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Volume 18 / Issue 2 www.figmarketing.com


FIG

TALENT

SOLUTIONS

PASSION. EXPERIENCE. INDUSTRY SPECIFIC FOCUS. Financial Independence Group’s Talent Solutions provides experienced recruiting, performance management, and employee selection programs to the financial services community. Born from the values found from within: ethical standards, commitment to excellence, respect for individuals, investment in our people, and accountability; our team designs customized tools for helping candidates and our advisors achieve success. We are looking forward to building a highly interactive network of financial professionals recognized by every advisor firm as the industry leader for resource solutions.

FOR MORE INFORMATION, CONTACT YOUR MARKETING CONSULTANT


Introduction

Are You Being Served? TEXT BY J. WESLEY KNOWLES We ask ourselves, “Are we being served?” We want to make certain that our needs are being met when making a purchase, interacting with a service representative, and/or browsing a website. Most consumers expect to be served and to come away satisfied when going online, dealing with a call center, or stepping up to the counter to make a purchase. This seems to be the state of our subconscious in the daily rush of work, family, and living responsibly. We also set expectations that our interactions/transactions will be convenient, expedient, and reasonably priced. In today’s market place, the user experience (UX) has become a key source for competition among the largest corporations in the world.iv Making headlines recently, Walmart has redesigned their online UX and delivery options to utilize their existing brick-and-mortar network to compete with Amazon for grocery services. Intense competition is sweeping the food market industry, following Amazon’s purchase of Whole Foods last year.i A great deal of this competition is focused on deliverability, pricing, and convenience for the end user. The modern consumer requires elevated service and convenience. Businesses that recognize clientele empowerment will ensure customer needs are a priority by including their needs in the supply chain. These considerations are important, particularly during the design phases, when creating anything and everything a customer faces.iii Does this mean that every aspect of the client-to-business relationship is impacted by UX? According to a recent article in Fortune magazine the answer is “Yes” on all counts.ii This evolution of purchasing ideology impacts advisor services and their clients as well. From the first prospecting call, to reviewing the business website, all the way through to a closing appointment; your business is being observed with a quiet critique in the minds of customers. Those we serve expect the same honesty, integrity, knowledge, and service that we demand when seeking information or buying products. UX is the end-to-end value chain for a customer and includes every space in between.ii It’s the overall impression for each user interaction with your company and how manageable and pleasing those experiences were.iv When considering the bandwidth of this subject, it may seem overwhelming at first, but in reality, our day-to-day business already is focused on customer satisfaction. Tweaking our offerings and processes should fine-tune interactions taking our client relationships to new levels. This issue of Financial Independence Group’s Connections contains articles to help you effectively meet UX desire for clients, partnerships, and staff. s

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-walmart-grocery/ walmart-expands-home-delivery-in-fight-with-amazon-idUSKCN1GQ1D3/ ii http://fortune.com/2017/07/20/user-experience-everything/ iii http://www.wardsauto.com/interiors/why-user-experience-key-everything/ iv https://medium.com/swlh/how-ux-can-grow-your-business-c6781766392e/ i 

J. Wesley Knowles, Marketing Media Specialist, APM Division, Financial Independence Group, Inc. Contact Wesley - Phone: 800-527-1155, Email: Wes.Knowles@figmarketing.com CONNECTIONS MAGAZINE |

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Table of Contents

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IN EVERY ISSUE 1 Introduction 2 Table of Contents 6 Credits 8 Executive Team 12 Contributors ARTICLES 1 ARE YOU BEING SERVED? The user experience (UX) has become a key source for competition among the largest corporations in the world. – by J. Wesley Knowles

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14 CREATING A FINANCIAL LEGACY Consider a multi-generational strategy for your client’s IRA assets. – by Chris Vance 20 GLOBAL DISRUPTION Technology can add value to your business and help build valuable solutions for your clients. – by Arron Price

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22 CUSTOMER SERVICE & THE WISE ADVISOR The missed marketing opportunity through consumer support. – by J. Wesley Knowles 24 WHEN TO HIRE A SECONDARY ADVISOR How do I know my firm, my prospects, and my clients are ready for a new team member? – by Tom Lamendola


RetireUp Pro integrates with Riskalyze Software. We’re proud to announce the integration of RetireUp Pro with Riskalyze, a software aimed at financial professionals to get risk assessments for client portfolios. With a few clicks, RetireUp Pro users can integrate Riskalyze software in their RetireUp Pro account via our Agent Portal.

More than a sales tool, RetireUpPro is the industry’s first advisor-guided retirement decision platform. Designed to increase capacity, productivity, and profitability—you can guide your clients through a personalized retirement planning experience. With RetireUpPro, you’ll be able to: • Change the client conversation • Visualize retirement realities and solutions • Get approvals faster with clean and compliant apps

If you have questions or concerns about syncing the two programs, please call (800) 527-1155 to speak with our Marketing Program Specialist, Hamilton Morales; or email him at hamilton.morales@figmarketing.com


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ARTICLES 26 SOCIAL MEDIA DOS AND DON’TS Best practices to help your business thrive in the age of social media. – by Mark Stewart 30 COMPLIANCE CORNER Good practices you can follow to make it difficult for fraudsters. – by Paul Van Ginhoven 32 STUDENTS, LOANS & LIFE INSURANCE Services that help students pay off loans and develop skills in consumer economics. – by Christopher Kite

38 38 10 THINGS CLIENTS EXPECT The deliverables needed to be an outstanding financial advisor aren’t impossible. – by Mark Stewart 40 A TALE OF TWO DOCTORS How two doctors practice medicine will have you thinking about your approach with your clients. – by Shawn Sigler

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42 LTC AWARENESS SCRIPTS Some scripts to help simplify and may potentially help get a few LTCs issued by year’s end. – by Alecia Barnette 44 CALENDAR OF EVENTS Halfway through the year, this calendar will let you see what’s left for the next two quarters.

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EDITORIAL Publisher Financial Independence Group Editor Liz Ross Executives Dr. William H. Cain Ericka Cain Brian Williams Jim Cooper Mike Mullan Nicholas Ross Tracia Cericola Art Direction J. Wesley Knowles Design/Production Alisa Agnew Danielle Harnish J. Wesley Knowles Jennifer Shephard Rashaad Bilal Copywriter Mark Stewart Editorial Assistants Carly Walker Jennifer Shephard Lindsey Forte Tara Salter Contributors Arron Price Alecia Barnette Chris Kite Chris Vance J. Wesley Knowles Liz Ross Mark Stewart Paul Van Ginhoven Shawn Sigler Tom Lamendola Project Consultants Alisa Agnew Jennifer Shephard Jim Cooper Lindsey Forte Liz Ross Mark Stewart Project Manager J. Wesley Knowles PRODUCTION Design Team Financial Independence Group All Points Media 19520 West Catawba Ave Suite 200 Cornelius, NC 28031

Cover Illustration Rashaad Bilal


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FINANCIAL INDEPENDENCE GROUP EXECUTIVE TEAM DR. WILLIAM H. CAIN Chief Executive Officer Bill received his undergraduate degree in Speech and a graduate degree in Theology. He received the degree, Doctor of Education, from the University of NC at Greensboro. Bill began his career in the insurance industry in 1976. For more than 25 years he has recruited and trained agents. He is an author, including training manuals for agents and a national speaker. As CEO of Financial Independence Group, Inc., Bill researches the market for the best products and directs his staff to give the best service in the industry.

