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Deeper Client Relationships at Scale #3 – Andy Fenton – Transcript

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Deeper Client Relationships at Scale

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SUMMARY KEYWORDS

business, clients, people, business owners, finance, conversation, create, point, learning, advice, bit, process, advisor, australia, sit, built, incredible, compliance, technology, prosperity

SPEAKERS

Fraser Jack, Andy Fenton

 

Fraser Jack 

Welcome to the x y advisor podcast, a global community of financial advisors sharing and learning with one another to drive the positive evolution of financial advice. To get involved, go to x y advisor.com. Or simply download the x y advisor. This series deeper client relationships at scale is brought to you by my prosperity, the all in one client portal and app designed to enhance your practice efficiencies, promote your digital brand and grow your revenue. You can book a demo directly from the website, go to my prosperity.com.au Welcome back to the x y advisor podcast. I’m Fraser Jack and today we are deep diving into having deeper client relationships at scale, a series that’s brought to you by my prosperity. And today I’m joined by Andy Fenton from fintan financial welcome, Andy. Thanks, Mike. Good to be here. fantastic to have you along there, I can totally give the listeners a quick overview of just Phantom financial, the history or where we sit just where you sit right now, like as a business,

 

Andy Fenton 

right? Fenton financial, we’re a small business that caters specifically to small to medium business owners around Australia, typically between two to 50 mil is is one of our key nations. And we also deal with a lot of busy professionals that are quite property centric, we don’t actually provide property, but a lot of our strategies that we use for business owners are very similar for tax purposes for those people who have built up property portfolio. So we we narrow in our niche to deal with them. And I’ve managed to take the business from sort of column street down to the, to the suburbs of the mornington Peninsula and and now we do that remotely to these people all around Australia.

 

Fraser Jack 

Yep, fantastic. And we’ll get into some of the amazing tools and tactics that you use shortly. Because you’re really getting into these, the idea of, you know, creating deep client relationships at scale. But before we get there, you’ve got a really interesting background and story. So I thought we might start with that, tell us about tell us about you and how you actually got into the industry.

 

Andy Fenton 

Depending on how far we go back, I left school, got into medicine and went and became a musician on scholarship. And, and learned that doing something so nice doesn’t actually provide you with any money because I was broke, and I couldn’t afford to eat meat. So I then decided that people in finance must have money, so maybe I should try something like that. And, and I went home and the old man ended up having a few incredible bottles of red sitting at the table of which I couldn’t have, I couldn’t have ever purchased in my wildest dreams as a museo. And, and presented me as soon as I said, I don’t know, where I’m going with my life. And I feel like I’ve wasted two years, he said we could do all of these courses in finance and laid them out on the table for me. But it just so happened that that I had a bit of a calling to complex instruments. And and I was very interested in Treasury operations. So started off working for a query and then very quickly moved over into the investment banking, corporate finance in in London, New York, and operated quite a high level over there. And then came back to Australia because there was just something missing. There was I was not I was earning very, very good money and and I was enjoying to a degree the tactical side of my work. But there was something that wasn’t resonating with me. So I came back to Australia and shortly after I came back to Australia my I was married at the time and my wife passed away shortly after my 30th birthday and so going through that with her was was something that I guess when when you experience something like that there’s two ways that a person can go and you can you can go down to the the pity road of of self made, which I did for a period of time. But then you start to think about well what is my contribution to the world and what is my contribution to myself and how am I honoring you know my partner who’s no longer here and I guess as a road through to here it’s a really long winded answer but probably the shortest I can I can put it I got out of finance completely started a kite surfing to a company and and a corporate consultancy business to small to medium businesses in financial advisory accounting and broking and it was called the marketing engine room in my experience with complex derivative instruments like like structured products and tax products like in agribusiness and things of that nature from from a product design perspective, they wheeled me out to advisors around Australia and got a good network and met many advisors from around Australia. And I realized that not many of them had good businesses, they weren’t, they might have been great technicians, but they really struggled from a business perspective, how to set up the business, how to do it routinely how to do things systematically. So we started working with advisors and, and that was a great business. And I felt like, it was a little bit more to my calling, because ultimately, the reason why I got out of finance was because I didn’t feel aligned with it, I felt like I wasn’t making a difference, I felt that we were bringing more destruction than what we were prosperity for people. And after Angel passed away, I made a promise to myself shortly afterwards, that I’m never going to work with people that I don’t enjoy working with, I’m never going to work in a field where I don’t believe that I’m adding value to myself into other people. And the moment that I’m not having fun, I’m out. Because, you know, when you do have people in your life go in that direction. And then I longer here anymore, it makes you reflect on what you need, and what contribution you’re bringing in your life and what example you’re setting for other people around you. And coincidentally enough, my father was in the advice world and, and reached out and asked for a hand at a point in time while I was running this, this other business servicing advisors and came in and gave him a bit of a hand but very quickly realized that, you know, he was either 70. And with all the compliance, the technology shifts, he was just hired, and he didn’t want somebody to help him, he really needed somebody to take over the business and the business was tiny. But I remember my first client that I saw there, and I thought, actually, you know, I think that I could like this. So I gave myself a period of time of two years. And I said, Look, I’ll see whether this is a business that I can have fun with and that I can add value with. And, and that was sort of about seven or eight years ago. Now.

