Category: Compliance

Seniors exhibiting signs of diminished mental capacity are one of the most troubling and sensitive issues advisors face. If this happens, a client may no longer be capable of making his/her own financial decisions. A study by the National Institute on Aging revealed that impaired cognition affects approximately 20% of people aged 85 years and older. However, this impairment can also exist at younger ages.

The Warning Signs

As a trusted advisor, you should be aware of the warning signs that may indicate diminished mental capacity and learn to recognize the potential signs of a client who is impaired due to a physical, mental, or sensory disability. If a client exhibits any of the following behaviors or characteristics, or any other behaviors or characteristics that raise concern, representatives should contact their manager. Clients with diminished capacity may exhibit the following behaviors which may indicate their inability to properly weigh financial decisions:

  • The client has difficulty communicating with you.
  • The client appears unable to process simple concepts. His/her questions and comments seem disconnected or contradictory.
  • The client’s spouse/partner is answering questions for him/her. The client appears unable to appreciate the consequences of decisions.
  • The client does not remember details from prior discussions including requests to process transactions.
  • The client’s physical appearance suggests an inability to care for himself/herself. The client seems confused, nervous or afraid.
  • The client is disoriented with his/her surroundings or social setting. The client’s home seems unusually disorderly (e.g., piles of unopened mail).
  • The client is making decisions that are inconsistent with his/her current long-term goals or commitments.
  • The client cannot manage his/her own checkbook, financial affairs or other personal matters.
  • The client appears to be concerned or confused about missing funds in his/her account.

This is not a complete list. There may be other signs of diminished capacity. If a client is exhibiting these or other behaviors related to diminished capacity or financial exploitation that raise concerns, you should discuss those concerns with IFP Compliance at 813-341-0960 or email us at [email protected]. Client Retention Through a Transition Publish Date; 7/9/2018 Author: Ned Van Riper

Video Transcript

When I work with advisors, especially wirehouse advisors that consider breaking away from their firm, they always ask me about client retention. What drives client retention during a transition?

In my experience, the answer is simple: it’s the advisor’s service model. Meaning, how often do they meet and speak with their clients? And the answer to that will drive client retention. With strong client relationships, client retention is often 75% or more during a transition. Often times it’s within 90 days of a transition.

Horror Stories

We’ve all heard horror stories about the lone advisor that made a move and didn’t bring any clients with them or a very low percentage of his or her book during a transition. I think that’s probably happened and if so it’s likely because they didn’t serve their clients. With that said, I think it’s become more of an urban legend within the industry and it’s just a scare tactic and fun to talk about.

But leaving a brand name firm may not be a big deal when the relationship exists between the client and the advisor. It’s not between the client and the firm. So, if as an advisor you have a very strong client service model, there’s a good probability that many of your clients will come with you.

A True Story

Many years ago, I helped an advisor in Cleveland, Ohio move his practice and he tells a great story about client retention. He segmented his book – A, B, C and D, as most as advisors do – and the A clients received absolute white glove treatment. He wanted to do whatever it took to get those clients, his best clients, to move with him. His B clients received just one notch under the A clients. Pretty much the same great service and attention. And his C and D clients received communication, a couple phone calls about his move, but if they didn’t respond to him, he didn’t bring them with him. After his move he said he was more efficient and more profitable than he ever has been in his business life and he was very thankful for it. Every story is different, but this illustrates one potential scenario.

Thank you for checking out this entry into our recruiting series and we hope to see you next time.

Before I was the gatekeeper for everything involving content at IFP, I worked at a marketing agency in Tampa. While I worked there, it was my sole responsibility to ensure that each time a client started a blog, it hit the ground running and continued to captivate their target audience for years to come. In my mind, it became an art.

I could make tile laying projects sexy, discount airport parking seem like the only way to park, and beer look like a great alternative to water. No, I’m kidding – I’m not that full of myself. However, I am good at what I do, which is building an audience and finding a way to connect with them to sell a service or product. Today I wanted to discuss some tips I’ve learned over the years that might help you start or build your blog into the great resource you know it can be.

Find a Voice

Personality is hard to inject into writing. Read some of the text messages you get from people and notice how little the words reflect that person’s quirks, features, and well-known traits. Does it sound like them? Probably not.

Sadly, this is a hurdle many blog writers fail to overcome. Without some serious personality or a unique take on the topics they discuss, a blog becomes little more than a checkbox item that some search engine optimization (SEO) guru told you to check. It’s just words on a page at that point. All I’m saying is, if you want to make some noise, make some noise. Create a voice for yourself and add some personality to your writing to keep people coming back for more.

