More by the Same Author
2014-10-21 How to Compete with Online Advice: The Historical Lessons by Dan Richards (Article)
Online start-ups offering low-cost investment advice have received lots of attention, not to mention over $200 million dollars in venture capital. What lessons does history offer on the likely impact of online advice? And based on what's happened in the past, how can advisors respond to this new threat?
2014-10-14 The Five Seconds When You Can Lose a Prospect by Dan Richards (Article)
When you meet with prospects, how long does it take for them to form the initial opinion of you that will shape their lasting perceptions? The scary answer: Five seconds or less. To maximize the chances of a positive outcome from an initial meeting, advisors need to get a number of things right.
2014-10-07 A Q3 Letter to Clients: How to Navigate Rough Waters by Dan Richards (Article)
Each quarter I post a template for a client letter, as a starting point for advisors who want to send clients an overview of the three months that just ended and an outlook for the period ahead. Be sure to customize the letter to reflect your views, especially when it comes to recommendations for the period ahead.
2014-09-30 The Client Calls You Need to Make Today by Dan Richards (Article)
It's understandable that advisors get frustrated when clients panic after small declines in the market. Here some strategies to minimize the disruption and actually turn market downturns to your advantage.
2014-09-23 Why "Healthspan" Trumps "Lifespan" for Clients by Dan Richards (Article)
Advisors spend a great deal of their time with clients who ask, "Will I run out of money?" As a result, few issues get more attention than the sustainable withdrawal rate in today's environment. But new research shows that an equally pressing question is, "How can I enjoy life in my 60s, before health issues creep in?"
2014-09-16 Why Account Minimums Threaten Your Business by Dan Richards (Article)
The disciplined implementation of ever-increasing account minimums has boosted productivity for many advisory practices. Yet those same account minimums threaten the future sustainability of advisor practices, if applied too rigidly. Here's why.
2014-09-09 The #1 Hot-Button Topic for Wealthy Families by Dan Richards (Article)
The financial and emotional cost when important topics go undiscussed is so great that in many cases, facilitating that conversation is the No. 1 way that advisors can make a positive impact in the lives of wealthy clients.
2014-09-02 How to Raise Sensitive Issues with Clients by Dan Richards (Article)
Important issues - so-called elephants in the room - threaten the financial futures of clients and their families. Clients and advisors normally recognize these issues, but because they are emotionally charged, they are difficult to discuss. Here are three steps to talk about these subjects.
2014-08-26 Feedback That Motivates Your Team by Dan Richards (Article)
Last week's article outlined new research into how to motivate your team. One of the best strategies is giving consistent, quality feedback. Here are nine ways to provide feedback that motivates your team.
2014-08-19 Five Steps to a Passionate Team by Dan Richards (Article)
Few things are more important than keeping your team motivated and staying motivated yourself.
2014-08-12 Low-Pressure Ways to Follow Up With Prospects by Dan Richards (Article)
For many advisors, the part of the business they hate the most is following up with prospects. I was reminded of this in a recent conversation with a veteran advisor who has done a great job of building visibility and relationships among an affluent community of prospects, but is struggling to turn those relationships into clients. I made three suggestions to help him move forward with the people in his target community.
2014-08-05 The Toughest Conversation with Clients by Dan Richards (Article)
Good advisors are used to challenging conversations with clients about unrealistic expectations and sticking to plans in tough markets. But going forward, no conversation will be more difficult than the one about how much you charge - especially when we enter the next market downturn. You need to do three things to handle those conversations effectively.
2014-07-29 20 Predictions for 2039 by Dan Richards (Article)
The shifts in the next 25 years will be just as substantial as those in the previous 25 years, and the most successful advisors will be those who are able to anticipate and adapt to these changes. Here are 20 predictions for what the financial-advising business will look like in 2039.
2014-07-22 Time to Rethink How You Deal with Top Clients by Dan Richards (Article)
Airlines like American, Delta and United are unlikely role models for customer service. Yet there is one area in which these airlines excel and from which advisors can learn: how they treat their very best customers.
2014-07-15 The Tool to Get Clients to Make Tough Decisions by Dan Richards (Article)
Research on an approach called "pre-commitments" sets out a path to help you persuade clients to make a tough decision when the original rationale for making a purchase has changed.
2014-07-07 Track Daily Progress to Move Your Business Forward by Dan Richards (Article)
Few of us will ever run the 26 miles of a marathon. But you can apply some lessons from new research on marathon runners to hit your own goals and help clients hit theirs.
2014-07-01 How $500 Can Propel Your Online Presence by Dan Richards (Article)
Summer is traditionally a slow time for many advisors. If your online skills aren’t up to snuff, the next eight weeks may be the best chance to ramp them up that you’ll see for another 12 months.
2014-06-24 How Proactive Advice Increases Client Loyalty by Dan Richards (Article)
You can certainly have clients walk away feeling good about staying the course, but you have to typically work harder to get clients to buy into that than to making shifts in their portfolios. Here are five proactive conversations you can have with clients.
2014-06-16 Are Your Clients Meetings Like Visits to the Dentist? by Dan Richards (Article)
In their desire to give prudent advice, sometimes advisors fail to deliver the positive messages that clients need to stay motivated and on track. Worse yet, some advisors' approaches leave clients feeling that their next visit will be a chore.
2014-06-10 A Single Word that Improves Results by Dan Richards (Article)
Today's article focuses on just one word that can improve outcomes in conversations with existing and prospective clients, as well as team members and even family members.
2014-06-03 The Question that Gets Prospects to Act by Dan Richards (Article)
Today, prospects talk to multiple advisors before making a choice. Here's a simple question that will set you apart from your peers and increase your odds of winning new clients.
2014-05-27 Five Steps to Get Out of a Rut by Dan Richards (Article)
Five simple strategies have proven successful in breaking the logjam caused by inertia - and making change happen.
2014-05-20 Are the Pictures on Your Website Costing You Clients? by Dan Richards (Article)
Why do most advisor websites look similar - often with stiff photos of team members smiling uncomfortably into the camera?
2014-05-13 How One Advisor’s Website Lands a New Client a Week by Dan Richards (Article)
Last week an advisor responded to my recent article on building your reputation, The Surprising Number One Driver of New Clients, in which I outlined five strategies for building credibility. In that email and a subsequent conversation, this advisor described how last year his RIA attracted 58 new clients from its website.
2014-05-06 The Six Most Costly Words for Your Business by Dan Richards (Article)
Every advisor knows the most dangerous and expensive words when it comes to investing - "It’s different this time." An email in response to a recent article led me to conclude that there’s six words that are just as costly...
2014-04-29 How High Expectations Can Hurt Your Business by Dan Richards (Article)
It’s conventional wisdom that ambitious goals and high expectations go along with success. But a recent conversation with a top-performing advisor and some groundbreaking research show that having expectations that are too high will actually damage your business.
2014-04-22 The Surprising Number One Driver of New Clients by Dan Richards (Article)
Among sophisticated clients, referrals aren’t the most important determinant in deciding on an advisor. Here’s what is.
2014-04-15 The Quality that Defines Star Performers by Dan Richards (Article)
Why do so many advisors work incredibly hard to build their practices, reach a solid level of success - and then plateau? In the last 30 years, I’ve worked with hundreds of those stuck advisors and with a few who reached increasingly higher levels of success. I’ve identified one trait that separates the two groups.
2014-04-08 How to Avoid the Coming Crunch on Advisor Compensation by Dan Richards (Article)
Here are the two key ways that life will look very different for financial advisors in 10 years: a change in the structure of advisor practices and downward pressure on compensation.
2014-04-01 More Ticking Time Bombs that Threaten Your Business by Dan Richards (Article)
Last week I discussed four inevitable changes in how Americans invest. This week and next, I’ll focus on four aspects of advisory practices that are unsustainable. These four issues will cause significant changes in the next 10 years - or perhaps sooner.
2014-03-25 Four Inevitable Changes that Threaten Your Business by Dan Richards (Article)
If you step back and look at the status quo in the advisory business and ask yourself what things simply don’t make sense and are unsustainable as a result, you will come up with a surprisingly long list. Today’s article focuses on inevitable changes in the investing environment.
2014-03-18 The Four Questions Every Prospect Wants Answered by Dan Richards (Article)
What’s the best way to introduce yourself when meeting with a prospect for the first time?
2014-03-11 How to Connect with a $3 Million Prospect by Dan Richards (Article)
At some point, most advisors have succeeded in scheduling a meeting with a large prospect, often after a lot of time and effort. When you only have 30 minutes, how do you maximize the chances of a positive outcome?
2014-03-04 The Hour That Drives Your Day by Dan Richards (Article)
What’s the one hour that defines your productivity for the balance of the day?
2014-02-25 More on Building a $250 Million Practice by Dan Richards (Article)
In last week’s column, I outlined four steps a rookie advisor needs to take to build a $250 million practice within 10 years. Here are five additional steps to hit that goal.
2014-02-18 Building a $250 Million Practice from Scratch by Dan Richards (Article)
We can learn from rookie advisors who, despite all the obstacles, are building large practices from scratch. To achieve a peak level of success entering the financial advisory space today, you have to get a lot of things right. I’ll cover four foundational decisions today and wrap up with some others in next week’s column.
2014-02-11 Three Ways to Make Your Message Resonate by Dan Richards (Article)
Except for the most analytical of clients, effective communication does not mean more facts, figures or statistics. Instead, there are three core approaches to make your message resonate.
2014-02-04 The Actions that Lead to Top Performance by Dan Richards (Article)
In my 30 years of experience dealing with successful advisors, I’ve seen as many paths to success as there are successful advisors. And for those advisors with a well-established practice, that’s actually a good thing - if there was a simple formula for success, the barriers to entry for new advisors would go way down and the flood of successful competitors would put downward pressure on pricing and compensation. Despite the lack of a universal route to success, I have found that successful advisors engage in nine key activities.
2014-01-28 The Three Drivers of Exceptional Success by Dan Richards (Article)
Any suggestion that there’s only one path to success is fatally flawed. As I look back at my 30 years working with extremely successful advisors, what strikes me is the variation in the approaches taken by advisors. That said, there are three categories of behavior that extremely successful advisors share.
2014-01-21 New Research: The Unexpected Variable that Leads to Referrals by Dan Richards (Article)
Few topics get as much attention as the best way to increase referrals. Some of ideas I’ve heard including coaching clients to better understand and communicate your value, becoming the safe choice in a targeted niche and "create raving fans" by delivering an outstanding client experience. Depending on what you read and who you believe, each of these is the key to increased referrals. None of these are what truly drives referrals.
2014-01-14 Three Steps to Effective Client Conversations by Dan Richards (Article)
How should advisors maximize the impact of their "face time" with clients? Here are three steps to effective client conversations.
2014-01-07 How to Triple Client Meetings in 2014 by Dan Richards (Article)
When it comes to getting a return on your time, nothing beats sitting down with existing and prospective clients. Yet when I talk to advisors, most struggle to arrange one meeting per day. Recently I spoke to an advisor who more than tripled client meetings over the last two years. Not only did his number of meetings go up, but the quality and productivity improved as well. Here are five key lessons on how you can achieve the same results.
2013-12-31 Making Your Research Pay Off in 2014 by Dan Richards (Article)
For all the time that advisors invest in conducting due diligence on managers and markets, most do a miserable job of leveraging the hours they spend in communicating with clients. Here’s how to change that in 2014.
2013-12-24 The Three Key Words in Client Conversations by Dan Richards (Article)
Here are four suggestions to help read between the lines in conversations with both existing and prospective clients, including the three key words that you should always be ready to say.
2013-12-17 How a Simple Sandwich Got a Top Prospect’s Attention by Dan Richards (Article)
Many advisors generously support charities and good causes in their communities and around the world. Here’s how to communicate that support to clients.
2013-12-10 How Service Screw-ups Can Create Happier Clients by Dan Richards (Article)
Companies mess up and let us down. And chances are at some point you’ve dropped the ball with your clients, where an unintended mistake caused frustration and inconvenience. But a recent conversation highlighted a four-step plan to turn service problems into client satisfaction success stories.
2013-12-03 How to Keep Prospects from Stealing Your Ideas by Dan Richards (Article)
After multiple meetings with prospective clients during which you provided recommendations on their situation, at some point every advisor has walked away feeling that someone took their advice and implemented it on their own. How do you prevent this from happening?
2013-11-26 How to Leverage LinkedIn with 10 Minutes a Day by Dan Richards (Article)
Failing to have a competitive presence on LinkedIn is a disadvantage when it comes to attracting clients.
