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Client Values and Goals #1 – Transcript

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Client Values and Goals

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SUMMARY KEYWORDS

clients, people, advisors, goals, conversation, barbecue, business, financial advisor, values, talking, financial planner, referrals, advice, money, terms, branding, fantastic, fraser, financial, important

SPEAKERS

Fraser Jack, Cate Americano, Michael Topper, Craig Buntain, Tim Henry, Naomi Rosenthal

 

Fraser Jack 

Welcome back to the x y advisor podcast. I’m Fraser Jack and today we are kicking off a series is all around the idea of client values and goals and setting goals with your clients and all those great amazing things that add so much value to your client experience. We’re doing this a little bit differently today we were going to be talking to a number of different advisors and planners and people around the country on a whole lot of different topics. So each episode of this podcast is not necessarily going to be one person. But we’re just going to refer to a particular topic and today’s topic is really, we’re kicking off this this at the beginning of the process, the pre the pre engagement stuff, the idea around what what what is the messaging out there in the marketplace. with clients? What are clients telling each other at barbecues? How are they referring to the idea of goals and values based financial planning in the first place, and today we are joined by Naomi Rosenfeld. Good, Amy.

 

Naomi Rosenthal 

Hi, Fraser. Thanks for having me.

 

Fraser Jack 

Thank you for coming on. Now, do you want to? Let’s start by giving the listeners a quick overview of you and your business.

 

Naomi Rosenthal 

Thanks very much. So I’ve been in the industry for 21 years now. I come from a family of financial planners, my dad was a financial advisor. And I joined his business back in 2005. And we work together for around about 10 years. And then I joined a small licensee a one man band licensee called professional services. Back in 2013. I started working with AWS in 2011 in a mentor ship role where I was being mentored by the director of that business and then join them in 2013. And we’ve since expanded and grown that business I took over the business I was working in with my father. And we now have a much bigger team than just him and I and a couple of support staff. We’ve got five advisors, we’ve got four directors in the business, I’m one of them. And we have a whole range of support staff to help us and we really have sort of two businesses in the advice side of the business and also the license side of the business. So we’re trying to grow professional well services to be a licensee of choice for a like minded advisors.

 

Fraser Jack 

Yes. Fantastic. Thank you. So it’s a really interesting pathway. I always loved to hear people’s stories about how they got into financial planning in the first place. Because it’s a it’s certainly an interesting one. Obviously, it was your destiny to become part of you know, your succession for your father’s business.

 

Naomi Rosenthal 

I put it off for a long time I studied psychology at uni. And it was never my goal to be an advisor. But here I am, it was destined to be.

 

Fraser Jack 

I think psychology is a fantastic grounding for financial advice in the conversations because so often you’re trying to work out what’s going on in somebody’s head when it comes to the way that they make money decisions. And then you’re then translating the, you know, the product and the strategy side, of course, and how that fits in with the client’s goals and values. And so I think it’s a I think it’s an amazing grounding. I actually not i’m not i am surprised that it’s not one of the one of the subjects that that should be a part of the ongoing education. I completely agree Fraser and one of the passions I have within the financial advice world is around behavioral finance and the psychology of money. Yes. Well, let’s get into that. Speaking of behavioral psychology and how humans work. Let’s certainly get into this because I want to talk about the concept in this episode around that conversation about barbecue clients talking about what it is what financial planning is, there’s obviously there’s some messaging that we could probably do better. I think when it comes to you know, what consumers what’s the real value in financial advice? And so so let’s kick that off with a conversation of what what should clients or what how can we get clients to think in a particular way, when it is discussing with their friends around the barbecue

 

Naomi Rosenthal 

friend silica gray, it really is a hard topic for barbecue conversations. in some regard. I because I’ve grown up in this industry, I always just assumed people knew that if financial advisors existed, and it never occurred to me that really most people don’t know who we are and what we do and how we help. So there’s conversations around the barbecue, when you’re not there are really all about, you know, what are you doing with your money? And how much did you spend on your house? And, you know, there’s no real depth to looking at things holistically. And I think that’s where a financial advisors value really comes through is in that broader view of somebodies overarching financial position and how you can move them from where they are today. And where they want to be. What are those goals and objectives?

 

Fraser Jack 

Yeah, you’re absolutely right. And, and when I think about this, some of those money conversations that take place beforehand, can often be around specific, you know, product, buying a house, or buying a car or buying a, you know, those product type conversations, rather than the idea of, you know, are you really happy with where you’re at?

 

Naomi Rosenthal 

Yeah, exactly. And I think also the barbecue conversations, people aren’t 100% honest about their situation, because they’re, you know, maybe a little concerned or scared or, you know, they’re not where they want to be. And so they’re projecting perhaps an image of being better in a better place than perhaps they actually are. And also, there’s a lack of understanding of necessarily exactly where do they fit for themselves, and his comparisons with others, people love to kind of get a feel for how does my situation compare with your situation at all keeping up with the Joneses scenario? Rather than really thinking individually around? Where am I at? And where do I want to be? And how do I get there?