Write for Yourself

I remember my first job when I was writing 4-5 blog posts a day for clients in a variety of industries. I was writing Dick’s Sporting Goods with my cup of coffee and Macy’s with my late lunch, bored out of my mind with topics like, ‘Top 10 Reasons to Buy New Cleats’ or ‘5 Reasons Your Red Dress Doesn’t Work’. As a creative, it’s soul sucking. As a person like yourself with limited time in the day for writing, you need to find a passion for it.

Blogs require some serious start up time before they get rolling. Without passion, it’s easy to fall off the wagon a few months in and spend the time you’d otherwise be writing doing something you love to do in your spare time. If you’re like most, a jet ski sounds a hell of a lot more fun than sitting inside on Saturday thinking up new ideas for the blog. To overcome these temptations, you obviously need some passion for writing and brainstorming fresh approaches to keep your audience on the hook.

Consider the Layout

Now that I’ve written (and you’ve read) about 400 words of this blog post, it’s time to break it up a bit. Remember that my audience (hey, that’s you right now) doesn’t want to read a wall of text without any visual elements to give some variety. Therefore, I have created the beautiful graphic you see to the left, which has undoubtedly renewed your interest in this article.

In all seriousness, I recommend always trying to mix a few graphics into your articles to give your readers’ eyes a rest or to easily identify a place for a break.

Be Thorough

First, let’s talk about length. While you can absolutely sneak by with 400 words on days you really need to get some work done, I wouldn’t recommend doing it often. My typical article is somewhere in the neighborhood of 1,200 words, but I don’t want you to only focus on a number when considering length. Consider starting with a base and building on it. While the first iteration may be a few hundred words, you can continue expanding it ad nauseam until it reaches your goal.

Either way, it all comes down to SEO. If your article is detailed and extensively covers a specific topic, you are far more likely to organically attract visitors than if you have a series of short, vague articles.

Now let’s talk about finding some eyes to read your hard work.

Build an Audience

Unfortunately, finding an audience is the hardest part of owning your very own blog. While there’s no magic bullet, there are ways to pull outsiders in, if only for a moment.

Social Media

Social media can be a fantastic starting place to capture some eyes, although it can be fairly time consuming and there’s going to be some days you feel like giving up. We live in a noisy world with thousands of individuals trying to get their blog noticed just like you, so you need to make an impact. This is why I recommend retaining a social media expert that can dedicate their time to promoting your blog and company.

If you don’t have the budget or just don’t feel like hiring someone to help out, I’ll be writing a follow-up post about engaging on social media in the new few weeks.

Guest Posting

Find a blog or news provider that offers guest posting opportunities. Some individuals may ask you to pay a small fee for a spot on their website – don’t do it. There’s no reason to pay them money and many times the amount you pay is not worth the link equity you’ll receive.

Advertising

Advertising is an option if you prefer to pay, although I also recommend you look for a professional to help out. Aside from building the visual assets required, you’ll need a real strategy to reach your target audience while spending the smallest amount of money possible.

Guest Star on Podcasts

Some of our advisors have seen some serious success as guests on podcasts in recent years. Try to identify a few podcasts (locally or nationally) that will let you on for a segment discussing plan participant needs, personal finance, or some other facet related to our industry.

Now that you’ve heard enough about building your audience, let’s talk about how we’re going to keep them coming back for more.

Retaining Your Audience

We touched on this briefly above, but I wanted to create a section you could refer back to when scanning this article. Alright, so we’ve got all these people reading your blog, engaging in the comments section, and telling all their friends about the amazing information they received from your posts. Now comes one of the easier parts: keeping them around.

Regular Posting

Set a schedule and stick to it if possible. Readers need more and more content and it encourages them to revisit your website if they know it’s constantly evolving.

Seek and Respond to Engagement

Ask your readers for comments, likes, and shares and foster a friendly environment that encourages people to interact with your posts. This helps establish an emotional connection to your posts and possibly your personality.

Build a Network

As you grow, keep in touch with other bloggers and persons of interest in your social circle. The more involved you are in the community, the more likely people are to recognize your writing and learn more about you. Don’t isolate yourself!

My Last Thoughts

I recognize that I’ve just thrown a lot at you and it can seem overwhelming. The truth of the matter is that you just need to start somewhere, writing whenever the mood strikes to grow your blog. Motivate yourself to put pen to pad and you’re already better than the vast majority of people in this industry that haven’t put pen to pad in years.