2013-11-19 The Quality that Predicts Success by Dan Richards (Article)
What predicts the chances that a new member of your team will succeed?
2013-11-12 Three Ways to Turn Casual Contacts into Clients by Dan Richards (Article)
Most advisors routinely cross paths with people who are attractive prospects, whether at their golf club, get-togethers with neighbors or through charitable activity in their community. The challenge is how to raise the possibility of working together without appearing to be one of those stereotyped hustlers who give salespeople everywhere a bad name.
2013-11-05 Three Articles to Help Clients to Happy Retirements by Dan Richards (Article)
For many clients in their 50s and early 60s, the challenges to achieving happy and secure retirements have never been greater. Three recent articles will help you when talking to clients about retirement.
2013-10-29 How One Advisor Boosted His Team’s Performance by Dan Richards (Article)
Every advisor wants his or her support staff to operate to its full potential. A conversation last week with a senior manager at a leading bank provided insight into what advisors can learn from financial institutions on using variable compensation to drive performance.
2013-10-22 Is Your Website Sending the Wrong Message? by Dan Richards (Article)
Presenting yourself in a credible and professional manner is always critical, but never more than in the early stages of interacting with prospects, when they are forming their initial impressions. That’s why your website is so important ? after all, it’s the first contact many prospects will have with you.
2013-10-15 A Q3 client letter: Mike Tyson on Sticking to Your Plan by Dan Richards (Article)
Each quarter I post a template for a client letter, as a starting point for advisors who want to send clients an overview of the three months that just ended and the outlook for the period ahead.
2013-10-08 Four Lessons from Sport’s #1 Overachiever by Dan Richards (Article)
A New York Times article pointed out that this year’s baseball playoffs have more teams from the bottom 10 in payroll than from among the top 10 spenders. Here are four ways you can do more with less, drawing lessons from a baseball team that has outperformed despite being consistently outspent.
2013-10-01 Is Your Marketing Message Putting Prospects to Sleep? by Dan Richards (Article)
To be effective, your marketing message has to be differentiating and memorable ? and motivate potential clients to want to learn more. By that standard, most advisor communication fails.
2013-09-24 Four Ways to Attract Affluent Clients by Dan Richards (Article)
Attracting HNW clients is all about credibility ? as a result, it’s typically lower key, takes longer and requires an upfront investment of time and effort to position yourself to interact with HNW prospects.
2013-09-17 How One Advisor Attracts HNW Clients by Dan Richards (Article)
Recently, a California-based advisor explained how she shifted her practice to focus on affluent clients. Her success was the result of a simple but thoughtful five-step plan.
2013-09-10 Should You Ditch Your Elevator Pitch? by Dan Richards (Article)
When someone asks what you do, should you focus on the benefits you provide and describe how your clients are better off? Contrary to what you may have read about crafting a persuasive “elevator pitch,” I say the answer is “no.”
2013-09-03 Getting Prospects to Respond to Your Emails by Dan Richards (Article)
The chances that a prospect will open an email from someone they don’t know are slim. Advisors who rely on mass emails are increasingly challenged to find creative ways to get their message through. But a few advisors who are succeeding in attracting clients via email invitations told me of five ways they get past inbox filters.
2013-08-27 Five Essential Lessons from the Author of “Seven Habits” by Dan Richards (Article)
Who’s had the most impact on determining how businesspeople operate today?
2013-08-20 Five Ways to Get Families to Talk About Finances by Dan Richards (Article)
Every financial advisor sees clients’ lack of communication with family members as a problem. Here are five ways one group of successful advisors is addressing this gap.
2013-08-13 Why Clients Don’t Give You Credit for Your Hard Work ? And What to do About it by Dan Richards (Article)
Advisors work incredibly hard, but clients take that effort for granted. How can advisors get credit for all they do for clients?
2013-08-06 Three Steps to Make your Business Grow by Dan Richards (Article)
If you’ve got ambitious growth plans for your business, you need to track progress against three sets of objectives: three-year goals, one-year/quarterly goals and day-to-day goals. All three of these are essential for success ? but few advisors rigorously track progress in all of these categories.
2013-07-30 How to Fix the Flaws in Financial Planning by Dan Richards (Article)
Four-in-five financial planning recommendations don’t lead to action, according to a Forbes column. Our industry needs a fundamental reappraisal of how to create plans that translate into action and positive outcomes.
2013-07-23 Getting Past “Blah, Blah, Blah” When Talking to Prospects by Dan Richards (Article)
We’ve all had our eyes glaze over listening to someone who knows their topic well but goes on too long and gets into too much detail. A recent conversation at a backyard barbeque outlined how two successful advisors fell victim to the “blah, blah, blah” effect, but a third was able to clearly articulate her value and differentiate herself.
2013-07-16 How a Teenager and Skype Deepened Client Relationships by Dan Richards (Article)
Successful advisors are always on the lookout for cost-effective ways to deepen relationships with top clients. Last week, an advisor told me how he hired his son for the summer, and the two created an impressive offering that exceeded the expectations of his key clients.
2013-07-09 A Mid-Year Letter to Clients: A Positive Outlook on America by Dan Richards (Article)
Each quarter I’ve posted templates to serve as a starting point for advisors looking to send clients an overview of the three months that just ended and the outlook for the period ahead. This quarter’s letter focuses on why the U.S. is expected to be the leader among global economies.
2013-07-02 Becoming the Safe Choice for Your Target Clients by Dan Richards (Article)
When it comes to gaining clients, many advisors harbor this fantasy: Your phone rings and on the line is a qualified prospect with a million dollars, asking if you’re available to meet and talk about the possibility of working together. For most advisors, there’s only one way to make that happen, and that’s to become the recognized, go-to expert for people in a defined target community.
2013-06-25 Three Simple Ways to Ensure Clients Retain Key Messages by Dan Richards (Article)
Today’s article outlines why client communication gets derailed ? and three success stories from advisors who changed just one thing and saw their message stick with clients as a result.
2013-06-18 Three Time Bombs that Threaten Retirement Plans by Dan Richards (Article)
Three poorly understood developments threaten secure retirements ? without wishing to be alarmist, I will call them time bombs. These developments will change the retirement dynamic for many Americans: increasing lifespans, escalating medical costs as people age and safe withdrawal rates on savings dropping from historical levels.
2013-06-11 How Specialist Advisors Earn Twice as Much by Dan Richards (Article)
In any profession ? medicine, dentistry, law, accounting ? the average income for specialists is more than double that of generalists with the same years of experience. My experience with successful financial advisors who’ve built a niche practice confirms this, but first they had to overcome three common myths about developing a niche positioning.
2013-06-04 How a Golf Outing Led to a $2 Million Client by Dan Richards (Article)
Last week I spoke to an advisor with a billion dollars under management about how he turned his favorite activity into multi-million dollar clients.
2013-05-28 The Perfect Team Meeting to Start Your Week by Dan Richards (Article)
A focused, productive meeting with your team is the single most powerful way to start your week. Despite this, many teams don’t have those regular sessions to start the week ? and where meetings do take place, they often underperform versus their potential. For your team to believe that Monday meetings are a good use of their time, those meetings should achieve five goals.
2013-05-21 How Responding to Client Requests is Like Returning a Sweater to Sears by Dan Richards (Article)
A source of frustration for many advisors is the amount of time that’s consumed by mundane administrative requests ? things that clients don’t value and chew up a ton of time. But there is a way to take the time spent on routine matters and turn it into something that clients see as delivering quantifiable value. A veteran advisor told me how he did exactly that ? and enhanced relationships with the accountants for key clients in the process.
2013-05-14 Curing Smartphone Addiction by Dan Richards (Article)
For some people, smartphones lead not only to distraction but to burnout and reduced motivation. Ultimately, they reduce productivity rather than increase it.
2013-05-07 The Satisfaction Gaps that Cost You Clients by Dan Richards (Article)
Most advisors recognize that clients are unhappy with returns in the last decade, but believe they are satisfied with communication and the relationship as a whole. That’s why three recent conversations I’ve had with investors and advisors should set off alarm bells.
2013-04-30 How to Make a Big Impact in the First 10 Minutes of Your Day by Dan Richards (Article)
Can changing how you spend the first 10 minutes of your day make a big impact on your business? For one advisor who altered his routine in January, the answer is a definitive yes.
2013-04-23 How to Help Your Middle-Class Clients Retire by Dan Richards (Article)
The burgeoning field of behavioral finance points to some simple methods to help clients save more, invest their savings more effectively and maintain motivation through tough patches. Using these methods, advisors can help middle-income clients take the steps to increase the odds of being able to retire when they want, how they want ? and to reduce their stress along the way.
2013-04-16 Why Landing Clients is Like Dating ? and Seven Other Rules for Prospecting by Dan Richards (Article)
In the last 10 years, the dynamics of acquiring clients has fundamentally changed. Today’s article outlines eight new rules for prospecting; among them why gravity no longer moves prospects through a funnel and the need for a communications catalyst as a result.
2013-04-09 Four Steps to Becoming the Primary Advisor for Top Clients by Dan Richards (Article)
Recently, an advisor who had successfully persuaded an investor with many millions of dollars to open an account asked me how to turn this foothold into a larger share of this client’s assets.
2013-04-02 A Q1 Letter to Clients: Why Warren Buffett is Bullish on Stocks by Dan Richards (Article)
Since 2008, I have posted templates to serve as a starting point for advisors looking to send clients an overview of the year that just ended and the outlook for the period ahead. This quarter’s letter draws on Warren Buffett’s most recent letter to shareholders, and why he is bullish on the US equity market.
2013-03-26 How to Communicate Your Account Minimum by Dan Richards (Article)
Over the past decade, there’s been increasing pressure on advisors to establish a minimum account size for new clients. The challenge is how to communicate that ? should you be direct and upfront, or subtle and indirect?
2013-03-19 Five Steps to Demonstrate Your Value Today by Dan Richards (Article)
Of the broad trends facing the financial service industry, the most powerful will be greater transparency. It will force everyone ? and advisors in particular ? to clearly demonstrate the value they provide. How advisors respond to this shift to a value-driven world will determine whether they succeed or fail.
2013-03-12 Three Ways to Turn Referrals into Clients by Dan Richards (Article)
In the perfect world, every prospect who's been given your name would immediately call you. But the real world doesn't work that way, something I was reminded of by a recent email from a financial advisor. Here's how to address that situation.
2013-03-05 What to Say When a Friend Doesn?t Want to be a Client by Dan Richards (Article)
Many great client relationships emerge from friendships. That said, some investors are uncomfortable working with advisors with whom they have close friendships. Here's how to respond when a good friend eliminates the possibility of working together, precisely because of your friendship.
2013-02-26 What a 29-Year Old Can Teach You about Referrals by Dan Richards (Article)
It all started with a simple request that, as it turned out, was not so simple. The resulting encounter with a 29-year old account manager at a leading bank provided important lessons for advisors.
2013-02-19 The Three Minutes that Cost a Million-Dollar Prospect by Dan Richards (Article)
Small investments of time often pay big dividends. That message was agonizingly clear to an advisor who wasted several minutes having a coffee at a Starbucks, when he should have been preparing for the prospect he was about to meet.
2013-02-12 Ten Minutes that Uncovers What?s Really Important to Prospects by Dan Richards (Article)
It can be incredibly hard to get prospects ? and even some clients ? to let down their guard and talk openly about what really matters to them. That's why a 10-minute Priorities Exercise is an essential tool. Using a list of 20 possible priorities as a starting point, the exercise quickly homes in on the most important issues in people's lives in a comfortable, unobtrusive fashion.
2013-02-05 Four Steps to Get in Front of Million-dollar Prospects by Dan Richards (Article)
Most advisors tell me that once you're face-to-face with a prospect, you have an excellent chance of signing them up. It's not the slam dunk that it might have been 15 or 20 years ago, but good odds nevertheless. The big challenge is getting that face-to-face meeting.
2013-01-29 Your Most Important Resolution for 2013 by Dan Richards (Article)
With the first month of 2013 behind us, many of those New Year resolutions relating to diet, weight or exercise are distant memories. That's why this is an opportune time to make a new resolution for 2013 for your business: This is the year that you will excel at bringing new clients on board.
2013-01-22 How Being Efficient Makes You Less Effective by Dan Richards (Article)
While today's methods of communication are efficient, they aren't necessarily effective. The challenge is to meld efficient communication with personal touches that stand out and set you apart.
2013-01-15 Template for a Year-End Client Letter 2012 in Review: Learning from the Past, Looking to the Future by Dan Richards (Article)
Client concerns about whether you're on top of things can be reduced by sending regular overviews of what's happened in the immediate past and the outlook for the period ahead. That's why each year since 2008, I have posted templates to serve as a starting point for advisors looking to send clients an overview of the year that just ended and the outlook for the period ahead.
