All posts tagged Prospecting

  • Partners in Prospecting

    July 6, 2021

    You’re the Top: The Value of Advice as Your Differentiator – How to Stand Out from the Crowd

    In all of the economics, business and marketing training I’ve been exposed to over the last twenty-five or so years, there is alarmingly little emphasis placed on the importance of a strong Unique Value Proposition (“UVP”), and even less available to help you really understand what a Unique Value Proposition is and how you can develop your own UVP for your business.

    I went to the experts at Advocis for their advice. This Blog is adapted from questions posed to Barbara Riddell, Vice-President of Education and Membership at Advocis, Canada’s largest voluntary professional membership association of Financial Advisors, representing more than 13,000 members.

    Barbara is primarily responsible for education leadership, corporate business development, and strategic direction. She also oversees chapter relations, member services, and student services. More than 25 years’ effective leadership experience in financial services in product development, communications, training, and coaching have given Barbara the skills, knowledge, and perceptiveness to position Advocis as the industry standard in Advisor education.

    Question 1: What do you mean by the value of advice?

    That is a great question, and one that we examine closely in our Professional Financial Advisor Designation Program. A Financial Advisor’s value can be quantitatively defined by competence, proficiency and performance measures (such as portfolio value) but it can also be differentiated through significant qualifiers stemming from a unique combination of their skills, attitudes, experience, and education. These differentiators are what can set the value of an Advisor apart from the crowd, but they can be challenging to articulate as a value proposition. Layered into this – and perhaps more importantly – is how clients perceive the ‘value of advice’.

    Question 2: Can you tell me more about client perceptions of value?

    Just as value is unique to each Advisor, the value of financial advice can also mean something different to each client.

    For many clients, the growth of their portfolio assets might be the most critical piece of the value they assign to their Financial Advisor. Thus, an Advisor’s value is likely to be determined by wealth accumulation through superior portfolio performance.

    However, it is also true that what many clients value at one point in their lives may not be what they value in the future. The precipitating factor in this value shift is often a life-altering event, such as divorce, birth of a child, job loss, starting a business, death of a family member, inheritance, retirement, or even a pandemic! These events change relationships, alter client’s needs, and can impact their perception of value. The Advisor skill set valued in these situations is to have “under the table” discussions with clients to probe and understand their goals, help them maintain a long-term perspective, and taking a disciplined approach in adhering to their financial plan.

    In the 2021 article “Value of an Advisor Study – A sharper focus on the value of your advice” by Russell Investments, the value of an Advisor was quantified as a measure of the technical and emotional guidance a trusted human Advisor can offer. Having concluded that the overall value added by an Advisor in 2021 was 3.95%, the contribution of behavioural coaching to that value was a dominating 2.0%. This also reflects an addition to Advisor value of more than 1% over the previous year. This is not surprising given the challenging times of 2020 and it highlights the evolving Advisor role and the value they bring to clients.

    Question 3: How important is it to articulate an Advisor’s value to clients?

    Client retention is higher for Advisors who effectively communicate their value to clients. According to a 2019 survey by EY Global Wealth Management, “one-third of clients switched providers or moved assets in the past three years and another third plan to do so in the next three years.” Of the 2,000 individuals surveyed, the highest overall value for financial advice was during major life events and as wealth and investment knowledge increased.

    The global pandemic has been a hugely significant and life altering event, affecting Advisors and clients alike. As we begin to envision a post-pandemic world, there is the potential for Advisors to revisit their value proposition in this light – to consider the value brought to clients, to contemplate their behavioural coaching role and determine how to effectively communicate this to clients.

    Question 4: What tips would you have for Advisors on creating effective Advisor value?

    Some of the steps to bring value to clients or prospective clients:

    1. Know what clients want and when. Keep in mind the highest overall value to clients is during major life events and as their wealth and investment knowledge increases.
    2. Solutions to achieve financial goals are more important than products and services. Clients want more personalized advice and planning.
    3. Contemplate the value of financial literacy. Educating your clients translates into greater client retention. Consider the following from the aforementioned 2019 survey by EY Global Wealth Management: “Just 20% of clients with ’in-depth knowledge” would consider moving their assets elsewhere in the next three years, compared with 40% of clients with low levels of investment knowledge.
    4. Showcase your value beyond investment performance with discovery sessions and by utilizing a financial planning approach, including behavioural coaching.

