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#318 Mitchell Ramsbotham – Transcript

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Jess Brady
This week, I talked to Mitch Ramsbotham the group general manager at Coastal advice group. Oh, what a good conversation. I honestly could have spoken to him for hours and hours, but I’m sure that you would have hated me if hadn’t made it that long. So we niched down on a couple of things, how to create a scorecard for staff that is balanced, keeps the accountability and has a low level of autonomy and control for employees. And we talked about marketing and how to make sure that you are attracting the right people for your business, but also for advisors specifically, have really enjoyed today’s chat, and I hope that you do too. Hi, Mitch.

Mitchell Ramsbotham
Good morning, Jesse.

Jess Brady
I’m so excited for today’s conversation. And we should say we’re in the same room.

Mitchell Ramsbotham
It feels odd. I haven’t been back to the city for a while. Oh, yes, lots of people.

Jess Brady
There are lots of people. But I’ve actually not done a podcast with a real life human next to me. This is exciting.

Mitchell Ramsbotham
This is exciting. It was exciting before even knowing that. Yeah. Even though I’ve known each other for a long time, haven’t seen each other for a long time. Yeah, this is gonna be pretty cool. It is gonna be really cool. There’s a lot to

Jess Brady
cover. And what’s interesting, perhaps about both of our backgrounds is we both come from corporate land, and gone into the advice land. And there’s some big things that I know you’ve pulled out of there and brought into your new world, which I definitely want to get stuck into today. I’m very excited about today’s chat. Our problem will be my problem most of the time, which is keeping us on track and on time. But I think is the starting point. For those of you who have not had the pleasure of knowing you for many, many years. Can we just do a brief intro as to who is Mitch and what is your story? Sure.

Mitchell Ramsbotham
It’s always good context for for content, it always makes a lot of sense. So, Mitch Ramsbotham, I am currently the group general manager of the coastal advice group, which is an institutionally licensed a larger, institutionally licensed full service financial planning business, headquartered out of Newcastle, but with four, we could say five, given there’s a there’s a serviced office type situation in there as well. But four core offices up and down the east coast of New South Wales at this point, yeah. Before moving across into that side, as you alluded to, I worked in product distribution for many, many years. I originally started my career in financial services as an advisor coming through trainee and into an advisor role. Then took the leap out into product distribution, which I did for many, many years through BDM into then strategic partnerships management for a large insurer, which I suppose gave me the opportunity to meet a lot of fantastic people garner a lot of really interesting ideas about the way that practices and businesses work, but ultimately led me to the relationship that I have with our CEO. And enabled this move across into a completely different thing. It’s so different. It’s so different, but that’s the exciting part of it, I suppose, too. Yeah.

Jess Brady
And you have a real life. You have small babies.

Mitchell Ramsbotham
I am a real person. You

Jess Brady
are a real person.

Mitchell Ramsbotham
I have two little babies, two beautiful little girls, Piper and Aubrey aparece. Three, Aubrey is has just turned two. So I really stayed in the pain. When we had the really close. We just thought, well, while it hurts, let’s just let’s do it be efficient, but they’re beautiful. They’re amazing.

Jess Brady
Right? Have you to jump out of a pretty well known environment into something quite new, quite different with small children and COVID. How has that been?

Mitchell Ramsbotham
Tough. So the second lockdown of COBIT. I’ve been there now for 1314 months. I started in a senior management position in this business with my particular arm of the organizational chart looking like probably roughly 15 People at that particular point in time. Yeah, now it’s about a little over 20 that sits on that side of the business with you know, with a bit of a reshuffling the midstream. But all of these people that I had been brought on board to manage and you know, management and leadership as a team is a contact sport. It’s if you’re not there with them to try to build any sort of relationship and, and mutual reciprocal relationship, especially for people to know who you are, what you’re about what your value set is those sorts of things. So hard to do, when you’re in a business for four weeks, across multiple different locations, and you dive into lockdown. So I was forced to try to build these relationships with this team that I lead over the airwaves. Yeah. Which was, which was a struggle, but that, to their credit, they’re all beautiful, very accepting people. We have a fantastic team in the business. It was a struggle, probably, personally, because I like face to face touchy feely interaction. Yeah, it’s the way that I’m put together. So for me, I struggled not being able to I’ve personally struggled not being able to do that. But we got there. We’ve done all the things. What Oh, yeah,

Jess Brady
let’s do a one minute overview of the style of business, you’re in for context, because some of the things that I want to deep dive in are quite unique. But I think without really understanding the type of business that you’re in in a bit more detail, it probably isn’t going to help understand how you’ve brought some of these things to life and scale that you’ve had to consider. So

Mitchell Ramsbotham
what sort of things would you like to touch on?

Jess Brady
So let’s talk about how many are in your team. Let’s talk about the types of fee paying clients that you have, how many if you’re comfortable talking about that. And just if you can give everyone a sense of like the volume of work, okay, your team work on.

