Do you have a strategy for growing your practice based on human connections? Humans want to work with humans. That’s why Mike Byrnes promotes the idea of building a business growth strategy on a foundation of rock-solid relationships both with clients and with your fellow financial planners.

This concept, in Mike’s opinion, applies to all aspects of your business from asking for referrals to building relationships with influencers in your network. Building out your media presence, networking with your colleagues in the financial planning profession, and maintaining a sense of authenticity is key to create real human connections that will transform your practice.

Mike has some incredible insights on how to re-purpose your media for improved engagement, the best methods for networking with your colleagues and helping one another grow, and how to ask for referrals from clients without damaging your relationship.

This episode is a must-listen for anyone who is working to blaze a trail for themselves in the financial planning profession!

Hannah's signature

 

What You’ll Learn:

  • How to embrace different skills that take time to develop – like being on camera, speaking at events, and reading off of a script
  • How multiple forms of media can help to build your relationships with clients, prospects, and your network
  • The best ways to avoid sounding “stiff” in videos or podcast recordings
  • Ways to navigate asking for referrals from clients
  • How to create authentic connections with new clients walking in the door
  • What companies are looking for in a new hire
  • How to position yourself for success in your financial planning job search
  • How to create positive relationships across generations within the financial planning profession
  • How a succession plan can work successfully for all parties
  • The best way to improve your professional relationships

 

Byrnes Consulting on Youtube

> This episode recorded live for Youtube <

 

 

Show Transcript

Ep99 Transcript


Hannah: Thanks for joining us, Mike.

Mike: I’m so happy to be here.

Hannah: For the listeners, we’re doing kind of a fun experiment. We’re actually going on YouTube with the video. So we’re videoing this, so if you want to see what we look like in person checkout Byrnes Consulting’s YouTube channel and you can see us actually doing this live.

Mike: Yeah. That’s great. Actually, because of the FBA Coach’s Corner thing, we got connected to do the podcast and I happen to be speaking in Dallas today. That’s why we have the benefit of doing it together.

Hannah: So trying all these new media forms. I’m going to dive into that in a little bit. But I love that you’re part of the Coach’s program. You’re writing a lot of content on business growth strategies. So what advice do you have on our listeners on that huge broad topic of business growth strategies.

Mike: Well, it’s too big, as you know. Hannah had to suffer through seeing me present today. So I’m sorry you had to twice in one day, but today we focused just on client referrals. That’s one main way. The other way is strategic alliances. It’s really nice to have a great alliance. It gives you a steady stream of leads year after year after year.

The other thing is any kind of lead that is marketing or sales related but there’s no referral. Those are organic growth. And then the fourth one, I always call it the “fist of growth,” but that’s mergers and acquisitions. So tucking in somebody or acquiring a firm and buying just the book. Then the fifth one is just a slush of a whole bunch of other stuff.

Hannah: What I like about what you’re talking about … Because this podcast is for newer planners. So there definitely are firm owners, but there’s also a lot of people that work for somebody else, and a lot of these skills apply to everybody. You talked about building solid centers of influence. If you’re in your 20s and you’re building solid centers of influence, that’s going to stay with you regardless of what you do for a career.

So can you talk a little bit about how do you build those centers of influence relationships?

Mike: Great. Not to be nitpicky, but I call them “strategic alliances” because I really want to reinforce that it’s like a partnership, even though they don’t officially have an agreement. Maybe they do, but most of them don’t. But they really work to help each other’s businesses.

A center of influence could just be someone that just throws leads at you and there’s no two-way relationship. I’m rambling a little bit, but the reason that I’m trying to say that is if they invest in the right relationships, let’s say $1 million in AUM leads a year times 10 years or 15, that’s huge. And when we talk to firms that are really, really big and ask them how do they get so successful, a lot of times strategic alliances is it.

Can I tell you a little bit more about it?

Hannah: Please do.

Mike: The big fault that we see in the industry, it’s diversification. Advisors get that. So they try to diversify. “I’m going to give the leads to whoever gives me the most leads.”

Now, imagine just one type, like a CPA. If you have 10 CPAs that you’re working with, guess what? They maybe have 10 advisers. It takes a lot of time to work those relationships, and they’re always competitor situations. It’s like dating 12 people, or 10 people. It doesn’t work. So the real strong relationships are the one-on-one.

That’s a little different if you’re a billion dollar firm and you have multiple teams but each advisor can kind of have their own relationship, but most of the time it should be firm to firm.

Hannah: And how long do centers of influence relationships usually take before they get to that point where you’re getting a lot of good referrals?

Mike: That is a great question. I always give the analogy “You don’t get married on the first date.” Rarely do you do that. So they do take a little time to set the foundation.

I use the analogy of plants. You need to put the seeds down and then give them some attention. But when they grow, that’s where you want to spend a lot of time maintaining them too so that they grow stronger and stronger and stronger. We oftentimes see that the relationships just fizzle out because the person didn’t invest enough time to keep them going.

One other thing I’ll say in moving forward to switch topics too is advisors or financial planners can be really creative. There’s an amazing amount. There’s over a hundred, probably thousands, of lead sources out there where you can create an alliance. It doesn’t have to be the traditional accountant and attorney. I think we talked a little on the ride over here about how charities can be a lead source.

Hannah: Yeah. I love this idea of building relationships, because at the end of the day it’s a human-to-human relationship that you’re building with whoever that person may be.

Locally, I’m in Dallas. They have NexGen events that are actually partnered with the Young CPA Society and Young Attorney Society. So that’s a great way to meet other young planners or young attorneys or young centers of influence who might not be able to give you the business now, but, in 20 years, hopefully you’re both more established in your firm.

Mike: Right. And a younger person that’s newer, or even a person that’s come into the industry, one of the ways to exchange and make the relationships really work is “you scratch my back, I scratch yours.” But the challenge for someone brand new to the industry is they don’t have that. They can’t give a lot of leads.

One really good recommendation I have is to go out there and get press. Building up your own credibility. So you carry more weight. You’re a future rock star. You’re already there. You have your own podcast show. They would maybe want to work with you more than a regular planner. But then take it even one more step and interview them for your piece. If you’re doing a video or an article, get them the press.

And what happens is they really are excited. For example, a CPA firm, they’re really bad at marketing, traditionally. You’re doing something that they don’t have. They’re really appreciative. So they’re actually going to reward you even though they’re not getting leads.

The other interesting thing too is once you have great press, you interview them or you have them on your podcast or you have them in your article or whatever it is, not only are you sharing it with your audience, whether it’s your clients, prospects, et cetera, but they’re doing it too. So your stuff gets twice as many eyeballs.

Hannah: That’s such a good point. I’ve seen a couple firms, actually local, who have done that really well, where they bring on their CPA or attorney and … Go to the YouTube channel. You can see what we’re doing right now. They do something similar, and they post it on their blog. So they’re getting a piece of content for their blog. It’s a young person in their firm who’s doing it. So that’s a really great … I need to steal that idea.

