Radical New Strategy for Advisors in Asset Planning

asset planning

Family asset planning

Have you ever considered providing asset planning for the whole family when consulting with your clients?

Forbes October magazine has an interesting article about a pilot program from an advisor with Wells Fargo.

We probably all know of situations in which a family death began a feud over what money and possessions remain. It doesn’t seem to matter if it’s great amounts of money or small. It always has the potential to get unpleasant.

The program highlighted in this article seeks to counsel families in how to plan for the inheritances – before death – so that everyone makes the best use of the assets. Parents are finding comfort through this program in discussing their financial standing openly and honestly with their children so that they can plan to make the best use of their inheritance. It also gives peace of mind to the parents that their gifts will be used appropriately and not be wasted on foolish gains and activities.

The clients noted in the article are, admittedly, dealing with massive amounts of money. Maybe you have some of those clients yourself. Maybe your clients with less money could benefit from a similar approach as well.

Take a look at the article and see what you think. This program is reporting huge success and say they have people beating down the doors to be involved. Could this work for you in your practice?

Cutting Trees

What does cutting trees have to do with RetirementView?

Well, it’s an analogy really. If you read my previous post (and April newsletter article), you would have seen the saga of cutting trees down in my yard. The cycle we’ve seen seems to represent the cycle of business – Torrid’s to be specific. Maybe it sounds familiar to your business as well.

Problems: Limited Growth

Scorched Earth: Cutting Trees

In case you missed it, the tree in my yard had been struck by lightening. While it had survived, it looked sort of deformed with a chunk blown out of it in the hit PLUS it had gotten so big that no grass could grow around and/or under it. It just really needed to go.

Actions: Cutting Trees

Cutting trees is an expensive endeavor! We asked all our friends if they had anyone they would recommend who was licensed, bonded and reasonably priced. Well, we found just the right guy and he brought out his crew to do the job. They had that thing down, chopped up and hauled away in no time at all. Now that the tree was down, it amplified how truly awful the yard looked.

Discomforts: Not So Pretty

Our yard was really more dirt than grass and with the tree gone, that was never more obvious. This giant ugly bald spot in the yard was horrifying. On top of that, it’s been raining here all summer. The good – things are growing and it hasn’t been so hot – the down side – the dogs come in muddy every time they have to go out. Since we’re hoping to grow new grass, the rain was welcome and Resolve Carpet Cleaner has never been happier! Ha!

Due to all the rain, they were unable to get the stump grinder in here for a couple of weeks and once they ground it down, all the rain kept us from getting the shavings cleaned up as quickly as we would have liked.

Results: Getting Better

New Growth: Cutting TreesIt’s been almost 2 months now since the cutting of the tree. Things are looking much better and it’s difficult to believe this is even the same yard! The grass is spreading rapidly across the bald spots now that the sun can reach the ground. We still need to do a little clean up and some more growth is needed but things are definitely on the upturn!

So what about Torrid?

We’ve done some cutting trees through growing and changing this year. Technology changes quickly these days – I’m sure you know. Some of the elements in our program, while they worked fine, weren’t as aesthetically pleasing as we would like. There were some elements that needed to change PLUS we’re experimenting with a web based version as well.

It’s taken some pruning and “tree cutting” of the software and some of the backend programming and working with you to fix some small bugs and inconveniences . We appreciate your assistance and patience as we work through those! Our programmers have spent some LONG hours fine tuning countless details and figures as well as millions of lines of programming. BUT, in the end, we believe we’ve made strides to a better product. A product that, after some of the difficulties in the building process, you will notice to be better and make your user experience better – which makes a better experience for your clients as well.

Since technology is ever changing, so are we – always looking for what could make a better software. Our earnest desire is that you notice that too…and please let us know when you encounter something that would be helpful to you. The best way to submit suggestions is by emailing us at support@torrid-tech.com.

What about your business?

Are their places that you need to prune? Do you need to dig out some decaying roots? Does the soil need tending – fertilizing or watering? Once you make the decision to change and go through the discomfort that inevitably comes with that, ideally you see growth and THEN you can sit back and reap the benefits of all your hard work.