Mitchell Ramsbotham
So coastal advice has caused love I started a few years ago now, under our CEO, Daniel, as a sole practitioner with a few support people around him, it’s crazy. We have now grown to 40 plus staff on shore, with two different offshore support teams, one providing operational services, the other providing advice, Document Delivery. So I suppose you could probably add them to the headcount as well, because that relationship still requires management. So it’s a big beast. Yeah. There is 14 advisors in the team, which accounts for 10 full time equivalents. So that says that says that we do and are really big on flexibility as well. So we do have a few part timers in the team, which I know the law Yeah, you said, for you was a bit of a mild light, it does create a few logistical hurdles, I suppose. But nothing’s insurmountable in a business. Once you get to a certain scale, you find that if you find that you’ve got the ability to really, operationally move things around from a capacity point of view. If you don’t have just one put one person performing a role that needs to directly correlate to the way that somebody else works if you’ve got a team of people doing something, and you can plug your people from a support point of view or a task delivery point of view into a team of individuals that know what they need to do. It’s really, really easy to manage units of work in and out, I suppose, is the easiest way to do it.

Jess Brady
And it means you don’t lose high caliber talent when they want that part time opportunity or you actually attract high caliber talent who are looking for that part time opportunity. So huge kudos to you. I haven’t heard of any such very many advice businesses being able to do Without, but we’re going to talk about the scale so, so you’ve got 14 people, but the equivalent of 10 FTE

Mitchell Ramsbotham
14 advisors. Yeah, we want to have 10 FTE client wise. We’ve done. And this is going to sound mental. And it has been it is we’ve done we did five acquisitions in the last 12 months.

Jess Brady
Yeah, that is mental. Yep, it is.

Mitchell Ramsbotham
All of which come with their own struggles. Some have been within our licensee, which makes it a little easier. Some have been mergers, which means that we’ve had the individual stay, which again, has its efficiencies that the perpetuation of that individual being in the business. And what that means from an advice delivery point of view was significant. So mergers were great. Some were mergers that then turned into acquisitions, because the people left midstream, which had its own struggles, some work, pure acquisition. So there was there’s a lot of moving parts in there, there’s a lot of different things that needed to be done. And that means that we have amassed at this particular point in time, roughly 900 fee paying client groups, which may be an individual or a couple, so there’s well in excess of 1500 clients, at this particular point in time, individually, within our business,

Jess Brady
I’m stressed as listening to you thinking about, you’ve only been in the business just over a year, you’ve got quite a lot of people that you manage, you’ve got lots and lots going on from an m&a perspective, and you’ve got little babies, I am going to ask you at the end about looking after yourself. Because I think that that’s a really important piece, but just a huge congrats. I mean, the fact that you’ve done it, and no data has challenges is is a huge success. But I want to talk more about some of the things that I think are quite unique to what you have brought into the business from that sort of corporate background. And you and I were chatting before this podcast, and there was so much that we wanted to talk through but we thought it was better to actually just focus on a couple of things and really doubled down on them and get really nitty gritty into how you implemented it, what worked, what didn’t, etc. One of the things that you did was bring in a concept that’s quite widely known and accepted in corporate worlds called a balanced scorecard, which I want to go through in more detail. But very few small businesses would know, probably or use a balanced scorecard. From your perspective, before we get stuck into how you’ve implemented it. Why did you want to implement what is a balanced scorecard? And why did you want to bring it into this business? Okay, so

Mitchell Ramsbotham
there was there’s a number of different reasons why our business going from one advisor, and a couple of support staff evolving over the last, you know, evolving over the years into what now is a behemoth. You need a framework. And you don’t just need a framework it the evolution of our business, from a small business into a somewhat corporatized medium sized business has meant that there’s a few things from a risk point of view and a risk mitigation point of view that I really saw as coming down the barrel that needed to be looked after as well. We are from a revenue point of view, one of if not the largest, privately owned business within the licensee group that we’re in, yeah, that puts you at the top of the table, it puts you in the headlines. And that can be a bit of a double edged sword, fantastic from an exposure point of view, access to people opportunities, all of those sorts of things. But it’s also fraught with danger. Because when you’re in the headlights, it’s not only for the positive reasons, and you’re not looked at just for leadership, from a from get up and go point of view, you’re looked at from a leadership perspective, from a risk mitigation and risk control measure point of view as well. So the scrutiny that I could foresee for our business coming down the barrel, yeah, given that exponential growth that we were seeing, I wanted to put something in place to ensure that if and were the regulator, or an auditor, or the licensee ever stepped into the business, we had a framework around the management of our income producing staff that ensured that it wasn’t purely a sales grab. Yeah, that’s not what our business is about anymore. Yeah, business is about I think the banks maybe took it a little too far went away from the revenue generation part of businesses in the first place. We’ve seen how that’s played out. So there is of course, there is a there’s a revenue and a financial overlay in there, but it is there is business targets, there is individual targets and there is individual developmental targets as well. They are it is not purely an art Between number that an advisor has given, you know, lick your finger, hold it in the wind and see what it feels like. There is some rhyme and reason behind how and where the revenues derived how it’s retained, rather than it just being a sales drive sales driver, I suppose. And there’s a lot more in there as well, we’ve implemented, for example, Net Promoter Score, we canvass recent clients that have recently gone through implementation within our business, and have one of our Customer Service girls in the marketing team call out and actually ask them specific questions about the advisor. So not the not what they saw from the business, the advisor as an individual, their ability to communicate their responsiveness to communications, and all of those sorts of things. There’s an NPS driver in the there is a personal education developmental driver in their office. And some of those are gateways that affect their ability to earn an income. So it’s not just make us money, and you’re sharing it, it’s make us money, do it in the right way, look after yourself, look after the client, and then we share in it, there’s a lot more to it.

