A business model for millennial clients

Off the back of a super popular post on XY discussing how advisers deal with fee sensitive millennials, we asked Chris Carlin and John Cachia – two Victorian advisers who work with millennials – to join us for an XY+ web event to share how they’ve built their business models and how they’re articulating the value of their advice to younger generations.

How long have you had your business and who is your ideal client?

John – I’ve been in the industry since I was 14, and I’ve been advising since I was 20. I started my business AFA Group Wealth 12 years ago.

I saw early on in my career young adults weren’t being serviced with holistic advice. Let’s be honest, as an industry, we’ve come from a place of servicing those who had the biggest FUM. My target market are in their mid-30’s and are people I call the ‘Goats Cheese Eaters’. We all know the smashed avo generation. When you order smashed avo, you can either have it with feta or goats cheese. The people who go for goats cheese are willing to pay that little bit extra. This translates across to advise. I enjoy working with the ‘goats cheese eaters’, who are motivated to set the right financial foundations, and they’re willing to pay more for valuable advice.

Chris – I’ve been in the industry for 10 years. I started out as a paraplanner and then worked as an adviser at a Big 4 Bank. Then a little thing called the Royal Commission kicked in and I saw the writing on the wall. I also wanted to do things differently, so I started Master Your Money Now in July 2018. I was really thinking about my mates and their finances, so I built my service packages specifically to help people who were like my mates. My ideal client is a nurse or teacher aged 26-32, and particularly those looking to buy their first home. I have 70 ongoing clients and I just hired my first full-time employee – a mortgage broker.

What’s your process for engaging new millennial prospects?

Chris – From day one I have invested heavily (mainly my own time) into social media, and built some more traditional referral partnerships. Being three years into my business, I’ve now got quite a lot of client referrals coming in as well which is great!

A prospect can go straight to my website and book a complimentary 30 minute phone call with me. The aim of this conversation is to understand where they are at, where they want to be and so forth. I’ll then book them in for a discovery meeting, which is a one hour Zoom or face-to-face meeting. I don’t charge for this meeting, and prior to the meeting I send through a PDF outlining my advice process, the services I offer and my service package prices. Of those who attend a discover meeting, 75% become a client.

John – We have a three-step process which takes a person from a prospect to a client. To start, I’ll jump on the phone for an intro chat. Before this conversation we make sure they’ve filled out what I call the ‘Doctor’s Clipboard’ so I have enough basic data to know the kind of scenario I am walking into. This chat is really about them getting to know us, and us getting to know them.

One thing I find with millennials is they need to be educated on what we actually do. A question I will always ask a young prospect – “do you know what we do?”. Eight times out of ten they’ll say something like “you invest money and you take care of superannuation”. I’ll reply and tell them that’s a small portion of what we do, and then take them through what we actually do.

The second session is the fact-finding session, which usually takes about 25 minutes. This is purely about hard data collection – current assets, liabilities etc. The third session is a road mapping session (goals and objectives). This usually takes 45 minutes – 1 hour. If a prospect progresses to a road mapping session, they’ve already bought into the process and will become a client. Because we’ve shown them the value. Not only are we getting the clients we want, we’re getting clients who value our staff and refer more business. 

How are you bringing down the cost to deliver advice?

Chris – I do believe some advisers are using worse technology than James Cook had when he came to Australia. Having good technology behind you is really important. I’ll give a shout out to my licensee Infocus who have built a bloody good background software called Platform Plus. It was only available for Infocus advisers, but external advisers can now use it too. This tech saves me about 2-3 hours per plan.

Outsourcing plans, hosting meetings online and leveraging technology are all things which make a huge difference to your bottom line. I’ve also been incredibly conscious of running a lean practice. My office rent is under $100 a week because I host most of my meetings via Zoom these days.

Another thing to note is working with a niche demographic can bring about efficiencies to your process. Given my clients have similar needs, most of my advice is super, insurances, cash flow – foundational stuff like that. There’s a lot of repetition and similarities in the work I do, which helps in getting the plans done quicker and more efficiently.

How do you handle fee sensitive clients?

John – Our fees are our fees and we’re not negotiating on that. Would you walk into a surgeon’s office after they’ve quoted you $15k for back surgery and say “Hey doc, reckon you can do it for $10k?’.

I used to beat myself up about losing a prospect. I’d tell myself “I didn’t get them over the line because I didn’t sell it right, or I didn’t show them the value”. I actually was showing them the value, there’s just some people who are searching for a magic diet pill to lose 20kgs without exercising or changing their diet. If someone is looking for a magic pill to get rich and not willing to pay for sound advice, that’s on them.

As an industry, I’m also not yet convinced we are charging what we should be. My lawyer just sent me an update, “As of the 1st of May, our fees are going up to $585 an hour”. I don’t know about Chris, but I’m definitely not charging $585/hour. I believe we are still pricing ourselves too cheap. There is so much work that goes into delivering great advice to clients – the time involved, the value we create, the complexities of our client’s lives and the advice we prepare. I stand by my fees, and if someone isn’t willing to pay for quality advice, I don’t want them as a client.

Chris –  I believe we’ve got such an advantage to be able to charge through super to help take the pressure off millennials paying for upfront advice. If I put a $3k fee in front of a nurse or a teacher, they’d probably be very uncomfortable with that. I’d probably be uncomfortable with that as well. But when I explain the cost can be partially funded through their super, it makes a huge difference.

Under my Gold Service Package, which is the package we use for clients saving for their first home, the upfront cost for a single is $550 from your bank account and $40/month ongoing. The rest can be funded from their super. I don’t know about you, but I feel this is very reasonable. And if someone is not willing to make this financial investment in their future, then I don’t think they deserve to be in their own home because they’re not willing to invest in themselves.

I spend a decent amount of time demonstrating the value of advice with prospects I meet, and I have purposefully structured my service packages to accommodate lower income earners. If someone believes my services are too expensive, I am of the opinion they are not ready for advice.

Why do you work with millennials and not millionaires?

John – I love engaging with young people who say to themselves “you know what, I want to do something different. I want to make smart choices with my money”. Helping young people set the right foundations now can help them live a life their parents never had by the time they are in their 40’s. There’s a huge cohort of Gen X and Y’s who come from a background of seeing their parents only invest in property, and never receive financial advice, or only receive product-focused advice. We have an opportunity to make an impact with a generation who is motivated, who wants to learn and not make the (some of the) same mistakes their parents made. To play a part in that is pretty awesome!

