The ClientWise Blog

Ray Sclafani

Recent Posts

How Good Teams Fall Apart

Posted by Ray Sclafani on Feb 24, 2021 10:00:00 AM

It’s rarely a cataclysmic event. Far more often, it’s a slow, cumulative effect – the impact of small, insidious behaviors that in and of themselves seem relatively harmless, but when combined and over an extended period of time, can eat away at the morale of your team and jeopardize the foundation of your business.

At ClientWise, we spend a great deal of time working with advisors and their teams to identify and model the habits and behaviors that distinguish some of the most successful interdependent teams. Over and over again, we continue to witness qualities and traits that distinguish the great teams from the ordinary – common intent and purpose, a shared vision, living the firm’s core values daily, expressing empathy for one another and clients, displaying compassion, and partnering around shared decision-making and shared success.

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

Topics: Team Development

Transfers of Trust

Posted by Ray Sclafani on Feb 10, 2021 10:00:00 AM

Whether in the context of the work we do with advisory firms looking to merge, or building structures to facilitate the move of clients from a founder to a next generation leader in the firm, an effective transfer of trust is perhaps the most essential driver of success.

In his book The Speed of Trust, Stephen M. R. Covey makes a compelling case that trust occurs at the convergence of character and competence. He proceeds to outline the key behaviors that build each of these components, along with three shared behaviors – all of which are fundamental to a successful transfer of trust:

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

Topics: Trust

Quick Start For A New Year Ahead

Posted by Ray Sclafani on Jan 27, 2021 10:00:00 AM

We all have a vision of our future business. Too often, however, that vision is solely focused on some relatively far-off (5, 10, or even 20 year) end date. Don’t get me wrong, it’s important to have a long-range picture of where you want to take your firm. But you also need shorter, incremental objectives and key results (OKRs). If your long-term business goals are your destination, these are the logistical decisions for each leg of the trip that will speed-up and streamline your journey.

So as you’re thinking about the year ahead, take time to think about exactly what you want to accomplish. What things would you like to see different a year from now? And what will achieving those things do for you?

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

Scale Your Business More Effectively

Posted by Ray Sclafani on Jan 20, 2021 10:00:00 AM

Capacity and Productivity. Any advisory firm that’s serious about meaningful and sustainable growth must learn how to better control those two critical financial metrics.

Should I add staff and when should I add them?

Will productivity decrease as our enterprise gets bigger?

At what point should I start considering a merger or acquisition as a means of acquiring capacity and scale?

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

10 Essential Drivers of Enterprise Value

Posted by Ray Sclafani on Jan 13, 2021 12:06:57 PM

One of the biggest challenges for any thriving advisory firm is finding time (beyond day-to-day operations) to plan and execute on the activities which will most positively impact the business’ enterprise value.

We’re not talking about the “market cap plus debt, minority interest, and preferred shares, minus total cash and cash equivalents” financial definition of enterprise value. Instead, we’re talking about the ability of your business to not only survive but thrive without you. It’s a harsh but essential reality – the less dependent on you personally, the more valuable your business. So the question is, what actions can you undertake and what steps can you implement to help achieve that aim?

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Topics: enterprise value

5 Critical Keys to Effective Compensation Planning

Posted by Ray Sclafani on Jan 6, 2021 9:00:00 AM

Ask any consultant who works on compensation in the financial services industry and they’ll probably tell you that retaining Human Capital should be the #1 cause of sleepless nights for advisors. And the research bears this out. A 2019 Schwab survey found that 76% of RIA firms planned to hire from competitors over the next 12 months (nearly double the 42% of firms that recruited from other RIAs in 2018).

The gauntlet has been thrown down – your competition doesn’t just want your clients, they want your employees as well. And many of those firms have deep enough pockets to chip away at whatever loyalty you’ve been able to build over the years. Nobody is safe.

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

Topics: compensation

Give in the Time of Corona

Posted by Ray Sclafani on Dec 22, 2020 11:04:23 AM

First off, my sincerest apology to author Gabriel Garcìa Màrquez for butchering the title of his remarkable novel Love in the Time of Cholera just to come up with a light-hearted name for this somewhat somber holiday blog. It’s with a great deal of relief that we prepare to turn the page on a new year. To say that 2020 has been ‘challenging’ would be the understatement to end all understatements. Yet together (and apart), we’ve managed to navigate unprecedented difficulties and persevere – as we’ve always done before.

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

Topics: Holiday

The time to repair the roof…

Posted by Ray Sclafani on Dec 2, 2020 9:51:53 AM

…is when the sun is shining. That was the clarion call of JFK in his 1962 State of the Union address – a challenge to the nation to use current times of prosperity to better prepare for the uncertainty of what lies ahead. As we stand on the precipice of another wave of COVID-19 infections, this is an ideal time to anchor your clients on their long-range investment purpose and plan, and to identify any clients who may be “at risk.”

