How to Conduct Virtual Team Meetings – Effectively
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How to Conduct Virtual Team Meetings – Effectively

By Matt Oechsli | @mattoechsli Let’s face it, most people don’t like meetings. Why? Because even in the best of times many meetings are deemed “unproductive,” which translates to “a waste of time.” Yet our research continues to identify “effective team meetings” as one of the common denominators of both elite financial advisors and elite teams. Amidst these challenging times when many financial advisors and team members are finding themselves working remotely, effective team meetings have become even more essential. But many of these team meetings must be conducted virtually as not everyone is working in the office. So how do you keep everyone engaged? How do you prevent “I’m not sure I heard you clearly,” which could mean, “I was looking in my refrigerator for the creamer for my coffee and wasn’t expecting a question to come my way.” We are inherently social creatures, and now that we’re being isolated from everyone (not just colleagues), and working remotely, virtual team meetings take on a dual role: they keep everyone connected on a social level (people even miss seeing that person who always got on their nerves) and, if conducted properly, they enhance the overall effectiveness of the team.  We have discovered that there are...

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5 Mind Power Tips to Help You During This Crisis
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5 Mind Power Tips to Help You Through This Crisis

By Matt Oechsli | @mattoechsli News is streaming in 24/7 from every media source imaginable, and none of it is positive. Couple this with the innate “negativity bias” inherent in human nature and this COVID-19 crisis is like strong winds blowing on a wildfire.  However, the human mind is an amazing thing. If we take the initiative, we can program it to function constructively in a manner that will enable us to better navigate these troubled waters. We are the only species on the planet with this ability. And this doesn’t mean denying the current challenges. Just prior to this pandemic, I was conducting a workshop to a group of advisors when during a break one pulled me aside and said with tears in his eyes: “You saved my career. I heard you some 30 years ago and kept all your Winning the Inner Game of Selling material. Ten years ago my wife was diagnosed with cancer, she’s fine now, but my life and business fell apart and it was re-engaging with your Winning the Inner Game materials that pulled me through.” You can imagine how I was moved – Wow!! I was reminded of the importance of this inner game of life – all...

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The Hidden Social Prospecting Opportunity
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The Hidden Social Prospecting Opportunity

By Stephen Boswell and Kevin Nichols | @stephenboswell | @kevinanichols Social prospecting might seem like an oxymoron in times of social distancing, but it’s actually more powerful right now than in a long-term bull market. With news headlines like “worst crash since 1987,” people are talking about the economy and markets. There is a legitimate concern, and despite what you might think, not all financial advisors have been in contact with their clients.  Done properly, social prospecting is just a natural extension of the calls you’re probably already making. We’ve taught financial advisors how to talk business with social contacts for years. The key difference right now is that your approach must be done by phone, with empathy, and with finesse.  You’re looking to strike a delicate balance between positioning yourself as a resource and being seen as too opportunistic. Here’s a way to be proactive, without being off-putting.  Step 1: Call all your social contacts to check on them personally. That’s right. Just ask them “How are you?” Do they have the supplies they need? Do they have an at-risk family member? Are they quarantined?  If your conversation ended here, that’s okay. At least you were in contact with them and showed them you care. But...

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5 Tips for Managing a Remote Team
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5 Tips for Managing a Remote Team

By Matt Oechsli | @mattoechsli Thanks to the coronavirus pandemic, working remotely has become the new normal. As simple as it might sound, this is not a natural transition for many people. When you add in the fact that schools are closed and children are home, and that people aren’t able to get out of the house as much as they’re accustomed to, you’ve got a recipe for stress. It’s important to help your team remain calm, focused, and engaged. The following are 5 Tips for managing a dispersed workforce… 1. Know each team member’s personal circumstance. Are they able to set up a home office? What equipment will they need? Will there be children at home that need attention? Are any of their family members in the vulnerable category (parents, grandparents, etc.)? Understanding their reality is essential in understanding how you’ll work together in the coming weeks. 2. Modify your communication. Working remotely will require you to reformat your team’s communication. In times of crisis where everyone’s emotions are, at best a bit frayed, it’s important to communicate on a personal level. Use this as an opportunity to sharpen your video conferencing skills. Also think through your internal chat. Do you use a chat service...

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Taking a COVID-19 Leadership Role
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Taking a COVID-19 Leadership Role

By Matt Oechsli | @mattoechsli Amidst the stock market tanking, contradictory messaging from medical experts and politicians, and a 24/7 coronavirus drumbeat, confusion, fear, and panic reign. And referring to this as the “new normal” has an apocalyptic tone that isn’t helpful. Today’s environment is in desperate need of local leadership, at any level. But you don’t need to be a healthcare professional to pitch in and help. We all can do it.  My wife, Sandy, suggested a little act of kindness. “Matt, why don't you go check in on (neighbor) Gwen and Hal? They’re older, and you should let them know we’re here for them.”  I rang the doorbell of this elderly neighbor couple (in their 80’s) and offered to run any errands they might need during these challenging times. This simple offer brought my neighbor to tears. This switched on the proverbial lightbulb in my brain. People are scared, but they are also proud, often too proud to ask for help.   So, what’s leadership amidst this COVID-19 pandemic? It can take many forms from acts of kindness to providing fact-based information and guidance.  Financial advisors are in a unique position with a book of clients, a pipeline of prospects, and COIs. First things first:...