Jess Brady
So this is, frankly, a way to have really clear KPIs that step away from the revenue only benchmark of how to be successful as an advisor 100%. And how did you think about the different streams? So those streams that you just talked about? Are they the main sort of streams that you? You have? Yeah, so you’ve got obviously there is a commercial aspect. I mean, it’s a balanced scorecard. So that has to be in there. So there’s,

Mitchell Ramsbotham
we can’t pay money if we don’t make money.

Jess Brady
Right? So there’s a commercial aspect about new clients and retention of existing clients, I would imagine. Absolutely, yeah. There’s a piece in there around how good a job did the advisor do in that process? So that’s the net promoter score your piece. Sounds like there’s a personal development, education development core component, as well, is there anything else that you typically measure

Mitchell Ramsbotham
use of technology, so we have a really diverse age and skill demographic within the business and building a framework that tries to tries to be all things to all people, you find that there’s some people that just aren’t tech natives. And then there’s there has to be a driver for people. Where we make a decision as a business to move to a different tech stack, or whatever it may be that we’re using to, I won’t say drag, but incentivize them to come along. On the journey with you. Yeah, so there’s some around the use of but we really see a lot of value in the tech stack that we’re using, and the efficiencies, not just the efficiencies that we can get from it. But the the client experience and the attested to client experience that clients are seeing from the tech stack that we’re using and some of the engagement tools. For us. If that as an as an incentive to make sure that there’s a consistency in process procedure, client outcome and what they’re seeing when they walk through the door. There had to be an incentive there around the use of technology as well, which was another big part. So that has no financial, there’s no financial driver to that right. As far as part of a balanced scorecard, for the ability for our advisors to be metricated on, and part of their ability to earn an income being grafted to simply the use of a technological tool that we’re asking them to use for the value of the client outcome is huge.

Jess Brady
And so can we just drill into that a bit more? How do you so is that like, you’re a leader, and you’re like, you’re a leader? You’re a ladder in terms of using the tech like, how does that? How do you actually rate or score that practically?

Mitchell Ramsbotham
A little bit of stick? Little bit of carrot?

Jess Brady
Yep. So So you’re looking at how quickly and frequently does an advisor adapt to the tech that you’ve asked them to use? Yeah,

Mitchell Ramsbotham
so we have a part of the tech stack, which is becoming more and more common. It’s like a client engagement fact find reverse back find cash flow modeling type tool. And it is amazing. It is really, really quite cool the efficiencies of onboarding, the outputs that you get, visually, in a meeting with the technology, but also the the documentation that’s produced out of the back of it and just the touch and feel of it. And the language in it compared to what advice documents used to look like and what PSPs and those sorts of things used to look like. It’s on the polar opposite end of the spectrum, right? What what we’ve done, it’s not leaders and laggards I suppose. And when I say stick and carrot, sometimes you have to force change and the way that we force change was We put a stake in the ground and said that at a particular point in time, the way that we were doing things was no longer going to be supported anymore. So our advisors, we’re not going to walk into meetings anymore with a review pack, okay, with a line by line, this asset did that this much, this asset did that much, there’s a lot more to articulating value to a client than sitting in a meeting going through line by line, what their performance was the year before last year. So this tool, the information that we give them now, doesn’t allow them to walk in with a bound hardcopy pack to talk through and use a highlighter, it forces them, it forced them to use the technology, in the highest proportion of circumstances, the ability for the document to produce to be produced is still there, we just didn’t do it for them. Okay. So it was going to take it was going to be a conscious decision on their part, where we get the numbers out of the software to tell us out of the myriad of meetings during that month, how many of those they’ve utilized the tool for, and which they have then potentially prepared a pack for, you’re not going to be able to do it for everyone. Yeah, you have to be really conscious of the client and what they need and want and what they’re going to see as value. If there’s an 80 year old, that he’s going to come through the front door that has doesn’t have a smartphone doesn’t have a computer, and you’re trying to get them to engage with this technology, when they really just want to take something home and read it with a cup of tea. Yeah, it’d be stupid if you’re not to give us something to read over a cup of tea. Yeah. So we allow them to do it. But took them away from being readily available so that the adoption was there, and we can then track the numbers. Fascinating.

Jess Brady
Is there anything in the scorecard that as it stands currently, that you think could? Or is there anything that’s missing that you want to add in? Or if you’re giving advice to someone who’s like, Oh, this is a really great way for me to get everyone consistently looking at the same sort of metrics? Would you be putting in anything else? If you could go back in time?

