The ClientWise Blog

Ray Sclafani

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Curated Content for Financial Leaders (Week of June 1)

Posted by Ray Sclafani on May 29, 2020 2:09:20 PM

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

Topics: Crisis

Gauging your clients’ confidence

Posted by Ray Sclafani on May 22, 2020 2:37:18 PM

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

Topics: Communication, Client Engagement

The Anatomy of a Client Review

Posted by Ray Sclafani on May 18, 2020 10:00:00 AM

By now, you’ve reached out to check-in with all of your clients – apprising them as to your operating plan during the pandemic, as well as addressing any initial fears and concerns they might have about the state of their financial plan, short-term liquidity needs or other financial matters. But the longer COVID-19 continues, and the longer people are sheltering in place, the key question that often arises is “how do I go back to my clients and structure follow-up conversations with them that provide genuine value?”

In this current environment, the importance of getting your team to coalesce around a common structure of how to thoughtfully “meet” with clients simply can’t be overstated. People are nervous, unsure of the future and desperately looking for both reassurance and a sense of hope. At ClientWise, we advocate employing the following structure (in the specific order presented) in order to get the most out of your conversations with clients during this unprecedented time.

  1. Are you okay? – start each call by checking-in on their life and how they’re coping. Make sure you show your clients that you personally KNOW them. Rather than “how are the kids and how is your wife,” be more specific…”how did Caroline and Michael handle completing the school year online? Is Karen able to work from home? Are you two able to find ways to relax and de-stress?” This not only helps better demonstrate that you value the relationship, but it enables you to connect with your clients at a deeper, more personal and emotional level.
  2. I’m okay! – it’s important to communicate how you are to alleviate any unspoken questions or concerns the client may have. “I’m exercising, eating well, getting good sleep and feeling sharp and attentive.” We all know that this pandemic will eventually pass, but the longer it goes on, the bigger an issue mental health will become. Extended isolation can lead to depression and even PTSD. So, take a little time to reassure your clients that you’re active, engaged and positive.
  3. Our team is okay! – your business is more than just you. Clients need to have a strong level of confidence that the team that serves them is also functioning on all cylinders. “Here’s how we’re operating and functioning remotely…this is how we’re staying connected with morning huddles, etc.” Communicate specific details to show that the team is networked and operating well. And touch on specifics to show them how cybersecurity and information security are still being carefully maintained. Download our ClientWise Connect and Support Check-In™ tool to help you foster closer connections with your team and determine how you can all better communicate.
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ClientWise is the premier financial advisor coach focused on business development and management best practices for financial advisors.

Topics: Client Engagement

Keeping Your Team Productive in a Virtual World

Posted by Ray Sclafani on May 11, 2020 4:38:26 PM

Dare I say that just a few months ago, none of us could possibly have fathomed the world we currently find ourselves trying to navigate?! Not only is the human toll of this pandemic heartbreaking, the economic impact of productivity grinding to a virtual halt may have ripple effects that are felt for years to come.

As business leaders, it’s incumbent upon us not only to provide continuity of care to our clients, but also to support our teams and empower them to weather this unprecedented upheaval to “business as usual.” In addition to revisiting and adjusting your 2020 business plan and reviewing roles and responsibilities to ensure that team members can still do their jobs, the following are a few ideas worth considering – creative ways you can help keep your team more productive, better engaged and in good spirits:

  1. Stay focused on objectives and key results – with everyone working remotely, it’s easy to lose traction on your firm’s OKRs. However, there are a host of OKR productivity platforms and tools available to help you maintain team cohesiveness and coordination. Consider a solution like Workboard.com, Weekdone.com, Monday.com or 7Geese.com to keep driving key results.

  2. Upgrade team technology – these last few weeks, it seems as though almost every advisor I talk with brings one or two creative ideas to the table about how they’re actively working to empower their teams. Several have bought their team members new laptops that are more powerful and secure, while others have taken it upon themselves to pay to upgrade Internet upload and download speeds for their team.

  3. Improve workspaces – knowing that the current work-at-home reality may endure for a while, and that not everyone has the financial means or space for a home office, one advisor I recently spoke with opted to send each of his team members an UPLIFT desk for their homes!

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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, Productivity

Twelve Positive Ways the Crisis Will Impact RIAs

Posted by Ray Sclafani on May 5, 2020 1:58:00 PM

 
This weeks research insights, best practices, and fresh ideas on how to lead your clients 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: Crisis

How to alleviate Zoom fatigue

Posted by Ray Sclafani on Apr 28, 2020 12:00:33 PM

 
This weeks research insights, best practices, and fresh ideas on how to lead your clients 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: Crisis

How the CARES Act Impacts Your Clients’ Taxes

Posted by Ray Sclafani on Apr 20, 2020 5:01:59 PM

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

Topics: Business and Operations Management, Crisis

Effective Investment Charts for Communication with Clients

Posted by Ray Sclafani on Apr 10, 2020 10:20:09 AM

 
"Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts."
Winston Churchill
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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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

Adversity Gives Rise to Great Leaders

Posted by Ray Sclafani on Apr 9, 2020 2:19:19 PM

Sometimes it’s at the turbulent center of a monumental crisis where true leaders discover their inner strength. Individuals who despite incredible fear and uncertainty found the inner strength to persevere through all the tumult. History is littered with examples; perhaps none so rooted in the American psyche than Abraham Lincoln – a very soft-spoken man from humble origins who somehow managed to hold this country together despite the profound loss of life all around him.