 

Fraser Jack 

This is a classic benchmarking 101. Right, this is just like, do I, where do I fit in? And? And I think does this come back to the concept of the moment, you know, theoretically, within our society, the more money you have, the better person you are, and all that sort of all that sort of really big, let’s face it, that’s crap. Right? To the idea of, you know, if someone’s got more money, they must have been more successful than you.

 

Naomi Rosenthal 

Yeah. And so those Yeah, conversations around the Yeah, that psychology of money and how we see money and what money actually means to us, individually versus the more broader community or society oriented perspectives on money. It’s really an interesting dynamic there. Yeah.

 

Fraser Jack 

So if we had a blank piece of paper, and we, you know, we could reshape that conversation as to what we wanted to be as be. And obviously, this is getting to the point that if we had a blank piece of paper, and we could reshape the conversation, for these clients, or these potential clients to be talking about what we offer as a service, what what could we, what could we How could we reshape that conversation?

 

Naomi Rosenthal 

That’s a really great question phrase.

 

Fraser Jack 

I’m thinking it should be around happiness and goals and values and those sorts of things. What what are your thoughts?

 

Naomi Rosenthal 

Yeah, definitely. Yeah. Look, why Yeah. Why are we talking specifics of you know, how I am in crypto, that’s my favorite, you know, FOMO flavor of the week? Are you in crypto, I’m in crypto, to more around, what’s the purpose of crypto? Where’s it going to get you? Is it actually going to meet the goals that you have? You know, yeah, let’s talk about what’s important to you. In terms of what will help you, you know, have the lifestyle that you’re looking for. And so yeah, reshaped those conversations to be very much directed around? You know, what, what is important to that person? What do they really value in life? Do they value the fast cars and having a bunch of money in the bank? And, you know, having a million dollar crypto portfolio that looks like 200,000 A week later? Or, you know, did I value family? Do they value the work that they do? Do they value risk being rewarded for the work that they do, ie, you know, the income that they’re receiving, and really change the nature of the conversation to be much more individualistic around what’s important to those people and what they’re striving to achieve?

 

Fraser Jack 

Yep. What I really got out of what you just said, then is no, what’s the purpose? And then it made me think of what you were saying is let’s forget about the how piece and start focusing on the Why Why are you you know, why do you really want that money? Why do you Why do you need that much? Why do you need $10 million for the crypto or not? All those conversations I think would be very Yeah, yeah, we’re definitely creating a few of his of his ideas. So if that’s the case, if the idea around the you know, let’s it might not be a barbecue, if the idea around current conversations around somebody who was a client of your business, talking to somebody who wasn’t a client of your business? Yeah, how could How can we get them to then focus on asking some really deep questions of their of their friends to say, Well, you know, I go to a financial planner, who doesn’t worry about the how we’re going to do it, but looks at the Y first,

 

Naomi Rosenthal 

yeah, look, it’s it’s a hard ask if even from my perspective, I’m not really that used to positioning myself in that way. You know, I think my you know, having just been invested in this industry for so long, you’re so used to it that you don’t necessarily position yourself from that perspective. So yeah, it’s challenging. I think it’s a way Yeah, way forward really, is to help people understand that what we do is much more holistic. And rather than piecemeal, that we’d rather as much as a lot of the conversations can be event driven, that it’s only one aspect of looking at the overall picture, you know, I’m finding with some of the referrals I’ve been getting at the moment, it is quite an event driven, you know, this has been happening, or that’s been happening. And that’s really just opening the door to it. So then the conversation broadens from there. But I find that Yeah, you know, people do tend to come to us because something is going on in their world that needs looking at. And then once they’re, you know, having a conversation with you, you start asking the deeper questions around, you know, what, you know, where’s that? What are the goals that you have? What are what are you looking to achieve? What values do you hold?

 

Fraser Jack 

Fantastic. So let’s, let’s go down that event driven conversation, because I think that’s really important to if you are thinking about setting up a branding or marketing in any particular way for a business, you should be very much focused on if the if the event driven or the trigger is the event, then what are those trigger events of your ideal client? I guess? And then how can you then produce some sort of branding material around those events, then then that that leads into the questions of why do you want this? or, or, you know, how, specifically or whatever it might be? What sort of events are you seeing for your target client?

 

Naomi Rosenthal 

Yeah, look, I think, um, you know, change in employment, whether it’s a significant pay increase, or a change in in their role within the organization, or it’s a change of organization altogether. Or maybe it’s a redundancy that they’ve, you know, because of change, changing nature of the work. House purchase is a really big one at the moment.

 

Fraser Jack 

It’s literally, it’s a very big one, purchase price,

 

Naomi Rosenthal 

and high prices. And so I’ve got people struggling with how do you get to the point where you can actually get into the market, when the market is well ahead of where they’re capable of creating the savings to step into that on the one side. And then on the flip side, I’ve got clients having to make decisions around selling properties in order to then fund retirement more effectively. So it’s two sides to the same coin on that one. Other events that are triggers for people might be around protecting their families. I think because of COVID. That’s something that’s come up a little bit more into people’s frame of reference, insurance is never bought, it’s sold. And yet we’re coming into an era I think that people are starting to acknowledge that protecting their family is actually a higher priority than it’s ever been

 

Fraser Jack 

pentesting ICC insurances contingency, planning for a lot of people’s goals as well. So, yeah, I agree. I’ve heard that saying a few times.

