For those of you wondering why the big gap between shows, I recently returned from a two week trip to Italy with my family and promised myself that I’d unplug which I very much did. Lots of pasta, Brunello, more pasta, some aperol spritzes and I think we managed to fit in a gelato just about every day! I now know why all of my friends and clients named Italy as one of their favorite places in the world. Besides the amazing food and wine, the landscape and views were incredible and everyone really does treat you like family over there. So for those of you who have it on your list of places to see, make sure you bump it up a few spots for me… ok, on to today’s conversation.
I’m thrilled to speak with Gina Rainey. As the leader of AE Coach at Advisors Excel – Gina specializes in “total practice management” where she set out to help advisors bridge the gap between the process-driven brains of their employees and the quick start entrepreneurial mentality many independent advisors operate by. Over the last decade, she’s helped offices struggling with high turnover and lack of structure become high-performing organizations, she’s empowered advisors to learn how to better utilize their time and revolutionize their business which has led them to grow like few others in this industry.
Gina’s fingerprints are on almost all of Advisors Excel’s top performing practices, and there’s a reason for that. Today, she makes a long-overdue appearance on the podcast to talk about how she helps implement organizational change that leads to massive returns.
Here are a just a handful of the things that you’ll learn:
- [11:11] First, Gina explains her philosophy when working with a brand new office. She focuses on 2 primary principles: 1.) How an advisor spends their time is what determines their success. 2.) But, the team is what determines their freedom.
- [07:11] Next, she takes us through the framework of how she helped an advisory firm address their operations issues and skyrocket from capturing $8 million in new assets per year to over $200 million – just five years later.
- [20:41] From there, Gina shares stories of key hires that took advisor practices to levels they didn’t think were possible – and the signs that indicate when you’re ready to hire, even if it may seem like a risky move.
- [32:30] We then talk about why conditioning employees to be reactive hurts so many businesses – and how you can empower your team by making sure your support staff is one step ahead of you.
- [37:11] Then Gina shares the rules to her favorite game “Let’s pretend to be your client for the day” and what it can tell you about how your prospects and clients experience your firm and why viewing your practice through their eyes can make all the difference.
- [48:31] Next, we dive into what Gina believes needs to happen in weekly team meetings, as well as when to hold them – and why advisors are often not the best to lead them.
- [1:06:07] Finally, Gina shares her favorite success story from her years of coaching – and the life-changing transformations advisors go through when they focus on what really matters.
- [11:57] The two key factors that determine an advisor’s success.
- [14:53] How Gina can tell if a client is going to revolutionize their business.
- [16:31] The mindsets Gina encounters in people who are capable of tremendous growth.
- [18:56] Gina shares a story of a firm that joined Advisors Excel that received nonplussed feedback – then became one of her top 3 offices.
- [19:59] Why many advisory firms will see a dip before they experience major growth – and why you need to power through it.
- [23:50] Why it’s okay to be overstaffed if your business is running well.
- [25:18] Gina shares a story of an office that refused to spend enough on their staff – and how it hurt their business.
- [28:31] Why A+ players – and the exponential output they give firms – are essentially free, no matter what they charge.
- [29:39] Gina’s advice for advisors who insist on doing all of their paperwork themselves.
- [32:43] How Gina opens her seminars – and why so many advisors see themselves in the problems and scenarios she presents.
- [42:45] The importance of maintaining a positive focus – and why so few advisors take the time to slow down and reflect.
- [56:31] Why Gina believes you should hold your team and marketing meetings in the morning in order to make sure they actually happen – and why advisors often don’t like this model, but it always proves to be worth it in the long run.
- [59:60] Why you can’t manage people – but you can manage processes.
- [01:02:12] The surprising thing one advisor did to get back into flow after failing to close a referral.
- [01:03:25] Why boredom leads people to change their sales processes – and why Gina recommends advisors proceed with caution when they attempt to overhaul their offices.
- [01:12:17] How you can show your clients that you’re rooted in your family and your community – and make people care about you.
- [1:12:51] The #1 thing Gina recommends throwing into your newsletter to make sure it actually gets read (HINT: It’s DEFINITELY not what you think!).
- [1:15:01] Gina’s advice for her 20-year-old self.
- [1:17:16] What Gina wants to look back on and see considered absurd in 25 years.
- [1:20:37] The first person Gina thinks of when she hears the world successful.
- [1:22:54] Why work ethic has been so key to Gina’s success.
SELECTED LINKS FROM THE EPISODE
- Operational Training – Advisors Excel
- The World Series of Sales
- The Founder (Movie)
- The Journey – Advisors Excel
REVIEWS OF THE WEEK
Thanks for checking out the latest show, and as a reminder make sure to tune in for the next episode for a special surprise announcement that many of you have reached out and been asking for… I won’t spoil the surprise, but it’s going to be big if you are a podcast lover!!! Now, on to this week’s featured reviews!
This week’s first review comes to us from user D-train150 who says:
Thanks for the kind words and the review! Loving that the show is helping you pass some windshield time and with a username like D-train150 I’m can only assume when you say workout that you’ve definitely listened in while doing some curls and tricep extensions with maybe a side of some bench press mixed in!!! So, I’ll continue to keep the great guests coming and do my best to keep sending business building ideas your way.
The next review comes to us from user AZ Cardinals are 4 real! who says:
Thanks for the stellar review Mr. AZ Cardinals, the eclectic mix of guests from not just within our industry but from many others is what keeps the show fun for me as well. As long as they have ideas or concepts that can apply to financial services, every one is fair game. And with that in mind, if any of you have some guest suggestions, hit me up out on Twitter and let me know. My username is @Brad_Johnson, give me a shout!
Next up is user sm631 who says:
Thanks for listening in sm631, and for the 5 star review! I love that the show has helped you along your journey to becoming an advisor and I hope the studying is going well for the series 7 or even better that you’ve officially passed by the time you hear this. The best tip I can share with you once you make the official transition is the #1 and only marketing metric you should track on a weekly basis is 1st appointments when starting out. That is the difference between success and failure in this business, especially when starting out. Good luck on your new career path!
And the last featured review for the week comes to us from 84bbchamps, who says:
Thanks for the review 84bbchamps! These type of comments really do keep me motivated to keep cranking out episodes for you all and it’s been incredible to connect with more and more of you who continue to apply for the 1 on 1 coaching sessions through the website. Thanks for making the show one of your “go-to’s” and love the focus on getting better every day!
Take the 1st Step to Building Your Ideal Practice: Apply for “Virtual Discovery Session“
For those of you that have interest in diving deeper or figuring out how you may be able to have our team help you implement many of the ideas shared on the show, my day job happens to be consulting financial advisors from all over the US on how to grow their business and design a practice that serves them, versus them serving it. Yes it’s possible to grow your business and work less, this is a model we’ve replicated over and over in markets all over the country… So, if you’d like to apply to see if it makes sense for us to have a 1-on-1 conversation on how to overcome what may be getting in your way, you can do that at bradleyjohnson.com/apply. It takes about 5 minutes to fill out the application so we can understand what your business looks like, what challenges you may be facing and how myself and my team may be able to help. We then dive into a Discovery session where we ask a lot of questions based on your survey. We do a lot of listening, and take a lot of notes to build a rough draft of our proprietary Elite Advisor Blueprint – 90 Day Plan™. Taking the first step is as simple as applying at bradleyjohnson.com/apply 🙂
Already heard it once or twice? Please leave a short review here, and tell me which guests I should have on!
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[read more=”Click here to Read the Transcript” less=”Read Less”]
Welcome to this episode of the Elite Advisor Blueprint Podcast with your host, Brad Johnson. Brad’s the VP of Advisor Development and Advisors Excel, the largest independent insurance brokerage company in the US. He’s also a regular contributor to Investment News, the Wall Street Journal, and other industry publications.
[00:00:27] Brad: Welcome to the Elite Advisor Blueprint, the podcast for world-class financial advisors. I’m Brad Johnson, VP of Advisor Development and Advisors Excel, and it’s my goal to distill the best ideas and advice from top thought leaders and apply it to the world of independent financial advising.
For those of you wondering why the big gap between shows, I recently returned from a two-week trip to Italy with my family and I promised myself that I’d unplug which I very much did. Lots of pasta, some Brunello, more pasta, some Chianti, some Aperol Spritzes and no, I didn’t just drink the whole time, but I think we did manage to fit in a gelato just about every single day and I now know why all of my friends and clients named Italy as one of their favorite places in the world. Besides the amazing food and wine, the landscape and views were incredible, and everyone really does treat you like family over there. So, for those of you who have it on your list of places to see, make sure you bump up a few spots for me.
Okay. Onto today’s conversation. I’m thrilled to speak with Gina Rainey. As the leader of AE Coach at Advisors Excel, Gina specializes in total practice management where she sets out to help advisors bridge the gap between the process-driven brands of their employees and the quick start entrepreneurial mentality many independent advisors operate by. Over the last decade, she’s helped offices struggling with a high turnover and lack of structure become high-performing organizations. She’s empowered advisors to learn how to better utilize their time and revolutionize their practice which has lead them to grow like few others in this industry. Gina’s fingerprints are literally all over Advisors Excel’s top performing practices and there’s a reason for that.
Today, she makes a long overdue appearance on the podcast to talk about how she helps implement organizational change that leads to massive returns. Here are just a few highlights of what we get into. First, Gina explains her philosophy when working with a brand-new office. She focuses on two primary principles. One, how an advisor spends their time is what ultimately determines their success but, two, the team is what determines their freedom.
[00:02:29] Brad: Next, she takes us through a framework of how she helped an advisory firm address their operations issues and skyrocket from capturing 8 million of new assets per year to over 200 million just five years later. From there, Gina shares stories of key hires that took advisor practices to levels they didn’t think were possible and the signs that indicate when you’re ready to hire even if it may seem like a risky move. We then talk about why conditioning employees to be reactive hurt so many businesses and how you can empower your team by making sure your support staff is one step ahead of you. Then Gina shares the rules to her favorite game, let’s pretend to be your client for the day, and what this game can tell you about how your prospects and clients experience your firm and why viewing your practice through their eyes can make all the difference. Next, we dive into what Gina believes needs to happen in weekly team meetings as well as when to hold them and why advisors are often not the best to lead them. Finally, Gina shares her favorite success story from her years of coaching and the life-changing transformation advisors go through when they focus on what really matters.
Okay. Before we get to the show, this may be the biggest give yet for you, Blueprint listeners. Gina is sharing her AE coach video series which consist of 19 videos. Yes, I said 19. They cover topics like her weekly team meeting framework, how to be your client for the day, how to structure 12 months marketing plan, the ideal weekly calendar for an advisor, the blueprint for clearly defined sales process, and a ton more. I’ve seen online courses that were half as good as this selling for a few thousand dollars so make sure to take advantage of Gina’s gift and go access it for free at BradleyJohnson.com/51. As always, show notes that include links to all the resources, books mentioned, people discussed are available there as well. And one last thing before we get to the show, I have a very special surprise coming up for all of you on the next episode.