In normal times, an introduction like that would qualify as hyperbole. But as we’re all aware by now, the situation we presently find ourselves in is anything but normal!

As much as your clients want to know that their plan and their portfolio are okay, they also want to know that you and your team are okay. You need to reach out and reassure them that you’re both physically and mentally healthy and fully engaged.

Be self-aware and adaptive

There are seven skills of emotional intelligence – first among those is self-awareness. Take time to ask yourself are you okay and to think about what you’re doing to take care of yourself. Anytime there’s a significant disruption in our day-to-day routines, there’s a tremendous amount of energy required in order to maintain focus, stay organized and remain confident.

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

Topics: Leadership, Adversity, Crisis

A Guide to Working From Home

Posted by Ray Sclafani on Apr 4, 2020 11:39:11 AM

Controlling What You Can, Learning From What You Can’t

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

Giving Thanks

Posted by Ray Sclafani on Nov 26, 2019 3:04:25 PM

At this reflective time of year, I remind myself that while gratitude is important, it’s in the giving (of our time, talent and treasure) that we best demonstrate our true thankfulness. The poignant and moving words of JFK always come to mind: “As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.

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

Topics: Holiday

New Success in Succession™ Program Addresses Glaring Gap

Posted by Ray Sclafani on Nov 19, 2019 10:00:00 AM

We’ve all seen the sobering statistics. The average age of financial advisors in 2019 is about 55, with roughly one in five age 65 or older. And yet:

  • Nearly three quarters (73%) have no clear written succession plan;
  • Even those within five years of retiring, more than half (60%) don’t have a plan; and
  • Far too many (47%) next generation advisors don’t know if or how they fit into the future firm.

Keep in mind that these are self-reported percentages, so the reality of the situation may be far worse. The lack of a clear path to transition remains perhaps the largest potential breach of fiduciary duty in our industry today – with the continuity of care and financial well-being of countless clients hanging in the balance. For most advisors (both firm

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

Topics: Business and Operations Management, Succession Planning

Polonius Never Tried to Grow a Practice

Posted by Ray Sclafani on Oct 1, 2019 10:27:47 AM

“Neither a borrower nor a lender be: For loan oft loses both itself and friend.”

Hamlet; Act 1, Scene 3

It’s one of the most recognizable and oft quoted lines in all of Shakespeare’s works, nestled right between two other pieces of sage advice that Polonius imparts to his son Laertes: “give every man thy ear, but few thy voice” and “this above all; to thine own self be true.” But while there’s a certain universal wisdom to those other two tenets, if you’re an advisor who’s seeking to rapidly and measurably grow your business, you’ll be well served to embrace rather than avoid the capital of others.

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

Topics: enterprise value

Capacity and Productivity - The keys to unlocking future growth

Posted by Ray Sclafani on Sep 19, 2019 2:36:00 PM

For any enterprise that’s serious about meaningful and sustainable growth, getting a grasp on how to better control these two critical financial metrics is essential. As you grow, you’re facing a cascade of important decisions:

  • Should I add staff and when?
  • Do I need to start thinking about more office space?
  • When is it advisable to merge or acquire someone in another location?

While profitability can certainly be a useful financial metric, it’s your business’ capacity and productivity which are the two inextricably linked measurement tools that will give you the clearest insight into making those types of mission critical decisions.

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

Topics: enterprise value

Rainmaking Matters

Posted by Ray Sclafani on Jul 17, 2019 10:22:47 AM

One storm is no longer enough...

When it comes to fueling meaningful growth in your enterprise, the days of succeeding by doing one thing very well are quickly becoming a thing of the past. If you’re a rainmaker who has focused on a particular tried and true practice – whether sourcing leads from existing clients, cultivating a network of professional advocates, steadily increasing your share of wallet from existing clients, or recruiting/acquiring other advisor teams – now’s the time to start expanding your horizons by seeking out new additional sources of growth.

The most recent PriceMetrix/McKinsey State of Retail Wealth Management study found that advisors in the top quartile for growth increased annual revenues by 37% (compared to an 8% decline in growth for the bottom quartile). What differentiates the top performers? Not surprisingly, these firms generate most or all their revenue from fees, and function as interdependent teams rather than sole practitioners. What stands out, however, is the realization that only a small percentage of these leading advisors are actively engaged in acquisitive growth. It begs the question…why?

Beware the fast-track

We hear so much about the aging advisor demographic, and we read profiles in the trade press about advisors who seemingly overnight turn a $100MM practice into a $2+ billion enterprise through a series of aggressive acquisitions. It seems like the perfect quick road to rapid growth. What we don’t hear a lot of talk about, however, is the often grossly

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

Topics: Client Acquisition