ERICKA CAIN Executive Administrator Ericka’s passion for top-notch service has helped to streamline a multitude of contracts, new business, policy issues, commission accounting, and service challenges. Since joining her husband, Bill, at Financial Independence Group in 1987, Ericka has played a major role in the company’s development as the Office Manager and in 2000 as Chief Administrative Officer. In 2018 she moved into a new role as the Executive Administrator where she continues to add her expertise finding solutions for a variety of challenges that beset our industry and daily business.

BRIAN WILLIAMS Chief Operating Officer As COO and partner of Financial Independence Group, Brian is responsible for the overall business operations of the company. He works with his colleagues on the executive team to develop global strategies and direction for Financial Independence Group with a goal of providing opportunities for advisors while progressively integrating internal efficiencies for greater effectiveness. He also oversees all areas of IT as well as compliance.

MIKE MULLAN Chief Financial Officer Mike Mullan began his tenure in June 2002. Mike started as an annuity sales consultant where he was responsible for helping independent financial advisors increase their annuity production as well as helping to grow their overall practices. He quickly became one of the top annuity marketers and built a book of business that produced over $100 million annually in production. In January of 2009, he accepted the position of Chief Financial Officer. He is currently an owner and officer, and looks forward to continuing to help Financial Independence Group grow and succeed.

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JIM COOPER Chief Marketing Officer As CMO, Jim directly oversees All Points Media (APM), the marketing division of Financial Independence Group. Jim sees what he does on a day-to-day basis as relationship building. He feels advisors not only need to have a strong relationship with their clients, but also with their marketing organization. Jim believes the independent financial advisor is our client and we are never going to forget that. He continuously works to make our clients the best advisors they can be. “Our work today is better than yesterday, and our work tomorrow will be better than today,” is the motto Jim leads by.

TRACIA CERICOLA Chief Administrative Officer Previously, Tracia served as the Director of Administrative Services. In her current role as Chief Administrative Officer, Tracia is responsible for overseeing the operations of the administrative departments. These departments include contracting, case managers, and the front desk. She works with departmental team leads to assess current policies and procedures in the various departments and oversees the implementation of changes to ensure efficiency and the outstanding customer service for which Financial Independence Group is known.

NICHOLAS ROSS Chief Distribution Officer Nicholas has been in financial services for over 20 years and his passion for the financial sector is relentless. His experiences range from a retail financial advisor and executive at a registered investment advisor - broker-dealer, to ten years inside one of the largest privately-held brokerage general agencies in the world. For over five years, Nicholas has tailored solutions for entrepreneurial financial professionals with one goal in mind – to fulfill the vision of becoming the very best. Nicholas serves four verticals in his current role within Financial Independence Group: Surge Business Consulting, Next Continuity and Succession, leading managing directors, and institutional sales.

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Romare Bearden Park, Charlotte


CONNECTIONS CONTRIBUTORS LIZ ROSS

PAUL VAN GINHOVEN

TOM LAMENDOLA

ARRON PRICE

SHAWN SIGLER

ALECIA BARNETTE

Director of Marketing Liz leads an incredibly talented group of professionals at APM, our marketing division, who are committed to providing advisors with the marketing tools and strategies they need to grow their business and make a difference in the lives of their clients.

Director of Business Development Tom is a master at identifying and hiring the best talent in the industry. He began his career recruiting in the financial sector, and has worked his way to a senior leadership role in multiple companies. Tom designs, markets, and fulfills open positions for our advisors through Financial Independence Group’s Talent Solutions service.

Senior Vice President Working with private client groups, Shawn’s responsible for the growth and development of his team and their advisors. His leadership skills give him a unique perspective on assisting business development, marketing, and sales verticals inside an advisor’s practice. Shawn is a member of the National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors (NAIFA), and served as a board member on the Charlotte, NC chapter of the Society of Financial Service Professionals (SFSP).

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Director of Compliance Paul collaborates with advisors and internal staff to find solutions to their compliance questions and potential regulatory issues. He’s a member of the International Association of Risk and Compliance Professionals and has a Certified Risk and Compliance Management Professional designation. He currently holds FINRA Series 6, 7, 9, 10, 24, 26, 53, 63 and 66 licenses. Additionally, Paul has a North Carolina Life Insurance License and is a North Carolina Notary Public.

Director of Software Engineering Arron joined us as a software developer, where he was responsible for the design, creation, and implementation of software that benefited all staff and agents. Arron has completely re-designed our commissions system, emphasizing the need for reliability and efficiency in the industry. Now as director, he oversees all IT initiatives, from software development to web design.

Senior Vice President - LTC Alecia has over 20 years of experience in providing assetbased LTC case designs to highly successful advisors. Her main purpose is to help advisors protect their clients and their families from the physical and emotional consequences of unexpected care needs. Alecia’s use of holistic approaches and strong ethics make her an invaluable asset to any financial advisor.


CHRIS VANCE

Senior Vice President Chris believes in building relationships with elite financial professionals so he can become an integral part of their business development process. Chris and his team help advisors develop their business and marketing plans as they acquire a strong understanding of the advisor, their company, and their desired business direction.

J. WESLEY KNOWLES

Marketing Media Specialist Wes has been involved as an artist & designer with the nationally recognized brands of Spectrum, The DNC, Amway, NBA Charlotte Hornets, AHL Charlotte Checkers, and the NFL Carolina Panthers. Wes joined All Points Media in 2014 and delivers his insight to an already strong group of designers and marketers with his many years of experience in publication production, copywriting, and art direction.

CHRISTOPHER KITE

Policy Design Analyst - Life Chris is an expertise in life insurance and annuity dynamics/disclosure who served as an advisor to the NAIC for life insurance illustrations. He brings an expertise of the sales, actuarial, regulatory, and system dynamics for life insurance and annuity sales –helping people better understand these products.

MARK STEWART

Copywriter Mark’s “jack-of-all-trades” mentality has made him both knowledgeable and passionate in advertising, digital and social media marketing, and of course— copywriting. Responsible for creating captivating content and convincing copy across the board for Financial Independence Group, he has a knack for making the most complex financial topics simple to understand.

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CREATING A FINANCIAL LEGACY TEXT BY CHRIS VANCE

Do you have clients who are under the age of 70 ½ who own an IRA, but have no desire to take withdrawals from their qualified accounts until the IRS forces them to begin their required minimum distributions (RMDs) at age 70 ½? Do you have clients who are 70 ½ and retired who only take distributions from their IRA because they must? Do they anticipate leaving what’s left in their qualified accounts like their IRAs to their kids when they pass? If you answered yes to those questions, then you should help your clients consider a multi-generational strategy for your client’s IRA assets. The multi-generational strategy is for individuals who want to create a financial legacy that lasts generations. It’s possible when an IRA is passed on directly to grandchildren, since the IRS’s tax deferral period significantly increases. The basic idea is to purchase life insurance with the RMDs on the IRA to be left to your client’s children. This allows them to take care of their kids while leaving the remainder of the IRA at death directly to the grandkids.

