Today I’m throwing in a bonus episode as this is a guest appearance I had on The Adviser Gap Podcast. It’s hosted by James Mousley and Sean Banks from, as they say, “across the pond” over in the UK. I continue to be blown away by the power and reach of podcasting as I connected with the two of them after they gave a few of my episodes a listen.
They’ve created their podcast to address the lack of training out there to help paraplanners bridge the gap into a true financial planning role. This is a common problem in the US as well, as from my experience, most successful advisors were simply educated by the school of “hard knocks” and often times have simply outlasted and out-marketed their competition.
So with that in mind, I thought it would be helpful to share this episode for both those paraplanners out there looking to make the transition to client-facing financial advisors, as well as those CEOs and Founders looking for a training track to develop and add new advisors to the team. I hope you find this episode helpful and for those firms out there facing this problem, be sure to search for The Adviser Gap podcast out there and give them a subscribe as James and Sean will be addressing this topic on each and every show!
Here are a just a handful of the things that you’ll learn:
- [05:00] We kicked off the conversation by getting to the heart of the matter: how to transition from back office and support roles to leadership roles in financial planning firms. We get into the potential strengths and weaknesses one has when coming from this background, and the soft skills that every great financial advisor has mastered.
- [11:39] Next, we talk about specific career pathways that have worked, the broad scope of knowledge our top advisors use on a regular basis, and strategies our top firms use to widen and improve paraplanners’ skill sets. We also talk about the transfer of trust that has to happen when you bring an associate advisor on to a client’s account, especially if they’ve only ever worked with you directly – and what you can do to show your clients that an associate brings unique, specific value into their lives.
- [23:67] We then talk about people who are paraplanners for the entirety of their financial services careers, the difficulty of finding great talent on both the advisory and administrative sides, and why some people should consider not transitioning into advisory roles if it doesn’t suit their skill sets.
- [30:47] From there, we dig into the unique skills that set top-tier, high-growth advisors apart from those who bring in far less business – and why it rarely has much of anything to do with their knowledge of products, acronyms, or the data side of the financial services industry.
- [35:27] We finish with The Adviser Gap’s five questions. We dig into the evolution of the financial services industry, what I want to see change in the next ten years, my favorite courses and educational resources, and why I’m proud to be a part of the financial services industry.
- [04:40] An introduction to the basic differences between the British and American financial services industries, and what exactly Advisors Excel does.
- [09:66] Why there used to be many more financial planning firms in the United Kingdom, and why ending commission-based fee structures – and giving out so-called “free” advice – required advisors to get much better at building rapport with their prospective clients.
- [21:32] How long a paraplanner should shadow another advisor at a high-end firm before beginning to lead their own appointments, and how to progressively train new talent as your firm grows.
- [29:17] The one habit of all upper echelon financial advisors at the very top of their game – and the “disease” that plagues almost all financial advisors that is even more likely to affect paraplanners.
- [33:47] Why paraplanners looking to transition into lead roles should surround themselves with great mentors and teachers instead of doing things the hard way.
“If you went into a doctor’s office and said ‘My elbow hurts,’ and they just started spouting off Latin terms of human anatomy, you’d say, ‘Who is this jerk?’ But that’s what we do in financial services all the time. We use acronyms and ticker symbols. The very best advisors simplify the complex – Brad Johnson Click to tweet
“If you went into a doctor’s office and said ‘My elbow hurts,’ and they just started spouting off Latin terms of human anatomy, you’d say, ‘Who is this jerk?’ But that’s what we do in financial services all the time. We use acronyms and ticker symbols. The very best advisors simplify the complex – Brad JohnsonClick to tweet
- Dan Sullivan (also check out Dan Sullivan on the podcast)
- Michael Kitces (also check out Michael Kitces on the podcast)
- Darren Hardy
- Dale Carnegie
- Tony Robbins
- Tim Ferriss
- James Clear (also check out James Clear on the podcast)
- Michael Hyatt (also check out Michael Hyatt on the podcast)
SELECTED LINKS FROM THE EPISODE
- The Compound Effect
- How to Win Friends & Influence People
- Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind
- The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich
- Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones
- Definition of Paraplanning
REVIEWS OF THE WEEK
Thanks for checking out the latest show, on to this week’s featured reviews!
This week’s first review comes to us from James Conole, CFP who says:
Hey James, thanks for listening in and the kind words. Love to hear that the show is helping you grow your business and if you get a second, please swing by the website and drop my a note to let me know an idea or two you’ve picked up from the show that you’ve put into action. Stay after it and thanks for the review!