 

Naomi Rosenthal 

It’s the foundation of any good financial plan is to make sure there’s a backbone in there in case shit hits the fan.

 

Fraser Jack 

Very much. So look that up first. And Amy, thank you for catching up to us on the conversation of how do we how do we sort of talk about this from a pre pre clients coming into the office point of view? We look forward to catching you in the next episode when we start getting into the concept of you’re really engaging clients once they once they’ve engaged your services. So we’ll see you in the next episode. Thank you for our next guest on the show is at Craig Ballantyne. Welcome, Craig. Good I Fraser How are you? Very well now you want to give the listeners a quick overview of you and your business.

 

Craig Buntain 

Yeah. My name is Craig Ballantyne. I have been practicing financial planner since about 1999. I’m one of the owners and directors of relatively small boutique planning business in Brisbane called CFL financial planning. Where we’ve recently moved to service officers in Queen Street. So enjoying life a different way.

 

Fraser Jack 

Yes. And of course, just quickly, we can start you can still get around in Brisbane at the moment with cocktails.

 

Craig Buntain 

Yes, I certainly can. Which is great. With a mask on, albeit, but yes, we can get around the place, although a lot of clients are still preferring the online meetings at this point in time.

 

Fraser Jack 

Yep. Now we’re talking about all things towards the ideal around branding and understanding why we do goals based financial advice. From a client point of view, we’re talking about the concept of, you know, what they should be saying about the advice that they receive? And why why goals based actually is great for them. What are you doing in your business regarding to that sort of that pre exists or pre client, they’re not even a client yet. branding and information that you put out around goals, best advice?

 

Craig Buntain 

Yeah, I suppose we don’t do very much in the in terms of marketing, particularly to externals, we’re a relatively small practice that really just takes referrals from existing clients and a couple of centers of influence. But all the information that we put out his very own processes is very gold based and goals driven. So even in terms of all of our testimonials, we ask clients to mention the goals that they had, and then the you know, the fact that they achieved them. So advice is very personalized. And I suppose that’s the message that we get out. And I think that really sums up that that’s goals based because everyone’s goals are different.

 

Fraser Jack 

Yep. And and you’ve got, you’ve got a really clear process, you mentioned that it might not be one to the marketplace, but you have a very sort of clear approach on how you get new new business into your business. In as you mentioned, the idea of getting those testimonials.

 

Craig Buntain 

Yeah, that’s right. So as soon as we get, say, a lead or referral, were sending them out a welcome pack. And that sort of welcome pack tells them how we do things, and what the processes they get booked in. And then we do kind of a discovery slash triage call to make sure that one, they’re a good fit for our business. But but to that we can actually help them. You know, there’s no point us meeting with a whole bunch of clients that really don’t fit our model right from the start, or we’re going to be way too expensive for them. Or that we tend to prefer fairly complex advice clients rather than one off advice clients. So we would much prefer to talk to them and see what areas we can help them with. And that kind of is the start of the goals conversation.

 

Fraser Jack 

And when you’re doing that, when you’re looking for that complexity, which was I guess what you are looking for, is chunking down into their goals, something that’s such an important part of it.

 

Craig Buntain 

It is I mean, that’s the big buy in. So you know, I really, that those conversations that we have, in the initial part, just about their goals, I regularly get referred to that’s the best conversation I’ve had about my, you know, finances or my planning, ever. And quite often the first meeting that I have, it’s the best meeting that clients have ever had. And we get regular comments about that, because we’re really just talking all about them and hardly anything about us, other than the fact that yes, we can help

 

Fraser Jack 

Yeah, I’ll get into the makina and pack this with regards to in the next few episodes with regards to how you do those meetings because I know that their structure is really important. And just but before we go there though, just with the welcome pack that you send out this is this is the pre they’re not a client yet they haven’t even met you in person yet. You may or may or know that I had a triage call with them. What’s what do you send them in that welcome?

 

Craig Buntain 

Yeah, the welcome packs got a few things in there. It’s, it explains to them our process and our philosophies. So you know, the philosophies of the six areas of advice that we we cover and what each of those is in kind of broad terms, to get them, I suppose, acquainted with some of the terminology because I think we’re all pretty guilty of using jargon that Nobody understands in this industry. So it’s kind of introducing them to that sort of thinking, I suppose, and getting them ready with the, the key idea is to get them thinking about their goals and their objectives before they start filling in any documentation for us, so that they’re doing it with that kind of lens.

 

Fraser Jack 

Yeah, this is really interesting about and what I really like about it is the structure. And you mentioned, you’ve done some work with blackwing. In the past, around setting this out with with regards to, this is the way we do things around here, it’s different, it’s a different approach, then you might get with another business and hear that different differentiation.

 

Craig Buntain 

Yeah, I suppose it’s what we’ve become known for amongst our clients is that, you know, when they’re having a conversation with someone else who’s got a financial planner that’s complaining, you know, they’re complaining about their, you know, planner, or something that’s happened or complaining about a product more often than the actual advisor. They talk to our clients and our clients. Well, half of them aren’t really even concerned about what products they’ve got. The product isn’t the thing. It’s actually the goal, and whether they’re meeting it. It’s all about strategy.

