Sales and Marketing
  • 10 ways to protect your business from Internet vigilantes
    “Online shaming” can be especially dangerous to financial advisors whose mistakes, imagined or real, can motivate clients to wage online vendettas. Here are 10 strategies to help you handle this phenomenon.
  • 6 ethical lessons from America's worst financial advisors
    Every time you hear about another scam in the news, advisors should ponder what they can learn in order to protect their customers, themselves, and their industry from financial predators. Here are six such lessons.
  • The Science of Temptation: 3 research-based techniques for resisting unethical conduct
    The trade press is full of stories about life and health insurance agents and investment advisors who failed to say no. A variety of studies suggest that financial scammers don’t manage temptation well and don’t fully understand the implications of succumbing to it. This being the case, here are three ideas to implement that can enhance your ability to resist temptation in your dealings with clients.
  • Avoiding a reputation mud bath: Why your ethical values should trump expert advice
    Financial professionals operate in a complex environment, which is why they often hire expert advisors to help them make good decisions. But relying on outside experts has limits. When one’s ethics, integrity, and professional reputation are at stake, only an advisor or business owner can make the final call. Here’s a true story that illustrates this point.
  • Personal finance journalism: Meeting the challenge of “expert” bias
    Much of what purports to be financial advice in the media is inaccurate, biased, and self-serving. “Experts” frequently position their advice as fact, and consumers will likely accept it as such, putting commissioned advisors on the defensive. So what should agents and brokers do? Here are a few tips that might help.
  • Annuity perks: Corrupting the business or moving it forward?
    Financial advisors must adapt to what is rapidly becoming a conflict-phobic marketplace or suffer negative consequences. Are you open to reconsidering your long-held beliefs about sales incentives and other sources of conflict that erode trust between advisors and their clients? If so, check out this article.
  • Blowing the whistle on fraudsters: What's your ethical duty?
    Advisors who suspect fraud being committed by colleagues or competitors need to step up and report it as soon as they witness it or see telltale signs. Doing so will help to prevent devastating consequences that get worse the longer the fraud occurs.
  • E&O on the Fly, Part 2: Quick quiz highlights what you need to know about exclusions
    Do you know what your policy covers exactly and what it doesn’t? Take this brief true-or-false quiz to test your knowledge about important E&O policy exclusions.
  • The Perils of Puffery: Guidance on Plagiarism and Ghostwriting
    The National Ethics Association recommends avoiding exaggerated statements that can set unrealistic client expectations which could come back to haunt you. Two practices that can lead to such exaggerations include plagiarism and the use of professional ghostwriters. Here’s how to stay in the clear.
  • Trust’s poison pill: Why conflicts of interest are an advisor’s worst medicine
    If client trust is the nutrient that builds healthy financial-services careers, then conflicts of interest are the poison that kills them. With the fiduciary standard looming on the horizon for securities and insurance producers, advisors will be under greater pressure to better manage their conflicts — or put their careers in jeopardy.
  • Financial Advisor Transparency: The Power of Straight Talk
    At the National Ethics Association, we often discuss the actions financial advisors should take to become more transparent with their clients. These fall into four main categories:
  • The truth about client lies . . . and what to do about them
    Advisors can safely shrug off most client lies. But some must be challenged to protect the client and the advisor. Here’s how and why to meet them head on.
  • Conscious Uncoupling: 7 steps to firing clients ethically
    Applied to the challenging tasks of dismissing a bad client, the term Gwyneth Paltrow made famous, “conscious uncoupling,” implies a mindful, calm, and amicable approach to winding down unproductive and frustrating client relationships. Here are the major elements of a mindful and ethical approach to dismissing a client.
  • Are robo-advisors winning? Time to play the ethics card
    As human financial advisors increasingly face competition from “robo-advisors,” one way to combat this threat is the ethics card: If ethics is the domain of thought that deals with the right way to behave (or invest), then robo-advisors may be ill-equipped to be ethical.
  • Play the Long Game for Ultimate Sales Success
    As a long-time observer of industry sales practices, we’re convinced the vast majority of financial advisors are hard working and ethical. But there will always be some individuals who are allergic to work, yet who thirst to attain wealth at any cost.
  • How to survive a reputation meltdown: Part I
    How should you respond to threats such as regulatory enforcement actions, a former client trashing you on Yelp, or a former employee making false accusations in your local paper? The key is found in putting them in their proper context.
  • Good Business: 20 More Quick Tips for Lowering Your E&O Risk in 2014
    As a financial advisor, you’ve no doubt read a compliance manual or three in your time. These documents are typically rule-driven, which means they can be long and dense to work with.
  • The Ultimate Insurance Selling System: Your Own Example
    Agents are big believers in—and users of—selling systems, including direct-mail postcards for leads, product brochures, and sales tracks. And this is great since these resources help advisors to create an efficient “sales machine” that grows their client base and builds a sustainable revenue stream.
  • How to survive a reputation meltdown: Part 1
    How should you respond to threats such as regulatory enforcement actions, a former client trashing you on Yelp, or a former employee making false accusations in your local paper? The key is found in putting them in their proper context.
  • How to Survive a Reputation Meltdown: Part 2
    After being convicted several years ago for selling an annuity to a woman later diagnosed with dementia, Glenn Neasham faced a reputation crisis. He probably didn’t need to do much analysis to know his good name had been seriously tarnished. But for other advisors with negative content online, a thorough assessment should be the first step on the road to reputation recovery.
  • How to Survive a Reputation Meltdown: Part 3
    In today’s Internet age, reputation crises are common. On Facebook, hardly a day goes by without newsfeeds buzzing about a celebrity, sports figure, or politician making a gaffe and then apologizing about it.
  • How to Survive a Reputation Meltdown, Part 4: Finding the right online reputation management firm for you
    This final part of the series discusses how to identify and hire an ethical online reputation management (ORM) firm when a DIY fix isn’t feasible for your situation. These tips will help you steer clear of firms with ethical problems of their own that can create as many issues as they solve.