Chris – I became an adviser because I wanted to help my mates. I wanted to help everyday people with their finances. This is why I love what I do, it’s exciting. Helping people who think they won’t be able to buy their first home make their dream a reality is really special. I have a teacher client who, when they first came to see me, had a negative financial position. It was heartbreaking to realise that, let alone explain it to them. Today, they’re now worth over $100k thanks to an insurance claim and some other restructuring we’ve done. It’s incredibly rewarding to be able to create outcomes like this for everyday people.

I think the joy of financial planning is that you can be an adviser however you like. If you want to focus on HNW, great. If you want to focus on millennials, you can absolutely do that as well. There is a business model for it.

We all know what you do in your twenties and thirties with your finances makes far more of a difference than what you do in your fifties and sixties. This is what I’m passionate about, it’s what gets me out of bed in the morning.

How to build a productive and profitable relationship with an outsourced paraplanner

When asked – “what is your biggest frustration right now when it comes to paraplanning?” Here’s what XY Advisers said:

  • “Time taken to really create a customised and succinct SOA.”
  • “Consistency in quality when outsourced.”
  • “Finding someone to do it quicker/similar quality than I can do myself.”
  • “Quality and lack of attention to detail in projections.”

According to Hayley Knight, these are common frustrations for advisers. If you were nodding your head reading the list above, you’re not alone.

In last week’s XY+ web event, Hayley took us through the top four mistakes advisers should be avoiding when looking to set up a successful outsourced paraplanning relationship.

Before we jump into the mistakes (and how to counteract them), here’s what a productive and profitable relationship with an outsourced paraplanner looks like. They take the mountain of work off your desk, they can help with strategies and can help with ad-hoc data entry tasks so you can focus getting in front of your clients, growing your business and even take some time off (now wouldn’t that be nice?!).

Mistake #1 – Being unclear about what you actually need

It’s easy to think about what you don’t want in an outsourced planner – ‘I don’t want crappy quality, I don’t want a plan to take too long to complete, [insert other I-don’t-want’s here]’. It’s a lot harder to think about (and clearly articulate) what you actually want, and most advisers Hayley speaks to admit they’re not even sure where to start with this. Here’s what you need to clarify before finding the right outsourcing partner:

→ Understanding your volume -an adviser looking for two plans a month will have completely different requirements to someone needing 5-10 SOA’s a month.

→ Understanding your systems – get clear on how your SOA’s are produced.

→ Know your budget (Hayley gives price ranges for onshore and offshore paraplanning and for different types of plans in the web event replay).

→ Licensee requirements – Does your licensee have any restrictions on the type of outsourcing model or location you can use for a paraplanner?

Mistake #2 – Selecting the wrong outsourcing modelEnter the FPA.

Ten years ago there was only a handful of outsourcing providers. Now, there’s so many different models and so many different providers. Let’s breakdown the different outsourcing models:

The sole-trader

Also known as a direct contractor who wears all the hats. Pro’s include – they’re typically really good paraplanners and produce great quality plans. They are good at building direct relationships with advisers. Con’s to consider – they have limited capacity as the sole producer of SOA’s and they may not have a back up paraplanner if they are unwell or away on holidays.

Sub-contractor – pooled

This is a team of paraplanners where all plan requests drop into a big pool and are picked up by the next available paraplanner. They’re very good at getting work done quickly, and perfect for low complexity, high-volume work. To use one of these models effectively you need to have a pretty solid system in your office. It may not always be the same person writing your plans, so they need to be able to pick up your process quickly.

Sub-contractor – delegated model

This is a team of paraplanners who each work with their own advisers. This is how Hayley structures her team at Contract Paraplanning Services and prefers this model as each adviser works with their own dedicated paraplanner and is able to build a strong working relationship with them. In this type of model, the paraplanner gets to know you and your business intimately, and there’s also the option to take on complimentary services, like ad-hoc data entry for example.

Licensee outsourcing

This is where a licensee might have an internal salaried paraplanning team, or contract out to a pooled sub-contractor provider. The obvious pro here is the paraplanners are great at understanding that specific licensee’s requirements because that is all they do. Something to be mindful of is timeframes can blow our when it gets super busy, like EOFY for example. 

Mistake #3 – Not putting your paraplanner through the right filtering process

Once you’ve gotten clear on what you want from an outsourced paraplanner, you’ve decided on the paraplanning model which best suits your business and you’ve narrowed your choice down to three people from three different providers – the important stuff begins. You need to treat this part of the process with the same gravity as if you were hiring someone to join your internal team. Here’s a few things to consider in the filtering process:

Software capabilities – it’s important to find a paraplanner who is familiar with your software. If your new paraplanner needs to learn a new CRM and a new SOA process, it’s going to take too long to get to that point of seeing the fruits of your labour.

Strategy – When you are looking for a paraplanner, make sure they are competent in the types of strategies you build for your clients. If they don’t have the right technical knowledge, they will find it harder to explain it in an SOA to your client. This is a typical scenario where advisers end up doing a lot of customisation of the plan themselves. This isn’t an efficient use of anyone’s time.

Involvement – Ask your paraplanner how much involvement they have in the process? Some advisers like to have Zoom meetings or phone calls to discuss. Some like to have really detailed modelling or have a technical vetting done by the paraplanner. If some of these things are important to you, ask them if they offer this because some services are just limited to the SOA, while some extend to any customisation you want.

Mistake #4 – Not setting your paraplanner up for success

Just like onboarding a new employee to your business, there’s a few key areas to get right to ensure you are setting your new paraplanner up for success.

Agree to clear deadlines – when you do this well from the outset, everyone is on the same page and no one is going to get frustrated looking or waiting for something.

Document your process – this comes back to mistake #1, understanding your high level process. Bullet points should be fine ie. we click on this, we choose that, we merge this into that etc.

Style guides – Are like reference guides for the paraplanner and should include things like formatting, texts, tables, assumptions, branding, and the modelling graphs you like to use. This will be an evolving document as your guidelines change over time.

Training videos – This could be short loom videos explaining your process, or you could spend 30 minutes recording a Zoom session with your paraplanner walking them through the process, so they can come back to the video if/when they need to.

Templates / Logins / SOA examples – Provide all the relevant logins and templates your paraplanner will need. Most important is giving them some really good SOA examples. A draft SOA often looks quite different to the finished product, so giving them an idea of what the final SOA should look like helps a lot.

Let’s recap…

First, you need to know what you want. Take your time finding the right outsourcing model because it may make or break the relationship filter. Take your shortlist through an interview process and really question and understand how they’re going to form part of your team. Finally, give them all of the resources they need, with the right training to set them up for success and you’ll be well on your way to building a productive and profitable relationship with an outsourced paraplanner.