Mitchell Ramsbotham
Not really, not at not at not, I’ll say not at this point, okay. It will evolve, of course, but it will evolve with external change events, it’s only quite new. Like I said, I’ve only been there 14 months. Yeah, we did a, we’ve done a six month trial trial, which has worked quite well. And then the flipped over to a 12 month rolling basis, I can’t repeat cycles a year. So give give the opportunity for feedback in that first six months. So don’t, I’m really big on goal setting and achievement and the alignment of tasks to the individual. And if you’ve got an unreachable task, and that’s in front of you for 12 months, and you don’t agree with the design of something new, if you’re just lumped with that for 12 months, it’s going to be the most unmotivated thing in the world. So one of the big things for me was chunking that out into a smaller trial period, before moving into into the larger piece to give the advice team, both myself and the advice team on a collegiate sort of basis, the ability for feedback either way to say this worked, this didn’t work, this isn’t fair. This is rubbish, we may need more support to get to that particular point, all of those sorts of things. And I guess

Jess Brady
the feedback loop makes people engaged because they feel like they’ve co designed and gets people excited around understanding and having good certainty around what success in their role looks like. But most advisors haven’t come from a landscape where a balanced scorecard exists. And you’ve thrown in quite a few m&a A’s, which, no doubt have their own culture and their own style. How have you found it’s been getting them on the journey of adopting it, embracing it, enjoy? Enjoying it? Can we enjoy? Yeah,

Mitchell Ramsbotham
yeah, yeah, we can. So it’s, it’s, I’ve found it. I’ve found it really good. Okay. And the reason that I say that, I believe, and my personal belief, I’ll provide your details to the staff and I can give you whatever, you

Jess Brady
can text me confidentially.

Mitchell Ramsbotham
But I believe that it’s fit for purpose across a lot of those different pieces of our business. And there’s there’s a reason why everybody likes the feeling of being trusted. And having a level of control and autonomy over the way that they operate, be that somebody purely with an employee mindset that’s just there to do their nine to five, they still want a level of control and autonomy, but with m&a in a lot of circumstances, and this is one of the big, not stumbling blocks but hurdles is having somebody come into the booth business, whether that be on an equity basis, continued equity basis, so still a business owner, but operating as an employee, there’s a there’s a real difference in the way that they operate. But the balanced scorecard and the way that I’ve designed it allowed both of those individuals to continue to engage and see value in the way that they’re metricated. The way that I, the reason that I say that is, the way that I derived all of the targets individually that underlie the balanced scorecard in the first place is I broke out. I did this with feedback from the team in the design phase in the first place, very important. I broke out every single advisor, their direct costs, their fair and equitable share of what the overarching cost to run the business were. So really, now, each advisor runs their own small business, within our larger business, they have their own balance sheet. If they want more support, they can have more support, but numbers move. They say I can’t do this, I need more of this. I say cool, you can have that. But it means this Do we agree and they go? Or maybe not? I might be able to do it without that. So as an as, as somebody coming from being self employed to an employee, they still have the ability to say, Hey, I’d hire somebody else right now say cool past somebody else. Yes. Means you got to do this. Yeah. Fine. As it as as an employee, it’s also not just an arbitrary number. Yeah. On the other side, right? Employee, it’s not just an arbitrary number, like I said, before you lick your finger and hold it in the wind. And you say, you’ve got to write me X amount fishy? Yeah, it is it because it gives them credit for the recurring revenue that they’ve already got. Yep. And they’re part of they’re part of the balance sheet. And the profit and loss then just means that if they are doing all of the right things, hitting all of the right benchmarks, doing their education, working efficiently, utilizing the resources properly, following the process, engaging their clients, they might end up at some stage with no new business target, save for whatever the top up might need to be for their attrition, what you know, their organic attrition rate is right, yeah, you can have an advisor that just goes into a beautiful nirvana of coming in and having fantastic valuable conversations with clients, engaging them year on year, everybody walking away feeling fulfilled, and they’re under a very limited amount of stress. And that for me, from an employee point of view, yeah, to be running a small business within a business. Yeah. And having that freedom, based on your actions. And the way that you conduct yourself day to day being able to affect your future self as well, is just so positive.

Jess Brady
What I love listening to this is when you move, I think having never been in sort of a medium or larger practice. But I’d imagine when you move up to those sort of levels, you do feel like you’ve lost a bit of autonomy and control, you do feel like the numbers that have been given to you have come from above with very little rationale or understanding about why and how you’ve been given that. And yet, what you’ve done is completely flipped that on its head, you’ve designed it so that they actually are driving, if they want more support, what that number will look like and creating a level of commercial awareness that doesn’t typically exist, I think, in medium or large businesses.

Mitchell Ramsbotham
And you’re exactly right. And you find and you’ve probably found before to that, ordinarily, when you succeed, more often than not, you’re asked for more. Yes, right, your work your job. And you succeed, and they can choose that. They can do that. Let’s get him to do it again. Yeah. Whereas here, you’re rewarded for them. If you do all of the right things in the right ways. You’re not pushing the square peg into the round hole. And it’s not a flash in the pan type scenario where you just need to keep chasing your tail. Yeah, the advisors in our business are doing all of the right things in the right way. And they’re floating their own balance sheet their own little business in the way that they need to, they end up in a really fantastic spot where they’re working. They’re doing it really easy with all of the support. Their new business targets are really, really manageable, supported by the business, and they share it they share in the spoils of that as well.

Jess Brady
Amazing. I want to move on to something but before I do, and that sort of feeds into that new business and being supported through that, because I think that so many businesses and irrespective of how big their businesses, even if they only have a few advisors can really learn and adapt their processes to something quite similar. Practically, how do you track this? How do you review it? How do they make sure that they’re on track to people get to see each other’s scorecards and where they’re out? What does that look like inside of your business at the moment?

