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The 7 Prerequisites "Required" By The Toolkit

You must agree to all of the following fundamental requirements

Every functional system has certain essential and mandatory prerequisites, serving as a foundation, which allow the system to operate smoothly & effectively.
Surprisingly your skilled team will be allowed much flexibility within this system, however there are 7 fundamental prerequisites which must be in place before the system will operate properly.


Most Financial Advisors think they're ready for The Trusted Advisor Toolkit™ ("The Toolkit"), and they're not.  Also, most Financial Advisors fail at implementing all 11 Implementation steps of The Toolkit, not because they are unable, but rather because they're unwilling to step-up to hold themselves and their team accountable to what Ideal Clients expect.

  • So if you're thinking about joining The Toolkit, here are The 7 Prerequisites we think are important fully implementing what we know Ideal Clients expect of a Trusted Advisor.
  • If you're already a member of The Toolkit and you're not making the progress you hoped, skip to the bottom of this page and review the checklist for why Financial Advisors fail to fully implement this system.

For The Trusted Advisor Toolkit™ to properly serve your Ideal Clients and your Deliverables Team Members you must agree to all of the following fundamental requirements


"I designed The Trusted Advisor Toolkit™ for Financial Advisors, already using our methodology, to more easily scale Truly Comprehensive Financial Services™.

The Financial Advisor I had in mind, while designing The Toolkit, will fit one of two situations.

1. For Financial Advisors already juggling a bunch of Ideal Clients.  So if you currently have 10-15 Ideal Clients, The Toolkit will definitely help your team manage Truly Comprehensive Financial Services™ in an easier, checklist-driven way.

2. The other Financial Advisor situation I had in mind is one who is quickly acquiring new Ideal Clients.  So if you have been adding at least 2 Ideal Clients per quarter, for the last 2-3 quarters, then The Trusted Advisor Toolkit™ will definitely allow you to on-board clients in a more organized  stable and seamless manner.

The Toolkit was designed for Financial Advisors already experiencing some success with our methods who want to run things in a far more orderly, methodical and more structured way.  The Toolkit drives greater team productivity and higher client satisfaction levels. So, if you have less than 10 Ideal Clients and aren't consistently acquiring at least 2 new Ideal Clients per quarter, then you're probably not yet ready for The Trusted Advisor Toolkit™."  -Mark McKenna Little

Here are the 7 prerequisites required to properly utilize “The Toolkit” system,

1. Ideal Clients: Utilize The Trusted Advisor Toolkit™ exclusively to serve Ideal Clients (not Non-ideal Clients)
    • Ideal Clients are individuals, and families, who have agreed to join your Ideal Client Community
    • Ideal Client Exceptions who will receive all Ideal Client services, even though their fee level may be lower (receive all the same services as Ideal Clients)
    • While all potential clients and Non-ideal Clients should be entered into The Toolkit, they will not be served through The Toolkit.  Only Ideal Clients are served via The Trusted Advisor Toolkit™ system.
    • Non-ideal Clients must have a starkly contrasted level of service which is valuable, but substantially less than Ideal Clients receive.  Non-ideal Clients are not placed onto The Three Meeting Process™; Non-ideal Clients will have less than 3 regularly scheduled meetings annually.
2. The Three Meeting Process™: Meet with Ideal Clients 3 times per year (this process is fully detailed in The Toolkit). once every 4 months,
    • Not quarterly, not semi-annually, but roughly every 4 months.
    • Monthly Meeting Count: No month has any more or less number of client progress meetings than any other month
    • Meeting Rotation: No month has any more or less meeting types than any other month, to spread out the work so the team is not overburdened
    • IMPORTANT NOTE: This does not mean you cannot schedule meetings with Ideal Clients when there’s a reason to meet,  URGENT-Mid-Cycle meetings are encouraged when necessary, or required by your client or your Subject Matter Experts.
    • The Dry-Run Prep Meeting™: A 20-30 minute internal dress rehearsal must be held 7+ days prior to your client's meeting for the Trusted Advisor conducted by all Subject Matter Experts who contributed anything in preparation for the client meeting (Ideal Client is not present at this meeting)
BEST ADVICE: Every business is accustomed to doing things a certain way (and often struggles with change, even when the change is an improvement).
To achieve the desired outcomes from this system, what works best is to gain agreement from everyone that these 7 Prerequisites for Toolkit System will be fully implemented, on a trial basis & without argument, until all 11 implementation steps have been completed.
Then, after your team has fully and properly implemented the entire Toolkit System if it's then determined that an older legacy process worked better for the client or the overall team, then return to the old way of doing things.
At that point, your team has demonstrated their ability to implement this system and has earned the right to make further improvements, if necessary.  But attempting to change the system before it has been implemented and tried usually says more about team dysfunction than it does about The Toolkit System itself, which has been tested and vetted with Ideal Clients.