 

Fraser Jack 

Yep. And the next thing, and the next thing I wanted to mention on that is your process about how to refer so clients then know what to do if they actually if they think of something, or they speak to something they know what to physically do next.

 

Craig Buntain 

Yes, yeah. So we do have a process that does that. I must say, we’re not 100% successful with it. But I don’t think anyone is with one of those processes. But yes, our process is essentially at the at the end of implementing an initial client. their, their strategies, or their financial plan that we originally set up, we actually explained to them that they’re the perfect client that we like to work with. And we tell them, why what the characteristics are about them that make them such a great client for us. And then we effectively just say, look, you know, our businesses is is growing, the way that we like to grow is through referrals. And we want to work with people that we enjoy working with, and they’re people just like you. So if you’ve got any family or friends that you think we could help the same way that we’ve helped you. Please feel free to refer them and then we give them basically some free vouchers for appointments, and access to things like ebooks and things like that, just to give a few little giveaways to get people thinking about financial planning. Yeah,

 

Fraser Jack 

it’s an interesting process, the old vouchers that we sort of get these vouchers and when but it’s not for us to give to somebody else. So it’s,

 

Craig Buntain  

that’s right. Yeah. Yeah. I think the other thing is we have incentivized clients in the past as well, in terms of a discount on their fees, if a referral that comes through is successful. we’ve tended not to do that these days, there’s not enough margin.

 

Fraser Jack 

Not what this particular podcast is about. But, Craig, thanks for sharing your thoughts on this particular topic around, you know, getting new clients in and Brian, that’s all right. And now I’d like to welcome our next guest when we’re talking about all things towards branding, and the messaging that’s out in the marketplace. Welcome, Kate Americana.

 

Cate Americano 

Thanks, Fraser. Thanks for having me.

 

Fraser Jack 

You’re very welcome. Now, you want to give the listeners a quick overview of you and what you’re doing at the moment.

 

Cate Americano 

Yeah, Sean. And I’ve actually just taken the leap of faith into my own coaching business last year into business coaching, values, coaching and lifestyle designing. Prior to that I was 30 years in financial services, and the last 19 years spent working in licensee working directly with financial planners and doing or business coaching around their businesses. So what financial planners are always my niche? What I’ve found is that there’s been a real lot of opportunity to coach people outside that as well. So businesses that are outside financial planning, and also clients directly, just in terms of a lot of their values, coaching, teenagers, mothers, and even retirees now, kind of engaging in terms of that as well. Yeah, fantastic. So you like helping planners to help people, but also you’d like helping people? So funnily enough, they’ve all got goals and Belize to talk to them about They sure do. And at the end of the day, Fraser like it doesn’t matter where whether it’s the financial planner chatting in terms of they’re all looking in terms of that current you versus future you and the gap. How do I bridge that gap? And how can I you know, what are the things that I need to be able to do that and, yeah, the first place to be able to start there is obviously with those values so you can understand what’s important to them.

 

Fraser Jack 

Yep. Fantastic. And speaking about a place to start with sort of starting the series on the idea of What are some of the things that clients should be saying around their, you know, their financial advice that they’re getting? What are some of the messaging and branding? The hope is obviously that, you know, if we can get this part right, then, as we’re building goals based and values based businesses, that we’re actually doing it because we want this messaging to be to be out there. We want this to be the basis of how we build our business.

 

Cate Americano 

Yeah, I mean, if we look at what clients value, and this is, A, this is so inherently just from David heights, and what he was saying in terms of that phrase, and I absolutely love those because, you know, they clients wants you to know me, my, no, my family, understand me, helped me simplify MIDI economy, and reduce my anxiety. So, you know, they’re all really really personal reasons and very due to people’s heart, so obviously, the managing the the wealth, and the financial and superannuation investment, all that’s really, really important that they wouldn’t be no and, and they are definitely things that I would want as a as a financial planner, that I would want my client be chatting to their friends at barbecues about me as with my financial advice,

 

Fraser Jack 

as you said that I thought of the word understanding and and, you know, there’s been a lot of talk in the profession lately about the idea of clients understanding the advice. And I think probably the beginning part to that, from what you were alluding to was the idea that advisors understanding the client

 

Cate Americano 

100%. And, you know, one of the questions, I think, for advisors right now is, they often want to know, what clients value. And I guess the question for them is just to really ask themselves is how do you know what your clients value if you don’t know what their values are? You know, and, and this is actually a progression from that gold spaced advice we’re moving, we’ve been doing that goal, space advice, value space advice has been around for quite a while now. But it’s actually now really coming to the forefront because people want you to know more that much more about them than just about their money and their assets and things like that they want a much deeper understanding around it.