    Question 5: Given the challenge of writing an effective value proposition, what advice would you give?

    As part of the Professional Financial Advisor Designation program, we looked at what experts say about best practices for crafting a value proposition that resonates with clients. Included below are best practices based on research conducted by Pershing (BNY Mellon).

    Creating a Value Proposition – Best Practices

    1. Your value proposition should include the following three basic promises as they have proven to resonate with investors:
      • Tailored solutions to meet the needs of clients
      • Work that will be in the best interests of the client
      • Access to experienced investment managers
    2. Although these promises are common amongst Advisor value propositions, you still need to consider adding them to ensure your value proposition will resonate.

    3. A message containing promises to simplify your client’s life appeals to a limited market: specifically, young and very high-net-worth clients. If one of these demographics is your target market, language describing simplicity may resonate – if not, however, your message may be lost or ineffective.
    4. If your investment philosophy is conservative and focuses on preservation of capital, then you should include this in your value proposition. Pershing and BNY Mellon research revealed that very few value propositions contained statements suggesting caution and prudence, such as:
      • We focus on income and capital preservation
      • We take a conservative approach to help you live comfortably today and protect your legacy for the future
    5. Investors place a very high importance on the values of trust, integrity, and accountability. However, this is not as simple as telling clients that they can trust you to handle all their financial needs. Trust, integrity, and accountability are demonstrated in your everyday dealings with clients and prospective clients and are not recommended for use in your value proposition. You may, however, be able to include this messaging on your website through testimonials from satisfied clients. Always make sure to get the testimonials approved by your compliance department.*
    6. Consider using the following recipe when formulating your value proposition, as all the value propositions that ranked highest in the Pershing BNY Mellon study contained each of the following ingredients:
      • Attributes: Characteristics of the Advisor, such as a firm’s size or years of experience
      • Benefits: What the investor gains because of working with the Advisor
      • Reason: A rational explanation of how the firm’s (or Financial Advisor’s) attributes produce benefits for the client
      • Emotion: Language that evokes feelings
    7. Review your target client market. Does your value proposition appeal to what you know are the needs and concerns of your target client market?
    8. Watch your language. Avoid the use of industry jargon and use plain language and an emotional appeal to craft your message. Where possible, link emotional and rational appeals together. Pershing and BNY Mellon found that some words resonate better than others. Here are some of the client preferences revealed in their findings:
      • Comprehensive over holistic (88% to 12%)
      • Comprehensive over expansive (85% to 15%)
      • Unwavering over committed (84% to 16%)
      • Passionate over dedicated (81% to 19%)
      • Comprehensive approach over 360-degree view (80% to 20%)

    Remember, that it is always a best practice, and in your best interests, to go over any client-facing materials you create with your compliance team.

    Whether you are a new Advisor looking to create a UVP from scratch, or a seasoned advisor who wants a UVP refresher, your prospects and clients will be convinced “You’re the Top”.

    As usual, there is a song title hidden in this blog post. What is the song and who is singing it?

    About Jennifer Kuta

    For more than 25 years, I have worked with Advisors helping them build their businesses. My commitment to you is to partner with you in your practice and offer solutions to help build your business.


    *Refer to OSC staff notice 33-747 www.osc.gov.on.ca page 34-35 for guidance.

    Investment involves risk, uncertainty and assumptions. The value of investments rise and fall and there is a risk you may not recoup the amount originally invested. Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future performance.

    The contents of this blog are the personal views of the author and individuals referenced in the post, and not necessarily the views of Caldwell Investment Management Ltd. The contents are provided as general in nature and should not be relied upon nor construed to be the rendering of advice. Readers should consult with their own compliance/legal advisors for advice on their specific circumstances before taking any action as sales and prospecting activities are subject to regulatory oversight.

    The information contained herein is from sources believed to be reliable, but accuracy cannot be guaranteed. No representations or warranty, expressed or implied is made by Caldwell Investment Management Ltd. or its affiliates.

  • Thomas S. Caldwell, C.M.

    Chairman

    June 9, 2021
  • Partners in Prospecting

    May 5, 2021

    Simply the Best: How Financial Advisor Designations Can Affect Customer Experience

    It is important for your prospective clients to know that their potential Advisor has sufficient training, knowledge and experience to advise them on the issues that matter most to them and, often more importantly, on the issues they may not be aware of.

