The ClientWise Blog

Micro-Segmentation

Posted by Ray Sclafani on Oct 8, 2020 10:11:36 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 10:56:34 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

Managing your OWN fear and uncertainty

Posted by Ray Sclafani on Jun 17, 2020 2:00:00 PM

If you’re not experiencing any; you’re not human!

Assuming you’ve ventured onto ThinkAdvisor, FA-Mag, InvestmentNews or any one of the many other online information resources for financial advisors over the past couple of months, you’ve no doubt seen a barrage of articles about managing and coaching clients through times of crisis. Everywhere you look there’s guidance, best practices and tips on how to quell client fears, keep them focused on long-term goals, and remain committed to their financial plans.

But what about YOUR fears, anxieties and uncertainties?

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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, client appreciation

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

Engaging the NextGen client

Posted by Ray Sclafani on May 20, 2019 4:07:04 PM

The clock is ticking

We’ve all seen the statistics. The probability that your firm will be able to retain your current clients’ assets once they transfer to the next generation are slim – by most accounts, the percentage of those assets that will remain with your firm post-intergenerational transfer is in the teens. It’s the elephant in the room that nobody wants to acknowledge.

Think about that for a minute. If you’re currently running an enterprise with $500MM in AUM and an average client who’s aged somewhere near 60-65, choosing to do nothing but whistle past the graveyard means there’s a very good chance that close to $425MM of your current AUM will at some point walk out the door over the next 20 years! And if you’re average client is age 70+, you’re looking at the exact same outcome just over a more compressed timetable.

All the time, effort and energy you’ve devoted to acquiring and caring for your clients; gone for no other reason than failing to effectively engage with the next generation before they become inheritors of wealth.

5 ways to build better connections

While they may be inclined to make a clean break and forge their own path with their own people, there are steps you can take to build stronger relationships with the next generation.

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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, Client Engagement

How Successful Wealth Transfers are Built

Posted by Ray Sclafani on Nov 28, 2016 3:20:00 PM

It’s a statistic you’ve all heard repeatedly and one that understandably sends a shudder through most firms: 90-95% of inheritors fire their parents’ advisor once the intergenerational wealth transfer has occurred. However, what’s far less frequently discussed, and directly related to both asset retention, is that upwards of 70% of wealth transfers ultimately fail. 

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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

Benchmarking the Beach House

Posted by Ray Sclafani on Sep 7, 2016 11:29:23 AM


As an industry, we’ve made great strides over the years towards aligning compensation with client interests – steadily migrating from transaction-based to fee-based models. With the implementation date for the DOL Fiduciary Rule looming on the horizon, that pendulum will continue to swing even further. However, are asset-based fees truly the BEST approach to compensation?

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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, Client Engagement, DOL ruling, DOL Fiduciary Ruling

Preparing Your Practice for NextGen Clients

Posted by Ray Sclafani on Aug 25, 2016 12:29:35 PM

While they may currently only control 4% of the nation’s wealth, there’s absolutely no doubt that if you’re not preparing your firm to address the needs and preferences of millennials, you’re destined to be left behind. By 2030 (less than 15 years down the road) the investable financial assets of U.S. households should approach $65 trillion. The millennial generation’s share of those assets will grow the fastest, tripling from its current 4% to 16%. That’s over $10 trillion in millennial wealth that will need to be managed. Combined with their Gen-X predecessors, the two groups will hold nearly half (47%) of the nation’s entire wealth. 

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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, Client Engagement

Want to Attract New Female Clients?

Posted by Ray Sclafani on Aug 23, 2016 10:10:29 AM

Over the last few years, there have been many articles published about the increasing economic power of women both here in the U.S. and globally. By 2020 (essentially right around the corner) women will control two-thirds of this country’s $22 trillion in private wealth, along with two-thirds of our $12 trillion in annual spending. However, few wealth managers have made any efforts to meaningfully adapt their service model to the unique needs and preferences of women clients. 

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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, Team Development, Client Engagement

Putting the ClientWise Conversation™ to Work

Posted by Ray Sclafani on Aug 2, 2016 3:55:39 PM

The subtitle of my book You’ve Been Framed is “How to reframe your wealth management business and renew client relationships.” Before you can effectively undertake that process, however, you need to have a clear understanding of how your existing clients and professional advocates are currently framing both you and your practice. How do they perceive you personally? How would they describe your capabilities and service model? What’s their overall impression and assessment of your team and your firm?

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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, Client Engagement

Wealth Management Advisors: Identify Your At-Risk Clients

Posted by Ray Sclafani on Jun 20, 2016 4:19:11 PM

Lately, in talking with financial advisors, I’m getting a sense that clients have finally settled down a bit after the heightened volatility that ushered in the New Year. Enough positive economic news along with abating fears about a China meltdown have served to calm the waters enough to fuel a bounce back that made quarterly statements a lot more palatable to mail.

Even despite one of the presidential candidate’s efforts to open a proverbial bag of snakes with pronouncements that “a massive recession” is looming, my sense is that most of your clients are back and becoming increasingly engaged. This may be an opportune time to pause and assess any relationship damage that may have occurred over time.

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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

How Top Financial Advisors Can Better Serve Clients' Heirs

Posted by Ray Sclafani on Jun 7, 2016 4:00:00 PM

While the statistics vary slightly, time and again they all point to the fact that unless you change your process, the likelihood of holding onto your current clients’ assets once they transition to the next generation are slim. In fact, for most accounts significantly less than 20% of those assets will remain with your firm post-intergenerational transfer.

It’s the elephant in the room that few advisors seem to want to talk about, hoping that somehow their practice is inherently different as they whistle past the graveyard.

So what exactly can you do?

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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, Client Engagement

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. 

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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, 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?

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

Topics: Marketing Approach, Client Engagement