The ClientWise Blog

The Biggest Inhibitor to Your Firm's Growth? It May Be You.

Posted by Ray Sclafani on Apr 27, 2016 3:05:50 PM

Frequently when I speak at advisor events, I’ll ask attendees what they believe to be the greatest impediment to their firm’s future growth. More often than not, the smarter advisors in the room hone in on “a lack of capacity.” Yet, many of these very same advisors tend to be their own worst enemy in that regard – by holding on too tightly to the reins of their practice. There’s no getting around the fact that sooner or later, any growth-focused firm that’s overly dependent on its senior advisor or founder is going to have capacity issues. So, what can you do about it?

Read More

Enjoyed this article? Click here to subscribe!

ClientWise is the premier financial advisor coach focused on business development and management best practices for financial advisors.

Topics: Leadership, Team Development, wealth management teams, wealth management advisors

8 Accelerators for Transformational Change

Posted by Ray Sclafani on Apr 12, 2016 11:30:00 AM


I recently came across a terrific older article in the Harvard Business Review that articulated in very specific detail an optimal organizational structure to empower “transformational change.” The author’s underlying premise was that we need to capture some of that quick adaptability and flexibility that enabled our firms to grow rapidly from fledgling start-ups to well-entrenched practices by creating a sense of urgency and focus around a single opportunity.

Read More

Enjoyed this article? Click here to subscribe!

ClientWise is the premier financial advisor coach focused on business development and management best practices for financial advisors.

Topics: Team Development, wealth management teams, wealth management advisors

Creating a Positive Wealth Management Team Culture

Posted by Ray Sclafani on Apr 8, 2016 11:02:52 AM

We focus so much on acquisition, portfolio management, client issues and day-to-day operations that we rarely have time to sit back and take stock of the state of our team. It’s a by-product of the fast-paced business we’re in – and anyway, does corporate culture honestly need to be all that high on your priority list? 

Read More

Enjoyed this article? Click here to subscribe!

ClientWise is the premier financial advisor coach focused on business development and management best practices for financial advisors.

Topics: Leadership, Team Development, team leadership, team coaching, wealth management teams

Don’t Fear the DOL Rule, Embrace It!

Posted by Ray Sclafani on Apr 5, 2016 11:00:00 AM

The sky is falling! The sky is falling! Open any financial advisor trade publication these days, and that pretty much sums up the prevailing sentiment. Yet despite all the gnashing of teeth and wringing of hands by the assembled talking heads and industry pundits, the essential truth of the matter is that whether you embrace it or struggle against it – change is inevitable.

Read More

Enjoyed this article? Click here to subscribe!

ClientWise is the premier financial advisor coach focused on business development and management best practices for financial advisors.

Topics: financial advisor value propostition, DOL ruling

Why Your Networking is “not-working!”

Posted by Ray Sclafani on Mar 29, 2016 12:00:00 PM

Whenever I have a conversation with an advisor client about his or her professional advocate network, invariably they begin to discuss the number of client referrals they receive from attorneys and CPAs and their ability to convert those leads into new clients. The problem is, their focus is on a strategic byproduct (referrals) rather than on the primary purpose of building a network in the first place – to better deliver on your client promise to provide holistic wealth management.

While CPAs and attorneys are certainly important components to any advisor’s professional network, far too many begin and end there, overlooking a litany of other important professional service providers.

Read More

Enjoyed this article? Click here to subscribe!

ClientWise is the premier financial advisor coach focused on business development and management best practices for financial advisors.

Topics: professional advocate, network

How to Justify Your Value So Price Doesn't Matter

Posted by Ray Sclafani on Mar 18, 2016 3:17:23 PM

As the advisor industry continues to churn with speculation regarding the scope and extent of new forthcoming DOL guidance around the transparency of client fees, all indications appear that whatever mandates are called for, will require a significant amount of additional work to implement.

The underlying intent, however, is a noble one – to ensure that financial advisors are being totally transparent about the fees they are charging and the services being provided that comprise those fees. It’s merely another step in the evolution of an industry that has moved from brokerage commissions to asset-based fees. The challenge now lies in providing even greater clarity. 

Read More

Enjoyed this article? Click here to subscribe!

ClientWise is the premier financial advisor coach focused on business development and management best practices for financial advisors.

Topics: Client Engagement, compensation, financial advisor value propostition

Financial Advisor Client Events: Making a Lasting Impression

Posted by Ray Sclafani on Mar 16, 2016 11:00:00 AM

Intimacy and engagement: those are the qualities that separate truly memorable client events from the merely enjoyable; they’re the qualities that resonate at a deeply personal level, strengthen relationship bonds and leave a lasting impression. But how do you go about raising your own client appreciation events from average to amazing?

Read More

Enjoyed this article? Click here to subscribe!

ClientWise is the premier financial advisor coach focused on business development and management best practices for financial advisors.

Topics: Marketing Approach, Client Engagement

How to Master Your Business Financials

Posted by Ray Sclafani on Mar 9, 2016 3:20:33 PM

Revenue is vanity, cash flow is sanity, but cash is king.” It’s an age-old business maxim that too few independent advisors ever fully embrace. As firm owners, many of you have endured personal and financial sacrifices for years in order to establish and grow your practices. It’s only natural to want to enjoy the fruits of your labor when you finally turn a corner and annual profitability continues to rise. The inclination to equate the firm’s net income to your personal income can be strong. In fact, it’s not at all uncommon for advisor owners to be extracting close to 100% of their annual net income out of the business. Unfortunately, that can be a tremendous mistake!