    Before deciding to partner with a Financial Advisor, many clients research (either by calling or visiting a potential Advisor’s website) the background, experience and qualifications of the Advisor. Advisors I have worked closely with have told me that the most visited page on their website is “About Our Team” and this is an excellent place to talk about the team’s designations and qualifications.

    Many Advisors, I have spoken to, recommend that clients ask their potential Advisors the following questions:

    • What special qualifications and experience do you have?
    • How many years have you been in the Industry?
    • What are your areas of expertise?
    • What courses/designations have you taken since you first became licensed?

    In this post, I am interviewing Barbara Riddell, Vice-President of Education and Membership at Advocis, Canada’s largest voluntary professional membership association of Financial Advisors, representing more than 13,000 members.

    Barbara is primarily responsible for education leadership, corporate business development, and strategic direction. She also oversees chapter relations, member services, and student services. More than 25 years’ effective leadership experience in financial services in product development, communications, training, and coaching have given Barbara the skills, knowledge, and perceptiveness to position Advocis as the industry standard in Advisor education.

    JENNIFER: From what you’ve seen over the last five months, to what extent are Advisors taking the opportunity (as they work from home, etc.) to enroll in or work towards higher designations (such as the licensing and certificate programs that Advocis offers)?

    BARBARA: At the start of COVID and the subsequent shift to working from home, we saw an initial drop in new registrations, which makes sense given that an Advisor’s number one priority was connecting with their clients. After the first few weeks, however, we began to notice a marked increase in the interest level for online courses and designation programs. This has continued with particular strength in designation programs like the CFP and CLU programs and continuing education courses. The shift to professional development is supported by a growing number of distributors encouraging and for some, mandating designations, within their Advisor distribution channels. Fostered by the Ontario Financial Professionals Title Protection Act (2019), Advisors are anticipating the proposed education requirements to hold either the Financial Advisor or Financial Planner title and pursuing these through organizations which are applying to have their designation programs recognized. Advocis is applying to have the CLU recognized for Financial Planner titling and to have the PFA recognized for Financial Advisor titling. As more financial professionals earn a designation, the annual continuing education requirement that follows will also need to be met with an expanding CE inventory; and so, that is growing exponentially as well.

    JENNIFER: Do you think there will be a trend towards Advisors deciding to pursue additional designations/credentials into 2021?

    BARBARA: 2020 started off strong and 2021, while flattening for some programs, is continuing to show growth. Indications at this time suggest that the interest and commitment to pursue additional designations or credentials are in line with the changes we are seeing – and expect to see – in the marketplace. In addition to consumers paying closer attention to their financial health, and governments and regulators in Ontario and Saskatchewan passing legislation on title protection, experience and the professional credentials to back it up are going to become increasingly important.

    JENNIFER: Which qualifications do Advisors seem to be pursuing, in particular? (What specifically are they doing to improve their skills?)

    BARBARA: Since the onset of the pandemic through to March 31, 2021, we’re seeing a maintained growth in program registrations for the CLU and CFP – both of which are considered to be advanced designations. We’ve had an exceptional 84% year over year (January 2020 – January 2021) increase in the CLU program alone.

    Having a professional designation is always a good way to differentiate your services. It shows clients that you are dedicated to a higher professional bar, and that you are committed to staying up-to-date through continuing education. They can be especially helpful when working with high-net-worth or corporate clients who tend to be more discerning.

    We have been very pleased to see the strong response to our new, entry-level Professional Financial Advisor (“PFA”) designation. We believe that many Advisors have taken COVID-19 as an opportunity to pursue this as their initial step after licensing as a means of upgrading their knowledge and skill set to better serve their clients, as well as to differentiate themselves from other Advisors right from the start.

    JENNIFER: According to Leger Poll – February 2020, “72% of Ontarians feel that regulations that require professional designations would help protect them. The same proportion also feels that other provinces should adopt similar regulations to better protect all Canadians.” Would you consider these Advisors to be especially forward-thinking/looking? What are they seeing day to day/in their businesses right now, that might encourage the pursuit of higher designations?

    BARBARA: Prudent Advisors should be looking ahead to what the post-pandemic world could look like for both their practices and their clients – and prospective clients. The economy, the industry and the consumer environment have been impacted in ways that we could not have imagined a year ago.

    We commissioned a Leger poll in February 2020 to better understand Ontarian’s awareness and perceptions related to Ontario’s Financial Professionals Title Protection Act and it was interesting to note that almost three quarters of those surveyed felt that regulations that require professional designations would help protect them. And this was BEFORE the pandemic hit us.