[00:04:29] Brad: Since starting this podcast, I’ve literally been bombarded with emails, phone calls, tweets, Facebook messages with questions on how to start a podcast as a financial advisor and the good news is I’ve been working on a behind-the-scenes project for all of you that have asked and its official rollout will be via the next episode. So, if you are a financial advisor curious about podcasting, be sure to tune in as not only will we cover a ton on the next show but there will be a special offer for up to 20 of you to gain early access to what we roll out. And that’s all I’m going to share for now. You’ll have to tune in to see what I’ve been up to next. So, that’s it. As always, thanks for listening and without further delay, my conversation with Gina Rainey.
[00:05:16] Brad: Welcome to this episode of the Elite Advisor Blueprint Podcast. I have special guest, Gina Rainey, here with us today. Welcome to the show, Gina.
[00:05:25] Gina: Thank you, Mr. Brad.
[00:05:26] Brad: This has been long, long overdue. I mean we go back a decade plus on this business when I like to think we still both look very young so…
[00:05:36] Gina: Yeah. Haven’t aged a bit. I think you’re actually going backwards. Got a little bit of Benjamin Button going on.
[00:05:42] Brad: Well. So, technically we were talking before we went live here, Gina, and you like to describe what you do as total practice management. So, for those advisors tuning in here, can you explain what that means and what you really been up to the last decade or so with all of the offices that you’ve consulted?
[00:05:59] Gina: Sure. So, in my early 20s I worked for an independent financial advisor and probably about a year into it, I mean, we had probably hired and fired like 10 people within a 12-month period. But he was really, really good at selling and building relationships but he was not good at anything else in the business. So, I knew within that first year of working for him I was going to create a company that bridge the gap between the process-driven brain of the employee and the entrepreneurial brain of the advisor. So, our goal is and the whole coaching was developed so that we get a proactive team that’s actually ahead of the advisor telling the advisor what to do so the advisor can focus on selling and marketing. Because honestly, the advisor is good at managing, they’re probably not that good as an advisor is what we have found. So, if we can get the right butts in the right seats, build the trust with the advisor to give the tools the team needs because there’s no training in this industry at all for anybody, then we can really start to make big progress within the business.
[00:06:56] Brad: Which one of the things that’s fun is in one of the things that Advisors Excel’s kind of secret sauce with us is we attract very high-caliber advisors like you said who are great in front of people which relationship building, that’s what this business is all about, but oftentimes when you and which you have seen a lot of these offices firsthand over the years when you go in a lot of the management and systems leave a lot to be desired. So, it’s been very cool when we go out to these events where we get our top advisers on the stages and there’s like this fan club. You’ve got like a little groupie, a following where everybody is like, “Gina’s amazing. She did this for my business,” and we were just talking beforehand I think there’s no better example of that in one of our top offices on the East Coast out of Plymouth. You literally, I think the first meeting, you fill in the color here because this is sometimes with the changes that are needed in offices there were four partners. By the time you left, there were three partners I think after the first meeting. What did the rest of the staffing look like? Do you remember? It’s been a while.
[00:08:02] Gina: Oh, yeah. I will never forget this office and these guys. So, they had their team looks like they had a guy who was working out of a basement somewhere who was doing the appointment setting and the data tracking, but they really had no data to do the data tracking even though he was doing his job. We had another lady on the team who was really hard to communicate with. There was a big barrier there. And then there was a girl who cried all the time on the team. And so, they didn’t have really anybody that they needed but you dig into this at these offices, the girl who was crying all the time was the new business processor. She was crying all the time because there were no processes. She had no training and then all four partners would go to her after every single meeting to tell her what needed to be done for the next appointment. So, normally, there’s always shared responsibilities when things aren’t working in the office so that’s the way their team was but then their office was also a little bit of a disaster too.
Day 2 was me in blue jeans in their conference room gutting it and walking things through them because they were young guys, so it was just kind of like a mismatch of things. They have like a dusty curtain that was covering one of the cubes and then the one guy goes, “My dad’s an architect and we know an interior designer,” and their office was beautiful because it was right on the coast so you could actually see the ocean, but you couldn’t see it because there was all this crap between the entry and getting back to that conference room. So, the team was a mess, the office was a mess, the partnership was a mess, but they were really coachable. They were really young. They weren’t set in their ways at all. Their sales process, their deliverables, they had this great binder and it was really well designed, had a nice-looking feel and I remember looking at the one partner, I said, “Great. What goes in here?” And he goes, “I don’t know.” We just have this really cool binder in the office and so we had to really work because every partner was doing their own sales process.
[00:09:54] Brad: Yeah. Well, so let’s…
[00:09:55] Gina: So, then from tracking…
[00:09:56] Brad: Yeah. So, let’s give a little color commentary here because when I first met these guys and they’re going to laugh when they hear this interview, by the way, but they were, I mean, they tell you they were really good guys doing the very best for their clients. They came from a Catholic organization that had great, you know, it’s kind of like the old school door-to-door training. They were glorified salespeople. That’s what they were. They’re kind of making house calls, selling out of the trunk of their car, grabbing the brochure to the front door. Well, fast forward and we can maybe share a little bit of their journey and some key pieces and I think that will kind of unpack this conversation. Fast-forward, so that was 2012. Four partners of which there were three once you left, four partners I think had brought in about 8 million of new assets. They were primarily insurance-focused. Fast forward to this year, they’re pacing for 200 million of new assets and a lot of that was some key hires. I think their team is north of 20 people now that you helped them put into place. So, you want to share maybe because I think as I was trying, there’s so much knowledge that I could pull out of you in this conversation and that’s the challenge. This could be a four-hour podcast. I don’t want to do that to you on a Friday.
[00:11:07] Gina: No.
[00:11:08] Brad: You got probably other things going on. But maybe if we could paint a picture of what is the journey you often see with offices that are great people, maybe have some a little bit of good marketing going but what is like that next step to get them to more of a systematized office but then that slowly transitions to those individuals as the CEO versus salespeople?
[00:11:31] Gina: Yeah. The one thing I always tell every office when I start working with them is there are two key factors and the first one is how the advisors spend their time. The second one is the team. So, how the advisors spend their time determines their success, but their team determines their freedom. So, I literally just this week had a phone call with an advisor and we went around and around and when I’m coaching I’m always like, “Listen, it’s your business so it’s your decision. Ultimately, you do what you think is best,” but this advisor was trying to tell me that it was a good use of his time to do the annuity reallocation and quarterly checking calls with all 250 of his clients. And that led to, “Well, how many referrals are you getting per year?” And he said, “Well, about 10.” And I said, “Okay. Just because your calendar is full and you’re busy doesn’t mean you’re using it to the best of your ability.” And then he went on to tell me, “Well, I don’t really have any A+ or A clients. They’re almost all C clients.”
So, my point to him was, “Why are you spending your time trying to duplicate that ideal client,” but he said, “No, no, no. This is it’s really important to me.” So, at that point, you say, “Okay,” because sometimes in the coaching you just have to say, “Okay. It’s your business,” but then normally the advisors will come around once you plant those seeds. So, really getting the advisor hyper-focused on how they’re spending their time, it should not be an email or watching webinars on revenue days. It’s good for Mondays and Fridays. It’s not good on revenue days. He should really be working on their case prep when their not in an appointment or calling A+ clients or working on marketing. So, time is a big one for the advisor. And then the second part of that is their team. Their team is so, gee, and that was a big one for SHP. You know, I went in there and we got a lot of stuff done but those guys realize very quickly that they were not going to be able to manage that a long-term. So, they did two key hires, one from marketing and one from operations, and I hear nothing but great reviews about those two people in that office and from all the other advisors who go out there and visit them, they literally changed that organization and they changed lives of the advisors.
[00:13:36] Brad: Yeah. So, let’s hit on. There’s a couple of things you hit there that I want to dig in on. Let’s rewind a little bit because here’s what’s interesting. Over the last decade or so, you’ve consulted a lot of offices and you’ve had some stories like what we just shared where an office like literally unrecognizable today doing 200 million of new assets to when you first work with them on the front-end doing 8 million. You’ve got these other offices that you work with that they were maybe they were the $8 million guys and they’re still the $8 million guys today. Hence, the second conversation you kind of shared there, the use of their time. What are the key factors when you sit down with an office the first time where you’re like, “They get it. They’re going to revolutionize their business,” versus the ones who don’t?
[00:14:23] Gina: Honestly, the ones who are not going to revolutionize their business don’t work with me long-term. They pretty much fall out because I’m interested in results. Now, what I learned very early on from a consulting and coaching perspective, I used to go into the office or get on the phone and say, “Okay. We’re going to implement all 12 of these modules. From hell or high water, we’re doing these 12 things.” But in short order, I realized my definition of success is not the advisor’s definition of success. So, there are plenty of offices. My offices don’t normally stay 8 million to 8 million. They just don’t. But if their definition of success is to go from 8 million to 12 million which is a big deal to some offices, then I’ll get them to that $12 million mark. But the reality of it is if they don’t want to work, they’re not going to work with me because there is accountability because the implementation and the accountability is what changes the office. There’s a whole lot of shelf help out there and the advisors are the easiest people to sell. They go to these trainings, they come back, they’re all jazzed up, they disrupt the team, they disrupt the workflow.
We have one office who went to Chris Hobart’s journey. They came home from Chris Hobart’s journey and they said, “We are changing the name of our company, we are moving offices, we’re changing broker-dealers, and we’re changing database.” And I’m like, “No, no. No, no. Pause.” So, we’re trying to have the extreme, those who are set in their ways or those that want to go all the way and that’s a challenge for people who come to Advisors Excel too is they want to do everything all at once and you can’t eat the elephant in one bite so it’s piece-by-piece and determining those benchmarks for success and for growth.
[00:16:00] Brad: What are the mindsets of those that you see have tremendous growth? To me, I’m interested in your viewpoint. I see my viewpoint when I talked with someone the first time I’m like, “Ah, they’re going to be a superstar.” I have those conversations and like, “Wow. They’re going to grow like…” What are some characteristics or mindsets you see of those that are like they’re going to go from 20 million to 40 million to 60 million of new assets or from 500,000 of revenue to 1 million of revenue or whatever those goals may be?
[00:16:28] Gina: The first one is that they’re humble, is that they don’t come in with this big ego and throwing it around and saying, “Well, I’m…” I mean it’s very rare I find somebody at Advisors Excel who has that ego which is what I think makes Advisors Excel so, so, so special is that everybody always knows that they can do better. Everybody realizes that and everybody even Joel Johnson he says, “I know I can do better. I know that I can learn more,” so I think being humble is the first one and the second one is that they’re coachable. Because the reality of it is if what you’re doing is working for you then I don’t need to work with you. I mean some people I work with and they’ll call and say they just want me to tell them, “Yeah. You’re doing everything right. You’re still on the right track,” but the people who aren’t coachable then there’s no point to coach them.