How we can help!

You will notice that one of the biggest changes we’ve made this year is that now you can open all files on both Mac and Windows computers.  Some of our advisors purchase the Couples Edition ($249) and the Personal Editions ($149) and sell that back to their clients. Then their clients can keep up with some of the changes in their financial picture during the year. Then, when they are due for an annual review, they can email you the file prior to that meeting. You can then both come to the meeting better prepared and informed to make some decisions. If that is of interest to you, please give us a call and we can give you more details on the discounted prices available to advisors for the Personal and Couples Edition packages.

We hope you have a wonderful summer and if your plans include a vacation, we wish you safe travel!

 

April 2017 Newsletter

How is it already April?  This year just keeps HOPPING along.

Read the newsletter here!

Ideas For Retaining Customers

customersRetaining a customer is just as important as getting a new customer when it comes to improving your financial top and bottom lines.  According to MarketingWizdom.com, the average business loses around 20 percent of its customers each year by failing to attend to customer relationships. The site found that in some industries, this leakage is as high as 80 percent.

Keep your clients and customers happy

Once you’ve won over a customer, stay in touch with them. Keep them informed of any new products and/or services you have started. You could even sweeten that by offering them a discount. Inc.com notes that giving a gift, or free sample or trial, are great ideas, but this works best if you use the “element of surprise.” According to Inc, “People naturally remember when something surprised in a good way because it came out of nowhere, so you want to leave that lasting impression.”

Use psychology

According to HelpScout.net, psychology studies have shown that people view their service experience as more positive when they don’t feel rushed. But they like it when the service includes an effort to find more about their key interests.

Create a marketing campaign

Marketing campaigns can be useful not only because they attract new customers but also because they remind your old customers to come back. Remember, don’t discount too deeply, it will affect your profits.

Good old fashioned kindness

Call your customers just to ask if they are continuing to enjoy their purchase.

When the customer is not right

Understand that there are some customers you will never be able to keep. They will complain and make demands, and regardless of your efforts to please them, they won’t be happy. For these types of customers or clients, it may be best to let them go. The time and money you spend on trying to retain them won’t be worth it.

What has worked well for you?  We would love to hear your success stories!

Leprechauns & St. Pat’s Day

st_pattys_leprechaun_2March is getting to be “St. Patrick’s Day” MONTH as people celebrate the Irish green.  Where did St. Patrick’s Day come from?

According to Wikipedia: Saint Patrick’s Day was made an official Christian feast day in the early 17th century and is observed by the Catholic Church, the Anglican Communion (especially the Church of Ireland), the Eastern Orthodox Church, and the Lutheran Church. The day commemorates Saint Patrick and the arrival of Christianity in Ireland, and celebrates the heritage and culture of the Irish in general.  Celebrations generally involve public parades and festivals, cèilidhs, and the wearing of green attire or shamrocks.

I’ve always wondered how Leprechauns have been associated with St. Patrick’s Day and tried to find it online.  I found a lot of sites talking about Leprechauns, but none that say why they are associated with St. Patrick’s Day.   This is the info that I found courtesy of  http://www.holidayinsights.com.

Leprechauns, or little people, are Irish fairies about two feet tall. Leprechauns are dressed in green and are shoemakers. They can be found by following the sound of their hammering. They are believed to have hidden away a pot of gold. If you catch a Leprechaun, they have to lead you to their treasure. But, be wary, if you take their eye off of them they will get away.

Leprechauns are sly creatures, and will try to trick you into looking away so they can escape and not have to give you their treasure. They are also a bit of a loner, and rarely seen in groups. Seldom do you even see pairs of Leprechauns together.

Just curious, do your clients view you as a “Leprechaun” financial advisor?  That now that they’ve caught you that you are going to bring them a big pot ‘o gold?  My guess is you have to “manage expectations” so that they understand you are not a miracle worker.

I’ve looked at a LOT of retirement pictures and some look great, and others… well the person has just not been diligent enough in their savings.  Their expectations of how to live off so little in retirement probably lead them to a “lottery” mentality.  That they will win big.  Or that they will catch a Leprechaun and get his gold.

