“In the struggle for survival, the fittest win out at the expense of their rivals because they succeed in adapting themselves best to their environment". ~ Charles Darwin

Charles Darwin would love financial advisors today. In October 1838 Charles Darwin thought of a way in which one species could change into another. He noticed that individual members of a species vary. Furthermore, all animals are competing to survive. If the environment changed in some way, say if a new, faster predator appeared then any herbivores that could run slightly faster than other members of its species would be more likely to survive and reproduce. Any herbivores that ran slightly slower than most would be more likely to be eaten. Slowly a new, faster h...

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By: Bill Bachrach

There are critical conversations necessary to engage people in ways that predictably turn leads into prospects, prospects into clients, clients into people who take action on your advice, happily pay you for planning and advice, and refer you to their friends, family, and colleagues.

These conversations are easy to understand but hard to master. Many FAs have a basic level of ability with these conversations, but this article is about elevating from basic ability to virtuoso skillfulness. Consider what could happen to the quality of your client service and the value of your business when you can artfully engage anyone, any time, and anywhere.

Critical Conversation #1: Mastery of the first conversation.


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Top advisors manage their capacity by taking more time off. They have the systems and processes in place with their staff to service clients and manage expectations. They have the processes to deliver comprehensive services and do regular feedback to meet and exceed expectations. They are great at delegating and building processes such as client checklists, service checklists and follow up checklists to meet and exceed expectations and have a way of articulating their value that clients understand. They have practised it, over and over and use it consistently to service their ideal clients. They focus their time and energy on the things that bring value to their ideal clients and delegate the rest. Then they take more time off. Remember...

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Have you ever been to a meeting that took more time than necessary? How can you make your meetings more productive, while enhancing your client experience? How can you demonstrate value in your progress update meetings? In working with Business Health and their client survey tool, Ray Henderson of Business Health in Australia suggests that clients surveyed in several countries around the world by their financial advisor sometimes do not see value in the review process Why is there a disconnect between what the advisor delivers and what the client sees as a valuable use of their time?

It starts with an agenda In my workshops with financial advisors, it all starts by having a solid agenda for your existing ideal ...

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Why would financial advisors offer more? More value, more services, more advice? This will take time, effort and will cost more. After all, they are happy with me and appreciate what we do. Why would you want to do more?

Who is your competition? In today's competitive environment, can you confidently make that argument with your top 25 clients? Do you do annual feedback and total transparency with your ideal clients? Unless you do feedback on an annual basis, is your business at risk? I know that 85% of advisors don’t do feedback (Business Health Pty Ltd. Key Value Drivers USA 2016 ) so if your one of the 15% who do it annually, congratulations. If you also do total transparency, in other words, show the ...

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Every wealthy client usually has a financial advisor. But do these wealthy ( potentially ideal prospects) get comprehensive advice and planning, or just money management. We all know that some of the wealthy are lacking planning and advice, the problem is, they don't know it. Until now. in my workshops with financial advisors, it seems every advisor has a tremendous opportunity to acquire more wealthy clients from their competition. That is because when I ask most advisors these five questions, rarely is anyone doing all five things with their ideal clients.

The five questions to ask a wealthy prospect are:

Organized and planned -Would it be valuable to have your financial life completely organized and planned out in the following six area...

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The real risk is not reaching your goals, especially if there is no clear plan to get there. Performance won’t matter, asset allocation won’t matter, and the best products won’t matter if clients don’t reach their goals. Do you do goals-based planning with your ideal clients? A big challenge for people is to clearly define their future on paper. A crucial role of a financial advisor is to help their ideal clients get a deeper sense of clarity around their future. So how do you do that? In my workshops with financial advisors, I ask two questions in relation to their own personal goals. First look at the list below and tell me how many goals you personally have? The answer is usually 5 or more, and about a third o...

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How do I acquire more ideal clients starting today?
What is the best process to find them?
What is a simple way to implement immediately to grow my business?

Monday morning when you go to your calendar and you don’t see a lot of potential new ideal clients, what do you do? I would start by setting up appointments with some of your ideal clients, either for a progress update meeting or for a coffee. The goal here is to help people in other areas of their lives and become the quarterback and meet new centers of influence.

How many centers of influence do you work with for favorable introductions or give you referrals? Do they know how to do favorable introductions and have a process? This may be an opportunity! Would you like more? In y...

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You are sitting on a dock in a comfy Adirondack chair on a hot day, with a glass of lemonade filled to the brim with ice cubes. You decide to pick up a good book. You can’t get into a new mystery novel for some reason so you turn to your business books. You are a student of the industry, a lifelong learner, and you have a library of good books. Before you sit down into that comfy chair on a hot day, consider picking up one of these books. I chose them based on practice management topics for financial advisors and wealth managers focusing on productivity and capacity. I start with my newest book launched in 2016.