If you have questions for me or comments on my article, send me an email! Thanks for reading and I’ll catch you next time.

The other day I walked into a financial advisor’s office and was immediately meet with wall pattern designs from the 90s, drop-out ceiling tiles, and a bowl full of Werther’s Originals chilling on the counter for good measure. While I appreciate the trip down memory lane to the early 2000s when I was waiting for my physical at the doctor’s office, this isn’t the type of environment you probably want to foster for clients.

As you can probably guess from the title, I wanted to talk about office space today and how you can produce a more inviting space with some simple tweaks. Let’s jump right in.

1. Make the Lobby Memorable

The lobby is the first place clients see when visiting your office. Consider that it sets the mood for their entire meeting, meaning it could relax them or it could cause them to be slightly unnerved. Also consider that it reflects on your business as a whole. Are you trustworthy? Does your firm strive to take a modern approach to financial advice? Do you care about your clients?

The lobby’s atmosphere can be far more impactful than you might think, especially if you’re going out of your way to ensure it’s a pleasant experience.

Wall and Flooring Design

If you’re still clinging onto one of those zigzag designs or another painfully dated pattern, it’s time to make a change. Make sure the new walls and flooring are something you feel represents your business while also serving to sooth and reassure current and prospective clients.

Furniture

Nothing says ‘come on in and sit down’ like a dusty floral couch with one of those protective plastic covers or a sterile plastic chair with no place to rest your arms, right? Furniture can make a serious statement to people visiting, especially if the seating is outrageously comfortable. It’s also important to consider the color and style and how it pairs with the rest of the room.

2. Introduce Special Favors

Now, if you’re going to introduce something cool for clients to get excited about, it certain isn’t going to be that bowl of old candy you’ve got sitting in a corner. No, we need something that puts a smile on their face.

Beverages

A soda, coffee, or cup of orange juice is perfect for setting the tone of a meeting. We want them to feel comfortable in the office and ready to have a productive conversation with their trusted confidant. Don’t forget to offer refills if their meeting stretches beyond the typical time period!

Food

It might be worthwhile to offer a few smart snacks such as granola bars or fruit while they wait. Unless they ask, I probably wouldn’t offer this amenity past the lobby, as it might prove to be a bit awkward to have them chowing down while you’re discussing their finances.

Reading Material

Magazines are a waiting room classic, although you can offer books as well if you’re so inclined. Also, do us all a favor and keep the magazines up to date. As interesting as it was, no one wants to read that article from 1972 about how Watergate is currently affecting our economy.

Free Wi-Fi

As long as your clients aren’t planning on hacking the NSA from your wi-fi network, I’d recommend giving them free access. It’s a small perk, but it can make their time in the waiting room that much more pleasant.

Charging Station

Although we hope your clients are waiting for too long, providing an area where they can charge their phone can be a godsend. Should their phones die in the waiting room, it could put them in a bad mood before they even get in your office.

3. Create an Impression

An impression is as much about presentation as it is setting the atmosphere. With a few simple tweaks, you can make a big splash with clients before they even sit down in your office.

Smart Technology Usage

Everyone has a clipboard. You go to your doctor’s office, it’s a clipboard. You go to your dentist, it’s a clipboard. You go to your optometrist, you guessed it – it’s a clipboard. Either remove the sign in process or make it fun with a tablet to simplify the entire ordeal while digitally cataloging meetings with clients. It’s a win-win.

You can also use text messaging to remind clients about their appointments and confirm they will attend. This can be an effective way to engage with clients, ensuring they will attend their meeting.

Use Surveys

Want to know what your clients truly desire? Ask them! Surveys help everyone involved; clients feel like they’re heard and you’re able to use that precious feedback to enhance the office visit experience for next time they drop by. However, remember to make the survey simple and easy to answer. No one will appreciate spending 30 minutes filling out the most monotonous survey they’ve ever received in their life.

Final Thoughts

This might seem overwhelming to you. I get it. Start with something small and work yourself up to the big stuff like furniture or completely redecorating. Also, if you’re not really keen on enhancing the lobby experience, try sprucing up your office a bit. Add comfy chairs, offer beverages from the mini fridge, or change up the design of the room.

Either way, it’s about making clients happy and getting them to enjoy the experience of visiting your office.

Thanks for reading and I’ll see you next time. If you have any questions about this article, send it to my inbox and I’ll get back to you as soon as possible!