The show where we talk with successful independent financial advisors about how they approach their businesses, client relationships, and the underlying behaviors that have helped them achieve success.
Engaging in a Client-Centered Discovery Process with Trey Nelson
In this episode, Steve talks with the Managing Partner at Collective Wealth Advisors LLC, Trey Nelson.
Trey has been a consistent contributor to the financial services industry for nearly 20 years, including a stint as the Vice President and Regional Director of Loring Ward (now Buckingham). His depth of knowledge afforded him the opportunity to offer his expertise in wealth management to world-renowned personalities and the top wealth managers in the country for more than a decade.
While he's back to being a wealth advisor, he has stayed true to his core values: putting the clients first. He’s currently spearheading his family-owned firm that has a rapidly growing number of clients in six different states.
Trey talks with Steve about the power of simplicity in the client discovery process, the role of trust in building a strong team of experts, and how vulnerability can help grow your client base.
“The client needs help in understanding all the stuff in their life that needs to be planned for and provided solutions to—and it takes more than one person, it takes a team. Getting comfortable as an advisor, being vulnerable, bringing others that are equally smart into the equation—that’s what clients need today.” ~ Trey Nelson
Main Takeaways Stepping away from your tasks, even for a little while, can help you gain a better and clearer perspective about what you’re doing and why. A client-centered firm has to acknowledge simplicity in its discovery process. The three key elements involved in a strong discovery process include getting the clients to take action, avoiding complex portfolios, and implementing an adaptable process over time. The most successful advisors focus on getting better as leaders and communicating better with people, not just on upscaling technical expertise. There is power in vulnerability. It is easier to scale your firm and help your clients achieve success when you build trust, open up, and strive for sincerity. Insights and feedback from clients are invaluable. It’s the best metric for knowing what to improve and how your firm is truly making an impact. Links and Important Mentions Trey Nelson on LinkedIn Collective Wealth Advisors Buckingham Strategic Partners Leonardo Da Vinci Staying Accountable, Planning for Success and Making It Resonate with Peter Succoso Subscribe and Stay in Touch Apple Podcasts Spotify Steve on LinkedIn Follow Buckingham Strategic Partners on Twitter
Staying Accountable, Planning for Success, and Making It Resonate with Peter Succoso
In this episode, Steve talks with Peter Succoso of Sherpa Financial in Wilmington, Delaware.
Peter’s worn many hats throughout his four-decade career. He spent his early years primarily in support roles until an opportunity led him straight to consulting. There, Peter discovered his true passion: adding value by helping others make great business decisions. After a series of mergers and acquisitions, Sherpa Financial now helps clients design a map for their financial future.
Rather than building investment portfolios, Peter realized that his primary purpose was helping others make their money last throughout retirement. Much like a shepherd, Peter guides clients back down their mountain after a lifetime of financial trekking.
Peter talks with Steve about achieving goals as a business owner, making corporate change stick, the importance of accountability, and why business principles should resonate with your employees and the clients you serve.
“One of the things that people have to understand in our business is that, in addition to doing the work that you love to do – work with people, manage investments, help them with their various life needs – there’s also the part of it that’s really important and that’s running a business.” ~ Peter Succoso
Main Takeaways Building your own business after years of corporate life teaches you lessons similar to those that clients learn upon retirement. At some point, you have to learn to move forward without the support you’ve always leaned on. Before launching a business, make a SWOT analysis. Analyzing your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats will help highlight the gaps in your business and the areas you can capitalize on. Find accountability partners because accountability is essential for success. Listen to clients more than you speak. Listening to their stories and their feedback will help you add value and understand when you’re providing that value. Links and Important Mentions Peter on LinkedIn Sherpa Financial Designing Your Life Admired Advisor 015: Investing in Client Relationships and Hands-On Advising with Doug Howes Asset-Map MoneyGuide Pro Everplans 27 Principles Every Investor Should Know by Steven J. Atkinson
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Learning to Be Vulnerable and Living in the Unknown with Chris Gardner
In this episode, Steve talks with Chris Gardner, President of FMF&E Wealth Management in Syracuse, New York.