Mike: (laughs) Well, being creative too, whatever’s in the moment, you might think of a strategic alliance just because of the news idea. What’s the hot topic that … For example, IRS text scams are going on now. Maybe that was a cool thing you could have interviewed a CPA for. The rental season is coming or ending. That could be going out to a commercial real estate, or even a real estate person that’s residential.

There’s kind of a seasonality about these creative things you can do for content. Or you can just kind of have generic, evergreen content that goes on forever, and you can do it whenever you want.

Hannah: That’s great. I just was at your presentation, Proven Ways to Get Client Referrals. So I had a couple questions after that. So we won’t make you rehearse your whole presentation, but I really liked it. But one of the things that you were talking about: how people make a mistake in asking for referrals. So specifically you were saying basically advisors make it all about them. Can you talk about that a little bit?

Mike: Yeah. Just the term “asking for referrals” really means “Help me.” And it is a sales approach. And the person that is on the other side, I said it in the presentation today, they feel like they’re painted in a corner. They’re there to hire you for your services. They’re not there to be your sales force.

I don’t know if you remember, but I offered … Better advice is to tap into why you’re in the industry. And that is, one, to make money. So that’s kind of the first part of asking for referrals. But the second part is you’re a nice person. You like to help people, and that is a much easier conversation to have.

I don’t know if you remember, but the wording could be totally different. Rather than say “Can you help me grow my business? I really count on you to grow my business,” which puts all the pressure on them, you could say “I would love to help people like you going through the same situation.”

We gave a better example than that today, but the reality is you start to offer assistance to help their contacts. So their family members, their friends, their coworkers. Whoever it is. By offering to assist them, you’re actually helping your client who’s sitting across from you, because you’re giving them the benefit.

Hannah: So many people, especially young planners, are like “That’s why we came into the business is to help people.” They’re so turned off by the idea of sales because it just feels, like you’re saying, that painting in the corner. I think we all kind of intuitively get that.

But I love what you’re saying because it’s not just on sales. It’s just a whole nother way to approach your client, where everything is about the client, even getting you business. It’s still about “How do I help the client or help their friends?” I love that mindset shift that you were really advocating in that.

Mike: I will say the word “sales” is a bad four letter word. People hate it. But Charlie, who’s not on the camera, he’s our tech expert behind the scenes, is your husband. If you have a debate on where to go to a movie this weekend … I don’t know if you care or even go to movies, but that’s sales, when you’re working with somebody and you’re trying to convince them to do something. Sales is all throughout our lives.

So when people just say “I’m not a salesperson,” I’m like “You have to be to a certain extent.” It’s just part of being human.

Hannah: Right. And it’s “Are you authentically showing up in those places?” versus the slimy salesman, which none of us really want to be.

Mike: Right.

Hannah: I hope. (laughs)

Mike: Yeah. The poor used car salesman mentality. And I think that’s a nice approach too. There’s a term called “solution selling.” If you’re really helping people and trying to help them, it doesn’t feel like you’re pushing your own agenda, you’re going to be better at it. So if you tap into that, helping people, you’ll be more successful at whatever you do.

Hannah: Yeah.

Mike: I’m going to get a glass of water because I’m talking too much today. I’m reaching over here.

So can I ask you a couple questions?

Hannah: Yeah! Absolutely.

Mike: Because we’re going to do the video for the Coach’s Corner video too. This is so exciting, having a podcast.

Hannah: Yes.

Mike: Tell us, how did you get started and why do you do it?

Hannah: So I got started … Man, it was probably five or six years ago. I was in the process of buying a practice, and my local FPA, my Dallas-Fort Worth FPA chapter, had a seminar series called “You’re a Financial Planner. Now What?”

It felt like a lifeline. It was where I learned about financial planning, what it was. It was where I could talk about financial planning. It was really where I saw financial planning in practice.

So a couple years after that Patrick Daugherty decided to retire, and I was like “You can’t leave! This can’t stop.”

So they were like “Well we’re retiring. Would you like to take over?”

So I did, with Wynn McEntire. So, Charlie … If you listen to the podcast you know Charlie’s voice. His background is media and doing all this. So he was always like “Why don’t you just throw it on the Internet? Just see what happens.”

So we started doing that. He would edit them and throw them on the Internet. I was like “Well, heck. I got some interesting people I’d love to get” … You know. Start. That’s just kind of how it started, and it just really built off of that.

Mike: So your advice is you have to marry a tech genius? (laughs)

Hannah: You got to marry well. That’s the secret to all of it.

Mike: So you started it. Maybe share some of the lessons you learned early on.

Hannah: Yeah! You just do it. You know? Put the work in. There were several times when I was like “Is this even worth it?”

You don’t see the end. I remember when we got to the point where we got our first like hundred downloads. I was like “A hundred people have listened to us? That’s crazy!”

That was like over a couple episodes. I remember when we got our first hundred people listened to an episode. I’m like “A hundred people?”

It just doesn’t resonate. You can see my setup here if you’re on the YouTube channel. Here’s my mic that I use. But so much of it is I’m sitting at my desk, at my home office, and it’s just me. I have a tree outside. You know? It just feels so small, what I do. But at the same time, technology’s allowed us to have this big impact. I think that’s what I’ve learned, that consistency. Even the episode … You’re in the 20s, or in the teens and the 20s and the 30s, you’re just kind of like “Do people hear?”

And then people start reaching out. And then you’re like “Oh, wow. There’s actually a person on the other side of that number.”

We talked about a hundred downloads an episode. Imagine having a roomful of a hundred advisors or a hundred people that you’re talking to. Those are a hundred people that you’re speaking to. I’d be thrilled to get a hundred people in a room.

I don’t know. I’ve kind of learned that compounding interest, if you would, online.

Mike: Before I forget, and this would be a great time, after the video, if people are watching the video, how would they find out where to find the podcast?

Hannah: Yeah. If we put this in the video, it’s “You’re a Financial Planner. Now what?” So you can go to iTunes. You can go to Stitcher. Whatever your favorite podcast player is. Search for that. You can search for my name. That’ll be there too. And you can just subscribe there or … We’ve actually partnered up since then with FPA. So you can go to fpaactivate.org and find all the podcasts, all the show notes, and all the links to everything we talk about there.

Mike: And hopefully this is good enough that they’ll blast this out too to all the members.

Hannah: Absolutely.

Mike: So back on the podcast, has it helped your business at all or is it just to help the planners? What’s your strategy?

Hannah: Strategy is an interesting word. My plan originally was just to help new planners. It was a way to give back. I had bought two practices. I had left my broker-dealer. I had started my RAA. So I had some time on my hands, just being honest, to do it. It was just like there’s such a need for new planners. I wasn’t seeing what I thought needed to be out there so just do it.

So that’s kind of how it got started. How it’s helped my business, I don’t know that I would say I’ve gotten any clients from it. I have gotten recognition in the industry. You know. InvestmentNews 40 Under 40. Young Advisor To Watch. I’ve built up a resume that I think gives some more credibility to clients.