Mitchell Ramsbotham
That’s been one of the hard parts, reporting, you know, the umpteen different data points that we’ve had to pull together, in an ever changing landscape has been really quite hard, especially when you do change tech stack, and you try to build efficiencies in the business and you’re going through an evolution, that means you do change the way that you do things, where you do them how you do them every now and then. Yeah, it’s been a lot of long nights. But we’re at the point now, when, where knowing no, we don’t. And that may be something you know, you asked that question before, what what are the changes, the changes might be how it’s reported. I’m a bit of a softy. And I’m, where I have something that is that is potentially going wrong. Maybe at those particular points in time, or you know, where there’s a competition or a leaderboard, or whatever it might be, for whatever reason, a campaign at the time, or whatever it might be, I’m all about that visibility. Okay, if anybody wanted to scratch below the surface, and deep for these results, don’t ultimately be able to see them anyway. Okay. But as far as reporting the balanced scorecards, and the achievement of those and people’s targets, I have kept that fairly squarely between myself and the individual.

Jess Brady
And do you have a piece of text specifically that you use to track this? Or is it Excel spreadsheets? Or what is

Mitchell Ramsbotham
it it’s a number of different a number of different data points that will just get pulled together? Right, like I say, it’s a lot a long night, you do that? Yeah, I think it’s important, you know, as part of my role as a leader to motivate and try to get these guys in a position where they are engaged, and working the way that we need and want them to. That’s just part and parcel of what I have to do right now I designed it. And if if you build it, they will come. It’s working, it’s taking a little bit longer for me than I’d like at the moment. But that’s fairly constantly being refined, the KPIs are put together, the financial side is put together quite readily by the operations team for me on a monthly basis. Okay. The other parts of it, I need to pull together for from some product manufacturers, and from other tech providers, some of it can come out of x plan and calm pay. Yeah. A lot of that is then just, you know, task and thread benchmark reporting and those sorts of things. So that, yeah, there’s a few different data points, that would be great just to be able to hit a button. I’m getting it down to a fine art. Now, though, when it’s really, it’s really not that hard. It’s really not that hard.

Jess Brady
And it’s monthly that you’re looking at this data

Mitchell Ramsbotham
monthly, the intention will be to do a quarterly catch up, but monthly tracking, so monthly tracking to the individual and a quarterly catch up to see unless I’m asked to catch up. Otherwise, if there’s anything dire. Of course, if there’s a serious anomaly, yeah, it’d be silly not to not to point that out and do something about it. But otherwise, if everything’s tracking, well, give the people the time to do what I do best. I don’t like meetings for the sake of meetings.

Jess Brady
Neither me neither. This is so interesting, and I think gives a lot of people, a lot of consideration not only for advisors, but for staff in general about how we monitor, motivate, reward, incentivize give certainty to people I think is more than ever very important. When you’ve got so many people who are potentially thinking about whether they’re in the right home or not, we know that so many people just in general are thinking that so I haven’t seen that done really well inside a business before, which is why I wanted to hear more about it. The other thing that I want to talk about because of course I always run out of time, but we’re not going to run out of time because this is a really important piece. You have this really unique avatar marketing approach for each of your advisors. I’d love for you to spend just a couple of minutes educating us on what it is and then you know me, I’ll ask questions from

Mitchell Ramsbotham
there. Sure. Ask questions as you go to because I’ll I might just ramble. Okay, so Daniel has been really really successful the CEO has been really really successful with with marketing in this business from the jump. Okay. There’s been some there’s been some real My focus, I suppose an investment in that part of our business. And it has it succeeded to the extent that had, there has been a couple of spin off businesses that have been really successful in their own right, they’ve been born off the back of that success. One of which provides the framework, copy processes, procedures, and those sorts of things for the marketing that we use through an another business that Daniel has stood up called marketing, branding sales. Another that work that we have at the moment, that is in beta phase, called my money sorted is that on a larger scale, again, which is like a Australian consumer, financial literacy type website, and just education of clients that can’t necessarily afford to, or haven’t engaged in the fee paying advice, ecosystem, yeah, but just giving them the ability to get in, learn what they need to and want to about whatever they’re Googling at that particular point in time, and then have the ability to close the feedback loop in some way, shape, or form. So he has put together this this marketing engine and has had success with this marketing engine, with the use of, you know, Google Analytics, a lot of SEO work, but really driven by avatars. As you, as you said,

Jess Brady
Say more. So,

Mitchell Ramsbotham
we will go back to the conversation that you and I had before. And we’ve both been BDMS. Before we have, and I like to think that I’m a pretty agreeable type of guy. You know, I I’m not I’m try not to be hard to get along with. But in some circumstances, it just be personality is not going to resonate. Your specialty, your specialty, and your personality, just may not be on the resonant frequency of the other individual that you’re talking to your communication style, your interest, your age, or whatever, might not resonate. So it’s really important, especially now that both as a business. And as, as an advisor, you are really certain about the client that you are looking for the client that you can best serve and the client that you enjoy serving. financial advice. Now, as we’re all aware, and is consistently spoken about ad nauseam, right, we have forums every day about the increasing costs to deliver advice, the unavailability of advice, we talked about it a second ago with them that you know, the project that we’ve got going on, we need to be really sure about who it is that we serve, so that we can market to those individuals, because not only is that good for us organically to be very certain about who we can take on who is going to be able to or who is going to be able to afford to and also see value in the advice that we provide. But who’s going to engage in that long term? And he’s not just going to be that flash in the pan type transactional relationship.

Jess Brady
And and what you do so uniquely, is you take marketing so seriously that you think about avatars advisor by advisor.