The next review comes to us from user Hope4Everyone who says:
Thanks Hope4Everyone! Love the name and appreciate the review. Sounds like you’ve been at the financial advisor biz for a while, so awesome to hear that someone with all of your experience if getting some great takeaways for your practice. More episodes on the way!
Next up is user Rickkkky Ruuuuubioo who says:
Thanks for listening in and for the 5 star review! Sounds like we both started out in the business about the same time… and although I do wish I would have started my podcasting career a little earlier, I’m pretty sure my episodes from 12 years ago would have been iffy at best. However for those of you out there looking to dive into podcasting, I do love the advice Michael Hyatt gave me when I was first starting out, “Fail while no one is watching.” That advice has served me well and for those out there trying to figure out when is the best time to start a new venture or platform. The answer is NOW.
And the last featured review for the week comes to us from mccomasknows, who says:
Thanks for the review! I loved the conversation with James Clear as he shared a number of “mental models” that financial advisors can use to help simplify the complex for their clients. If you are listening in out there and haven’t had a chance to give his episode a listen yet, you are missing out as it consistently ranks as one of our most downloaded episodes. Also, his book Atomic Habits is great as well.
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!
- Listen to it on iTunes.
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.
[00:00:23] Brad: Welcome to the Elite Advisor Blueprint, the podcast for world-class financial advisors. I’m Brad Johnson, VP of Advisor Development at 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. Today, I’m throwing in a bonus episode, as this is a guest appearance I had on the Advisor Gap Podcast. It’s hosted by James Mousley and Sean Banks from, as they like to say, across the pond over in the UK and it’s crazy. I continue to be blown away by the power and reach of podcasting as I actually connected with the two of them after they’ve given a few of my episodes a listen over there and they’ve created their podcast to address the lack of training out there to help paraplanners bridge the gap into a true financial planning role. And I found this is a common problem in the US as well as from my experience, most successful advisors out there were simply educated by the school of hard knocks and oftentimes have simply outlasted and out-marketed their competition.
So, with that in mind, I thought it would be helpful to share this episode for both those paraplanners out there looking to make the transition to client-facing financial advisors, as well as those CEOs and founders looking for a training track to develop and add new advisors to your teams. I hope you find this episode helpful and for those firms out there facing this problem, be sure to search for the Adviser Gap Podcast. That’s spelled the UK version of advisor, A-D-V-I-S-E-R, and give them a subscribe as James and Sean will be addressing this topic on each and every show. One other opportunity before we get to the episode. This is the last call to apply to attend the catalyst training event we are hosting at AE headquarters May 19 through 21, as we only have a few seats remaining. Here’s three quick problems most advisors who attend are looking to solve. Number one, they’re struggling to adapt their traditional direct mail dinner seminar approach to utilize new platforms out there like Facebook and LinkedIn to fill their marketing events consistently.
[00:02:19] Brad: Number two, they might have an issue once they fill the room. They’re having issues converting prospects into appointments that actually show up to their office. For a quick benchmark, if you are booking 50% or less, our top offices routinely convert 80% plus of attendees at their events then we’re going to be talking about how. Number three, lastly, if you struggle with home office coaching from those who aren’t actually out there in the trenches like you, you won’t find theory at this event. Rather, two of AE’s 100 million plus offices sharing real-world results and how they made their transition from solo financial advisor to CEO. If you’re currently being held back by any or all of these roadblocks, claim your seat at the catalyst by applying online at BradleyJohnson.com/TheCatalyst. That’s T-H-E-C-A-T-A-L-Y-S-T and for those that qualify, we’ll fully cover your cost to attend including flight, hotel, and tuition to the event. So, go fill out your application, BradleyJohnson.com/TheCatalyst to save your spot and let’s connect in person.
As always, all the books mentioned, people discussed as well as a full transcript of the show can be found in the show notes at BradleyJohnson.com/56. So, that’s it. As always, thanks for listening and without further delay, my conversation with James and Sean, hosts of the Adviser Gap Podcast.
[00:03:47] Sean: Brad Johnson, welcome to the Adviser Gap Podcast.
[00:03:50] Brad: Glad to be here, guys. Thanks for asking to have me on.
[00:03:54] Sean: It’s great that you’ve come on here, Brad. What we wanted to do here is get the perspective of the Adviser Gap as we felt it from across the pond. Before we get into that, perhaps you could give a brief introduction to yourself for some of the listeners here perhaps don’t know much about you.