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HERE’S HOW IT WORKS, STEP-BY-STEP: 1. Determine the projected value of the IRA when you believe your client would likely pass away. You’ll have to make a few assumptions here; basically, you estimate a “reasonable” rate of return and apply the basic RMD to the account. 2. Estimate when you believe the client is likely to pass away. There’s a function in RetireUp Pro that can help with this in our Agent Portal. 3. Purchase a life insurance policy using the client’s RMDs to pay the premiums and name their children the beneficiaries of the life insurance. The life insurance policy can be structured in many ways. For example, if you’re working with a married couple, you can minimize the premium required by writing a second-todie policy, or if future LTC costs are a concern, you could look at a policy with LTC benefits.

4. Finally, name their grandchildren as the beneficiary of their IRA. If you’re working with a married couple, you may want to name the spouse as the primary beneficiary of the IRA and name the grandchildren as contingent beneficiaries. That way, when the original IRA owner dies the IRA is left to their spouse; the spouse could assume the IRA via the IRS spousal assumption rules and then name the grandchildren as their primary beneficiary.


LET’S LOOK AT AN EXAMPLE: John, age 70, has an IRA worth $500,000 that he wants to leave as an inheritance to his son James, age 45, and his grandson Greg, age 13. We’ll assume that John lives to age 80 and work with the 6% average rate of return. That would mean if John only withdrew his RMDs from his IRA, it’d be worth $577,208 at his death and that balance would be taxable to his son. Instead of leaving the IRA to his son James, John purchases a life insurance policy with a death benefit of $577,208 with an annual premium of $19,936 from Protective Life. When John dies at age 80, his son James receives the death benefit from his life insurance policy of $577,208 (tax-free).

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John named his grandson, Greg, as the beneficiary of his IRA and Greg receives the IRA upon his grandfather’s death. James is 23 at the time of his grandfather’s death and chooses to treat the account as an inherited IRA. James begins taking RMDs the year following his grandfather’s death and continues taking only RMDs based on his age until his death at the age of 90. The forecasted IRA distributions over his lifetime (assuming a 6% annual rate of return) would be $6,747,694. The total distributions then total $7,324,902 ($577,208 tax-free life insurance proceeds to James plus $6,747,694 in RMDs paid to Greg over his lifetime.) What may have happened had John not implemented this strategy? John could have earned the same 6% as we assumed in our example on his IRA and only taken RMDs from his account until his death at the same assumed age of 80. His son, James, receives the $577,208 IRA balance, which is fully taxable. And, instead of treating it as an inherited IRA, he liquidates the account. If we assume a 35% tax bracket, then after taxes that leaves him with $375,185. James could also treat his inheritance as an inherited IRA and take RMDs based on his lifetime. If he chooses that option and takes RMDs during his lifetime, and we assume the same 6% rate of return, then the sum of his RMDs would total $1,619,733. IRA maximization is a wealth transfer strategy that can allow your clients to transfer the value of their IRA to their heirs in a tax-efficient manor, while also leveraging the value of life insurance death benefit proceeds. Who might benefit from this strategy? Someone who doesn’t need their IRA assets to provide them income during their retirement and who’s interested in maximizing the legacy they leave to their loved ones. If you’d like to discuss this strategy, give me a call at 704-439-2366 or email me at chris@figmarketing.com, and we can get your clients benefiting from this multi-generational IRA strategy! s The information in this article is for educational purposes only and does not constitute legal or tax advice. Customers should consult their legal or tax advisors regarding their own situation. Rates of return discussed in this article are illustrative in nature and may not represent an actual rate of return one may receive. Chris Vance, Senior Vice President, Financial Independence Group, Inc. Contact Chris - Phone: 800-527-1155, Email: Chris.Vance@figmarketing.com

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HOW TECHNOLOGY IS DISRUPTING THE WORLD WE LIVE IN AND WHAT IT MEANS FOR THE FINANCIAL ADVISOR

TEXT BY ARRON PRICE

It’s safe to say that we live in a world dominated by technology. With advancements happening at an exponential rate across every industry, it comes at no surprise when I say that technology isn’t going away. Now, I know where your mind is going – “here we go, the whole please embrace technology now or we are coming for you” pitch. But, that’s not exactly the angle I’d like to take here.

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o, how is technology disrupting the world we live in? As you’ve probably noticed, the key word here is disrupting. Not necessarily a positive undertone by any means (especially from someone who’s a part of a software development team). But it’s true. Arguably, technology’s main purpose is to compliment and improve our lives. However, if we didn’t throw in the idea of disruption, then I’d argue that technology wouldn’t improve at the rate it has – let alone have the impact it’s had. Look at Amazon, which originally started as a marketplace for books. Hardly disruptive back then by any means, but it started as a way to improve the lives of those who wanted easier access to books. Now, flash-forward to

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2018 and Amazon has fundamentally revolutionized the way the world sees commerce. It’s almost impossible to argue the fact that they’ve singlehandedly caused a huge disruption within commerce itself, affecting almost every brick-and-mortar store there is. Those companies that resisted the idea of embracing technology early on are now a part of history (Rest in peace, Blockbuster, Borders Books, and Toys-R-Us). Like I eluded to earlier, it’s not all doomand-gloom from my perspective. Yes, society dictates and forces us to use technology, but to truly embrace it you must understand the motive behind why software development teams like ours do what we do. Trust me, it’s not that scary. Ultimately, our whole mantra


Only implement technology where you see it creating value to your practice and clients – and understand why you’re taking the steps you are. Easier said than done, though. This requires you to understand the platform you’re looking to implement. Do research, read reviews, and sign up for trials. Do whatever it takes for you to get a core understanding on how a specific platform will enhance your business. Embrace an application because you want to embrace it, knowing that it’ll enhance the experience for you and your clients. Don’t just pick a technology because someone tells you to. Know that it will work.

is to create as much value as possible to those that we build solutions for – our clients. Wait, does this sound familiar? Trying to create the best possible product or solution for a client. It’s exactly what a financial advisor does every single day. What if we paused here and switched our mindset? We can throw our arms up, throw a hissy fit, and tell the world that we hate that technology is disrupting us all we want. But really, it’s just a mindset. Let’s look at our software development team here at Financial Independence Group: Our primary goal is to deliver the most value to our advisors who, in turn, are trying to create as much value as possible to their client. It’s a team effort for a common goal. Now, I get it – embracing programs like e-Apps,

CRMs, and marketing trackers disrupts a process you’ve done your entire career and are extremely successful with it. But, how are you improving? And most importantly, how are you improving the lives of your clients? The goal of these initiatives is to help financial advisors possess the tools to better improve the engagement with their clients. Engagement includes but isn’t limited to communication, access to information, and quality of advice. Every decision you make for your practice surrounds this paradigm. This should include technology as well. Too many times, we see the adoption of technology platforms because “we were told to” or “because everyone else does”. If there’s anything you take from this article, it’s this:

Arron Price, Senior Director of Software Engineering, Financial Independence Group, Inc. Contact Arron - Phone: 800-527-1155, Email: Arron.Price@figmarketing.com

As you continue your search, you’ll begin to see something interesting: The more you know about a technology platform, the more exciting it becomes. Not only about the application itself, but about the possibilities that technology has. It allows us to have whatever we want, whenever we want it, right at our fingertips. Could you imagine a world where you have all the information you need for a client right there, in real-time? What about a world where insurance applications take seconds, not weeks to approve? How about being told when and how to communicate with a prospect? The list of possibilities is endless. Disruptive? Yes. Full of change? Definitely. Exciting? Heck yeah. Interestingly, a lot of articles you read about technology today conclude by stating that “it’s not a matter of if, but when.” I’d argue that the “when” has passed. Our space has moved into a whole new era. You’re now living in an industry that has, and is, fully embracing technology. Disruption is here. Are you ready? s