Mitchell Ramsbotham
Yes, correct. So that yeah, that goes back to what I was saying. You will just find that some people don’t resonate with you. Yeah. You know, we’ve got an advisor in our business at the moment who’s just gone through his py his professional year. And he’s 24. I don’t think his advisor avatar is that 85 year old pensioner, you know, I’ve just thrown it out there. Right.

Jess Brady
I mean, even between Glen and I, who have had VOCs in here for a while, like he has a very different style to me. And so we have naturally attracted and retained retention is probably the big part actually incorrect. we’ve retained people that are quite different. Because stylistically how we work and how we add value, even though it’s the same demographic, it’s the same target market, but it’s the style, you talk differently, we talk differently and we coach differently. Crucially, how have you done that? Practically? Besides

Mitchell Ramsbotham
trial, a lot of trial and error that is just being a lot of trial and error. Okay, a lot of analysis and a lot of paid analysis and research. So we

Jess Brady
can we just step back for a sec. From from a large brain that’s just had coffee and waiting for it to kick in. So presumably, you went down the path of explaining to all the advisors, a marketing works, be marketing just at a practice level is not exactly how we want to do it. We want to niche down we want you all to have an avatar, you presumably went through An exercise to get everyone to think about or learn about who they best work with. And then does everyone have their own marketing plan? Do you get them to do social media? My brain

Mitchell Ramsbotham
is like a funnel, okay, like a funnel, we will try to incorporate so what overarch is this is the ideal client for the business, we are really set on what our minimum fees are and those types of things. So we feed all of the individual avatars up into what the overarching ideal client for the business would then be. Okay, we will take all of these people that are going to be in this band yet with the ability to engage with us long term retention be very, very important. Sure. We use a lot of Wizardry, I’ll call it because I’m not a marketer. Yeah. believe wholeheartedly in that the avatar and the way that we do things, but I’m not the semantics behind how it’s done with the SEO work.

Jess Brady
I mean, yeah, crazy, will speak human. Yeah, good,

Mitchell Ramsbotham
good. That’s really a relief. But the overarching theme, I suppose, I suppose, is that the, the Google AdWords, the Facebook, and all of the other different streams of marketing that the team are doing, then funnel into a central spot? Yeah. Because we are then so focused on the client outcome. And we discussed this this morning to you still organically engaged some clients that are just not going to be the right fit. And it’s really, really, it’s a tough conversation, terrible conversation. So there is the engagement part where we will, where the marketing that is done from an overarching point of view is, I won’t say skewed or say directed. So that it is being pushed out through certain publications, is going to appear in certain demographics that are that have the highest propensity to engage so that your funnel catches, you know, at least a decent standard deviation of the people on either side of what you’re looking for in the first place. It then goes through a vetting filter. So I have some beautiful people in our business that are really high EQ, that call up these clients and do an initial Meet and Greet questionnaire, get an idea of who they are, what they’re about what they’re looking for, and those sorts of things, and ascertain whether they are going to be a fit in the first place. And they either do that and they get all of that information that then allows us based on the particular client avatar, we’ll call it as well to align them to the individual advisor based on their specialty, and the demographic of clients, okay. Or they do the nice let down as well. And they provide some, you know, some really good hints and tips and informational pack, don’t send them in the right direction if they’re not a fit right now, for us to potentially engage in the future or to set them on the right course, rather than just saying, Oh, you’re not right, beat it.

Jess Brady
They’re the matchmaker. Yeah,

Mitchell Ramsbotham
they are the matchmaker. So

Jess Brady
they are so you’re using obviously the power of

Mitchell Ramsbotham
it’s easy to call it vetting. It’s like you know, it’d be really easy just to call it vetting, but that’s a bit of a dirty word. It’s

Jess Brady
matchmakers much nicer doing the catalog. Yeah, thank you. points that you can go back and take that into business. And so, so actually, it’s different to what I thought your matchmakers if you will know, the avatars. I know the advisors really well know who they best serve, and they are matching from that outlay. So we’ve obviously got all of the tech piece and SEO piece, which we can’t talk about because we don’t understand it enough, but they’re directing people to your business. The matchmakers are then learning more about that person, aligning them with the right adviser who’s going to add the most value. And how big is your marketing team and matchmaking team

Mitchell Ramsbotham
marketing team? We’ve got a head of marketing, we get copy done. So I’ve got because of the different businesses that we run that are saying we sort of Rob from Peter to give to Paul and there’s a lot of cross pollination that happens between those two, okay. Put it at three and a half 50 You

Jess Brady
okay, so many advice. Businesses would love the idea of having three and a half marketing FTE but it wouldn’t happen. Would you recommend for those smaller peeps pay a marketing company like do you see so much value in it that it just makes complete sense doubt. So that’s

Mitchell Ramsbotham
brand new sales came from that’s where that other business from it’s cents in the dollar, the cents in the dollar ability to have all of this intellectual property delivered on a Sunday. friction bases for you to just implement Next

Jess Brady
plug and play. And what’s your matchmaking situation? Is that one person’s full time job? Is that someone that’s in customer service that then picks that up? How big is that for you?