2013-01-08 Six Lessons for Advisors from the Mayo Clinic by Dan Richards (Article)
The Mayo Clinic's world-renowned reputation as the preeminent provider of medical services was achieved through decades of refining and improving its core processes ? and by constantly reviewing whether the assumptions behind its mission were still valid. A visit to that clinic revealed six lessons for advisors.
2013-01-02 Three Steps to Dynamite Client Events in 2013 by Dan Richards (Article)
Last fall, I wrote about the declining effectiveness of broad-based client events, especially when it comes to attracting your most important clients. Today, I want to focus on the three qualities that have led to successful events for advisors.
2012-12-26 Putting Clients' Cash to Work by Dan Richards (Article)
A central challenge advisors face are is clients who need mid- to high-single-digit returns to achieve their long-term goals, but who have an overweight position in cash. A recent luncheon with a group of highly successful advisors highlighted this challenge and illuminated a way to overcome it.
2012-12-18 How an Advisor Turned 20 Minutes into $2 million by Dan Richards (Article)
I regularly hear from advisors who've implemented an idea they've read in my newsletter or heard at one of my talks. But I've seldom heard of an outcome as dramatic and immediate as the one obtained by an advisor who translated an investment of 20 minutes into $2 million in new assets.
2012-12-11 The Most Memorable Client Thank You Ever by Dan Richards (Article)
Two advisors hosted client events earlier this year with entirely different outcomes, despite the fact that their costs were similar. The first advisor invited clients to an event at her office that was a waste of money; the other organized a thank you for his top client that resonated at the highest level.
2012-12-04 How to Turn Acquaintances into Clients by Dan Richards (Article)
The transition from a casual social conversation to a business-related one is tricky, requiring us to do it in a way that's not intrusive and doesn't make the person uncomfortable. Here's an approach that worked for one advisor.
2012-11-27 Accidentally Landing a $3 Million Client by Dan Richards (Article)
An advisor recently told me how he landed a client with $3 million in assets, with more to come. While he claimed that his success was an 'accident,' I discovered that it was really the result of a key lesson that any advisor can follow.
2012-11-20 Getting in Front of Your Top Clients this Holiday Season by Dan Richards (Article)
The single best use of your time is regular reviews with your top clients. But periodic informal conversations with clients over coffee or lunch are an equally powerful way to build deep bonds. With the holidays approaching, this is a great time to arrange those meetings.
2012-11-13 Harvard's #1 Strategy Guru on the Key Decision for Your Business by Dan Richards (Article)
Competition has brought many once-dominant names to the brink of survival - General Motors, Kodak, Sears and Xerox. Michael Porter, Harvard's top expert on strategy, explains why advisors ignoring the important lesson here do so at their peril.
2012-11-06 The Three Most Important Hours for Your Business by Dan Richards (Article)
Rocky markets mean that you can't rely on referrals alone. If you've built a significant client base, you want to continue to dedicate the bulk of your time to communicating with them. But for your business to stay healthy, you need to bring in new clients ? advisors need to carve out three hours a week to focus on reaching out to prospective clients.
2012-10-30 Finding Hidden Revenue with Existing Clients by Dan Richards (Article)
Investor skepticism and an uncertain economy are challenging advisors to maintain revenue growth and practice profitability. That's why I was intrigued by an advisor who's used a simple strategy to achieve substantial growth in assets from existing clients, even though she already managed most of their money.
2012-10-23 Six Unexpected Ways to Boost Productivity by Dan Richards (Article)
If vacations don't boost productivity, then what does?
2012-10-16 How an Advisor Lost a $3 Million Referral by Dan Richards (Article)
Do you have a clear process for how your assistant responds to a call from a potential client? If not, then it will cost you business.
2012-10-09 A Q3 Letter to Clients - Insights from a Wall Street Legend by Dan Richards (Article)
Here is a template for a letter to serve as a starting point for advisors looking to send clients an overview of the past 90 days and the outlook for the period ahead. In it, I draw upon investing principles articulated by the legendary Barton Biggs, who passed away earlier this year.
2012-10-02 A Daily Reading Plan That Attracts New Clients by Dan Richards (Article)
Digesting news and sharing it with clients is part of every advisor's daily routine. Doing that efficiently, however, in such a way as to better position yourself with your clients, requires a structured approach that is far from obvious.
2012-09-25 The Best Question to Engage Affluent Prospects by Dan Richards (Article)
There are no magic solutions when it comes to getting affluent prospects to meet with you. But your chances of success go up significantly by tapping into high-value concerns and positioning yourself as an advisor who can help address those issues.
2012-09-18 The Question that Prevents Client Defections by Dan Richards (Article)
Unless you take action, even the best advisors are going to lose more clients than you'd like. Fortunately, you can ask your clients a simple question that will counteract the dynamics causing those defections.
2012-09-11 Ten Ways to Recapture Your Passion This Fall by Dan Richards (Article)
Think for a moment what it would take to hit the ground running truly excited about your business. If you struggle to figure out the formula to reach that goal, try these 10 strategies.
2012-09-04 Lessons from the Weight-Loss Industry: The Keys to Growing your Practice by Dan Richards (Article)
Why do most attempts at dieting result in failure? According to Weight Watchers - whose program has outperformed its competition over many years - it's because of a lack of a good methodology or the right combination of discipline and incentives. The same is true of successful client prospecting, as a recent conversation with an advisor illustrated.
2012-08-28 The Wrong Way to Ask for Referrals by Dan Richards (Article)
There's no shortage of ideas about how advisors should operate - which means you have to be discerning about whose guidance you take. Recently, though, I disagreed with some advice from a top practice-management expert on the topic of referrals.
2012-08-21 Is Too Much Vacation Bad for Your Business? by Dan Richards (Article)
Advisors face two big traps when it comes to vacations. The one that gets the most attention is not taking enough time off and burning out as a result; this is especially common in the early years of building a business. But there's a second, more subtle trap: Taking so much vacation that you compromise your ability to grow your business.
2012-08-14 How One Advisor Adds Three Clients a Month by Dan Richards (Article)
I've had several emails in response to last week's article on how investors are using LinkedIn to help select advisors. Indeed, one advisor told me of a systematic approach that is consistently yielding new business. Let's look at how this advisor is capitalizing on his online presence to attract an average of three new clients per month.
2012-08-07 The Game-Changer for Attracting Affluent Clients by Dan Richards (Article)
Until now I've been a skeptic on the value of social media for attracting affluent clients. You can use Facebook and Twitter to connect with investors in their 20's and 30's - but not the older, more prosperous clients advisors target. But last week, three separate conversations changed my mind on this.
2012-07-31 A Lesson from the World's Best Restaurant by Dan Richards (Article)
Spain's El Bulli was considered the world's best restaurant, once receiving two million requests in a single day for reservations. A very successful business owner procured one such reservation - and told me of an important lesson for advisors.
2012-07-24 How to Tell If You're Not Charging Enough by Dan Richards (Article)
Delivering strong value is only half the equation when it comes to optimizing the profitability in the business you run - the other half relates to charging a fair price for that value. Here's a simple test to determine if you're not charging enough.
2012-07-17 The Information Sources that Impress Clients by Dan Richards (Article)
Sending clients a regular email with a link to an article or video from a credible source has a consistently positive impact. Not only does this keep you top-of-mind, but it reminds clients of the ongoing reading and research you're doing on their behalf. But it works only if you use a source that enhances your credibility.
2012-07-10 A Mid-Year Client Letter: Wisdom from Three Wall Street Veterans by Dan Richards (Article)
Here is a template for a letter to serve as a starting point for advisors looking to send clients an overview of the past 90 days and the outlook for the period ahead.
2012-07-03 The Behavior that Destroys Client Confidence by Dan Richards (Article)
A highly successful business owner recently told me what he thought about his financial advisor. On balance, he's happy with the job his advisor is doing, except for one small thing.
2012-06-26 Ensuring That Clients Feel Valued by Dan Richards (Article)
Ask advisors whether they value their clients - especially top clients - and care about their future success, and you'll get a funny look wondering what you've been smoking. The answer is so obvious that the question isn't worth asking. But ask clients the corresponding question and the response is often quite different.
2012-06-19 How to Follow Up Without Being a Pest by Dan Richards (Article)
How do you value your business? We all know the obvious candidates: assets, income, recurring revenue, client loyalty or the extent to which you've built a strong team. But a recent discussion with some top-performing advisors illuminated one metric that is absolutely critical - and typically overlooked.
2012-06-12 A Proven Strategy to Attract Multi-million Dollar Clients by Dan Richards (Article)
When it comes to attracting new clients, new and different approaches are critical. While some advisors are experimenting with social media to grow their business, a recent conversation reminded me that advisors can still learn from longstanding, proven approaches that have been employed by advisors with elite clients.
2012-06-05 What Mark Zuckerberg Can (Still) Teach You by Dan Richards (Article)
As CEO, Mark Zuckerberg did many things right. But one particular aspect of his approach was critical to Facebook's success - and advisors can learn from it.
2012-06-05 The Father of Efficient Markets: Is Warren Buffett Smart or Lucky? by Dan Richards (Article)
Eugene Fama is generally regarded the father of modern finance. His research has expanded upon the capital asset pricing model to identify the value and small-capitalization contributions to risk. Dan Richards spoke with him on May 1, the day before his guest talk at the CFA Institute annual meeting. This is the transcript of the interview.
2012-06-05 The Father of Efficient Markets: Is Warren Buffett Smart or Lucky? (Video) by Dan Richards (Article)
Eugene Fama is generally regarded the father of modern finance. His research has expanded upon the capital asset pricing model to identify the value and small-capitalization contributions to risk. Dan Richards spoke with him on May 1, the day before his guest talk at the CFA Institute annual meeting. This is the video of the interview.
2012-05-29 The Essential Ingredient for Exceptional Success by Dan Richards (Article)
Advisors often ask me what they have to do to truly excel. They expect an answer based on their value proposition, the prospective clients they focus on, how effectively they get in front of those prospects, or their discipline and work ethic. A talk I attended last fall provided a clear cut - and surprising - answer.
2012-05-22 A 30-minute Investment that Landed Three New Clients by Dan Richards (Article)
On a recent flight to Chicago, I sat beside an advisor. We chatted about industry developments and the prospecting initiatives that advisors have been trying. Then he shared a story of a remarkable return from 30 minutes of his time.
2012-05-15 The Surprising Way to Deepen Client Relationships by Dan Richards (Article)
Among the countless ways advisors have attempted to increase client loyalty, I've found a simple approach that deepens relationships.
2012-05-08 Three Qualities that Define Top Performers by Dan Richards (Article)
Regardless of market conditions or the business environment, some advisors inevitably expand their business at the expense of their peers. A new research report identified three common traits among those who were able to show sustained growth in their practices.
2012-05-01 A Proven Route to Business Breakthroughs by Dan Richards (Article)
Having ambitious goals is one thing - translating them into reality is another. And that's where most advisors stumble. Two recent articles provide insight on how to achieve progress towards lofty goals.
2012-04-24 The Number One Priority for Advisors by Dan Richards (Article)
What's the single most critical need for advisors to succeed? There are lots of candidates ? investment knowledge, communication skills, the ability to sell, and attracting and motivating a strong team.
2012-04-17 Two Words to Get in Front of Prospects by Dan Richards (Article)
Even advisors who are successful in every aspect of their business struggle when it comes to getting meetings with prospects. The key is to understand how prospective clients look at requests for action - and to frame anything you ask with two words in mind.
2012-04-10 Three Lessons from an Unlikely Superstar by Dan Richards (Article)
Jeremy Lin's story is not about the failure by NBA teams to recognize his potential; rather it's about three key traits that enabled Lin to elevate his play far beyond what anyone in the basketball world expected. And those traits apply to advisors just as much as they do to NBA stars.
2012-04-03 A Q1 Letter to Clients: Bernanke, Buffett and Siegel on the Prospects Ahead by Dan Richards (Article)
Here is a template for a letter to serve as a starting point for advisors looking to send clients a summary of what's happened in the past 90 days and the outlook for the period ahead.
2012-04-03 Reigniting Your Passion for the Business by Dan Richards (Article)
Successful advisors consistently tell me they've lost enthusiasm and passion for their work compared to 10 or 15 years ago. Advisors have two choices when this happens - either accept it as a sad reality or put in place strategies to rekindle the fire that burned earlier in their career.