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TEXT BY J. WESLEY KNOWLES

Customer service can be defined as the assistance and support to consumers before, during, and after purchases. iv In the realm of fiduciary advice, learning client goals and objectives is key in helping guide the build-out of income strategies for the future. How we handle personalities, answer questions, and share information during interactions is a part of their customer experience. Each question you respond to, each piece of advice you give, the meetings you lead, and the assistance that you provide are marketing opportunities through consumer support. This is true for both new and repeat clientele. Both large and small companies that focus significant energy on customer service and do it well have the advantage over their rivals that don’t. ii When clients interact with your business, their experience is a form of marketing and branding. It’s important that the message conveyed is consistent 22 | CONNECTIONS MAGAZINE

with your ideology and brand. This means that each aspect of your business should be addressed; from reception and meetings, to case management, to objectives all the way down the supply chain. iii A personal experience in a popular department store can sum up a customer experience that left a lasting impression. This chain retailer has recently stepped up their game online and has been addressing their brickand-mortar store network to compete with Amazon. vi One morning, I was rushing to work and had to get motor oil for my car. Stopping by the store close to my home, I spoke to a uniformed employee as I walked through the entrance. When I spoke to her, she turned and glared at me as if I had offended her. She had ear buds in and was busily reviewing the content on her mobile device. She was clearly labeled as a representative of the brand by wearing the company-identified smock and badge. As her eyes darted back to her phone screen I addressed


her again, “Good morning, I hope you are well?” just in case she hadn’t heard me the first time. That was when she rolled her eyes at me and turned her back. I then clearly articulated, “You must be having a bad day, or do you prefer not to respond?” She turned, looked at me, then rolled her eyes again and walked out the doors never verbally responding to me. I wasn’t in shock, since this seemed to be the usual demeanor for most of the staff at this store. I went and grabbed the item I needed and proceeded to the checkout.

It’s important to be wise when embracing business technology and trends. Advances should only be implemented to add real value to your business, not simply because there’s a need to keep up with the Joneses. Personal touch still does wonders to secure long-term client relationships. Focus on your workforce and your offerings and stop worrying about your competition. Be sure to be convenient and responsive, but most importantly, make sure that you and your team are on the same page when representing your business.

The cashier was a completely different experience. I chose the checkout location in the garden area which was already heating up in the summer weather. This employee pleasantly asked me if she could assist. She was energetic, enthusiastic, and welcoming. I told her so and she thanked me. Then I explained the contrast of my experience interacting with her as opposed to the young lady earlier that was pre-occupied with her smartphone. She informed me that the young woman was a greeter for the store. I replied, “That young lady is a greeter? You all are in trouble.”

Don’t make the common mistake many business owners make with employees by not defining and communicating the consistent delivery of the business.vi Sit down with your workforce and cover topics, prepare questions and answers, and even role play to get the most out of knowing when to react and how to react.

My point with this story is to emphasize an observation. One employee can impact not only my repeat business, but all others that she encounters at the entrance. As a greeter, she’d be in contact with most people walking through their doors. While this company is spending big money on re-branding, negative employee attitudes are affecting their bottom line by chasing repeat patrons away. Perhaps this young lady wasn’t selfaware, perhaps she didn’t care, or maybe she wasn’t trained properly. It’s clear though, based on recent branding outreach, that her behavior doesn’t represent the philosophy her employer would like to project. Even though I did enjoy one positive customer experience, I was already impacted by my first encounter. iv When buying, investing, or seeking advice, most people want to feel valued. We all appreciate being respected as a customer, as well as a fellow person. Evaluating your customer experience can be daunting; but if you approach protocol systematically, you can ensure that your brand is living up to its standards across the board. This often helps your business stand out from the competition and helps keep your clientele feeling significant.

Using this approach, you can rest assured that your team members will represent you and your business in the best possible light any time they respond, give advice, lead a meeting, or assist clients. By taking advantage of all interactions, you’ll be capitalizing on these marketing opportunities to elevate your business, along with its reputation. s Perhaps you would like to evaluate your business and help to streamline inefficiencies? Perhaps you don’t know where to begin? Surge Business Consulting can assist you. It is a service to help evaluate pressure points and find the best possible solutions to allow your business run as smoothly and efficiently as possible. To find out more about Surge Business Consulting, contact your Financial Independence Group Team at 1-800-527-1155 or find out more information online at www.figmarketing.com/marketing/surge/. J. Wesley Knowles, Marketing Media Specialist, APM Division, Financial Independence Group, Inc. Contact Wesley - Phone: 800-527-1155, Email: Wes.Knowles@figmarketing.com

i-https://www.forbes.com/sites/theyec/2018/02/08/six-trends-that-will-shape-customer-service-in2018-for-better-or-worse/#21c5449a672a ii-https://www.forbes.com/sites/micahsolomon/2018/02/17/customer-service-is-the-new-marketing/#2347059c1d28 iii-https://www.forbes.com/sites/ritz-carltonleadershipcenter/2018/05/22/creating-value-through-meaningfulexperiences-how-volkswagen-australia-wins-customers-and-earns-their-loyalty/#3acff5cd4f4b iv-https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Customer_service v-https://www.customerservicemanager.com/5-ways-to-disrupt-your-competition-with-customer-service/ vi-https://hiring.monster.com/hr/hr-best-practices/small-business/employee-motivation/ company-branding.aspx CONNECTIONS MAGAZINE | 23


HOW DO YOU KNOW IT’S TIME TO HIRE

a Secondary Advisor? TEXT BY TOM LAMENDOLA

If your firm has experienced significant growth over the past 18 months like most of our advisors, you may consider expanding your prospect or client coverage by engaging a secondary advisor. Is now the right time? How do you know your firm, prospects, and clients are ready for a new team member? We typically receive such questions as a by-product of the growth triggers listed below: Financial – If your firm has experienced an increase in overall production you likely have cash available to expand your business. What is your strategic plan at this stage of your business? If aggressive and continued growth is a top priority, make the move to bring in another producer. Capacity – Regardless of cause, if you and/or members of your firm are over capacity and cannot meet client demands, it’s time to bring on another client-facing team member. Additionally, if you cannot properly manage your pipeline of leads or prospects, hiring a secondary advisor to sift through the contacts is a fantastic strategy. A secondary advisor who understands marketing can partner with you as the principle to ensure firm philosophy, financial advice, and reputation while providing the lift you need to pay closer attention to your VIPs.