    3. High Standards: Agree that Ideal Clients deserve the highest of team standards, therefore all Deliverables Team Members agree to be held accountable to all of the following,

      • Show up to meetings early (before the appointed time for all meetings to which you've been invited),
      • Show respect and courtesy to every other Deliverables Team Member,
      • Be highly responsive to each other, and to Ideal Clients,
      • Agree to submit all work through the Administrative Manager (AM), and utilize the AM as the primary point-of-contact on all matters,
      • Submit all work on or before the deadlines agreed (or to submit The Exception Report™ prior to the deadline to the Administrative Manager)
      • In preparing for client progress meetings, each Deliverables Team Member agrees to utilize the 16-weeks in-between client progress meetings and agrees not to wait to the last minute on any work-product (with 16-weeks between meetings the entire team agrees there's no excuse for waiting to the last minute),
      • SMEs: Contribute and participate during Dry-Run Prep Meetings™
      • SMEs: Collaborate with each other in-between client progress meetings,
      • SMEs: Agree to review the work of the other SMEs prior to every Dry-Run Prep Meetings™.

    4. Confidential Client Documents: Agree to implement a secured cloud-based file sharing service for team members to access confidential client information and documents,

      • Must be able to add & remove an individual team member's access to items at both the folder and the individual file level
      • Must be able to create a direct link (generate a direct URL) to individual files
      • All documents and files related to an Ideal Client must be accessible, via direct url link, by every Subject Matter Expert assigned to the Ideal Client (even if they are remote or virtual workers who don't have access to your local server or VPN)
      • We recommend you stick to the name brands: generally higher levels of security (bigger security budgets) & easier to use (easier UIs).  We can recommend any of the following,
        • Google Drive within a Google Apps account (business services)
        • Box
        • Microsoft OneDrive
        • Citrix ShareFile
        • DropBox Business (not the regular or free versions)
      • NOTE: If you have not yet moved into the cloud and you use one of the following file sharing schemes, please "Contact Us".  Our Technical Team has a 'compatibility work-around' for the Toolkit that they can activate for you in the meantime (it's less than ideal, but safe):
        • Shared Folder (other than those listed above)
        • Network Drive (LAN)
        • Virtual Private Network (VPN)

        5. Administrative Manager: Hold Administrative Manager accountable to completing all 11 implementation steps in 16 months or less,

          • Understand that having an effective Administrative Manager, serving as project leader responsible for implementing The Trusted Advisor Toolkit™, is a requirement for implementing The Toolkit.
          • Hold AM accountable to completing each step in less than 45 days (target: 30 days or less)
          • Agree that lingering on any single step for longer than 60 days represents being off-track & requires urgent action to get back on-track
          • Administrative Manager agrees to,
            • Create The Online Meeting Plan™ at least 60 days prior to every client progress meeting
            • Hold Subject Matter Experts accountable to completing all assignments, including Deliverables Checkpoints™, prior to every Dry-Run Prep Meeting™

        6. Commitment to Build & Operate As a Team: Build a team of skilled Subject Matter Experts in 10 months or less (coordinated by your Administrative Manager):

          • Agree to acquire 5 primary oversight Subject Matter Experts: FP, Tax, Estate, Ins, Money Mgmt
          • Agree to hold AM accountable for filling vacancies every 60 days until 5 effective SMEs are in place
          • Agree to hold Subject Matter Experts accountable to the commitments on the SME Agreement Form.

