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Evaluation Comments from Attendees of our 2.5 Day Class
“Already recommended this to a colleague! I have 9 or 10 things I want to incorporate right away. This class was GREAT!”
“I found out how my process was flawed and I’m glad to know the changes I need to make. Thanks.”
“Everything was so helpful! I need time now to process what I learned. I can’t think of a single improvement.”
“This was a fabulous, informative, emotional class. It was all so useful!”
“Especially helpful – verbiage to use, posture, writing condolence cards, interaction recommendations for office staff, information on dementia. Yet every topic was helpful, welcome, and appreciated.”
“You verified that my goal of specializing in clients in transition is completely accurate. I especially benefitted from dementia topics, cards, effective communication skills with grieving people, suicide knowledge, the resources – the list goes on. I feel extremely grateful to have attended this class!”
“This class changed the way I write and talk to people in transition. Thank you so very much! What a great experience. I hope I can incorporate these lessons into my work and into my life. Thank you!”
“Wonderful information, and real-life tools and examples. So many ways to help clients throughout life!”
“This is crucial to providing a client experience that is a notch above everyone else. There were topics that didn’t relate directly to my business, which is to be expected in a group setting, but even those topics were helpful to me personally. We’d like to talk further about incorporating Corgenius training into our onboarding process.”
“Thank you so much for a phenomenal learning experience!”
Wayne M. Pichon, CFP
Dear Ms. Florian,
I am writing you to acknowledge the invaluable assistance your recent seminar was to my staff, myself and our practice. We sent two staff members to your class, and it had made all the difference. As you are aware, we have a very large family based practice in Anchorage, AK. Our practice has the highest number of CFP's within one group in the entire State of Alaska. We also have two Master's level practitioners in our group. We manage 1.5 billion dollars across several wealthy families.
I am providing this background information so that you have a greater appreciation for the immense value your valuable research and insights have provided to our practice; but more importantly to our clientele. None of us are skilled in the science of grief management. While we may have innumerable degrees in various categories, we are woefully inept at having those difficult discussions with clients when they need us most. That is, until we were students at your seminar session.
The techniques you imparted to us have given us a degree of education, compassion and empathy that heretofore we did not have. We as a Team are now better prepared to deal with those difficult issues. We are better financial advisors. I am astounded that in all of my years of financial counseling, now numbering over 31, that I have not had any training in these sensitive, but essential, topics. Shame on me!
One of the techniques you suggested to us was the forwarding of a card with appropriate empathetic words on the anniversary of the passing of a loved one. For the last year and a half we have been doing this. The results have been quite rewarding. Every person who has received our card has either called us or sent us a thank you card expressing their appreciation for our thoughtfulness. That is client satisfaction.
Unfortunately, in Alaska we are prone to some very tragic accidents because of our lifestyles and the work environments some our clients are exposed to. On too frequent a basis we have to attend funerals or memorial services for clients and/or their loved ones. With your guidance we are able to be present in actions and words in a fashion that is relaxed and empathetic. You have given us this gift. When we cannot attend the service, we send cards that are laced with the correct phrases that are more attuned to the situation at hand. Again, we thank you for this gift.
As a long tenured financial professional I would urge any of my colleagues to attend your sessions and adhere to the various principles you provide. I am saddened when I realize that all these years I have simply not known the appropriate techniques to use to truly show my underlying empathy for grieving clients, who then trust us with their financial lives. Again, thank you for the gift.
Wayne M. Pichon, CFP
Managing Director and Senior Institutional Consultant
Wells Fargo Advisors
Jim Uren, CFP®, CDFA
Amy Florian’s Corgenius training module helped my development as a financial advisor more than any other training program I can remember in my 14 years as an advisor. Because of the training I received in this module, I am better equipped to walk my clients through the financial planning process.
It is my observation that no matter how well you know a client or how long you have worked with her, once a spouse dies, all steps in the financial planning process must be renegotiated. Unfortunately, most advisors, due to awkwardness of the situation and a the absence of the type of training that Amy Florian offers, fail to revisit the first two steps – establishing and defining the client-planner relationship and gathering client data including goals.
