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.
Building Trust, Catching Red Flags, and Educating Athletes with Mike George
It’s no secret that athletes need someone in their corner. Mike George of Athletes Financial strives to be that someone, helping athletes with their financial lives through education and earned trust.
Mike began his career at IMG working with the likes of Peyton Manning and Derek Jeter. When he opened his own firm, Mike made a conscious choice to focus on quality over quantity, keeping his client list lean and his services top-notch.
As his career evolved, Mike realized the importance of maintaining relationships with agents as well as the athletes. He describes why advising is like recruiting and how athletes have measured themselves against an arbitrary locker room standard for far too long. Mike’s goal is always to break through that inner athletic circle and give athletes an education and an alternative voice of reason.
In this episode, Mike talks with Steve about the number one risk of advising athletes, how Mike defines success, and why reputation will always beat the market.
[01:28] - Mike’s career path. [02:38] - Why athletes need to trust their advisor above all else. [07:21] - Why Mike is intentional with his relationships. [12:18] - The biggest risk with advising athletes. [13:44] - What success means for Mike. [15:49] - Red flags to be mindful of when choosing clients. [23:30] - Why a menu suite of services works better than an all-or-nothing approach. [30:20] - Why an athlete’s relationship with a financial advisor is often their longest and most important professional relationship. Quotes
(7:30) “Everything is fundamental in trust. And at the end of the day, your reputation is what’s going to get out into the marketplace, whether it’s athletes, whether it’s ultra high net-worth individuals, once you get into a niche like that it’s truly a small world that you’re dealing with. And the sports world is no different.” ~ Mike George
(13:47) “At the end of the day, I’m actually a translator between the financial and capital markets and the athlete. And what I’ve been told I do a good job at is bringing it down to layman’s terms, making sure not just that I communicate it but also that I listen to the client and make sure that they understand what I’m saying in a way that is impactful for them to internalize it. Because one of the most important things isn’t return on the portfolio — it’s actually getting our clients to save their dollars.” ~ Mike George
(17:21) “You’re hiring a financial advisor to help you save your money, not to help you spend your money. So if we’re just spending money and moving money around for clients as opposed to activities that are aimed at driving their net worth positively, we can figure that out pretty quick.” ~ Mike George
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Life-Based Conversations and Learning to be Likable with Barry LaValley
In this episode, Steve talks with Barry LaValley of the Retirement Lifestyle Center.
While Barry always thought that graduate school was in his future, the financial services industry called his name before he could start down the academic path. After spending eight years as an investment advisor, Barry landed a role with Fidelity where he began training advisors on what he calls financial gerontology: the human process of acting, thinking, and making decisions with money.
Inspired by the work, Barry built the Retirement Lifestyle Center in 1998. Although his initial focus was retirement planning, today Barry focuses just as much on helping advisors develop interpersonal skills. For Barry, advisors are coaches above all else. Building a strong client-advisor relationship is a requirement for long-term success. In a world where investment is commoditized, clients need a reason to choose a human over an iPhone app, and that reason is the relationship.
Barry talks with Steve about the importance of life-based conversations, how to earn client trust, and why too many advisors focus on how they work over what services they provide.
“A wealth advisor is going to be, first-of-all, more of a coach than an advisor. I don’t like the term advisor even though that’s what we use and what legally we have to use. I believe that the positioning that a wealth advisor takes is as a coach, helping clients understand the key life issues that have to be planned for and then helping them build a strategy to be able to get there.” ~ Barry LaValley
Main Takeaways Stop focusing on how you work and start focusing on what you do. The technology and the products are how you work. What you do is coach, communicate, counsel, and mentor. Being likable is more important than being understood and being smart. If clients don’t like you, they’ll never trust you enough to follow your advice. There’s a common misunderstanding that clients understand their own issues. Rather, clients need advisors to illuminate the financial issues they’re likely unaware of or don’t consider top-of-mind. Clients are more likely to follow plans that feel like a collaboration. Most people don’t respond well when they’re told what to do. When you lead clients to identify their own issues, they feel involved in the decision-making process. Connect with our host Steve on LinkedIn Buckingham Strategic Partners Links and Important Mentions Barry LaValley on LinkedIn Retirement Lifestyle Center Fidelity Bill Bachrach Values-Based Selling: The Art of Building High-Trust Client Relationships
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Winning for Your Clients and Planning for the Unexpected with Stan Royer
In this episode, Steve talks with Stan Royer of Claris Advisors in St. Louis, Missouri.
After retiring from life as a professional baseball player, Stan needed a post-MLB game plan. With a background in economics, Stan got his feet wet in the insurance industry before realizing investment management was where he wanted to be. After meeting his co-founder and building his firm from scratch, Claris Advisors now serves 280 clients and manages over $600 million in assets.
Stan’s life in the major leagues helped him develop a competitive and goal-oriented mindset. Today, this mindset motivates Stan to help clients win and achieve their financial objectives. The more time he spends focusing on client goals, the more likely his clients will win and stay with him for the long haul.
