Practice Tips

Practice Tipsblog

Successful advisers offer easy-to-implement advice for practices looking to improve and update their businesses.

Oct 8, 2014, 12:50 PM EST

3 tips to help advisers zero in on the best client prospects

By Bill Militello

Today's advisory landscape presents unique challenges for advisers. The numerous forces at play are mostly outside advisers' control, including fee compression, consolidation, rising operating costs and highly correlated markets. There is, however, one thing that is very much in an adviser's control: the clients with whom they engage.This realization came to me during my decade-long career as an RIA. Early on, I often felt alone on the island of independence, unsure of where to take my business. I quickly realized I needed to focus my attention on a subset of individuals that provided my practice with real scale. High net worth (HNW) individuals, defined as those with $5 million or more in liquid net worth, proved to be the clients I needed—and wanted—to work with, and who yielded a mutually beneficial relationship. In this country there are millions of millionaires, 84% are self-made, and 75% accumulated their wealth... Read full post

Aug 28, 2014, 1:13 PM EST

5 lessons learned after one year running a financial planning firm

By Mary Beth Storjohann

It's hard to believe it, but my financial planning firm, Workable Wealth, officially turns 1 this week! Just 12 months ago, the website went live after months of prep work and paperwork, and the (virtual) doors opened as I welcomed my first clients to the Workable Wealth family.What a journey it's been. Twelve months in business is just one step in the grand scheme, but it's a step that I'm incredibly proud of. As with many birthdays, it's a time of celebration and a time of reflection. Since launching last year, I've been contacted by other business owners, financial planners, college students and reporters asking about how I went about building this business, and the lessons I've learned along the way.Did I feel ready to launch Workable Wealth? Heck no. It wasn't until I received this text message from one of my best friends in February of last year that I knew it was time:“I'm not sure if you'll ever be truly happy until... Read full post

Jul 24, 2014, 12:58 PM EST

4 skills that help advisers function like CEOs

By Ray Sclafani

As a financial adviser leading a team or small firm, your responsibilities are often like those of a CEO leading a company. Thinking like a CEO requires busy advisers to tackle several managerial issues along with with their responsibilities as producers.The first is that you clearly understand the different areas of focus that go into being a CEO, and the second is that you understand how to share this knowledge with your team members so that they can become effective partners in co-creating the goals and vision of your organization. We've worked closely with top advisory teams and have identified the following four crucial skill sets that help advisers function more like CEOs: 1. Relational: These skills come very naturally to many advisers, especially when interacting with their clients. However, they are often overlooked when it comes to the dynamic of their own teams, and could be even further refined in their interactions.... Read full post

Jul 17, 2014, 3:53 PM EST

8 ways to reach the next level of client segmentation

By Matthew Halloran

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Apr 18, 2014, 1:19 PM EST

How to use your hobbies to master client prospecting

By Frank Maselli

One of the hidden secrets in our profession is that there are a thousand ways to succeed. You won't hear this from your manager or from sales trainers, since firms have no vested interest in thinking creatively or helping you find new ways to drive business. In my hierarchy of fun activities, client prospecting used to live near the bottom alongside a screaming baby on a redeye and a root canal. Then I found a way to connect my business to an extracurricular activity that ignited my deepest passions. This could be a hobby, a personal interest, or a favored activity of (almost) any kind. It could sports, knitting, cooking or even reading books. Maybe you're a closet woodworker, a ballroom dancer or an equestrian jumper. Try the PowerBall test and see what fits best. If you won $100 million (after taxes) tomorrow, what would you still do because you loved doing it? That's the place to start. Follow my logic as it pertains to connecting... Read full post

Apr 2, 2014, 3:44 PM EST

Why the client segmentation model is outdated and should be replaced

By Megan Carpenter

I spend a lot of time consulting with advisers on things that they do on public display. Everything I counsel them on keeps things framed from the clients' perspective. Before you write a single word of marketing copy, utter one syllable on television or do any interviews, advisers should remember one thing: no matter what forum you think you are in and whom it's reaching, there is a chance it will also reach your clients.Don't assume that when you are featured in InvestmentNews your clients aren't reading it. You know how the saying about assumptions goes. Think about the phrase “client segmentation” for a second. Now imagine how a client would feel if they knew they were being “segmented.” How would you feel if your doctor “segmented” you into a group of patients they clearly didn't find very interesting or worth much time?The standard industry approach to client segmentation — rating clients,... Read full post

Feb 25, 2014, 2:50 PM EST

5 things to consider when making promises to clients

By Ray Sclafani

While on a recent flight from San Diego to Denver, I came across an article in Spirit Magazine about a website, BecauseISaidIWould.com. The 28-year old founder, Alex Sheen, started this nonprofit in memory of his father, to inspire others to make (and keep!) promises that better humanity. This got me thinking about what is frequently considered the greatest promise financial advisers make to clients: To be there for them forever. Whether stated or implied, I've heard advisers suggest they'll be there through every life stage and transition, helping their clients achieve financial security. The dirty little secret is that few advisers consider how they'll actually deliver on their promises, “because they said they would.” While most understand the importance of succession and continuity planning, few have built the infrastructure to truly serve clients consistently, should something happen to them. Don't Miss: Episode 2 of... Read full post

Feb 12, 2014, 11:19 AM EST

Renovate your social media profile

By Matthew Halloran

Advisers always want to find ways to increase their overall efficiency and improve their image.So with that in mind, here are five things you can to renovate and make over your social-media profile. Don't Miss: The debut of Practice Makeover1. GET A NEW PICTUREMost of you have absolutely abysmal Sears portrait studio, same background, same suit, same tie pictures. You have to do something that's going to separate you from the rest. Get a local photographer to take a good picture of you at a local landmark. Support local business. Find a moderately priced photographer, have friends and family help you choose the right photo and put it on all of your social-media profiles. ON FACEBOOK: IMAGES, IMAGES, IMAGESUse images to tell your company's story. Put pictures of your team, your office, your conference rooms, events that you're doing without clients (unless you get them to sign a release, depending on your compliance department).... Read full post