 

Fraser Jack 

When I think about these two, working together, they’re hand in hand the values are there, you know, a person’s human motivators, the things that really drive them that light them up inside, and then the goals or just the the actions or parameters, or, you know, things that are around those and they’re so well linked, Utley,

 

Cate Americano 

they are they’re really, really well linked. And when you actually have them in alignment, clients are naturally happier, I feel happier when you’re congruent and in alignment with your values. And particularly if you’re overlaying that within money goals as well, when when they’re in complete alignment, that’s when you feeling good about will certainly the advice and what you’re doing, and the clients are more likely to stay on track with that. Whereas if you’re completely out of alignment, that’s when you get them yeah, you know, spending money on things they shouldn’t be because they’re anxious or stressed and doing things the wrong way instead of actually, you know, yeah, they’ve been in alignment with their values and their, their overall financial well being. And we’ll talk a little bit more in the, in the future future episodes around how to how to make sure they are in alignment, but just going to the idea of them not being in alignment at the moment, that’s certainly an area that that you know, when the habits are very hard to form. And when they do, you know, they stick but obviously, when something’s not in alignment, then pretty much won’t happen. Yeah, completely won’t happen. Because they just what, and a lot of people will actually just don’t even know what their values are. Because it’s simply not ever been asked to just going quite blindly with that they’ll have a gut feel, you know, in your gut when you’re in alignment, because it feels good and in whatever you’re doing feels right. And when you’re out of alignment with your values, you just have that you know that gut feel that is wrong. And it’s a really good gauge with other people like when you when you actually will be using in the financial planning practice the corporate world, it doesn’t matter. We people in a social environment, when you are actually you can relate to people who are who have similar values to you. And when you understand why, what other people’s values are you have much more empathy and compassion and understanding for them as well. So it actually allows you to be much more harmonious in your workforces and in your businesses.

 

Fraser Jack 

Yep, fantastic. And we’re gonna I’m gonna ask you the question, we’ll get to Episode Three around, how do you actually listen to find out what some of these values are. But before we do that, in this episode, I want to I want to talk about the idea of what you want your client or what the end client should be saying to other people around the benefit of, you know, getting goals and values based advice. What’s the messaging that we should be striving for?

 

Cate Americano 

Yeah, for that, I would really say that my the difference would that be is that my advisor understands me first and foremost, and they understand my family and they care about me. And as part of that they are actually, you know, do it’s all the financial planning side of it as well. So they care about my family, they care about my assets they care about, they take care of me that they’re the Guardian, the guardian of my money that the guardian of my family, and they really stopped me from making bad decisions. That’s what I, that’s what I like my financial planner to do for me is Is that real? Yeah, that peace of mind and knowing that I’ve got that sounding board and that trusted advisor that I can actually rely on and go to when, when times are tough. And when I’ve just got ideas and want to bounce off them.

 

Fraser Jack 

You find that the, in the old world, there was a lot of conversations and just around product. He mentioned things like taking care of me and you know, having my back and making bad decisions. I didn’t mention product at all, in the head. But also, there’s a there is an interesting space around this that I’m thinking around, tracking around actual quantifying that information, like how it has a client quantify what’s been good in the gold space, and vice versa. Good advice.

 

Cate Americano 

The way that advisors have been doing that is having that great. Third, tracking system the way the way I’ve seen advisors do that really well as that green, red, you know, and the amber in terms of being on track for their goals or not on track for their goals. So, yeah, they’re there and one advisor in particular have done a really beautiful job on the reporting in terms of, are we on track for the accumulators and then for the retirees? And so how are we and and he actually do build, you know, build his own sort of report off the back of it, but really demonstrated for at that annual progress meeting, okay? You are for the accumulators Look here. This is what we’re targeting in terms of whether it was their superannuation or their investments, this is what we’re targeting you are you currently agreeing on that or your Ambar or where we’re at, you know, your debts gone way out? That’s okay, you know, like this is where we need to catch up or you’re behind. So just that lovely ahead. And behind indicator is really, really valuable. Obviously, it has all the stats and all the numbers underneath it to show the people who are wanting that really detailed analysis, but an overall summary and visual to be able to give to his clients, he that actually completely transformed his business when he introduced that, because it changed it from just being what is perceived an annual review and may not have had necessarily the meaning to the client and mattered to the client the same way. But soon as he flipped it around and introduced this traffic based sort of system. clients were actually loving that so much that and therefore referring, he got a heap of referrals out of it, because he had to go back to clients regarding showing their friends what they

 

 

were getting from their site, and they’re like, Oh my God, my daddy jokes about product and superannuation. And I I want to I want that advice.

 

Fraser Jack 

That’s interesting, isn’t it, which is exactly what the messaging we’re trying to get. And I really think that’s important to keep it simple in that space. You know, like instead that the client can just say, I’m a hitter behind and tracking towards my goal. That’s, that’s, that’s the that’s the common that you want them to be saying at the barbecue, I suppose.

 

Cate Americano 

Absolutely. Absolutely. Yeah. Fantastic. Kate, thanks

 

Fraser Jack 

so much for your time today. We look forward to catch you in the next episode when we start talking about, you know, just when the clients come in, and how do you start engaging them? So we’ll catch you in the next episode. Okay. Welcome to the show, Tim, get a phrase, how are you? Very well, very well, do you want to give the listeners a quick overview of you?

