Don A. Connelly is a speaker, motivator and educator for financial advisors. During a career of more than 40 years on Wall Street, he worked for nearly 19 years as company spokesperson, senior vice president and senior marketing officer for Putnam Investments, in addition to holding positions as a stock broker, financial planner, branch manager, wholesaler and national sales manager. As founder and CEO of Don Connelly 24/7, he provides timely and provocative sales ideas to thousands of financial professionals, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

How to Provide the Level of Service Clients Will Talk About

How to Provide the Level of Service Your Clients Will Talk About

By now, financial advisors with any ambition of success know that the only way to stand out in a vast sea of sameness is by providing an extraordinary customer experience—one that can turn your clients into stark raving fans. To do anything less relegates you to the ranks of every other advisor who prides themselves on providing “excellent service” to their clients. “Excellence” is now a minimum expectation of clients who have been raising the bar for advisors for the last decade.

So, what is an extraordinary client experience, and how can advisors consistently deliver it? The challenge for advisors is there is no standardization for delivering superior client service. One client is different from the next in how they view the level of service provided. The level of communication and engagement that suits one type of client may fall short for another type.

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The Fee Discussion: It’s Not the Fees That Bother Clients. It’s the Mystery Surrounding Them

The Fee Discussion: It’s Not the Fees That Bother Clients. It’s the Mystery Surrounding Them

For many advisors, discussing fees with their clients is about as comfortable as going to the dentist. They know they have to do it, but they’d much rather be doing something else. Why is that? Is it because they don’t feel their fees are justified? Are they afraid the client will balk at them? Are they concerned they will ruin the rapport they built up to that point?

It may come as a surprise to advisors, but clients expect to talk about fees. In fact, for most clients, it’s not the fees that bother them; it’s the mystery surrounding them when they don’t get the whole story. Some clients have a hard time understanding how fees work, which makes them feel uncomfortable. But they feel worse and may presume the worst when they don’t feel they’ve received all the information.

The fee discussion is a pivotal moment in the process and can set the tone for the relationship going forward. It’s also an opportunity to differentiate yourself if you do it right. That’s why it’s essential that advisors be well-prepared with a practiced presentation and the confidence to deliver it with the highest degree of transparency and professionalism.

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Strengths or Weaknesses: Where Should Advisors Focus?

Strengths or Weaknesses - Where Should Advisors Focus

Getting to the next level in any endeavor requires a thorough understanding of your strengths and weaknesses. Your strengths have the potential to power your advancement, while weaknesses could possibly hold you back. But not all strengths and weaknesses are equal in the way they can impact your practice. The challenge for advisors is knowing whether to focus first on their weaknesses and then their strengths or vice versa.

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How to Respond to the Comment ‘I Don’t Want to Lose Any Money’

How to Respond to the Comment I Don't Want to Lose Any Money

A while ago I received an email from John in Texas and his email was very simple. He said, ‘Every time I go on an appointment, the first thing out of somebody’s mouth is, “I don’t want to lose any money.” And I’ve been saying, “I don’t know anyone that ever does.” as an ice breaker, but I don’t feel comfortable. Can you give me an idea on how to respond to that comment?”

Watch this video episode or read the transcript below to learn Don’s answer to this question.

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How to Make Your Presentations More Convincing and Inspiring

Successful Presentations - How to Make Your Presentations More Convincing and Inspiring

Any chance you have to make a presentation is a golden opportunity to engage with people and demonstrate your worth. Financial advisors who can deliver exceptional presentations can differentiate themselves while connecting with potential clients in a memorable way. However, it’s challenging to recover from presentations that fall flat, leaving audience members wishing they could have their precious time back.

While some advisors are natural orators with the ability to sail effortlessly through a presentation, anyone can and should develop the skill of delivering compelling and inspiring words that can move an audience. It takes some skill, lots and lots of practice, and a clear understanding of how to frame a presentation. But the results can be well worth the effort.

Here are five critical elements of a successful presentation.

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Want to Get Out of a Rut? Focus on Becoming Exceptional

Want to Get Out of a Rut? Focus on Becoming Exceptional

We can all remember when we first became financial advisors, feeling like we could conquer the world. With our entire careers in front of us, we were excited, motivated, and ready to commit everything we had to become successful. The great thing about starting out as an advisor was that there was never a dull moment. Everything was new, and we thrived on the daily challenges of learning how to build a successful practice.

Flash forward a few years, and time seems to slow down. The hours don’t fly by as they once did, and the pace of change has slowed to a crawl. That’s when you know you’re in a rut, which can be agonizing for someone who once braved the many obstacles that lay in front of all new financial advisors. For financial advisors, being in a rut can seem like dying a slow death.

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5 Ways You’re Setting Yourself Up to Fail

5 Ways You’re Setting Yourself Up to Fail

I don’t think any financial advisor wakes up in the morning and intentionally sets out to fail. But I can think of many examples of advisors who unwittingly find ways to sabotage their efforts to build a successful practice. It’s often the little things they are either unaware of or don’t recognize as problems. But they’re big enough to turn prospects and clients away from you.

While you may not think you are setting yourself up to fail, you have to consider whether you’re doing the things necessary to prepare yourself for success. That includes taking a critical look at yourself and the way you conduct business and making immediate course corrections.

While there are dozens of ways advisors may be sabotaging their business, here are five we see most often.

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How to Build Immediate Personal Connections Naturally

How to Build Immediate Personal Connections Naturally

Gaining the trust of a prospective client is an absolute must if the relationship is to amount to anything. Plain and simple, people don’t do business with financial advisors if they don’t trust them. Building that kind of trust can take time, but successful advisors know how to accelerate the process—by first establishing a connection, which can be done when first meeting with a prospect.

If you think back on all your relationships—personal and professional—you’re likely to find that your best and closest relationships started with an instant personal connection. Something just clicked between the two of you that allowed you to lower your guard and open up to one another.

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The Shoplifting Story

Don Connelly audio blog post

You’ve probably heard me in the past talk about a book called ‘Whoever Tells the Best Story Wins’ by Annette Simmons. It was really designed for bosses to sell themselves to employees but anyone who is selling themselves should read this book. The author makes the point that we really need six stories. The most important one being the ‘Who I am’ story. because people don’t care what we know, they care about who we are. Can they trust us? The second most important story she mentions is the ‘Why am I here’ story. Why am I doing this?

Listen to this audio post or read the transcript below to learn why the ‘Why I am here’ story is so important when communicating with clients and to hear a very emotional story that an Advisor from Texas tells his prospective clients.

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Nail the First Meeting with a Prospective Client: Address What Your Prospects Want to Know

Nail the First Meeting with a Prospective Client - Address What Your Prospects Want to Know

It takes a lot of time, patience, and effort to move a prospect through the funnel to the point when they finally agree to meet with you. For every prospect that makes it that far probably six to nine fall by the wayside. That makes that first meeting ever so crucial. There’s a lot that must be accomplished. It has to go perfectly. There’s a minimal margin for error.

Every advisor has their own formula for constructing a perfect prospect meeting. It invariably includes a polished presentation and ample opportunities to present oneself as a likable, competent professional.

However, ensuring that first meeting is a success comes down to how you structure it to address all the prospect’s questions and concerns. They’re meeting with you to find out who you are and why they should work with you. They need the answers to very specific questions on their mind even though they may not ask them. So, why not structure the meeting around what your prospects really want to know?

Here are a few such questions they are asking themselves.

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