2012-03-27 The Secret to Motivating your Team by Dan Richards (Article)
Many advisors struggle with staff members who regularly fall short in terms of work ethic, attention to detail or ownership of outcomes. Getting the most out of your team is essential, and a new book illuminates an effective way to build motivation in your organization.
2012-03-20 Hot Buttons that Motivate Prospects by Dan Richards (Article)
If you spend $12,000 to promote an event for prospects, you should expect results. That didn't happen for an advisor whose recent prospecting events failed. Here's how he could have created a successful event - by focusing on the hot buttons that motivate prospects.
2012-03-13 Breakthrough Success Lies Outside your Comfort Zone by Dan Richards (Article)
Standout success is rare in every industry, including ours. That is the reality - by definition most companies are average performers. To achieve breakthrough results, you need to be willing to change your business model, as two top business strategists advocate.
2012-03-06 Five Business Tips from a Top Entrepreneur by Dan Richards (Article)
Financial advisors are classic entrepreneurs, typically starting a business from scratch with the goal of achieving financial security for themselves and their families. That's why lessons from entrepreneurs with a pattern of demonstrated success ? even outside the financial industry ? are tremendously helpful.
2012-02-28 A Simple Strategy to Triple Client Savings Rates by Dan Richards (Article)
Whether dieting, exercising, turning off American Idol to read that book on our side table or spending versus saving, maintaining focus on our resolutions is a universal issue. While attending the American Economic Association meeting in early January, I had three conversations with leading academics concerning experiments to help people stick to their plans, including one that tripled savings rates among employees.
2012-02-21 A Simple Email to Save a Client by Dan Richards (Article)
A recent conversation got me thinking. Losing a client is a painful experience -even more so when you realize that something as simple as an email could have avoided that outcome.
2012-02-14 How to Measure Customer Loyalty by Dan Richards (Article)
Perhaps more than in any industry, advisors know the importance of customer loyalty and the role it plays in client retention and referral generation. But few advisors have ever tried to systematically measure the client loyalty in their practice. Here's a way to do that.
2012-02-07 A Conversation that Tripled Referrals by Dan Richards (Article)
Last fall, a veteran advisor contacted his retired clients with the suggestion that they meet to discuss one simple goal - to lay out detailed monthly cash flow forecasts matching funds coming in with cash going out. Not only did this exercise benefit those clients, he was able to leverage his efforts to triple his referrals.
2012-01-31 Barry Eichengreen on the End of the Dollar by Dan Richards (Article)
Barry Eichengreen is a professor of economics and political science at the University of California, Berkeley and a former senior advisor to the International Monetary Fund. In this interview, he discusses the future of the dollar as the reserve currency and the role of the IMF in the Eurozone crisis. This is the transcript of the interview.
2012-01-31 Barry Eichengreen on the End of the Dollar - Video by Dan Richards (Article)
Barry Eichengreen is a professor of economics and political science at the University of California, Berkeley and a former senior advisor to the International Monetary Fund. In this interview, he discusses the future of the dollar as the reserve currency and the role of the IMF in the Eurozone crisis. This is the video of the interview.
2012-01-31 A 13-Point Plan for Top Clients by Dan Richards (Article)
Time is our scarcest currency. We must be cautious about taking on significant new commitments, and the only exception is when there's absolutely clear cut evidence of a substantial return. That's why a simple way to get your top clients to look forward to your meetings is incredibly important.
2012-01-24 A Five-Minute Strategy to Achieve Key Goals by Dan Richards (Article)
New research yields important insights on achieving change - whether it be losing weight or advancing your business. One surprise: A five-minute exercise dramatically raises the chances of hitting your goals.
2012-01-24 Dale Mortensen on Addressing Unemployment by Dan Richards (Article)
Dale Mortensen is an economist, a professor at Northwestern University and a co-winner of the 2010 Nobel Prize in Economics. In this interview, he discusses the unemployment situation in the US. This is the transcript.
2012-01-17 An Essential Client Conversation ?Will I be able to pay for my hip replacement at age 85?? by Dan Richards (Article)
Advisors face a big challenge in planning for boomers. Your assumptions about how long they'll live and the nature and cost of their lifestyle as they age will dramatically impact your planning decisions. Conversations with boomers about those topics and about the implications of funding health care are difficult but important.
2012-01-17 A Nobel Laureate?s View on the US A Debt Problem, but an Unemployment Crisis by Dan Richards (Article)
Peter Diamond is a professor emeritus at MIT and the winner of the 2010 Nobel Prize in Economics for his work on unemployment and labor market policy. In this interview, he discusses the degree to which US unemployment is a structural problem and whether it can be reduced through fiscal stimulus. This is the transcript of the interview.
2012-01-17 A Nobel Laureate?s View on the US - A Debt Problem, but an Unemployment Crisis - Video by Dan Richards (Article)
Peter Diamond is a professor emeritus at MIT and the winner of the 2010 Nobel Prize in Economics for his work on unemployment and labor market policy. In this interview, he discusses the degree to which US unemployment is a structural problem and whether it can be reduced through fiscal stimulus. This is the video of the interview.
2012-01-10 How an Advisor Doubled New Clients by Dan Richards (Article)
It's not always the bold strategic initiatives that pay dividends; rather, executing the little things makes a big difference. In the fall of 2010 I ran a workshop for advisors in which I discussed a regular focus on a short list of high priority prospects. An attendee described how he'd used this idea last year as the jumping off point to add 15 minutes to his Monday morning team meeting - and doubled the number of new clients.
2012-01-03 Dale Mortensen on Addressing Unemployment - Video by Dan Richards (Article)
Dale Mortensen is an economist, a professor at Northwestern University and a co-winner of the 2010 Nobel Prize in Economics. In this interview, he discusses the unemployment situation in the US. This is the video.
2012-01-03 Motivating Older Clients by Dan Richards (Article)
Two advisors recently reminded me of the subtle differences it takes to successfully work with older clients. Both provide the highest quality of advice and have regular client events to stay in front of their best clients. Two years ago, however, they were frustrated by the difficulty of getting older clients to attend those events - until each came up with a solution.
2011-12-27 Seven Critical Words to Share with Top Clients by Dan Richards (Article)
Successful advisors focus on talking to their top clients. But even when advisors talk to clients frequently, one important sentiment and seven critical words often get missed.
2011-12-20 Wall Street Journal: Three Words of Advice for Million-Dollar Producers by Dan Richards (Article)
The financial advisor careers section of Wall Street Journal asked 60 advisors from all over the U.S. for suggestions to new advisors starting in the business whose goals were to be million-dollar producers. Their advice came down to three words.
2011-12-13 Five Steps to Succeed in the Retirement Market by Dan Richards (Article)
We've all seen the statistics on the number of boomers entering retirement. And every advisor has been told of the opportunities as new retirees shift from accumulating assets to accessing those savings. Tapping into the retirement is too important to be left to chance - you need a plan. Here are the five steps to make this happen.
2011-12-06 Two Simple Questions to Motivate Your Assistant by Dan Richards (Article)
High on the list of holiday wishes for many advisors would be a cheerful, motivated, efficient team, united in the common goal of moving your business forward. And while you have no control over many things, you have a great deal of influence over how well your team operates.
2011-11-29 The Best Way to End Client Meetings by Dan Richards (Article)
When it comes to leaving clients with a positive recollection of meetings, two things matter the most: 'peak events' - the highs and lows they experienced, and 'the end' - what happened at the conclusion of the meeting.
2011-11-22 Three Steps for Effective Client Meetings by Dan Richards (Article)
Unless you achieve a few key objectives, your client meetings will be unproductive. You need to calm your clients' nerves, reassure them about their portfolio and instill confidence that they're working with the right advisor. Here's a three-step process to make that happen.
2011-11-15 What Clients can Learn from the Four Worst Market Calls Ever by Dan Richards (Article)
Bad investment advice can come from many sources, but perhaps none has been worse than what was offered by four experts whose media profile exceeded their investment acumen: Irving Fisher, Joe Granville, Robert Prechter and Henry Blodget. Here's some historical context and practical advice to help clients avoid the trap of listening to the gurus who dominate newspaper headlines.
2011-11-08 A Unique Way to Help Clients Close the Retirement Gap by Dan Richards (Article)
Clients facing a shortfall in retirement savings can bridge that gap in many ways. But one technique is often neglected: spending reductions - even small ones - in their everyday lives. A new web site gives clients the tools to quantify and manage those reductions.
2011-11-01 Five Tips from Accountants on How to Get Referrals by Dan Richards (Article)
Over a recent lunch, three partners in a small accounting firm told me how financial advisors should go about getting referrals.
2011-10-25 How a Trivial Oversight Created a Big Problem by Dan Richards (Article)
Over 25 years working with advisors, I've learned that while you need to get the big things right, small issues are often much more important than they appear on the surface. Last week I met with a 25-year industry veteran who told me about a big price he paid for a seemingly minor oversight.
2011-10-18 Focusing on Relationships is a Mistake: Harvard Business School by Dan Richards (Article)
Conventional wisdom says that when it comes to client loyalty and profitable businesses, deep relationships are what counts. But a September Harvard Business Review article raised some important questions about whether this is the case.
2011-10-11 A Q3 Client Letter Drawing on Buffett?s Optimism 'The U.S. is coming back now' - and why three inves by Dan Richards (Article)
Since 2008, each quarter I have posted a template for a letter to clients; these are consistently among my most popular articles. This quarter's letter provides clients with perspective on the recent market turmoil.
2011-10-04 Two Minutes that Cost a Client by Dan Richards (Article)
Just because you haven't heard from clients doesn't mean they're not stewing about the impact of market events on their portfolio and wondering why they haven't heard from you. Recently, an advisor's failure to take two minutes out of his day made this point painfully clear.
2011-09-27 New Research on Attracting HNW Clients by Dan Richards (Article)
When it comes to winning new clients, most advisors think they need to persuade prospects to replace their existing advisors. But new research shows that an easier course of action is to persuade those prospects that they should supplement the advisor they are currently using. This is especially the case if you're working with high net worth investors.
2011-09-20 A Simple Email ? Today's Best Prospecting Strategy by Dan Richards (Article)
How do you use the recent market turmoil to open conversations with prospective clients? Here's how one advisor used a simple email to solidify relationships with existing clients and to attract new ones.
2011-09-13 Warren Buffett's Advice on Effective Client Meetings by Dan Richards (Article)
For many clients, the regrettable reality is that meeting with their advisor is no longer an uplifting experience. Here are three steps to make meetings with clients a more positive experience, so that they?re not seen as akin to a visit to the dentist.
2011-09-06 How Advisors can Improve Client Returns by Dan Richards (Article)
There's a growing body of behavioral finance research on what investors can do to improve the performance of their portfolios. But how about advisors - what can they do to improve investor returns? Some new research answers that question.
2011-08-30 What to Tell Clients Today - Ten Tips for Effective Client Communication by Dan Richards (Article)
Given the recent market tumult, many advisors know they should be communicating with clients, but hesitate because of uncertainty about what to say and apprehension about making things worse rather than better. Here are five general guidelines for client communication in turbulent markets and five tips for crafting the message that you send today.
2011-08-23 Why Investors are 'Mad as Hell' ? And what you can do about it by Dan Richards (Article)
Last Friday, Jason Zweig of the Wall Street Journal wrote about fear and anger as the two dominant attitudes of American investors today ? fear about their future and anger at those they see as responsible for the latest crisis. Today's investor psyche has fundamental implications that will require changes in how you interact with clients. Before getting into how to respond, let?s look at what's driving today's mindset.
2011-08-16 Tapping into 'The Power of Three' by Dan Richards (Article)
One area on which there's a growing body of evidence is the optimum number of examples to use and alternatives to provide when talking to an existing or prospective client. You want to provide enough examples to communicate that you've done your homework without having people feel overwhelmed.
2011-08-09 How Conservative Investing Threatens Retirement by Dan Richards (Article)
Just as the Great Depression left a generation with a poverty mentality that still persists, the two bear markets of the last 10 years risk shaped an entire generation's attitude to investing. That's a key finding from a survey of affluent Americans commissioned by Merrill Lynch and released earlier this year, and it raises important implications for how financial advisors should deal with conservatively-minded investors.
2011-08-02 Seven Implications for the Coming Retirement Revolution by Dan Richards (Article)
Most advisors look to seniors as a core part of their client base. That's why it's essential to understand how boomers are going to transform retirement, just as they have redefined every other stage of their lives. Let's look at three new pieces of research and the seven implications they carry for retirement planning.