 

Tim Henry 

I would love to. My name is Tim Henry, obviously. And I’ve got a business in Melbourne called Aspire planning. And we’ve been around for around about coming up for six years. And we put a really big focus on our business on the life element, if you like I call it the life element because I feel like that sits in front of the goals element. And it’s really just about that life element first and finances second, obviously with the CLI focus on providing those financial strategies to back it up.

 

Fraser Jack 

Yeah, fantastic. Thank you for being part of the series. This is of course, Episode One of a six part series, all things around values life and, you know, financial planning with regards to goals based on your chosen mother. So look at the first series, we’re talking today very much around the branding, the things that you would want your clients to say about your business, to their friends at the you know, at the barbecue when they’re talking about the process that we’ve just been through. Tell us about tell us about what that might be for you. Well,

 

Tim Henry 

I think you know, I’ve I we’ve touched on this. I’ve been on a So before, we touched on the fact I had a different background from being in financial advice, as I guess a lot of people do. And it wasn’t that I was at the industry coming in, but I did think that the industry was a little bit self absorbed or self focused is, is that bad to say that, but I think it’s about for me, I want people to think that were a human aspect, a human version of financial advice. So it’s not just turning up and having financial numbers rammed down your throat, that we’re solving real life problems for people. And if they’re feeling good about how they get how their life is going, and what their finances play in that situation. Excellent. So

 

Fraser Jack 

the idea around that feeling good. You know, one of your clients saying that just came out that I’ve done some work with you guys. They’ve put something in place, and they’re feeling good about what what’s the thing that they’re feeling good about,

 

Tim Henry 

I think they’re feeling good about their direction, and their momentum. More than anything, I’ve got a really strong belief that people are emotional. I think that there’s a saying that says something like, we are feeling beings that have the ability to think so I think quite often we we put the thinking part in front and we talk logical stuff. People are going to feel something first. And then they’re going to think something about second. So we want them to feel like I’m building momentum, I’m heading in the direction I want to hit. And I’m really clear where I’m going. And I’ll feel like I can get there. Simple as that.

 

Fraser Jack 

Fantastic. Your kinesthetic the vo n two. So that so that, of course we always eat we always get we’re always guilty of jumping to the practical side. Yes, we, you know, we think are we gonna, there was a problem, I can solve that I can jump on top of that, that’s probably easier than getting into someone’s emotions. But we do know that you know, you’re right. People are emotional. And that’s how they make decisions.

 

Tim Henry 

Absolutely. And I think as well, like, if you, I think this is a perfect thing to talk about with branding, because I probably think this coming from that retail background. People only really remember one or two, if you’re lucky two things about you. And they’re probably only going to have a real strong comment about one element of what they liked about you. So what is that one thing that you want to nail? And for us, I really feel like we just want to nail that feeling of momentum and control for them are now we’re ongoing. And I know what is possible. And I think if people, you ask people, when they have anxiety about their financial situation, or where their lives heading, it normally would be that they don’t know what’s possible. And I don’t know if they’ve got control or whether they can get there.

 

Fraser Jack 

Yeah, so taking them from that feeling of the feeling of uncertainty or unsure. Or even anxiety for that medical, I think there’s there could be a lot of anxiety around visiting a financial advisor, and then giving them walking out of your office with a feeling of control and momentum, like they’re heading in a direction towards something

 

Tim Henry 

and empowerment. You know, I think the thing is that, what would be the fear, we talked about the fear, what would be the fear for people to go? Well, they’re going to talk at a level that’s over my head, or they’re going to talk numbers at me, and I’m not very good with numbers. So, you know, at the barbecue, we’re wanting people to be saying it was a great experience, like what I understand what I’m doing, I understand the numbers. And even though they might not understand all everything about the numbers that don’t have to they just understand that the numbers mean, I can do this.

 

Fraser Jack 

Yep. So, so that fantastic. And I like the idea of dispelling the fear. with it that said, How are you going with your branding? What are you doing in your marketing and branding with your you know, to new clients that haven’t been to the interview yet? How are you getting that message out to them?

 

Tim Henry 

When you say branding, I guess you meaning whatever version of this stands for? Yeah. And really is clearly our I’d probably go back to what I just said it is. Shame people might only remember one thing. So we want that life element to come through really strongly. We we probably not probably we definitely focus more on a female. We don’t just target females. But we are definitely female friendly with our branding, because we believe they make most of the decisions in the household. So we wanting to get that live element across and it was everything that we push out talks to that talks to that emotion, how are you feeling about where your lives headed? Did you know this could help you With the goals or how you’re feeling about your direction in life, so everything we do has that flavor, because that’s what we want people to remember,

 

Fraser Jack 

this is a really interesting point he mentioned. And I know that you’re in a webinar that I was on recently that talked about the idea of, you know, some differences between a male and female. And one of those was, you know, we sort of came up with the idea that often, men can been narrow, focused in thinking word, which is, which, which might be one thing at a time for as blokes. But then women can have more of a approach on the whole of life or whole of scenario or that multitasking.