After my training with Corgenius, I now recognize that when a spouse dies, any prior client-planner relationship I had with the couple is gone and it is necessary to reestablish and redefine the new client-planner relationship. The failure of most advisors to adequately do so is evident in the statistics of how many widows stop working with the couple’s financial advisor after her husband has died (as high as 70% in some studies).
The training I received related to the right way to handle funerals, services, condolence cards, initial meetings and follow-ups, has served as the foundation on which I have been better able to help walk the client through the financial planning process. For example, after implementing the training I received from Amy, disclosure from my clients has improved related to their current financial situation and the concerns they have. By gaining a better understanding of what to say and how to behave with someone during the grieving process, my clients are opening up to me more than ever before. They are bringing in more paper work and documents, are more open about their life goals and concerns, and they are involving me in more of their financial decisions.
Another thing I have observed is that by involving me in more of their financial decisions, they are also more likely to follow my advice and take more seriously the concerns I share with them. Once we triage their new financial situation they are more open to the feedback I give them regarding what decisions need to be made in the near future and which ones they should intentionally delay.
In order for financial planning to be truly effective it has to be about more than just analyzing facts and figures. Rather, at its core it must be about helping each client meet their life goals. By implementing the specific training Amy covered I am better able to help grieving clients clarify the client-planner relationship they are looking for and to better articulate their life goals.
James Uren, CFP®
Jim Uren, CFP®, CDFATM
Phase III Advisory Services, Ltd.
1110 W. Lake Cook Rd., Ste 265, Buffalo Grove, IL 60089
Rachel O. Infante, CFP
Amy Florian’s module on funerals, condolence cards, and following up afterwards has had such a HUGE impact on our financial planning practice. Since taking her course a few years ago we’ve had quite a few expected and unexpected deaths of clients (or their family members) take place. Knowing how to navigate conversation through such tragic times has been essential to being a great advisor and maintaining relationships with our clients. We have completely relied on the knowledge obtained through this course to navigate conversations, establish times of further contact, uncover new goals and priorities, etc. We firmly believe this has made our relationships with our clients much stronger and helped us serve them better. This course should be mandatory for ALL financial advisors and even staff members of financial planning firms. Clients demand holistic financial planning, and this module makes that possible in ways I’ve never heard anywhere else.
Death is unavoidable, but losing clients because of it doesn’t have to be. It is our job as financial advising professionals to help our clients work through all major life transitions (marriage, kids, divorce, new job, retirement…and even death). We must know how to not only coach them through the financial aspects of each transition but also the emotional aspects that come with it. This is the value-add every advisor should give their clients!
Rachel O. Infante, CFP ®
Fure Financial Corporation
8500 Normandale Lake Boulevard, Suite 950, Bloomington, MN 55437
Office: (952) 944-8250, Fax: (952) 944-8252
Norman E. Miller, CFP® (US & CDA), ADPA®, RFG
I’ve seen Amy Florian speak a couple of times and also attended her intensive two-day workshop. Amy’s training is invaluable in my practice. Financial advisors also be artful in handling the financial and non-financial elements of the client relationship. For instance, she provided me the guidance to help a client in a difficult situation. The spouse of my client couple committed suicide on Christmas Day. Amy’s training gave me the tools to deal with the grieving widow.
This included writing compassionate cards since the onset (across milestone dates going forward), being able to interface in face to face situations, and I utilized the additional reading material where I found a great book on suicide. I gave it to my client and she told me it provided great comfort as she could relate to stories and feelings of others. Her daughters also read the book and she has passed it on to others in her support group.
Amy’s training provided me the skill set to help a grieving client and family and further cement our relationship. Who knows how far reaching something like this can be – maybe a new client in the future. But the most important aspect was that I, in my small part, have helped guide my client through a devastating, personal experience. Helping clients navigate life is the heart of what we do.
Norman E. Miller, CFP® (US & CDA), ADPA®, RFG™
Senior Investment Counselor
VERSANT CAPITAL MANAGEMENT, INC.