How to get more done in less time

There’s a few ways to crack the efficiency code in advice. You can hone in on the right tech stack and bring automation in where appropriate. You can also drive efficiency in the way you and your team operate by improving your cognitive energy and performance.

Imagine getting 2-3 extra hours of high productivity every day from everyone in your team (including you). What impact would that have on your business output? Our guess is more advice delivered faster, more clients, and more revenue. To learn how to harness our cognitive energy to get way more done in less time, we brought in the expert – Vanessa Bennett. We’ve summarised the biggest takeaways from her XY+ web event below.

Get 2-3 extra hours of productive output every day

Becoming a high-performer requires a mindset shift, and the best way to do this is through self-directed neuroplasticity.

Neuroplasticity is the brain’s ability to change shape and to change itself.

– Vanessa Bennett

Our brain is wired to keep us alive (survival). It’s not wired to help us do amazing things (thrive). What is helpful from a goal perspective, is very different to what is helpful from a survival perspective. If you’re not consciously directing your thoughts to build the neural pathways that support your goals, unfortunately, the more defensive pathways (caused from unhelpful thoughts) take charge and work against what you’re trying to achieve. Here’s three tips to flex your self-directed neuroplasticity muscle:

#1 Be super clear on your goals – Let’s say your goal is to increase your fees by 20%.

#2 Recognise your current thought process. What negative beliefs are you holding onto which are not aligned with the goal you’re trying to achieve? Keeping with the same example, you’re probably telling yourself a bunch of reasons why you can’t increase your fees – “Clients aren’t really going to pay an extra 20% for my advice”. 

#3 Replace negative beliefs with helpful thoughts, and the best way to do this is by finding evidence to support your goal. In this scenario, find some really clear reasons why people would pay the increased fee, and focus on that. One example might be to look externally at other advisers who are charging 20% more than you now and bring that evidence into your own business and belief system.

How to amplify the cognitive energy of your team

If you are a leader, these four tips will help you amplify the collective cognitive energy of your team to achieve 2-3 extra hours of high productivity from each individual. Even if you are a small team of three, extrapolating this value out each week is the equivalent of hiring an extra staff member!

#1 Right tasks at the right time

The first step is helping people do the easy stuff everyday. If people are feeling overwhelmed, it’s really hard to get them thinking ‘helpfully’. Match your team’s cognitive energy to do the right tasks at the right time. This will help individuals feel more successful, and free up more time in the day for bigger tasks that require more cognitive energy.

#2 Lead by example

Create the environment where your team can feel psychologically safe and can flourish. Leaders need to be exhibiting the kind of behaviour that encourages high-performance and leading by example. If leaders are constantly complaining, not doing the right tasks at the right time, not thinking ‘helpfully’ – this behaviour becomes the ‘norm’ within the business.

#3 Set clear expectations

There needs to be a level of accountability for everyone in the business. Leaders need to set clear guidelines for each person’s role and responsibilities within the business. If work isn’t done, or if there’s confusion as to who’s responsibility something is, your team is going to use up a lot of unnecessary cognitive energy trying to figure out what’s going on.

#4 In and outside of work

Research shows there’s quite a lot of spillover of stress between work and outside of work. If people are really stressed outside of work, it’s likely going to spill over inside of work, and vice versa. There’s so much more evidence now to show as a leader, it’s in your best interest to realise and accept you are managing adults with adult problems. If you can help your team understand how to deal with life situations in a helpful, solutions-focused thinking way, both inside and outside of work – this when the magic happens. If you’re not confident in doing this, bring in a third party coach or consultant who can help. Doing nothing won’t alleviate the problem.

How to lead a high-performing virtual team

As the remote team environment continues to grow, there are several nuances leaders really need to be aware of to help their teams flourish in a virtual environment. For a lot of people, getting all of their work and meetings done online can take a lot of cognitive energy. These four quick tips will help leaders lead high-performing teams in a virtual environment:

#1 Reduce ambiguity

Our brains hate ambiguity. When presented with unknown’s, we go into overdrive to make sense of a situation. Think about a Zoom meeting and the things that can be ambiguous. Some people have their cameras on, some people have the cameras off. Those with their camera on are wondering why another person has their camera off. Are they not interested? Are they doing other work in the meeting? Did they not brush their hair? In a physical meeting room, this ambiguity doesn’t exist.

You want to reduce ambiguity as much as possible so people aren’t having this kind of chatter happening in their brain while trying to concentrate on the context of the actual meeting or the task at hand. Set some clear expectations for scenario’s where ambiguity can become apparent.

#2 Check in with people

Some people are loving working from home. Others can’t wait to get back in the office. As a leader, touch base with your team individually, and in a way that suits them. Even just asking how they’re doing shows them they are valued and you care. And if they are struggling, look for ways to help them, or find the right people who can. 

#3 Clear communication 

It’s imperative everyone in the team understands the needs of all stakeholders. What are the individual needs of people? What are the team needs? What are the business needs? To perform optimally as a team, is a daily huddle online a good idea? Is a weekly face-to-face meeting in the office required? Are there certain days people are required to be in the office? 

This is a great opportunity to ask each individual (when you check in with them) what their needs are, and then have a discussion with the whole team to decide together. You’ll get far better buy-in from the team when they feel they have been heard and are part of the decision process.

#4 Setting clear boundaries

Working virtually is new territory so many people are trying to navigate, and surveys are showing a lot of people are actually working harder at home. When they would usually switch off after leaving the office, they’re actually sitting in front of their computers longer in the day or accepting emails, Slack messages or phone calls after hours. As a result, some people are experiencing working from home burnout.

From a cognitive energy point of view, most people have about 4-6 hours a day on average (max) to do the heavy tasks and heavy thinking. Set clear boundaries with the team so everyone knows when they should be ‘switching off’ and when team members can be contacted.

Let’s recap

We all have the same amount of time. 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. When you look at someone else and think “how to they have the time to do all of that?”. The reality is, you can be that person who is able to get so much done.

As an individual, it starts with changing your mindset and creating new neural pathways and constructive mental habits. As a leader of a team, it’s up to you to lead by example and implement the strategies to bring out the best performance in others. Being ‘so busy’ is not a badge of honour. Striving to be a high-performer and working efficiently is. Follow these principles (or reach out to Vanessa Bennett who can help), and you’ll be on your way to doing far more in less time.

How to Decide on the Best Platform for You and Your Client

Operational efficiency and seamless design are key to exceptional client experience. We need to reflect on our use of platforms, from both a client and business perspective. How can we make well-informed decisions for our clients and decide if they should change platforms?