 

Fraser Jack 

Yeah, that’s an incredible story. And it speaks to a lot of your values too. And I, I recognize a lot of the pendulum swinging from, from creative musician to the corporate world to, you know, to kite surfing, back to back to business and sort of in that wave settling in a spot where you can actually help help your clients with all of those different aspects of their lives. And, you know, obviously, every single claim is different. And in small business clients who you tend to look after go through all those emotions to and then that juggle. So I can certainly see that your history has really molded the person that you are in the businesses that you’re running today, let’s get into that the idea of you working, getting into business, as you said before helping out your dad and coming in that way. Talk to me about coming in as you do an existing business that run by your dad, he’s in his 70s. And then you walking in with sort of some different ideas.

 

Andy Fenton 

He is a far better, and and what I what I aspire to be a lot like tiny in a lot of ways. Because he did something that I wouldn’t be able to do now. And maybe I’ll be able to do in the future. But when I came in, I said, Look, we can’t have two chiefs of the business, I know that you need help. And I know that I don’t know everything. But I’ve also had exposure to literally 1000s of advice practices around Australia. And I can see I know I’ve run businesses at a very, very high level, not my own businesses. But you know, Mike, we’re talking billion dollar businesses and, and so I sort of said, Look, if I’m going to help, it’s me, and you, you are the advisor, you’re the talent, and I’m the GM, I’m the CEO. And like that’s ridiculous terminology because the business was tiny. But that’s just what we had to do. And and he was totally okay with that. And you know, super humble. No, no ego and we really didn’t cross, you know, cross cross egos at all. We just sat in our lines and it was apparent really quickly that that the digest needed to retire. And there were a few things that weren’t going to enable that for him at that point in time. So So I took over the reins and but I still promised myself the one thing is that you’re a few things that if I don’t enjoy the journey, I’m out and so I literally said two years. I’m going to give it two years and we had to build it to sell it or I’ll take it over I’ll buy it off you and and I’ll just keep running with it and That two years passed, and I was enjoying it. But I also said, Look, I still don’t know where I’m going to end up in this business. And I’m going to let it tell me where my nation is going to be and where I’m going to have the most amount of fun. And it was an interesting journey, because it was almost like somebody designed it for me in advance. Because I love the technical side. And then I got, like five or six clients in a row who were all cure up stuff. So it was the complicated stuff of dealing with UK pension funds, but I got five of them in a row. And then, as I, we then became a crop specialist, and then then I got these self managed Superfund really challenging clients where we got AGI rulings, and we did some really cool stuff with and I got like seven or eight of them in a row. So then I just became a self managed Superfund net, and I studied it and just absolutely loved it. And so, it just so happened that my career kind of had these moments of like each one leading on to the next that then when I started dealing with small to medium business owners, and had a conversation with one of my mentors have old Russell Collins, and, and sat down with him. And I just sort of said, these guys and girls like they’re amazing people, they’re, they’re not business owners. None of them are business owners, they just own businesses, they have a skill set, or a talent or a passion. And they’ve gone and built a business out of that they’ve got they’re not business people, most of them, they have no idea about finance, I’ve got no idea about spreadsheets, they’ve got no idea about their profit and losses. And when an accountant speaks to them, they literally turn off and leave the meeting and just wait to pay the bill, and have no idea what’s just transpired and just have faith that they’re going to get there. And that’s why I think that when you look at the numbers, point 4% of small to medium businesses actually survive to get over $10 million. And I honestly believe it’s because these people are passionate, but they have no idea about their numbers. And there’s so much stuff from an advice perspective, we can add value to. And when I when I found these people who were just in desperate need of help, and who were just salt of the earth, people who just really wanted to make a difference, that that’s when it started to become really fun. Because we could see the difference that we were making day to day, and you could see the pressure, and then you could see the launch pad that you are creating for your clients.

 

Fraser Jack 

So that’s the the the evolution, I guess the natural evolution of who your target client is correct. Yeah, and so so helping those people in their way, getting, you know, getting in deep and going through that conversation and looking at their businesses, that to me feels very much like it’s a to start with there has to be an individualized service. It’s it’s a, you know, you and them in the room for a long period of time creating a deep relationship. Getting in really, and you know, the nitty gritty of all the stuff that you’re doing. That’s the starting point of I feel, but I feel like you’ve moved from there to a point where you’re actually now teaching all these people in more of a more of a way where you’re teaching them at scale.