    No one knows what challenges and opportunities are left to come, but some Advisors see professional development as an important strategy to being better positioned for growth.

    JENNIFER: Tell us about your designation programs. Can you start with your newest designation, the PFA (or Professional Financial Advisor designation)? Can you tell us why this designation might appeal to some Advisors out there – particularly those who are looking to get ahead and be better prepared for the post-pandemic market and consumer environment?

    BARBARA: The PFA is a unique integrated designation program that targets the needs of today’s newer Advisor. It offers a strong financial planning base, an incredible practice development platform to demonstrate ‘the how’ of developing critical skill sets to succeed and provides a relevant framework to understand professional ethics along with compliance and regulatory responsibilities. It’s also unique in that we’ve built in a strong professional development pathway to make it easy to move from PFA to other designation programs like the CHS, CLU or the CFP.

    JENNIFER: Anecdotally, why do you think more Advisors have been interested in pursuing higher designations? (Is it to prepare their practices for the future, improve skills/offerings to clients, set themselves apart from other professionals, increase marketability? Do you think they feel these qualifications will be necessary post-COVID?)

    BARBARA: I think that the added flexibility of working from home has allowed some Advisors to pursue a designation that perhaps they’d been putting off due to lack of time. But I also believe that many Advisors are turning a strategic eye to the future and what the industry and consumer environment will look like post-COVID. They want to be prepared as best they can to address their clients’ financial situations and goals and for their businesses to not only survive, but thrive. If the spike in registrations for our designation programs tells us anything, it’s that some Advisors are going to come out better positioned for growth relative to their peers at the end of all of this.

    As usual, there is a song in the title of this blog post. What is the song and who is singing it?

    COMING SOON: In our next blog post, Barbara will focus on how Advisors can distinguish themselves from all the competition out there by illustrating how they add value.

    About Jennifer Kuta

    For more than 25 years, I have worked with Advisors helping them build their businesses. My commitment to you is to partner with you in your practice and offer solutions to help build your business.


    The contents of this blog are the personal views of the author and individuals referenced in the post, and not necessarily the views of Caldwell Investment Management Ltd. The contents are provided as general in nature and should not be relied upon nor construed to be the rendering of advice. Readers should consult with their own compliance/legal advisors for advice on their specific circumstances before taking any action as sales and prospecting activities are subject to regulatory oversight.

  • Partners in Prospecting

    February 1, 2021

    Show Me the Way: A Step-by-Step Process for Delivering an Excellent Virtual Event

    In one of our blog posts from last year, we discussed the steps involved in creating an outstanding in-person event. In many parts of the country, the pandemic has changed the way that we communicate with our clients and almost everyone has had to adapt to the “new normal.” Thankfully, even those who are not digital natives can continue to share their expertise with their clients and use online tools to host informative and engaging virtual events, where clients can participate from the comfort of their own homes.

    This blog post focuses on the steps required to deliver a flawless online experience with seminars for your clients and prospects.