New Markets – What’s your current product and service offering(s)? Diversification of your business is a key factor to longevity and continuation. Adding a proven, secondary advisor with a different client base or market share can instantly impact your business. Business Management – Adding an employee with proven success at another firm or as an individual is an excellent way to learn how your competition works. Although, trade secrets and other specific competitive intelligence is likely contractually restricted, simple business process management knowledge can be a gold mine. Perhaps your firm struggles with appointment setting or client applications and paperwork. Learning from a recently hired employee may increase your overall efficiency as a firm by trying new techniques or tasks otherwise unknown to you. Regardless of why you might be looking to expand your business by hiring, it’s imperative that your qualification process is air-tight to help mitigate any risk to the firm. Be sure to have multiple conversations with your secondary advisor candidate(s), include your current key employees, and check all references. Tom Lamendola, Director of Business Development, Financial Independence Group, Inc. Contact Tom - Phone: 800-527-1155, Email: Tom.Lamendola@figmarketing.com

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TEXT BY MARK STEWART

FINANCIAL ADVISOR’S SOCIAL MEDIA

DOS & DON’TS

Social media and financial professionals aren’t always a match made in heaven. And that’s okay. If you put me in front of clients, in charge of their hard-earned money; I’d fold like a house of cards. But, I do know quite a bit about social media and its best practices. So, to clear some air around this topic, I did some good ol’ fashioned brainstorming to come up with ten social media “to-dos” and ten “to-don’ts” that can help you improve your social media performance across the board. Alright, enough gobbledygook, let’s get to the point.

For Financial Advisor’s Social Media . . . 1 Be Consistent One of the questions we always get from advisors is, “How often should I be posting on social media?” And the answer is….it depends. For most advisor’s businesses, anywhere from three to ten posts per week should suffice. You’re no multi-national corporation, so there’s no real need to break your back over posting multiple times every single day. The main point here is to be consistent with your posting. You don’t want to go weeks without a post, then bombard people with two posts a day for a week, and then go back to posting nothing for two months. That’s not a formula to form strong customer relationships.

2 Showcase Your Personality Ever met a drab person, with little personality and said “Gee, that’s the type of person I want to befriend!” Yeah, me either. The beauty of social media is its fluidness, and the ability to shed light on your business and your personality, without being so calculated in your efforts. So, use social media genuinely. Humanize yourself and your brand. After all, people still love to connect with people. Be sure to act in your company’s best interest, but have fun with it. Remember: no one likes boring.

3 Give More, Take Less Like any other relationship, those successful at connecting with people on social media practice a “give and take” method. Social media should be used to help your customers more than it helps you. That’s where the value is added for your clients and prospects. They want to be able to learn, interact, and be helped by your posts – not get annoyed. For posting content, there’s an easy-to-follow 4/5 rule: For every five posts, four should contain content that’s relevant and helpful to your audience, while one can be an advertisement for your business, a product promotion, or any other piece of information related to your business. So, stay away from using social media as a soapbox for how great your business is, and add some value to the lives of your audience. 26 | CONNECTIONS MAGAZINE

DO: DON’T:

4 Be Original For a financial advisor’s social media channels to be successful, they must also be unique. Show that you’re different from your competition through your posts. Illustrate that you’re thinking outside the box to make your competition look bland and cookie-cutter. It makes a bigger difference than you may think.

5 Optimize Your Profile and Bio On Facebook alone, a business page profile has areas to fill in your company’s story, your business and contact information, products, milestones, and much more. Be sure to use these. Fill in all the relevant information you can to fully optimize your social pages. After all, how’s anyone supposed to connect with your business if they barely know anything about it?

6 Maintain One Voice and Tone Remember the importance of consistency in posting? Turns out, consistency in your social posts’ voice and tone is important, too. This means that you should develop a certain tone and voice throughout all your social posts that reflect your company well. If one posts read, “R U ready to annuitize urself?!?”, and another, “With annuities, you can wave goodbye to the stress that comes with retirement planning.”, then your social voice needs some work. A simple exercise is to think of two to three adjectives that describe your business, and then create your voice around that. So, if your business is seen as “friendly”, “helpful”, and “professional”, then make your posts’ voice and tone come off as such.

7 Be Visually Appealing Humans are visual creatures. In our industry of numbers and words, it can really help to create or find visuals to make a point. Not to mention, photos and videos get much better engagement across all social platforms. Don’t believe it?


Tweets with images receive 150% more retweets

4 Ignore Comments and Interactions

4X as many consumers would rather watch a video than read Infographics are liked and shared 3X more than any other type of content If you’re still not convinced, a quick Google search will show you hundreds of more reasons to use visuals in your social posting.

8 Be Aware of Time It’s important to know when your audience is online. Use some general guidelines for ideal post times, but don’t forget to experiment with different post times yourself. Choose periods throughout the day for posts, then go back and measure and analyze which time frames seem to get the highest engagement rates. Going forward, center your posts around the hottest times for your page. For example, our audience interacts best at 3:00 pm on Thursdays and Tuesdays; so, we usually send new or important information out around those times.

9 Use the Right Content on the Right Platform Every network is different, so your messaging should be, too. For example, be short and concise on Twitter. Sure, the character limit has increased for tweets, but that doesn’t mean you should use all 240 characters. On LinkedIn, spin your content with a more professional tone. And on Facebook, create content around starting a casual conversation.

10 Know Your Customers Tailor your content around your customers’ wants and needs, not your own. Your audience wants to know what you can do for them, not what you want to talk about. If you know that a huge majority of your audience has already seen that one-pager you wrote about annuities, you probably can find some better content on a different topic to be posting that’ll actually help them.

1 Use Every Social Network

DON’T:

At this point, it’d take ten minutes to name every social media platform there is today. Think about who your audience is, where they are online, and how their use of the platform can benefit you. For almost every advisor, the three recommended platforms are Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter.

2 Talk About Hot-Button Issues In the bizarre age of a raging culture war, full-on triggering, and hardcore trolling, for some reason it seems like businesses have decided to take stands on hot-button issues. Our advice? Don’t forget what your role is as a business. Instead of pushing agendas, push out useful information, your own business, your products, and your people. There’s little to be gained by potentially upsetting half of your audience.

3 Delete Negative Comments This is a big no-no. An issue can become much bigger if you try to hide or delete comments. Instead, acknowledge the issue and respond that you’re proactively taking steps to resolve any issues. You have a much better chance at mending relations and fixing the problem than you would by deleting comments.

This just in: social media is meant to be social! And for a business, it’s vital to engage with your audience. Ignoring comments and interactions across your social channels just equates to a sense that you don’t care about your customers (a.k.a. horrible customer service).

5 Like Your Own Posts Well, yeah, of course you like your own post…you wrote it! But, physically clicking “like” is a bit overboard, and honestly, a little odd. Let your audience do the “liking” – and be sure to encourage your employees to be social advocates for you through their personal profiles!

6 Automate Too Much Now, automation tools are awesome. They can be super helpful. But, If you rely on social media automation tools too much (i.e. Hootsuite, Sprout, Buffer, etc.) to do your posting and to find content, you’ll lose that ever-so-dreamy human touch we’ve talked about. Remember, your brand messaging is important—so be sure to inject your own personality.

7 Point Fingers In case you haven’t personally been in, or seen one unfold in real time, Internet fights are…unproductive (to say the least). This especially applies to businesses. There’s no value in picking sides, pointing fingers, or any other nonsense for your business. It’s a lose-lose situation, so just stay away from virtual fighting.

8 Forget About Privacy You may not think you’d ever be a target of a hacker until you are. If we’ve learned anything about cybersecurity in recent years, it’s that it needs to be taken very seriously. Take extra precautions to regularly change your password and be sure to fiddle in the privacy settings of each social platform to each setting is set to your liking. Just don’t be so restrictive that people can’t find you online!

9 Connect With Everyone I know, I know. I told you to be social on social media. But, there’s an exemption when it comes to connecting with others. Just because someone follows you, doesn’t mean you have to follow them. Be mindful of who you’re surrounding yourself with online, and who you invite to like your page. You want your followers and the interactions they create to be meaningful and productive for your company.