[00:04:12] Brad: For sure. Yes, so I’m Brad Johnson. My technical title is VP of Advisor Development at Advisors Excel. It’s interesting because I’ve done a few podcasts with some guys from across your side of the pond and it has been very cool to see how the similarities and the differences in financial planning in the UK versus US. So, over here really Advisors Excel what we do, we’re wealth management firm. Three primary areas we work with independent advisors that are doing annuity business, life insurance business, and assets under management. So, really three different divisions of the company, with the goal to serve independent advisors to help them build the most holistic plan possible. So, that’s the short version. If you want anything more than that, feel free to follow-up.
[00:04:58] James: That’s great.
[00:04:59] Sean: So, just for your benefit, Brad. The Adviser Gap as we’ve felt it is something that we feel is kind of growing here in the UK, so it’s that gap in kind of skills and experience from people who are transitioning from back-office roles in financial planning, most are called positions into a role as a lead financial advisor or plan. It would be good if you could perhaps give us any perspective you have in the US on this adviser gap, if it exists at all. It’d be good to get your thoughts on that.
[00:05:38] Brad: Yeah. I think it does exist in the US. I think one of the things that’s interesting when you look at financial services is the grass is kind of always greener on the other side sometimes and I think if I look at offices that we work with where a paraplanner has transitioned successfully into a lead financial advisor role, sometimes you don’t realize the strength that you actually get from that background. I like to say paraplanners lived like 1,000 financial advisor lives because if you’re sitting there just cranking out plans all day every day, different than a financial advisor, a lot of financial advisors in our space, you start out, you might work for a captive agency to where immediately right out of the gate you have to start booking appointments or you’re broke. And for a paraplanner, you don’t have that pressure.
So, you’ve got the ability to realize how to build a successful financial plan, how to build a holistic financial plan, how to serve the client at the highest level where a lot of times an advisor that just starts a true financial advisor, they’re worried about putting bread on the table because they have to go meet with people. And so, I think that’s one thing that if there’s listeners out there trying to make that transition is realize what strength you have coming from that background and that’s a really big one because you’ve built probably hundreds of plans before some of financial advisors have even built one. That would be speed right out of the gates one of the benefits. I can also talk to kind of the downside of kind of coming from that role as well if you’d like.
[00:07:15] Sean: Yes.
[00:07:15] James: Yeah. Fire away.
[00:07:17] Brad: So, I was just having a conversation. We have a client that managed about $1 billion and it was really interesting because he was talking about his team. They have kind of a proprietary process where they’re billing kind of a CFP standard plan. So, income planning, investment planning, tax planning, healthcare, legacy estate planner, kind of the five worlds, and one of the things he said is his plan was so or his team was so focused on building a plan, a financial plan like a document or if you’re a digital version of that. Sometimes they forgot like you’re dealing with people here and one thing that was interesting, he shared story from a client appointment and the husband was talking about how much money he made and he was very cerebral on just like the money in the bank account and how much they needed and how much is coming in every year. And he said, “You know, the business is going so well. I was going to retire at 63, but I think I probably worked five more years and be done to quit. Now, we’re making so much money.”
And his wife sitting right next to him literally started crying because in her mind it had nothing to do with the money. She was like they just had their first grandkid. It was probably an hour, 2-hour plane ride away and in her mind at 63, that was the moment where she could go fly to another state and start spending more and more time with their newly born grandkid. And I think that’s the thing you always have to balance in financial planning. Yes, it’s about the finances. Yes, it’s about the math and the numbers but as we like to say, money is just a tool and that tool based on the financial product that you use, creates some sort of result but all of those results relate to life and what purpose does that serve in your client’s life whether they’re a retiree in the distribution phase of their life or maybe there are 30, 40-year-olds that’s in the accumulation phase of their life.
[00:09:22] Brad: And I think that’s the biggest bridge across that gap from financial planning, from I should say a paraplanner to a financial advisor because I joke a lot of times with my advisors, “I feel like you need a degree in psychology and marriage counseling to be a really good financial advisor.” And that never comes into play when you’re taking the Series 7 or all of this, the CFP tests, and things like that. But that’s just high-level kind of how I view it.
[00:09:50] James: Yeah. I mean, coming back to our mission, it’s kind of if you take back kind of 30, 40 years in the UK, there was probably 10 times as many financial advisors in the UK as there are today and they were linked to the big insurance institutes and had amazing kind of 10-week residential causes where 9-to-5 they’re being videoed on their rapport building skills and their soft skills as you might put it. And that’s kind of when we say the skills, one of the main ones is communication and we find that in the UK we went through the retail distribution, I don’t know if you’re aware, but basically removing commissions for most financial products and positioning everything as a fee-based financial planning fee, a fee for advice, made it quite difficult when the clients used to think it was free advice that we’re getting.