    Pre-Webinar Planning Steps

    • Think about your desired outcome. How many prospects versus existing clients will you invite? How many leads will you convert? What sort of increase to your AUM have you set as your goal?
    • Decide on topics. Remember not just to promote your services. Think as well about topics your clients would want to hear about such as “TFSAs versus RRSPs” and strategies for optimizing their contributions. Make it educational and to the point.
    • Get a guest speaker. You may want to invite a speaker on your selected topic. Sometimes a guest outside of Financial Services (a psychologist discussing coping with COVID-19, for example) will be a big draw. You can give a financial update at the beginning and then introduce the guest to your invitees.
    • Obtain a brief bio of your guest and promote their strengths and what they bring to the table.
    • Prepare presentation materials. Will you or your guest speak with a Power Point presentation, charts or give a live demonstration?
    • Decide on the day and time. From our experience Tuesday or Wednesday evenings work well. Make sure that you give yourself enough time to prepare and your guests are invited well in advance. We recommend sending the invitation (more on webinar invitations below) a week before the event.
    • Decide on the technology. Decide on your webinar platform. Be it Zoom, Webex or Microsoft Teams, be sure to ask your Dealer what they consider compliant. Set up your event so that you have included all the links and dial in information for your guests and guest speakers. If your Marketing or Compliance Department has Co-Operative Forms for you to complete prior to the event, please remember to do so.
    • Make signing in simple and straightforward. You must be sure the sign in details are very explicit.
    • Decide on the registration process. Do you want your guests to register in advance? Do you want them to send you RSVP? Or do you want them just to be able to join when the time comes?
    • Design an invitation. Think about what you would like to have on the invitation: your information (logo, picture, bio, contact details), your guest’s picture or bio, any other visuals, sign in information or registration details (depending on your process). Make it inviting and easy to follow. The benefits to the participant should be highlighted, e.g., “By the end of this webinar, you will have gained, adapted or learned…” Make sure that your agenda is clear and the invite gives an idea of what to expect from the event, e.g. “Prepared remarks will run for approximately 30 minutes followed by Q&A session”. Check with your compliance team regarding your disclaimers and regulatory prescribed information.
    • Create a master list of names and e-mail addresses for both clients and prospects. At this time, you are going to invite your potential participants using e-mail blast software such as Mailchimp, where you can export the e-mail addresses, or just send invitations from your mailbox. Think about your strategy on when to send the invitations and if you are going to send the reminders a few days later. Depending on your registration process and webinar platform, reminders may be sent automatically.
    • Promote your event. You may use your website and social media channels to make more people aware of the upcoming event. Make sure to include all the necessary details.
    • Send the reminders. If the software you are using to host the webinar does not send out reminders to the registrants, then you must do so yourself. We recommend sending a reminder an hour prior to the presentation.

    Test, test, test!

    • Have a dry run. Ensure the technology is working properly. What do you want to appear on your attendees’ screens? All speakers (gallery view) or active speaker only? Are you going to share any materials? If yes, who will be sharing it? Check your camera position. Make sure that the sound and picture work and sit up straight. Check to see if there is anything in the background that will distract from your presentation. If you are using remote desktop applications – you may consider to connect to your video conference software directly, to avoid any video/sound issues.
    • If feasible, have a dry run with the guest speaker to work out any delivery issues.

    Conducting the Seminar

    • Spend a few seconds on housekeeping and encourage your guests to participate. Inform them if they can ask questions and how to do so.
    • Minimize distractions and noises. Make sure that when you (or your guest) are not presenting, the microphone is muted and the video is off.
    • Ensure you set the stage for the event and include:
        1. A Purpose (“The purpose of our presentation today is…”)
        2. A Plan (“I will give a brief update on my 2021 approach and then turn it over to our guest speaker who share her thoughts on…”)
        3. A Pay-Off (“By the end of this presentation you will have learned…”)
    • Engage your audience with a brief story or key interesting statistic, tell them how to ask questions and tell them you have a feedback questionnaire at the end of the event.
    • Have a call to action, (“In the days following this seminar our team will be following up to obtain your feedback…”)

    Post-Seminar follow up

    • Collect feedback questionnaires and ensure each and every one of the participants is contacted via e-mail or phone.
    • Ask questions around what your participants liked and gained from the seminar. In addition, ask for constructive pointers and desired topics for your next event. If applicable, don’t be hesitant to ask for next steps (a 1:1 meeting to discuss product for example).
    • Consider having a replay. This may be useful for those who couldn’t attend or missed the invite.
    • Consider sending follow up materials. This is the time to share some of the materials used during the webinar or send additional information on the topic.

    Now that you have the steps in place to conduct an effective webinar, please remember that as a partner of Caldwell Investment Management Ltd., you have access to our Portfolio Managers (PM’s) who have experience speaking with retail clients. Advisors who have partnered with our PMs for webinars consistently tell us that clients appreciated our PM’s jargon-free approach to investments. Make sure to connect with your compliance department to get a formal approval and proper guidance on the regulatory process for arranging such event. Please reach out to us if you are interested in having one of our staff members to act as your guest speaker. We are ready to assist you through the process and contribute to the success of your virtual event!

    As usual, there is a song in the title of this blog post. What is the song and who is the band who sings it?

    Thank you to Oksana Poyaskova, our Marketing Manager, for lending her insights.

    About Jennifer Kuta

    For more than 25 years, I have worked with Advisors helping them build their businesses. My commitment to you is to partner with you in your practice and offer solutions to help build your business.