Chris was fortunate enough to begin his career in the investment space, managing big money at an early age. Eventually, Chris craved meaning beyond numbers and after a failed business attempt, he moved from Boston back to New York in 2001. Back in New York, Chris joined an IRA and has not looked back since.
While he’s always loved working with people, it took a personal tragedy for Chris to realize the power of getting vulnerable with clients. At the end of the day, he believes this business has nothing to do with pie charts and projection graphs, and everything to do with building relationships with clients based on trust.
Chris talks with Steve about the power of encouraging clients to tell their own stories, the best ways to address client concerns, and how advisors can stop wasting time on things that don’t matter.
“I see our job of getting things down to a bite-sized level for people. I mean the highest level of mastery I think would be simplicity, right? So if we can get people to really get some feel for what direction they’re going in, then we get a chance of building trust with them and then we get a chance at having a lifelong client.” ~ Chris Gardner, CFP
Main Takeaways Spend more time listening to your client than speaking at them. Listening to your client helps you understand where they’re coming from which, in turn, helps you become a champion for them. There’s always an emotional question behind a numbers question. When you’re vulnerable with clients, they’re encouraged to act the same way. That vulnerability helps you address the root cause of their questions. Work with people who share similar values. When you care about the same things as your clients, serving them becomes much easier. The business of financial advising is a business based on human behavior. To succeed, advisors need to understand empathy. That empathy is something that can never be replaced by robo-advisors. Links and Important Mentions Chris on LinkedIn FMF&E Wealth Management A Very Personal Finance Story by Chris Gardner CEG Worldwide On Fire: The 7 Choices to Ignite a Radically Inspired Life by John O’Leary Bill Bachrach George Kinder Building a StoryBrand: Clarify Your Message So Customers Will Listen by Donald Miller Subscribe and Stay in Touch Apple Podcasts Spotify Steve on LinkedIn Follow Buckingham Strategic Partners on Twitter
Information Sharing and Navigating the RIA Marketplace with Brad Wales
In this episode, Steve talks with Brad Wales, Founder of Transition To RIA, an organization dedicated to helping advisors navigate the journey and decision-making process behind launching an RIA.
Simply put, Brad bet his career on the RIA model. After 15 years of learning the ins and outs of the RIA marketplace, Brad realized that most advisors don’t understand RIA or its benefits. So he created a firm with a mission of helping advisors understand their options.
Following the pandemic, many of us are searching for a life change, and advisors are no exception. But the fear of taking that first step can be paralyzing, which is why many advisors who can and should, never pursue the RIA model. If it’s right for them, Brad helps advisors take that first step and help with the unknowns.
Brad talks with Steve about navigating those unknown processes, why sharing information for free boosts business, and the North Star every business owner should follow.
“I won’t even give out my phone number or my email address, not because I’m hiding it, but the reality is, people should go to my website. And if they can see first-hand that they feel that I can be of help to them and that I have the experience to do so then it kind of solves itself. I think you’ve gotta earn people’s trust before you ask for their business.” ~ Brad Wales
Main Takeaways Information-sharing benefits everyone, including advisors. Sharing free information builds trust between you and a potential client. Flexibility is a key benefit for starting or joining an existing RIA. The challenge with a big firm is that so often you’re following someone else’s rules and competing for clients with your co-workers. If you’re worried that your clients won’t follow you into a new business, they probably won’t. When you’re confident that clients will follow you, an RIA may be right for you. There are no best practices for the RIA model. You can start your own, join an existing RIA or use a middle office provider. Before making any business decision, ask yourself how it will impact your advisors. Keeping your advisors happy and successful keeps your business afloat. Links and Important Mentions Brad on LinkedIn Transition To RIA Michael Kitces Watch Brad’s videos How to charge for financial planning? Raymond James Subscribe and Stay in Touch Apple Podcasts Spotify Steve on LinkedIn Follow Buckingham Strategic Partners on Twitter
Holistic Planning, Value-Based Leadership & Navigating Tough Times with Charlie Weidman
In this episode, Steve talks with Charlie Weidman, Managing Partner at Heritage Financial Counselors in Bedminster, New Jersey.