[00:17:16] Brad: Very true. I think that is so interesting, humble, because you’re spot on and a lot of times what we see when offices join Advisors Excel it’s a humbling experience in the first place because they were number one revenue guy at their old shop or number one producer of their old shop and all of a sudden, they’re like, “Oh, I’m like 101 now,” but…
[00:17:39] Gina: And that’s hard. I mean it’s not an easy thing.
[00:17:40] Brad: Yeah. But the ones I see that succeed here are the ones where they’re like, “Oh my gosh, I thought I was playing in the majors but hindsight I was playing maybe AA or AAA ball and now I’m in the majors and now this actually drives and motivates me because I see what I can do.” And it’s cool how that mindset can shift.
[00:18:00] Gina: Yeah. We have the one group that I coached in. They’re a very unique group because they’re very strict with their time and how they spend their time. They were extremely humble, extremely coachable. They came over to us. Their old IMO had the courage to call them six months later and say, “Oh, we thought you were going to grow and it doesn’t look like you’ve grown that much since you moved to Advisors Excel,” and they busted out this list that said, “Here’s everything that we’ve implemented, everything that we’re working on and what we still have to accomplish and when all these things are done, we’ll see you at the bottom,” meaning they’re going to leave those people behind and they’re in their top three offices now.
[00:18:40] Brad: That’s good.
[00:18:41] Gina: And that’s the other thing too is that sometimes when people come to Advisors Excel because every advisor wants instant gratification. Well, I want to do this and get this result. The reality of it is when we’re kind of excavating a business is that it takes six months sometimes just to staying stable to kind of get everything unearth especially if we have issues with the team or cultural issues that we have to dive into. There are sometimes can even be a little bit of a dip but then you are prepared for scalability and growth, and that’s buried too.
[00:19:11] Brad: Well, I mean, the truth there’s a lot of very high performing offices when you really dive in, they’ve got a lot of work to do on the team side, on the culture side. You were saying earlier before we went live, and maybe you even mentioned a bit of this, here’s what advisors are really good at like good advisors are really good at, here’s what they’re not very good at. Can you kind of just share some of that insight?
[00:19:32] Gina: So, I tell every office that I work with, “Listen, the easiest way to get your arms around the business is to have your advisors sitting in front of people all day every day or speaking in front of people.” So, either sitting in front of people or speaking to people because a bored advisor will become very disruptive in the business. “Hey, where we’re at on a pending case? Hey, what’s going on with the marketing? Hey, let’s have this impromptu meeting,” and so he rode everything else in the business. So, when we say that we’re all a little ADD because I think we all have to be a little ADD so the joke is, “Squirrel!” and they go down this path and then they go, “Squirrel!” and then they go down this path, so we keep them in appointments. They keep them out of trouble because the reality of it is it’s a very high a failure rate to become an independent advisor and then it’s extremely high failure rate to be a successful small business owner especially after that five-year mark and the people that we’re working with have overcome both of those objectives in their life. So, they’re very good at what they’re very good at so let’s keep them there and let them build everything else around them to support, enforcing that, and keeping them out of the way in the business.
[00:20:41] Brad: Okay. So, let’s go to team and you mentioned before our guys on the East Coast that have scaled from 8 million to 200 million and they would 100% agree, two very key hires. What’s interesting, the backstory of that was they were only trying to hire one person and two superstars interviewed and they made the decision which was not an easy one at the time because both of these were high salaried jobs to hire both of them. And that’s one of the things and I heard another one in our offices say and this is actually our number one office now, he said that he transitioned to based on the growth of their firm rather than this like sprint, slow down, sprint, slowdown of hiring, post the position. They’re always hiring. He’s like, “We’re a high-growth firm. When we find superstars out there, we’re going to hire potentially before we need them because everybody else hires six months or 12 months after they need them.” So, just maybe high level maybe even if you got a story or two on key acquisitions that you’ve seen take advisors offices to the next frontier that they didn’t even think is possible.
[00:21:46] Gina: Yeah. I think that a lot of advisors and it’s hard to especially if there’s not a lot of recurring revenue in the business to bring on employees because they are super expensive and then they have to manage more people, but I think that you need to hire people who show signs of leadership because we don’t typically recommend middle management. We don’t recommend the one person in between the advisor and the team. We recommend a leadership team that’s helping drive the various department within the organization. So, these offices grow very quickly and so you may say, “Yeah, I don’t need a leadership team right now.” The reality of it is, is that you’re going to because you don’t want to manage. We don’t want one person managing so we need a team of people to work cohesively together and actually make decisions. So, I think that you sometimes want to over hire from a skill set if you know you’re on the verge of that next playthrough because you will grow into that person. And I tell most of my offices too, “Listen, if you’re overstaffed,” and I know the offices well enough to make this determination, “But if you’re slightly overstaffed, I don’t have to worry about that because you’re going to grow right into that person.”
Because like you were saying is they wait until the wagon wheels have busted off and the wagons have come to a screeching halt going down the hill or if we get it when the wheels are just shaking a little bit then we have that person on board. Because I tell people, it’s two months to hire somebody and then you have about a six-month window to really get them grooved in and settled to a point that we trust them and to change our sense and we really start using them. So, that’s a long time frame when you look at it.
[00:23:18] Brad: Yeah. And everybody I think has heard the term slow to hire, quick to fire. In our industry, it’s typically the exact opposite where they…
[00:23:26] Gina: Oh, yes.
[00:23:27] Brad: Where they hire very quickly because they’re six months late and then what happens is going back to I see this framework of or this philosophy, they see staffing as an expense and so they’re like, “What’s the least I can spend to fill this position, once again, six months or 12 months late because I’m hurrying now?” Instead of an investment in the team to where, hey, superstars A+ players, guess what? They already have a job and they’re already on another team and they’re probably happy and so if you’re going to head hunt them you’re going to pay above grade 10%, 15% to get the superstars. So, maybe share and don’t give out any identities here. Share like maybe kind of an office that’s done this very poorly where they kind of they don’t spend enough on their staff and what that’s led to versus the ones that have paid above market value, hired superstars, and what’s that done if you’ve got maybe an example or two of that.
[00:24:26] Gina: Yeah. I mean, the reality of it is, is that good people are never out of work and like you said, they’re not out there. They’re happy. They’re probably being taken care of and I think three, four years ago they could hire cheap because people were looking for work and last year and this year the marketplace has really shifted and now it’s an employee marketplace, not an employer marketplace. So, you have to be willing to pay. We say, “Listen, if you’re looking for someone in a leadership role, some of those people are going to require a $60,000 or $75,000 depending on where you’re at in the country. That’s just the going rate.” So, some story for you and I told this a hundred times so you’ve probably heard it but literally, I had an advisor who hired a girl from the car wash because she had a nice smile and she comes in to work and does not know how to turn on the computer, doesn’t know how to use Microsoft Word, and then called me and he’s really frustrated with her because she doesn’t have the skill set. Now, I say, “Listen, we can’t teach attitude. We can teach the skill, but they have to have some basic functionality before we can even teach them additional skills on top of it.”
The other hire is the spouse. That’s always a really popular hire because no one says, “Hey, when I grow up I’m going to be a financial advisor. Almost everyone has fallen into this industry including you and I. It just kind of happened. We fell into this. So, they hire the girl from the car wash or they hire their spouse or they hire their kids and I’m not saying that it can’t work because some people get upset when I bring this up having a spouse in the business but it’s hard and it takes a lot of work and a lot a discipline to make that relationship. Because otherwise, I had a young couple and they were working together and they had a young family at home and I looked at them and I said, “So, what you guys are telling me that your pillow talk at home is about the business?” And they both started to laugh because it just consumes the business. So, I think the rule has to be if we’re working together in the business, when our feet hits the driveway we’re done talking about business. The reality of it is, is most of us can’t do that.
[00:26:25] Gina: So, I think hiring the spouse is always challenging. It can work but it is challenging. But the office we were talking about earlier where they did hire those two key people or the other offices that always have a posting open because the reality of it is it’s very hard to find rock stars. So, when you do find them, hire them especially if you’re a growth office. If you’re a lifestyle office, then probably not the best piece of advice but most everybody that we’re working with is a growth office. And even if you’re a lifestyle office, it could be you want the freedom of time and so that person can give you that freedom of time.
[00:27:01] Brad: Yeah. I heard it. I think it was Darren Hardy in a mastermind. I think he was actually quoting Steve Jobs if I remember right but basically his comment is, “A players are always free,” and if you look at them as an investment in your business, yes, you have to pay them well but the work they do is like five times, 10 times the output of like an average employee. So, his philosophy was they’re always free because they just exponentially increase the output of your firm. Have you found that to be true?
[00:27:29] Gina: Yeah. Because what advisors typically don’t realize is I tell the advisor, you only have so much mental real estate in your head and as you have employee issues or we have issues with clients that are employees can’t resolve, all these little stakes and flags start to end up on that real estate. Before you know it, we have this much space dedicated to actually selling, closing business, and helping people. So, when you hire that person, you get so much more bandwidth and freedom in your business. That’s almost invaluable to most offices. They just don’t realize that mental real estate is pretty pricey.
[00:28:05] Brad: Yeah. So, let’s throw this one out because I don’t know how many times I’ve heard this over the last decade on that topic. So, what do you tell the advisor that says, “Only I can do the paperwork because only I’m the one that will fill it out properly and then I will have to go back to the client and that’s such a big issue and so I only trust me to do that?”
[00:28:25] Gina: Okay. Well, what I would do is mathematically figure out what that advisor is worth per hour which at a minimum is typically around $1,000 an hour is what that advisor is worth. So, if you want to pay $1,000 an hour to have someone do paperwork for you, again your choice, your business. You absolutely can do that but there are resources and we have, I mean, even at Advisors Excel I can order a report that showed me, “Hey, what’s wrong with the application? Is it sloppiness from the team or are we transposing Social Security numbers or is it the advisor not doing suitability the right way or we’re using paper applications and the forms are outdated?” Because data is king, so we can figure out where the issues are then we can solve the issue. But no, I mean, honestly you know me. This will shock you. This might shock the people watching this. Listen, if you want to do your own paperwork then go do your own paperwork and I’ll talk to you on the flip side.”
[00:29:24] Brad: You can go for it, right?
[00:29:28] Gina: Right. Because advisors typically hate paperwork but it’s a control thing but typically it’s a control thing because they’re paying their office staff $9 an hour. They gave them no training. They didn’t come with any sort of skill set. They’ve given them no resources and so that’s the bigger issue is the trust as an established, don’t relinquish that.