And so, the articulation of what we do, how we do it, and the rapport building before you start talking about money is one of the main things of which I’m going to focus on. So, yeah, you pretty much nailed it in one there, though we see that gap widening in the UK really. And you mentioned a great story there. I knew you work with a lot of firms in the US. Is there kind of attach a lot of your firms that you work with settled for the guys and girls are in non-advisor roles and to take them through to become the lead planners all really advising in the business at all.
[00:11:36] Brad: Yeah. For sure, James, and I think what’s it interesting like when you guys hit me up and you talked about this podcast that’s like that’s a very interesting concept because I think it’s a gap in the US as well and it’s one that a lot of our clients are trying to solve and the one path I’ve seen that most successfully works is the paraplanner, paraplanner/service advisor role that then transitions into I would call the lead advisor role or however you term it in the UK. Because of exactly that, it’s you get the opportunity to I make this joke with our clients. There’s a great movie called The Founder. It’s on Netflix. I think it’s streaming but it’s the story of Ray Croc and McDonald’s and one of the big scenes out of that movie is he goes, so Ray Croc is this door-to-door sales guy and McDonald’s hits him up with like the biggest order that he’s ever, the McDonald’s brothers, the biggest order he’s ever had.
And so, he’s like, “What is going on?” This is like the 50s, and like road trips out to California and there’s a line around the door to get into McDonald’s and so what he realizes is the McDonald’s brother created the first systematized basically they invented fast food and he’s like this is going to be huge. You guys have to franchise this and they’re like, “We already tried it and failed miserably.” It’s in Arizona, right? And so, he actually he road trips to Arizona and he gets down there the first McDonald’s franchise and it’s not even McDonald’s. Completely different menu. It’s not even remotely run the same way. And it’s funny because it’s so similar to financial advisor offices is the systemization that’s required to run great firms, you have to make the hamburger the same way.
[00:13:37] Brad: It’s a Big Mac in the US I’m going to guess is pretty similar to a Big Mac in the UK and what you often find on advisor teams is the financial plan that they get in this office is completely different than the financial plan they get literally a door over. And so, the key with being a paraplanner is if your firm has really systematized it to where you have, “Here’s our set plan. Here’s the way it’s built,” yes, every client is going to have a different risk profile, but here’s the key ingredients of how we make a successful financial plan that really translates very well to being a financial advisor. Now, it is those soft skills as you term them because you’re not doing – if you’re doing a great financial plan it’s not cookie-cutter. It’s just systematized so it’s built the same way and then it becomes how do you ask great questions to get to the core emotional things that that client’s trying to solve and then how do you do the math behind that to actually accomplish those goals? So, I don’t even know if I answered your question but that’s kind of the way I view it going all the way through as far as that transition.
[00:14:52] Sean: Yeah. So, I suppose just it’s actually a little bit more, Brad. Have you got any sort of success stories if you like where some of the firms you’ve worked with perhaps they’ve had a paraplanner who has successfully transitioned from their role into the role of a lead advisor?
[00:15:11] Brad: Yeah. So, Sean, on that front, the biggest keys I would say so if you have a systemized process, the next thing is now how do you go from the back office where you’re probably cranking out spreadsheets or whatever financial planning software you’re using to actually a real-life scenario of meeting with people and having a conversation like this and the best roadmap that I’ve seen is we call it riding shotgun. Is that a term in the UK, riding shotgun? No? So, riding shotgun in the US has nothing to do with the shotgun at all. It has to do with just being side-by-side with that advisor in their appointments. And so, literally sitting in on appointment after appointment after appointment to where you can almost by osmosis just absorb the conversation because that’s what’s interesting and that’s what makes financial advising such an interesting and challenging field is every single couple or every single potential client is different.
And so, it’s such a broad scope of knowledge that you have to be able to have. The only way you can truly absorb that, and this is what our top firms do for that advisor maybe they have been a paraplanner, so they’ve got the knowledge to build a great financial plan. They don’t have the knowledge to navigate really interesting different conversations so it might be a three to six-month time period where they’re literally, their full day is appointment, appointment, appointment, appointment, and they’re not really saying anything. They’re just sitting it on. And so, our best firms that’s kind of their first three to six month, first three to six months of training are typically going to be a lot of just sitting in on appointments and listening and then one of our firms did something really cool. They do what they call it kind of a debriefing so kind of a military term.