Mike: Right?

Hannah: I remember I had just switched my broker-dealer. I switched a broker-dealer to an RAA. I’m in my 20s, late 20s at this point, when I did that. And clients came with me but you could kind of sense there was like “Is she real? Is she legitimate?”

It was D Magazine here in Dallas … Which is, again, through my local FPA chapter, how I got that. When that email sent out I could tell there was a difference with my clients. My clients were like “Okay. She’s legitimate.”

Like, “Okay. We can trust her.”

That’s kind of how we’ve seen it, inadvertently.

Mike: To be honest, if you ever expand this … I know you have some news coming up. I don’t know if you want to share that on the video. Do you want to or no?

Hannah: We can, yeah.

Mike: She’s having a baby. Woo!

Hannah: Yep. August. We’re expecting a baby.

Mike: So you might not have time for the second idea of the podcast, but eventually you might want to go for more of the investor audience and expand it. But if you do, or if other people are thinking about getting into a podcast, how can that help them grow? Does it give them a competitive advantage? You talked a little bit about it, but can you expand on it?

Hannah: Yeah. I think so. What’s crazy to me about doing this podcast is people feel like they know me. I’ve had people come up to me and I’m like “Oh, my gosh. You’ve heard my story.”

It’s so cool. You know? That’s what videos does. That’s what audio does. That’s the name of the game now, right? How do they know me?

One of the things you mentioned in your presentation was … I can’t remember how you said it, but it was something about the humans.

Mike: Humans want to work with humans?

Hannah: Yeah. Humans want to work with humans. I know when I write blogs sometimes it can sound a little corporate. You know? I try not to do that. But hearing my voice, hearing my story, hearing my perspective, it’s showing the clients what it’s going to be like to work with me.

They say you want to eliminate surprises, right? You want them to know what that’s like. So they know what meetings are going to be like with me because they know kind of how I talk. They know what I have to say. They kind of can buy into my philosophy before they get there.

I think it’s just like any form of content. It’s not blog posts. It’s not video. It’s just a podcast.

Mike: But I will say that advisors are starting to get that they’re … I always say they’re in the publishing business, because you now have a website and you have social media sites. So you can be a publisher. You don’t have to go through traditional press. But they’re better at the text piece. They’re terrible at podcasts and the videos. If they do do videos it’s like the standard welcome video.

Hannah: That’s what’s so great about podcasts. It’s 10 times easier for me to talk into a microphone than it is for me to write a blog.

Mike: And what about videos?

Hannah: (laughs)

Mike: So we talked about it today. I always say the enemy of marketing is perfection. But when it comes to videos people hate the way they sound, they look. Like, look at that goofy guy up there talking. You look great. Definitely make me look bad.

But the reality is that they just want it to be perfect. What they have to learn is some video is better than others. We could bore the listeners and the viewers with statistics about videos, but just trust me. If you do some searches on YouTube and find out what the viewership is, and podcasts too, it’s booming. And it’s not going to slow down. It’s only going to continue to increase.

Hannah: I started noticing this trend maybe a year ago. Maybe more. I look at where do my clients get their news from, right? A lot of my clients read the Wall Street Journal. They subscribe to national news. Newsline, The New York Times. Things like that. I know this because they send me those articles. The questions they ask are rooted in that. I’m subscribed to the same places because if a client asks a question I better be able to read the article.

But what I started noticing is on most of those big pieces that they do, it’s not just one form of media. There’s a second form of media on there. So it’s not just the blog post, or it’s not just their article. They have the reporter talking about it, or they have a video that summarizes what it’s saying. That’s a really interesting idea. How do you build out multiple forms of media on every page and you reach a different audience? You know?

You can take something stale … Not stale. You can take the written words and make them come alive.

Mike: Actually, I saw a really … It’s kind of a non-related statistic. I forget the exact number, but an amazing amount of people watch videos online without sound. It kind of shows that you need both, because they’re in a work setting or they can’t have the noise for some reason. You can’t just have video. Podcasts, it’s tough to have the words over it.

But the reality is if you can have a video or a podcast embedded on your website with the text that goes with it, or vice versa … And it shouldn’t be a transcript. I don’t think it should be apples to apples, because that’s kind of boring, but complimentary.

Hannah: Absolutely. And there’s just so much. I’ve done this on a couple of my posts where I do have two forms of media on my Guiding Wealth website. But you can literally just take the bullet points, the outline for your blog, and then just talk through it. Because you’re going to have a different inflection. You’re going to have a different take. It’s not going to be as cleanly edited, but sometimes it’s kind of cool to hear somebody … Not stumble through it, but the human side of it.

Mike: Two things. We have really impressive notes here. Here’s our bullet points that she could show you.

Hannah: I got my notebook here.

Mike: It’s here on the podcast. It’s not impressive. Just like a sticky. But if you type that up and you prepare, the videos and the podcasts are that much better because you put a little effort in. And like you said, then you have the idea of how to summarize it later. What I found, not just your website, but YouTube is a search engine. So you should have all the text bullet points that the YouTube search engine, and Google too, can go and index these things to help them come up.

Hannah: Yeah! And I love that. We’re talking about new planners, right? So people who are newer to the business. This is a skillset. In our FPA Activate group, I’m going live every week on Facebook Live. I was terrified. I still kind of am, of doing those. But I’m getting so much more used to it.

Now, instead of running through it three or four times before I go live, I can just go live.

Mike: Nice!

Hannah: And again, a lot of this is just me getting over myself, but it’s a skillset that you build and that you get better over time. Even if you’re at a firm that you’re like “I don’t really want to help them with their marketing” or you’re just playing around, if you develop that skillset, that’s a marketable skillset that you’re going to be able to fine tune.

And what I’m realizing is a lot of advisers who … I’ve asked the people to do Facebook Lives for me in there, and people are afraid of it. It’s like “Wow.”

So I’ve gotten over that fear, so now I’m comfortable going live. That opens up a lot more opportunities. I don’t know. Building up these media sources, it’s me building a skill in myself. That could be a very different form five years from now.

Mike: How about a pat around the back here. So the reason that it’s really such a competitive advantage is, one, just personality-wise and talent-wise, you have it, which is great. But there are some channels advisors aren’t allowed to do these types of things. They can’t go live. Everything has to be a pre-written script. Sorry if you’re in the FINRA world, which you-

Hannah: I’m not.

Mike: We don’t want to talk about compliance and getting anybody in trouble. But the people that read the scripts, even if they have really good teleprompters … They’ll look like they’re looking in the camera but the teleprompter is right there. You can tell.

Hannah: Well, there’s a reason why newscasters go to school for it. It’s an actual developed skill on how to read it. So you know, there are some classes out there to help you with the teleprompter side of it.

Mike: It wouldn’t help me. I can’t read. (laughs)

Hannah: We’ve done some teleprompter videos, and I’ll tell you: it is hard. It is not as easy as you like to think it is.