 

Andy Fenton 

Yeah, and this is also an interesting kind of evolution of the business, in that, fundamentally, I believe that if you really want to make your wealth work for you that you have to take some sort of responsibility for the journey, you don’t bring up your children in a way that you expect them to learn all of their morals, all of their foundations in life from the school teachers, you know, you bring up your kids personally, and you take responsibility on their, to a degree on how they grow up and how they show up. And I think, you know, your journey with wealth is very much the same sort of thing. If you expect to hand it all over to somebody else and expect them to run it, then it’s just a matter of luck as to whether you are actually going to end up in a good position or a bad position. And especially with business owners, if they give their power away. And then I mean knowledge. If the amount of small and medium business owners I know. And I had a conversation last night, which was I hired a CFO too early, I’m never going to let go of my finances to that level ever again. And I’ve heard that from hundreds of business owners, I will never let that go again. Because as soon as I do, it turns to shit. And so you’re having experienced this a lot. And then also with clients, there’s a psychology. And most of us are blissfully unaware of all of the meta programs and the stories that we have running in our brains. But ultimately, if you don’t come from money, if you don’t come from a background of abundance of money, then your psychology is going to sought to keep you in a comfortable zone. And that’s the zone of where you came from. So if you’re always scrounging around for cash, your psychology is comfortable there. And as a business owner, you will find new and inventive ways of being able to waste profits of the business and money from the business in order to be able to get back to that comfortable position, which ironically enough He’s really uncomfortable to sit in, especially if you’ve got a family to feed in retaking responsibility for your wealth, there needs to be somebody who provides an educational platform. And so I fundamentally believe that the advice process, especially for business owners, because they have to know their numbers, because otherwise, it’s just pure luck that they will succeed. But they need to take on a level of ownership for it, which means that it’s our responsibility to provide a level of education to our clients so that they are capable of being able to make decisions that will actually benefit them rather than blindly hoping that somebody has their best interest at

 

Fraser Jack 

heart. Yep. And so after, after doing this in one on one meetings for, you know, a long period of time you sort of out then Okay, thinking to yourself, Well, okay, so how can I bring these business owners and keep them, keep them, as you mentioned, keep them focused on these numbers, they focused on the numbers focused on the things that they need to know as well as educating them along the way. And so tell us about how you then created more one to many style conversations and courses around that,

 

Andy Fenton 

again, that happened by just a really fortunate, very lucky lifestyle. And look, I don’t believe in luck, I believe that you create, you create your own luck and via me trying to improve myself, I put myself into a position to meet people who would help me improve as a human being. And one of these guys was a bloke called Cohen, Ryan. He was a good friend from years beforehand, and we reconnected and he’s a business coach, and he does business coaching at scale, you know, four or 500, high paying private clients and, and then has events with, you know, eight 900 people, and he’s got an incredible skill set, the guy is a bit of a genius. And he I went to him to learn, and then I ended up interacting with a lot of his clients who were scaling their businesses two to 10 times. And they were blowing, though virtually blowing themselves up because they didn’t understand their cash flow. And for most people, if you’re listening to this, if you’re scaling a business two to three times, if you don’t know your numbers, you’re gonna blow up like that, that’s just gonna happen. Bigger scaling, businesses burn cash, like no tomorrow. And so these businesses were expanding through marketing. But because of their lack of awareness around their numbers, there was one business that $100,000 and though they had to beg, borrow and steal it from friends, and we just caught it in time. And they were a $10 million business at that point in time, they almost went belly up on 30 days, that $100,000 borrowed from friends and family for 30 days. Now, there are a $37 million business. But they almost went here because they didn’t understand their numbers. And so we had a conversation in and around this. I said, mate, you’ve, you got to educate your clients around numbers. And Jeez, that’s interesting how life can throw you some curveballs. So they said, Andy, yep, 100% Yeah, we’re gonna do this, we’re going to educate people around their numbers. I said, brilliant. That’s exactly what you need to do, what do you need to do, I’ll give you the framework. Whatever you need, you tell me what you need, and I’ll provide it for you. And I think it’ll be great for you to deliver that. And I’ve gone one, okay, so anything, I said anything, and I’ve gone Alright, we are presenting at the next event in two months. And, you know, I don’t I hadn’t presented for years after Angel passed away, I’d lost so much confidence in myself as, as, as a being in front of people, I had confidence in my skill set. But there was lots of parts of me that were broken. And before the first presentation, I remember that I lost feeling to my fingers. My whole body went into virtual shock before I had to get up in front of 1000 business owners who had paid good money to be in a room and teach them how to how to understand their numbers. And I was doing it at seven o’clock at night after they’d been in a room for 12 hours, after not much sleep the night before, but that, and then got an amazing response from it. And the business owners, you know, would normally be falling asleep at that time. They knew that it was what they needed. The response was incredible. And what we realized at that point is like, Okay, well, this is something that people need to know about, because people don’t sit through finance presentations and stand up and pay attention. But they did with this. And so it hit home. And so that’s then started begging the question, Well, how do we do more of this at scale? And one way is to do it via that platform whereby you’ve got hundreds of people in a room, and that’s great. But that’s also not the easiest thing to do, because you’ve got to be able to put the people into a room. So that led me on a journey of well, so how do we do this? And how do we because that’s, that was 90 minutes worth of content. And then it’s like, well, if I really want to coach you through it, then there’s probably several coaching sessions over a year are building budgets and adjust to focus on the cash flow of a business and I don’t have the time to dedicate to every individual that amount and they don’t have the money to pay for that. So we started sorting for the problem of what’s going to be economic for them and give them the tools that they need in order to be able to just manage their business. And then start to bring awareness to their stories around money so that we can then grow their personal wealth. And so we started going down, you know, online learning, we started going down, Facebook Lives Coronavirus, hit right in the middle of some of these realizations for us. And, you know, we went down trial and error. So we designed programs, we designed them for personal, you know, wealth accumulators for business owners, we design them for entrepreneurs who want to get into business, and we just started throwing spaghetti at the wall and started saying what stuck. And and the things that stuck, we just started amplifying and turning the turning the attention from our perspective and the volume up on those things. Well, fantastic. And so that’s it’s been an amazing evolution of modules and courses and programs and webinars and just, you know, putting yourself out there, I