[00:29:50] Brad: Hey, Blueprint listeners, I have a special opportunity for you this week. I wouldn’t interrupt the middle of an interview otherwise. We recently hosted an event at AE Headquarters that is the first of its kind. It’s focused on how you as a financial advisor can make the leap from traditional old-school marketing to the new digital frontier. Long story short, we had a number of applications that came in after our latest event had filled up, so we decided to open up one additional date in September for those who missed out. Those dates are September 16th through 18th. Here’s who speaking and what will be covered. First, we’ll have Brad Parscale, the actual Facebook marketing expert who helped run Trump’s Facebook marketing campaign during the last election. I might add this isn’t a political conversation where he’ll be discussing right or left. It will be a deep dive tactical overview of the strategies that drove results using social media.
Next, we’ll have the digital marketing firm that is consistently filling our clients’ events with 40 plus prospects per evening. Incredibly, they’ve only missed maxing out that number four times in over 400 campaigns the last three years. All attendees are being invited directly from Facebook ads with an online registration process to an educational event with no dinner being served. They’ll show you exactly how they’re doing it including something called a look-alike audience which is a tool you can utilize on Facebook to clone your top clients. More on that at the event. Then of course once you get a qualified attendee to actually show up, it becomes about the automated follow-up process you have in place to get them to your office. We’ll have an Infusionsoft expert in to share exact campaigns working today in financial services. If you aren’t familiar with Infusionsoft, you should be as it’s changing the game for our clients. We’ll have two of our top performing offices which gathered 233 million and 97 million organically in 2017 sharing their real-world marketing ROIs, how they consistently keep the calendar full, and the key to scaling your firm so you’re no longer a salesperson or asset manager but rather a CEO.
[00:31:45] Brad: Lastly, nine-time New York Times bestselling author himself, David Bach, will be joining us in walking through the framework to make sure your practice has a trainable process which makes you scalable and, in the end, salable. Who doesn’t want that, right? If you’d like to see if you qualify to attend, take five minutes to fill out a short application online at BradleyJohnson.com/TheCatalyst. For those that qualify, we’ll fully cover your cost to attend including flight, hotel, and attendance to the event. So, if you’d like to make sure your practice is ahead of the curve as the world transitions from newspapers and direct mail to digital and Facebook, go fill up the application to save your spot.
[00:32:29] Brad: Well, it’s been – we’ll maybe go down this path a little later on but if you look at the why many of the programs and tools exist inside of Advisors Excel that do today, I mean, we didn’t have you and basically your company, Gina Rainey and Associates, who’s now AE Coach so everything that we’re talking about kind of a total practice management stuff. We didn’t have in the early days. Why do we have it today? Because we found offices became a victim of their own success. They were great salespeople but when it came to running and structuring and scaling a business they weren’t very good and so they brought in people like yourself. So, going back to the training side, the only good trainers we found in this business are like these captive groups so if you have to now start to kick off like Ameriprise or Ed Jones employees or things like that that’s why you help develop Elite Team Training today. So, we actually have a full-service two-day boot camp that our offices send people out to. I mean, I think we’ve got one coming up later this month. Because even if an advisor was good at training staff, not the best use of their time from an hourly range standpoint, right?
[00:33:36] Gina: Yeah. It just doesn’t make any sense. Yeah. I mean I originally – it was originally called Operational Excellence when we first built it. One of the big things my favorite part of doing that training is it’s a group of people together so we’ve had anywhere from 45 people to 115 people in these groups and the first opening session that we do is called the Trouble With Producers and they all look around the room and they all realize, “Oh, I’m not the only one who works with an advisor with these characteristics,” because they all think that their advisor or producer is this AWOL personality that doesn’t really exist but the reality they’re all cut from the same cloth. So, just to give them a network on top of the training, our advisors come to the journey and they come to World Series of sales and they have friends and people they can call. Your team doesn’t have that network, so they come in and they met people who have been in contact for eight years. They met at the training, stayed in contact, “Hey, do you have a first appointment letter that’s working? Hey, our SIC ratio isn’t where it should be. What are you guys seeing?”
So, just having that network built is really invaluable from that. So, the other part of the training is too is Corporate America has taught our team members and our employees that they should be completely reactive. So, I will do what is asked of me when I’m told to do it and that’s kind of the Corporate American mentality. In this business, we need a team to get one step ahead of the advisors, so we really empower them like, “Listen, the advisor doesn’t want to tell you what to do. The vast majority want you to tell them what to do so that they don’t have to think about it.” So, there are some tips and tricks that we go into as well with them. One of them is if you’re going to your advisor with a problem so don’t go to your advisor and say, “Hey, my computer doesn’t work,” because your advisor doesn’t really work on the computer all day long. It’s not that big of a deal. So, “Hey, my computer doesn’t work. Here’s the three options we have. The third one being that $700 I’ll order a brand-new computer. It’ll be here on Tuesday. Can I do that?” And so, it’s really empowering the team on top of all the processes and the practice management itself that we go into. But sometimes it’s this little nitty-gritty stuff they could miss with the psychology side of the business. That’s really important.
[00:35:42] Brad: I mean, I think it’s not a negative to advisors if they’re type A personalities. I’m cool like everybody’s a quick start, seven, eight, nine or higher. It’s just the skill set I’m really good at and then coaching the team, “Hey, here’s the skill set you’re dealing with,” so no this is not in their wheelhouse and if we can take that stuff off from their plate, so they can do more of the stuff they’re amazing at which is relationship building and speaking in front of people and all the things that actually grow and drive the business. And so, that’s what I love is it’s more of a framework of here’s how to operate in these types of environments to grow a team successfully. Quick aside is funny. So, Erica Pauly who was just on a previous episode was one and came to one of the early what used to be called the Operational Excellence, now the Elite Team Training. So, she was a student that came through. And now she’s a superstar coaching other offices out so that’s kind of fun.
[00:36:34] Gina: Yeah. It’s always fun to see the evolution of when the – and that’s part of the reason why I am so addicted in this industry is because you can see and touch and feel the growth and success both of the advisors and our team members and it’s almost intoxicating when you just get to see someone physically grow up right in front of your eyes.
[00:36:53] Brad: Yeah. So, this is the best analogy, it might be a horrible one, but you know how like ESPN will pop up like, “Here’s Bill Snyder and he’s this famous coach and then here’s his coaching tree of all the people he helped develop.” You’re starting to do that in our industry. That’s kind of fun.
[00:37:07] Gina: Yes. It is. It’s very fun.
[00:37:10] Brad: That’s rewarding. Okay. So, let’s dive in here. Like I said, we’ve got too much to cover and not enough time. I love your concept of a little game you play as you visit offices called, let’s pretend to be the client for the day. Can you dive into what that means and maybe some fun stories to go along with that?
[00:37:27] Gina: So, it was funny. On that note, I actually had an advisor call my team the other day and he said and he’s new to us and he said, “This is a really, really dumb question and I know it’s a really dumb question,” and Carrie goes with him. “We’ve heard them all before. What is it?” He goes, “I just need to make sure that I’m not supposed to buy a couch for my lobby. I’m supposed to buy chairs with arms. Is that right?” Because it came from that conversation in that article. So, I went to go see an advisor out West and we have to remember the vast majority of our offices are working with retirees and this advisor had been in business for several years so that clients obviously were aging. So, I sit down in the lobby and it is this huge black squishy leather couch and even me to get up and like try to get out of that couch took a lot of effort. It makes people uncomfortable that they have to kind of fight with the furniture to get out of it. So, that was one of the offices where I’m like, “Yeah. We probably need to work on that part of it so that it’s easy for the people to get in and out.”
So, some of the things with and actually we had another office and I had this at two offices where the conference room bucked up to the waiting area and most offices don’t have soundproof walls and the one office actually had a prospect who was waiting, get up and walk out because he could hear the conversation in the conference room. Because this generation that we’re working with is very much into confidentiality and privacy and most of them don’t even talk to their friends about their finances. So, the other office they actually light jazz that was playing in the lobby and then they had like a water fountain, but they should be careful with the water fountain because it makes people have to pee. Light jazz may be a better option than the water fountain. So, just keep that in mind that I always say, “Listen, you need to sit where your clients sit and actually look around.” So, I went to go see an advisor. This advisor is the best advisor from a client experience perspective like he is the master of client experience.
[00:39:28] Gina: He asked me to come work with his team a couple of years ago to do year-end planning so I said, “Absolutely,” and I knew from many, many years before when I first worked with that office that I had some of the original materials they have used. So, I climbed up in the attic and I found the spot and I found this old client file and I brought it down and again, remember, this advisor is the best when it comes to client experience so a couple of things. When I went to that office, they knew that their office was really challenged from where it was located so it was literally in an industrial park, really low ceiling. They did their best to have like this crazy mural painted on the back wall that would look like it’s from 1982. So, I sat in their lobby and there were these old, you know, like the pockets that used to hang on the wall to put notes in or like at the doctor’s office where they put the files in. Those have just been planted there I literally think since 1980 and they just had always been there, so it was like the frog in a boiling water, you don’t realize, and they were full of dust. The front desk was full of papers.
So, when people are trying to set their next appointment, they can actually see the applications of other clients that were sitting on that desk. And some other things too. Are the chairs comfortable? Then going into your conference room actually sitting in the conference room, and what can you see and what can you hear? So, a couple of things when you’re be your client for the day. Obviously, the furniture we’ve talk about that. What can you see and hear? Is your team professionally dressed? Is the confidential information of your clients stored away so that people can’t see it? And probably most important is most advisors are complete bums in their office meaning in their own physical office space. So, when I go to see an advisor typically the team will pull me aside and they’ll be like, “Hey, listen, it really was such a mess yesterday. I took a picture so you can see what it really looks like.” So, they’re like telling on the advisor. We can’t fight every battle, so I always say, “Listen, if the advisor’s office is at the end and no one’s ever going to see it and the client files don’t get lost in that office, I’m not going to sweat it.”
[00:41:32] Gina: But if clients are meeting with the advisor in that office or files are getting lost in that office then we need to fix that issue. And the other thing I was going to tell you about the client experience too, that advisor who have that office with the dusty wall pocket and the stacked up front desk, the reason I went up into the attic and I got that folder is his team didn’t realize how far that office had come because it was a fairly new team. And by the time they walked in and started working with that advisor, everything looked great and it felt great and deliverables were amazing, and I brought, I got permission from him to show this to the team. His first appointment folder was a green mead folder from like Walgreens and the appointment confirmation was an inkjet label that was like cockeyed on the green mead folder, they would handwrite in, and then when you open the folder up it was all these black and white inserts on really crappy paper. And it was fun for the team to see that because the team had no idea that just a few years prior that’s where they had started from and the growth that that advisor had made.