    The contents of this blog are the personal views of the author and not necessarily the views of Caldwell Investment Management Ltd. The contents are provided as general in nature and should not be relied upon nor construed to be the rendering of advice. Readers should consult with their own compliance/legal advisors for advice on their specific circumstances before taking any action as sales and prospecting activities are subject to regulatory oversight.

  • Partners in Prospecting

    November 30, 2020

    Connection: Four Simple Steps to Help You Grow Your Client Base Using LinkedIn

    Are you bombarded with messages urging you to use social media for networking and business development? Are you overwhelmed and at a standstill as to how to proceed? In this blog, I’ll be introducing you to four simple steps to get you started with LinkedIn.

    Why LinkedIn? It is the premier business connection network and used by more than 660 million business professionals around the world.

    As always, be sure to check with your Compliance department to ensure you are following your firm’s policies regarding the use of social media and that you have the proper disclaimers.

    The four steps to getting started with LinkedIn are:

    1. Create a brief profile for the front page of your LinkedIn account.
    2. Introduce yourself to prospects using the Note function.
    3. Post articles and comment on what makes them interesting.
    4. Get referrals from your existing client/contacts.

    Creating a profile for the home page of your LinkedIn account.

    You can create a profile on your home page to introduce prospects to your specialties as an Advisor. Do this by writing out your Unique Value Proposition (“UVP”). Have a brain storming session with your team and/or family to figure out what really sets you apart from your competition. Some tips for the brain storming session include:

    • What sort of market are you most drawn to work with?
    • How successful has your marketing effort been to date? What’s working well? What are your strengths and accomplishments? What are your current issues, challenges or barriers?
    • What makes you unique? Why do prospects become your clients and remain your clients?

    Introducing yourself to prospects using the Note function.

    Using LinkedIn to search for potential prospects is a good idea. Perhaps your UVP is targeted to small business owners. Resist the temptation to just push the button to send a LinkedIn invitation to a prospect. Instead use the “Add a Note” function which gives you 300 characters to indicate why the prospect should “Link-In” with you. Be sure to include a couple of benefits or highlight common “pain points” to let these prospects know how your expertise can help. If the prospect sees a benefit in “Linking-In” with you, they will be less likely to ignore your request.

    Post articles and comment on what makes them interesting.

    Most people get overwhelmed because they think they have to write articles on LinkedIn to attract attention. While that may be your ultimate goal, you can get started on LinkedIn without self-authored material. Look for interesting articles a prospect may find helpful and personalize the discussion by adding your own opinion. For example, you may find an article about how important Financial Advisors are in peoples’ lives. You could post this article and ask your network: “On a scale from 1 to 10 how would you rank your current Advisor?” Follow this with another question such as, “What would it take to get them to a 10?” The sooner you engage your network the better.

    Get referrals from your existing client/contacts.

    Look at the LinkedIn clients with whom you are already connected and go through their contact list. Select those contacts to whom you would like to be introduced and ask your client permission to contact them. If they know the type of client that you are looking for (i.e. business owners or executives) your existing clients will likely be more inclined to help. I have helped many Advisors obtain referrals from their existing client base and it was successful because:

    • Once your existing client connections understand the type of clients you are looking for, they can help in identifying who among their contacts can benefit most from your expertise.
    • Once you have permission to use their name to approach these new prospects, the prospects will be more likely to accept your invitations because they trust the existing contact’s recommendation.
    • It also can offer you another touch point with your existing connection/client and in some cases an opportunity to collect a testimonial.

    The techniques I mention are included in the free LinkedIn service. Once you are more comfortable and successful using LinkedIn, there is a paid subscription you may want to explore. Among other features of a subscription to LinkedIn is the opportunity to see the name and contact information of visitors to your LinkedIn profile. Of course, there are other social media options such as Facebook and Twitter. As you speak with existing clients as well as new prospects, get in the habit of asking them which form of social media they are most likely to use.

    As usual, there is a song in the title of this blog post. What is the song and who is the rock group who sings it?

    About Jennifer Kuta

    For more than 25 years, I have worked with Advisors helping them build their businesses. My commitment to you is to partner with you in your practice and offer solutions to help build your business.


    The contents of this blog are the personal views of the author and not necessarily the views of Caldwell Investment Management Ltd. The contents are provided as general in nature and should not be relied upon nor construed to be the rendering of advice. Readers should consult with their own compliance/legal advisors for advice on their specific circumstances before taking any action as sales and prospecting activities are subject to regulatory oversight.