After 15 years on Wall Street, Charlie wanted to make an impact for everyday people. So, he set out to launch his own firm. But before opening his doors, Charlie immersed himself in the profession, spending time with others in the field and solidifying his approach to business. He ultimately committed himself to building a firm rooted in financial planning and value-based leadership.
Charlie talks with Steve about how his personal and professional values guide clients through hardships, how to engage the next generation in financial planning, and what holistic planning really means.
“I believe that if our hearts and our minds are aligned then we’re doing good things. Making the world a better place, serving people with purpose, and not doing what we do with a priority on one’s own self-interest.” ~ Charlie Weidman
Main Takeaways How you behave before a challenge is indicative of how you react and how clients respond to you during a hardship. Establish your personal and professional values from the start so when things do get tough, everyone knows where your values lie and can trust you to steer the ship. Connect with everyone who has a hand in the financial process, not just those at the top. Treat every colleague like a partner. To speak to the next generation, make yourself available to clients’ adult children and hire young professionals to build relationships with that younger clientele. Holistic advising means cohesively communicating with every person involved in a client’s financial life, including estate planning attorneys. Links and Important Mentions Charlie on LinkedIn Heritage Financial Counselors Subscribe and Stay in Touch Apple Podcasts Spotify Steve on LinkedIn Follow Buckingham Strategic Partners on Twitter
Multi-Generational Planning and Community Building with Akemi Dalvi
In this episode, Steve talks with Akemi Dalvi, CPA, CFP from Kondo Wealth Advisors about serving a niche community and fostering meaningful multi-generational conversations.
After graduating college with a degree in accounting, Akemi did what many other graduates do: she joined a big four firm. Craving more meaning and a healthier work-life balance, she joined her father at Kondo Wealth, the advisory firm he started. At her father’s firm, she specializes in helping Asian Americans plan for retirement and achieve long-term financial goals.
At Kondo, Akemi realized the importance of including every generation in the financial conversation. When clients reach retirement, their primary concern is ensuring their children have a smoother transition than they did.
Akemi talks with Steve about overcoming the financial taboo prevalent in so many Asian American households, the power of community and education in fostering the financial conversation, and her father’s best financial advice.
“There are a lot of people who are technically able to help any one of our clients with their finances, but money is so personal that it’s the intangible soft touch that is what they’re really vetting us for at these events. And then once they feel like that’s somebody I could really open up to about my finances, that’s what opens the door to a long-term relationship.” ~ Akemi Dalvi
Main Takeaways COVID-19 created more pathways for multi-generational planning. The pandemic emphasized the importance of planning while virtual meetings allowed younger generations a sneak-peak into their parents’ financial plans. These natural conversations helped parents feel like their kids were assisting without taking over. Younger clients find value in goals-based financial planning. If you can successfully guide younger clients through goals-based planning, they become an ideal client in the long-term. It’s important to view planning through a multi-generational lens because plans will always impact multiple generations. Whether the situation is good or bad, clear communication is always critical. Links and Important Mentions Akemi on LinkedIn Kondo Wealth Advisors PricewaterhouseCooper AICPA Robinhood Bitcoin Subscribe and Stay in Touch Apple Podcasts Spotify Steve on LinkedIn Follow Buckingham Strategic Partners on Twitter
Fantastic sharing and learning from BSP advisors
If you truly want to be the best advisor for your clients, it is hard to do it on an island. BSP does a great job of creating a community of advisors who are growing and learning together. The insights and hard-earned lessons shared by so many great advisors is so refreshing. It is great to look into a group who's mindset is truly "our future is bigger than their past." Very much worth taking a listen.
Something for every business owner
These are some great habits and lessons not just for investment advisors, but also for anyone who runs their own business. I loved the simplicity of the surge protector as the first priority and how it helps with peace of mind.