10 Be Spammy Ever had a crazy cousin that posts constantly? Or had to block or unfollow someone because your feed is littered with their posts? Just like with emails, no one likes being spammed on social – so just don’t do it. If you’re being too repetitive (or are posting seven times a day), people will grow tired and simply remove your business from their news feed. That’s a big “no bueno”. There they are, the ten dos and ten don’ts of social media for financial advisors. Now, go gain those followers, nurture those relationships, gain those leads, and close those deals! s

Mark Stewart, Copywriter, Financial Independence Group, Inc. Contact Mark - Phone: 800-527-1155, Email: Mark.Stewart@figmarketing.com CONNECTIONS MAGAZINE | 27


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COMPLIANCE CORNER

CYBER SECURITY TEXT BY PAUL VAN GINHOVEN

We’ve all seen news the past couple years regarding major breaches at high-profile organizations such as Target, Anthem, Yahoo, Equifax, and even the SEC. These organizations are just a few examples and demonstrates the fact that if major organizations are impacted by cyber security breaches, then small organizations and individuals most certainly have vulnerabilities as well. Yahoo’s breach compromised approximately 3 billion accounts worldwide, while Equifax’s breach may impact approximately 143 million Americans, so this issue is far-reaching. As we become more reliant on technology to get our business done, we need to be more cognizant of the little things we should be doing to protect our systems; and ultimately, the sensitive information that is housed within it.

It’s a fact that fraudsters seek easy targets and if anything, are persistent. Keep in mind, a fraudster’s time is completely dedicated to searching for and exploiting vulnerabilities in a system; finding ways to access data they can use for their financial gain. In other words: it’s their day job. Most people and organizations may not spend much time thinking about cyber security—certainly not as much time as fraudsters do. Prevention may be difficult though, as fraudsters are always trying to stay one step ahead. There are, however, good practices you can follow to make it difficult for the fraudsters. 30 | CONNECTIONS MAGAZINE


These people utilize many methods to gain access to information in your computer systems. One of the most common methods used is “phishing”, because it’s so easy. Phishing schemes are typically in the form of emails that appear to be legitimate requests from companies you may do business with. However, when accessed fully, a fraudster may gain unlimited access to your emails, possibly your computer and perhaps the entire network you’re connected to. Phishing emails can look official and may utilize company logos or even reference specific names of people who work at the company. So, what can you do? How to do you protect yourself when a fraudster goes to great lengths? Phishing emails often have clues you should be aware of. First, you should read the email carefully. An email that has an urgent tone, has obvious misspellings, contains grammatical

errors, and/or is requesting highly sensitive information (i.e. Social Security information, bank account information, login ID’s, passwords, etc.) are typically red flags that identify a fraudulent email. Secondly, hyperlinks within phishing emails often provide major clues. If you hover your mouse pointer over a hyperlink, it is possible to see where the link is being directed without actually clicking on it. If the hyperlink is directed to some other source, this is a major red flag, so don’t click on it. When in doubt, you should err on the side of caution and call the company where the email originated to verify if it is a legitimate request. The two-minute phone call to verify a request for sensitive information may save you a ton of headaches. Lastly, it’s important to keep your antivirus and technology security current. Never hit the snooze button when it’s time to update your software for security patches. s Paul Van Ginhoven, Director Of Compliance, Financial Independence Group, Inc. Contact Paul - Phone: 800-527-1155, Email: Paul.VanGinhoven@figmarketing.com

CORNER As always, should you have any compliance questions, we are always here to help. Please feel free to send an email to compliance@figmarketing.com.


TEXT BY CHRISTOPHER KITE

Have you sold any life insurance on students? Probably not, or not much. While many students have great potential for long-term income and wealth, they’re not yet within the main life insurance markets of income protection and wealth management. And there’s a lot of uncertainty in how each individual student will do. Could there be new services that help students build their careers and develop skills in consumer economics? A recent article in The Advisor notes 7 of 10 college students have damaged credit soon after graduation. A key part of the problem is difficulty in paying off student loans. A few years ago, I read an article in The Economist on the daunting problems with student loans. One solution discussed was the securitization of loans where investors had incentives to help these students build their careers and manage their finances. Purdue University has introduced a new funding option for students who need additional financial 32 | CONNECTIONS MAGAZINE

support. The Purdue Research Foundation is offering an Income Share Agreement (ISA) called, “Back a Boiler – ISA Fund”. The amount of the future payment of student loans is based on income. If a student commits to an ISA and earns a high income after graduation, they may pay more to the fund than they would’ve with conventional debt. However, Purdue Research Foundation caps the total amount paid at 2.5 times the amount received. Similar to a key need for life insurance, the foundation depends on the future income of the former students. The foundation may self-insure or could work with an insurance company. On a different topic related to college, Financial Independence Group sponsors a program called College Funding Evolution. It focuses on helping parents plan college for their children. It helps with college selection, understanding financial aid qualifications, and other aspects of college acceptance. For parents who can do so, it looks at funding life insurance to provide cash value accumulation with a goal to balance college funding and retirement planning. Typically, it illustrates policy distributions such as leveraged loans where the cash value securing the loans can grow faster than the loan charge rate. While a goal of these policy


loans is to help minimize the need for student loans, these policy loans have to be carefully managed to be sure the policy stays in force to keep its tax advantages. A common aspect in these different situations is the management of loans. What types of innovations are used (or could be used) in these situations? The College Funding Evolution uses innovations in services and life insurance that typically are focused on parents who have substantial income and assets, a traditional and attractive market segment of life insurance companies. Harvard Business School definitions make a distinction between disruptive and sustaining innovations. Disruptive innovation creates simpler products or services for non-consumers or underserved consumers. This disruption can eventually expand the market and create a foundation for long-term growth, but it starts with products or services that aren’t attractive to incumbent businesses and their main customers. This innovation typically takes place in a business culture that’s not mainstream. The business needs to be able to experiment quickly on a limited budget. In sustaining innovations, the incumbent players nearly always win in improving complex services or products for their most profitable customers.

I wonder whether the Purdue Research Foundation with its implicit life insurance aspects could be considered a disruptive innovation. The percent of income paid by former students seems to be a simpler way to pay off loans. This program doesn’t build direct cash value to add to net worth, but it does add to net worth by reducing debt. The sharing of risks related to income and mortality could be considered a type of life insurance. Determining eligibility and percent of income to pay are similar to underwriting. Also, the foundation would have a vested interest in helping these students with their career development. Other financial services could be added later that are tied to percent of income or other options. Could life insurance companies and advisors provide similar services with disruptive innovation for these current and former students? Probably not, if approached by traditional business units.


To help build healthier careers, related ideas could be adopted from an international service called Vitality that gives customers incentives to lead healthier lives. John Hancock has implemented Vitality in the United States for its insurance products.

New business units would be more likely to have the agility, creativity, and focus to develop simpler products for a new market. For example, could a company start with career development and consumer economics courses that create incentives for the student and company to build a long-term relationship? Could that grow into mentoring and an ongoing underwriting process for future financial services?