Mitchell Ramsbotham
It’s changed a few times, actually, to a bit of trial and error again, yeah, we had a full time resource doing it. Okay. And she, they were the client experience, type role. Lucky. So it’s really this is a, this is a tough part, because I suppose we’re in a pretty blessed position. In a business of scale, we have the ability to have all of these really defined individual roles within the business. Yeah, it’s a blessing. Really, yeah. But we had her leave. So we tried a different way. We thought that we’re really big advocates of internal promotion. So a lot of our support team are actually professional year candidates, we’re really big on trying to grow. Thank you. Yeah. Grow the advisor numbers. So we have currently in our business of the support staff, I’d say three quarters and three quarters of them are py candidates are Erina offers every single support staff member in the office. Py candidates for the future. I thought from a growth perspective, when they left, it might be good for them to jump on the phones and be doing some of these client interactions, Your

Jess Brady
face tells me that it didn’t turn out how you thought it was going to.

Mitchell Ramsbotham
They did really, really well. But it took quite a specialized skill set. It really, really is that and that’s one of the things that I have come to be really conscious of in this ever growing business is that, and this is, it’s quite well known to this book called The E Myth by a guy called Michael Gerber. I think that any small business owners out there should read,

Jess Brady
he’s looking at me very intently. Okay. And it

Mitchell Ramsbotham
teaches you about all of these different roles that people play in the business as the entrepreneur, the management and the technician, and even the technicians. What I’m trying to say is there’s different people in the business, different skill sets, some people that are really good advisors are terrible business owners, some that are really good business owners, the advice piece falls off a cliff. Some people that are great administrative Lee, technical advice probably lacks, you know, I’m generalizing. But there’s, there’s certain skill sets, and there’s certain resonant frequencies that people are just on. Advisors tend to advisors, and our professional you candidates tend to be really good technicians to do the lovey cuddly engagement and soft letdown pace, yes. That’s why I thought that it was going to be a good, it was going to be a good exercise in the first part, because they need to learn how to do that really well, because it’s something that they will come across quite often. But from a conversion point of view, and a commercial point of view, I just needed it to be sharpened up a little bit. And we just have this, the couple of really bubbly, vivacious people in the business that are fantastic for it, there’s those, those people that you can feel smiling on the other end of the phone. And if that’s the first interaction you’re having with the business, it tends to be a pretty good start,

Jess Brady
I have made this, I made that error, I made that error. And I completely undervalued my sales experience in the past, and I thought it was really easy. And then I have learned that that’s not at all. So it’s a painful lesson to learn it at that point in the funnel as well. Because that’s when opportunities dry up. And people have walked away because they haven’t necessarily got the experience that you think that they would have got. So painful lesson. And we’ve we’re running out of time, which is just the saddest thing. So I have so many questions for you. But in terms of the Avatar piece is there, before I get into the rapid fire questions, and then I’ll let you go on with your very busy day, conquering the world. Any other lessons, learnings, pieces of hope and joy for anyone who you think should embark I think everyone should embark on this because, you know, just listening to you, I just had this revelation that when you’re a BDM, you’re trying to be as open to all relationships as possible. Because there’s such a commercial, you get lumped with this target and you’ve got a pretty finite amount of time to get as much business as possible. So you don’t want to be all the things to other people. And now that has completely flipped on its head and it’s like no niche down, there’s enough opportunity. In the big wide world of advice, the more you can be really quite narrow in who you best serve, the more you’re going to attract those people who will stay around. So I think we as advisors are getting used to that, which is a completely different way of thinking about it. But anything else that you would help us with on this journey if you had fewer resources than you have

Mitchell Ramsbotham
Yeah, and you are so right and everything that you say. And it’s not just about getting business and getting new clients in the door, it’s ensuring that any and every client interaction that you have, you are really conscious of how that will end be that them coming on board or not, and what that looks like. So it’s really liberating to know what you want, it is really liberating, totally to not even want to try to be all things to all people to clearly be able to articulate and understand in yourself, even these high EQ people that we’ve got on the other side of the, on the other side of the telephone to these people, you know, for them, it’s really hard to say no. But if they understand why, if they understand the commerciality behind why, where a client is going to see value and where they’re not, and where the absence of value is just, it’s just going to be something that’s untenable. It’s really empowering for the people. And just, you know, one comment that I want to make is that the being really, really certain about what you do, how you do it, and the individual avatars of the advisors, making sure that that does talk upwards to the overarching strategy of the business. Because I will say that there are some certain things within our business that we don’t specialize in and we won’t do, they are strictly removed from everything that we market. So we don’t even have to sort even if it would be high value. We don’t have to sort that wheat from the chaff. It does. It does start with the individual, the business avatar and what we’re looking for from a commercial point of view, and then filter down to the individual advisors, avatars, but where there is where there’s specific strengths and weaknesses, you have to make sure that that talks back up as well. Because you know, the in those conversations, if there’s a perception that it should be high value, or they could be high value, but you’re pushing away clients, having those conversations with clients, that can be quite disappointing. And that can affect some of the things that happen in the periphery, your ratings, your reviews, your things that need to be working in the ecosystem that you’re that you’re trying to gain, I suppose to get this whole thing working in the first place. Every client needs to be important.