In last week’s XY+ web event, Nathan Fradley and Robert Warry joined the XY+ inner circle to discuss their approaches to deciding which financial platforms and wraps to use. They highlighted the importance of making the right decision and explained how they make their own platform choices to meet their clients needs and improve their business performance.

How do you decide which platforms to utilise?

Nathan and Rob exemplified the importance of maintaining a customer-oriented perspective when making decisions about which platforms you should use. Here are the steps they suggest you take to assess if you are using the right platform:

1. Establish transparency with your client

Understanding your clients’ needs is a business 101 principle. Rob and Nathan both reinforced the need to thoroughly know your clients. Discuss the investment menu and understand the expectations they have for you as their adviser. This will help in establishing a great ongoing relationship. Rob says it’s important for us to ascertain their interests and reflect on efficiencies to decide what platform creates the best seamless experience for them. 

Ask yourself the following questions:

  • What’s important to your client?
  • Are their current products meeting their needs?
  • How involved does your client want to be in the transaction process?
  • What are your clients’ values? 
  • Any biases about the market? What’s their background and previous work experience? 

2. Understand client boundaries and relationship expectations  

If a client is seeking a financial adviser to assist with organising transactions on their behalf, it is important to consider which product features are unnecessary. Ask yourself the following questions:

  • How informed would your client like to be about their financials? What level of detail are they interested in being updated about?
  • What does a client want from me?
  • Do they want an ongoing relationship?
  • Do they want me to be able to transact for them?
  • What are they seeking advice for in the first place?

2. Understand client boundaries and relationship expectations  

  • How informed would your client like to be about their financials? What level of detail are they interested in being updated about?
  • What does a client want from me?
  • Do they want an ongoing relationship?
  • Do they want me to be able to transact for them?
  • What are they seeking advice for in the first place?

3. Understand clients risk profile, taste and preferences

You need to understand your client’s investment tastes and preferences, and match these with investments accordingly. Ask yourself the following questions:

  • What do they want to invest in? 
  • What is their risk profile?
  • What have they previously invested in?
  • What influenced their previous investment decisions?

4. Consider all mitigating factors

Unless there is something substantial that warrants a need for change or a major benefit, there is no need to move your client’s investments. Some aspects to consider in this scenario are:

  • Diversified portfolio – Rob highlighted the importance of not having a substantial allocation of shares in one area. The example he provided was a client having a significant value of shares in a banking company they used to work for and this being counted twice as an asset on the platform. It’s important to take all factors and investment values into account. 
  • Cost & Feature comparison – Assess the fees and features of competitor products – capabilities, ease of use, client access and cost. It’s also important to involve the client as much as possible, for instance, informing the client if they want to do an element themselves if they’re able to.  
  • Tax – A lot of industry funds will do fees at a group level. Therefore, you won’t get your own tax offset with your superannuation fund. It’s important to investigate the tax implications for your client and see if there is a cost-saving available to them.
  • Performance and ease of use – Consider whether the platform is easy to use for yourself and the client. Assess whether it provides a solution for accessibility for your client or fast-tracks work for you. At the end of the day if you are more efficient with your business you can reduce the cost of your advice. 

5. Make the right choice for you and your client

Choose the platform that does all the things you require at the cheapest cost. You become platform agnostic when deciding based off what is important to the client, what products can do, what needs to be done and ultimately what is the most affordable option. 

Platform Picks

Rob’s top three platform picks

  1. Macquarie Wrap – Rob said he is currently using Macquarie Wrap for most of his new clients. The key reasons for this are his licensee can access for a great price and it often suits the size of the client (for clients who have $500k+). The second key benefit is they accept digital signatures.
  2. Asgard Infinity eWRAP  – Typically for clients with less than $500k. Rob also likes some of the investments held inside this eWRAP.
  3. Rob recommends this platform for larger clients as it’s reliable and has a great range of features. 
  4. Praemium – Rob enjoys the fact Praemium allows clients to have a little bit more control. He believes flexibility is a key selling point. The key benefit of this platform is achieving diversification with your client’s portfolio. 

Nathan’s top three platform picks

  1. BT Panorama – Ideal for single clients (or single accounts) and has a good ethical investment layer.
  2. Netwealth – Has a good balance of flexibility, price and green adoption. He says this account is best for multiple accounts or a couple who has an investment account.
  3. AustralianSuper – Is often used as his benchmark. Whatever he decides to use, has to beat AustralianSuper. They’ve got adviser access, they accept adviser fees, and have ETFs. But they don’t do everything or do everything well, so any alternative has to beat this option.

Wrapping it up (see what we did there 😏)

The session covered information about different platforms and wraps, explained how to make the right decision and emphasised the importance of choosing what’s in the best interest for both your clients and business. Nathan emphasised the importance of establishing transparency with your clients and the need to understand both their investor values and ongoing expectations. Rob reaffirmed this viewpoint of making business processes more efficient and utilising platforms that provide clients with a seamless experience. 

The golden rule for the session was this – if your clients are happy, fees are perfectly competitive, and the products are meeting their needs, there is no need to move or change them. A platform change should only occur when there are underlying elements or areas for improvement that would deliver a better benefit/outcome to the client. At the end of the day, your financial advice is concerned with the interests of your client and you simply need to facilitate them with appropriate platforms. 

The Client Conversion Masterclass

I believe there’s a real problem happening right now in our industry. There’s a large number of really smart, talented, savvy advisers who are amazing at what they do, but they just cannot convert prospects into clients. The art of ‘selling’ as an adviser is truly about having powerful conversations with people, which leads to a conversion and ends with a transformation for that client.

This article is essentially a detailed overview of my robust conversion conversation process, designed to drastically improve your confidence and your conversion rate, which inevitably leads to increasing the fees you are charging your clients – for the phenomenal value you know in your heart you deliver to them.

This methodology is one built on mutual respect and responsiveness. Gaining respect from your prospects, and attaining responsiveness by converting prospects in the first meeting.

So with that said, let’s dive right in.

My Conversion Conversation Process…

…helps advisers take a leadership position in their meetings. It helps open up the space for your clients to confide in you and feel comfortable telling you their inner most secrets and biggest problems.

There’s really three types of problems your clients might have:

#1 The ‘known spoken’ problems:

These are the finance problems your prospects have that they speak about. It’s the stuff they are happy to tell their friends, their partner, their family, their neighbours etc.

The ‘unknown unspoken’ problems:

These are the things people just don’t know about and don’t know to even talk about.

The ‘known unspoken’ problems:

These are the problems your prospects have, but they’ve never told anyone else about. It’s the stuff that they’re too ashamed, too embarrassed, too fearful to tell anyone else about.