Mike: Right. And my eyes are going too. They’d have the font so big I would be-

Hannah: You can change the fonts on them!

Mike: Yeah, yeah. I’d read it so slow though, like one word at a time.

Hannah: There’s a college student in New York. He does Instagram. He’s a college student, and he is giving tips for his friends. And I’m like “Wow. What a competitive advantage when he’s looking for a job.”

His employers are going to be able to go through and see not just what’s on one sheet of paper like a one time interview. They’re going to be able to go and see two years of work that he’s done on video. Just like a client gets a good sense of who I am, an employer is going to get a really good sense of who he is.

Mike: Right.

Hannah: Way impressed with that.

Mike: My advice for people starting a podcast or the video is to think of content that has that long shelf life. It might be something they create three years ago that it’s searchable and people find you because you didn’t have to take it down.

Hannah: So you mean market commentary isn’t? (laughs)

Mike: Yeah. We talked about that a little bit today. Market commentary can be really good. It can go viral in the short term, but it can be dated a month from now, a week from now. Even tomorrow it could be out of date. The problem is if some advisors are pure investment management they feel limited. That’s all they have to do. That’s where some basic education on investing or some principles behind it, that stuff can still have a lot of shelf life.

But, yeah. If you’re getting into what this stoke did and why it’s going to perform well or not, the other things that’s an issue there is that you’re on record kind of making a prediction.

Hannah: Compliance issues!

Mike: Yeah. You’re like “Oh, man. I tanked on that one.”

It’s not like Jim Cramer. That can be wrong. And he’s doing the next thing the next day. So advisors need to be a little careful about that.

Hannah: Absolutely.

Mike: My other question for you is, if there are some other people new into the industry, in the financial planning side, what are some of those hurdles that maybe we should talk about to make them more successful?

Hannah: Oh, my goodness. There’s so much. Firsts of all, passing the CFP is a huge deal, but everybody kind of has to do that. But it’s hard to land a good job. I know you work with a lot of really successful companies. So what are companies looking for with their new hires? What are their expectations? What do new hires need to know?

Mike: The interesting thing is that a lot of advisers … I’m kind of being stereotypical, thinking of the older male, the “I came up in the old Waterhouse regime. I was a salesperson. I had to walk to school up hill, in a snow storm. Both ways.”

They think of their past as the way that the new people have to come into the world and be in the industry. It’s evolved a lot. There’s a lot of best practices. We had a little side conversation about a lot of the content out there is now really for the older generation financial planner. It’s not for the younger person. So hats off to you for having this podcast about how to make them more successful. We can cover whatever you want on this podcast.

Hannah: So people get in these jobs. Your part of the Coach’s Corner is on business growth.

Mike: Yeah.

Hannah: And the business isn’t growing. I was reading a Facebook post from somebody who was a wholesaler. He said basically that he would go around and everybody says they’re in business growth mode. He’s like “Maybe 5% are who say they are.”

When the business isn’t growing, what are the red flags for you, especially from the young advisor perspective?

Mike: It’s really funny. I’ll go off on a tangent and we could go back to the general thing. I just wrote an article for Barrons They’ve had me do a lot of case. I have to change some of the details so I’m not giving away any client info. We had one relationship we got in and they were at odds. The next generation advisors and the senior, owner, principle. They couldn’t stand each other. Things were just about to explode.

Really, the older person was really, really cranky. What happened was he expected all these sales things to happen, but they had what I call a “overflow model.” So he would bring in business and then drown them. They were just basically service associates because they didn’t have time to do their own business development.

So what we did with that was we recognized that is an issue. We talked about how to improve that. We broke it down. We gave them each their own goal that they could attain. They actually plugged into something bigger and then they all knew their part. And the relationships, because we got them to communicate better and not to be a consultant with over adjusting, so we’re all rowing in the same direction, things were way better.

So they liked to show up to work and they weren’t hating each other anymore. I don’t know if that answers your question but there’s a lot to that. I don’t know if that one case study makes sense.

Hannah: I think what you’re saying is it’s about communication and it’s about having those clear lines as young planners. One of my first questions when you were talking was do they have to bring in a consultant? Sometimes the answer is yes, right?

Mike: Yes, yes. (laughs)

Hannah: That kind of goes to this idea of managing up. We haven’t talked about that a whole lot, but I think it’s a really interesting idea. So in the situation that you feel like you’re banging your head against a wall as a young planner, how can you start having more productive conversations with older advisers in your room?

Mike: The communication is a secret. A facility like a consultant … Plug. Sorry. Byrnes Consulting. But that helps because a third party can recognize stuff. But if they’re people open to talking, a really common thing that we see is that … I’ll do both sides of the coin. Sometimes the person that comes in with very little experience demands the world.

On the other side we see the same thing. The senior person demands the world, doesn’t give them time to grow. Another real common one is the senior person starts to phase into retirement. That’s not really fair that everyone else is doing the work. So there’s all kinds of those conflicts, a real solid business plan so everyone knows their part and is on the same page, and one that’s not dictated.

When I talk about how the younger generation should have ownership, it’s not always that they have equity in the first, but they have ownership in where it’s heading and the vision. So that’s why doing that business plan part together is so important.

Hannah: Right. So if your firm is not that way, if you’re not in one of the fortunate firms where they really are engaging the new planners, so many times the option is just to leave. From your perspective, is that the best option for people?

Mike: Yeah. The extreme is you leave, or you at least see it as a threat and that creates some issues. That’s kind of that poker hand. You want to kind of keep those cards back until they’re needed. And sometimes they’re not even worth that much. I always warn people not to sign non-competes.

Hannah: Yes!

Mike: But if you have that, that power move is gone. You’re going to have to restart.

When you first start, you should say “How am I going to be successful at this?” and work with it together. “This is what I think. This is what you think.”

Have a plan, and then make sure they’re held accountable to it. Not in a whiny way, but a “This is going to benefit the firm, not just you and I.”

Once you get that kind of consensus it can work. If it’s really damaged you do kind of need a third party, whether it’s someone in the firm or someone that knows or paying a professional.

Hannah: So one of my favorite podcast episodes is … I forget what episode it is. We’ll have it in our show notes. It’s what we wish we knew before we left. So we talk all about the non-competes, non-solicitation. All the different forms that they have sign at the beginning or middle. Sometimes at the end of your employment with them. And why that’s so important, especially with new planners, knowing what you’re signing and what your limitations are.

Mike: Yeah. I’m not the legal compliance person so be careful with listening to me on this, but push back one that whenever you can. I think it’s fair if the person is teaching you everything you know, and they’re getting you to be successful, that they have some ownership in the clients. But it’s also fair, if someone really works hard, that’s their clients. There’s probably some buyout potential there rather than just stealing the clients.

We’ve seen some really bad altercations where people just battle. The owner is very, very strong and they end up taking the clients. They end up damaging the company from both sides. If they were really, again, rowing their ores all together the same way, they would have not had those issues.

