Ep #89: What Is Holding You Back From Success in Sales – An Interview with Nancy Bleeke

XY-Planning-Podcast-final

Nancy Bleeke is the founder of Sales Pro Insider and the developer of the Genuine Sales Process. Nancy is a goldmine of great information and has an exciting announcement about her sales course which explores distractions that present as obstacles to our ability to generate sales.

I’ve benefited personally from Nancy’s sales coaching services which is why I’m extra excited to share today’s episode. Sales training is often broken down into two categories: skills and will. In this episode, we’ll focus on the will side of the equation and talk about the four drivers that will help you thrive.

Some people are born with innate abilities that allow them to thrive in various areas of life. For the rest of us, building the skill of running a business, generating sales, or succeeding as an independent financial advisor is related to developing confidence in your abilities. You have the skill to provide a much-needed service. Nancy teaches professionals to value the skills they have in a way that translates into improved sales and customer service.

 

Listen to the Full Interview:

Want more from XYPN Radio? Become a VIP to access our private community!

What You’ll Learn from This Episode:

  • The updates available with Nancy’s sales training class now that she’s offering a virtual delivery option.
  • The success drivers involved with helping sales people become successful.
  • How entrepreneurs can build self-confidence.
  • How financial planners can learn to appreciate the value of the services they provide.
  • Characteristics that successful financial advisors share related to time management.
  • The one task advisors should do to improve their will to succeed in sales.

Featured on the Show:

 

Subscribe-with-iTunes Subscribe-with-Stitcher

Ep #88: From Outsourced Virtual Operations Manager to RIA Owner – The Career of Chloé Moore

XY-Planning-Podcast-final

Today we hear from Chloé Moore, a multi-talented planner and business owner who’s already had a diverse and interesting career. Based in Atlanta, Chloé helps firms improve their operations and serve complex clients while she advises more everyday people than in her past.

Chloé graduated from the University of Alabama and immediately started studying to become a CFP. She passed both that and the GSRE and jumped feet first into the industry. After several jobs as an associate planner and manager at various firms throughout the southern U.S., Chloé decided to start her own consulting and advising businesses.

Chloé and I talk about the brilliant path she’s taken as a financial planner, starting her career by advising high net-worth clients with complex needs. Once she realized she wanted to work with more everyday clientele, she made the clever switch to use her hard-earned skillset to start her own dual businesses. Chloé talks about the 50/50 balance she strikes with her advising and consulting practices and how she sets goals for herself each year. She also talks about some of the challenges she’s faced as a young woman of color in a predominantly older and white male industry, how organizations like the Association of African American Financial Advisors are working to support each other, and how we can all contribute to making the industry more diverse.

Listen to the Full Interview:

Want more from XYPN Radio? Become a VIP to access our private community!

What You’ll Learn from This Episode:

  • How Chloé got interested in financial planning.
  • Why she chose to switch jobs often at the beginning of her career.
  • The skills Chloé developed at her first several firms working with clients with complex needs.
  • How she balances her consulting and financial planning businesses.
  • Why Chloé wanted to transition away from working with high net-worth clients to those with more average incomes.
  • How she sets goals for her businesses and why she wants to remain a very small operation.
  • Chloé’s advice to young financial planners and women or people of color in the field.

Featured on the Show:

 

Subscribe-with-iTunes Subscribe-with-Stitcher

Ep #87: Building a Monthly Retainer Firm in Brazil – The Career of André Novaes

XY-Planning-Podcast-final

On today’s episode we hear from André Novaes, founder and CEO of LifeFP. LifeFP is a monthly retainer firm in Brazil with about 3,000 clients, 45 advisors, and a grand vision. If André had his way, 95% (or more) of Brazil’s population would have the opportunity to design their lives with great financial planning.

André came to the US at seventeen to play basketball, when his “American dad” introduced him to the profession of financial planning. André saw advising as an opportunity to marry family, work, and helping other people, and became determined to do just that.

In this interview, André talks about his journey to establish Life FP and establish the financial planning landscape in Brazil. He discusses why they don’t have assets under management at LifeFP, just dreams under management, and the tools he uses to build strong rapport with clients.

