Crisis Communications For Advisors

In the iconic movie Tin Cup, actor Kevin Costner plays the title character of Roy McAvoy who says to his caddy, “When a defining moment comes along, you can do one of two things.  You can define the moment, or you can let the moment define you.”   It’s a piece of wisdom that should be taken to heart by everyone in the financial advisory profession.

Step Up And Stand Out

The financial industry finds itself at yet another defining moment in time.  Advisors nationwide are staring at the uncertainties of current events and wondering what’s next.  No one has the answers because the situation is so fluid and unlike anything that’s happened before.  While some advisors stay fixated on things they cannot change, other advisors are rising above the challenges they face and defining the moment in ways that prove their true value.

These are unprecedented times.  Clients are feeling the shock and awe of their portfolios in decline.  Most are fearful and yearn for clarity and direction from their advisors.  How advisors respond will either solidify or shatter their client relationships.  What is occurring now is a critical event that will cull the advisor herd from those who talked the talk and those who show they walk the walk.  Amid unparalleled challenges, some advisors will step up their game and seize upon the extraordinary opportunities that exist.

Communicate Your Value Proposition

The most proactive starting point is client communications.  When you communicate with clients, be pragmatic.  Tell them the truth.  Clients don’t want their reality sugar-coated.  They want the facts and they will appreciate the facts even if it’s not what they want to hear.  Next, offer guidance.  Explain your solutions.  Remind them of your expertise and experience during other critical crossroads in the markets.  This is the perfect time to explicate your value proposition and the very reason why having a value proposition is so important.

Put empathy in your client communications.  These are very humanizing times, so listening to your client’s personal stories and sharing your own can help maintain the trust you’ve worked so hard to earn.  They need to feel you care, so be relatable to their fears and concerns.  Embrace their emotions and inquire about the well-being of their family and friends.  Some of them may not be getting answers from their advisors and offering them your counsel can create acquisition opportunities that would never have been possible under different circumstances.  It’s also an opportunity to build the case for clients to consolidate their assets with you.

Don’t forget about your prospects.  Their mindset is the same as with your clients.  Communicate with them in the same vein, factual and empathetic.  They will appreciate you thinking of them and it could create opportunities for more meaningful discussions.

Seize The Opportunities

Creating focused messaging can be a powerful differentiator for advisors during these difficult times.  It can favorably set you apart from your competition and propel your practice to a higher level.  If you define the moment instead of letting it define you, clients and prospect can’t help but notice and remember the greater value you provide.

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Like this tip?  We have many powerful lessons and proven strategies to help you become a million-dollar plus financial advisor and beyond.  Contact us today about our coaching programs.

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Success Is Never A Solo Journey

Being Coachable Is A Competitive Edge

Elite athletes and high-performing financial advisors have remarkably similar mindsets.  Each one knows that talent alone is never enough to be the best because everyone they compete against is talented.  They know having a will to win is important, but that will only take them so far because everyone they go up against wants to win.  With all else being equal, one thing that separates the best from the rest in either profession is coaching.

Success Is Never A Solo Journey
Whether you’re an athlete or advisor, a coach can be the conduit that transforms your potential into performance.  It’s a collaborative partnership that can take you where you can’t get to on your own.  NFL Hall of Fame football coach Tom Landry explained it simply:

“A coach is someone who tells you what you don’t want to hear, who has you see what you don’t want to see, so you can be who you always knew you could be.”

Formal in-house training programs offered by financial firms are one stage in an advisor’s learning process.   Unfortunately, most are structured as one-size-fits-all training programs and not every advisor learns at the same pace.  Everyone has different strengths and weaknesses and it’s important to know exactly what they are, but sometimes advisors can’t see themselves clearly enough because ego or complacency gets in the way.  This is where a coach can come in and make a difference.   A coach can assess your capabilities with a level of candor and clarity that you can’t provide yourself.

Seize The Competitive Edge

It doesn’t matter whether you earn a living as an athlete or advisor.  Performance will always be a primary indicator of your success and it will constantly be measured.  If you are playing to win, your search for a competitive edge is never ending.  One place you can find it is with a coach who has been where you are and where you want to be.