People get divorced in real life, and they do as partners too. Sometimes it’s just really putting in the quality time up front to know them. A one hour interview is not enough to know you’re working with the right person forever. So the interview process for both sides should be a little bit more intensive.

You probably have heard from your other connections in the industry that it’s just a constant battle. But with 0% unemployment, there’s probably more opportunities for people. The planners that are coming in this industry, there’s a need for them. The industry needs more. So they do have a bit of a competitive advantage there.

Hannah: And it’s so hard to find good people. I talk to these firm owners now. We talk about their business struggles, and it’s retaining talent. It’s a huge issue because, if you’ve been at a firm for two or three years, you’ve built relationships with those clients. You know their systems. You know their processes. They’ve put a lot of money into you. They’re incentivized to try to keep you to stay there.

Mike: Yeah. It’s totally interesting to see, if people are smart about making these decisions, how much more successful the firms are. But the people that are unrealistic or over-demanding, they tend to shoot themselves in the foot.

One of the things too is, as you become more valuable to the firm, you have a stronger bargaining chip. Maybe we could talk a little bit about that, how the younger planners could be more successful.

Hannah: Absolutely.

Mike: I do love that you’re doing a podcast. We talked about how I’ve written a lot of articles before. If you create this whole library of whatever the content is, you’re just that much more competitive. You’re that much more credible and things become easier for you.

For me, things come out of the woodwork. I have no idea sometimes where the next client is coming. When I first started this … We just hit our 10 year anniversary. I had no idea where my next client would come from and I was scared it wouldn’t come. Now I can almost count on it to be automatic. Clients come out of nowhere. New clients, that is.

But that takes a lot of hard work. You got to hustle. Rather than have your DVR maxed out and you got to watch every show because the old ones are falling off, cut half of that out and spend a night dedicating it to improving your personal brand and be a content machine.

Hannah: Let’s talk about that: being a content machine.

Mike: Okay.

Hannah: You, I think in your presentation today, said you had 350 published articles.

Mike: Uh-huh (affirmative)

Hannah: So how do you do this? Besides just grinding it out.

Mike: There is so much content and there are so many great ideas out there. What I learned, and I’ll give this advice to anybody, is that I started a website and there wasn’t a ton of traffic there. I started writing some articles for that and I realized why get a distribution of less than a thousand people a month in the very beginning … Not like we’re higher than that now. But I could go write for Financial Advisor Magazine and 100,000 is the distribution. It’s built in and it gives you more credibility and all that.

Getting published somewhere is nice. You just got to make yourself into an expert. When you were talking on the ride here … I’m going to credit her. Top 40 Under 40. What’s the-

Hannah: InvestmentNews 40 Under 40.

Mike: So that is great industry press, but on the retail side you can now spin that because the press will say “Wow. She’s really credible and she’s got her own podcast.”

Hannah: And I say, becoming an expert … Granted, I took my own path. God help us.

Mike: (laughs)

Hannah: But it’s not all that difficult to become an expert. We’ve been really involved with FPA. I’ll tell you, I’m talking with their journal staff and they’re like “We want next-gen talent. Where is it? Where are those upcoming experts? Who are those people we can highlight?”

Gosh. These college students. There was a college student I was talking to and he was getting mentored by a pretty big name in the industry. She’s like “Why don’t you just do some research and publish an article?”

So he did. He went to the state of Texas. He pulled up all of this information that’s all available to the public. Now he’s doing research and now he’s going to publish a paper and get press off of that. It’s like wow. What a cool way to differentiate yourself. If there’s a certain type of client you work well with … There’s people out there who are hungry for next-gen talent and next-gen content.

Mike: So there’s a term called “webutation.” It’s your reputation on the web. A lot of people coming out of school, it actually works against them. The keg-stand picture. Inappropriateness.

Hannah: Use the privacy settings.

Mike: (laughs) Yeah. Or tell your friends not tag you in the wrong pictures. That type of thing. But you could build that up for good. There should be a strategy. They should teach that even in high school so that people are preparing so they can be that much more competitive. It’s not longer just a resume game. It’s not just that one or two-page resume that gets you hired. It’s this whole encompassing thing.

I remember when I went to college I got wait-listed. I was a rolling admission and I submitted it kind of late and I got wait-listed. I had a guidance counselor that was actually my baseball coach and he had me put a stack of stuff like this together. For the podcast people, sorry. It was a thick stack.

So what happened was I put everything from baseball stats to papers I wrote to the charity stuff I did, and I got in. The reason way is because I really showed that I wanted to go to the school and I had this huge effort. That’s the same thing. If people are looking to find the right position, just show that you want to be a little bit more hungry and prove that you’re one of the best.

Hannah: I was talking to an employer who had somebody come in with a completed financial plan and said “Here’s an example of my work.”

Mike: Really?

Hannah: I’m like “Wow.” Baste it out. That’s impressive stuff to do.

Mike: Yeah. When I give advice for hiring managers or owners, it’s not always they know exactly what they know. It’s the eagerness, the willingness to learn, and the right attitude to it all. The right person you can teach up. Even if that financial plan wasn’t perfect, the fact that they put the extra effort to do that is so cool.

Hannah: It says a lot.

Mike: Yeah.

Hannah: Again, the world is changing. We’re not in the 1990s anymore, where it’s the same resume. It’s just kind of crazy to think how … Gosh. What’s it going to be like in 10 years. Instagram stories or something will be what separates people. Very cool.

Mike: Too bad it’s not live and we can be answering real questions. But some of the things that I often hear from financial planners, do you want me to talk about that?

Hannah: Absolutely.

Mike: So when you have a brand new financial planner, the struggle is they don’t know where to start. As the RAA segment has grown so much, there’s a lot of great companies out there, but they’re not brand name. The Waterhouses are well known, but the Waterhouses don’t seem to want to be the feeder program anymore, for good and bad reasons. So these young people have to go find these firms that they don’t know anything about.

We talked a little bit about today the environment of distrust in the industry, Bernie Madoff’s and all the other stuff. No fault of hopefully anybody watching or listening. But that is stuff that the planners have to get over. When they start to look at how to differentiate themselves, they really got to figure out how to build those relationships and how to be stronger.

One futuristic piece of advice I’ll give you, the whole industry, why advisors or planners are better is the relationship side of things. That is the competitive piece that will never be at risk of robo advisors, because we have that relationship. And I agree. It’s so important.

However, 10 years from now, when you say “Hey, Alexa. How’s my morning looking?”

“Oh, the weather’s great. You got this such such meeting. By the way, your financial planning is on track and you’re investments are here. Here’s three things you need to do.”

There’s a lot of things that build relationship trust and likability and all of that, but communication is a big one. That is going to be much, much more competitive. Again, going back to the advice for financial planners, how do you be an unbelievable communicator? How do you really find the best ways to wow them, the best ways to keep them updated and such?

Hannah: So our competitive advantage is being human and connecting with … How do you market that?