I’ve also met a lot of financial advisors that aren’t realistic about why they are not growing their practice.  They have very few leads and claim “I get referrals”.  They spend virtually no money on “real” marketing – by which I mean systematic efforts that bring real potential clients into their office on a regular basis.  Or worse, they try something one time and conclude “it doesn’t work”.

“Real marketing” requires ongoing continuous effort to track, assess, hone, and improve so that over time the marketing is bringing a profitable ROI.  It’s not a one-time expense.  It’s an ongoing effort.  Ideally, a “system” that is put in place and constantly worked.

If your practice is growing and you want to accelerate that growth “faster”, or if you want to put “something” in place that is foundational for generating leads, please contact my assistant Suzie at suzie@torrid-tech.com to set up a time to discuss your practice.  If you are broke and constantly chasing shiny new items procured by Leprechauns, please don’t waste my time.  Serious inquiries only.

Meanwhile, I think I just saw a Leprechaun running over that yonder hill.  I’d better ignore it and get back to some real work!

Tim Turner

Silver Anniversary

By Tim Turner

No, I’m not talking about Torrid Tech.  I’m referring to my marriage.  My lovely wife and I celebrated 25 years together in August.  If you are blessed enough to be married this long, you definitely will learn a few lessons that help smooth the ride.  These lessons are not just for marriage but for any relationship that you care about.

Be Forgiving – It’s not easy to do, but being forgiving and not keeping a running list of past wrongs will go a long way to drawing you closer together.  Being able to admit you are wrong on something is an important part of this lesson.

Be Intentional – Your spouse doesn’t always want you to “just wing it” especially when it comes to the relationship.  We have little traditions that show each other we care.  My wife always likes a good card for Valentine’s Day, her Birthday, and our Anniversary to name a few, but I go the extra mile and write my own poem in these cards. Yes, one that I make up myself!  It doesn’t take long but it speaks volumes in intentionally telling her how much I love her in my own words.

Be AvailableIf you aren’t around much because you work and travel all of the time, then it makes it difficult to grow your relationship.  Not impossible, but difficult.  Luckily I have not had to travel too much with my work.  But besides being in town, being available when you are in town is what I’m talking about.  My wife and I have often met for “dates” just for breakfast.  Yes, breakfast out.  It’s not as crowded and it’s less expensive than dinner. Or do lunch.  Every date doesn’t have to be a fancy dinner at an expensive restaurant.  There’s nothing better than meeting over a meal that no one has to cook or clean up for.  We also go on walks together as often as we can, usually every day after dinner.  This gives us time to talk and catch up on what happened in our day while doing something else important – exercising.

Be AdventurousFor our honeymoon 25 years ago I took my wife to France. This was BEFORE the internet.  I had to write letters to hotels to reserve a room and find out the exact prices.  It took a fair amount of planning and work.  But the adventure we had when we went on that trip made it all worthwhile.

25 years later – this summer – we went back to France and had just as much adventure as the first time.  We were able to visit many wineries in the Bordeaux region, as well as castles in the Loire valley.  We were able to go to Giverny to see Monet’s house and gardens, and end up in Paris for several days of site seeing including Versailles, Musee d’Orsay, Les Tuilleries, The Eiffel Tower (of course), and the Louvre.  One fun adventure we had was going to a cooking class where we shopped for the ingredients and then learned how to cook a number of dishes including mussels, coq aux vin, and poached peaches with vanilla ice cream.

Be OpenBy this I mean communicate”.  Don’t keep everything bottled up inside.  As men we typically want to keep our feelings inside and that makes it hard on your spouse.  Being open also means being open to “feedback” on what you can do better and what is going great without getting all bent out of shape about it.

I could write many other lessons I have learned in 25 years of marriage but there just isn’t enough paper in this newsletter!  I’m far from a perfect husband, but my best trait is that I keep on trying to do better. I guess you’d call that focused persistence. Some of these same lessons also apply to your relationship with your clients and customers.  Can you see some similarities?  I hope so, but keep the trips to France with just you and your spouse…

Effortless Marketing for Financial Advisors

Hey, if you are a financial advisor I highly recommend the book “Effort-Less Marketing” for financial book-effortless-marketing-smadvisors by Steve Moeller.