And I think it’s really relevant when we talk about client experience and laying everything out on a conference room table that touches your client in addition to being your client for a day. Because some advisors will say, “Listen, we don’t compete against Edward Jones because we’re independent.” The reality of it is that we do because it’s a brand. They have a marketing campaign. We know we think that people aren’t going to take advantage of us. Our clients that we’re working with, they don’t really know. We’re not a national brand so everything that your clients touch and feel from your first appointment folder to the chairs to the conference room, all that builds into the trust equation which is something that we are having constantly to overcome as independent advisors.
[00:43:17] Brad: Yeah. So much there. Thank you for sharing that. So, you did remind me, I love that you went back, and I know this is another thing that you recommend in your weekly team meetings as kind of a positive focus, starting the week with a positive focus. So, I want you to go into that in a second but what I think as going back to advisors type A personalities, entrepreneurs, rarely do entrepreneurs take the time to slow down and reflect. And granted, I am the same way. I’m wired. I’m always like here’s the next thing in front of me. Here, I did this. Okay, now it’s on to the next thing. And I think sometimes a tip that advisors need to take is slow down for their team, not for them, for their team, look over their shoulder. Here’s how far we’ve come. And Dan Sullivan shared something that I love. So, there’s this 10x mentality of I did $1 million of revenue this year. What would the business have to look like to 10x that or do 10 million? So, that’s looking forward but another thing he does with his team is he says, “Now, I take the million, divide it by 10. And when our company revenue was at 100,000, what did that firm look like? Who was on the team?” And that little exercise of going back and looking at wow, this is what our marketing material used to look like. Look how horrible this was. How did we quote any clients or bring any clients onboard? So, are there other practices you see just really good leadership skills to do things like that with their team and just really empower them and get them excited, just along those lines?
[00:44:53] Gina: It’s rare to find. I always tell the advisor, “You have to stop and celebrate,” like you’re saying for your team’s sake. One of the big mistakes that an advisor can make is they set their goals so we’re going to do 20 million or 40 million and they start off the year really strong and we’re halfway through the year right now and they’re like, “Oh, no, no, no, that wasn’t really the goal. We’re going to do 60 million.” And you can’t do that. You certainly can do that. It’s your business. You can do whatever you want but then that becomes the stretch goal and not the baseline goal. This can’t be a moving target because our brains are wired, always forward thinking, always grow, and your employees don’t think that way and so they want to know are we winning and are we on the right track? One of the best stories and I think I actually heard it when I went to a strategic coach training years and years ago is there were two women and they were on a hiking trip together and one of them ended up getting very, very sick so there were two guides. The one guide took the healthy woman and continued on and the sick lady stayed back with her guide and they were trudging along, and she goes, “Oh my God, I can’t believe we have this much further to go.” And he physically grabbed her, and he turned her around and he said, “But look at how far you’ve come.”
And so, I think that and that’s what we’ve talked about earlier with having the leadership mentality to have someone on your team who can grab you and turn you around and say, “We can always look at the gap. We can always look at the things that still need to be done that we haven’t accomplished yet.” But a good leader is someone who’s working alongside the advisor who kind of help pull the advisor out of that. So, some of the things that we’re seeing recently are setting up quarterly team building days and they can be super cheap and super easy, and they don’t even have to be a whole day but to check in, “Hey, where are we at for our goals and the metrics for the business overall?” and then doing things like the escape room or going bowling.
[00:46:43] Brad: That’s what I was just thinking. We did that with my team. It’s awesome.
[00:46:46] Gina: People love the escape room. I did it with my nieces and I got something on a room with people I didn’t like so I was like, “No, if I do it next time, I’m doing it just with these people.” They weren’t employees or anything.
[00:46:57] Brad: So, I have to tell a funny story because so Braun and I, my eight-year-old, we’re just in Kansas City for a baseball tournament and the second day got rained out so we had a full day just him and I and I was like, “Oh, there’s an escape room,” and I’m just a big kid. I love all this stuff.
[00:47:12] Gina: Yup. Me too.
[00:47:13] Brad: And I’m like, “Oh, there’s an escape room down the road.” So, we show up and the way this one was set up is they’ve got two concepts but each of the concepts they have two rooms so you can actually race someone, so you can have two network team in the same room that’s like competing against each other. And so, anyway, this one could hold eight or something and so they threw us in with this group of like retirees. They were celebrating like a 60th birthday or something and the lady kind of makes a big deal to set it up. She’s like, “Oh no, this is just our group. We don’t want this guy and this kid.” And the guy that’s running it he’s like, “Well, normally we recommend at least groups of four or whatever.” So, Braun and I go into the other room and I’m like, “We’re going to beat them.” And so, we…
[00:47:56] Gina: Challenge accepted.
[00:47:57] Brad: So, you kind of figure out some of the strategy along the way and we get out and we bust out like right at the 60 minutes and they’re still in there for another five minutes and then Braun’s like, “Let’s give them high fives when they walk out.” And so, it was – sorry. Complete…
[00:48:13] Gina: Oh, I love that.
[00:48:14] Brad: Speaking of squirrels, I’m going off track here, but those things are so fun.
[00:48:19] Gina: No. Give us a challenge and the challenge will be accepted. If there’s any competition, it’s on. It’s on. So, positive focus.
[00:48:26] Brad: Yes. Yes.
[00:48:27] Gina: And then we…
[00:48:27] Brad: So, let’s transition to, well, once again just that going back to leading a team it’s all about rhythms and accountability and it’s surprising how many offices don’t have the weekly team meetings so everybody’s on the same page. So, I know you’ve done a great job of kind of putting some of those best practices in for a lot of our offices. If you could say, here are my best performing offices, here’s what that weekly rhythm of a team meeting looks like, and here’s kind of the key things they hit on inside of that, can you dig in on that a little bit?
[00:48:57] Gina: Yeah. So, I don’t think there’s any successful office that I work with or have worked with that is not doing a weekly team meeting. So, I do think it’s that important because the reality of it is, is what gets measured gets done and the weekly team meeting is all of the data and performance for all the key areas in the business and the advisor there’s a rule that when you do my weekly team meeting, one of the main rule is that the advisor is not running the meeting because it’s the squirrel in the escape room and down the rabbit hole we go. So, someone else on the team needs to make sure that they’re running the meeting. We call it the mayor of the meeting. So, we’re starting on time, stopping on time, and more importantly, we’re staying on track. So, some of the things that are really important that we look for in the weekly team meeting, so each team member is presenting their department or their data. They’re creating their tool. They’re doing a reporting. It gets engagement instead of just sitting there and death by meeting.
So, you start positive focus five minutes and go around the table, one thing positive that happened last week to get the cobwebs out of everyone’s head, gets everybody a little bit engaged, it allows the advisor to stay connected with the team because the advisors do care about their team. They just have a hard time making that connection when there’s still so many other pressures in the office. I’ll never forget I was at an office and we did a positive focus and so one team member goes, “Well, my husband got a job,” and the advisor go, “Oh, I didn’t know he was changing jobs.” She goes, “Yeah. He got laid off two years ago.” So, those are the things that impact performance of an employee that we – I hit another office, total sidebar, my turn to have a squirrel now.
[00:50:29] Brad: Okay. Go for it.
[00:50:30] Gina: But the advisor and it was a top – so it was a very high-level producer had a key employee and ran all of the new businesses and service. And for some reason, the performance just went off the cliff and the advisor is like, “I think I’m going to have to fire him. I’ve never seen it like this before.” And I said, “Okay. Well, let me at least talk to him and find out what’s going on.” I talked to that team member and we found out that his mom was in hospice and was not going to make it past 30 days but because of the speed in which everyone moves and not – we don’t want the employee to burden the advisors but there are certain key life changes where they feel comfortable we can support them and put support around them from a work perspective that we take the pressure off of them. So, the positive focus just helps build that bond. One of the other thing that really falls with the positive focus and I tell this to the other offices is, “Listen, if you have an employee or you have a new employee and we do positive focus and that person said week after week, ‘I don’t have anything positive to add,’ that person will not make it in the industry because this is a really hard industry.”
If you cannot find one positive thing that happened either in your life or at work, your glass is half empty and the advisors just do not ride with that personality. So, so far, I’m betting 100 on that one that the employees who can’t come up with a positive thing are not long-term employees. So, most offices either love or hate the positive focus, either takes a half hour which is way too long or no one likes to do it, so we try to limit that. The mayor makes sure we’re five minutes or less on that. From there, your weekly team meeting you should be looking at where are we at for production versus where are we supposed to be. So, what is the benchmark? We find – it’s very rare these days but I see some offices where the team is like, “We don’t have goals. We don’t know what the goal is.” So, because this year has been – May was a crazy month for most offices. And the team I think can get behind that if they know, “Wow, we are kicking tail right now.”
[00:52:27] Gina: Where instead of it just being grinding it out and just gets more and more work, they say, “Oh wow, no wonder I’m so tired because look what we did last month from a production standpoint.” And again, it allowed them to pause and celebrate when we’re benchmarking where are we at versus where are we supposed to be. Then from there you should hop into your marketing stat, so I want to know from a marketing perspective how many first appointments were set last week, what marketing did we do, what did it generate. Then looking forward in a marketing, what’s coming up in the next 30 days. And the reason I want that in the team meeting, and remember, this is just high-level data share. This does not to go deep into marketing. It’s just a high-level marketing stat. Some people think that our new business and service teams don’t have an impact on referrals or first appointments and I believe that that it is very incorrect because if we’re talking to someone who is in pending business right now with an A+ client and we have a client event coming up, to be personally invited by that new business person has a significant impact.
So, if you’re doing an e-newsletter or a newsletter, you probably should read it if you’re the advisor because most of them are not reading it and the clients come in and talk about it and the advisor doesn’t have an idea what was in that e-newsletter or the newsletter. So, going over, “Okay. Here’s what’s happening in the next 30 days,” and marketing allows everyone to be aware of, “Okay. Here’s what we have going on,” so that the operations team is aware and they can start to build momentum with the people they are talking to as well from servicing and the business perspective. From there, I’d like to go into what I call calendar review, so this is building over the calendar from last week and there’s a couple of different ways that you can slice and dice it. If you’re a smaller office, it’s a lot easier. If you have selling some advisors then I want the stats for every advisor because I want to see how many prospects incurred, who closed what business. So, when you have a sales team, they’re very competitive and when we stack in numbers side by side by side there are no hiding if you’re an associate producer. So, some of those associate advisors can be really slippery where if they have that accountability in front of the team each week, there’s no hiding from it.