Mike: It’s really, really hard to do. Actually, in today’s presentation we talked about … Social business is something I write about. It’s a regular piece I do for financial advisors. And the reason I coined it that was because advisors are wonderful at the professional side of things, but they’re not always good at showing the actual personal side of it.

To be a little complicated or show you the case studies, if you do A/B testing in your email marketing blast or whatever, do something that’s work related. A/B testing is you test topic A versus topic B. You look at a work related topic, a market update, or something from an economist, et cetera. Then the next one could be something personal. Someone just had a baby in the office, you could have the baby come in.

We have a bunch of nor’easters in New England, or whatever it might be, every, every, every single time we’ve done that test the personal one is off the charts. I guarantee this. If you put a market update versus the day your baby’s born, and you say which one is going to be clicked on more, it won’t even be close. Your baby is going to blow that away. That’s just a warning.

So if you know that one little test … And don’t trust me. Go test this yourself. But if you start to see that that is really something that can help your business, how do you double down on that? How do you learn from your audience, your clients and your prospects?

Hannah: Absolutely. Well, one of the things I’ve learned about marketing, even in the past year, is everything is measurable. I always felt, like when we talked about marketing before, it was throw things up against the wall and hopefully something works. Really, what you’re saying is get the numbers behind it. You know?

Mike: Yeah. Digital especially is very, very … If you do something in print, like advertising or something, have a unique 800 number or a unique landing page or something that you can digitally track it, at least through the phone. But online there’s all kinds of things. That’s where the industry is really bad. It’s kind of fun for a consultant like me. I like to stay one notch above them. I’m always trying to keep the pace and stay that way.

They don’t know any metrics to follow. It’s not just likes on Facebook. It’s engagement. It’s actual click-through rates. It’s conversion rates. It’s how much business you spend. And I’m really, really big on ROI. You heard me talk about that today. There’s many ways that you can spend dollars, but you got to make sure that you’re getting that positive return on investment. It’s an opportunity lost if you’re doing it on something that’s not as potentially successful as something else.

Hannah: Yeah. The gaming side of it.

Mike: (laughs) And then that’s nice as a consultant to prove your worth because you’re able to show that they take good advice and then they implement it and it works. Actually, bad consultants would die by that. If they’re ever working with an outside marketing agency, or whatever it is, have those metrics of success that plug into your bigger business plan, and then make sure that the advice is working. There are some duds out there, I should say. (laughs)

Hannah: Just like there are dud financial planners out there.

Mike: Oh, probably. Yeah, yeah. But they wouldn’t be tuning in to this.

Hannah: Yeah. Of course not.

Mike: No, no, no.

Hannah: We’re above average here.

Mike: (laughs)

Hannah: That’s great. I’m so used to podcasts because I can just kind of pause. And with the video too. It’s kind of a change for me.

Mike: I could tell jokes in between while you’re thinking about it. The reality with the podcast is that you’re catching the audio piece of things. There are times where I would say podcasts aren’t good because about 2/3 of all people are visual learners. So I’m encouraging her to figure out how to do this on a regular basis. So you don’t need me here, but to try to capture it on a video perspective.

“Is Charlie going to shoot me?”

Say “No, no! We don’t want to complicate things too much.”

But, from a technology side, sometimes it’s easy to do both. I’ve actually had people that have radio programs, so very similar to a podcast. Actually, we got them to video record the program. The thing is we have short attention spans, so you don’t have to put the whole show up. It’s really just the best 2 minutes or the best 10 minutes or maybe it’s a playlist of 5 of the best 2 minutes.

What’s really interesting there is, that content, people digest it however they want. So you have the podcast, you have the video, et cetera, and you start to share it in all the different mediums too.

Hannah: Absolutely. Repurposing content.

Mike: Yeah. I need to listen to my own advice too. I haven’t done a podcast, so I should be looking at trying to do that too.

Hannah: Yeah. Well, podcasts are fun.

Mike: (laughs)

Hannah: But I may be a little bit bias on that. Awesome.

So one question that came up today … You’re talking about business growth. There’s a lot of sales cycles that go through that. It’s interesting because the world is just different than it was 10 years ago, with technology and social media and everything like that.

In your experience, how have you seen that sales cycle for prospective clients change?

Mike: Sure. I love it. The industry as a whole is still referral driven. That part of the sales cycle is still very much the same. It doesn’t have to be but it is. But online reputation and websites, social media and other things, play a much bigger role, because we’re now this research society.

I’ve said it before that libraries … Sorry, any librarians on the line. They’re on the endangered species list because we don’t have to go to a library to do research. It’s so easy now. We have the cellphone. You have to hold that up for the people watching.

There’s statistics that say what we have is more powerful than what NASA had to put the first man on the moon. We’re just tapping into it. We can research anything.

In a referral driven industry, people are now going online. So the sales cycle, like you said, they’re doing all this research. Sometimes the sale decision happens before they ever encounter a planner, before they ever email, phone call them, or visit their office. They’ve almost made a decision, but to do that you have to have a great, great online presence. That’s where videos and really good content is so, so important. Just a nice website that’s mobile friendly and all the right things.

One little side note there is, if you don’t have a mobile friendly website, I’m going to kick you through the YouTube video, give you a kick in the pants that is. You have to have one. Even a referral driven industry, if they do that research and have to move the screen and pull and pinch all that stuff, they’re just going to get frustrated and they’ll go to get the next referral. If they can’t do that research really easily, you might lose something.

Keep going or is that-

Hannah: No, no. That’s great. Keep going.

Mike: The other part on the sales cycle is … Google calls it the “moment of truth,” where they purchase a product or a service online before they ever encounter the product or service. When they show up, they’re just kicking the tires. What happens there is that you have to start to sell to them and how do you sell to them?

People don’t like to be sold to. My advice in the sale process is get out online and demonstrate your expertise. A example might be, outside the industry, a plumber might do a how to replace your toilet video. I need the toilet replaced. Well, I’m not going to do it myself. Oh, that guys an expert. I’m going to use him even though he showed me how to do it and that was really cool that he knew what he was doing. Same thing with financial advice and financial planning.

Other things I can give you on the sales cycle is there will be leads that come from referrals or not, that come and check you out, but you never know about them. It’s that they’re not in the right spot to make the decision, or they’re not in the right spot to … Picking a financial planner, it’s not a snap decision.

Hannah: No. A lot of my clients, they’re overcoming huge barriers to even doing it. Kind of like my guys. “He’s kind of good enough” or “Do I really want the help from somebody?”

It’s almost like this huge emotional point of saying “I need help” and it’s a huge deal for a lot of my clients to reach out to … Prospect of my clients to reach out to me.

Mike: Yeah. So, thinking that through, any advice for the people listening? What do you think?

Hannah: On how to help those people?

Mike: Yeah, yeah.

Hannah: Oh, man. I don’t know. I think knowing that it’s going to take a lot of time and a lot of handholding. So I just brought on a client and the first thing that he told me after he signed up, he goes “The thing that stood out to me about you versus everybody else I talked to is you listen to me. I called. We had a 45 minute conversation and you actually listened.”