2011-07-26 Ten Minutes to Much More Effective Client Meetings by Dan Richards (Article)
Given the importance of client reviews, advisors should always be alert for ways to make them more effective. Recently, I spoke to an advisor who made a simple change to meeting agendas and saw a significant improvement as a result.
2011-07-26 Jeremy Siegel - Why I Changed My Mind about Index Funds by Dan Richards (Article)
Jeremy Siegel, the Russell E. Palmer Professor of Finance at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, discusses what caused him to reject capitalization-weighted market indexes and what he chose instead. This is a transcript of the interview.
2011-07-26 Jeremy Siegel - Why I Changed My Mind about Index Funds (Video) by Dan Richards (Article)
Jeremy Siegel, the Russell E. Palmer Professor of Finance at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, discusses what caused him to reject capitalization-weighted market indexes and what he chose instead. This is a video of the interview.
2011-07-19 Getting Prospects to Return Voice Mails by Dan Richards (Article)
Given the unrelenting demands on everyone's time, we can no longer take it for granted that prospects will return our calls - and even clients are slower to return calls. That said, there are two things that will increase the chances of your calls being returned.
2011-07-12 An End-of-Quarter Letter to Clients by Dan Richards (Article)
Given recent unrest in Europe and uncertainty about economic growth, many clients are looking to their advisors for direction. This template for an end-of-quarter letter is a starting point for your own letter to clients, one that can be a catalyst for a conversation about how to position portfolios.
2011-07-05 A Million Dollar Meeting Gone Wrong - A Lost Prospect Tells All by Dan Richards (Article)
Over lunch last week, a long-time friend who's a partner at a Toronto law described a recent meeting with a financial advisor seeking his business and how some subtle errors and obvious mistakes cost the advisor the opportunity to do business.
2011-06-28 How to Get in Front of High-net Worth Prospects by Dan Richards (Article)
Last week, I got a call from an advisor who used a simple idea to set up meetings with three $2 million prospects. This advisor used some research from one of my recent columns to jumpstart conversations about critical issues for the wealthy.
2011-06-21 The Toughest Question from Clients And How to Answer It by Dan Richards (Article)
Many existing and prospective clients wonder whether they're getting their money's worth on the fees they pay. They may not say it out loud - but it's often there, casting a cloud of doubt about the advisor they work with.
2011-06-14 A Proven Path to Business Breakthroughs by Dan Richards (Article)
In my conversations with advisors, implementing change often tops the list of business challenges and frustrations. To advance your business, one proven strategy that has demonstrated remarkable success over not just years but decades is tapping into the power of peer-performance groups.
2011-06-14 A Cautionary Tale from the World's Most Influential Economist by Dan Richards (Article)
Raghuram Rajan was recently cited by The Economist as having the most important ideas for the post-crisis world. In this interview, he identifies key policy issues the Obama administration must confront. This is a transcript of the interview.
2011-06-14 A Cautionary Tale from the World's Most Influential Economist - Video by Dan Richards (Article)
Raghuram Rajan was recently cited by The Economist as having the most important ideas for the post-crisis world. In this interview, he identifies key policy issues the Obama administration must confront. This is a video of the interview.
2011-06-07 The Best Way to Start a Client Meeting by Dan Richards (Article)
What does it take for a meeting with a key client to be successful? To answer that question, first you have to quantify how you measure success.
2011-06-07 Why Jim Rogers is Bullish on Gold by Dan Richards (Article)
The veteran investor Jim Rogers explains why he is bullish on gold and the US dollar, and offers his thoughts on Asian economies why he chose to move his family to Singapore. This is the transcript of the interview.
2011-06-07 Why Jim Rogers is Bullish on Gold (Video) by Dan Richards (Article)
The veteran investor Jim Rogers explains why he is bullish on gold and the US dollar, and offers his thoughts on Asian economies why he chose to move his family to Singapore. This is the video of the interview.
2011-05-31 Doubling the Turnout to Client Events by Dan Richards (Article)
Many advisors are puzzled and frustrated by just how hard it is to get clients to show up when they organize events for them. Achieving great turnout isn?t easy, but it can be done - I recently spoke to an advisor who made a couple of simple changes to his annual event and doubled attendance as a result.
2011-05-24 A Sentence that Tripled Referrals by Dan Richards (Article)
This veteran advisor added a six-word sentence to his website - and saw referrals triple as a result.
2011-05-17 Four Steps to a Top-Performing Team by Dan Richards (Article)
Over the past 25 years, I've observed many high-performing teams and spent a lot of time talking to advisors and their support staff about the keys to their success. Here are four observations about what it takes to have a well-functioning team.
2011-05-10 Red Flags for Advisors - Communication Gaps with Affluent Clients by Dan Richards (Article)
When hard facts come to light that contradict your preconceptions, it's time to sit back and reassess your thinking. That's exactly what advisors should do following a new research study of Americans with at least $3 million in investments.
2011-05-03 When to Bring up Referrals by Dan Richards (Article)
Advisors often ask me what should be the right frequency with which to raise referrals with clients. Some advisors are hesitant to introduce the topic of referrals at all. Balancing that reluctance, one advisor told me about a direct connection between how frequently he talks to clients about referrals and the chances that referrals will follow as a result - the more often he raises this, the more often referrals will follow.
2011-04-26 A Unique Way to Engage Key Clients by Dan Richards (Article)
Many advisors struggle with ways to deepen relationships with top clients. My conversations with top-performing advisors have shown that many succeed at building those relationships by rejecting the approach most advisors employ, and instead adopting an unconventional and low-cost approach built around special events.
2011-04-19 Four Ways to Make Recommendations Stick by Dan Richards (Article)
All too many client conversations are monologues, with the advisor talking and clients listening. Even when you ask if clients have questions, they say 'no.' If you want clients to buy into your recommendations, you have to engage them in conversation.
2011-04-12 Seven Ways to Communicate with Confidence by Dan Richards (Article)
Whether talking to a prospect or making a recommendation to an existing client, many advisors believe that the key to effective communication is what you say. As important - and maybe more important - is your delivery. The most carefully crafted sentences won't be persuasive if they're not delivered confidently and with conviction.
2011-04-05 Two Critical Lessons from Japan An End-of-Quarter Letter to Clients by Dan Richards (Article)
Given recent events in Japan and North Africa, many clients are looking to their advisors for direction on what they should do. This template for an end-of-quarter letter is intended to be a starting point for your letter to clients.
2011-03-29 A Call That Will Blow Clients Away by Dan Richards (Article)
Many businesses point to a commitment to service as their competitive advantage ... although many more companies talk about exceptional service than actually deliver it. That's why I was struck by a financial advisor's story about a shopping excursion for hiking boots, with a key message about delivering service that truly stands out.
2011-03-22 Your Most Critical 30 Minutes this Month by Dan Richards (Article)
Complacency guarantees failure. In a world of intense competition and increasingly demanding customers, anyone who stands pat will be left behind. The only formula for ongoing success today is a commitment to constant improvement.
2011-03-15 Nine Words that Saved $600,000 by Dan Richards (Article)
Nearly 15 years ago, the owner of a successful Chicago restaurant realized that no-shows were costing him $900,000 annually. Then he made one simple change that cut his no-show rate by two-thirds, from 30 % to 10% ... saving him $600,000 yearly. This change has powerful implications for advisors trying to advance relationships with prospective clients.
2011-03-08 When Alzheimer?s Strikes: Five Ways to Respond by Dan Richards (Article)
Creating strong bonds with key clients means letting them know you understand their important issues, not just the ones related to their finances. Few issues are as important as your clients? health, and few health struggles are as challenging as Alzheimer?s.
2011-03-01 Simon Johnson on the Unconscionable Risks We Face by Dan Richards (Article)
Simon Johnson is a professor of economics at MIT and was the chief economist for the International Monetary Fund. In this interview, he explains why the underlying factors which led to the financial crisis remain unresolved. This is the transcript; a video is also available.
2011-03-01 Simon Johnson on the Unconscionable Risks We Face - Video by Dan Richards (Article)
Simon Johnson is a professor of economics at MIT and was the chief economist for the International Monetary Fund. In this interview, he explains why the underlying factors which led to the financial crisis remain unresolved. This is the video; a transcript is also available.
2011-02-22 Stop Wasting Time and Money on Client Communication by Dan Richards (Article)
The world has changed in all kinds of ways. What worked in terms of client communication as recently as five years ago doesn't work nearly as well today. As a result, you need to fundamentally change how you communicate with clients.
2011-02-22 John Campbell on the Proposed Squam Lake Reforms by Dan Richards (Article)
In this interview, John Campbell, chairman of the economics department at Harvard, discusses his research into the underlying drivers of securities prices, and the key recommendations for reforming the financial system, based on his participation in the Squam Lake Group. This is a transcript of the interview.
2011-02-22 John Campbell on the Proposed Squam Lake Reforms - Video by Dan Richards (Article)
In this interview, John Campbell, chairman of the economics department at Harvard, discusses his research into the underlying drivers of securities prices, and the key recommendations for reforming the financial system, based on his participation in the Squam Lake Group. This is a video of the interview.
2011-02-15 When Clients Make You Livid by Dan Richards (Article)
A client complained to his advisor about his account performance. The advisor said he didn't like to have his professionalism questioned and they began yelling at each other over the phone. Ultimately they fired each other. Over the years, I've found that several principles are key to breaking the tension before situations like this become catastrophes.
2011-02-15 David Laibson on the Hidden Challenges of Aging Clients by Dan Richards (Article)
In this interview, Harvard economist David Laibson discusses his research into the challenges of helping elderly clients with their financial planning. He also discusses how to overcome the procrastination and laziness that often result in inferior investment decisions. This is a transcript of the interview.
2011-02-15 David Laibson on the Hidden Challenges of Aging Clients - Videos by Dan Richards (Article)
In this interview, Harvard economist David Laibson discusses his research into the challenges of helping elderly clients with their financial planning. He also discusses how to overcome the procrastination and laziness that often result in inferior investment decisions. This is a video of the interview.
2011-02-08 The Key Ingredient to Effective Communication by Dan Richards (Article)
When it comes to communicating with clients, too often we revert to the habit of using words alone. To maximize the impact of your communication, you need to help others visualize your message.
2011-02-08 The Downside to Venture Investing (like Facebook?) by Dan Richards (Article)
In this interview, Harvard Business School professor Josh Lerner discusses the dangers of venture capital investing and the basis behind Facebook's valuation. This is a transcript of the interview.
2011-02-08 The Downside to Venture Investing - Video by Dan Richards (Article)
In this interview, Harvard Business School professor Josh Lerner discusses the dangers of venture capital investing and the basis behind Facebook's valuation. This is a video of the interview.
2011-02-01 Four Ways to Get Prospects Off the Fence in 2011 by Dan Richards (Article)
Dithering prospects - we've all been frustrated when someone who would be a really great client takes forever to make a decision. That's why getting prospects to make faster decisions should be your first resolution for 2011.
2011-02-01 Why Public Funding of Venture Capital Has Failed by Dan Richards (Article)
Josh Lerner is a professor at the Harvard Business School, with a joint appointment in finance and entrepreneurial management. In this interview, he discusses his research on why public-funded venture capital sometimes succeeds but other times fails. This is a transcript of the interview.
2011-02-01 Why Public Funding of Venture Capital Has Failed - Video by Dan Richards (Article)
Josh Lerner is a professor at the Harvard Business School, with a joint appointment in finance and entrepreneurial management. In this interview, he discusses his research on why public-funded venture capital sometimes succeeds but other times fails. This is a video of the interview.
2011-01-25 Separating Prospects from Suspects by Dan Richards (Article)
What's the difference between a prospective client and someone who's just a suspect? An advisor I recently spoke to gave me the answer.
2011-01-25 How Emotions Undermine Your Investing Decisions by Dan Richards (Article)
In this interview, U.C. Davis professor Brad Barber discusses his latest research, which examines how investors' behavioral biases lead to costly mistakes. This is a transcript of the interview.
2011-01-25 How Emotions Undermine Your Investing Decisions - Video by Dan Richards (Article)
In this interview, U.C. Davis professor Brad Barber discusses his latest research, which examines how investors' behavioral biases lead to costly mistakes. This is a video of the interview.
2011-01-18 Working Smart v. Working Hard: Your Most Important Resolution for 2011 by Dan Richards (Article)
Of the countless resolutions advisors can make in 2011, there's one that could have the highest payoff - to work smarter, by building regular 'thinking time' into your business.
2011-01-11 Structuring 2011 Meetings for Maximum Effectiveness by Dan Richards (Article)
Last summer, I wrote about new research on the factors that shape how consumers recall interactions and experiences. What was found was that in every experience, two things play the most important role in what people remember - that's true whether it is a restaurant meal, a vacation or a meeting with an advisor.
