Wednesday, July 4, 2007

I'm not Larry did make an interesting point about web-based CRM solutions- they do break down on occasion, or the Internet goes wacky or the server blows up.. yada, yada, yada.

It is important to have some sort of backup in place. There are several excellent offline "automatic" backups available where you can make copies of all your valuable documents with the touch of a button. The main value I see in an online solution is the ability to access it from almost anywhere there is web access and to set it up for everyone in your office at once.

ANY CRM you want to try out should give you a trial period so you can evaluate how easy and useful it is for you. If you want to try Pareto, call them 1-888-593-8020 to set up a trial. Tell them you read about it on FAN.

As far as I know, all the other online and software solutions offer free trials, some as long as three months. This should be long enough to tell if it will work in your practice. After all, if you don't like it- you won't use it.

(another neat little article from our friends at Pareto Platform- I have an account with them and I really love it.)

The Consulting Approach: A Strategy That Works

Pareto Systems (

Many financial advisors have built their businesses using a sales model, with varying degrees of success. However, many advisors have begun to move away from a sales-based business towards that of professional consultancy.

With a sales-based focus, there are long-term costs in terms of lost referrals. The effort is focused on the transaction and convincing the customer to buy or sell. Even if the advisor is a good "closer," few understand the harm this does to the client-advisor relationship over the long-term.

If the relationship blossoms, clients can still be subconsciously hesitant to send referrals to the advisor because they anticipate the advisor will try to "close" their friends, just as they were closed. In essence, the advisor has trained the clients that this is the way business is done.

With a consultative approach, however, the client perceives that there is a more professional process in place, one in which the advisor aims to understand the client's unique goals and objectives. This approach fosters a relationship unlike that which results from the sales approach. That is, the consultative advisor functions as an indispensable partner, in the center of the relationship.

With the advisor as consultant, the decisions are based on a predetermined plan, process and strategy. The "sale" is only a small piece of the process. As a result, the client is more likely to recommend the advisor and his process, and become an advocate. The more clients see their advisor as a consultant, the more they will involve the advisor in the intimate details that make up the critical financial events of their lives.

The advisor can expect various benefits from the consultative approach, including:

The manner of conducting business changes for the better.
Significantly improving the quality of working relationships with your existing clients.
Creating a level of professionalism in the business that positively impacts your credibility, attractiveness and referability.

The consultative advisor wants clients to feel the approach is all about them. He also wants to have a documented process to back up this client-centered approach. In this way, clients have an extremely positive experience and will not hesitate to recommend that experience to others.

There is no question that focusing your time and attention on the 20% of your clients who generate 80% of your revenues will yield you the results you are looking for; creating quality relationships based on trust and rapport.

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