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Outside-INblog

Outside voices and views for advisers

Advisers star in 'Practice Makeover' video series

Coaches and experts help tackle problems making business – and life – a tough slog

Feb 7, 2014 @ 12:51 pm

By Robert Sofia

practice makeover, advisory, matt ackermann, fross and fross, robert sofia
+ Zoom

I'll never forget when Matt Ackermann, digital editor at Investment News, pitched me on his concept for an advisory practice makeover series. It was such an outside-the-box concept that I couldn't help but be intrigued. “Why do practice management videos have to be dry, with one person speaking directly into the camera without blinking or stopping to breathe?” he asked. It was a great question, and clearly one that he already had an answer for.

InvestmentNews has broken new ground with this series and the end result speaks for itself. Finally our industry has something that is both a teaching tool and a form of entertainment. I couldn't be more thrilled to be part of this project.

More effort goes into this process than a casual viewer could imagine. What appears for a mere 10 seconds in a single episode can represent many hours of work: Selecting candidates, storyboarding, traveling, briefing, filming, cutting, editing, rendering, to name only a few of the steps. And yet, in spite of this, the entire process is 100% real. Real advisers. Real problems. Real coaches. Real solutions.

Trent Bradshaw was an ideal choice for our first season because he represents the quintessential middle-American financial adviser. He's an incredibly smart guy who cares about his clients and works extremely hard for them. He's knowledgeable about his business and he's enjoyed personal and professional success. Unfortunately, as is the case for many advisers, he's also a victim of his success. Under the weight of a swelling client base and the burgeoning service load that comes with it, Trent and his small staff are overwhelmed, overworked and overdue for some change.

After completing our initial discovery process, it became apparent that we needed to focus on three areas: best use of personnel, procedural automation and prospecting. I'll leave the rest of the details for the program.

One of the highlights of the production process was consulting with our subject matter experts, Robert and Thomas Fross of Fross & Fross Wealth Management and Platinum Advisor Strategies. I am a co-founder and the chief operating officer at Platinum.

As top-performing advisers who have already overcome the challenges Trent was facing, the Fross brothers' advice really hit the mark. Practice management strategies related to hiring, automation and branding are second nature to them. Together, they built a $350 million book of business in less than 10 years, and co-founded a national marketing and practice management consulting firm for advisers. Being able to present Trent's challenges to them and elicit their feedback was central to making the right recommendations.

I'm just the host of this series. Most of the real work is done by the camera crew you don't get to see, the dedicated producer who's already working on Season 2, and of course, the capable adviser who has to implement the course of action we recommend when the cameras are long gone.

It's an honor to be part of something that has the potential to improve peoples' lives. In Trent's case, I'm confident we've been able to do that. Hopefully, we'll have the chance to do that for many more advisers around the country. So whether you benefit simply from watching this series, or getting to star in it, we hope you'll enjoy every minute of “Practice Makeover.” I certainly have.

If you'd like to be considered as a candidate for “Practice Makeover,” e-mail Matt Ackermann and tell him why.

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