[00:54:29] Gina: But from a bare minimum looking at your calendar, what happened last week. I was actually on-site a great office and we were going through a mock meeting. I said, “Okay. Pull up your calendar. Let me see what happened last week,” and she goes, “I think I had $1 million. What happened to him?” So, we literally get up and go find the file and someone had accidentally filed the file away and so that guy would’ve just vanished into thin air or the same as advisor approach which is six months later they wake up at 2 AM and say, “Whatever happened to Joe Smith?” And then they come in and they find the file, and someone gets in trouble so on and so forth. So, reviewing your calendar from last week is really important to make sure we’re where we’re supposed to be. We should have an ideal number of person appointments that were set and kept. Did we hit that metric? Did we not? Looking at the calendar for the coming week. So, you are an advisor or you work for an advisor that has that case preps. That’s one of the key items that we want to fix so we don’t want the advisor five minutes before the person to walk in the door, “Hey, have you seen the file on Jones? Does anyone know where that file is at?” And it creates all this uproar in the office. I had one advisor who said, “Well, I fixed that because I told my team if they can find the missing file, I’ll give them $50.” And I’m like, “Well, all you do was create a problem because they’re hiding the files now.”
[00:55:43] Brad: Yeah.
[00:55:44] Gina: To get the $50.
[00:55:47] Brad: Actually, that’s a sustainable model right there.
[00:55:49] Gina: Right. Maybe we needed to rethink that one. So, reviewing your calendar for the current week to make sure by the end of Monday we are prepped and ready for everybody that’s coming in. Now, the case design, the illustrations have been reviewed.
[00:56:02] Brad: So, let’s paint a picture there a little bit because I want to make sure I’m hearing you right. So, most of our offices, tell me if I’m off base here, stack appointments Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, middle of the week. Then your Monday morning and I believe your recommendation is as soon as possible Monday morning is this weekly staff meeting and then following that maybe their paraplanner brings in, “Hey, here’s the upcoming cases for the week,” reviews that with whatever advisors, one advisor or multiple advisors where they’re kind of the final editor of the final case prep so now here’s my stack of 10 appointments for this week. And it’s kind of like a doctor’s office grabbing a clipboard off the front of the desk walking in. Is that what you recommend or is there other different models you’ve seen that worked there?
[00:56:44] Gina: So, the only thing that you missed there was typically we say 9 to 10 is your team meeting because the later in the day it goes, the higher the probability that it’s going to cancel because everything starts on fire. So, 9 AM is your team meeting, 10 AM is your marketing meeting, some offices need a weekly marketing meeting. Some offices meet every other week. So, that’s really going deep into the marketing and talking what we call the shiny ideas and letting the advisor kind of bounce off the wall a little bit with the marketing team. You’re doing a marketing meeting. I always say your marketing coordinator or your marketing director should say, “Okay. Here’s our top three initiatives for this meeting,” and then from there we can let the advisors kind of go crazy. So, 9 to 10 a team, 10 to 11 is marketing. If you need it, 11 to 12 can be open door policy so if anyone on the team had anything to talk about one-on-one with the advisor the time is there but otherwise the advisor can go directly in the case prep like you said. So, someone brings in all the files. It does not happen in the advisor’s office because if that’s the case, I just check an email, watch webinars, and not prepping.
So, the advisors don’t like this model in the beginning but once we get them into the case prep consistently in a time block, they say to me, “I don’t know how I ran my business without this,” because what’s always ironic to me is that the advisor take case prep and case design, it is absolutely 100% where you make your money in this industry. So, why do we treat that activity like it is a – you can generate all the leads in the world and you can have the best SIC ratio up to the first appointment. If you’re in there doing the song and dance because you’re not ready to close and you’re not telling people what to do, what a waste of time and energy and money. So, advisors don’t like it but I’m telling you it’s a game changer because the closing ratio goes up because they’re clear and concise. They know exactly what they’re doing when they walked in that meeting. Then on top of it when we go to app, we don’t have outdated forms. They’re missing information because you didn’t have time to get everything pulled together and get ready for those meeting for the coming weeks. So, it does really just help streamline. Yeah. Then they stay in case prep until they’re done on Monday from a timeline perspective.
[00:58:49] Brad: So, a whole another aside, but if anyone’s listening in and has not built out their process, their proprietary, their client deliverable, that’s a whole another conversation but one of the offices that went scale from 8 million to 200 million one of the key factors there is they have a proprietary process five steps built on the CFP standard. For lack of a better term, the movie The Founder is one of my favorite analogy. So, the story of McDonald’s. The first two franchises failed that McDonald’s tried if you go watch the movie but once they started making sure the hamburger was made the same way and every single franchise location, yeah, McDonald’s took over the fast food industry. No different in financial services. Your associate advisors need to make the hamburger the same.
[00:59:32] Gina: Yes. Please. Because everyone says, “They’re just going to shadow me and they can make it their own.” No, because they’re working for you because they couldn’t do it on their own. An associate advisor is one of the most expensive things you have on your team because it’s gone up. It used to be about $800 to get someone to walk in the front door of the practice. Lately, I’m hearing people have done the math and it’s $2,000. So, if you’re spending $2,000 to get someone in the door and they’re letting them just go in there and do the Wild West, it can become very expensive and one of my favorite sayings is, “Listen, you cannot manage people because we are emotional. The only thing you can manage is process.” When you have a process, we manage the process so when something doesn’t work, did we not follow the process? Was the process not written the right way? Is there something missing? Was it not updated? So, when you have a sales team and they’re falling down so you have data which is important we could say, “Oh, this advisor isn’t closing up the second appointment. Something’s wrong in the second.” It’s very easy to train them if you’re all running on the same conveyer belt because you know exactly how to get them. Otherwise, you can start from Ground Zero. What are you doing? What’s your call to action? Okay. What are the wedge question? It is just a big waste of time and energy.
[01:00:49] Brad: So, here’s what happens on my side, Gina, is they say, “What process?”
[01:00:55] Gina: Right. Yes.
[01:00:56] Brad: So, this is a fun story, and this is a good example of a top-performing office what sets them apart. So, going back to the process and their sales process, what I found on my side is even very high-performing advisors oftentimes their own individual process, we’re not even getting into associates or some advisors yet, their own individual process is different every time. So, this time I brought them on the first appointment. Next time I brought them on the second. Oh, this one took three or four or five. And so, it’s all over the place. Well, so this office that we’ve now referenced multiple times on the East Coast that went from 8 million to 200 million, so they did an actual what we call the journey, so we do that twice a year for those that aren’t familiar and we have some of our top performing offices up on stage and they basically share like open up their entire practice, here’s how we market, here’s what our sales process looks like. Anyway, so Keith is one of the guys on the team over there and he’d been on a family vacation.
He hadn’t run on an appointment for a couple of weeks and he came back, and he got a referral which is for their office is like a 99% they’re coming on board as a client. And he’s like he called me and he’s like, “Man, I swung and missed and just like I got in there and like this million-and-a-half prospect that any other time they would come on board, and they didn’t come on board and I’m like what’s wrong with me?” He literally went back and watched his own journey videos of him training on stage on his own process just so he could get back in the flow of here’s how I run an appointment.
[01:02:24] Gina: Yes, because they get bored.
[01:02:25] Brad: But what I love about that is the humbleness that, “Hey, I don’t have this all figured out. I need coaching just like everybody else,” and that was one of the things also in that office. They’ve done that with all their associate advisors. What they figured out was they have the tracking, they have the accountability but what they had to start doing was a weekly coaching with the whole team on the sales process because all of us I think it’s part of being an advisor and being a type A like squirrel like shiny objects syndrome. Things are working so well, we’re like, “Ah, this is boring. I just keep closing. I’ve got a 70% closing ratio because I do it the same every time, but it’s boring so I’m going to try something else,” then we can completely blow up the model that works. You see that happen?
[01:03:01] Gina: All the time. All the time. All the time. We have one office, I mean, probably the most systemized office that I had seen and we had like a personality profile that we use, people use it now but it actually showed learning speed. And it doesn’t mean intelligent, smart, or stupid. It just means the time that it takes you to grab onto something. What we found is that the people who are really quick learners are the ones who get bored and deconstruct things and want to reinvent the wheel over. Our buddy in Boston. I mean, that’s what he does over and over and over. Well, this office and it was the most systemized office, every single person including the advisor was a really slow learner, so they would build the process and they would just work that process day in, day out, and they would never get bored with it. And there’s so much value in that industry of not getting distracted or they come to a journey and they’re like, “Oh, that was a great idea,” and then they’re going to come back and fix a bunch of stuff that isn’t broken in an office.
So, if you’re going to modify your sales process, you should be very clear about why you’re modifying it and what piece. Because if you modify it all at the same time, we can’t tell you what worked and what didn’t work and why our closing ratio is all over the place. So, I think it needs to be very clear about why you’re changing your sales process and what piece it is so we can track that data.
[01:04:18] Brad: So, while you’re throwing tips out there because as far as this podcast, there’ll be a lot of Advisors Excel advisors listen to this but also a lot of non-Advisors Excel advisors. What are tips? I’m an advisor. I just went to this amazing conference. I came back with pages or notebook full of notes. What’s the best way to distill that to your team where you don’t drive them insane and completely derail your practice?
[01:04:44] Gina: So, and we use this in Elite Team Training and I think they’ve even used it as a journey event now. So, we have this form and it has three columns. You know which form I’m talking about?
[01:04:52] Brad: Yeah.
[01:04:52] Gina: Where it has like 25 then 10 and then your top five ideas. Because what we say is that if you come back from any conference, come back with three things and nothing more than three, what are the top three things we’re going to focus on, it doesn’t mean those other ideas are dead. I think you can give them to your team and we can schedule a discussion date three months, six months down the road on those. So, in order for things to get done and get done well is all the way through we have to hyper-focus on those. So, it’s not huge things either. You can’t come back and say, “We’re going to rebrand and do PR,” because it’s hard to measure. So, what is rebranding and what are the things we’re going to do to rebrand? And then the second thing would be what are we going to do from a PR perspective? What is success and what isn’t success? It’s like Jodie Foster said, “How do you eat the elephant? You eat it one bite at a time.” That’s just the reality of it. So, many of us try to like shove the elephant and swallow it and we end up choking and it just doesn’t work and then your team when you come back from these conferences they’re sitting in their office like, “Oh God, don’t talk to me, don’t talk to me,” because they’re terrified of what you’re going to drop on their desk.
[01:06:00] Brad: Right. I’ve been guilty of that a few times myself. So…
[01:06:04] Gina: Just a few probably.
[01:06:06] Brad: Okay. So, as we transition into the more philosophical questions here, I want to close with, is there any advisor or office story that we haven’t told or haven’t gotten into that were like this? This is a good one that you should come out before we moved to the questions. Or maybe your favorite success story if you want to enclose with that, just something that was super meaningful to you that, “Wow. I saw the transformation in this office and just made me really proud of what I do on a day-to-day basis.”