 

Fraser Jack 

guess, is the the interesting one, it’s an amazing, it’s an amazing thing, when you do actually start getting from presenting, and then you just get your confidence back to do that. So it’s incredible. that’s growing into some different sort of levels or areas of courses that you’re providing for different that I you know, it’s not the beginning, intermediate and advanced, but you’ve got some some ideas around sort of foundations, and then blueprints around the 2.0 version. Tell us about those.

 

Andy Fenton 

So probably talking to two different components of it. One is the most recent evolution, which we’ve got, we call Fenton foundations. And this was designed to solve a business problem, as well as, you know, a client challenge so and the business problem was quality of data, and our cash flow Conversion Cycle, and ultimately, the amount of time that we were spending before that conversion cycle. So it was also it also had to do with business profit. But it also came back to, again, three or four years worth of experience of dealing with business owners, and we’d get to certain levels where we’d be having conversations and their knowledge level wasn’t strong enough to have those conversations. And so this is where you end up with that what I call the accounting conversation and the accountants out there. I actually love you guys. But what I found is that there is there’s this gap, right, the business owner expects you to play a role that you’re not playing, right. And you don’t know that they’re expecting you to play that role, because they’ve never articulated that to you. They just believe that they’ve got you as a business coach, and you’re going to be running cash flows for them, you’re going to be a management accountant. That’s what’s in their head. That’s what they believe. And you believe that you’re there to do statutory returns and these sorts of things. So what happens is, there’s the accounting conversation that happens whereby you tell them about a strategy, it goes over their head, and they start thinking about their business and other things and go, Okay, yeah, all right. And they’ve got no idea what they’ve just agreed to, and advice world, that’s a huge risk for us massive risk. So this is also solving for a compliance problem. So I realized that there are a couple of key areas that business owners need to know about and non business owner clients need to know about. So the first part is that they need to know about their structures, they need to know who the appointees are the directors or the shareholders are, they need to know all of those roles, at least to begin with. So we used to get the information straight from the accountants. But that’s Yes, it took away the inertia for the client, that the client didn’t learn anything through the process, but in actually helping them construct their their company trust and self managed Superfund diagrams, they actually started to realize I’m there, I’m there, I’m down there, I’m in four different roles. Why am I in four different roles? Andrew, that’s a really, really good question. But the fact that you now know you’re playing for different roles, that’s where we need to be in order to have this conversation. So we built out Fenton foundations as an onboarding program and a series of three to five minute videos. The first ones were just, you know, integrating through our site. second one was about how to fill out your your leverage in your property spreadsheets, and ownership structures and things like that. Then we had your company structures and things of that nature. And then we took them through how to fill out our version of finance to our finance 2.0, which is my prosperity. So we have this process now whereby it’s an interactive learning process, but it’s also a data gathering process where we hold their hand and we, we can literally spend hours with them without having to be next to them. And now when they come to their appointment, which is their initial discovery, they know that they’re playing for roles with different structures, they start asking the questions as to why I’m in all of these different positions. They actually understand where their leverage is at and where their share portfolio or their property portfolio is at. Then we also get them to map They’re banking. So they’ve visually mapped their banking and, and quite often they say, Andy, it’s a bit of a mess. And I might Yeah, and and this is a really common one, it’s nothing against Skype because I think that he’s done incredible things for the finance out there, but they go, I read the Barefoot investor. And so we’ve got all of these 57 bank accounts. And I’m kinda like, you know that the brain can only come comprehend about four things at any one point in time. And I’m sure that that’s pointed to females, not males, because I’m pretty sure that we’ve got one. But if you’re focusing on any more than four things at one point in time, your brain will not sort and will not understand it. And banking is really similar. And that’s why we came up with a three bank account system, is because we needed to develop some systems and some structures that allow you to look at less than four things and be able to identify at a glance, where you are, are you positive? Are you negative or neutral? Where are you sitting, so we get them to map the banking. So when they come to the discovery, they’re already aware of all of these issues that are popping up, and they’re starting to ask these questions. And from a device perspective, that’s great, we can have a good conversation from a data gathering perspective, we’ve got all of the hardcore data that we need, before we’ve even done a lot of work for the clients, we’ve gathered it through our portals and, and got them populating our my prosperity account, so that we’re dealing with in some cases, live data. And it enables us to have deep conversations, because business owners or anybody, once I’ve done that research, if they’ve committed to that journey, then they’re going to be committed to the process. And anybody who’s not committed to the journey, we don’t want to work with you. Because I want to have fun in what I do. And if I’m having fun, it’s because we’re getting somewhere. And if I have to drag you kicking and screaming all of the time, it’s no fun. And I want to work with people who want to get ahead. And so they’ll go through that process. So when we found that by doing this, then we have our discovery session, all of a sudden, their levels of understanding explode. And and we can have a much deeper conversation. And that’s not a rapport that’s built through. You know how the kids you know, what’s going on, you know, with the family, I’m super caring about those things as well. But that to me is secondary, it’s like, okay, let’s dive into this sort of stuff. And they’ll literally go, normally, when we ran discoveries before this, it would be me speaking, and asking questions. They go before we get started, Andy, I’ve got these questions for you. And it’s like, okay, when people start doing that, you realize that you’re, what you’re doing is on the right track.