Tip – you know you’re doing really well in your conversations when you can get your prospects and clients to tell you these types of problems. When you can do this, you’ve gained their trust, you become their confidante and once you are able to provide them with a solution, they will be jumping to work with you to help them solve these problems.

The 3 Conversion Forces™️

If you’re not converting well, it’s generally due to an issue of one or both of these. It’s either something to do with people skills or process skills. To get better at converting, you need to master your conversion skills, and optimise your processes.

Here’s the three forces which, when working well – turns your business into a growth engine.

#1 Pipeline

Part of the conversion process is getting people into the conversion process. These days it’s pretty easy to bring prospects into your business with the use of a lead magnet, social media posts, a webinar, a media appearance etc. You need to make sure your messaging and your brand voice is strong enough that when a prospect is ready to take the next step in their financial journey, they will be heading down your pipeline and not elsewhere.

#2 Triage

This is your pipeline funnel filter. You don’t want to bring just anyone down your pipeline. You want to make sure you have a filtering process so that leads coming down said pipeline are the people you want to work with, while filtering out the people you don’t want to work with.

#3 Sales/Conversion

You’ve got to convert and get good at doing it. Theres two levers you can pull to grow your business – get more leads or convert better. If you ask me, I think it’s better and a lot easier to convert than it is to constantly go out there and find new leads. Now what happens when one of these forces aren’t working correctly in your business?

If you don’t have a really good pipeline – you end up with no prospects to talk to.

If you don’t have a really good triage process – you waste time dealing with people you shouldn’t be working with.

If you don’t have a really good sales/conversion process – you end up squandering opportunities.

And in the reverse, when these forces are working harmoniously…

If you get your pipeline right – you end with a good amount of leads coming through.

If you get your triage right – you end up with the right kinds of prospects.

And if you get your sales/conversion part right – you end up with paying clients.

All of this = Business Growth Engine!!

Five Hot Principles

These principles are about having a really good ‘fee for advice’ conversation with your clients.

#1 Your meetings have to follow a format

Your meeting needs to have a process and a rhythm. You might call it a good ‘flow’. Advisers need to stop ‘winging’ meetings and expecting things to just ‘happen’. It’s up to the adviser to lead the conversation and it is here where you want to evoke a ‘what’s possible’ mindset, where you inspire your prospects to think big around what they want to achieve in life and show them you are the conduit to help them achieve those dreams.

Tip: Don’t start the conversation with “where are you now?”. This kicks the meeting off in a negative frame of mind (“where are you now” is really just code for “tell me the mess you’re in right now”) where you then have to drag your prospects out of that mindset to get them thinking positively again about what it is they want to achieve in life. It’s MUCH easier to start the conversation on a positive note by getting them thinking about what’s possible and then bringing it back to street level and evaluating where they are at right now.

#2 Balance ‘Teach & Sell’

Let me explain The Coolness Meter™️.

Imagine a graph with an ‘X’ and a ‘Y’ axis. The ‘Y’ axis is your ‘coolness’ meter. Not how cold you are, but how well you’re going in your meeting, how confident you’re feeling. The ‘X’ axis is the ‘time’ (length) of the meeting.

Here’s what happens over the course of a typical meeting from start to end.

In the beginning, you’re doing awesome. The line on the graph is going up and up and up (representing your ‘coolness’). You’re feeling confident. You’re feeling really good about yourself, because at this part of the meeting – you’re teaching. You’re sharing your knowledge, your expertise and you’re doing everything that an adviser is comfortable doing. Then something happens at about 3/4 of the way through your meeting. Your coolness meter takes a dive and so does the vibe of the meeting. Why?

Because you’ve just moved away from teaching, to selling and converting. And at this point, things get weird. When you start talking about your fees, and the work you’ll be doing, you get uncomfortable, you get nervous. Because all of a sudden you’re not doing what’s comfortable and what comes naturally to you. You’ve moved into ‘selling’ and you have this unconscious bias that selling is a ‘bad’ or a negative thing. Of course, its not a negative thing, but we think it is because it’s been positioned that way.

You can’t just give information and technical stuff for the whole meeting though. At some point you’ve got to stop talking about them and talking about you. So what do you need to do in this situation?

Don’t teach THEN sell. Teach AND sell. You want to be seeding and weaving in the sell as you are teaching, throughout the entire meeting. The teaching part shows them what they want, and the selling part shows them how they can get what they want.

#3 Stretch the gap

You want to stretch the gap further between where they want to be and where they are right now. The better you can articulate this to them and demonstrate how far the gap is between where they are now and where they want to be, the MORE they are going to need you. And when done correctly, they will quickly realise this.

#4 Teach them what to want

Most people don’t know what they want. Most people can’t decide what they’re going to wear today, let alone what they want in life. To get buy-in from your prospects, you have to teach them what they want. To streamline the process in your meetings, I encourage the advisers I work with to adopt a checklist they can go through with their prospects to help them get clear on what it is they want, which correlates to the things/areas you know you can deliver value on. 

#5 Engineer the outcomes

If you’re not using an agenda in your meeting, you MUST start using an agenda. At the end of the day, either you’re in control of the meeting, or your prospect is in control of the meeting. I also encourage advisers to use a physical agenda, and the reason why is this. It’s so the client can see clearly everything you’ve set out to cover in the meeting and beyond, so they can effectively give you the car keys and let you be in the driver seat to take them on the journey.

The 12-step conversion checklist:

This checklist will help you bring structure (with natural flow) to your meetings to gain your prospects respect and put you in the position of becoming their trusted adviser. 

Here’s a high-level overview of the 12-steps:

  1. Make sure all the decision-makers are in the room (this has to be positioned before the meeting).
  2. Set the scene and the expectations of the meeting.
  3. Frame up the purpose of the meeting and its expected time frame.
  4. Background questions – understand the ‘now’ by asking a series of background questions.
  5. Motivation questions – understand what their motivations, goals and objectives are and what they want to achieve.
  6. Problem questions – ask what some of the problems are right now.
  7. Consequence questions – ask what the consequences are of not doing something differently.
  8. Acknowledgement – ask how they would know if they had achieved their objectives.
  9. Value questions – ask what it would mean to them if you helped them achieve their objectives.
  10. Realisation questions – ask what their current plans are to achieve their objectives.
  11. Timing questions – asking timing-related questions – when they want to get started to achieve their objectives.
  12. Pause and validate and transition into the conversion process: Pause (let them consider), Stretch (and embrace the silence), repeat back the consequences, give them the ‘super’ summary, get agreement you’ve got their problems clear in your head, check-in for value, find out “what’s been most helpful so far?” and finish with “If you’re happy, would you like me to keep going?”.