        7. The 11 Toolkit Reports: Agree to have your Subject Matter Experts create the 9 proprietary toolkit reports in the format provided in The Toolkit.

          • The Five Critical Reports™:  Created by your Subject Matter Experts
            • 1. The Greatest Probability Strategy™ (GPS) step-by-step implementation plan-of-action: Created by your Financial Planning Subject Matter Expert for every client progress meeting
            • 2. The Circle Chart™: Created by your Money Management Subject Matter Expert for every client progress meeting
            • 3. The Legacy Flow™: Created by your Estate Planning Subject Matter Expert (updated every 3-5 years)
            • 4. The Insurance Grid™: Created by your Insurance Subject Matter Expert & updated annually
            • 5. The Annual Tax Projection: Created by your Tax Planning Subject Matter Expert annually
          • The 3 Progress Reports™:  Created by your Financial Planning Subject Matter Expert for every client progress meeting
            • 6. The Goals Progress Report™ for every client progress meeting
            • 7. The Progress Report Since Last Meeting™ for every client progress meeting
            • 8. The Progress Report Since Inception™ for every client progress meeting
          • 9. Behind The Numbers™: Admin Report (usually Financial Planning Subject Matter Expert) for every client progress meeting
          • 10. The Paperwork Sources™: Admin Report (usually Financial Planning Subject Matter Expert) for every client progress meeting
          • 11. The Numbers History™:  Created by your Financial Planning Subject Matter Expert for every client progress meeting

        Every Team Needs a Goal

        Here's Your Team's Goal

          • Every member of the team should be focused on achieving The Team Goal.
          • It should be everyone's #1 highest priority... since it's all about consistently exceeding Ideal Clients' expectations (what possible priority could possibly trump that?).
          • The team deserves to win.  The team deserves to achieve The Team Goal.
          • Therefore, every team member contributes to the goal (or else why be on the team)?


        The Team Goal requires The 7 Prerequisites

        No team has achieved The Team Goal above without the 7 prerequisites in place

        CHECKLIST: When Advisors Fail to Fully Implement The Toolkit in 12-16 Months... are the most common clues why

        The Trusted Advisor Toolkit™ system usually takes 12-16 months to fully implement all 11 implementation steps.  If you feel your implementation is off-track, slower than you'd like, or you're not yet seeing the benefits of significantly increased client referrals (especially unsolicited client referrals), then going through this checklist will identify nearly every obstacle in your way. You should make this checklist your top priority if...

          • are considering joining The Toolkit System, but want to check your internal resolve to see if you're up to the task.
          • have been a member of this system for 6-12 months and all 11 Implementation Steps of The Trusted Advisor Toolkit™
            System are not yet in place.
          • ...your team is reporting to you things like, "Nobody on our team likes using The Toolkit."

        Here are the most common reasons teams fail at fully implementing The Toolkit in 12-16 months...