 

Tim Henry 

You mean from the client point of view? Mm hmm. Yeah. Well, you’re probably approach it in the fact that a lot of guys would have a Shelby right attitude to most element a lot of elements to their life. If we’re, you know, particularly with what we’re doing with this holistic approach to advising. It’s a bit like having a house with lots of rooms in it. And I don’t know if you’ve all went to something a long time ago. She was a fantastic female presenter who talked about the differences between selling to men and selling to women, she said, Men imagine that a man’s brain is the house, to have a conversation about a topic, you have to go into that room, close that door, lock that door, and they stay in that room and have that conversation, whereas women can run from room to room and have different conversations or to be locked out or not feel like women as a whole would they want to know that these little pockets in their life have got momentum? Because they will things that niggle away at them? Can we afford to send their kids to that school? Can? What’s going to happen with our retirement? Can we afford good holiday? So we’re going to pay off the mortgage? All these things, which, you know, guys, sometimes we’ll just be focused on our need to get work done today and get to the end of the day and have a beer or something like that?

 

Fraser Jack 

Yeah. Fair enough. Was it a presentation from someone like Amanda, Mickey, or was it for that presentation?

 

Tim Henry 

I’m really annoyed because it’s a bought a book. And I’ve been looking for a couple years, and I was lost. Alright, well,

 

Fraser Jack 

this is a race agent. Tim, thanks for catching up in this episode, though, talking about branding and the idea of what what advisors can be doing. I think that the idea here is to start with this focus in mind, what is the what is the outcome you want the client to say, and then build the rest of the business around it? You’re going to come back for the other episodes in this series. So we look forward to catching you in next episode. Good only. Thanks, Brian. And our next guest on this episode is Michael topper. Welcome. Thanks very much, Fraser. Looking forward to it. Now do to give the listeners a very quick overview of you,

 

Michael Topper 

Ash, and one of the founders and directors of astute we’ll. But I’ve been in this industry since about 2008. Prior to that in accounting, with KPMG, radio and TV than the airline industry, in the marketing industry, and finally, in financial services. And so I’m one of the few people in our business that isn’t a financial advisor. So I can hopefully bring in a few different views of things. Having that different background.

 

Fraser Jack 

Yeah, certainly a very diverse background. And obviously, during this episode, we’re talking a lot about branding and marketing and messaging for humans. So a lot of work in different industries working with different humans. Exactly. Makes it fantastic. Now, let’s let’s get into this, we’re talking about the concept of clients. And, you know, before they’re a client that that messaging that we want to go out, what’s the ultimate thing that clients can can be talking or saying about goals based advice and values based advice, say to a friend at a barbecue?

 

Michael Topper 

Yeah, I think, you know, from an advisors point of view, just to keep things simple. So, you know, I think people trying to overcomplicate marketing, whereas marketing is actually pretty simple marketing. 101 is, ask clients what they want, and then give it to them. And if you do that, you’ve got a better chance of that be that being part of a discussion at a barbecue, don’t make things technical clients, once you help them understand goals and help them achieve goals, then that becomes the conversation at the barbecue. So, you know, what have you been up to? We’ve just come back from overseas. It was an awesome trip. Well, how did you afford that? Well, my financial advisor helped me blah, blah, blah. And that’s where it comes through. And it’s more experiential. So what are you doing? How did you do it? Who helped you get there?

 

Fraser Jack 

Yep. Fantastic. And so if we go back to that, go into that conversation, then what are the sort of what are the conversations that you think drive that when it comes to the client conversations with each other? What’s the what the why behind I guess the that conversation, why bring it up and why talk about it?

 

Michael Topper 

Yeah, I think that’s interesting from a research point of view is that People refer for their own reasons, not for the advisors. So there’s no clients out there typically whose job it is to go and promote your business and make you more successful. That’s not in their thinking. And I think you’ll find in financial services, a lot of people are a bit wary about talking about their finances, it’s kind of a taboo subject. So they’re not going to do that easily. Where you, as an advisor can make a difference is to make things very different to them. So at a barbecue if someone was saying, you know, what did you get up to this week? Yeah, I met with my financial advisor, how was it? I was pretty dreary, went through the normal stuff. He gave me a big documented and understand. How about you? Well, actually, I met with my advisor three months ago, and this is what we did together. That guy’s gonna go, who’s your advisor? I think I need to move.

 

Fraser Jack 

Yeah, it’s interesting. It’s pretty dreary conversation if we started with, with the first part. But I think it also along the lines of, you know, celebrating achievements. You know, I think people like to sort of think at the barbecue, they like to celebrate their achievements or something that they’re on track or feel good about.

 

Michael Topper 

Yeah. And I think that’s why it’s really important. And advisors need to help their clients set short, medium and long term goals. And short term goal that everyone wants to achieve typically is going on holiday. So if that’s a goal or buy a car, and possibly it’s the first time they’ve bought a new car, rather than a secondhand one, that becomes a conversation piece. You know, how did you afford that? I know, you know, when a female advisor i’d spoken to previously, she helps her clients, typically, female clients, buy as many shoes as they want, and not feel guilty about it. And she’s helped them do that by setting money aside, in an account so that they can actually go to a shoe shop and buy expensive shoes. And that’s, that’s her talking point of difference. That’s something that will come up at a barbecue, rather than I met with my advisor earlier in the week. And it was awesome.