 

Fraser Jack 

Yes, this is fantastic. So it’s not just a no, like trust information. This is about me coming, come and talk to me. You are you weeding out those ones that aren’t gonna follow the process to start with, as you mentioned, you know, because it is a bit of a process to get through no matter what I say that it’s the it’s called continually learning along the way and importing and getting their heads around the way that you talk about things and those sorts of things. How long does that process taking in? Do you get much drop out of it

 

Andy Fenton 

drop out? We haven’t had anyone drop out? Yeah, we do filter early. Yeah. So I do have a 10 minute conversation with the clients beforehand. And I’m pretty direct with that. It’s the three reasons for the call to figure out whether I think that I can work with you as my number one because that’s part of my values and my team’s values. Yep, we’ve as a business, we’ve fired more clients and what have fired us and and I mean that in that fact that if they stop trying, or they start to have too much inertia against where they’re going, then the relationship isn’t going to work. So we better do this part ways. But so we haven’t had dropped out from that, but we vet them pretty well coming in. And we let them know all of the financials upfront that this isn’t a sales process by any stretch of the imagination, like a breaks every sales process rule, because in the 10 minute call, I’ll tell them exactly how much they’re looking at spec, I’ll give them a range of what I believe that it’ll be upfront and ongoing. I’ll tell them about their responsibility in it. And if I don’t believe that we can add value, I’ll actually say, look, the amount of what it’s going to cost us to do this work, I don’t think is going to give you the value in return. And we’ve had one or two people over the years who have said, I don’t care, we just want you to be doing it. And we feel safe in that. And I’m like, let me be 100% clear, this is sunk cost you you will not be better off by doing this. And and it’s and they understand like, well, actually a sunk cost. You know, we hire a cleaner. They clean the house. Yes, it’s a sunk cost, but we’ve got a clean house. So we tend not to drop off in that process where we tend to have more challenges in the implementation period of time, because that’s where strategies can change or where life can become can get in the way of things and that’s a that’s a different discussion.

 

Fraser Jack 

Yeah, absolutely. So they get through that process. They they care more than you do your discovery meeting in Then Then you go through and do the advice process. So that’s fantastic. But just just on the concept of before or them getting to know you, you also do a lot of work. You know, as you mentioned before the Facebook Lives or other types of videos, and to go through those sort of things that you do on a regular basis.