If you’re interested in learning more on this topic, check out this April 2018 article on MetLife collaboration with MIT to foster innovations. Or, read this 2015 article on securitizing student loans. s Christopher Kite, Policy Design Analyst - Life, Financial Independence Group, Inc. Contact Christopher - Phone: 800-527-1155, Email: Chris.Kite@figmarketing.com

Sources: https://www.lifehealth.com/seven-ten-college-students-damage-credit-soon-graduation/ https://www.purdue.edu/backaboiler/index.php http://www.claytonchristensen.com/key-concepts/ https://hbr.org/2017/06/can-insurance-companies-incentivize-their-customers-to-be-healthier#comment-section https://www.lifehealth.com/met-looks-reimagine-transform-insurance-industry/ https://www.investopedia.com/articles/investing/081815/student-loan-assetbacked-securities-safe-or-subprime.asp Life insurance products and related features, benefits and guarantees are backed by the claims paying ability if an insurance company. Insurance policy applications are vetted through an underwriting process set forth by the issuing insurance company. Some applications may not be accepted based upon adverse underwriting results. This article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal or tax advice. Customers should consult their legal or tax professional regarding their own unique situation. 34 | CONNECTIONS MAGAZINE


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THE 20.20 PROCESS A CLEAR AND CONCISE VISION Discovery Meeting - This 30-minute call will introduce you to SURGE and help you understand specifics and deliverables surrounding your SURGE engagement. You are invited to have key associates attend this call with you. GO | Gather and Observe - A one to two day on-site discovery meeting to gather and observe. SURGE will spend time extracting information about your business. From people and processes to business psychology and future planning. SURGE would like to meet all staff members and even core partnerships that are key to your business model. In certain cases, SURGE will ask to meet family and significant others if they are involved in your business life. The more that is learned the stronger the solutions and output will be. DO | Developmental Output - Once the tailored GO process is complete, a developmental output (DO) is created specific to the theory and application necessary to stimulate your business. In this step, you will be given an outline and detail specific strategic and tactical items to hold accountable to change. SUM | Reveal and Discover - Next step is a phone call with you and colleagues of your choosing, to disseminate the findings and discuss how to best turn ideas into practice. This conversation will last between one and three hours. Account | Staying On Course - How many times have you left a great seminar or meeting filled with ideas, only to implement none of them? This final step is to ensure that does not happen. Each month an accountability call is hosted with your specific office to discuss where you are in the process of change and what is needed to remain on course. Also as a member of SURGE, you have an open invitation to a monthly call series hosted by SURGE and other experts on various industry impacting topics.

TESTIMONIALS


WHAT DO CLIENTS REALLY WANT FROM A FINANCIAL ADVISOR?

TEXT BY MARK STEWART

What are your clients saying about your performance? What are they really wanting from you as their advisor? Let’s face it; dealing with people’s hard-earned money involves a lot of work and responsibility. As a financial advisor, you must protect the best interest of your clients, every time. As well intentioned as you may be, this “pressure” puts you under the spotlight with your clients. They want to know that you’re the best person to handle their money, and they expect a certain level of satisfaction with your overall performance as a financial advisor. Which begs the question: What do clients really want from a financial advisor? Turns out, they want a lot—but that’s not a bad thing. The deliverables needed to be an outstanding financial advisor aren’t impossible, and if you can deliver on your client’s needs and wants, you’ll be a rockstar in their eyes.

Let’s break down what people look for in their financial advisor.

This goes without saying, but an advisor should never lie (even by omission) or stretch truths for any reason. Stick to your fiduciary duty, and always put the client’s needs ahead of your wants. Plain and simple.

Are you available to your clients when they need you most? Obviously, there’s exceptions for being out of the office, in a meeting, or on a lunch break. That doesn’t mean you should wait hours or days to reach back out, though. Call or email them back as soon as possible to portray your commitment to being open and available; it sets an impressive precedent for your business.

How much do you care about your client’s pain points? Do you understand where they’re coming from, can you relate to their struggles? Being able to appreciate and feel for your clients goes a long way in letting them know you truly care about their livelihood, wealth, and future. If you think you could improve at this, try creating ideal customer profiles. That way, you get to understand the different types of “ideal clients” you prefer to work with— making you more sympathetic towards them and their goals.

There’s a seemingly constant barrage of investment information hitting clients via the news media, email, direct mail, and other online publications. The problem? Sifting through it all and deciding on well-planned solutions. That’s where you, the advisor, steps in to help alleviate any confusion and give clarity— allowing your client to choose the plan that’s right for them.

Granted, it isn’t the easiest part of the job, but diving deeper into your client’s lives and financial situations can pay huge dividends for your business. By taking your client relationships deeper, they’ll gain a new respect for you by understanding 38 | CONNECTIONS MAGAZINE

what’s important to them, is important to you. What’s going on in their lives, do they have any new grandchildren? Are they trying to plan their dream vacation? What about their annual family reunion? Listening to and learning more about your clients is a key ingredient to a better, more understanding relationship. We talk more about this, and the useful “FORD” tool to help you remain conscious of your client engagement goals, in this blog post.

Many advisors fail to communicate regularly with their clients through email newsletters. Not to mention, a study from Nielsen Norman Group found that 90% of people want to receive updates via email from businesses. This communication gap shouldn’t go unnoticed. Like any other human relationship, the key to making it stronger is through frequent communication. Don’t be afraid to constantly be within reach of your clients. Sending email newsletters, birthday cards, setting review meetings, and even calling them to get life updates are all great ways to keep your business in mind. In the simplest terms, be proactive, not reactive.

A 2017 Natixis survey of individual investors in the United States found that “despite high hopes for returns, [clients] say they want safety over investment performance”. In the survey, investors said they still define risk as a loss of assets, instead of missing out on an opportunity. It’s important to understand your client, and what their risk-taking behaviors are like. It’s your duty to make sure your clients understand all risks and opportunities involved and help reconcile their conflicts, so they can work towards achieving their ultimate goals.

More and more, clients look to include charitable and philanthropic goals in their overall retirement strategy. The Natixis survey also found that 71% of clients think it’s important to make a positive social impact through their investments and donations. Along with doing well financially, clients today also want to do good with their finances. Strive for a more holistic view of your client portfolios, to help balance all their desires.


Are you seeing a pattern here? Your clients are pushing for a more holistic advisor, not just someone who can help with a life insurance policy or annuity product. They need holistic help, from holistic advisors. More than ever, clients are looking for help with taxes – whether it be tax-efficient investing strategies, or simply help and advice with filing returns.

A no-brainer, right? But, it’s the most important one of all. Regardless of what your clients need help with, the

more problems you can solve for them, the more trusted your expertise becomes. It really comes down to providing exemplary customer service for your clientele. Remember, most people don’t want a sales pitch or a product-push. What they do want is a holistic advisor that can assist them with honesty and integrity – someone who is there at the ready to make their dreams a reality, all while quashing their biggest fears. s Mark Stewart, Copywriter, Financial Independence Group, Inc. Contact Mark - Phone: 800-527-1155, Email: Mark.Stewart@figmarketing.com

CONNECTIONS MAGAZINE | 39


Text By Shawn Sigler Doctor 1: “What would you like to do?” Doctor 2: “Here’s what I’d recommend for you.” I’ve recently made some changes to a medical specialist that I see on a regular basis, and as I’ve been going through this transition, I’ve noticed some similarities to the financial services business. Let me break down the approaches. Doctor 1 The first time I saw Doctor 1, before I had the opportunity to discuss my situation with her, she proceeded to push me towards a specific device to help me control my condition. My wife and I spent a half hour listening to her describe this device; not once asking about my lifestyle, my current process, my concerns…anything.

clarifying questions, and we spent a good part of a half hour talking about ME, not her sales pitch.