With about 70% of his clients under the age of 35, his advice about gearing financial planning toward young families is especially relevant. André also shares how he makes the monthly retainer model work for him and his advisors, and how he gets clients to pay 5% of their income for financial planning services. Finally, we talk about where LifeFP will go next, including growing their digital education and advising platforms, and eventually expanding to the US.

Listen to the Full Interview:

Want more from XYPN Radio? Become a VIP to access our private community!

What You’ll Learn from This Episode:

  • How André’s experiences in the US as a young man shaped his outlook on life and the impact of financial planning.
  • Why LifeFP focuses on “dreams under management,” rather than assets.
  • The emphasis on long term strategy at LifeFP that helps clients feel more secure in trusting advisors with their income.
  • How André’s sales process differs from that of other advisors.
  • Why young people want to be the heroes of their own financial lives, and how to guide them to that goal.
  • What the future looks like for LifeFP.
  • Why André wants to eventually expand the company to the US.

Featured on the Show:

 

Subscribe-with-iTunes Subscribe-with-Stitcher

Transition: Leaving Your Position with an Existing Firm to Start Your Own Fee-Only Firm

Leaving a position as an Investment Adviser Representative “IAR” for an existing firm can be a scary, yet rewarding, process. Being an IAR at an established firm tends to bring about a level of comfort grounded in the idea that as long as the advisory revenue continues to be generated, then consistent income will follow. As a Registered Representative of a Broker Dealer, oftentimes a rep may be paid a salary that is derived from pooled commissions and sales of insurance products, combined with advisory revenue and sales incentives. Alternatively, in a more traditional compensation structure, a Broker Dealer Rep may be compensated directly from commissions paid on the purchase and sale of securities.

Being an appointed agent with an insurance company, while offering less stability from an income perspective, can still be reassuring from a compensation standpoint. Reason being, stiff competition among insurance companies for sales of annuity and insurance products makes the job market full of sales opportunities across various companies. Still, these compensation methods are generally consistent, and therefore income from these revenue sources is fairly predictable.

Income consistency and job-security are major concerns for advisers leaving their existing position within the financial services industry to start their own firm. Here are a couple of key points to consider when contemplating this transition.

1. Your Existing Firm most likely does not benefit from your departure – As an IAR of an established firm, the firm’s revenue is often dependent upon the sales revenue generated from your advisory clients. Therefore, it is in the best interest of the firm, should you decide to terminate your employment with them, that they retain your clients. Therefore, many firms will have non-solicitation, or non-compete clauses in place, to prevent you from taking your clients with you when you leave. As a result, it is important to review any such agreements that you have executed with your existing firm, to ensure that your intentions are not in violation of these agreements. If you review an agreement and you are unsure, it is advisable that you seek legal counsel.

2. Your Existing Firm has a Compliance Program – When beginning the process of registering a new firm, it’s easy to place your existing firm’s compliance program on the backburner. This is never a good idea. Whether you are associated with a Broker Dealer, RIA, or Insurance Company, there are compliance implications to starting your own firm.

If you are a currently employed by a Broker Dealer or RIA, then your current employer will have a compliance department that is responsible for your supervision. That firm will have access to your profile via FINRA Firm Gateway,  which is the same system that you will use to register your new firm. As you are in the process of registering your new firm, IN MOST CASES, your current firm will not be subject to notification until you file your Form U4. The Form U4 is the Uniform Application for Securities Industry Registration or Transfer. Representatives of broker-dealers, investment advisers, or issuers of securities must use this form to become registered in the appropriate jurisdictions.

When you file the U4 for your new firm, your existing firm will usually receive an alert, notifying them that you are starting your new firm. You may, at that point, be terminated.

However, some firms, as a part of their review of outside business activities, will search all of their representatives on the Secretary of State website to see if they are listed as officers, directors, managing members, or owners of any other business. This would usually occur during a branch audit, or an audit being conducted by regulators. If you have already listed your new firm with your State Secretary of State, then you are already exposed to the potential that your current employer may discover your intentions.