 

Andy Fenton 

Yeah, look, and this was this was born from again, necessity. And I think, a passion to serve, which is, which is I think, critical. And I think most advisors sit in that space, like we have a passion, we, in some level, we want to make people’s lives better. And so COVID hit, and I remember sitting down, I remember immediately watching my Facebook blow up with hundreds of business owners that I know as friends. And I love these people, like I love most of the people that we work with, and and I listened to whomever it was deliver the news, Mr. Andrews deliver the news. I’ll be very careful about my political speech at the moment. So I heard him deliver the some of the news and I thought nobody knows what the hell he’s talking about. Nobody has any understanding of the ramifications of this. And so I had, I just jumped straight on to my Facebook, straight onto a live it was a first live I ever did, and went out and dissected it to all to everybody who would listen and started immediately start up a Facebook group for people to come in and listen to these types of things. And then I spent the days because legislation was dropping, dropping, dropping, dropping, dropping, and it was changing, changing, changing. And then those dropped, seek a jump keeper than there was. And there was literally about four or five years worth of legislation dropped in a week. And nobody knew what was going on. And obviously we’ve got our consultants to, to Parliament, and so on and so forth. So I was dissecting the legislation, I was working 1214 hours every single day, I work six months to four days off, and crunching crazy hours, but reading through everything that was coming through because that’s what we need, we need to be on top of the information I spent then Friday night after work, I’d jump on with a mate of mine, Jason. And we would polish off a bottle of wine while talking about our take on the different types of legislation and what was going on and how we could utilize that. And, and then we just got too busy. And we said Look, why don’t we just cut out the middleman and and so we created wealth, wind and wisdom, which we ran when our close to 50 episodes that started or you know, at the beginning of the pandemic last year. And we would literally dissect every bit of dropping news, what’s in the news legislation, how to take advantage of it. And the biggest scare point there was as an advisor, you get browbeaten by compliance and all of these things that it was, it was scary. And the thought that came through my mind at that point in time was Andy, by doing this, if you say the wrong thing, then acid could potentially come in and rip your license away from you and your livelihood is gone. And at that point in time, I use probably more aggressive language than this. But I said stuff that I said I don’t care. It’s about helping people. And it’s about if if somebody wants to take a pipe or try and throw me in jail, or try and sue me for trying to help people out there, albeit then I’m in the wrong industry, and I’m crossing my values, and I’m out. And so was a big fear to overcome. And then you’ve just got a network of Joe, anybody who could be tapping in and listening. But we had on average about 5000 listeners, every Friday night, who would sit down have a glass of wine and I won’t lie, there were times where we were stretched to the maximum, we would probably add a little bit too much to drink throughout it and maybe go a little bit vocal about politics. But the engagement was incredible. The gratitude was incredible. The we didn’t ask for anything from any of them. There was no promotion, nothing. It was purely just giving. And from there, we then realized, we got our confidence, or I got my confidence. Jason was already very confident in that space. But I got my confidence. And so we just took it to another level created out client groups within Facebook. We created the personal finance blueprint, which is an online course that we give to our clients to educate them on psychology and cash flow management. It’s literally 30 hours worth of training in there. But we also sell that to private clients. And so we then created groups and then we started doing our money Mondays and we started doing out so money Mondays was talking about strategies and tactics that are strategies that everyone should, should know about. And Thursday tools and tactics was all about them, giving them tactical ways of being able to implement these things. And so we just started taking everything that we knew about, about the world of finance, personal finance, business, finance, and we just started sharing And, and, and it just kind of went from there just I wouldn’t say exploded because we’re not doing 10s of 1000s of people or anything like that, but where we’re touching 1000s of people and impacting 1000s of people and, and having fun in the process. And if we’re strategic enough, we’re also building assets in the background.

 

Fraser Jack 

Yeah, yeah, fantastic. And, and all of those things as you build them, and you continue on that journey, it’s related to the compound interest curve, right? It just starts off with, you know, a few people. And then as you build an edger garage, and these assets don’t go stale. This they’re relevant today is a, you know, yesterday, and they will be tomorrow. And in Yeah, that, you know, you get more and more people engaging with more of them. So congratulations, I think that’s incredible, then to fantastic. I think it’s a fantastic story in a lot of panels can can take that away and start doing things like that themselves.

 

Andy Fenton 

It’s just scary. Just it Yes. Is it who’s going to watch who’s going to, and as soon as you go, well, it’s not about me, it’s about them. As soon as you do that, then you start to see it for what it is not what you think that it is, and you think that it’s about you. And it’s really not.

 

Fraser Jack 

Yeah, and this is, and that’s the same with any content you’re creating, whether it’s a podcast, or a video or Facebook Live, but then again, so is the first client meeting you walk into, right, you can’t have a second or third or fourth client meeting without having a first one. So you got to start somewhere, right. Now, let’s have a quick chat about some of the technology that you are using in the business because after, in, as you mentioned, people coming through, and you know, engaging in a process and a service, which you’ve you know, you’ve built out really well and they can follow the bouncing ball, they end up either in a portal where they fill the details out, and they can continue to use that tell us about how the technology is working with you.