2390 East Camelback Road, Suite 425 Phoenix, AZ 85016-3452
Phone: 602.635.3760 | Toll Free: 866.303.2347 | Facsimile: 602.926.2633
Melanie Colwell, CFP®
Having been in the financial industry for 10 years, I have attended numerous conferences to further my education and skill set in order to provide better service to my clients. Without a doubt, the intensive training session I attended through Corgenius provided me with some of the most actionable information I have ever taken away from a conference or workshop. It focuses on an area that is taboo for many professionals, but is simply a reality of life. With over 13 million widows in the US and nearly 1 million women becoming widowed per year, being presented with a client whose spouse has died will happen in your business as a financial advisor. How you choose to deal with that client will dictate whether you become part of the staggering statistic that shows 70% of widows leave their advisor in the first year after their spouse dies. Doing more of the same will produce the same result.
After Amy’s training on “What NOT to say and What TO say", I returned to my office with a game plan. I held in-office trainings and role-playing sessions incorporating the do’s and don’ts that Amy provided. My partners and staff were amazed by how much we could improve on our communications and processes with our clients who have experienced death. Every one of us initially responded during our role-playing exercises with, “I’m so sorry for your loss.” I then presented an alternative response of, “Jane, I can’t imagine what you are feeling right now. I’ve used the days since learning that Joe died to reflect on some of my memories of Joe. What a wonderful laugh he had. I am grateful he was a part of my life and I want you to know that I am going to be by your side through your grief journey. It doesn’t end today and my office is a safe place for you to navigate this process. Be kind to yourself and know that we will deal with the financial business when you are ready. I’ll call you next week and we can get together for a cup of coffee and simply reflect on the last few weeks.” The office was stunned at the more personalized approach.
No way in this world would I have responded with this to a client prior to Amy’s “what to say” module. While I am a compassionate person, death is awkward and I never gave much thought as to what should be said to a client prior to Amy’s training. My partners and staff couldn’t believe the difference. We found that even when role-playing we still resorted back to the cliché “I’m so sorry for your loss”. Just in typing that phrase I’m reminded that you don’t “lose someone”, they “die”. Calling death by its real name is important to your client’s healing. You have to practice these techniques and re-train your brain to respond differently. Amy’s materials provide you a base to perfect this skill. Since my training, we’ve put an entire program in place for our office that specifically addresses the unique needs of both widows and divorcees. Everything from phone responses for our staff to use when a client or prospect calls in after the death of their spouse to what messages will be sent in cards on anniversaries, birthdays, etc. This is another way to meet our client’s needs.
We no longer rush through the process of retitling accounts and getting the estate settled. Some widows are simply not capable of making important financial decisions when their grief is raw. Most widows will NOT tell you this. They do not want to appear vulnerable. Prior to Amy’s training, I didn’t give this much consideration. Now, we give our clients permission to take the time they need to make an informed decision and we fend off other professionals who are pressuring the client when they are simply not ready.
Since Amy’s training, three of my existing clients have become widowed. I used methods and techniques from Amy’s “What to Say” module in every single meeting and conversation I’ve had with those clients since their spouse died. And I can assure you from the feedback that they and their families have given me, they are some of the most trusted client relationships I have. Those clients have made it a point to tell me they could not have made it through this process without the compassion and guidance that our firm provided them. I’m a nurturing person by nature, but Amy’s “what to say” training has given me suggestions and tips that have proven very valuable in times that I would have otherwise been at a loss for words. These women could care less about alpha, beta, R-square or standard deviation and frankly, I could learn that from any of a dozen conferences I attend. They want a trusted advisor supporting and guiding them towards attaining their financial goals. Allowing my clients an opportunity to feel their grief in my office, and acknowledging the elephant in the room rather than avoiding it, solidifies our relationship. Rate of return is a commodity, I’m in the relationship business.
