Deena Katz, Co-Chairman
Evensky & Katz/Foldes Financial Wealth Management
Coral Gables, Florida

1. Keep your ears open and your mouth shut; I never learned anything from my clients while I was talking.
2. An engaged client is a happy one; leading them through decision making may take longer, but it will better ensure that they “own” the solutions.
3. Don’t “should” on yourself or anyone else. “Shoulding” is judgmental and causes barriers and resentments.

James Brewer, President
Envision Wealth Planning

1. Knowledge is not the key to acquiring and retaining clients. Advisors deal with humans who often make choices based on feelings, not facts. Knowledge can detect new sources of value to offer new and current clients. Always be learning and re-evaluating.
2. Be special on purpose. Business models do not necessarily differentiate you from other advisors. There are other advisors who come from similar channels such as independent broker-dealer and RIA. Continue to refine what makes you special compared to other advisors.
3. Deciding who you want to serve and how best to serve them is key. However, you are likely going to have to go through several iterations to find the right combination. Be diligent and be patient.

David Millican, Founding partner
ACG Wealth
Atlanta, Georgia

1. I got my start in 1996… in an industry facing massive changes and challenges almost overnight. My first business card said I was an “Investment Broker.” In ten years, there wouldn’t be any investment brokers. I succeeded because I embraced those changes, learned about them and adapted.
2. Treat clients as if they were family. At the end of the day, you are going to be a lot more successful it you put your clients first in everything you do.
3. My first boss, Parks Brown with A.G. Edwards, told me the key to success was hard work, and to be the first one in in the morning and the last one out at the end of the day. I’ve always taken that heart.
4. Embrace the next generation… we have so many unique opportunities with technology that it would be foolish not to learn from the generations that follow.

Ric Edelman, Founder and Executive Chairman
Edelman Financial
Fairfax, Virginia

1. Narrowcast. Don’t try to be a generalist. That worked in the past but won’t work in the future. Become the advisor known as the go-to advisor for plumbers, divorceés, race car drivers—it doesn’t matter, just pick one.
2. Focus on the future. Much of the advice planners give is outdated. Do you assume clients will live to 110? Consider what happens if they do—and alter your advice accordingly. Likewise, what investments are you recommending? Don’t assume the advice you’ve been giving is the advice you need to keep giving.
3. Scale up. The notion of a sole practitioner is fading. Merge with other advisors to create scale, or join a larger firm that already has it. Otherwise, you’ll lack the resources to deliver the services clients will demand.

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