 

Andy Fenton 

That’s it’s it’s a it’s a rabbit hole, I would split technology up into, you know, a few different parts I go online courses and training technology, which is sort of in that CRM boat, I’d go business management technology. And then I would go, you know, videography, and, and, and content. So depending on which one you want to focus on, because there’s a bit of a rabbit hole on each of them. But if, if I kind of probably bring the key parts together, I mean, we need to, you can’t manage what you can’t measure. And a lot of advice platforms give you no capacity to measure anything, which is ironic given that’s the industry that we’re in is measuring and managing things. We use ontraport as a as a choose a choose your own adventure, we call it our client experience, portal. And we can create automation through that. We can create online membership sites, we can create online courses, we can track and measure our clients participation through those courses. We can do online field population, it will talk to acuity to book our meetings, it’ll talk to zoom in order to get things in. So it’s a tool that will actually talk to a lot of different things. And we set that up with with with automation. The key thing about automation is that we went down a rabbit hole when I first started with it. And anybody who’s starting with automation. Here’s the number one tip keep keep it simple, stupid, because I had an automation sequence that we ran for two years, which was the first way that we dealt with FDS. And when FDA with FDA as being a two year cycle, I had an automation sequence that started four times a year and ran in perpetuity in two year cycles. And it was incredible, it was brilliant. And But what happened is the one thing that is constant, which is change. And then as soon as the government changed one thing, we will try to change that process and we just had to rebuild it. And when we rebuilt it, we built it smaller in smaller chunks. And we learnt to really map our flows really well and create smaller programs or smaller automations that link in with each each Next one. But we literally took 183 step process 100 about 193 step process of which we’re all manual points of entry took around about two hours and we would do it 100 times a year. And we took it down to about 3.5% user entry. So all our team did now is fill out one form and everything else happened behind the scenes and everybody else got exactly the same journey. So used standard operating procedures got in ontraport obviously we use Facebook and Instagram and had a little bit of experience with Tick Tock which is still we’re trying. We’ll see how we go with that. But then we got into the world of streaming and, and and video presentation. So one thing that I guess we’re not so unique now is that our clients are all around Australia. So 98% of our meetings are non face to face. And to a degree, the 2% that we have is really just honoring some long term client relationships that we’ve had for a long time. And I will honor those relationships until the day that I die. Or that you know, the relationship can’t exist anymore. But everything else is online. And I fundamentally believe that this mechanism provides us the ability to be able to deliver advice at a level that far surpasses any whiteboard, or any face to face interaction. I think that the biggest point of friction in the client relationship is our belief that we need to be in front of people in order to build rapport with people. And that’s just simply not the case. And anybody who wants to challenge me, I’m happy to go head to head on this because in with the technology world, we can literally deliver using the technology we can deliver faster, we can deliver more pointed, more tailored, more flexible advice than if you’re sitting in a room with me. And we can record it, we can as long as it takes preparation, and you’ve got to build some systems and processes behind the scenes, you know, I’m using at the moment to come to through this podcast, I’m using ECAM live as a virtual camera in order to come into this podcast and I’ve got a stream deck in front of me, which is a gaming platform, I’ve got an ATM Mini Pro is a camera switcher, which allows me to go through various different types of cameras that I’ve got sitting around the desk, because I’ve got one here, I’ve got one there, I’ve got one there. And you can create a really fun interactive experience where the client is actually captivated. And, you know, hitting the stream deck, and we can’t do it in this this podcast, but I can play videos which can be used as compliance tools as well. So one of the things that I I, I don’t hide it, because I try not to hide anything. But repetition is something which is absolutely a necessity. But Jesus, it can become boring. And so we just took processes that I became bored of doing. And we created the best version of that process and put it into a video and then you stream deck and go bang. And here’s the compliance side of the equation when it comes to certain parts of the process. And then that gives me the ability to, to mute myself type up notes. So it condenses the time that we’re taking notes after the meeting as well. So that those types of platforms, we use multiple different streaming techniques, so that we can stream to, you know, 20 different places all at the same time with our partners made the list the list goes on. Obviously, our client facing portal is my prosperity. Because we need something that is live up to date. And yes, you know, you’re going to use portals like this. And yes, you’re going to have people complain and go, it’s not working, it’s stupid. It’s not. And a lot of that is in the pre framing, I think as well. And one of the things that I say about my prosperity is it’s kind of like the zero for personal finance. Except it’s super sexy, as if it was built by Apple. And it’s so simple, that you even you will be able to understand it, you’ve just got to put a bit of effort into it. But then you’ve got a live system that you can talk to, rather than reverse engineering, getting the data back. And I just think, you know, we’ve we’ve gone past that time is too precious rather than to fact find every single time a client comes in, I could talk for days about technology.