To summarise, and for maximum success, here are some sales tips that go hand in hand with this meeting format:

→ Don’t go in armed with a long list of questions (and sound like a robot). Remember the process is to keep the meeting on track, but let it flow. 

→ Remember it’s a conversation, not an interrogation. Use question softeners before each question. Learn the skills required to take the edge and the sting off of what might otherwise be perceived as hard or tough questions for prospects.

→ Your tonality will play a big part in the rate of your success. If you have a weak tone or mumble, you will not gain as many clients.

→ Your enthusiasm is really important, and make sure you SMILE.

→ Always book the next steps. B.A.M.F.A.M (Book A Meeting From A Meeting)

→ Finally, remember to be confident, proud and FUN. Be yourself and let your personality and authenticity shine. What’s the worst that can happen? Your prospect says no.

If you know in your heart you’ve put in the work, and followed this framework and they still say no after all of that, they weren’t the right client for your business anyway.

– Steve 🤙

What we are up to

In a recent XY+ web event, we spent time with the awesome Lisa Greensill. With 15 years of marketing experience in Financial Services, her superpower is guiding financial advisers with marketing makeovers.

Lisa took us through the top five mistakes she sees advisers make on their websites and provided some great solutions to fix these mistakes, all with the underlying goal of making sure when your ideal clients land on your website, they know you are the best person to solve their problems.

Why focus on your website?

Websites are the epicentres of any financial advice practice’s marketing. Your website is a golden opportunity to connect with and inspire clients. It’s your digital shopfront, and it’s the first place people will go to learn more about you and your business.

Unfortunately, too many websites are built… and then forgotten about. They also tend to focus on design rather than the words – and that’s a problem. Why? Because more than 50% of website views now happen on mobile devices. So though design is important, your focus should always be on the messaging first…always. Your website design won’t connect with your audience, but your words will.

Without further ado, let’s dive into the five common website issues advisers make, and how to fix them!

Mistake #1 – Your header is confusing

The header is the first section of a website you see. It’s also called the ‘hero section’. Research shows you have between three and five seconds to capture someone’s attention. In those five seconds, your header needs to tell people what you do, how you can make their life better, and how they can get started.

Your header must:

  • Include a clear and concise statement of what you do, and who you do it for.
  • Show how you can make the client’s life better, and
  • Include a clear call to action.

The header should all be about clarity and grabbing the client’s attention.

Mistake #2 – There are no clear calls to action

You need to be specific and obvious about what people need to do next – such as schedule a call or book an appointment. People need something to accept or reject, so you need to include a clear direct call to action. These CTA’s are like your website “cash registers”. Make them easy to find.

Also, give people who aren’t quite ready to engage with your business yet a transitional call to action. This could be a link to an eBook, a webinar, or a checklist that will build your credibility and ease them towards contacting you when they ‘re ready.

Mistake #3 – You’re making yourself the hero instead of the client

Lisa says this is probably the most common problem of all on advice websites. Practices tend to make their site all about the adviser, when the focus should really be on the client.

Make the client the hero, and establish yourself as the guide with empathy and authority. This should carry through into your marketing as well.

To establish the client as the hero, you need to invite them into the story by showing them you understand their problems and how those problems make them feel. Use words like, ‘we get it’, ‘we understand’, ‘we know how hard it is’.

  • Establish your authority by adding client testimonials and client success stories that show how you solved particular problems for them.
  • Video testimonials and social reviews are incredibly effective. You can also have sections of these transcribed to appear as text. This ‘social proof’ is so powerful.
  • Mention industry awards, accreditations and/or statistics to back up your claims.

Mistake #3 – You’re making yourself the hero instead of the client

Your homepage should show visitors it’s super easy to work with you! Don’t keep them guessing – show them what the next steps are. The best way to do this is by providing a three-step plan that’s easy to memorise (Think stop, drop, and roll):

  1. Engagement – What’s the first step to get started?
  2. Experience – What’s the main thing that happens?
  3. Success – What does success look like?

Here’s an example of this in action:

Remember you can always go into more detail on your processes on another page of your site, or on your blog. For your homepage, however, you don’t want to overwhelm visitors with too much information all at once. Keep it simple and let them know what’s in it for them.

Mistake #5 – Your website is cluttered and confusing

People tend to scan websites – no-one (except you, and your Mum or Dad) is going to read every word of your website from top to bottom. A busy and messy website makes this scanning process difficult and confusing.

Declutter your site by:

  • Making copy clear and concise. If it doesn’t speak to your ideal clients, get rid of it.
  • Have bold headings that tell a story on their own. If someone just reads the headings on your homepage, do they still get a good feel for what you do and why you do it?
  • Use icons, images, and open space to break up your text. Wherever possible, use authentic images of your own team, offices, and clients to relate with your target audience. This lets potential clients know exactly who they’ll be dealing with. Avoid free stock images that can look tacky and cheap.

To summarise:

Here are 5 quick ways you can improve your website today:

  1. Simplify and clarify your header.
  2. Include clear calls to action.
  3. Position your client as the hero, and your business as the guide.
  4. Provide a simple, three-step plan.
  5. Get rid of clutter by simplifying your copy and layout.

How James Wortley delivers compliant video SOAs

James Wortley hasn’t produced a paper-based SOA in the last 2.5 years. Instead, he presents 100% of his SOA’s to clients using video. James has built a fully fee-for-service practice and says he and his team build holistic relationships with their clients, but they don’t deliver holistic advice.

There is so much we can unpack here, so we’ve pulled together some of James’ responses from last week’s XY+ web event as he took us under the bonnet to demonstrate how he is delivering video SOA’s, and getting a tick from compliance.

Emily: So James, how did you get to this point in your advice journey?

James: Three years ago I made the decision to go self-licensed. I wanted to be able to control the advice I was delivering rather than be held to someone else’s set of rules in what we could and couldn’t do.

The other thing I always kept coming back to was the client. Somewhere along the line in delivering ‘compliant’ advice, the clients have been forgotten. I kept asking myself ‘how can we [as an industry] reinvigorate the relationships we have with our clients?’ And the thing that always stood out was the Statement of Advice.

We then set out to answer the question ‘how do provide advice from the client’s point of view?’. We sought legal advice which highlighted this paragraph from the Corporations Act which forms the basis of our ability to deliver video SOA’s:

Under the corporations act a Statement of Advice can be given by an advice provider to a client in either printed or electronic form. This has been interpreted by ASIC to mean that the corporations act allows a Statement of Advice to incorporate a range of digital features such as video, audio, interactive menu features, radio buttons, Q&A, animation and gamification.