[01:06:35] Gina: Yeah. It was the one that I had – that office I spoke about earlier that was really good with their time and very dedicated and very humble and very, very approachable. It was really fun to work with them because there wasn’t a lot of the ADD or the bouncing off the wall. They’re trying to get re-centered for the first 15 minutes of every call. We were very methodical. Here are the three things we’re going to focus on. Here are the things that we still have to accomplish in the future. Because ultimately, what I do and the reason I continue to do it, it’s great to be involved in people’s success but I changed their life and so when I have spouses come up to me at events and say, “Thanks for giving me my spouse back so that they can show up at the kids’ game.” We had a husband and wife and we were off to dinner. This was years ago. And the wives were all talking, and the husbands were all talking. The wife looked at me and she goes, and this advisor was a workaholic, a complete workaholic and she goes, “I just really want to take the kids to Disneyland.”
And I said, “Okay. So, you’re going to call the marketing person in their office and you’re going to say, ‘I’m going to block this week. They are not going to have appointments and we’re going to go to Disney World.’ And there’s no negotiation with the advisor. The marketing person knows that we have a marketing event. If it’s not possible they’re going to help you pick the week.” And that was, I mean, I don’t even think their third baby was born at that point. It has become an annual thing for that family that they go to Disney World now because I finally gave her the courage to just go do it. Your spouse and your family is part of this whole deal. I had one advisor, I talked to him yesterday or the day before and he’s been with us for about a year and we doubled his production, so we took him from 10 to 20 in his first year and the wheels on the wagon are shaking pretty dang hard at this point. And he had I think the child at home that’s probably 10 or 11 and the advisor said, “You know what’s waking me up at 2 o’clock in the morning is I’m going to Yellowstone with my child and my wife and I have all these appointments coming in.”
[01:08:37] Gina: He has another advisor in the office and, “I don’t know if I’m going to make it to Yellowstone,” and I said, “You’re making it to Yellowstone because I don’t care if you lose $1 million sale. You’re never getting that time back with your child. You’re just not.” And the generation that we work with too, the retirees if you say, “Listen, my 10-year-old has been planning this trip to Yellowstone for three years. I have to do this,” those people understand that it’s when the advisor try to be shady. Just be honest and tell the truth but I think Steve Howen said it best, “Your kids are just visitors passing through,” and I think so many of our young advisors lose sight of the importance of family and how quick it’s gone before the kids grow up and get out of the house. So, that’s been something interesting and the guys in the East Coast that we’ve been talking about, that was one of the things too is, “I don’t want to do evening appointments,” and I said to them, “Stop doing evening appointments. That’s all there is to it.” So, I think when you can impact not just the business but the business impact all the other areas in life, I think it’s just so cool to see that transformation happen.
[01:09:40] Brad: That is like the coolest part of this shop. So, a couple of thoughts there. First off, we all tell this advice. I want to tell you you’re awesome.
[01:09:50] Gina: Thanks, Brad.
[01:09:51] Brad: Because I’ve seen exactly that from – I’m coaching on my side, you’re doing a lot of coaching on your side but I’ve seen not just, I mean, hey, it’s great there’s more money in the bank account but the stuff that really matters is those moments and those memories with kids that you’re never going to get back. And I feel very fortunate because at the age of 27 I was working with 55, 60, 65-year-olds that when we had our first child they’re like, “This time goes by so fast. Don’t take it for granted. Be present. Be at the games. Be home for dinner. Just all of that.” And so, I’ve had it wired in like we call it putting the big rocks on our family calendar. So, the troop comes first and then everything else fits around that.
But like going back to that advisor that have the Yellowstone trip, I think advisors they’re just you’re in it and it’s hard to see it when you’re in it. But going back to you just sharing like be transparent, be real with your clients like you’ve got the best excuse in the world if you’ve got a family home. Hey, my rule is I don’t see appointments after 5:00. I’ve dedicated that time to my family because that’s really important and I’m a great husband, and a great dad. And guess what, your client pushes back at that, you don’t want them anyway.
[01:11:02] Gina: Exactly. Not an ideal client.
[01:11:04] Brad: Yes, but even like the Yellowstone, like if you’ve gone with that advisor imagine if you like built it up and did an out-of-office and said, “Hey, I’m going to have to move these appointments this week because this is a trip and we’re going to send some pictures along the way.” I mean, you can make that to actually something that his clients admired him more after the trip.
[01:11:25] Gina: It impacts referability because I said this over and over again. No one is ever going to go out and tell their friends, “Hey, I just bought the best annuity. Hey, I just got the best investment model.” If you can make yourself a human and give them a reason to talk about you so if you are going to Yellowstone and you are sharing those pictures in your newsletter or in your social media that your clients can see, it gives them a reason to talk about you and it makes you a real person. And it does show that you’re rooted in the community and you’re rooted in your family which helps with that national brand that we’re competing against all the time as well.
[01:11:59] Brad: Yeah. We have offices that actually use that to their advantage. Hey, we’re very small, we’re boutique, we’re a family practice, high-end wealth management and who doesn’t want to be a part of a small boutique family on practice, right? One other thing because you brought it up, you mentioned it but just to drive it home, the number one thing you recommend throwing it in a newsletter to make sure it gets read?
[01:12:22] Gina: Yeah. So, there’s always the gap of I always tell people, listen, most of the time when you’re sending a newsletter, they already met with you. They know you. They know what you do from an advice perspective. They want to know who you are as a person. So, we say an advisor has two sides. You have your competency side and your character side. We’re all very good showing that we’re competent. We’re good at showing income, we’re good at minimizing taxes, we’re good at addressing risk but they don’t know you as an individual. And so, I think it’s important that you really and again, that advisor who’s really good at client experience is very good. So, throughout his sale cycle, as they go deeper into the sale cycle, the marketing touch in between each appointment will become more and more personalized. So, when you’re doing a newsletter or you’re doing an e-newsletter that gossip is what they read. We’ve actually had sales offices where the newsletter went out late and the people are calling in especially the widowed men because they don’t have a big social connection, they’re calling in and say, “Hey, I didn’t get that. I want to see what’s going on. Can you make sure I get a copy of it?”
And we had one advisor, four kids and so we started this gossip column in the newsletter and he was writing about his four kids. I said, “You have plenty of material to write about. People love reading about kids and they love reading about the dog. So, if you have one or both of those things, you’re covered.” So, he would write about his kids all the time. So, his high school daughter came to a client appreciation event and all 200 people knew everything about her. They knew about her cheerleading, what she was into, her prom picture and she said it was the freakiest experience she ever had.
[01:13:54] Brad: Awesome for clients. Not so good for your kid, right?
[01:13:57] Gina: Exactly. The 18-year-old was like, “Who are these people and why do they know?” But that does again give them a reason to talk about you and it does make you human and it makes your client event not so awkward because if they don’t know you as a person, “Hey, what do you think about the stock market?” No one wants to talk about that, so they know you and make it easier for conversation.
[01:14:15] Brad: Okay. You ready to knock out a couple of philosophical questions?
[01:14:19] Gina: I guess so, Brad. Let’s get to it.
[01:14:21] Brad: Let’s do it. I want to hear. This one will be fun. If you could go back and give your 20-year-old self some advice, what would it be?
[01:14:29] Gina: Don’t be afraid. Just go. I think all of us have so much self-doubt or what are people going to think? I know when I started the business I was, and I did it. I saw it. I could normally push through fear, but I just think if people were not afraid and we just go do it, what you can experience is so far greater than what you’re going to experience having fear in your life.
[01:14:52] Brad: Yeah. Spot on. I mean, from my side it’s awesome to see because even when you started, where you started to your knowledge base now and where you’re going to, it’s amazing. If you wouldn’t have thrown yourself into those offices maybe even before you were ready, you’re not acquiring that knowledge that you have today.
[01:15:09] Gina: Yep. Exactly.
[01:15:09] Brad: So, getting uncomfortable.
[01:15:11] Gina: Yeah. I was afraid of public speaking. My first speaking engagement, that Operational Excellence, I will never be able to wear those suits again because I have literally lost 15 pounds. Before, I was up at 2 o’clock in the morning. I was in panic mode for six months, but you just got to push through it. I’ll never forget, one advisor looked at me, “If you can speak well and you can speak publicly, you’ll make more money than you know what to do with because people are afraid and if you can get over that then you got it.” And so, I had a speech coach, I did the coach masters and so you just find the resources and get your butt up there. Make it happen.
[01:15:48] Brad: Yeah. Have somebody push you out on stage for the first one.
[01:15:51] Gina: Yeah. Cody was really good at that, “Hey, can you get up there and talk about this?”
[01:15:54] Brad: But we were, that was the early days of Advisors Excel were just like, “Hey, she’s really good,” and then the next thing you know you’re on stage the next week. There was not really prep time. It was, yeah.
[01:16:03] Gina: Right. He would do it to me the same day. Hey, Keith wants you later this afternoon. I’m like, “Oh God,” but you do it.
[01:16:10] Brad: Okay. So, this is a fun one. Let me make sure I ask this right. What would you like to be considered absurd 25 years from now? Or another way to put that, you’re looking back 25 years from now and you’re like, “I can’t believe they used to do that.”
[01:16:26] Gina: That’s a loaded question.
[01:16:29] Brad: Doesn’t have to business related. It could be anything.
[01:16:32] Gina: So, something that I’m going to look back and say, “Wow, that’s really absurd.”
[01:16:35] Brad: Twenty-five years from now people used to do this.
[01:16:39] Gina: Vaping. I don’t vape. I don’t vape. I’m just saying 25 years from now are going to be like what the – no, I think for me looking back, my passion, I love, love what I do, and I love working with financial advisors but an equal love in my life is riding my bike. I love to ride my bike and so sometimes I find myself in this conflict of work versus biking and how do you fit it all in and I think it’s just making time for the things that you love. It’s funny, end of 2017 we were home and there was a wonderful couple of staying with us for a couple of weeks but personally, I just didn’t connect with them. And so, I made a decision at the end of 2017, I’m no longer spending time or investing in people that I don’t want to. I’m only going to invest my time which is very limited in people that I choose, people that are going to challenge me, people that are going to make me better and just drawing the line. And you get a whole lot more time when that happens. Instead of being polite, stop saying, “Yes, you can come stay at our house for two weeks.” “No, you can’t. Sorry. Go get a hotel.” I think we got people at our house nonstop for a year or so.
[01:17:49] Brad: That’s what I love about you though is and I think that’s what a lot of advisors truly love about you is you’re not the type of person that tells people what they want to hear. I mean a good coach gives direct real feedback and what’s cool is to hear that you took that to your own life too and just like, hey, there’s one-hour people. There’s one day people. There’s one-week people and if you’re not a one-week person, sorry, you’re not hanging at my house.
[01:18:14] Gina: Yep. Exactly. Choose your time both business and personal.
[01:18:17] Brad: So, I want to make sure I got your answer there. So, 25 years from now what would be absurd is hanging out with people that don’t bring value to my life. Is that where you’re going with that?
[01:18:27] Gina: Yep.
