William Chettle: On Brand, Experience, Persuasion, and the Little Things

Sometimes it’s the little things that make a big impact. In this episode of 16 Ways from Sunday, I interview William Chettle, the Director of Experience and Engagement for Symmetry Partners.  William is responsible for helping Symmetry and its affiliated companies build greater brand awareness, foster deeper engagement with clients and enhance their overall experience. He oversees the firm’s marketing and communications as well as practice management and events.

This episode is all about branding, development, persuasion, and the little things. Want to make big strides by doing some little things inside your practice? If so, this is the episode for you.

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If you haven’t already subscribed, you can do so here:

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S2:E5 Buying a Practice

On this episode of Advisor Skinny, Mike Walters discusses business valuation from the buyer’s perspective. He explains what it means to buy a business rather than a job and how that will ultimately lead to a more successful transition and future growth.

Listen here:

S2:E5 – Buying a Practice

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S2:E4 Selling Your Practice

On this episode of Advisor Skinny, Mike Walters discusses business valuation from the point of view of the seller. He shares his thoughts on finding the right buyer, how to structure a practice so it’s more valuable to a buyer, and how to approach the sale with clients to allow for a smooth transition.

Listen here:

S2:E4 – Selling Your Practice

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S2:E1 Business Value and Alignment

On this episode of Advisor Skinny, Mike Walters starts the discussion around business valuation. He shares his thoughts about beginning the process, engaging professionals to help, and mistakes to avoid.

Join Mike for this engaging new season of the Advisor Skinny podcast!

Listen here:

S2:E1 – Business Value and Alignment

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Official launch of 16 Ways from Sunday podcast : Exploring Financial Advisor Marketing From Every Angle

I’m thrilled to share with you the official launch of the 16 Ways from Sunday podcast. This podcast is a podcast for high-performing financial planning professionals that are committed to improving their craft. It takes a rifle-approach with a focus on financial advisor marketing and business building.

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Each episode provides actionable marketing ideas and insights, typically delivered through candid interviews with some of the top thought leaders in marketing and/or the financial advice industry. From digital marketing to traditional direct-response marketing, each episode delivers straight-forward and engaging content that any financial professional can use to improve their bottom line and grow their practice.

You can subscribe via iTunes, Google play, and a number of other podcast apps.

Visit my podcast home page to get all the details and check out past episodes.

The first three episode titles and links are below:

Episode 01: Mark Mersman: On the Sales and Marketing Funnel for High Performing Advisors

Episode 02: Mike Lover: On the Imporance of Process and Elevating the Client Experience

Episode 03: Brian Hart: On Turning Press into Profits: Simplifying Public Relations for Financial Advisors

I’m looking forward to this endeavor and anticipate at least two new podcasts to be released each month.

All the best,

Mark Mersman

The post Official launch of 16 Ways from Sunday podcast : Exploring Financial Advisor Marketing From Every Angle appeared first on 16 Ways from Sunday.

The three questions you must answer for prospective clients (and the two questions to answer to keep them as clients)

The three questions you must answer for prospective clients (and the two questions to answer to keep them as clients)

Many will argue that “sales is sales.” I’ll contend that the financial services industry has two paths that professionals can take when approaching new client acquisition (sales): the transaction-based sales path or the consultative sales path.

In a transactional sales model, the value is found within the product and price is often the focus. The consultative approach to sales puts the value emphasis on the planning services offered, with the product and price being secondary.

The transactional relies more on emotion and solving “a problem.” In the financial services world, it tends to be very short sighted and singularly focused. People who do business with these types of financial services providers tend to be customers, not clients.

The consultative approach tends to have a much longer sales cycle, puts a heavier focus on a the relationship, and results in a relationship that is more aptly categorized as a client.

Prospective clients who follow an advisor-driven consultative approach to sales have three primary questions they want answered from an advisor:

  1. Do I like this person? It sounds simple, but a prospective client needs to like you if they plan to do business with you from a consultative standpoint. A transaction customer puts far less importance on the answer to this question. Think about it like this… when I go to buy a new stove or pair of jeans, I don’t really care that much about whether I like the salesperson. Don’t get me wrong, it helps… but it’s not the basis for my decision
  2. Do I trust this person? Trust is at the core of any relationship, especially when it has to do with money. There are plenty of things you can do to earn one’s trust. Third party validation and credibility are one. Quality time is another. Study after study suggests that you need to spend a certain number of hours with somebody before you can trust them. Translation: the one or two call close just ain’t gonna get it done.
  3. Do I think they can get me to the bright, sunny future that I hope for? This is far more important than you may realize. This is where honesty is important. You can tell them that it can happen, but if you aren’t being honest with them, they won’t remain a client for long (keep reading to find out way. Show them how to help them reach their future goals… but don’t start doing this until questions number one and two have been answered yes.