It has some great foundational chapters that talk about marketing without a bunch of technobabble.  The nuts and bolts of the “5 Steps to a Super Profitable Business and a Wonderful Life”.

I have recommended this book before and even given it away as gifts to clients.

If you’d like to see a MIND MAP of some of the principals in the book, here you go.  I think you can click to make it bigger:

Effortless Marketing for Financial advisors - Mind Map by Tim Turner

Effort Less Marketing Mind Map

Perseverance – Top Quality of Business Owners

Hello again and Happy New Year!  Wishing you much success in your practice this year.  

It’s time for all of us to revisit our goals both personal and professional.  What goals have you already set for 2016?  I often talk to advisors about their goals for bringing on new clients, growing their practice, having better time management, finally hiring new people, etc.

The trick to setting goals is to be “specific”.  It’s not just about “getting new clients”.  For example, getting more specific…”I want to add 5 new clients each month in 2016 for a total of 60 new clients”.  Then break that goal down into the “how” you are going to make that happen.

Remember that you can’t keep doing the same old thing and expect new and better results (assuming the same old thing isn’t really working).  You have to try new things.  Some will fail miserably.  Some will work great.  Some will fall in between there somewhere.

Did you know that” perseverance” is one of the top qualities of business owners?  Being able to persevere, adjust, change courses, and try new things to reach your goals.

Setting AND revisiting your goals AND working on them all are required to ACHIEVE them.  Let me tell you a story about Torrid.  About 3 years ago I set a goal to redo our website.  It was a bit dated and a little cluttered.  Too much information on the home page.  It was overwhelming for people to look at.  I realized we needed a complete redesign.

In 2013 I investigated our options.  We have our own web developers and thought about just having them do it all, but most of them are better “coders” than “designers”.  And I wanted fresh ideas anyway.   By the end of 2013 I knew we wanted to use WordPress, but that was about it.  I didn’t keep pushing towards the goal hard enough.  I kept procrastinating and putting it off.

In 2014 it was still on the goals list.  The website was still looking bad.  This time I broke it down into steps.  First, I ran a web design contest on 99designs.com.  I described what I wanted and let the designers battle it out.  It took way longer than I thought to just pick a winning design and get it tweaked.

Once the winner emerged, they just gave us the photoshop design files.  We then had to convert it to actual HTML and images for the web pages.  That is a bit of a special skill, so we hired a contractor to do that part.  That took a couple of months right there.  By this point we were already into 2015!

I doubled down determined to get this new website done.  I hired another firm that was going to convert it to a WordPress template.  They did that… in about 4 months.  But the navigation wasn’t right.  The images needed all kinds of sprucing.  And on top of that, we still had to set it up on our server AND move over all the content we wanted to still keep.

Still focused, but taking a lot of time, I had to hire yet another firm that would move everything from the development firm to our server.  Now luckily our own people manage our web servers and could set up the site and the WordPress and all that goes with it.  These new guys moved over the template and tweaked it until we liked it, including the navigation.   Then they moved over all of our pages.  It took a lot of work to get that done.

Our new site rolled out in the Fall of 2015, almost 3 years after I first set the goal!  So sometimes we have to “persevere”, but none of it would have happened if we hadn’t set the goal and pursued it relentlessly.

There are many ways to design a website and in retrospect I picked the “custom website” route, which is the longest, hardest, and most expensive route.  Regardless we did finally hit our goal and more importantly learned many lessons on the journey.

On the “success” side of goal setting, if you didn’t see the webinar we had one in December with advisor Bill Schultheis.  His firm Soundmark Financial grew 700% from $80 million to $550 million in AUM over about a 9 year period.  Talk about setting goals and hitting them!  If you haven’t heard his story you can see it at

www.DoubleYourAUM.com.

DoubleYourAum 

October Advisor Newsletter

Check out our Tech Talk Newsletter by clicking below.