[01:18:27] Brad: Cool.
[01:18:28] Gina: And that making more time to get on my bike. Because honestly doing that stuff, whatever feeds your soul feeds your business. So, every time I get out and like I’m biking across Missouri in a week, so I’ll come back and that totally charged up, ready to get back into it. And a lot of business owners we get caught in the business becomes your life and it has to be when you’re starting out but at this point, all of us are so – we’re at a point where we can start to determine I’m going to spend my time equally on what feeds my soul which ultimately feeds my business. So, yeah, there it is.
[01:19:00] Brad: Are you rolling through Topeka on that bike ride? Are you just rolling out to the elite training on your bike or…?
[01:19:08] Gina: Just rolling on in. No, it is Missouri. It’s Route 66. No Topeka.
[01:19:14] Brad: Cool.
[01:19:14] Gina: Last year I did Elite Team Training and then I left for that same bike trip the day after.
[01:19:20] Brad: Awesome. Well, good luck on that.
[01:19:22] Gina: Oh yeah.
[01:19:23] Brad: All right. Two more questions and I will let you get on to your Friday. When you hear the word, success, who’s the first person you think of and why?
[01:19:31] Gina: I shouldn’t say this because it’s going to be a total ego boost. I shouldn’t say it but when you asked me this immediately off-the-cuff it’s Joel Johnson just because I think he has been so disciplined in the way he built his business. It hasn’t been easy. He had some ups and some downs in it. He’s a lot like me where he’s very black and white about things like, “No, this isn’t working. The data doesn’t lie. We’re making a decision. We’re going a different direction.” He’s very decisive and he’s very invested in developing himself from a business CEO perspective and not just as a financial advisor. So, that’s my first initial response for that which we just made his head a little bit bigger now but what are you going to do?
[01:20:07] Brad: And I think he listens to this podcast. Here’s what’s cool about Joel. So, I was just in Dallas and what’s cool about him he’s a growth mindset guy. He came to us as – I’m a great producer but I’d say just above average and fast forward today I think he’s on pace north up 300 million in his firm but what’s cool is he is also running a mastermind of our other top advisors where he’s pouring into them and so it’s just this abundance mindset where everybody’s getting better. So, it’s very cool to see the growth that he’s had since he’s been here and how he’s now impacting other offices by opening up and sharing too. Yeah. He’s a good example of what you said before, an Advisors Excel advisor, they’re humble enough to take coaching and then they do the work to basically put the ideas into practice.
[01:20:57] Gina: Yeah. Implement, guys.
[01:20:59] Brad: Yeah. Did you have anything else to share there? I felt like there was more behind the guys.
[01:21:03] Gina: No. That’s it. Because that’s really it like you have to implement, period. End of story. Implement something. It’s what I’m talking about.
[01:21:10] Brad: And have somebody on your team be the implementer. Have somebody ride shotgun so when you come up with a cool idea they actually put it into action.
[01:21:18] Gina: Yes. And you give them time to put it in action before you give them your next new idea and the next and the next and the next.
[01:21:23] Brad: Okay. What is the one piece of advice that you can share with the audience that’s led to your success to this point?
[01:21:30] Gina: Work ethic has been the key to my success. I was raised by a single mom, four kids, so when my parents divorced she had a three, five, seven, and nine-year-old. We lived in Chicago. We had no heat in our house and it was one of the coldest winters on record in Chicago when that happened. She had no college education, so we moved to college with her while she got her bachelor’s degree. By the time I was 22 she had two masters. So, as a kid growing up, she did social work in the inner city of Chicago and the car that had no air-conditioning she was going into projects and do social work. On Wednesday nights she worked at the Women’s Abuse Shelter and on the weekends, she worked at a home that helped handicapped people. And so, you gotta work, you got to show up. You got to work like Rory Vaden says, “Success is rented and the rent is due every single day.” You got to put in the work. It doesn’t just happen, and you gotta keep showing up day after day after day and you have to do something you love. Because if you don’t love it, that becomes a really tall order on a daily basis.
[01:22:34] Brad: Yeah. I have to meet your mom. She sounds amazing.
[01:22:37] Gina: My mom is about 5 feet tall, no hair or she had hair. Just not a lot of it. Short hair. No makeup and very introverted. So, complete polar opposite but she is just this little mighty badass. Got all four kids. Successful.
[01:22:52] Brad: Has she ever seen you speak or coach?
[01:22:57] Gina: No. My family is still like, “What do you do again?”
[01:23:00] Brad: Mine too. That’s cool.
[01:23:02] Gina: They know that I’m paying for college for the nieces and nephews, so they know that much. They know that part is working but no, none of my family has ever seen.
[01:23:11] Brad: Well, maybe that’s on the bucket list because I bet she would be very proud to see the work you do because and I don’t just say this because you’re on the podcast. I say this because it’s the truth. You have been instrumental among one of the biggest driving forces behind a ton of our – I mean you go down our top 100 client list, your fingerprints are on just about every single one of those practices. So, Gina, I appreciate it. Thank you. You’re awesome. This conversation was long overdue so…
[01:23:40] Gina: Yeah. It’s always fun to be here. Thanks for having me. You’re an advisor that I’ve worked with. You’re an advisor that I’m going to work with. Thank you. Because in order for me to have success working with these advisors, we kind of all have to get naked. You have to show me the dirty laundry and show me where we’re falling down, and I’ve been in top offices where the advisor literally is on the verge of tears and that’s a hard place to be. So, yes, I do great work, but I always say I can give you all the great ideas but if you don’t make the right decision and you don’t implement, none of that matters. So, that’s why it’s such an honor to be at Advisors Excel because that is the culture and the mentality of all of us. We show up and we get the work done.
[01:24:25] Brad: And then we have a little fun once the work’s done, right?
[01:24:27] Gina: Oh, we sure do. We sure do. All right.
[01:24:30] Brad: Well, Gina, thank you so much. Have an awesome Friday and until next time, we’ll see you.
[01:24:34] Gina: All right. Talk to you. Bye.
[01:24:41] Brad: Thanks for checking out the latest show. And as a reminder, make sure to tune in for the next episode for a special surprise announcement that many of you all have reached out, you’ve been asking for. I’m not going to spoil the surprise but it’s going to be big if you’re a financial advisor that’s curious about podcasting and how to use the medium to drive more business to your firm so stay tuned.
Now, onto this week’s featured reviews. This week’s first review comes to us from user D-train150 who says, “Awesome. Five stars. I have listened for a little over a year now and I can honestly say that I actually look forward to a long car ride or even a workout when a new episode comes out so I can learn new ideas to apply in my practice. Brad brings a ton of knowledge to financial advisors trying to grow their business and better serve their clients and the guest lineup is unreal. Always new ideas that I have applied to my own business which has continued to lead more growth within our firm. Thanks, Brad!” Thanks for the kind words and the review. I’m loving that the show is helping you pass windshield time and I’ve got to say with a username like D-train150 I can only assume when you say workout that you’ve definitely listened in while doing some curls, maybe some triceps extensions, maybe a little bit of bench-press mixed in. So, I’m going to continue to keep the great guests coming and do my best to keep sending business building ideas your way.
The next review comes to us from user AZ Cardinals are 4 real! Who says, “Amazing podcast for financial advisors serious about growing their business. Five stars. First off, the quality and diversity of the guests is insane. Brad doesn’t just have guest within financial services. He brings outside voices which is so needed in the industry. Plus, Brad is just a great interviewer and host. Lastly, the content isn’t just for entertainment. Episodes are packed with actionable content and strategies that could dramatically scale your practice.” Thanks for the stellar review, Mr. AZ Cardinals. The eclectic mix of guests from not just within our industry but for many others is really what keeps the show fun for me as well so I’m glad you’re loving that.
[01:26:42] Brad: As long as they have ideas or concepts they can apply to financial services, everyone is fair game. So, with that in mind, if any of you all have some guest suggestions, hit me up out on Twitter, let me know. My username is @Brad_Johnson. Give me a shout out there and love to keep the guests coming.
Next up is user sm631 who says, “Fantastic podcast. Five stars. I’m an assistant to a successful financial advisor and will be getting my Series 7 later this year. This podcast is amazing with great insight into what kind of FA I want to become. Thank you for sharing your talent.” Thanks for listening in, sm631, and for the five-star review. I love that the show has helped you along your journey to becoming an advisor and I hope the studying is going well for the Series 7 or even better that you’ve officially passed the time you hear this. The best tip I can share with you once you make the official transition is the number one and only marketing metrics you should track on a weekly basis is first appointments. So, when starting out, that’s super critical and it’s literally the difference between success and failure in this business especially when you’re just getting started. So, good luck on your new career path and thanks for listening.
And the last featured review for the week comes to us from 84bbchamps who says, “Awesome content. Five stars. Brad keep on delivering the best content out there. One of my go-to podcast on how to be my very best daily.” Thanks for the review, 84bbchamps. This type of comments really do keep me motivated to keep cranking out episodes for you all and it’s been incredible to connect with more and more of you who continue to apply for the one-on-one coaching sessions through the website. So, thanks for reaching out and connecting those of you that have. Also, I appreciate making the show one of your go-tos and I love your focus on getting better every day.
[01:28:37] Brad: So, as we wrap this show, thanks again for those of you who have taken the time to write a quick review. I love reading each and every one and for those of you that have interest in diving deeper or figuring out how you may be able to have our team help you implement many of the ideas shared on the show, my day job does happen to be consulting financial advisors from all over the US on how to grow their business and design a practice that serves them versus them serving it. It is possible to grow your business and work less. It’s a model we’ve replicated over and over in markets all over the country. So, if you’d like to apply to see if it makes sense for us to have a one-on-one conversation on how to overcome what may be getting in your way, you can do that at BradleyJohnson.com/Apply. It takes about five minutes to fill out the application, so we can understand what your business looks like, what challenges you may be facing and how myself and my team may be able to help. Taking the first step is as simple as applying at BradleyJohnson.com/Apply. So, that’s all for this week. Thanks for listening and I will catch you all on the next show.
[01:29:43] Brad: Thanks for listening to this episode of the Elite Advisor Blueprint. For access to show notes, transcripts, and exclusive content from our show’s guests, visit BradleyJohnson.com. And before you go, I’ve got a quick favor to ask. If you’re liking the podcast, you can help support the show by leaving your rating and review on iTunes. Not only do we read every single comment, but this will help the show rank and get discovered by new listeners. It really does help. Thanks again for joining and be sure to tune in next week for another episode.
The information and opinions contained herein are provided by third parties and have been obtained from sources believed to be reliable, but accuracy and completeness cannot be guaranteed by Advisors Excel. The guest speaker is not affiliated with or sponsored by Advisors Excel. For financial professional use only. Not to be used with the general public or in a sale situation.
This is provided for informational purposes only. AE06184079 For financial professional use only.