If you are appointed with an Insurance Company in order to sell annuity products for your Broker Dealer or RIA, then the above outlined potential for employer notification is the same. However, if you actually work for an Insurance Company in the capacity of an insurance salesman, and you are not an IAR or Registered Representative, then your exposure is significantly decreased by the fact that there may not be an existing U4 on file for you.

3. “It’s all About the Benjamins” – Figuring out how to maintain the ongoing stream of compensation and fee revenue is the most challenging part of the transition. As previously stated, your existing employer usually has no financial interest in helping you create a new revenue stream for your firm while decreasing the profitability of theirs. Therefore, it is imperative that the transitioning adviser create a feasible and coherent exit strategy before going out on their own. Here are some points:

Know your current Compensation Structure – Having a thorough understanding of how you are currently compensated is critical. If an adviser has a book of clients by which 65% of their compensation is revenue from commissions or insurance trails, then moving to a fee-only structure where this revenue source will be completely eliminated, requires some planning. Likewise, if an adviser is paid quarterly bonuses at their existing firm, and is in need of those funds to launch their own practice, then this factors into the timing involved in making the transition.

Do the Math – Run reports based on your current client revenue. Separate the revenue out into various categories for evaluation so that you have a clear picture of what the future could entail in your transition to fee-only.

Know your Clients – Particularly working within the BD structure, you will find that your current employer operates within many channels of the financial services industry. For instance, one of your clients at Wells Fargo Advisers may also have a Wells Fargo Mortgage, Credit Card, Checking Account, Savings Account and Car Loan. Anticipate the strong possibility that a client that is heavily invested in a large institution, utilizing them for multiple services, may not come with you when you start your firm. It’s almost certain that the Broker Dealer is going to make efforts to retain that client when you leave.

Also, don’t count on taking clients with you, if they were clients of the firm before you began working for the firm, unless you know them personally outside of your professional relationship. Those clients tend to exercise loyalty to the firm over the the individual adviser.

Evaluate your Personal Financial Situation – Before you make the transition, it’s important to do a household budget and make sure that you have enough in savings to sustain your lifestyle through this process.

4. Don’t try to Micromanage the Timeline of the Transition – The timeline for RIA Firm Registrations are unpredictable, particularly for state registered firms. Rarely, if ever, can anyone communicate with certainty, how long the process will take; so be financially and operationally prepared for at least a 4-week period between leaving your previous firm, and starting your new firm. Likewise, your existing firm has 30 days to file a Form U5 (termination) for you. In states that don’t allow dual registration, a compliance officer that is slow to terminate an IAR could create an additional unanticipated delay. So, in a nutshell, the adviser does not, and cannot, control the timeline of the transition.

In Conclusion, starting your own firm is extremely exciting. After working within the strict confines of existing rules and regulations, many which seem outdated and illogical, there is nothing more freeing than going into business for yourself. It can also be stressful, but by following the steps outlined here, you can begin the road to a smooth and successful transition.

 

Scott GillAbout the Author: Scott Gill is the Director of Keeping Us Compliant here at XY Planning Network. Outside of the office, Scott enjoys watching sports, exercising, and operating the charitable organization he created upon his father’s passing. You can connect with him on LinkedIn.

Ep #86: Building a Virtual Paraplanning Business – The Career of Jennifer Pritchard

XY-Planning-Podcast-final

Jennifer Pritchard has one of the most unique and awesome jobs in financial planning. She’s a financial planner who’s been mentioned on the podcast before because she’s built a virtual paraplanning business working with a number of  XYPN members. Virtual paraplanning is probably the most requested interview topic from listeners.

Jennifer graduated from Texas Tech University with a degree in financial planning. After working as a paraplanner for several firms that weren’t a good fit, she poured through advisor profiles on the XYPN website and cold-called financial advisors. She ultimately connected with four planners in a mastermind group and developed a virtual paraplanning service that would guarantee her 30 hours per week.

We discuss the workflows and systems she uses to support her financial planning clients and the software tools that make working with a variety of firms seamless. She has to track preferential differences and ensure that each firm follows the processes that she’s established. Because all firms are fairly new and this business relationship is innovative, she’s constantly evolving as they figure out how best to work together. This is a fascinating look into back-office firm management – a vital component of the financial planning business.