“What to Say” addresses the unique needs of a client who is grieving. Without this training, you will be a part of the 70% statistic. I recently attended an insurance conference with a breakout session focused on “Working Effectively with Widows”. Numerous advisors were clueless on what to say or how to act around widows. I encouraged these advisors to get Amy’s book and even referenced the chapters that are dedicated entirely to “What to Say and What NOT to Say”. Advisors are NOT informed and they have NOT been educated on the unique needs of a client experiencing a life transition.
Of course this training touches your heart. My client’s lives touch my heart. I’m thankful I now feel equipped with the skill set to help them through some of the toughest times of their lives.
Melanie Colwell, CFP®
Certified Financial Planner™
Galecki Financial Management, Inc.
7743 West Jefferson Blvd.
Fort Wayne, IN 46804
Phone: (260) 436-8525
Fax: (260) 436-8825
Amy, thank you. It really helps to do more precise fact-finding with clients in grief. The predominance of training for our profession is easily taken out of context, and used to simply 'make more sales.' Your training session on funerals and following up has made me more adept at sifting through clients’ statements and emotions, and dulling my own motives to sell them something. More and more I'm recommending smaller changes to their finances. This is obviously apart from the mainstream way of thought. But my clients are safer and secure in their holdings. I rarely lose a client.
Bankers Life and Casualty Co.
John F. McAvoy, CFP®, AIF ®
I attended Amy Florian’s session and came away with many useful ideas and materials which I put to work immediately in my practice. Sitting with a family after the loss of a loved one is incredibly emotional not only for the family but for the advisor as well. Her presentation and her materials helped me to be a better and more complete Financial Planning practitioner. I have used her suggestions for meetings with grieving clients. They have been useful and powerful in helping the client in financial and non-financial ways, and in giving me the confidence to guide them through what is arguably the most difficult period in their lives. I’ve helped families and I’ve retained business because of the trust engendered through Amy Florian’s methodology. I wholeheartedly endorse this presentation and have found it to be an important part in differentiating my practice.
John F. McAvoy, CFP®, AIF ®
Dean FPA BE Boston 2015
Waterstone Retirement Services
95 Washington St., Suite 580, Canton, MA 02021
Helping People Retire Successfully
As a financial advisor, I found your training session invaluable as I serve families in the transitions associated with death, illness and loss. Financial advisors are regularly challenged to communicate sometimes complex concepts to their clients. Knowing how a grieving mind processes information is something I have learned from you, and the techniques that you coach prove to be effective consistently. I am a superior financial advisor for having attended.
Signature Estate and Investment Advisors
Yvonne Nirelli, President
Amy, I find with the demographics of today’s aging population and the aging of the baby boomers this knowledge is vital if not mandatory to provide complete advice for a client who is facing new financial circumstances and permanent changes on how to decide about future financial and life decisions. If a client relies on someone who does understand the process of grief and these new decisions how can they properly give proper advice?? Too many times incorrect and permanent decisions are made too quickly and can be damaging to the future of a family.
My Business Plan primarily focuses on Retirement planning with future Estate Planning and now Loss of the Loved One, and we have people seeking those services and the professional care that is needed for this service. Thank you for the knowledge you have provided in this regard!!
Yvonne Nirelli, President
Securities & Investment Advisors, Inc.
186 Canal Street, Canastota, NY 13032
Sheree L. Subramanyan
I found the content in this part of both your presentation and your book to be one of the most helpful when working with our clients who are grieving or going through a transition. I am an assistant to an advisor, Tom Conway, and he is the person who decided that attending Amy’s 2-day seminar would be beneficial for not only himself, but me as well since I am the first person on the phone with the clients when he/she first calls in. We have found, in our office, that we refer to the contents before either going to a funeral or calling a client immediately after the death of a loved one. It gives tips and suggestions of phrases that would help in understanding the client’s needs at the most emotional time of their lives. As a result of being able to connect with our clients by using some of the suggestions, I have seen an increase in client referrals and in current clients remaining with Tom after the death of their spouse since we both attended the seminar 3 years ago.
Sheree L. Subramanyan
Client Service Associate to Thomas J. Conway
180 N. Riverview Drive, Suite 220, Anaheim Hills, CA 92808
phone: (714) 974-4500