Emily: You mentioned you don’t do holistic advice James. Can you elaborate on that?

James: Yes, we moved away from holistic advice when we went self-licensed. We still build holistic relationships with our clients, we just separate the parts of advice and deliver it to the client in stages, prioritising the most important first. This has been a game changer in improving the client experience. We can turn a piece of advice around in under 24 hours, and it means no video SOA presentation will go over 10 minutes. I’m a bit of a dictator when it comes to the length of the video, because again, it’s all about the client experience and we want them to be excited and engaged in the process.

Emily: Ok, so how are you charging for this style of advice?

James: We are a fee-for-service business. When we sit down with a new client after going through the discovery phase we’ll say something along the lines of ‘based on all of the services we’re going to provide to you, your cost is going to be $5,000 per year. If you’re happy to go ahead with us, you will start paying a monthly retainer from today. We’ll start working with you from today’.

Emily: Let’s go under the bonnet and look at this from a practical point of view. How are you actually creating and presenting your video SOA’s?

James: Ok, so a good place to start is with the tech. We use a video software called OBS (Open Broadcaster Software). It’s free, you can download it directly onto your computer. 

We chose OBS because it gives us the ability to record video while using three screens. I have my laptop set up where I can talk to the camera, and dual screens above so I can move across to the presentation slides and anything else I need to cover off in the video.

From a practical standpoint, once we have recorded the video, we put all the required links into a Dropbox folder which then gets emailed to the client. Typically, this folder will include the actual video, the client’s financial position summary, the scope of advice, a goals report, additional information and the PowerPoint presentation of the advice – which we talk through in the video.

To expand on this some more, we use Astute Wheel to produce the fact find and goals report. The scope of the advice we include in the Dropbox folder is critical. This is something we are working with ASIC to make sure clients fully understand what advice we are actually providing for them.

(A screenshot of ([part of] an example 'Scope of Advice' James includes in the Dropbox link for a client.)

(A screenshot of ([part of] an example ‘Scope of Advice’ James includes in the Dropbox link for a client.)

The additional information document we include could be an insurance need analysis, or something else relevant to the scoped advice we are delivering at that point in time. This will include the things which often blow a paper-based SOA out into 40, 60, or god forbid 100 pages. The powerpoint presentation includes an executive summary, some information about the adviser (one slide), the recommendations, the basis of advice, the things to consider, alternatives and any disclosures.

What’s important to understand here is we have built this entire process directly from the RG90 framework provided by ASIC.

Emily: Ok, so you’ve put a lot of effort into getting to this point. What has been the result for your clients and for you as a business?

James: This has been an absolute game-changer in every regard. From a business and efficiency point of view, we can turn a piece of scoped advice around in under 24 hours. We’re also getting paid for the work we are doing for clients from day one, which provides a level of certainty with cashflow and revenue.

Most importantly, this process has significantly improved the client experience. We have not had one client push back on our video SOA’s, they love the experience. They have the flexibility to watch the video in their own time and then come back to us with any questions, and we’ve found they are far more engaged and active in the process.

Smart tech to help you improve your personal productivity and business efficiency

In a recent XY+ web event, we spent time with Charles Blake (aka ‘The Smart Tech Guy’) and Timothy Reid (aka ‘The Automations Guy’) who ran us through their smart tech frameworks, automation strategies and tools they’ve used to dramatically increase their own personal productivity and business efficiency.

Think you and your business could benefit from a 20% increase in productivity this year? Read on to find out how!

Getting organised for super-productivity

As a financial adviser, you’ve got a lot of ‘stuff’ coming in at you! The trick to super productivity is managing your time effectively. Check out this handy decision tree from David Allen, author of the book Getting Things Done:

Here’s how it works in a nutshell:

  • If it’s actionable and can be done in less than two minutes, just do it!
  • If not, delete, defer, or delegate it.

Tech-wise, paid solutions like Monday.com or Asana can be helpful for delegating or deferring tasks for later, but Charles pointed out free tools like Google Keep and Microsoft OneNote can work just as well.

Power tips for boosting personal productivity

On a personal level, here are some of the great tips our guests shared for getting the most out of your time:

  • Analyse your time investments for one week. Do you how you are actually spending your time? For one week, make an effort to measure where your time is going, so you can find out what you need to stop, start, or improve.
  • Minimise latency with your smartphone. Early to a meeting? Don’t sit around waiting. Use your phone to follow up and push projects along, or get some of those 2-minute tasks out of the way.
  • Embrace new micro-habits. Using technologies like predictive text and voice-enabled text takes some getting to, but it’s well worth forming these habits to free up time in the future.

Boosting organisational efficiency

Next, we looked at some tips for increasing productivity across your business.

Voice Technology

Embracing voice technology allows you to “type” at around 120 WPM using commands. (Remember the average person can only type around 40 WPM.) These technologies are great both for dictation, and for client conversations – especially if you’re not a fan of writing manual file notes.

Video technology

Tools like Loom are great for sending short video messages and screenshares -for example showing a paraplanner some retirement projections- or when you just have a simple question that doesn’t require a full-on conversation. They can in turn answer back when they have free time, and neither person’s workflow is interrupted.

These tools are also perfect for giving demos to a client – such as how to log into a new platform.

Transcription tools and NLP (Natural Language Processing)

Charles gave us a demonstration of Otter.ai transcription in action! This service now includes live streaming AI, so no need to upload files and wait for the transcript to process. It even performs well with low-quality, ‘real world’ audio and conversations, with only minimal edits required.

Another interesting feature is it adds punctuation automatically – unlike tools such as Google voice typing or Microsoft Dictate, where you have to add in commands such as ‘full stop’ or ‘new paragraph’. You also get 600 minutes for free to give it a test drive.

Automation technology

There are a lot of ways you can make your processes, CRM, and overall business flow in a much more structured fashion. Tim shared this map as an example of the potential flow and order of processes for a review thread:

Once built into a system, you can dramatically improve efficiency because the system does the thinking, planning, emailing, and contacting for you.

Biz ops and automation

Mapping and automating key processes can be done in almost every CRM that’s available. Something like client review is the best place to start for most practices, as that’s the one thing every practice must do well – especially with changing requirements and compliance steps to add in.

Integrations and smart links

While tech like Xplan and Midwinter can do a lot, adding in integrations like MS Bookings, Calendly, and DocuSign can really improve the process for your clients and your business.