2011-01-04 Your First Resolution for 2011: A Better Alternative to Face-to-Face Meetings by Dan Richards (Article)
In 2011 you need to rethink your approach to client meetings. For larger clients who you meet with regularly, you should consider replacing some of those face-to-face meetings with structured phone meetings.
2010-12-28 Incorporating a Signature Charity into Client Communication by Dan Richards (Article)
Many advisors do lots of things to give back to the community but aren't rewarded for it in terms of how clients view them. If you want your charitable efforts to register with clients and help position you as someone who is genuinely community spirited, there are some things you have to do beyond just writing checks.
2010-12-21 Two Words that Get Prospects? Attention by Dan Richards (Article)
When approaching business owners, some advisors talk about taking a wealth management approach to provide integrated advice around their finances. That approach, however, is too vague and generic.
2010-12-14 Year-end Letter to Clients: Investment Advice from Winston Churchill by Dan Richards (Article)
For the past 18 months, my draft letters have been designed to balance some of the extreme pessimism among many investors with an objective, positive outlook - the draft year-end letter for 2010 continues with that goal. In it, I borrow from Winston Churchill's insight into the difference between optimists and pessimists.
2010-12-06 Why You Aren't Getting Referrals - And What to Do About It (Part 2) by Dan Richards (Article)
In his previous column, Dan Richards discussed seven misconceptions that prevent advisors from getting referrals. Here, he concludes with eight more referrals fallacies.
2010-11-30 Why You Aren't Getting Referrals - And What to Do About It by Dan Richards (Article)
When it comes to attracting new clients, every advisor knows that nothing beats referrals from satisfied clients. However, many advisors hold fundamental misconceptions about what it takes to get quality referrals. As a result, they either don't talk about referrals at all or do so ineffectively.
2010-11-30 The Word that Defines Effective Communication by Dan Richards (Article)
Fairly or not, if clients initiate a call, many will believe that the conversation wouldn't have taken place otherwise ... even though it's precisely the same conversation, advisors get much more goodwill and credit if they take the first step in making that call happen.
2010-11-23 Five Words that Get Emails Opened by Dan Richards (Article)
The escalating volume of email means that fewer and fewer emails are being opened. A key challenge is creating a sense of urgency around opening your emails - something that can be achieved with five key words in the subject line.
2010-11-16 Making Your Case to Prospects by Dan Richards (Article)
Dan Richards contacted six advisors to see if they would be interested in working with a prospective client who had approached him. The responses from those advisors varied greatly, and revealed some very important lessons in what advisors need to do to attract new business.
2010-11-09 Navigating Post-Financial Meltdown Reviews by Dan Richards (Article)
Recently, an advisor emailed me asking for suggestions on how to deal with clients who sold some or all of their portfolio near the 2008 lows. More specifically, he wanted to know if it's worthwhile educating these clients on where they would be had they not sold out.
2010-11-02 Why Client Events Aren't Appreciated by Dan Richards (Article)
Selective, by-invitation events targeted to top clients pay the biggest dividends in goodwill and additional business, but it's often hard to get bigger clients out to 'mass' events, says Dan Richards. The challenge is breaking through - when it comes to events for top clients, you need to pick one of two strategies.
2010-10-26 Investing $15 to Create an Unshakeable Client Bond by Dan Richards (Article)
Recently, Dan Richards hosted a roundtable lunch with a group of affluent investors. One attendee was a senior partner in a leading law firm and made a comment that revealed how his advisor turned a $15 investment into a lifelong client relationship.
2010-10-19 The Key Decision that Drives Million Dollar Books by Dan Richards (Article)
Dan Richards is often asked, "What does it take to succeed at the highest level?" by both new and not-so-new entrants to the financial industry. Some important insights into that question were provided to him by PriceMetrix, an industry leader in advisor productivity.
2010-10-12 Why Warren Buffett is Optimistic: A Quarterly Letter to Send Clients by Dan Richards (Article)
Dan Richard's quarterly letter is designed to balance some of the extreme pessimism among many investors. Negative sentiment is understandable given the real challenges facing the U.S. and European economies, but is also a function of the overwhelmingly negative media coverage to which clients are exposed. To balance today's disproportionately negative views, you need hard facts.
2010-10-05 Five Strategies to Land a $50 Million Client by Dan Richards (Article)
The fact that you have a $50 million prospect is a positive sign, writes Dan Richards. He offers five strategies for demonstrating value for truly big prospects. When investors have this kind of wealth, there are often things beyond returns that concern and motivate them - your task is to find out what these are.
2010-10-05 Charles Brandes on Investing Lessons from Benjamin Graham by Dan Richards (Article)
In this interview, Charles Brandes, the founder and Chairman of the Brandes Investment Management, discusses the lessons he learned from legendary value investor Benjamin Graham. Brandes also offers his forecast for equity market performance, as well as why he believes value stocks have an inherent, sustainable advantage over growth stocks. This is the transcript of the interview.
2010-10-05 Charles Brandes on Investing Lessons from Benjamin Graham ? Video by Dan Richards (Article)
In this interview, Charles Brandes, the founder and Chairman of the Brandes Investment Management, discusses the lessons he learned from legendary value investor Benjamin Graham. Brandes also offers his forecast for equity market performance, as well as why he believes value stocks have an inherent, sustainable advantage over growth stocks. This is the video of the interview.
2010-09-28 Three Traps that Chew Up Your Day by Dan Richards (Article)
Time has always been the scarcest resource for successful financial advisors. Given all the demands advisors face, today it's essential to make maximum use of your workday. To make that happen, Dan Richards says you have to overcome three common traps.
2010-09-21 Two Compelling Articles to Send Clients by Dan Richards (Article)
One of the most important roles for advisors is being an emotional anchor for clients ... preventing the highs from being too high and the lows from being too low. Dan Richards offers two recent articles that counteract the sense of pessimism about the economy ... driven in large measure by daunting headlines about housing prices, unemployment, deficits and political discord in Washington.
2010-09-14 How to Star in a TV Special on Retirement Challenges by Dan Richards (Article)
Meeting clients' needs requires strategies that spread across a variety of investment classes, financial securities, and custodians. To ensure you continue spending more of your time managing your clients' assets than their data flow, Envestnet's reporting capabilities give advisors the flexibility to integrate multi-custodian performance reporting at a variety of levels.
2010-09-07 Responding to Clients who Drive You Crazy by Dan Richards (Article)
We all have them... clients whose emotions gyrate with markets, second guess decisions, and create grief and frustration for their advisors. In the perfect world, you'd part company with all of these clients. Dan Richards offers an alternative approach.
2010-08-31 An Unexpected Route to Ecstatic Clients by Dan Richards (Article)
Dan Richards was puzzled by some recent conversations with investors, until he read a column in the New York Times about how to maximize the pleasure from vacations. The column stemmed from research by behavioral psychologists on how to structure activity to generate the most impact - and led to some striking findings both for planning vacations and for structuring how clients experience their interactions with you.
2010-08-31 David Blitzer on How Indices Work by Dan Richards (Article)
Many investors read about the Dow Jones or S & P 500 index being up or down 200 points but don't really understand what this means. Today's interview with David Blitzer of S & P provides an explanation of how indexes work that can be shared with clients. This is a transcript of the interview.
2010-08-31 David Blitzer on How Indices Work ? Video by Dan Richards (Article)
Many investors read about the Dow Jones or S & P 500 index being up or down 200 points but don't really understand what this means. Today's interview with David Blitzer of S & P provides an explanation of how indexes work that can be shared with clients. This is a video of the interview.
2010-08-24 Telling Your Team Story to Prospects by Dan Richards (Article)
One of the things that high net worth clients look for in selecting advisors is a sense that they are part of a strong team, with backup should they be unavailable and a broad array of expertise behind them. For some advisors, however, effectively communicating the team behind you can be a challenge. Dan Richards provides a solution.
2010-08-17 A Proven Path to Gaining Client Assets by Dan Richards (Article)
When Dan Richards talks to successful advisors about their business objectives, for most increasing assets is at the top of their list. Some advisors mistakenly believe, though, that winning a greater share of assets from existing clients is driven by performance.
2010-08-10 Three Steps to Talk About Risk by Dan Richards (Article)
Among the most important things that good advisors bring is the ability to help clients make the right trade-off between risk and return ... and, as Dan Richards says, to help clients understand the critical relationship between the timeframe over which they hold investments and the volatility they experience.
2010-08-10 Zvi Bodie on Stocks and Annuities in Retirement by Dan Richards (Article)
In this interview, retirement expert Zvi Bodie discusses the role of stocks and annuities in a retirement portfolio, and how advisors and clients should think about risk. This is the transcript of the interview.
2010-08-10 Zvi Bodie on Stocks and Annuities in Retirement (Video) by Dan Richards (Article)
In this interview, retirement expert Zvi Bodie discusses the role of stocks and annuities in a retirement portfolio, and how advisors and clients should think about risk. This is the video of the interview.
2010-08-03 Rebuilding Confidence in Stocks by Dan Richards (Article)
These days, there's a cloud of uncertainty over markets, with questions about economic growth, government deficits, the timing and impact of interest rates increases, unemployment levels and the housing market. As Dan Richards writes, this environment is when advisors can bring value, by providing perspective on both sides of the debate about the value that stocks provide at today's levels.
2010-08-03 Richard Koo: Lessons from Japan's Decline by Dan Richards (Article)
Richard Koo is the Chief Economist of Nomura Research Institute, and has served as an advisor to the Japanese government. In this interview with Dan Richards, Koo explains why Japan's recovery was thwarted by inadequate stimulus spending. This is a transcript of the interview.
2010-08-03 Richard Koo: Lessons from Japan?s Decline (Video) by Dan Richards (Article)
Richard Koo is the Chief Economist of Nomura Research Institute, and has served as an advisor to the Japanese government. In this interview with Dan Richards, Koo explains why Japan's recovery was thwarted by inadequate stimulus spending. This is a video of the interview.
2010-07-27 Robert Shiller: A Cautious Outlook for Stocks by Dan Richards (Article)
Dan Richards recently spoke with Robert Shiller, the Yale economist who foresaw the financial crisis and created the Case-Shiller housing index. Shiller discusses the potential for a double-dip recession, valuations in the US equity market, and the outlook for a housing recovery. This is the transcript of the interview.
2010-07-27 Robert Shiller: A Cautious Outlook for Stocks (Video) by Dan Richards (Article)
Dan Richards recently spoke with Robert Shiller, the Yale economist who foresaw the financial crisis and created the Case-Shiller housing index. Shiller discusses the potential for a double-dip recession, valuations in the US equity market, and the outlook for a housing recovery. This is the video of the interview.
2010-07-27 Important New Research Talking to Seniors About Risk and Market Volatility by Dan Richards (Article)
New research shows how to talk to seniors about their investments. Titled "Behavioral finance and the post-retirement crisis" and released in May, this report compiles findings on how older investors perceive risk and make financial decisions. Dan Richards discusses the findings.
2010-07-20 Jeremy Siegel on Why Stocks are Undervalued by Dan Richards (Article)
The Wharton School's Jeremy Siegel remains an outspoken proponent of stocks for the long run, as he demonstrates in this interview with Dan Richards. In the transcript of this interview, Siegel explains why equity investors should not be deterred by sour economic forecasts or by signals of apparent overvaluation based on Shiller P/E ratios.
2010-07-20 Jeremy Siegel on Why Stocks are Undervalued (Video) by Dan Richards (Article)
The Wharton School's Jeremy Siegel remains an outspoken proponent of stocks for the long run, as he demonstrates in this interview with Dan Richards. Siegel explains why equity investors should not be deterred by sour economic forecasts or by signals of apparent overvaluation based on Shiller P/E ratios. This is the video of our interview.
2010-07-20 Lessons from a $1 Million Misunderstanding by Dan Richards (Article)
A recent conversation between Dan Ricahrds and an advisor drove home how easy it is to cross wires when communicating with existing and prospective clients. That miscommunication almost cost the advisor a million-dollar account.
2010-07-13 The Retirement Readiness Checklist by Dan Richards (Article)
Dan Richards describes a recent research report which offered a retirement readiness index. Attached to the report was a questionnaire that advisors can walk clients through to benchmark where they stand on each task and identify areas that need improvement.
2010-07-06 Template for a Mid-Year Letter ? Navigating through this Calamitous Decade by Dan Richards (Article)
It's always important for clients to feel they're being kept informed of what's happening in markets - but never more so than in markets like we've seen in the past few months. Dan Richards provides a template for a mid-year market commentary to clients, adaptable to your own opinions and circumstances, based on a recently rediscovered speech by Benjamin Graham.
