Perspectives

Setting Up an Incentive-Based Bonus Plan for Support Staff

We have received questions from several advisors recently about how to go about setting up a bonus plan for their support staff. They want something tied to growth in revenue as well as provide an incentive for specific performance expectations. Here is a plan that can provide that kind of flexibility. Begin with an initial Target Bonus figure. It could be calculated as a percentage of base salary or a simple dollar amount. Next, determine your criteria for the performance bonus. This is best accomplished in a collaborative discussion with […]

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How Do Clients Measure Value? One Advisor’s Story

I received a great email from an advisor-client over the holidays. He wrote, “Just spoke to a client.  Her comment: ‘Wow! I was expecting candy but this is so much better! What wonderful Christmas gift!” This advisor has embarked on a project of creating and then delivering what he calls Financial Operating Manuals to his clients. Not only do the operating manuals include the items you might expect, such as financial plans and account documentation, but he’s made them much more comprehensive. Here are some of the things he includes: A net worth […]

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Five Steps to Turn Your Business Plan into Your Action Plan

Happy New Year! If you have finished your Business Plan for 2014 (you have, haven’t you?), no doubt you have a list of quantitative goals (new clients, new assets, new revenue) and perhaps you also have a list of what you want to do to get there. We call that second list your strategic initiatives or activity goals because they describe what you need to do to reach your desired results (i.e., your quantitative goals). You may have included some things you want to do to improve your client experience, […]

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Hurry Up and Reflect

December is always an interesting time for advisors. Often, it’s a race against the clock to finish that last project or piece of business before year-end. We know an advisor who received a client request to open THIRTEEN new accounts for gifting purposes on New Year’s Eve. Naturally, the CSA had taken a vacation day (use it or lose it!), so you can imagine the kind of day that advisor had! With New Year’s Eve less than two weeks away, we hope you and your clients are fully prepared and have already […]

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Naughty or Nice?

The latest Consumer Reports’ Holiday Report Card is out to remind shoppers they have a choice in where to spend their hard-earned dollars. Amazon gets a thumbs-down for raising super saver shipping requirements. Best Buy is making returns harder on their customers, and even Toys “R” Us is on the naughty list! Meanwhile Neiman Marcus is offering free shipping all the time, and Hampton Inn is confidently touting their commitment to superior client service with, “Friendly service, clean rooms, comfortable surroundings, every time. If you’re not satisfied, we don’t expect […]

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5 Keys to Connecting with Prospective Clients on Your Website

Advisors often ask our advice on how to improve their websites. They know they need a web presence, but they don’t know how to tell their story in a way that connects with that prospective client out there who might be checking them out. Here are 5 key elements to more effective messaging on the web. 1.  Start with the client. Rather than make your site all about you, begin by reaching out to prospective clients and pull them toward you. Create a well-defined description of your ideal clients—the ones […]

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Great Visual Reminders – Tale of Three Advisors

To wrap up – for now – our series on great visual reminders, here are three recent advisor scenarios about a familiar situation – the death of a client and helping the surviving widow or other family member. All of these advisors have many years of experience, and all are very well qualified to handle this type of situation. As you read the scenarios, put yourself in the place of the widow – what would you think? The first advisor told me that he had met with a client who […]

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Great Visual Reminders: What’s Their Vision?

A key target market for many advisors today is the pre-retiree. That’s not surprising, given that advisors are always looking for “money in motion,” and as more and more early baby boomers are hitting retirement age (with the rest right behind them), the opportunity is big! But with such a big opportunity, there is a LOT of competition. If you’re like many advisors, you ask the right questions to determine their expected income needs, pop the information into whatever financial planning or forecasting tool you have, run the Monte Carlo […]

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Great Visual Reminders: Meeting Summaries

This month marks the FOURTH anniversary of Pathfinder! If you are, or have been, one of our many clients, thank you for being part of our story. It didn’t take long to realize that if we were going to help financial advisors become more consistent as they serve their clients, then we would have to develop some systems to serve ours. One of the first systems we implemented was an email sent to every client after every meeting or call. The subject line always says, “Recap of [month/day] and next […]

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Visual Reminders of Your Value

The advisor was stunned. He had just learned that one of his clients was transferring out her investment accounts. He thought he was her go-to advisor. He had even helped find someone to remodel her kitchen! When he called to try to salvage the relationship, he learned that she had decided to move her accounts to the investment rep at the credit union where she had her checking account. To her, it was simply a matter of convenience! The advisor asked: How could I have prevented this? Is there anything […]

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