After more than a decade of sustained market success (despite this year’s Q1/Q2 roller coaster) and resulting portfolio growth, we’re inclined to take it for granted that our clients are happy, comfortable and loyal. Yet more volatility will inevitably come. We may not know precisely when, but we know it’s out there somewhere on the horizon. So, let’s take advantage of this relative calm to re-recruit each client as if they were a prospect. Let’s revisit our clients’ financial plans – validating the goals, objectives and key results they hope to achieve, and assessing their progress to date.

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

Giving thanks by giving back

Posted by Ray Sclafani on Nov 25, 2020 10:17:28 AM

To say that 2020 has been a challenging year could perhaps be the greatest understatement of all time. It’s honestly been a year of unimaginable struggle. The loss of more than a quarter million American lives to COVID-19. Protests and clashes across the nation surrounding ongoing and persistent racial injustice. And so much political enmity and divisiveness related to the recent election.

At times this year, the idea of ‘giving thanks’ for anything has seemed almost laughable.

Yet together (and apart), we’ve somehow managed to navigate all these difficulties and persevere – as we’ve always done before. And although most of us are not traveling to visit family and friends this year, opting instead for smaller holiday gatherings, there is nevertheless ample reason to give thanks. Looking ahead, we can be optimistic about the prospects of a COVID vaccine on the very near-term horizon, as well as an economy that’s proven remarkably resilient despite so much uncertainty. I’m pretty sure I reflect the views of many in hoping for a much welcome return to some semblance of normalcy in the year ahead.

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

Topics: Thank You!

A Heartfelt Thank You to Our Veterans!

Posted by Ray Sclafani on Nov 11, 2020 8:04:08 AM

On behalf of the entire ClientWise team, we wish to express our deep appreciation to those of you who have served (or perhaps are still serving) in our nation’s Armed Forces.

Veteran’s Day is a time to reflect on the sacrifices so many men and women have made to protect those very freedoms which we’re currently watching play out on the national stage. Over the years, I’ve worked with hundreds of advisors – many who have served – and quickly came to realize that the very qualities and skills that the military nurtured and instilled are the same qualities that make these individuals such outstanding advisors:

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

Topics: Thank You!

Micro-Segmentation

Posted by Ray Sclafani on Oct 8, 2020 9:11:36 AM

An opportunity to test and learn new acquisition strategies

Lately, whenever I talk to one of our clients, I make it a point to ask them what their year-to-date new households/ new clients numbers look like. Almost every response has been “oh, not great!” But when I then ask them what their year-to-date net new money looks like, the vast majority tell me that those numbers are up.

Without a doubt, it’s a terrific accomplishment to be net positive in new assets during a year of unprecedented turbulence. But if this is the situation you currently find yourself in, it’s important to acknowledge both the good and the bad. You should be supremely confident in the fact that you’re growing your wallet share. It’s a clear indication that your existing clients – despite the ongoing turmoil – have growing confidence in your ability to help them weather the storm.

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

Topics: Social Media, Client Engagement, Learning

Zoom Your Way to Loyal Client Advocates

Posted by Ray Sclafani on Sep 23, 2020 9:56:34 AM

Sit down at a lunch table during any advisor conference, and I can pretty much guarantee you that sooner than later, the topic of conversation will gravitate to client referrals. In fact, I can’t think of a more fitting battle flag motto for most advisors than "referrals, referrals, referrals! Don’t get me wrong, referrals are great; and by all means you should keep asking for them.

BUT…if you really want your referral game to work big, you need to go small.

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

Topics: Social Media, Client Engagement, Learning, loyal client advocates, zoom

Why Aren’t You "Board"?

Posted by Ray Sclafani on Sep 10, 2020 10:24:32 AM

Late last year, I led a working session of sixteen advisory clients – all but one of them managed in excess of $1B in assets (with at least two firms north of $2B in AUM). I was more than a little surprised to learn that not a single one of them had a professional advisory board (not even an informal one).

I’m not talking about a client advisory board. That’s a different animal – focused on relationship building, networking, and client service. Instead, I’m referring to a trusted source of business insights and advice from other entrepreneurs who’ve experienced the same or similar issues, challenges and concerns; a genuinely valuable sounding board for when you’re doing your SWOT analysis and long-term planning.

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

Topics: Social Media, Team Development, Learning, Team Engagement

Are Socially Distanced BBQs a Thing?

Posted by Ray Sclafani on Sep 4, 2020 12:04:15 PM

The very first Labor Day was celebrated in New York City on September 5, 1882. And on June 28, 1894, President Grover Cleveland signed a law making the first Monday in September of each year a national holiday to celebrate the social and economic achievements of American workers; the contributions they have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country.

For most of us, Labor Day has always marked an end to summer – parades, picnics and one last warm weather gathering with friends and family before the kids head back to school and the days become noticeably shorter. It goes without saying, however, that the unprecedented nature of this ongoing pandemic has changed everything this year.

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

Topics: Social Media, Team Development, Learning, Team Engagement

Curated Content for Financial Leaders (Week of August 31)

Posted by Ray Sclafani on Aug 28, 2020 1:48:29 PM

 
 
Each of these important articles and podcasts have been thoughtfully curated, timely, and helpful for you and your team.

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

Topics: Leadership, Crisis