Listen to the Full Interview:

Want more from XYPN Radio? Become a VIP to access our private community!

What You’ll Learn from This Episode:

  • How internships were beneficial in giving Jennifer a wide breadth of experience early on
  • How Jennifer initially structured the paraplanning business and whether one needs an RIA to start such a business
  • The software tools she uses to support all of her paraplanning clients
  • How each of the firms brought her on as a virtual paraplanner and typical tasks she handles
  • Why entrepreneurs benefit from developing and documenting processes or creating systems
  • Jennifer’s process of creating and documenting workflows
  • Tips for those interested in creating a virtual paraplanning service

Featured on the Show:

 

Subscribe-with-iTunes Subscribe-with-Stitcher

Ep #85: Surviving the Wirehouse Trap – The Career of Brian Face

XY-Planning-Podcast-final

When you join the free XYPN Radio VIP Community, you’ll have an opportunity to interact with experts like today’s guest, Brian Face. Brian offered advice in the VIP Community about how to transition clients into fee-only customers and now we get to pick his brain for an entire episode.

Brian is the owner of Face 2 Face Financial Planning, a fee-only RIA in Kalamazoo, Michigan. He’s a second generation planner who was introduced to the industry by his father and in 2007, he started his career in a wirehouse, but found the work unsatisfying after two years. The environment wasn’t conducive to helping clients without significant wealth.

Brian bounced around between various industries before finding his way back to financial planning. He ultimately learned that he could serve customers in a way that provides value while earning a living at the same time. His experience is a wonderful case study describing how to establish a new firm, convince clients to join you, and transition from an existing RIA without burning bridges.

Listen to the Full Interview:

Want more from XYPN Radio? Become a VIP to access our private community!

What You’ll Learn from This Episode:

  • An overview of the working environment in the wirehouse industry
  • The benefit of getting out the office and building relationships through conferences and other networking venues
  • How Brian developed his fee schedule and business model
  • The agreement signed with a prior boss that allowed him to take certain clients to his own firm
  • How Brian transitioned to his new firm with help from the XYPN Network and his process for transferring clients
  • Why the financial incentives associated with certain types of annuities are not a good fit for many people
  • The messaging he used to convince clients to follow him when he started his own fee-only firm

Featured on the Show:

 

Subscribe-with-iTunes Subscribe-with-Stitcher

Ep #84: Surviving Depression To Find Happiness & Success – The Career of Dave Grant

XY-Planning-Podcast-final

Today we’re talking about a few topics that don’t often get discussed in the financial planning space: how your mental health and business are related, and what happens when you struggle with them both. Dave Grant, now the head of Retirement Matters, shares his journey as a financial planner and entrepreneur and opens up about his recent experience with depression.

Dave has spent his entire career as a financial advisor, changing firms several times before establishing his own. In 2013 he started one of the first truly niche financial planning firms, Finance for Teachers, to work with the community of teachers that included his wife and close friends.

Life as a business owner can be tough, however, and Dave found himself under immense pressure to run his new firm, keep up with his day job of actual financial planning (which he loves), and write on the side, too. He talks about how he got out of the prolonged depression that was triggered when the pressure of business became too much, and how he used his love for writing as therapy. This is a great episode for all of us in the business, because sometimes things get difficult and while we don’t always know what to do; you’re certainly never alone.

Listen to the Full Interview:

Want more from XYPN Radio? Become a VIP to access our private community!

What You’ll Learn from This Episode:

  • How Dave ended up moving from Britain to the U.S., and how he got started as a financial advisor.
  • The pros and cons of job-hopping, which seems to be common among young advisors.
  • What it took for Dave to finally make the leap from advising within someone else’s firm to being his own boss as an entrepreneur.
  • How Dave built the connections necessary to start his business and build his niche.
  • The personal and professional pressure that triggered Dave’s depression, and the raw but inspired writing that came out of the experience.
  • Why you absolutely should not compare yourself to other financial advisors in an attempt to measure your success.