I had already done research on the device she was discussing, and I had some concerns to use it. After I offered this information, she threw her hands up in the air and said, “Then what would you like to do?” as if she was insulted by my concerns.

So, how is this like the financial services business? I’ll provide 2 perspectives:

She then asked me how I wanted to change what I was currently doing to combat my condition, as if I was the specialist. I promptly responded, “I don’t know, you’re the doctor.” Nothing positive happened from this interaction, and I immediately started looking for someone else. Doctor 2 My experience with Doctor 2 started with a simple question, “Can you tell me your story with this condition?” I went on to tell Doctor 2 about my initial diagnosis, my daily grind with it, and my concerns with my current treatment plan. She wanted to know what my typical day looked like; waking up, working out, eating, working, coaching, and sleeping. As she was copiously taking notes, I could tell she really cared about what I was saying. She asked me several 40 | CONNECTIONS MAGAZINE

Then, she followed up this conversation with this statement: “Based on what you’ve shared with me, your current treatment is not what’s in your best interest. I believe I have a better solution for you. Here’s what I’d recommend for you…”

1. Advisor to Client Our top advisors understand their clients’ situations, and before they make any recommendation they make sure they’ve done their due diligence. That means clarifying information about the client’s situation, becoming familiar with potential solutions for that client, and understanding how these solutions integrate with one another. Most importantly, our top advisors truly care about their clients, and will create tailored solutions based on their specific needs. Our advisors are not ordertakers – they’re integrated financial professionals. 2. Insurance Marketing Organization (IMO) to Advisor Top IMOs seek to understand the advisor’s business, and before any product, program, or business recommendation is made, we make sure we’ve done our due diligence.


That means clarifying information about the advisor’s situation, becoming familiar with potential solutions for that advisor, and of course, understanding how these solutions integrate with one another. Most importantly, top IMOs truly care about their advisors, and will create tailored solutions based on their specific needs. Top IMOs are not order-takers, they’re integrated financial professionals. Unfortunately, we still see some advisors act like Doctor 1, either by being an order-taker or by recommending a solution before really getting to know the client. In this new world of integrated planning, it’s more important than ever for clients to align with the right professional, and it’s equally important for these professionals to align with the right IMO partner. Take the Doctor 2 approach, and call me in the morning. s Shawn Sigler, Senior Vice President, Financial Independence Group, Inc. Contact Shawn - Phone: 800-527-1155, Email: Shawn.Sigler@figmarketing.com

CONNECTIONS MAGAZINE | 41


TEXT BY ALECIA BARNETTE

Do you want another reason to go back to your clients? Since LTC Awareness Month is around the corner, there’s no better time to bring up the discussion about care planning. I’d like to give you a few sales ideas from OneAmerica® that you can run with for the final months of the year. With the simplified expedited underwriting, we can potentially get these issued by year’s end.


Script for money on sidelines in CD or money market account: “(Name), do you have a client with a money market account or CD that’s not earmarked for an emergency? Right now in the U.S., more than $2 trillion is sitting in CDs and money market accounts. This massive amount of money is sitting on the sidelines. A client could choose to reposition these dollars and gain access to tax-free leveraged funds of approximately 33% —at rates that compare to what they’re earning now. According to a Blackrock poll, the number one reason clients hold on to cash is because they’re not sure where to invest. In a report, Blackrock said “investors are uncertain not just about the markets generally, but also about how specifically to deploy their money. The number one reason investors are holding onto cash, according to the survey, is ‘uncertainty about where to invest,’ followed by a belief that it’s a poor investing environment and fear of losing money.” Think of a client who has earmarked an underperforming asset, such as a money market or CD, for an emergency. Can we run an illustration for them right now?”

Script for annuity with large buildup: “(Name), do you have any nonqualified, deferred annuity contracts with gain in your book of business? Across the U.S. today, more than $2 trillion is sitting in nonqualified deferred annuity contracts. In a Gallup poll, 79% of survey participants said they intend to use their annuity to keep from becoming a financial burden to their children. Conversely, 73% percent say their annuity is an emergency fund to be used if they experience a catastrophic illness. Did you know your clients could reposition these dollars; gaining access to tax-free funds on the base and interest earned at approximately 33% if they need extended healthcare, without even losing access to or control over their money? Let’s talk about the more efficient and effective approach to funding their concerns. A OneAmerica® Annuity Care product can preserve your clients’ capital, provide reasonable leverage and return, and give them access to their money. With Annuity Care, your clients can be protected and secure. Do you have time to run an illustration for a client who has a nonqualified annuity with gain?”

Script for VOYA annuity with large buildup: “(Name), do you have clients who have older VOYA variable annuity contracts? Right now, VOYA is offering these clients a substantial payout to leave their contract. According to a Gallup poll, 79% intend to use their annuity to keep from becoming a financial burden to their children, while 73% have their annuity as an emergency fund if they ever experience a catastrophic illness. Your clients can reposition these dollars and access tax-free funds on the base and interest earned of approximately 33% if they need extended healthcare, without giving up access to or control over their money. This efficient and effective funding approach is possible with a OneAmerica® Annuity Care product. This annuity can help preserve your clients’ capital, provide reasonable leverage and return, and give them control over their money. With Annuity Care, your clients are more protected and more secure. Think of a client who holds a VOYA variable annuity contract. Can we run an illustration right now?” The holidays are approaching fast, and your clients (and their families) will potentially be spending time with one another. What better time than now to have the LTC conversation? Use these sales ideas for quick and easy end-of-year closes, and know that you are helping your clients solve a LTC need. s

Alecia Barnette, Senior Vice President - LTC, Financial Independence Group, Inc. Contact Alecia - Phone: 800-527-1155, Email: Alecia@figmarketing.com

CONNECTIONS MAGAZINE | 43


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Feb. 12-16: Winter Wonderland Agent Convention, Ritz Carlton Bachelor’s Gulch Feb. 19: Presidents’ Day

January 1: New Year’s Day January 15: Birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr.

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April 1: Easter April 22-24 ElevateU, Embassy Suites Uptown Charlotte

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June 6-8: TOT Retreat, Boca Beach Club, FL June 17: Father’s Day

May 4: LTC Meeting Charlotte May 13: Mother’s Day May 28: Memorial Day

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August 6-8: ElevateU, Hyatt Regency DFW, Dallas

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September 3: Labor Day September 10-11: Rosh Hashanah September 19: Yom Kippur

Oct 1-2: Sales Symposium, Nashville Oct 3: AlphaStar Annual Mtg. Oct 8: Columbus Day

November 12: Veterans Day November 15-16: KOP/MOP meeting, Financial Independence Group November 22: Thanksgiving

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December 2-10: Hanukkah December 25: Christmas Day


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MARKETING & LEAD GENERATION Is Your Marketing Getting the Results You Want? Work Smarter, Not Harder

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FIG Connections Summer 2018  

Financial Independence Group's Connections magazine pays tribute to our advisors, agents and carriers along with our workforce. This issue f...

FIG Connections Summer 2018  

Financial Independence Group's Connections magazine pays tribute to our advisors, agents and carriers along with our workforce. This issue f...