Stan talks with Steve about helping clients win, planning for the unexpected, the importance of intentionality, and values to look for when bringing on employees and clients.
“When I’m advising, I’m really wanting to win and I’m wanting to win with our clients. And that means that we go through this whole journey together and at the end of the day, we win. And winning means fulfilling those goals and objectives that they have.” ~ Stan Royer
Main Takeaways The goal is to keep clients for life. Set that expectation when you begin establishing relationships with potential clients. The biggest non-negotiable for hiring is work ethic. You can teach people how to do a job, but rarely can you teach someone work ethic. Similarly, ideal clients are patient and disciplined. To survive in wealth management, you have to bring more to the table than just investment strategy. Integrating a CPA firm is a fantastic way to expand your services and create a more holistic experience for clients. When it comes to messaging, delivery matters. For your messaging as an advisor to come across as genuine, your delivery method should match your personality. Connect with our host Steve on LinkedIn Buckingham Strategic Partners Links and Important Mentions Stan Royer on LinkedIn Claris Advisors Subscribe and Stay in Touch Apple Podcasts Spotify Steve on LinkedIn Follow Buckingham Strategic Partners on Twitter
Balancing Risk and Gaining Client Trust with Ryan Brott
In this episode, Steve talks with Ryan Brott, Director and CCO at Ellerbrock-Norris Wealth Strategies.
As an advisor, exit planning is a lot about mitigating risks, but three years ago, Ryan took a big risk and jumped out of the corporate world and into his own RIA firm. He knew he could fill existing gaps in the RIA industry in risk management and fiduciary services, so the move felt less risky to him. Ryan’s biggest differentiator is the time and care he puts into the client onboarding process and ensuring that clients feel heard and valued.
Ryan talks with Steve about the importance of a holistic planning approach, the convergence of wealth management and risk management, and the impact of client decision-making.
“You have to be confident in where you’re headed, what you’re doing as a company in totality. When you do that, and you’ve clearly defined your target market and who your partners are that are going to help you get to where you want to go, it will start to change your take on what you thought were risks.” ~ Ryan Brott
Main Takeaways Wealth management and risk management go hand in hand. Risk in business, risk in tax management, and risk in lifestyle—everything should be taken into consideration when managing investments and preparing your retirement plan. A robust onboarding process is essential for attracting the right clients. From the introductory call to the discovery phase to data collection—both parties must invest time and energy in the process. Earn your prospects' confidence by presenting a great value proposition and by showing high competency. Detail the tools, resources, expertise, and support you can provide. Articulate your process in a way that makes it easy for clients to go back to anytime they have financial decisions to make. Connect with our host Steve on LinkedIn Buckingham Strategic Partners Links and Important Mentions Ryan Brott on LinkedIn Ellerbrock-Norris Wealth Strategies TD Ameritrade Microsoft Excel Michael Kitces Subscribe and Stay in Touch Apple Podcasts Spotify Steve on LinkedIn Follow Buckingham Strategic Partners on Twitter
Client Segmentation Strategies with Jim Dischert
In this episode, Steve talks with Jim Dischert, Founder and CEO of Three Sixty Wealth Management.
Since 1995, Jim has been helping business magnates and wealthy investors secure their future with long-term investment and retirement plans. One of the turning points in Jim’s career was his journey to reassessing who his ideal client was and understanding how he could best deploy his staff and energy to offer better service. An outcome of that work included a 30 percent reduction in his client base. Even throughout that process, he still put his clients first by helping those clients that were no longer a fit for his firm find a new advisor that was better suited to their needs.
Jim talks with Steve about the core strengths of a successful client base, ways of implementing client segmentation, and strategies for how to maintain professional relationships in your business.
“When we talk about going through a transition, client segmentation and identifying the ideal clients are equally important to identify the strengths of a firm. Not only do we evaluate and segment our clients, but we also look at the professional relationships that we have and how we can better align ourselves.” ~ Jim Dischert
Main Takeaways When going into a transition, the first step is to look at your business model and evaluate how the segmentation for your clients will be efficiently implemented. Two driving factors for a successful transition include offering top-of-the-line service that focuses on client's needs and helping them leverage their time, effort, and focus for other more important life goals. Client segmentation and scouting for the ideal clients are as important as identifying your strengths as a firm. Firms should focus on maximizing a client's income, reducing the taxes that they pay, and simplifying everything for them. You must have a clear mission and vision, and be ready to pivot and say “no” when your performance and efficiency are at risk. Connect with our host Steve on LinkedIn Buckingham Strategic Partners Links and Important Mentions Jim Dischert on LinkedIn Three Sixty Wealth Management Buckingham Strategic Partners 360 Retirement Radio | WLS-AM CEG John Bowen Subscribe and Stay in Touch Apple Podcasts Spotify Follow Buckingham Strategic Partners on Twitter
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
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.