        1. The team leaders' own performance standards aren't particularly high, therefore there's no example of high standards being demonstrated for the team. There's no document detailing the high business standards expected by all team members.
        2. The Team Leader is unwilling to,
          • client interests above individual team members’ interests.
          • ...accept that "The Toolkit Standards" are simply "Ideal Client Standards" which are dangerous to ignore if the goal is to increase client referrals, business revenue, and profits.
          • ...limit team membership to professionals who already have processes that are more robust than the toolkit requires (or a team leader who is unwilling to quickly disengage from professionals after it's later discovered their processes are actually not more robust than this system requires).
          • ... notice, and comment, every time deadlines are missed,  or standards are lower than expected.
          • ...continually insist every team member be able to produce evidence of their efforts to exceed the expectations of clients (continually ask,  "show me all the work you've created over the last four months that you feel should have been impressive to a client").
        3. The Project Leader is,
          • … unwilling to accept that this role primarily requires management and leadership skills and isn’t suitable for a purely clerical or administrative support person.
          • ...not catching-on that, for them, the Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) are their "internal clients."
            • That the Toolkit is a vehicle for the Project Leader to find ways to encourage SMEs and make it easier for them to do their best work.
            • That it's the goal of The Toolkit not to impose new requirements on SMEs, but rather to help SMEs implement their already impressive processes.
          • ... unwilling to hold the team accountable to high standards, on behalf of the team leader.
          • ...unwilling to reject work from team members... work that isn't up to the standards.
          • ...more committed to making work easier for themselves than making it easier for other team members to do their best, most creative, work for clients.
          • ...more interested in system compliance, checking the boxes, than impressing clients.
          • ...unwilling to seek help from the toolkit team when performance isn't improving.
          • ...doesn't circulate the 2 monthly toolkit reports to team members every single month, without fail.
          • ...fails to follow the toolkit procedure for turning problems, obstacles, lackluster performance, and client complaints into continually improving documented processes.
          • ...unwilling to complete 1 of the 11 steps of the toolkit implementation process every 30 to 60 days.
        4. Individual team members who are unwilling to,
          • ...serve on a high-performance team expecting high standards from every member of the team.
          • ...accept and embrace The Team Goal of consistently exceeding Ideal Clients’ expectations as measured by a continually increasing client referral rate.
          • ...make the effort to seek help from the toolkit team, when clients' expectations are not being consistently exceeded. Can't be bothered to seek support when objectives aren't being met.
          • ...Accept that when client referral rates are not increasing, it's because the work the team us producing is not particularly impressive to clients, and they're also unwilling to step-up to get involved in the solution or to aggressively make improvements.

        The Guaranteed Outcome

        The 7 Prerequisites "Required" only matter if you desire The Guaranteed Outcome

        The premise of The Trusted Advisor Toolkit™ methodology has always been that "If you want to impress somebody (anybody) the only way to do that is to have your standards exceed theirs."  If you're able to consistently accomplish that (by implementing, and maintaining, steps 1-11 of this system), then you'll experience The Guaranteed Outcome this system.

        The Guaranteed Outcome of The Trusted Advisor Toolkit™ is...

        The Guaranteed Outcome of The Trusted Advisor Toolkit™ is...
        Once you have implemented all 11 steps of this system, your calendar is filled with Initial Client Interviews™ with potential clients introduced to you by your existing well-served clients

        Once you have implemented all 11 steps of this system, your calendar is filled with Initial Client Interviews™ with potential clients introduced to you by your existing well-served clients.

        If, after achieving Implementation Step 11 of 11, you are not experiencing The Guaranteed Outcome, then The Senior Toolkit Team will be deployed to proactively serve you for the purpose of troubleshooting and remedying the situation until you experience The Guaranteed Outcome (Your responsibility: Implement the advice given).


        • The phrase "implemented all 11 steps of this system" means that you have completed each of the 11 steps as outlined in this system, and you have not proceeded to the next step until all the objective elements of the previous steps have been completed, and maintained as clearly described.
        • The phrase "calendar will be filled" is defined by our system as "a minimum of 5 Initial Client Interviews™ with potential clients, on average, each week the Trusted Advisor is scheduled in the office" (Averaging at least one per traditional work day, Monday - Friday).
        • The phrase "potential clients introduced to you by your existing well-served clients" in our system means "spontaneous unsolicited referrals" from your existing clients regardless of whether you do, or do not, request referrals.


        Efforts Have Been Made To Keep The Requirements To a Small Number

        The Trusted Advisor Toolkit™ system is currently being implemented by some of the most skilled Subject Matter Experts around the world; we understand that the reason you invite an expert onto your team is because, in part, they already have a robust process in place to serve individuals who meet your Ideal Client Profile.

        So we want to allow your skilled Subject Matter Experts flexibility to utilize as much of their existing process as possible. Our team has gone to great lengths to allow your skilled Deliverables Team Members as much flexibility as possible, while still maintaining the integrity of our system for ensuring Truly Comprehensive Financial Services™ is delivered at standards high enough to impress Ideal Clients.

        Therefore we limited these required prerequisites to as few as possible and the result is there are 7 foundational elements we all have to agree upon, as a team, in order for the system to function as expected, and for Ideal Clients to be properly served.

        Choose a video to play from the list below.

        The 7 Prerequisites Required For Success With The Toolkit

        video here

        My Trusted Advisor does not want to use a secured cloud-based vault system to store confidential client documents

        video here