Working with a coach to power up your practice is not a show of weakness.  It’s a sign of strength.  An advisor coach can identify derailing factors in a wealth management practice and address corrective measures that improve performance.   In fact, the best advisors tend to be the most coachable because they leave nothing to chance.  They know that success can be a double-edge sword because it tends to mask deficiencies that result in blind spots in their practice.  With the assistance of a coach, these top advisors learn how to spot problems before they become insurmountable.  Coaching is about performance enhancement and it’s especially effective for advisors who enjoy success and for those who are willing to learn new ways to raise the bar for their practice.

Choose A Coach Wisely

If you are considering coaching as a way to improve your performance, follow two simple rules.  First, be coachable.  Set aside your ego and acknowledge it’s time to get the help you need.  Second, chose your coach wisely.  All advisors are not the same and neither are coaches.  Find one that has had success in our industry and a track record of success in working with advisors like yourself.  Learn what methodologies the coach utilizes and why.  If a coaching candidate talks in vague generalities rather than specifics, look for another option.

A financial advisor coach can be the game-changer that takes your practice to a higher level.  The right one can also change your life.

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Like this tip?  Our coaching programs bring a unique focus to improving and refining the daily habits that can drive success. Contact us to find out how we can help you grow your practice and achieve your goals.

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You Are Your Value Proposition

“What makes you different and better than my current financial advisor?”

It’s a legitimate question many investors ask and one that most advisors dread hearing.  The reason why is because it calls for a compelling, cut-to-the-chase response that few advisors are equipped to provide.

Be Different, Really different

Most advisors react to this million-dollar question the same way, first with the blank stare of deer caught in headlights followed up by a tongue-tied, mumbo jumbo explanation that mimics what every other advisor is saying.


If you want to put investors to sleep, talk to them about the same things the same ways as other advisors.  If you want to raise their eyebrows and pique their interest, skip the rhetoric about firm, product or service benefits.  It may be important, but it’s generally not a distinguishing factor.  If you really want to stand out and be noticed, talk to investors about your most important differentiator.  Talk to them about you.

You Are The Differentiator

Government regulation and industry compliance have pretty much leveled the financial services playing field.  For the most part, all that really differentiates one firm and one advisor from another is branding.  Products are similar.  Services are similar.  Even the words and catch-phrases are alike, with everyone talking about “holistic approaches, client-centric service models and fiduciary responsibilities.”   You don’t need a score card to tell the difference between advisors because it appears like they are all playing on the same team.

Once you strip away all the commoditization in the financial services industry, all that’s left for an investor to consider and evaluate is you – the advisor.  You are their first point of contact.  You must know them and their businesses so well that clients consider you part of their success equation.  Your deep understanding of who they are personally and professionally allows you to anticipate their needs with clarity and respond to them with conviction.  Without you, they could never fully realize the resources of your firm or the benefits of products and services offered.

Find Your Sweet Spot

To find your differentiator, be honest with yourself.  Find out what financial problems you are the best at solving and then search for the people who have these types of problems.  What invariably happens is you find your sweet spot niche.  It will be a smaller segment of the investing public but your ability to create uncommon value for them is what becomes your differentiator.  It may inevitably involve solutions your firm, products and services provide, but it will be your ability to personalize the connections necessary that makes the difference in their lives.

Finding the differentiator within yourself requires discipline.  You’ll have to acquire additional expertise and experience that enhances your capabilities to your sweet spot clients and prospects.  Whatever it takes, do it.  Most advisors will stop at this point but if you are disciplined enough to learn more so you can do more, investors can’t help but take notice.  They will acknowledge and appreciate the added value you provide.

Make Your Value Proposition More About You

It’s okay to talk about your firm, products and services in your value proposition.  It’s okay to call attention to your expertise and experience.  Unfortunately, if you stop there, you’ll sound more like your competition than different and better.

Different is better when it’s more effective.  Craft your value proposition so it explains not just what you do, but especially – how you do it that makes you stand out favorably from the competition.  Make it more about you because in the end, you are the one thing no other company or advisor can replicate.

Like this tip?  We have a unique approach to assist advisors in crafting a powerful value proposition. Contact us to find out how we can help you grow your practice and achieve your goals.

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Investments & Wealth Research Issue 4, 2019

Accenture Report: Reinventing Wealth Management for Women

Video: Prospect Pipeline

Are you treating your prospects like your best clients?  Watch Dave Mullen’s video for tips on managing your Prospect Pipeline.