You can also look at adding some smart links (like hyperlinks to your PDS’s) which means you don’t have to add them into the document or send them to the client as well, because they can view them at their own will.

Templating your common email correspondence is also crucial. If you are doing something more than once, template it so you get it perfect every time – in just seconds.

Aim to reduce key-person dependency so you don’t have to rely on the adviser to do tasks like proofread an email. Rather, delegate these tasks to support staff so the business can run smoother and smarter.

Finally, let the system do the thinking! Don’t try and remember review dates or birthdays when there’s software that can do that for you.

Some final tips to streamline your smart tech

  • Embrace new technology and let it work for you
  • Remember you are in control of your technology solutions
  • Start with the problem/objective, then look at potential solutions
  • Focus on adoption with clear evaluation goals and timeframes
  • Be patient & persistent with new solutions – it takes time
  • Be honest with yourself on progress and manage the barriers such as inertia/distractions (new habits aren’t easy)
  • Your client interaction will improve as you’ve removed manual process with technology doing the work

Finally, remember why you’re doing all of this – so you can enjoy more time doing what you do best!

A purpose-based advice approach

Thabojan Rasiah left a high paying, secure role as an employed adviser in 2017 to start his own business – Rasiah Private Wealth – to figure out how he could deliver advice in a way he believes will allow him to make the biggest impact on his clients’ lives.

Four years in and Thabojan has built a high-touch, fee-for-service business which really centres around delivering purpose-based advice. So what does this look like in practice… really? Thabojan’s advice process is a four-step journey, depending on the clients’ needs and where they are at. Before we dive a little deeper into each step, something really important to first focus on if you’re thinking about incorporating more of a purpose-based advice approach into your offering is – mindset.

Getting out of the box of what Financial Planning ‘should’ look like

A mantra Thabojan has carried throughout his career is this…

Don’t get defined by a particular way of doing things.

Thabojan didn’t just come up with this himself though. He has been lucky enough to have some great mentors in his career who have helped him adopt a forward-thinking approach, and he actively seeks external input through his peers and coaches who can look at what he’s doing and offer an objective perspective or help him look at something a different way. 

It’s also important to really understand ‘why’ you want to give advice. While this might seem really basic, your answer to this question is the ‘thing’ you can always come back to on those days that are far tougher than others. For Thabojan, his ‘why’ has always been about helping people, and his drive is to do the things that are going to make the biggest difference in people’s lives. Having given advice for over 15 years, Thabojan realised when he does one-off pieces of work for people, it’s helpful but it doesn’t change their lives.

He recognised the longer he worked closely with his clients, the more benefit they got from the advice relationship and the real value he was able to add was giving them peace of mind – removing their concerns and anxiety and connecting them to what’s most important to them, their purpose. 

Thabojan’s purpose-based advice process

1. Introductory call

Thabojan will have a 30-minute phone call with anyone who enquires. He doesn’t have a filtering process to qualify leads and he doesn’t charge for this meeting. This conversation is an opportunity for Thabojan to learn about the person and their circumstances, figure out if they would be a good fit to work together and run them through his process.

Running a prospect through his process means explaining the way he can have the biggest impact in their life is by understanding them at a deep level. Understanding their values, what’s important to them and what sort of legacy they want to leave in the world. Thabojan will tell a prospect he insists on connecting with them at this level, because if he can connect with them at this level, he can have a much bigger impact as the advice he gives will be in line with helping them achieve the things that are most important to them.

Thabojan knows this approach isn’t going to suit everyone, and while it’s difficult to turn new business away, if they aren’t a good fit for his business, he will refer them to another adviser or provide them with some resources to help, depending on their circumstances.

2. Discovery meeting

If Thabojan determines a person or couple are a good fit for his business; if they’ve got enough complexities to justify the in-depth process, he’ll move to a discovery meeting. Again, there is no cost or obligation to proceed at this point. Why? Thabojan invests a fair bit of time upfront without charging to really make sure the advice relationship is going to be a good fit for all involved.

It’s in this discovery meeting (or sometimes meetings) where Thabojan goes deep to understand the clients concerns and anxieties in life, particularly around their money, with the ultimate goal of discovering (and helping his clients discover) their values and purpose.

This meeting can sometimes get pretty uncomfortable pretty quickly, but Thabojan says if you can push past the awkwardness and politely nudge your clients into that space where they might be feeling uncomfortable, this is where the breakthroughs happen. In other words, this is a clients ‘a-ha moment’, and the point at which you make a strong connection with them on an emotional level. Getting to this point with a client is not easy. Thabojan’s advice is to continually practice and go into these meetings with the mindset of knowing ‘why’ you’re doing this – to ultimately help your client.

3. Wealth Management Plan

Through the initial engagement process, Thabojan will build and then present to a client a ‘wealth management plan’. This is not a Statement of Advice, it’s a PowerPoint deck of the key things relevant in helping the client get to where they want to go in life, and constructed in a way that uses the client’s own words as much as possible. It’s a visual representation answering the questions – ‘why is money important to you?’ and ‘what in your life is worrying you or is causing you anxiety?’.

The wealth management plan then leads into the things you’d typically find in an SOA, but presented in a way that reduces the financial planning jargon and compliance. Thabojan will summarise the key issues he is going to help the clients deal with in a way they can understand. It’s at this point Thabojan will get the person’s buy-in to the process and sign them on as a new client with an ongoing service arrangement, paid as a monthly retainer.

4. Interactive cashflow modelling

After the discover meeting/s, Thabojan then moves to interactive cashflow modelling to map out together with the client, what their future might look like financially. Here, they will play with different scenarios using XTools, and it’s typically at this point where clients really get engaged in the process. They’ll start asking questions like – what if we work more? What if we spend less? What if we travel more? What about private schooling?

The scenarios Thabojan and his clients build in this session will also go into their wealth management plan. Up to this point, there has been no discussion about product or strategy. The entire conversation has centred around what’s important in the client’s life and what the future might look like. Thabojan says it can sometimes take a while before any ‘formal’ piece of advice is presented to a client because he needs to fully diagnose a client before prescribing the medication. 

Are there any similarities between your advice process and Thabojan’s?

Thabojan’s approach to delivering advice is unique, high-touch and purpose-driven. During this XY+ web event, we asked advisers tuning in live if they do anything similar or equally unique in their process. Here’s what a few had to say:

Jayden Post said “I have a list of ‘interview questions’ for that first call to ask really great questions which creates the space for the client to talk.”

Dylan Martin said “this is a big part of my new client approach – delving into goals and core values and recognising conflicts.”

Clint Nice said “Two meetings before scope has been set has created great results for me over the past few months.”