  • Partners in Prospecting

    October 7, 2020

    Help! I Need Somebody: Three Key Traits in an Exceptional Sales Assistant

    The Balance Careers website defines a Registered Broker’s Sales Assistant’s duties as “A broker sales assistant helps financial advisors, traditionally referred to as brokers, with time management by handling routine client inquiries. Most questions are related to account maintenance matters, allowing financial advisors to devote more time to their value-added activity, providing investment advice.”

    If the above definition of a Sales Assistant’s role is all you are looking for, then you may inadvertently be putting limits on what they can do for you and your business.

    I’ve worked with several exceptional Advisors whose top three Practice Management Challenges are:

    • Improving practice profitability,
    • Managing existing clients, and
    • Work/life balance.

    Exceptional Advisors hire support staff with these challenges in mind.

    So how can you ensure you hire the right Sales Assistant to help you? Whether you are hiring a new Sales Assistant or training an existing one – this is a vital question.

    Here are the three most valuable traits to look for when hiring an exceptional Sales Assistant:

    1.    Ability to make outbound calls

    With all of our technology constantly evolving, some say that making outbound phone calls is a dying art, and I totally disagree. There is still no better way to make and keep strong connections than in-person meetings, virtual meetings or phone calls. In addition to seeking out new clients, outbound calls for Sales Assistants could include obtaining testimonials and referrals from existing clients, following up on prospects that have gone cold, or using prospecting scripts for business professional and business owners. Make sure to check with your compliance team if you require pre-approval or any kind of licensing to engage in your prospecting efforts. Whatever the reason for outbound calls, it is important to ensure that your new team member will not shy away from using the phone. The younger generation clearly prefers “texting” to talking so this may not be as easy as you think. However, you may be able to narrow down your list of prospective employees if there is any inclination that they are hesitant using the phone. Ask the applicant directly: “What is your experience and/or comfort level dealing with people you don’t know on the phone?” Or just call them on the phone and see how they respond.

    You may even want to give them homework (if they make your short list) and have them create a script for cold calling business owners. By including your Sales Assistant in key practice profitability tasks, such as outbound prospecting calls, you will have taken steps to expand your outreach considerably.

    2.    Ability to act as a gatekeeper

    Inbound calls are just as important as outbound calls and a skilled gatekeeper plays a key role in screening calls. Exceptional Advisors know that although they’d love to be able to speak with all of their clients regularly, the reality is that they don’t have enough hours in the day. The Sales Assistant steps in by developing deep relationships with existing clients so when these clients have an issue or routine question, they feel comfortable speaking with or e-mailing the Sales Assistant. Managing existing clients effectively takes team work and exceptional Advisors recognize this.

    3.    Tech savvy or marketing background

    As an Advisor, it is important to know the competitive landscape you are competing in and an exceptional Sales Assistant can help you with that navigation. The average business consumer is bombarded by thousands of messages a day. It is crucial to design marketing communication programs, which coordinate all promotional activities in order to provide a clear and consistent message from all mediums (e.g. social media, marketing materials and your website). In order to achieve the various objectives for the year, your Sales Assistant should concentrate on four key areas:

    • A streamlined outbound call process,
    • Enhancing web presence,
    • Integrating social media, and
    • E-mail campaigns through a Contact Management System (“CRM”).

    Needless to say, this is all subject to the compliance rules and company’s policies on the use of social media and may require pre-approval. All your e-mail campaigns should also adhere to CASL and privacy rules.

    These aren’t the only traits you would look for in a Sales Assistant. Enthusiasm, willingness (if not already licensed) to become licensed, and an eye for detail in preparing paper work are a few more to consider. If your Sales Assistant possesses an ability to make outbound calls, is an exceptional gatekeeper and is internet/marketing savvy, then you can concentrate on your own top three challenges – practice profitability, managing your existing clients, and achieving a work/life balance.

    As usual: There is a song title in this blog post. Did you find it?

    About Jennifer Kuta

    For more than 25 years, I have worked with Advisors helping them build their businesses. My commitment to you is to partner with you in your practice and offer solutions to help build your business.


    The contents of this blog are the personal views of the author and not necessarily the views of Caldwell Investment Management Ltd. The contents are provided as general in nature and should not be relied upon nor construed to be the rendering of advice. Readers should consult with their own compliance/legal advisors for advice on their specific circumstances before taking any action as sales and prospecting activities are subject to regulatory oversight.

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