Featured on the Show:

 

Subscribe-with-iTunes Subscribe-with-Stitcher

Ep #83: The Future of Investment Management – An Interview with Rick Frisbie

XY-Planning-Podcast-final

For the past few episodes, we’ve focused on real business growth in the financial planning space. This week, Rick Frisbie – the newly minted CEO of Robust Wealth – will share how this advisor-facing technology platform plans to shake up the financial services industry. They’ll be open for business in the middle of the first quarter with a software product that will help advisors offer sophisticated solutions and integrate modular services typically secured through third-party vendors.

Rick enjoyed a successful career at Franklin Templeton; rising through the ranks to CIO before taking on the top job at Robust Wealth. They launched their platform last October right after previewing at the #XYPN16 conference. In addition to making a huge splash, Robust Wealth definitely won the conference swag competition.

Advancements in technological solutions for the financial services industry generally moves at a glacial pace. There is so much room for disruption in this industry. Rick offers a thoughtful take on the state of technology in this industry and what we can expect in the next 18 – 24 months. Robo-advisors, or automated wealth platforms, are here to stay. However, advisors will appreciate the suggestions Rick shares to best incorporate these tools in a way that drives growth. Now is the time to embrace the innovative new products and leverage them to capitalize on real business growth.

the-future-of-investment-management

Listen to the Full Interview:

Want more from XYPN Radio? Become a VIP to access our private community!

What You’ll Learn from This Episode:

  • The opportunities at Robust Wealth that attracted Rick and led him away from an established career at Franklin Templeton.
  • The differences between B2C and advisor-facing software platforms.
  • The features that advisors have access to with the Robust Wealth platform and what sets them apart from the competition.
  • What the technology trends on the horizon are in the financial services industry.
  • A frank discussion on impact of robo-advisors on advisor services, client retention, and client acquisition.
  • Whether the market is shifting to fully embrace socially responsible investing and how technology platforms are enabling this shift.

Featured on the Show:

 

Subscribe-with-iTunes Subscribe-with-Stitcher

Communicating with your Clients About Compliance

 

communicating-with-your-clients-about-compliance

Compliance vs. Convenience

Inevitably, there will come a time when maintaining your compliance policies will create some sort of inconvenience for your clients. Perhaps the adviser sent the client the wrong form to have them sign, and they will have to sign the correct form in a separate sitting. Or maybe the client received the correct paperwork, but they failed to initial in the appropriate location.

Another common occurrence, is for the client to be in a bind and in need of an expedited service that requires their signature, and they aren’t “near a fax machine”, or they are in a location that “doesn’t have access to email” for them to receive and return needed documentation. Although these occurrences can’t be completely avoided, there are a few things that can be done to more effectively prepare clients for compliance obligations, so that the compliance program doesn’t incur unnecessary risks.

Managing Producers

It can be suggested that the most intense conflict surrounding this subject lies with Managing Producers, or individuals within the firm that operate in both the capacity of Financial Adviser and Principal simultaneously. Anytime a client is inconvenienced as a result of a mistake of the Adviser, it is embarrassing for the adviser to have to go back to the client to admit that mistake in order to correct it.

Oftentimes, multiple mistakes tend to occur with the same client, resulting in diminishing goodwill and a decrease confidence in the adviser. In many cases, when this conflict exists, it is common for the adviser to “err on the side of revenue”, and cut corners on the compliance piece. That is because most Advisers get into the business to be service providers, not compliance officers. This can cause a problem for the compliance program.

3 Best Practices to Minimize Compliance Inconveniences for Clients

So what are some ways to minimize conflict when operating in this dual capacity to be effective on both sides of the fence? Here are some ideas.

1.) Clearly communicate compliance policies to clients upfront by spending time making sure clients understand documentation – When initiating client relationships, there is a point of commitment when the client is signing the advisory agreement. It’s easy to get excited, want the documents signed, ADV and Privacy Policy delivered, and suitability data gathered so that the adviser can start servicing the client.

But taking a bit of extra time during this period, to review these documents with the client will establish a precedent with the client that the adviser will pay attention to detail on compliance matters going forward. The client may not immediately seem engaged in the process of combing through the initial compliance documents with a fine-tooth comb, but in the long term, this practice will increase the probability that they will respond more positively to small compliance inconveniences going forward.