Read More

Enjoyed this article? Click here to subscribe!

ClientWise is the premier financial advisor coach focused on business development and management best practices for financial advisors.

Topics: Business and Operations Management

Team Development Exercises for Wealth Management Advisors

Posted by Ray Sclafani on Mar 3, 2016 10:00:00 AM

Successful wealth management is a team concept and not an independent function. In order for the client’s work to get done, you need a team that willingly engages in the exchange of leadership among themselves. Your team should work together in a manner that evokes meaningful contribution, showcases the strengths of every team member, and advances consistent and effective group decision-making.

Read More

Enjoyed this article? Click here to subscribe!

ClientWise is the premier financial advisor coach focused on business development and management best practices for financial advisors.

Topics: Team Development, team coaching, financial advisor team, wealth management advisors

Quantifying the Value of Wealth Management Teams

Posted by ClientWise on Feb 25, 2016 12:00:00 PM

Here at ClientWise, we often talk about the vital importance of “teaming.” We believe teaming is the future of the financial advisory business – allowing you to better serve your clients, enhance the value of your enterprise, and provide an exit strategy for when you leave the business. Yet, while much of our guidance on the subject is highly practical and tactical in nature, it can be exceedingly difficult to meaningfully quantify the impact of those efforts.

Read More

Enjoyed this article? Click here to subscribe!

ClientWise is the premier financial advisor coach focused on business development and management best practices for financial advisors.

Topics: Team Development, team coaching

How Much is that Advisor in the Window?

Posted by Ray Sclafani on Feb 21, 2016 9:00:00 AM

Perhaps more than any other industry, the financial advisory business is keenly attuned to benchmarks. You carefully watch major indices, craft investment portfolios to mirror or exceed certain benchmarks, and comb through the latest economic reports for signals. It’s only natural, therefore, when it comes to compensation most advisors would look to benchmarks in hopes of comparing their firm to what their peers are doing.

Read More

Enjoyed this article? Click here to subscribe!

ClientWise is the premier financial advisor coach focused on business development and management best practices for financial advisors.

Topics: Business and Operations Management, compensation

The Clock is Ticking: Succession Planning for Advisors

Posted by Ray Sclafani on Feb 17, 2016 12:42:04 PM

Let’s start with a few irrefutable facts. Today, the average age of financial advisors in this country stands at 50.9 years old. According to Cerulli Associates, over the next ten years the transition of advisors into retirement will be unprecedented – involving 35% of wirehouse advisors, 25% of independent broker-dealer advisors and 30% of RIAs. A decade from now, more than one out of every four of you will have left the business.

The question is…what will happen to all those clients? Who will provide a continuity of care?

Read More

Enjoyed this article? Click here to subscribe!

ClientWise is the premier financial advisor coach focused on business development and management best practices for financial advisors.

Topics: Team Development, Succession Planning

The Art of WOW: Improve Your Client Engagement Process

Posted by Ray Sclafani on Feb 12, 2016 9:18:15 AM

People will forget what you said. People will forget what you did. But people will never forget how you made them feel.” Maya Angelou

That’s the genuine essence of creating WOW experiences for your clients – finding deeply personal ways to make them feel uniquely special. Too often, advisors think of their clients as a group rather than individuals – striving to be thoughtful by sending them all a bottle of wine (whether or not they happen to be wine aficionados) or a holiday turkey (even if they’re vegetarians). It’s not that those gestures are necessarily a bad thing, but are they really personal? 

Read More

Enjoyed this article? Click here to subscribe!

ClientWise is the premier financial advisor coach focused on business development and management best practices for financial advisors.

Topics: Client Engagement, loyal client advocates, client appreciation

How to Convert the Right Clients into Advocates

Posted by Ray Sclafani on Feb 8, 2016 12:31:08 PM

What exactly constitutes a “client advocate?” Advisors are often rather liberal in their definition, including those clients who, from time to time, provide an occasional referral to a friend or business associate who directly asks for it. Others include those clients who tend to provide a continual stream of referrals, even though those referrals are almost always the “wrong” types of clients – those who don’t fit your ideal client profile.

We define advocates as that select subset of your clients who...

Read More

Enjoyed this article? Click here to subscribe!

ClientWise is the premier financial advisor coach focused on business development and management best practices for financial advisors.

Topics: Client Acquisition, Client Engagement, loyal client advocates, financial advisor introductions

Build Better Client Relationships: 5-Step Client Engagement Process

Posted by Ray Sclafani on Feb 3, 2016 4:26:09 PM

With tax season right around the corner, this is a time of year when many advisors are focused on annual and quarterly client reviews. The challenge, however, often lies in finding effective ways to use those important conversations as a means to uncovering new business opportunities. The solution can be found in establishing a predictable and effective partnering process.

At ClientWise, we’ve developed a proprietary 5-step client engagement process that help advisors have more successful and collaborative conversations with their clients.

Read More

Enjoyed this article? Click here to subscribe!

ClientWise is the premier financial advisor coach focused on business development and management best practices for financial advisors.

Topics: Communication, Client Engagement