You’ll find:

October FA

Marketing Your Way Across The World

Greece1

Not Georgia but Greece in Mykenos

Hi, I hope you and your family had a great summer. Wishing you and yours a wonderful Fall! Here in Atlanta we still have some heat but it’s starting to finally cool down at night. Hayrides, pumpkins and apple cider are here! North Georgia is simply a delight in the Fall with college football dominating the scene.

So it’s an odd contrast to talk about traveling overseas for this article, but I needed to continue this thread while it’s fresh on my mind. As I mentioned last month, my wife and I were blessed to visit Italy for our 24th anniversary trip over the summer. We were also able to take a short cruise to Croatia and Greece on the same trip.

What is the tie to “marketing” you might ask? Well, first of all I wanted to reiterate that 10 years ago we would never have been able to even afford this kind of trip. The ONE THING that has made the most difference in Torrid over the last 10 years is a focus on “marketing”.

Over the last 10 years I have been studying marketing, learning from marketing gurus, reading books, attending marketing conferences, trying new marketing methods and generally taking the job of “marketing” seriously. Something I knew little about and didn’t realize how important it was until I saw the “results” slowly producing fruit.

For financial advisors, you got into the business probably because you like people, or are good with finances. You are a technician and can operate your financial practice just fine. But without a consistent focus on “marketing”, you just can’t grow your practice fast enough.

Croatia

Along the Waterfront in Split Croatia

More and better marketing is what has allowed my wife and I to take the trip this summer to Italy and Greece. It was the “key” to make that happen. Without the marketing, the growth in our customer base and revenue would not be occurring. This allowed us the freedom and the financial resources to take the trip.

Now onto the trip so you can live vicariously for the duration of this article… Our first cruise stop was Split, Croatia – a place I never thought we’d visit in a million years. This city was a delight. Imagine stone streets and historic buildings facing a clean harbor surrounded by flowering plants and glorious mountains. Roman ruins, walls and towers gave a unique character to an easily walkable “town”. The food and wine were worth the visit.

Santorini Church

The Blue Domes are Churches in Santorini

Our first port in Greece was the scenic Santorini. We booked a bus tour to get a feel for the island. The views from everywhere were spectacular. Part of the tour we walked up to the top of a town to see houses and blue domed churches up close. Afterwards we took a taxi to a beach and enjoyed the seafood while relaxing by the ocean.

The next day we were in Mykonos. Wanting to avoid the crowds we shied away from the ship excursions and instead took a taxi to a nearby beach that the driver recommended. We set up at Atlantis hotel and beach with chairs and umbrellas. The water was crystal clear. The seafood once again delicious. Without all that “marketing stuff” we would never have been there.

After a day at sea we then visited Katakolon. I know we stopped here so people could visit the ruins of Olympia. We just weren’t interested in it and instead took an excursion bus to a beach. Unfortunately the beach wasn’t that great and was crawling with people selling stuff which made it hard to relax. Our intuition in Mykonos to take a taxi off the beaten path would have been best repeated here.Tim&MelissaGreece

When we were getting married in 1991, Greece was our dream honeymoon. Due to the Gulf War breaking out we couldn’t go, and instead had a wonderful trip to France. So it had been a long time dream to finally make it to Greece. We were so glad we were blessed with this chance. Santorini was certainly the jewel of this leg of our trip.

Do you have a place that you’ve dreamed of going? What plans have you put in place to get there? Spending time focused on your “marketing” to grow your practice should be at the top of your “to do” list…you will be well rewarded for your efforts.

FeastFromTheSea

Seafood ah the Seafood!

GreecianSunset

Sunset leaving Santorini

AtSea

Sailing around the Greek islands

BeautifulWater

Can you believe the color of Blue?

Greek Seafood

Love the seafood!

SplitCroatia

Diocletian’s walls in Split Croatia

ClearWater

You can see your feet in the water

Coastline

Taking the cable car slide down from Santorini

Ships

Greek sailing ships with island backdrop… up for sailing anyone?

Seaside

Relaxing at the beach in Mykenos

CoastalScene    IslandBeauty  SantoriniChurch2 Seaside2

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