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Stephen Feehan

How the ClientWise eXchange™ has transformed one practice

Business: Feehan Financial Services 
Location: Binghamton, New York 
Website: http://ffs.nm.com/index.cfm

As CEOs, it’s our job, no one else's, to work on the business. But to do that effectively, you need to have space, structure and discipline. That’s precisely what quarterly Business Builder workshops and the ClientWise eXchange™ give me.” 








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How the ClientWise eXchange™  Has Transformed One Practice 

Meet ClientWise Advocate Stephen Feehan

Stephen Feehan leads a nine-person Northwestern Mutual team located in upstate New York. An early adopter of the “Business Builders” coaching program that provided him with access to the ClientWise eXchange™, Stephen admits to a bit of initial hesitation– approaching the platform from more of a “dipping his toe in the water” perspective rather than jumping right into the deep end of the pool.

It took me a little while to figure out the eXchange™ and how to use it. I honestly don’t remember logging on very often during the first 3-6 months,” recounts Feehan. "After our first Business Builders™ workshop, however, I started logging into the site a little more regularly and quickly realized that the materials and content they provided was exactly suited to many of the business challenges I was grappling with.”

Once Stephen began to think of his business within the seven Professional Advisory Model areas (i.e., organizing priorities, client engagement, client acquisition, professional advocacy, marketing approach, team development and business/operations management) that live in the eLibrary™, Stephen’s engagement with the eXchange™ really took off.

I started thinking about every aspect of my business in terms of those seven areas. And I began to watch the content feeds and follow-up on interesting content more and more regularly. Before I knew it, I was finding that 2 to 3 hours on a Saturday had suddenly flown by as I poured through the eXchange™.” While 2 or 3 hours is not a reality for many clients – fifteen minutes per week and reviewing the weekly summary is of great value.

One Stop Shop for Business Building Resources

For Stephen and his practice, the ClientWise eXchange™ provides one-stop access to rich business building resources and leadership insights that just aren’t available anywhere else.

I’ve tried using other platforms like LinkedIn, but I’m consistently underwhelmed by the content and information exchange that takes place out there. You just don’t find the level of nurturing, encouragement and genuine support that the eXchange™ excels at.”

Content and material is perfectly suited not only for where my business is today, but where I want it to be one, five, even ten years down the road. But the eXchange™ isn’t for every advisor. These are resources, solutions and roadmaps for those of us who are actively striving to grow our practices, improve our service delivery models and cultivate winning teams.

Content, Connections, and Conversations 

Being situated in upstate New York, far from the hustle and bustle of a major metropolis, offers countless lifestyle benefits for Stephen and his team. But the remoteness can also limit the exchange of ideas and sharing of best practices that often occur when working in close proximity to other advisory teams.



I create a LOT of content myself. And like most advisors, I tend to be a pretty big fan of my ideas. So I’m always looking for a bit of a sanity check – to discuss things and elicit thoughtful feedback. That’s the beauty of the eXchange™; it’s an ideal interactive, give and take platform for sharing. I can post a new tool I’ve developed for our team’s quarterly planning meeting, ask what others think, and be confident that within a day or two, I’ll have a number of thoughtful replies with new considerations and suggested improvements.

How the eXchange™ Worked for Stephen

As Stephen recently found out, the good will generated by these interactions and exchanges can be nothing short of transformational. “A while back, I had a fellow Northwestern advisor (very successful in her own right) leave me an incredibly kind voicemail thanking me for all the things I’ve shared through the eXchange™ and telling me how much they have helped her business. At the time, I was truly appreciative but didn’t think much of it.”

Late last year, however, I was unexpectedly injured precisely at the same time as one of my best long-term clients (a 30-year relationship) encountered a critical and complex premium financing need. Because I was laid up, a competitor got the inside track on this opportunity. Despite my situation and a lack of premium financing expertise, I had to figure out how to salvage the deal at the 11th hour.

At a loss for where to start, I posted a simple query on the eXchange™ – ‘Premium finance – who would you go to?’ and almost immediately, this advisor who had emailed me her thanks a few months earlier, reached out and shared her extensive premium financing insights and expertise. Armed with those learnings, my team was able to develop the case and wound up selling $2.5M of premium for a $60M life insurance policy. We’re now the #1 insurance producer in the country for the first quarter of this year!

The Exponential Power of Connecting

From Stephen’s perspective, the power of the ClientWise eXchange ™ is ultimately dependent on the strength and number of nodes that the network connects. As people are added, the power of the network becomes exponentially bigger.

“When you have multiple ways to connect with multiple people, and you’re using the eXchange™ to its fullest potential, the power can be monumental. But if you're not fully connected, the value of your nodes in both directions is vastly diminished. It’s truly a two-way street of sharing. Remember…you don’t lose anything when other people benefit from your knowledge.”

“Think of the eXchange™ as a brain. Every time you post a comment or idea, you’re firing a synapsis and using more of the brain. Your efforts are helping to build the network, but it’s not a selfless act. You can’t help but benefit as a result. It’s an inevitable byproduct of participation.”


Today, the eXchange™ has become an embedded part of Stephen’s daily regimen. As soon as he sits down at his desk in the morning, he opens his CRM, his task management tool, his portfolio management software and the eXchange™. “Human nature inclines us towards the familiar and comfortable. As a result, we tend to approach challenges and perform tasks today exactly like we did yesterday. Inertia and complacency settle over our businesses. When you have a resource like the eXchange™, you’re far more likely to set aside time to explore the new and novel – to imagine what your practice COULD be. I refuse to let the past run my business. The eXchange™ gets me thinking about the future…and it’s a far better way to look.”

As CEOs, it’s our job, no one else's, to work on the business. But to do that effectively, you need to have space, structure and discipline. That’s precisely what quarterly Business Builder workshops and the ClientWise eXchange™ give me.” 

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