From a sales perspective, this practice can also make the adviser appear to be more detail-oriented and precise than previous advisers the client may have worked with, instilling confidence in the client that this will also be the approach taken to service their needs.

2.) Remind Clients of Compliance Items along the way – After the precedent has been initially established that the adviser will be thorough in compliance items, continue to reinforce this idea over the course of the relationship by reminding clients of such items whenever the opportunity presents itself. For instance, when requesting a copy of a client’s Driver’s’ License to open an account at the Custodian, remind them that it is against compliance policy for them to email such information without encryption, and provide a secure alternative for them to submit it.

Another example may be taking an extra step to review client suitability information while they are executing an item that doesn’t necessarily require this information to be updated and documented, based on your conversation with them. If the client mentions a college event for a child in common conversation, the adviser can take the time to see how that may impact the suitability profile, as opposed to simply breezing over that item in the conversation. Activities like this will serve as a constant reminder to the client that compliance is a priority for the firm.

3.) Give the client access to resources when they are displeased with inconveniences – Despite how diligent an adviser is, a client will inevitably become annoyed at some point with a compliance obligation. It’s a part of the business. When this occurs, one option is to treat it as an educational opportunity. The client will initially become annoyed with the adviser or the firm, because this appears to be the source of the inconvenience.

They rarely think of the regulatory agency that is creating and enforcing these policies, as being the immediate source of their frustration. Therefore, when the client becomes frustrated, is the appropriate time to remind them of this. By letting the client know that the adviser is on their side, and the “regulators” are the source of the frustration for both of them, the client may feel that they have a compliance advocate, as opposed to an offender. This process is most effectively executed by providing the client proof of the source of their inconvenience… The Regulations!

Give the client access to the regulatory guidelines that are creating their inconvenience. If the adviser can screen-share and review a quick item from the regulator’s website, this is best. If the client is the type that wants to dig through pages on their own, then the adviser can provide a link to the regulation and point out the sections that are relevant to their circumstances. This may prevent the client from feeling “victimized” by the firm.

The nature of Compliance is such that it only functions through documentation. This documentation, often time-consuming and burdensome, creates inconveniences for both advisers, and clients. However, by utilizing these best practices, advisers can begin to minimize the negative impact these inconveniences create for their clients.

 

Scott GillAbout the Author: Scott Gill is the Director of Keeping Us Compliant here at XY Planning Network. Outside of the office, Scott enjoys watching sports, exercising, and operating the charitable organization he created upon his father’s passing. You can connect with him on LinkedIn.

Ep #82: Scaling Your RIA – An Interview with J.D. Bruce

XY-Planning-Podcast-final

This week, J.D. Bruce – President of Abacus Wealth Partners – shares his experience of growing a firm from a solo practice to an established business with a professional management, a board of directors, and a governance structure. J.D., a CPA with management experience across a variety of industries, was hired at Abacus to help merge two solo firms into the successful operation that exists today.

Advisors who want to transition their firms away from the founder-centric model must be strategic about when and how to hire professional management. J.D. shares helpful advice on when to consider professional management. There are certain barometers advisors can use to ensure hiring happens at the right stage of growth.

In addition to bringing in professional management, advisors must also be intentional about creating a culture where decision-making power is completely transferred. Resources with the skillset to build the business need the autonomy to operate effectively. J.D.’s experience at Abacus is a case study in how solo firms can successfully implement the transition to growth-oriented, professionally managed firms.

Developing your solo practice into a large business is definitely possible and J.D. provides valuable insight on how to make the transition smoother.

scaling-your-ira

Listen to the Full Interview:

Want more from XYPN Radio? Become a VIP to access our private community!

What You’ll Learn from This Episode:

  • A barometer for when advisors should consider bringing on professional management.
  • How founders can implement a succession plan to outside management.
  • The difference between a marketing manager and a COO.
  • The Abacus culture that lends itself to taking risks and pivoting quickly.
  • The first type of professional manager that J.D. suggests firms hire.
  • When an operating agreement becomes necessary when running a business.
  • What a director of operations does for an advisory firm.
  • How a large firm handles the process for recruiting and hiring additional resources.

Featured on the Show:

 

Subscribe-with-iTunes Subscribe-with-Stitcher