 

Fraser Jack 

Yeah, I think you’re exactly right. There’s the it’s the it’s celebrating those wins. It’s like you said, if somebody rocks up to a barbecue with a new car, they’re definitely going to be top of the dig, definitely gonna be a conversation about it.

 

Michael Topper 

Yeah. And it’s one of the things that I don’t know if you’ve read a book by Petey land is a dentist, and he, he changed his dental practice to be completely different to anything else. And he discovered quite quickly that what he valued, the clients didn’t even understand what they valued was the things that he did that was very different to other dentists. And so they could relate to those, and they could talk to their friends about this dentist that does stuff completely differently to typical dentist. And that’s how he got referrals. Well, I’m

 

Fraser Jack 

really intrigued. Now, tell me about that. What, what was what was he doing?

 

Michael Topper 

So very different, he didn’t have a dentist chair that went up and down and back, he had a bed that was flat, and he didn’t go and they need all the expensive tools that need to move around with a chair, he could keep that pretty simple. Something he did, which was very different is that he wanted the place to be more like a cafe. So when people came in, imported a very big expensive coffee machine from Italy back in the days where that was pretty novel. They had an oven, and they used to cook bands in the in the dentist as well. So it would actually smell like a nice play. It’s not like a sterile dentist premises. But he also gave people a really good book before they became a client. So when he was very picky about who became clients, and was all done through word of mouth. And secondly, before they came in for the first appointment, he would actually send them a document that had a whole lot of really good information for them. So they could make informed decisions before they came in. for a consultation,

 

Fraser Jack 

yeah, I love hearing stuff that outside the box like this when it comes to you know, client client experiences and understanding me but you client first, rather than just necessarily the way we always do it. Especially when it comes to, you know, financial services where, you know, we’re a profession, and we work as professionals and all of a sudden, sometimes it starts getting unemotional and just becomes about them about strategy or product and those sorts of things. So, I love I love hearing those stories. Are you seeing any other stuff? I mean, I love the shoe conversation too, by the way, the guilt free shoe account, I think that’s a great way as you’re hearing anything else, or seeing anything else that advisors are doing really well when it comes to their, you know, how they’re marketing or talking to their clients about goals based advice.

 

Michael Topper 

And they aren’t particularly with COVID. So we’ve got a lot of feedback from advisors that use our system that COVID became a really good excuse if you need an excuse, but a good reason to have goals, conversations with clients. And so, you know, theoretically goals based advice has been around forever. And that may or may not be true, what hasn’t been around all the tools that make it easy for you to conduct goals based advice in a way that the client gets and makes it easy for the client. So the feedback we got from advisors was, you know, people were busy. Getting freaked out about COVID, what was happening to the share market, how that was impacting them. And so they got a lot of calls, they were able to settle that down quickly by using our live modeling tools to show them that actually they, the impact isn’t that bad. And here’s some strategies to get back on track. And then thirdly, and it’s been a while since we’ve spent some time with you working on your goals, let’s just start from scratch. And let’s have a great goals conversation and, and develop the goals and use some tools to help you get those in place. And so we can monitor those going forward. So a lot of advisors jumped on, on that during COVID.

 

Fraser Jack 

Yeah, exactly. But we’ll jump into that in the in the next episode where we start to talk about some of those, you know, those engagement, but I do I do resonate with you that obviously, you know, we can there are a lot of conversations that say you know it all advices goals based advice and know what you’re talking about. But I guess I guess some of times it gets lost in the conversation, sometimes we get lost in the idea, that term strategy, in product of the back of strategy, such an important part of what advisors do that that that becomes the the topic of the conversation too often, rather than keeping the clients focused on what they want to achieve.

 

Michael Topper 

Yeah, and I think from an advisors point of view, their goal should be to be referral, make your business referral, and then figure out who the people are that can refer to you. And professionals like accountants, typically are pretty good refers to financial advisors. Unfortunately, they’re not necessarily the best referrals. So you need some tools to help them do that. And whenever someone gets referred to a professional, and the first thing they’re going to do is look at their websites and make sure you’ve got a website that shows that you’re professional, that you’re different to other people that you’ve got all the stuff that you can help clients have testimonials on there. And you have a really simple tool that they can complete. So you can buy ones that they can do some of their own retirement modeling. We don’t like that idea. But some advisors have that on their websites. But something like a five minute financial health check so they can go there, fill in something, start a conversation with the advisor, then move on to the goals conversation and a consultation.

 

Fraser Jack 

Yeah, I think you’re right with the website. The website is such an important part. It’s the it’s the doorway there shopfront for many people so I think investing in in your your branding and around your website, understanding that that’s going to be the first point of call understanding that, you know, you’re not going to be there for that conversation. So it’s, it’s very, you know, they’re, they’re there to judge and so you really do need to put your best foot forward. Michael, thanks so much for catching up in this episode with your content, you want to come back for the rest of our series. So we’ll see you in the next episode where we start talking about ways to engage that client. Really appreciate it.

 

Michael Topper 

Fantastic. Thanks. Have a great week.

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