world and the USA Financial family lost two good men recently. I’ll always remember how James lit up when I shared the news of my first daughter being born, stressing that there is nothing quite like the father-daughter relationship. I saw the same thing with Ray, as I was fortunate enough to witness his love for his daughter Emily, who worked alongside him in their financial practice.  There is nothing quite like that relationship, and the loss of these two men has reminded me to squeeze each of my three daughters a little tighter…

To James and Ray… THANK YOU for sharing all that you did with me. You left a legacy here at USA Financial and a permanent imprint on my heart.

 

Fondly,

Mark

 

 

This picture of Ray captures his classic smirk.

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I think these two photos of James illustrate two things – his wonderful skill and compassion as a listener, and of course his unforgettable laugh.

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Episode 18 – Dennis Moseley-Williams: On the Experience Economy and Serious Shift

In this episode of 16 Ways from Sunday, Dennis Moseley-Williams is interviewed. He is the founder of DMW Strategic Consulting, a practice management company that helps organizations secure and build sustainable relationships by creating experience-driven solutions that deliver results, increase revenues, and build enthusiastic referral-generating communities.

This episode is all about building the experience within your practice. Are you ready to shift from service to experience? If so, this is the episode for you.

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Ep. 18 – Dennis Moseley-Williams: On the Experience Economy and Serious Shift

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S2:E7 Driving Valuation Up and Down

On this episode of Advisor Skinny, Mike Walters reviews many of the contrapositive actions advisors may be doing that are affecting the value of their businesses. Mike discusses how each has an inverse action and by targeting the activities that bring positive value, an advisor can make small changes that have a big impact.

Listen here:

S2:E7 – Driving Valuation Up and Down

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