Like this tip?  We have many powerful lessons and proven strategies to help you become a million-dollar plus financial advisor. Contact us to find out how we can help you grow your practice and achieve your goals.

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Be The Unique Your Clients Seek

Be The Unique Your Clients Seek
Differentiation is considered one of the core principles of a financial advisor’s value proposition.  It identifies what capabilities you offer that sets you apart from the competition and it explains what unique value you provide to clients that other advisors cannot replicate.

Are You Really Different?
Differentiation is critical to success in today’s competitive financial marketplace and if the process is utilized correctly, it can be one of the most powerful ways to acquire and retain ideal clients.  Unfortunately, most advisors fail to effectively differentiate because they misunderstand the term and the process.

Ask any group of financial advisors what distinguishes them from their competition and the majority will default to a sterile summary of their expertise and experience.  That’s okay to a point because expertise and experience does matter to clients and prospects.  They validate credibility but rarely do they rise to the level of being true differentiators.  The reason why is because qualification parity is so widespread in the profession.  No matter how well-schooled or experienced you are, there are many other advisors elsewhere who have similar or superior qualifications.

Some advisors try to differentiate by injecting marketing-speak into their narratives.  They are quick to call attention to their “holistic approaches, proven methodologies, robust resources and personalized solutions.”  They too, fail to differentiate because they are just repeating what everyone else is saying and the only thing different are the words they use to explain the exact same things.  It’s no wonder why investors complain about how hard it is to distinguish one advisor from another.  Their critique is well-founded in fact.

Distinguish Yourself From The Client Perspective
So how can an advisor differentiate in a profession where everyone sounds the same?  The first step is to realize that differentiators exist only in the mind of the beholder. It’s never about you, your credentials or experience.  It’s always about the client or prospect.  If you can successfully articulate why you are the best provider of one-of-a-kind solutions to the one-of-a-kind challenges your clients and prospects face, you have discovered your differentiator.

Finding your differentiator isn’t easy.  Identifying one can be a complicated, painstaking task.  If it was simple, every advisor would have one or more.  The fact is, most advisors don’t have a meaningful differentiator.   They may think they are different and better, but in reality, they are more like their competition than distinctive.

However you choose to differentiate, make sure it’s relevant to the client or prospect.  If it doesn’t matter to them, it doesn’t matter, period.  Differentiation is all about creating value and the more unique that value, the more it will be memorable and credible to your clients and prospects.

Be Different And Better
If you don’t have a differentiator, do the next best thing – create one.  Just make sure the differentiator you choose is authentic rather than aspirational.  If it’s not factual and provable, don’t claim it because empty promises can do more damage than no promises at all.  If you claim to provide something other advisors don’t offer, make it a reality.  Live your differentiator with passion and purpose and hold yourself consistently accountable to the higher standards that define it.  The risks may be great but the rewards are even greater.

Another way to discover your differentiator is through honest self-assessment.  You already know what type of work you do well.  The next step is to discover what clients tell other people that you do great. Their answers might surprise you, so ask.  Their feedback can help identify a differentiator you were too blind to see.

Speak to your colleagues and professional alliance partners.  If there is something they consider you the go-to person on, amplify that asset.  It could be hard subject matter expertise such as tax optimization strategies or a softer skill such as your ability to naturally connect with younger members of multi-generational families.

When you find your differentiator, seize it with the passion of chasing down the last bus of the night out of town.  Make it yours in ways other advisors might try to imitate but can never replicate.

Break Away From The Status Quo
Most advisors make the mistake of trying to be unique like everyone else.  Top advisors break away from that status quo mindset.  They draw a line in the sand that other advisors hesitate to cross.  The story they tell is not who they are or what they do, but how they do it that makes them unique.  Their relentless conviction to do what others won’t or can’t do is what makes them stand out and shine.

General George S. Patton once said “If everyone is thinking alike, then someone’s not thinking.”

Start thinking, acting and doing differently.  Your clients and prospects can’t help but notice the difference you can make in their lives.

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Like this tip?  We have many powerful lessons and proven strategies to help create a value proposition and become a million-dollar plus financial advisor and beyond.  Contact us today about our coaching programs.

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Video: The Lever of Expansion with Dave Mullen

Dave Mullen, Founding Partner at Altius Learning discusses the Lever of Expansion and how that can increase productivity of your practice.