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Ramp Up Referrals
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Ramp up Referrals

By Stephen Boswell and Kevin Nichols | @stephenboswell | @kevinanicholsAs you plan for 2020 marketing, remember this: some advisors get more referrals than others. The big question is why? It depends largely on the relationship they’ve forged with their clients. Think about why clients refer for a moment. It’s not because their friends cannot find a good financial advisor, no matter how hard they look. It’s because they like the advisor and want to help. The Oechsli Institute’s latest research helps illustrate this dynamic:How would you classify your relationship with your financial advisor?Purely Business62.5%Business and Social33.3%Unsure4.3%-Oechsli Institute 2020 Affluent Research One-third of today’s affluent have a business and social relationship with their advisor. In other words, they spend time together outside of the office enjoying each other’s company. Look at the impact this has on the number of times the affluent recommend their advisor to friends or family members:How many times did you recommend your advisor to a family member, friend, or colleague last year?#BusinessBusiness/Social031.6%11.3%113.2%6.0%222.8%21.8%3+24.4%51.1%Unsure8.0%9.8%-Oechsli Institute 2020 Affluent ResearchThose with a business and social relationship were more than twice as likely to have given three or more recommendations over the past year. 31.6% of those with a business-only relationship never recommended their advisor...

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The Science of Getting Agreement
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The Science of Getting Agreement

By Matt Oechsli | @mattoechsli Imagine improving your ability to persuade an affluent prospect to meet with you. How about convincing them to become a client? Or agree that your fees are fair? Well, you're in luck. Two behavioral scientists, Matthew Feinberg and Robb Willer, have conducted numerous experiments with over 1,000 participants in the realm of settling the political arguments of today. What they discovered was that in this politically charged environment, where an argument with a family member or close friend over political views can seriously injure a relationship, was that compliance rates increased (an agreement was reached) when one person reframed his or her message to leverage the beliefs of the other. In other words, Feinberg and Willer concluded that to win someone to your position, don’t challenge their beliefs by continually restating your beliefs (differences of opinions can become toxic), rather connect your position to their beliefs. Granted, this might require emphasizing only one aspect of their overall belief, but one that you agree with.  This research regarding opposing beliefs in the crazy realm of politics can easily be adapted to your world as a financial advisor, whether it’s a conversation with a prospect, a potential professional alliance, or even a client.  For...

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How to Develop a Stable of the Best CPAs in Town
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How to Develop a Stable of the Best CPAs in Town

By Matt Oechsli | @mattoechsli I stumbled onto a terrific article that is perfect for tax season: How to Find the Best CPA or Tax Accountant Near You by Janet Berry-Johnson published in Wirecutter. Ms. Berry-Johnson’s audience was the general public, but I think it has some great implications for you as financial advisors. Your objective is two-fold: 1). Identify the best CPAs in your area to refer affluent clients and 2). To develop a referral alliance with as many of them as possible. Berry-Johnson’s article begins with a bold warning: Why you need to be careful when choosing a CPA. She then writes about how the IRS assembles a “Dirty Dozen” list of tax scams every year.  Not only is this interesting, but it can also be useful to the forward-thinking financial advisor.  How? By staying informed, developing a process for identifying the best, and honing a process for communicating all of this to clients and prospects.  Step 1: Get a copy of the IRS annual “Dirty Dozen” – at the very minimum, this can serve as a conversation piece with your top 25 clients. The basic message is that we want to make you aware of these latest tax scams – if you see one,...

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Is it Time to Hire?
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Is it Time to Hire?

By Stephen Boswell and Kevin Nichols | @stephenboswell | @kevinanichols Over the past two decades, the Oechsli Institute has researched thousands of elite financial advisors. One of the consistent findings, year after year, is that elite financial advisors hire in advance of a need for personnel. In other words, they focus on capacity-leading-demand instead of capacity-lagging-demand.  This is only applicable to teams who are in (or want to be in) a growth mode. There’s no need to add personnel for the sake of adding personnel. When you think about hiring, questions arise like, “Can I afford a new team member?” “What would the new team member do?” “What will I do with more available hours?”  Perhaps the biggest question is, “When’s the right time to hire someone?” Here are a few tell-tale signs that it may be time to take the plunge and hire personnel: 1. It’s costing you money The biggest sign that it’s time to hire someone is that saving money is actually costing you money. If you’re unable to take advantage of opportunities because of capacity or expertise of staff, it may be time to hire someone else.  For example, if your time could be spent on business development that results in new opportunities and...

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How 95% of Decisions Are Made
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How 95% of Decisions Are Made

By Matt Oechsli | @mattoechsli According to Harvard professor Gerald Zaltman, 95% of purchasing decisions are subconscious. Translation: affluent consumers aren’t as savvy as they’d like to think. Zaltman’s research highlights the fact that… People make major decisions based on emotion (subconscious feelings) and then attempt to support their decisions with logic (conscious thinking). This might be one of the reasons affluent clients don’t credit their financial advisor when their portfolio is up in a bull market. The marketing attributes of a particular product, including features and benefits, prompt bored reactions and garner poor results overall when they are the primary topic in a conversation, presentation, or marketing campaign. Why? Because too many are often feature-dominant and fail to engage the subconscious, the emotional element of decision making.  Luxury products are the poster children for emotional decision making. The status and prestige associated with owning a high-end Mercedes are universal throughout the world. However, a high-end Hyundai, for half the price, would be the logical (conscious thinking) choice. It’s just as comfortable, less expensive to maintain, and has equal passenger and trunk space – and the money saved can be an investment with their financial advisor. Both vehicles’ marketing targets an emotional feeling the consumer...

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