2010-06-29 Five Minutes to Drive Your Day by Dan Richards (Article)
For most successful advisors, the number one issue each day is how to compress 40 or 50 hours of work into 8 or 10 hours. Dan Richards doesn't suggest that advisors add items to their daily to-do list lightly, but he does offer one novel idea from a top-performing advisor.
2010-06-22 Getting Clients to Read Your Emails by Dan Richards (Article)
Today, we're seeing a sea change in how clients and prospects respond to information. Everyone is swamped by the sheer volume of email and communication. Dan Richards offers suggestions for how to get your emails read and your voice mail returned.
2010-06-22 Niall Ferguson on Japan, China, and the US by Dan Richards (Article)
Harvard's Niall Ferguson is arguably today's leading economic historian. In part two of this interview, Ferguson explains why he fears the future is bleak for Japan, why China may someday be the leading global superpower, and what all this means for the US. We provide a video and a transcript.
2010-06-15 Today?s Top Economic Historian: The Path to European Stability by Dan Richards (Article)
Harvard's Niall Ferguson is arguably today's leading economic historian. In this interview with Dan Richards, Ferguson discusses the current troubles and future outlook for Europe. We provide a transcript and a video.
2010-06-15 Strategy Advice from Apple and Google by Dan Richards (Article)
Last week Dan Richards conducted a webinar focused on the key decision that will drive advisors' long term success. Richards talks about what advisors can learn from the success of Apple, Google, Coke and Walmart.
2010-06-08 Three Words to Blow Away Clients by Dan Richards (Article)
Every advisor's goal is to build deep relationships with key clients, partly to foster loyalty and increase the assets you have from them, partly to open the door to referrals. One way to do that is to have clients "wowed" by their experience in dealing with you, and Dan Richards says three key words will create that "wow" effect with important clients.
2010-06-08 Dan Fuss: What Keeps Bond Managers Up at Night by Dan Richards (Article)
Highly respected fixed-income manager Dan Fuss of Loomis Sayles recently spoke with Dan Richards about what keeps bond managers up at night. Fuss identifies the critical issues bond investors face. We provide a video and a transcript of the interview.
2010-06-01 The Essential Quality that Sets Top Performers Apart by Dan Richards (Article)
Ask industry veterans about what really sets top producers apart and you'll get lots of suggestions, says Dan Richards. Intellect, discipline, work ethic, people skills and focus would all be put forward - and a case can be made for the importance of all of these. There is one attribute, however, that every true top performer has in large quantity.
2010-05-25 The Prospecting Approach that Works Today by Dan Richards (Article)
The problem with viewing a prospect conversation as an event is that you have to ask for a firm commitment at the end of any interaction - whether it is a request to meet when talking on the phone or asking for a decision to invest when meeting face-to-face, according to Dan Richards. All too often, that request will be premature - and if it's too soon in the process, the prospect feels under the gun. Richards offers a solution.
2010-05-18 The Number One Way to Stay Motivated Breakthrough Research from the Harvard Business Review by Dan Richards (Article)
In a multi-year study, researchers at the Harvard Business School asked 600 managers from dozens of different companies to rank the impact of five factors that are normally associated with motivation - recognition, incentives, support from managers and colleagues, clear goals and a sense of making progress. Dan Richards discusses their findings and the takeaways for financial advisors.
2010-05-11 Talking to Clients about Expected Returns by Dan Richards (Article)
Of all the assumptions that go into clients' retirement plans, none has a bigger impact than the expected return on their investments, says Dan Richards. That number determines how much investors need to save, when they can afford to retire and the kind of lifestyle they can anticipate. Richards provides a context for discussing expected returns with clients.
2010-05-04 Four Words of Advice from a Top Advisor by Dan Richards (Article)
Last summer, Dan Richards talked to a thirty-year veteran of the business who's consistently ranked as a top advisor. The week before, he'd talked to a group of rookies just entering the business. In the question and answer period, he was been asked about the single most important thing he learned over the course of his career.
2010-04-27 Investing Insights from Doctors by Dan Richards (Article)
Dan Richards works out in the early mornings with a psychiatrist, who recently forwarded an article in the New York Review of Books by Jerome Groopman, a physician and frequent writer on the challenges of modern day medicine. As Dan read it, he was struck by the parallels between the things that cause doctors and investors to go wrong.
2010-04-20 A Simple Step to Get More from Your Day by Dan Richards (Article)
Many advisors struggle to get everything done that needs doing. If you're in that category, consider following the example of one successful advisor Dan Richards talked to recently ... and put a dollar value on every hour of your time.
2010-04-13 Today?s Number One Way to Demonstrate Your Value by Dan Richards (Article)
Advisors provide the greatest value by being an emotional anchor for clients- keeping the highs from being too high during times of untrammeled optimism, such as we saw in 2000, and the lows from being too low during periods of absolute pessimism, such as we saw a year ago and in many cases still see today. Playing that role takes more than just having an opinion - you need credible evidence to back you up, which Dan Richards offers.
2010-04-13 James Heckman on the Drivers of Human Success by Dan Richards (Article)
"What we have come to learn from modern genetics, which has huge social implications, is that it's neither nature nor nurture. It's both combined," says James Heckman in this interview with Dan Richards. Heckman, who won the Nobel Prizein Economics in 2000, discusses the key drivers of success in human development.
2010-04-06 A Q1 Letter to Send Clients by Dan Richards (Article)
Dan Richards provides the latest in his very popular series of quarterly letters for advisors to send to their clients. This Q1 2010 article combines the attributes he considers essential: a balanced outlook, candor, short enough for clients to get through yet long enough to be substantial, fact-based, and customizable to your own voice.
2010-04-06 Emerging Markets: High Growth does not mean High Returns by Dan Richards (Article)
Recent research explores the return payoff of investing in emerging markets such as Brazil, Russia, India and China, writes Dan Richards. Contrary to popular beliefs, investing in high-growth emerging markets has produced inferior returns to those obtained from slower growth economies.
2010-03-30 Surprising New Research on Diversification from Emerging Markets by Dan Richards (Article)
Historically there have been two reasons to invest in emerging markets: the promise of higher returns that come with faster growing economies, albeit with greater volatility, and the prospect that emerging markets will offer diversification from the performance of stocks in developed economies. Dan Richards reports that new research into the impact of global diversification, though, has produced some surprising results.
2010-03-23 Hard Lessons from a Lost Account by Dan Richards (Article)
A couple of weeks ago Dan Richards talked to an investor who had recently switched advisors - and who provided an example of the stress that investors experience when they're not sure whether their advisor is really on top of their financial affairs. "What I look for are people who are proactive and are always thinking about my situation so that I don't have to," an investor told Richards. "That's what I look for in my accountant, that's what I look for in my lawyer - and that's what I look for in my financial advisor."
2010-03-16 How a Small Change Made a Big Difference by Dan Richards (Article)
Dan Richards says that when advisors think about ways to drive their business forward, they often look for dramatic initiatives that hit the ball out of the park. Sometimes, though, it is a seemingly mundane change to your routine that delivers the biggest successes. We also have a link to a webcast of this article.
2010-03-16 Paul Romer: What Drives Economic Growth? by Dan Richards (Article)
Paul Romer is a senior fellow at the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research, and the focus of his research is the drivers of economic growth. In this interview with Dan Richards, Romer identifies what sets apart fast growing countries, and which policies best stimulate economic growth. We provide a transcript and a link to a video of the interview.
2010-03-09 Lesson's from an Investing Time Machine by Dan Richards (Article)
Time travel is every investor's fantasy - imagine if you could go back forty years and make investment decisions, knowing then what you know now. That's precisely the opportunity that Dan Richards gave a group of investors one recent evening.
2010-03-02 Nine Essential Lessons from Olympians by Dan Richards (Article)
For the past two weeks, the world's eyes were on the Winter Olympics in Vancouver, focusing on those athletes who excelled, pulling away from the pack with multiple medals. Watching the Olympics, however, isn't just about athletes achieving their goals. As Dan Richards writes, financial advisors looking for guidance on hitting their own goals can take away nine important lessons.
2010-03-02 Robert Pozen on the Financial Crisis, Social Security, and the Mutual Fund Industry by Dan Richards (Article)
Robert Pozen is the chairman of MFS Investment Management and a senior lecturer at the Harvard Business School. In this interview with Dan Richards, he discusses the financial crisis, Social Security, and the mutual fund Industry. We provide a transcript and a video replay of the interview.
2010-02-23 Rethinking the Fundamentals of Client Communication by Dan Richards (Article)
Dan Richards says advisors need to fundamentally rethink both the information they communicate and - just as importantly - how they communicate. Changing these two key dimensions of your communication strategy - what you send clients and how you send it - will be critical to future success.
2010-02-16 Seven Steps to Making 2010 a Breakthrough Year for your Business by Dan Richards (Article)
Dan Richards says many advisors started the year full of enthusiasm and ambitious objectives, yet at the end of January felt bogged down and out of steam. Despite starting with good intentions, the difficulty is that we quickly get caught up in the day-to-day demands on our time, and Richards offers a seven-step plan to overcome this inertia.
2010-02-16 Robert Shiller on Trills, Housing and Market Valuations by Dan Richards (Article)
Robert Shiller, a professor of economics at Yale University and co-creator of the Case-Shiller Housing Index, discusses several topics in this interview with Dan Richards, including his plan for governments to finance their debts by issuing "trills," a security representing a fractional claim on the country's GDP.
2010-02-09 The China Conundrum by Dan Richards (Article)
Few issues divide investors today more than the investment merits of China, despite that country's tremendous potential. China's strong economic performance through the global financial crisis has reinforced this divide. Dan Richards looks at the cases for and against investment in China, and offers his own opinion.
2010-02-09 Overconfidence and Excessive Trading Harm Investor Returns by Dan Richards (Article)
The question Terrance Odean asks is if someone sells a stock and then buys another stock, on average does the stock they bought outperform the one they sold by enough to cover their trading costs? Odean, a professor at Berkeley, has researched this question and the role of excessive trading and overconfidence in investor decisions.
2010-02-02 A Question that Motivates HNW Prospects by Dan Richards (Article)
Dan Richards was asked whether he has any insights as to some great questions or strategies to get HNW prospects' attention and ultimately recruit them as clients. He provides the answer.
2010-02-02 Martijn Cremers on Active Management by Dan Richards (Article)
Martjin Cremers is an associate professor of finance at the Yale School of Management. He and his Yale colleague Antti Petajisto have conducted research that focuses on "active share" in mutual fund management. In this interview, Cremers discusses the implications of his research.
2010-01-26 Robert Merton on Regulating Derivatives by Dan Richards (Article)
Robert Merton is a professor of finance at the Harvard Business School and the 1997 winner of the Nobel Prize in economics for his work on pricing models for options and derivatives. In this interview with Dan Richards, Merton explains the role of derivatives in creating the financial crisis, and what steps regulators should take to address them.
2010-01-26 Punctuated Equilibrium by Dan Richards (Article)
Dan Richards says we're dealing with a more fundamental issue than the recent market turmoil. "We're going through one of those rare periods of ground-shaking change that have taken place throughout history, something that was in the works well before last fall's market excitement," he says, and explains how advisors should deal with more demanding customers, new technology and global competition.
2010-01-19 John Cochrane on the Dangers of Current Economic Policies by Dan Richards (Article)
John Cochrane is a professor of finance at the University of Chicago and the incoming president of the American Finance Association. Cochrane is also author of the widely-circulated article, How did Paul Krugman get it so Wrong?. In this interview, Cochrane identifies the shortcomings and dangers of current economic policies.
2010-01-19 Ten Tips to be More Likeable by Dan Richards (Article)
When Dan Richards ask advisors about what it takes to attract and retain clients, they give him answers like above average returns, preserving capital in tough markets and strong communication. Those are all true - to these can be added delivering strong value and having clients trust your competence and integrity. One other factor is often overlooked, however - and that's likeability.
2010-01-12 Olivier Blanchard on Global Stability by Dan Richards (Article)
Olivier Blanchard is the chief economist at the International Monetary Fund, a position he has held since September 1, 2008. In Dan Richards' interview, Blanchard discusses the steps being taken to revive the global economy and what he believes is in store for beleaguered debtor nations - particularly Greece.
2010-01-12 Competing for Referrals by Dan Richards (Article)
In past articles, Dan Richards has discussed how to get prospects off-the-fence when they are thinking about leaving their advisor - by providing concrete proof as to why they would be better off with us than where they are now. Now, Dan provides a strategy to use when you are competing with other advisors for referral business.