Use our formula to reach a goal of 100% wallet share with your most affluent clients:
 P + D + E = 100

P=Positioning yourself to your clients, it is in their best interest to have all their assets with one Financial Advisor and that is you.

D=Discovering the assets that your clients are doing away from you.

E= Exposing clients to new opportunities.  This will allow you to assume control of every aspect of their financial life.

Watch the attached 3-minute video for more insights on expanding your client relationships.

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Like this tip?  We have many powerful lessons and proven strategies to help you become a million-dollar plus financial advisor and beyond. Contact us today and find out how we can help you grow your practice and achieve your goals.

Altius Learning

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Are You Looking For Clients In All The Wrong Places?


There are more wealthy people in the United States today than at any time in our nation’s history.  In 2017, more than 700,000 Americans became first time millionaires and it’s estimated that new billionaires are popping up at the rate of one every other day. Many people who were already wealthy became even more so thanks to prolonged bull markets and favorable changes in tax laws.

A Perfect Storm for Acquisition

While all this has been happening, aging financial advisors are retiring from the profession at a rate faster than they are being replaced.  The increase in the number of wealthy Americans coupled with a decrease in the number of working advisors should spell a perfect storm of new business opportunities.  Surprisingly, this has not been the case.  Over 60% of advisors identify meeting new client acquisition goals as the number one challenge they face.

The situation begs the question:  if there are more prospects and fewer advisors, why are many advisors struggling to meet new business objectives?  The answer is simple.  They are looking for new business in all the wrong places.

Where’s Waldo?

The frustration advisors feel as they search for new business is akin to what someone might experience when playing the “Where’s Waldo” game.  Waldo is a bespectacled cartoon character dressed in a gaudy red and white striped sweater.  The object of the game is to spot him in a large crowd of people, a task that sounds simple because of his garish appearance.  In reality, finding Waldo is anything but easy.  The only way you can see him is if you search with eagle-eyed perception, discipline and patience.

Waldo is the perfect metaphor for today’s new breed of millionaires.  Like Waldo, they are hiding in plain sight.  Unlike Waldo, they are vast in numbers.  They are everywhere, just waiting to be found.  You just have to know where to and how to look.

Adjust Your Perceptions

Advisors find it difficult to spot today’s nouveau riche because they don’t typically think, look or act like the wealthy of yesteryear.  They worked hard to acquire their money rather than have it handed down from a prior generation and most of them are still working.  You don’t see them at fancy fund raising events because many are working long hours and weekends at their businesses.  You won’t find them socializing at a medallion ball because they are more interested in attending their children’s little league or soccer ball games.  They wear Timex watches instead of Rolexes and Levi jeans instead of tuxedos.

Advisors cross paths unawares with the new rich every day.  It could be the man who owns the garage that repairs your car, the woman who operates the dry cleaners where you take your shirts or the family that franchised one pizza shop into a regional chain.  They may not look like the wealthy you know, but their assets can be and often are significant.

See What Others Can’t

Looks can be deceiving, especially when trying to profile the new generation of millionaires in America.  They are different from old money clients.  Their wants and needs have changed.  Advisors must begin to understand that appearances give a glimpse of the unseen.

Changing your perception is just part of the new acquisition success formula.  You will also have to change the conversation.  These masked millionaires will shed their identities to advisors who are able to connect with them on deeply personal levels.  They will open up to you about their involvement in the local Rotary Club, their interest in their daughter’s softball team or a dream vacation they are planning.  Before you tell them your story, ask for and listen to theirs with your head and your heart.  You might find that your next great prospect is someone you already know if you’ve been paying the right type of attention.

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Like this tip?  We have many powerful lessons and proven strategies to help you become a million-dollar plus financial advisor and beyond.  Contact us today about our coaching programs.

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Video: Event Marketing with Alane Siem

Alane Siem, a Principal at Altius Learning offers insights into Event Marketing which is a very effective client acquisition strategy.  This tool will help you expand your overall client base, build brand recognition, and increase rapport with existing clients.

Hosting events for clients and potential clients is a great way to provide insight into who you are in business and in your personal life.  Event attendance should be 50% clients and 50% non-clients.  Follow up with perspective clients as soon as possible after the event.  Stay connected on a monthly basis to maximize your probability of converting these prospects turn into clients.

In this video Alane reviews types of events, who you should invite to events, the key to a successful event, and following a specific process to help grow your practice.