Jess Brady
Love it. Okay, we can’t talk any more about this stuff, because otherwise we’re going to talk all day. But before we go into the rapid fire questions to have to round out, I think today’s session has been hugely valuable. How can people learn more about you and your business, if they want to find you on the

Mitchell Ramsbotham
web, I’m on LinkedIn. The business is the coastal advice group. I am on LinkedIn, Michel Ramsbotham, all of my contact details will be on it. And I’m always more than happy to talk to anybody and everybody. I think that the more conversations that you have, if you walk away from an interaction with anybody from any walk of life, you can take one little thing away from multiple different conversations, it just turned into a snowball that makes you so

Jess Brady
much better. So much. The aggregation of marginal gains. I love it. Right, rapid fire questions to round out today’s conversation, which has been absolutely brilliant. Your life sounds crazy. You tell me what you do to look after your mental health.

Mitchell Ramsbotham
Healthy body healthy mind,

Jess Brady
you’ll be gone this time. Yeah,

Mitchell Ramsbotham
really big on this. I look back at the times in my life when I was. And I’ve probably let it like a little bit recently, just due to things. But it’s a real focus again, for me now, because I truly believe that in the times in my life, when I have focused more time and energy on myself and my own personal health is when I have Shawn, from a professional level as well. It really, really does work. And I’ve seen the ebb and flow of it, and I can actually put a pin in it and say, That’s not rubbish. It really does work.

Jess Brady
Yeah. Good reminder for me, tell me a piece of advice that you would give to young Mitch, what would you tell young Mitch,

Mitchell Ramsbotham
for me, you’ll never know what you want to be when you grow up. Okay, because I still don’t know what I want to do when I grow up.

Jess Brady
Have you grown up? No, never mean never.

Mitchell Ramsbotham
But I think you I think when you’re younger, you put a lot of pressure on yourself. And I think it’s it’s just the nature of the beast that young kids have a lot of pressure put on themselves on them, I suppose to make decisions at very young ages to be and you pigeonhole yourself you head down this track. Just never be too certain of what you want to be or do when you grow up because you might you put your blinkers on and lose sight of something that could be really quite amazing. I’ve taken a couple of different tracks in my career, you know, on the same sort of path but diverged somewhat, and some of those different blacks have been vastly different to what I originally studied and thought I wanted to do with my life. Yeah, it’s so rewarding. So take your blinkers off, don’t pigeonhole yourself. Don’t be too sure of what you want to be when you grow up.

Jess Brady
Love it. And what is something big on your bucket list that you haven’t done yet.

Mitchell Ramsbotham
So partially achieved, like, at least for me is when I was younger, I got worked through getting my pilot’s license, it was just a goal, achievement thing that I wanted to do. But there’s a few more certifications that you need to go through. To be able to fly passengers, the biggest bucket list thing for me will be able to hire a plane and fly my family away. For a holiday, I just think would be one of the most zany and out of control experiences to have that bucket list. I’ve done a lot of travel, I’ve done a lot of cool stuff. But I think just something that I’ve focused on as a personal aspiration for a long time to be able to, like the feeling of it is out of control to be able to bring everybody along for the ride would just be crazy.

Jess Brady
Oh my gosh, that sounds insane. Um, last question, do you have a book for me to read as part of my fake, although I have received requests to turn it into a real book club, but for my fake currently fake?

Mitchell Ramsbotham
Like I do. And it was originally given to me by one of my previous managers. The book is called legacy by an author named James Kirk. Okay? It is, it’s based around the, the All Blacks who, when you think about the most successful rugby team ever won, I think the number was like 75% of all international games, you know, there is some real, there’s, if you’re not a football head, it’s very rugby oriented. And there’s a little bit of cliche in there. But sometimes, you know, repetition, it gets gets the gets the outcome, right. So there’s a lot of cliche in there. There’s a lot of things in there that you’ve heard before. There’s a lot of things in there that are probably revisited from stuff that you’ve heard previously. But there’s some really good ones from a leadership point of view, okay, they are things like sweep the sheds, which is from a management level, nothing is beneath anybody, you know, you need to be able to and willing to get in there and do the granular and the nitty gritty and, you know, clean the toilets, if that’s what you need to do, because you’re in a small business. Keeping a blue head, which is around decision making under pressure. Generally, bad decisions aren’t made through a lack of skill or an eighth judgment, it’s because of an inability to handle the pressure at that pivotal moment. You have all of the things you know, all of the books stuff, you’ve read the manual, but you’re doing it’s the doing it. There’s a there’s a lot you know, it started sounds a little bit cliche, but there’s there’s about 10 different sections through the book. And I’ve actually passed this book on to a couple of other people in the business because it’s really big. There’s some some really big thematics sort of in there, one another one of them, which is what you do around what you do today, and it’s plant trees be good ancestor. Plant trees now that you will never see. So making sure that you’re not just doing things to get them down and putting a bandaid on it, you’re doing them the right way so that something beautiful happens in the future. It’s it does sound a little bit cheesy and a little bit cliche, but for me it was it really resonated.

Jess Brady
No, I love it. This has been such a good conversation, if nothing more just to be close to someone who I’m doing an interview with, but especially because it’s you and especially because you’ve added an enormous amount of value into a business over a tiny amount of time. I can’t wait to see your continued success. So I want to say a huge congrats for jumping into the dark side. But maybe it’s maybe it’s not the dark side. The light side is the advice side really fantastic. Yeah. And I have no doubt that you’re going to continue to do amazing things so much a huge thank you for being today’s guest

Mitchell Ramsbotham
thank you and I really appreciate the opportunity

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