It wasn’t me saying “Here’s our process.”

I did talk about that at the end, but it was more of hearing about him and his wife and what are they doing and where do they want to go. It was much more focused on that: listening and engaging him right where he was at. I feel like sometimes we get so caught up in where we want to take clients instead of meeting them where they are.

Mike: Right. On a side note, throw away the pitch book. If you go in with your own agenda, you could ruin the whole conversation. You need to be just as good of a listener than that speaker, you would think. Right?

Hannah: Yeah. There was a paper that came out about how to integrate a lot of the behavior finance stuff, and there was a line in it that just struck me so much. We don’t know how to listen as a society today. Somebody walking into a planners office and having the planner just listen can be a transformational experience. It’s like “Wow.” It’s a sad indictment on our society, but it’s also the power of listening.

Mike: Right. I 100% agree. But before you get to meet them, some advice I would have, some things we shared in the lunch presentation today, is that RAAs especially do really good at getting referrals from clients. At least the clients say they give referrals, but they don’t always see them. So how do you tab into those people that are coming?

Tricks of the trade are pay attention to LinkedIn. If they put in a search in Google, and they put your name in or your company name, your LinkedIn profile can show up. LinkedIn has a cool tool that shows you other profiles that are visiting. Sometimes you can backtrack. “How do I know that second connection and where would they maybe have came from?”

I’ve actually had people reverse engineer why someone’s checking them out. They didn’t know the client was giving them a referral, but they were able to figure it out, and they made that referral real. Otherwise, they maybe never would have heard from them.

Hannah: How do you reach out to that person without being really creepy?

Mike: That’s great. Being online, you can definitely be creepy. What I would say is, in that case, we didn’t think about it, but we should have had that mutual connection. The advisor should have gone to him and then said “Hey. Can you introduce me?”

What we did was we went off of LinkedIn. We did the regular search and found that it was an executive and the person had a lot, like over 10 million in assets. So this person that the planner or advisor really wanted as a client, we were able to get their email off their company website. We customized three bullets.

“Hey. I saw that you’re on my LinkedIn profile. I just wanted to let you know, if I can ever help you, these are my three specialties. Please let me know. I’d be glad to reach out to you.”

So that is borderline creepy, but the person was there. He was doing that Google “moment of truth.” He was doing the research. He just wasn’t ready to take the next step. So it was really cool. What happened was he said “Yeah. I got a referral from such and such. I heard great things about you and I would like to talk with you.”

It took something that maybe never would have been a connection. So Linked In could be a source. Another way is when leads come to your website … We talked about Freemiums today, which is marketing lingo for a giveaway. Have something that is so enticing that when that prospect’s there they might bounce off your site.

There’s a thing called “bounce rates,” when they see one page and they leave you. You don’t want to do that. You want them to stay in the site. Also, you want to have them fill out some form. So what’s that one thing that speaks to them? Their target market should be really specific.

We do not want anymore emails. I don’t know. I can’t keep up. I don’t know if everyone tuned in-

Hannah: Oh, it’s bad.

Mike: Yeah. It’s only going to get worse. So what would you trade your email for? What do you have to have as a prospect of a financial planner? This is where we talked today about knowing your target market better than anyone else and tapping into those things that keep them up at night, or the things that they really want financial advice for.

Lastly, I would just say make them a little bit sensational. I’ve learned from doing all the articles. I’ve learned from the editors … Sometimes I hate the titles they come up with, but they change them on purpose because they want the clicks if they’re online. They want the readership in paper. Whatever it might be.

Same thing with your Freemium. The example I always give is “Here’s advice for you in for retirement.” Or be more sensational. “Here’s five things you have to know before you retire.”

Which one are you more likely to trade your email for? The one that creates that urgency. That’s the second piece, I would say. There are referrals coming to you that you don’t know. Use LinkedIn or use your website to capture them. There’s other tricks of the trade but those are two good ones.

Hannah: Yeah. That’s great. So speaking to young planners, what other pieces of advice would you have for them?

Mike: Oh, my goodness. That’s so broad I talked about plugging into the overall business plan, but I would have your own personal plan of what you want to accomplish and actually hold yourself accountable to it. That’s nice to develop.

It doesn’t have to be a paid consultant. You can create a mini study group of other people like you. It’s better if they’re not competitors. But even if you’re in the same region, sometimes you’re not bumping up against each other. But if you can share great ideas and all the things you’re going through, that can be really good.

We had a client that they do their business plan. Every year they post it. They share it with a group. It is a little dangerous with their competitors, but they share it with a group, and then the group rips it apart. Then if six months later they don’t follow through on the business plan, they’re like “What’s wrong with you? Why do you do this? This is your business plan.”

Not every study group is like that, but that can be really helpful. So build that network, whether it’s free or paid. That can just make you so much better. A mentor is really good too. You’re lucky if you can find it in your own firm. But if you don’t have one in the firm, you go on a mission to these conferences or just network through LinkedIn or other different ways, to find someone that would be open to giving you advice.

The real cool thing about mentors … And I was lucky to have some younger in my life that helped me with my marketing career. If you go to them and say “I really want to learn from you,” people like to talk about themselves.

Hannah: It’s true. (laughs)

Mike: In that first meeting I had … Oh, my goodness. “Did any of that help me? That guy was just talking about his whole career?” Blah, blah.

But after that, that person had such a vested interest in my success, because I cared about what made him successful, that he went above and beyond to help me throughout my career and still is someone that I can talk with and bounce things off of. So a mentorship is wonderful.

Hannah: It’s funny. A lot of people, they’re like “Well, I have the Internet. Do I really need a mentor? I can see how businesses are structured. I can learn everything I can learn from a mentor online.”

Patrick Daugherty talked about him. He led the “You’re a Financial Planner. Now What?”

I’d say he’s probably my biggest business influence and business mentor, in that my business is modeled so much after his. And if you put together a 500, 2,000, whatever word blog, I would have learned a lot from that, but I learned even more because I got to ask him all the questions. I got to take my situation and apply it. He got to filter that. I got to see how his business has slightly changed over the years.

You learn so much more depth and nuances that make you so much better than just reading an article on the Internet.

Mike: And the other thing too about mentors is sometimes you’re paying for a mentor and you don’t even realize it. If you’re related to a custodian, a broker-deal, a wire house, they have resources to help. Don’t be afraid to pick up the line. They’re usually focusing for the top moneymakers, but the squeaky wheel gets that oil. If those resources are there, are you making sure you’re taking advantage of them? It’s part of the deal. That’s part of your service.

Hannah: And it goes back to what you were talking about with how you hire people. You want the eager people. If you’re at TD Ameritrade or Custodian or whatever, they see that you’re eager and you’re going above and beyond. It’s likely that you are going to be that top producer some day.