1. Guerrilla Marketing for Financial Advisors 2nd edition Innovating financial professionals through practice management”. Grant Hicks and Jay Conrad Levinson Morgan James Publishing 2016“As part of the “Guerrilla Marketing” series which has sold over 21 million copies worldwide, financial advisors will find the book packed full of ideas to acquire ideal clients and create an ideal client experience. Utilizing “Guerrilla Marketing” strategies combined with key practice management research, the book guides the reader to tackle critical issues such as capacity, client acquisition, and double-digit growth. It is your process manual for practice management.

2. The 5 choices The path to extraordinary productivity, by Kory Kogon, Adam Merrill and Leena Rinne, published by Simon and Shuster 2015 : This book is backed by science and Franklin Covey's years of experience and research in this field. The 5 Choices will help a financial advisor or wealth manager increase their productivity and develop an inner sense of fulfillment and peace. The five choices are simple but require a radical shift in mindset and will lead to increased personal and professional success. It is your time management manual.

3. The Ensemble Practice, A Team-Based Approach to Building a Superior Wealth Management Firm, 2012 by Philip Palaveev Bloomberg Press 2012 . Why do ten percent of wealth management firms grow faster than the rest of the industry, often despite the turbulence of the markets? The answer, according to industry consultant and researcher, P. Palaveev, is that the most successful firms are those which, create and promote a team-based service model that serves as the foundation of their enterprise. It is your team building manual.

4. Succession Planning for Financial Advisors, + Website: Building an Enduring Business by David Grau Sr. Wiley Finance, June 2014 With all the succession discussions, why not just get it done. This book is a step by step guide and will challenge you and everything you think you know about succession planning. It is your succession manual.

5. Technology Tools for Today's High-Margin Practice: How Client-Centered Financial Advisors Can Cut Paperwork, Overhead, and Wasted Hours, by David J. Drucker and Joel P. Bruckenstein, Bloomberg Press 2013 With robo-advising on everybody’s radar screen, this will help financial advisors focus on what they can control, their processes. In a newly revised edition of the "bible" of practice management and technology for financial professionals, two leading financial planners, with some help from their friends, deliver the knowledge advisors have been begging for. It is your technology manual.

6. Exploring Advice: What You Need to Know About Good Financial Advice, a Quality Financial Plan and the Role of a Fiduciary Createspace Publishing – September 29, 2016 by Kevin Knull CFP®

Based on research, qualitative insight from hundreds of conversations with industry advisors, regulators, attorneys, academics and consultants, and data from over 1 million plans, Knull outlines the elements of a quality financial plan, how a quality financial plan is an effective and prudent way to comply with the DOL regulations and how it can help financial advisors differentiate their firms in a challenging environment. It is your advice manual.

7. The Enduring Advisory Firm: How to Serve Your Clients More Effectively and Operate More Efficiently (Bloomberg Financial) 1st Edition by Mark C. Tibergien (Author), Kimberly G. Dellarocca (Author) Wiley; 1 edition (November 30, 2016) Combining a facts-based approach with case studies and examples from the field, The Enduring Advisory Firm will ignite your imagination by demonstrating practical strategies for attracting clients and streamlining operations. It is your operations manual.

Enjoy your summer reading and building your elite financial advisory practice! Pick up your copy or online version at your favorite online retailer. For a FREE preview of my latest book go to

Quality financial and investment plan

One final comment. In my workshops with financial advisors, I always ask a veteran advisor, “in twenty plus years, how many quality financial and investment plans in writing have you seen from your competitors?” The answer is usually less than 5 quality plans in 20 years. My mission is simple, “Coaching financial advisors to create 1 million quality financial and investment plans for their ideal clients”. Ask your clients and prospects this question " What does a quality financial and investment plan mean to you? Let me know if I can help you grow your practice.

If you would like more information about financial advisor workshops or coaching to build your value promise process, email us at

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Grant Hicks, CIM

You won't find this idea in a book, even though I wrote the second edition of " Guerrilla Marketing For Financial Advisors" Innovating Financial professionals through practice management. Morgan James Publishing New York. You won't find this idea at a seminar, course or workshop. You cannot get this from top advisors, executives or even the best branch manager in the industry.

Not even online or any website. In fact, you won't get this information from top financial advisor performers, but you will find the idea where you work. It will change the way you think. It will change your business strategies. It will make you take a close look at what you're doing right and what you need to improve on. The idea will help you grow,...

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