 

Once they’ve become a client… they need you to continually answer two questions:

  1. Am I still OK? 
  2. Is my bright, sunny future still in tact?

Those two questions have plenty of overlap, but those need to be the focus of every review you have with your clients if you want them to remain clients. I’ve oversimplified things a bit, but if you can put your focus on being able to continually answer these questions for prospective clients and existing clients, you’ll be in a much better spot to continue to build a referral culture within your practice. At the end of the day, a clearly defined sales process can be one of the most important marketing tools you possess.

Enjoy!

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Five Steps Top Advisors Take When Evaluating New Technology

The following blog post is from an article I recently had published on WealthManagement.com.

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One size does not fit all.

In our world of increasing automation, having the right tools can streamline your practice, increase productivity and enhance the services you provide your clients. However, investing in new technology can be a big decision. With so many options, choosing what’s best for your firm can be challenging. Following these five steps when evaluating new technology will ensure your firm has all the information it needs to make the right choice.

Focus on the future

Many firms make the mistake of only considering their current needs, rather than anticipating how their practice may change over the next 5-10 years. Think about where you would like your firm to be 10 years from now and what technology you will need to get there.

When conducting a cost-benefit analysis, evaluate economic and lifestyle impact over at least a three-year period. Many benefits will not be apparent until the solution has been in place for months or even years. In addition to cost savings, financial advisors should also factor in improvements in efficiency. Could this technology free up your time to do more productive things in your practice? Would it eliminate the need for a future hire?

Consider value

The best solution is one that fits your unique needs. While most applications can be customized, those customizations cost time and money. Each added feature should be evaluated based on its ROI and value to your firm. Solutions designed specifically for the financial services industry are often quicker and less costly to deploy because their features are created to be a better fit for any financial firm’s requirements.

Look for a scalable solution that meets your needs today as well as grow as your business grows. A 2017 report from the McKinsey Global Institute found that automating transaction workflows has the potential to increase the scalability of these processes by 80 percent. By automating routine tasks, technology solutions enable financial advisors to be more productive and can help firms better manage their personnel costs.

Ensure integrations

When evaluating new technology, consider its APIs and ability to connect with your existing platforms and any future ones you may need. The average financial advisor wears many hats in addition to their role as client advisor; acting as a business manager, marketer and administrator, among others. Integrating various applications for an advisor will make it easier to juggle these various roles. While the majority of financial advisors purchase technology solutions as a bundle, additional integrations are often beneficial.

Integration is especially critical for compliance software. As requirements become increasingly complex, smaller firms and independent RIAs often struggle to keep up. Experts recommend that advisors use similar technology to monitor their own practices and trading activity.

Financial advisors can also streamline their business processing activities by establishing an integrated forms solution. A good e-processing platform provides a consistent portal for completing paperwork and simplifies the process for onboarding new clients by automating the completion of many forms. Integrating client data across platforms and digitizing signatures can reduce the hassle and frustration of un-indexed paperwork. Look for firms that are developing solutions that deliver a true A-to-Z offering across multiple business lines.

Consider which integrations are most important to your business. Technology should make your life easier and minimize time normally spent on data entry and other tedious tasks so you can spend that time serving your clients and building your business.

Contemplate implementation

While purchasing a solution that can be integrated well into your business model should save you from hassle, it is also important to understand the details of how the product will be deployed and have a proposed timeline for implementation. Ask about the solution’s ease of launch and which features will be readily available when the solution goes live. For more complicated applications, it may make sense to go live with a basic solution and implement customizations in phases.

The solution you choose should be intuitive and user-friendly. If a platform is difficult to apply, your firm may struggle with adoption rates. The provider should conduct user acceptance testing (UAT) with your team before deploying the solution.

Confirm ongoing support

Financial advisors should discuss what support the vendor or provider will offer after implementation. It is important to understand how bug fixes, updates and other issues will be addressed and whether there will be any costs associated with these support services. Top providers will want to ensure their tool continues to meet your needs.

When it comes to technology solutions, one size does not fit all. Taking an analytical approach to the evaluation process will help your firm avoid costly mistakes while adopting technology that makes your advisors more efficient and effective.