2010-01-05 Paul Krugman on Deficits, Taxes, Inflation, and Recovery by Dan Richards (Article)
Dan Richards' interview with Paul Krugman, the 2008 Nobel prize winner in Economics, covers his views on the size of the next stimulus package, how high marginal tax rates should go, and lessons from the Japanese experience. Whether or not you agree with him, Krugman is highly influential and his views may presage future policy decisions.
2010-01-05 A Lesson from Lawrence of Arabia by Dan Richards (Article)
Everyone has a favorite movie scene, and Dan Richards' comes from his all-time favorite movie, Lawrence of Arabia. Dan explains how the lessons from that classic movie apply to the advisory profession.
2009-12-29 The Best Way to Thank Clients for Referrals by Dan Richards (Article)
What's the best way to say thank you when you get a new client as a result of a referral from someone with whom you already work? Dan Richards says sending the typical thank you gift is a mistake, and offers some advice for gifts that will make a lasting impact.
2009-12-22 Six Words that Open the Door to Accountant Referrals by Dan Richards (Article)
Put together a list of the things that frustrate advisors targeting high-end clients and roadblocks to referrals from accountants are sure to be close to the top. Successful advisors recognize the power of a recommendation from a HNW prospect's most trusted advisor, and Dan Richards reveals the six words that facilitate those referrals.
2009-12-15 A Template for a Year-end Letter by Dan Richards (Article)
Many advisors have told Dan Richards they receive a positive response from the quarterly review letters they've sent over the past year based on the templates he has provided. Here's a template that can be a starting point for a year-end review letter.
2009-12-08 Cleaning up Messes by Dan Richards (Article)
Whether it's a phone call to a difficult client, a meeting with a retiree whose portfolio has been hit hard, a tough conversation with an underperforming staff member or getting through a mountain of filing, most of us have at least one issue on which we have been procrastinating for weeks, months, maybe even years. Dan Richards gives some tips for dealing with tough issues.
2009-12-01 Avoiding the Black Hole of Business Planning by Dan Richards (Article)
This month, many advisors are working on next year's business plans. For many, those plans will end up like a black hole in space - lots of energy will go in and little or nothing will come out. Dan Richards shows how to avoid getting sucked into this black hole.
2009-11-24 Tapping into Today?s Number One Client Concern by Dan Richards (Article)
Larry Porcelli, the head of the private client group for US fund giant BlackRock said that their research shows that 70% of Americans are willing to move their accounts if another firm or advisor offered expertise on constructing portfolios to avoid running out of money. Dan Richards identifies two things advisors need to do to capitalize on this opportunity.
2009-11-17 Client Gifts that Stand Out by Dan Richards (Article)
Having trouble with ideas for holiday gifts for your clients? Dan Richards offers four strategies for selecting a gift with a meaningful impact.
2009-11-10 Using Case Studies to Make Your Case by Dan Richards (Article)
Case studies rank as one of the most effective ways to tell your story to prospects. As Dan Richards writes, well-written case studies can be more persuasive and memorable than the typical marketing material which advisors use with prospects.
2009-11-03 Five Steps to an Effective Portfolio Review by Dan Richards (Article)
Even with the recovery in markets since March, given client losses in the last two years this can still be a tough time to conduct portfolio reviews. Dan Richards provides a five-step approach to effectively conducting those reviews.
2009-10-27 The Power of Proactive Client Calls by Dan Richards (Article)
Dan Richards often asks advisors how many proactive calls they make to clients in the average day. The most common response is one or two ... and often the answer is zero. Many advisors underestimate the impact of proactive calls on clients.
2009-10-20 Three Ways to Inspire Clients by Dan Richards (Article)
Given the beating their portfolios have taken and the general mood of skepticism, often your goal when meeting with clients is to have them leave feeling more optimistic and upbeat about their future prospects and in particular about your role as their advisor. Dan Richards offers three ways to uplift your clients' spirits, while confronting today's crucial issues and building your credibility.
2009-10-13 Work Smart by Building Thinking Time into Your Day by Dan Richards (Article)
Consistently committing the time to think critically can lead to a dramatic boost in overall productivity. So how do we go about ensuring we're "working smart"? Dan Richards offers five opportunities to build thinking time into your business - you can do this annually, quarterly, monthly, weekly ... or even daily.
2009-10-06 A Quarter-End Letter to Send Clients by Dan Richards (Article)
Last fall, Dan Richards began posting quarter-end letters that advisors could adapt for their own use. Many advisors have told him that they have received an outstanding response to the letters they sent as a result, and Dan provides a template for a third-quarter letter.
2009-09-29 Turning Intention into Action by Dan Richards (Article)
Dan Richards' recent article, A Wakeup Call for Advisors: Turmoil at the Top of the Market, drew by far the largest response of any his articles in the last year and a half. Focusing on a number of recent articles on affluent investors leaving existing advisors, the article laid out five strategies to respond to this trend. Of course, laying out the strategies is the easy part - it's acting on them that's tough - and Dan offers suggestions for advisors looking for a way to prioritize their action plan.
2009-09-22 Communicating in a Sound Bite World by Dan Richards (Article)
Advisors today operate in a very different world from twenty years ago. Dan Richards discusses one of the most significant changes - the shortening of attention spans - and the resulting shift in what it takes to communicate effectively.
2009-09-15 Practical Advice for Students Entering University by Dan Richards (Article)
If you have clients with children heading off to college or university this fall, consider emailing these tips which Dan Richards provides, both for them to read and perhaps to pass on to their children. Chances are those tips will be particularly appreciated where kids are leaving home and living on their own.
2009-09-08 Tapping into Your Prospect?s Hot Buttons by Dan Richards (Article)
Experienced advisors know the importance of identifying and responding to the emotions that drive client's and prospect's behavior - and tailoring the way they interact with each individual's hot buttons. Dan Richards discusses how you can simplify your clients' lives with respect to communication, and provide a valuable service at the same time.
2009-09-01 Listening for the ECHO in Client Calls by Dan Richards (Article)
In the course of a typical week, all advisors and their support teams have lots of routine telephone interactions with clients. At a recent roundtable for advisors, a top producing advisor told Dan Richards about a simple step he'd implemented that significantly increased the mileage from those calls.
2009-08-25 The Case for Optimism by Dan Richards (Article)
Only a few months ago, economist's doomsday scenarios caused widespread concerns that we were about to revisit the Great Depression. That consensus view on the economy has shifted remarkably quickly, with a much more positive outlook for the immediate period ahead. Dan Richards cites two recent articles making a persuasive case for optimism.
2009-08-18 An Alternative Way to Conduct Client Reviews by Dan Richards (Article)
Experienced advisors know there's no substitute for face-to-face meetings to review portfolios, especially in times such as these. In some cases, however, a client's location or schedule make it impossible to meet face-to-face - in those cases, Dan Richards offers an alternative method to conduct that review.
2009-08-11 Behavioral Finance Traps En Route to Investment Success by Dan Richards (Article)
To understand why investors fail to stick to their plans, economists and academics are studying the rapidly growing field of "behavioral finance," analyzing the patterns of behavior that cost investors serious money. Dan Richards looks at the current research and its implications for investors and advisors.
2009-08-04 A Wakeup Call for Advisors: Turmoil at the Top of the Market by Dan Richards (Article)
Recent articles in Business Week, the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal describe turmoil among high-net worth investors and have profound implications for financial advisors. Dan Richards offers a five-point response for advisors to counteract investor disillusionment with their current relationship.
2009-07-28 Three Powerful Words in Client Conversations by Dan Richards (Article)
Some words are particularly effective when talking to clients and prospects, says Dan Richards. For example, when it comes to advertising and direct mail, nothing beats the word "Free" in a headline. Among the words used by advisors, arguably the single most powerful phrase is "Tell me more."
2009-07-21 Three Easy Steps to Effective Networking by Dan Richards (Article)
For some, breaking the ice when meeting someone new is a daunting task. Many advisors have confessed to Dan Richards that they are not natural salespeople and aren't comfortable talking to people they don't know. Here are three keys to networking effectively when you're in a setting where you're meeting new people.
2009-07-14 Three Steps to a Referral Conversation that Works Today by Dan Richards (Article)
Recommendations initiated by someone looking for an introduction to an advisor doing a good job for a friend have always been an important driver of referrals, but this will be especially true this summer. In some instances, your clients will be asked outright how they feel about the job you've done and if they are comfortable recommending you. Dan Richards provides a three-step plan to make this happen.
2009-07-07 The True Cost of Volatility by Dan Richards (Article)
Most advisors and investors hate volatility - the up and down hits to clients' long term goals. (To be more accurate, we hate the downs - the ups we don't mind so much.) Dan Richards discusses the big price clients pay for that volatility - not just stress and lost sleep at night, but volatility in portfolios that induces behavior that costs many investors serious money.
2009-06-30 In Search of Unconventional Thinking by Dan Richards (Article)
Astute investors search out insights that aren't reflected in stock prices. For this to work, though, you have to be prepared to differ from the pack and defy conventional thinking - once an idea enters the mainstream, it no longer gives you an edge. Dan Richards discusses some important positive ideas that unconventional thinking elicits from the news and analysis presented in traditional media.
2009-06-30 Getting Prospecting into First Gear by Dan Richards (Article)
"A year ago, all kinds of new clients were coming on board - I was firing on all cylinders" a veteran advisor told Dan Richards recently. "Today, I'm having trouble getting prospecting into first gear. I feel like I'm stuck in a rut and I'm not sure how to get out." Dan sketched out a plan for two low cost prospecting lunches, with six simple steps taking ten to twelve hours per lunch.
2009-06-23 A Mid-Year Letter to Your Clients by Dan Richards (Article)
Even with the 40% market recovery since March, many investors are still very anxious and looking for guidance and direction from their advisors. One way to respond to this demand is by sending clients a mid-year letter with your thoughts on where we are today and an outlook for the period ahead. Dan Richards has prepared a template for you to use.
2009-06-16 Tackling Today?s Number One Client Challenge by Dan Richards (Article)
Talk to advisors about the challenges they face today and you'll get a lengthy list - often headed by unhappy clients, reduced income and a struggle to stay positive and productive. While these are all serious issues, says Dan Richards, for most advisors they are dwarfed by the number one obstacle to getting business back on track - rebuilding investor confidence in our trust and integrity.
2009-06-09 Thirty Seconds to Better Client Conversations by Dan Richards (Article)
We're all looking for ways to make the time we spend talking to clients on the phone and in meetings more productive. Recently, Dan Richards spoke to an advisor who made one small change to his routine that led to better results from client interactions. With an investment of just thirty seconds before each call and meeting, he has seen a meaningful change in outcomes.
2009-06-02 Building Personal Connections with Clients by Dan Richards (Article)
Over the past few months, we've all read about "the new frugality" that has become part of our culture. Consumers are rethinking their spending plans - yielding some surprising results about how people decide their priorities in tough times. Dan Richards looks at the implications of this trend for financial advisors.
2009-05-26 Developing an Optimistic Outlook by Dan Richards (Article)
An optimistic outlook is the most important trait advisors can bring to the job. Overcoming a negative mindset is the necessary first step that makes everything else we do possible. Dan Richards shows how to put explicit strategies in place to stay motivated - for most of us, motivation doesn't happen unless we make it happen.
2009-05-19 Turning Corporate Downsizing into Prospecting Success by Dan Richards (Article)
Optimists in the investment business claim "Crisis breeds opportunity." Dan Richards looks at the worst consequence of the current crisis - corporate downsizing - and shows how advisors used five different approaches to create opportunities while helping those faced with job losses.
2009-05-12 Lessons from Winning Athletes by Dan Richards (Article)
Dan Richards analyzes the characteristics of successful professional athletes and offers several lessons for advisors. When you watch top-performing athletes and winning sporting teams, it's tempting to attribute their success entirely to talent. And yes, talent is of course essential, but other less obvious characteristics matter just as much when it comes to achieving success.
2009-05-05 A Prospecting Tip from Barack Obama by Dan Richards (Article)
Rather than asking for donations online, the Obama campaign's on-line advertising had the single-minded objective to get people to sign up for their email list, agreeing to receive more information. As Dan Richards explains, the reason for this was quite simple - obtaining an email address and the owner's agreement to receive future communication about the campaign was vastly more valuable than a single donation.
2009-04-28 Structuring Your Day for Maximum Productivity by Dan Richards (Article)
Two things make your day productive - the first is what you do and the second is how you do it. Dan Richards provides some practical tips for advisors to structure their days for maximum productivity.