 

Fraser Jack 

Fantastic. And thank you for mentioning all those things. It certainly is incredible. And I love the fact that you’ve gone to the effort of learning how the technology works in the online meeting, presentation piece. I mean, yes, we can all jump on a zoom meeting. Yes, we can all set a fuzzy virtual background if we wanted to. But you know, that just the idea of having multiple camera angles, being able to link those between the two, you know, you think about how much money people spend on on boardrooms and offices and, you know, and work in things looking nice and nice tables and chairs. And if you think if you just spent that same amount of money is not expensive to set up your your virtual space to be able to present in a way where you do come across as a professional and something that no, you know, what you’re talking about, know what you’re doing?

 

Andy Fenton 

Yeah, I mean, look, it’s it’s iteration and and it’s the the passion for improvement and the passion to become better. And I think that our industry has lacked that for a few decades. Not everyone, but I think that the industry has been a little bit lazy. I think it’s picking up momentum now. And there’s a lot of people that are really striving to go to that next level. But you know, it takes time it takes effort, but it also takes a passion to make things better than the way that they were before. And I always say that you’ve got to spend the time that you feel like you don’t have in order to be able to create the time that you need. And it’s it’s it’s a two edged sword that works for you. Right, it’s you dedicate the time into learning technology and learning processes. And yes, it’s it’s time that you’ve got to spend but it’s not a sunk cost time. It’s time that will Then leveraging give you time back into other areas. And, you know, that’s the part that excites me because as you go part, as you start to do all of this sort of stuff, then you realize that it’s becomes infinitely scalable. And yet far more professional coming from, you know, a background like this, then potentially even an office with a whiteboard in there, you know, it’s, we’ve literally given presentations, during the middle of COVID, we got green screens and things sent to the office and a bit of a lighting kit, we gave presentations to about 10,000, small and medium business owners in eight to 800 to 1000 increments. And the writings were as good as as if we were there live. And I wouldn’t have believed it. And it was freakishly that the amount of anxiety before that was off the charts. It was like I know, it had to learn about the cell fi unit on the roof to increase the speed of the internet, the switches, the cameras, and all of those sorts of things. But once you got over that hurdle, then all of a sudden, it’s like, well, I can be anywhere in the world at any point in time, as long as I’ve got some basic sort of technology, delivering, you know, advice, content presentations at a level that is far superior than potentially being face to face. And when you start to realize that it’s like, wow, the what’s next, you know, how can we sharpen the sword? More?

 

Fraser Jack 

Yep. Fantastic. The End, thank you for sharing that. Tell us about the future? What does the future hold for you? And then what evolution is coming next?

 

Andy Fenton 

It’s a really, really good question like we, one of the biggest challenges is, is talent and scaling the talent side of the equation. But as far as the the future of where the technology and where I believe the the advice will actually transition, I think that it’ll be to a multi ordinate. But sort of on the experience for clients from an advice process, I think that we will, we’re definitely working towards having live everything. So that the use of things like my prosperity, the use of some of our tools, like ontraport give us the ability to be able to do certain advice live, right. So the combination of calculators and things of that nature, so that while we’re actually sitting with clients, we’re delivering live advice. And so where I want to get this business over, let’s maybe look over the next two years, is where we condense our appointment time down to around about 45 minutes. Throughout that appointment, I want about 15 minutes of that content to be completely video based, which will take care of probably 90% of the compliance if not the whole whack of the compliance side of the equation, be able to deliver that advice using a platform or a sequence of platforms that enables us to give live ordinates. And if we can manage that process, then that extra 15 minutes that we’ve saved, we can actually spend that writing our notes and things like that. So that appointment finishes within the hour with nothing left to do.

 

Fraser Jack 

Well, thank you so much, Annie. This has been such an amazing conversation, I could probably continue it for hours on end, because I’m completely fascinated. I think it’s an amazing business you’re building and I love the way that you’re communicating in a one to many state. If somebody wants to continue the conversation with you what’s what’s the best way that they can get hold of you and find you.

 

Andy Fenton 

I definitely through social media, it’s jumping on to Fenton financial, either through Instagram or Facebook. That’s, that’s where we play the most and share the most throughout those platforms. And, and that’s definitely the best place to start a conversation. With full transparency. A lot of the conversations that do come through Facebook, we actually we introduce other people to those to those people quite often because as a business, we only work via referral. But we’re more than happy to link people up because we believe that that’s what our responsibility is and we know a lot of people around, you know, accounting advice, all of those different sectors. So we’re happy to introduce people if we can’t do the work or not able to we’re happy to introduce people to people that can

 

Fraser Jack 

but that’s it and he really appreciate your time today. You got it. Great being here.

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