Mike: Yeah. Big, big piece of advice for young people and old is don’t be a know it all. Any person, it’s so arrogant if you think … I’m not insulting anybody. I’m just saying in general.

Hannah: We won’t use examples. (laughs)

Mike: If you think that you know all the answers then you’re not going to be as successful. I see a really good correlation in that, where there are kind of very smart people … I say the industry as a whole is really smart. Getting your CFP, your CFA, your licenses. Whatever it is, it weeds out people that maybe don’t have as much brain power. But that can actually be a weakness, because when they’re smart. They think they know all the answers.

I think the most successful people are going to be the ones that are in a constant state of learning. They always want to be challenged. The Polaroids went out of business because of the digital camera. Blockbuster went out of business because of other things, Netflix and such.

Our industry is going to change. What we learned in college, 20 years from now … You’re going to be in the industry for a long time. It’s going to look really, really different. You can have the podcast people come on and share all their expertise.

Hannah: I would so much, you guys.

Mike: Hopefully this is helpful and we’re not wasting our podcast listeners and video listeners too.

Hannah: Yeah. And staying curious. That’s always what I say, this attitude of curiosity. One of my pet peeves is older planners who tell younger planners “That’s a terrible business idea. That’s never going to work.”

What if instead you said “Tell me more” and you approached it with a curiosity? How much more those older planners would learn, and it would really be helping bridge that generation gap as well. But younger planners can do that too. Again, it’s that know-it-all. It’s “Tell me more. What am I missing?”

Mike: Again, that willingness to learn will just take you a lot of places that you’re not going to think about before. The other thing too is, in that process, be aware of not just what has been successful and what’s been the advice in the past, but look for those things that are new that are going to be a little bit different. They’re the differentiators that are going to set people apart.

So if you’re trying to climb the ladder within a firm, or if you’re creating own business and you want to kind of look for a new niche or a new exciting service. There are lot of things that are going to be developed, especially technology, and that can bore people on the podcast. Moore’s law is basically about transistors and circuits, but every 18 months or every 2 years it doubles in capacity.

For the video people, we’re seeing a hockey stick ramp up of change. It’s going to blow us away. What’s coming at us … So not just learn, but learn fast. It’s going to come at us at a much faster pace than anyone’s ever experienced in the past.

Hannah: And what if we as advisors really embraced that and said “We’re going to help our clients with that.” There’s a lot of power in that.

Mike: Listening to a podcast like this is fantastic. Reading articles, watching videos is helpful. Hopefully, this video too. Attending conferences. Making calls. Checking out different things. Always looking for kind of the brightest minds.

What I would also say is, advice for new planners, it’s okay to make a mistake. You don’t want to mess up a client portfolio and definitely don’t want to wire something without permission. I’m not talking about those type of mistakes. I’m talking about trying new things. If you don’t ever try anything new, you’re not going to go to that … What’s that saying? You can’t find a new ocean if you don’t lose sight of the shore. So you do have to take some chances.

That’s tough as a younger person. It’s being dictated on you what the service model is or what you need to do every day you come into the office. You want to find some wiggle room there to do some experimentation.

Hannah: Ask a client a question you’ve never asked before. You know?

Mike: Do you have a good example?

Hannah: Well, no. I’m just thinking we talk a lot about life planning and some of those things out there. Open that door. Just ask a client.

My personal story: for six months I asked clients “What was helpful to you in this meeting to you?”

Completely changed the way I do business. Just open that door for that feedback. That’s just one way to kind of do what you’re saying.

Mike: I love that. I actually have something similar to ask. Was this meeting helpful?

Hannah: Yeah.

Mike: I think that’s even better because then you get the grain or thing that they really liked from the meeting.

Hannah: And everything that I thought was helpful was not helpful.

Mike: Oh, really?

Hannah: Yeah. I thought “I’m doing these great reports!”

And clients were like “No. No.”

So it completely flipped my meetings. My clients taught it to me. That’s what’s so cool about it.

Mike: I’ll give you an example of learning something that is new. It wasn’t around 20 years ago. So if you’re listening to the experts that are still talking about the 20 year old business model, they’re going to miss things like this. One of them is doing research on your clients. I went into it too long today, but social media. Connect with your clients and find out what’s going on in their lives.

This didn’t exist 5, 10 years ago. Maybe 10 years ago. Do the 5 minute research when you meet with them and find out what’s going on in their lives. I give the analogy, because this was a real case, where somebody saw that their client’s grand-kid hit a home run. They talked about that in the client meeting. That whole meeting was a home run.

What the client care about or why do they want to work with you is because they like you and that you showed you cared. Wow. Something that simple. Humans wanting to work with humans. How do you use technology to better that?

Hannah: Yeah.

Mike: So client research online through social media. A lot of people are afraid to connect with their clients. Again, it’s the person that’s doing the kickstand.

A real serious one is some advisors have done really well and they go on trips all the time. They don’t want everyone to see that they’re asleep at the switch or away from the switch. Just be cautious. Don’t post everything. Wealthy people go on trips too. They’ll connect with that. Just don’t do it too much. It works both ways. You don’t just do the research on them. They’re going to want to know you.

One funny example, and I don’t know how we’re doing on time, was someone that actually … Kids come into the business and they become interns and a lot of times they push their social media agenda. And the older generation, not in love with it. But some success stories come out of that.

One was a little old lady of client. The advisor got onto Facebook and connected with all those clients that were using it. This lady was 15 years older than this person. I think he was about 58. You can imagine her age. She came in the next meeting and said this exact quote, said “Now I feel like I finally know you.”

And they had a relationship over 10 years. He, just in that one little phrase, was like “Wow. That is how important Facebook is to this whole client relationship thing that I have going here.”

That’s not going to be that case with every client. But with that one person, wow. How significant was that?

Hannah: Yeah. That’s great stuff. Well, thanks so much for joining us.

Mike: It’s over? No way.

Hannah: I know. We could talk for hours I think.

Mike: It went too fast. Just to wrap up the video part, we’ll promote somewhere Hannah’s podcast and we’ll get you that information. And the YouTube channel, I’ll definitely put it down in the description. So click down and check that. Do you want to just share it all one more time?

Hannah: Yeah. Absolutely. Where you’re going to find the podcast?

Mike: Yeah, yeah.

Hannah: Go to iTunes, Stitcher. Your favorite podcast player. You can just search and find “You’re a Financial Planner. Now What?” Or you can go to fpaactivate.org.

Mike: And if you’re listening to the podcast and you want to watch the video, because it was so great and you want to see it and hear it, Byrnes Consulting is spelled … Burn is B-Y-R-N-E-S. If you got on YouTube and search Byrnes Consulting, it’ll come up. Hopefully, that’ll be the top video there. (laughs)

We’ll get that and we’ll cross-promote this and maybe we’ll get our two audiences checking them out. And hopefully the FPA will promote it too.

Hannah: Yeah. Great. Well thanks, Mike.

Mike: Thank you very much. I really appreciate it. Bye, guys.

Hannah: Bye, everyone.

 

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