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Honor versus Privilege

Posted By Michael Roby | October 5th, 2017

Words have meaning. In a world of text messaging, social media posts, and emoji’s we misuse words to the point of confusing others about what we mean. It’s not uncommon to hear a common phrase when people accept an award, or when they are introduced as a performer, speaker, or host. This opening line is so common, it is cliche. Sometimes the person means what they say. Often the individual means something very different. How does this common opening line begin?

“I’m honored…”

These words seem grateful, humble, or even magnanimous. The speaker means well, but they convey an attitude that seeks into other areas of our lives. That attitude, while seeming gracious and grateful, forms a foundation of some of the world’s greatest problems. Many quickly attribute this attitude to other generations, (such as millennial’s), other ideologies, competitors & colleagues alike. What is this attitude?

It’s all about me.

If you say you are “honored”, what does that really mean? Honor conveys merited respect, or that one is a person of distinction, with integrity and a certain exalted nobility. All of these attributes man apply to the person in question. However, when we receive a award or host an event or speak from the platform, consider opening your remarks from the perspective of a different paradigm. A life of service represents the ultimate in calling. To be certain, one does not need to be a pious monk, Mother Theresa, Martin Luther Kink, Jr., or Ghandi. A business owner providing quality products or services and jobs for others, a highly compensated doctor who helps heal others, or a blue-collar worker giving an honest day’s labor lives a life of service if service is their life-view.

When I speak to audiences, it is not an honor to speak to them…really! So what do I say? What are the words?

“It is a privilege…”

Regardless of the occasion, be it it for recognition or reception, the person on the platform is privileged to be front-and-center. Working and interacting from the perspective of Privilege versus Honor helps us serve more deeply, and set an example to others about a life of service. Speaking and acting from privilege provides an element of power as well. The humility of knowing one is privileged to participate, play, engage, or receive recognition also leads us to additional opportunities to make an even greater contribution as a result of service.

Over the course of a year, people hire me to help them in a variety of ways. It’s not an honor to speak, to write, to coach or consult.

It is a privilege.

Your Broker-Dealer Just Sold; What’s Next?

Posted By Michael Roby | August 18th, 2017

Things happen fast in the digital age. In the old days, you received a wire, a letter, or you joined a conference call. Today you might hear about it when you receive a notification on a smartphone.

Your broker-dealer sold to another firm.

We react in a visceral way to events like this. We remind ourselves, “Business is business.” But at some level we feel hurt, maybe even betrayal, to say nothing of the inevitable headaches which come with switching firms! At best, you lose three to six months productivity. So…what’s next?

Take these five positive, proactive steps.

  1. Don’t Panic
  2. Communicate With Clients
  3. Decide What You Want
  4. Negotiate From Strength
  5. Always have “Plan B”

Don’t Panic

“Only 8% of our worry will come to pass. 92% of our worry is wasted. DON’T PANIC” ― Mark Gorman

While change presents challenges, it also presents opportunities for growth. While your BD makes a difference, people do business with you. Contrary to what they would have you think, your BD is not your family and you don’t work for them. Your relationships will continue, but like all relationships you must be intentional in continuing them. Your BD is a vendor; you are their customer. While circumstances exist which are outside your control, what’s important is how you react to them. Be methodical in your approach to the change and keep asking, “How can I use this to grow and improve?”

Communicate With Clients

Do not let your clients hear about this from someone other than you. You get on the phone immediately and tell the client the following:

  • This does not change the nature of our relationship.
  • You continue to be their advisor.
  • You work for them, not the BD.
  • You are doing your due diligence to make certain the new firm provides all the tools you need to take care of your clients’ needs. If they don’t, you will look at other options.

You send out a letter ASAP and force this issue with compliance. This is not marketing; it is client correspondence. Send a simultaneous compliant email. Also, in a compliant manner, post the news release on your social media platforms.

Decide What You Want From A Broker-Dealer

If you ever need to consider your other options, consider what you want and need from the BD Relationship. Rank these factors according to your top five priorities, and put together an RFP. What do you want and need?

  • Additional Compensation
  • Advanced Planning Capabilities
  • Benefits
  • Brand Power
  • Concierge Service For Advisor
  • Contact Management Platform
  • Expense Reimbursement
  • Financial Stability
  • Independence
  • Inter-Firm Networking
  • Intra-Firm Networking
  • Lead Generation
  • Licensing Support
  • Management Opportunities
  • Marketing Support
  • Payout
  • Planning Software
  • Product Selection
  • Public Visibility
  • Recruiting Potential
  • Relocation Opportunities
  • Reputation
  • Sales Management/Leadership
  • Training
  • Trips & Conferences

Be Proactive and Negotiate From Strength

Don’t “wait and see what the new firm has to say.” Explore your options and see what the market will bear. This is a negotiation. Develop your Zone Of Potential Agreement, set the Anchor Point(s), and negotiate.

Always Have A “Plan B”

BD Changes, especially if unanticipated, show the need to always have a Plan B. Even when the dust settles, know your Plan B. While never easy, BD Changes can be an opportunity. You have the ball; run with it!

Pick One Pricing

Posted By Michael Roby | August 17th, 2017

Businesses hear some variation of this question many times daily:

“What’s it cost?”

First, any discussion of fees in advance of a conversation about value identifies you as a commodity. A good answer to steer the conversation begins with:

“It depends…”

When offering professional services, make certain you have a clear value offering. Take at look at the offering illustrated below:


Having multiple offers, with one listed as most popular, makes it easier for your buyer to say yes. Create three to five value-rich offerings, and instead of asking for or getting a yes or no, help them say:

“This one!”

Work Hard & Have fun!™