[00:17:02] Brad: After the meeting, they’ll do a debrief and the question to say the paraplanner would be, “What were your key takeaways from that conversation? What did I say you didn’t understand? What were things I said why you understand why I said them and what were some things maybe I missed because I’m sitting there doing all the talking that you were able to pick up from that conversation?”
[00:17:25] James: Yeah. That’s great. We find in the UK that we call in the progressive firms that will be providing shop. So, within my firm, I will always be in a meeting and I’ll make sure that they’ve got a designated part to play so representing parts of the cash flow modeling or presenting something about the situation. You’ve noticed that in the previous scenario. I’ll just ask them to genuinely have a chat with the client. I knew it’s kind of that gently, gently, gradually ease them in. Like you say, it may be three to six months before they even say anything, but then the strategy builds their confidence in a slow manner. In the US, what’s kind of the normal timeframe in which you see some of the leading firms allow that the guys that were riding shotgun to them being the driving seat?
[00:18:25] Brad: Well, I think there’s one thing I want to hit on, James, that you just said, though, which is also another key just as you’re building a firm. As the founder of the firm, as the lead advisor of the firm, you can’t be all things to everyone and I think one of the transitions that’s hard a lot of times for advisors are say you’re the lead advisor, you’re kind of the sole advisor in the firm, and you’re bringing on a paraplanner to kind of be the first associate advisor or co-advisor role in your firm. For those clients that have only worked with you for a long time, there’s a transfer of trust that has to happen. That’s not always easy to do. And I think you hit a key thing that’s really important. It’s you have to bring them in to that appointment and you have to build them up and put them on a pedestal and say here is the expertise that this person has. That’s even greater than I do, and therefore having them as a part of this is going to bring more value to you as the client. And if you do that properly, they’ll talk to that other advisor all day long every day. But if you don’t, they’re going to feel like, “James just passed the buck and who’s this other advisor that came on the team? Now, I must be one of his lower end clients.” So, I think that’s a really key thing that you hit on right there.
[00:19:36] James: Okay. Definitely.
[00:19:39] Sean: As to the client’s experience as well, knowing that you’ve got sort of two professionals looking after your money rather than just one guy. You might not even know that much about a firm he actually works for. You just know him as your financial advisor and magically things happen in the background. I’m fully immersing them in the whole experience of what you do but also what the team behind you does for the client I think really adds a lot of value from the point of view of their experience as the client.
[00:20:12] Brad: Yeah. One of our firms in Florida, one of the things he did that just to speak to that point, I think he had six or seven advisors at the time and one of the things that they did that was just one of their set things on the calendar every Monday, they did a case review meeting. So, here are the five cases of the five appointments we’re going to meet with and he would have the whole team really look over them just to make sure they didn’t miss anything but one of the cool things that they started doing is they started using that in their marketing where they said, “Hey, one of the things that’s very different about our firm is every single case that we build has over 150 years of financial planning experience review it before it goes into place. So, they just added up all of their experience because that was the truth. They had five, six, seven advisors reviewing it and you think about that. If I’m your client, who doesn’t want that? Everybody can miss something regardless of how good you are, but if you’ve got multiple eyes looking over that plan, there’s less of a chance that that’s going to happen.
So, he actually built that into the front end of how he marketed the value they brought to their clients. So, yeah, I don’t think I answered your question, James. So as far as the standard term as far as how long it takes, it’s different. I think three to six months is pretty standard of the kind of shadowing another advisor before you move the advisor role. For our high-end planning firms, I mean, there’s definitely a lot of firms where they hire you and the next thing you know you’re in appointments but that’s going to be not as holistic of planning as probably our hiring firms.
[00:21:50] James: And before that point, how long would they have necessarily been a paraplanner or in that environment I suppose?
[00:22:03] Brad: I mean, I think what’s interesting it’s kind of most of the firms we work with are high-growth firms and they’re marketing aggressively and they’re trying to be the best-known firm in their marketplace and so typically the paraplanner if I was doing like an assembly line on the way to being a financial advisor, the paraplanner is the kind of entry-level where they’re trained and here’s how we build our plans here and the software we used and the next stop is really that entry-level advisor role where it could be a year, it could be two years. It depends on how fast they need an advisor. So, it’s like for a baseball analogy it’s like the on-deck circle. The paraplanner’s the on-deck circle and then how quickly can we get them into the advisor role? And obviously, that paraplanner is typically training their replacement.
So, it’s like new person goes to paraplanner, paraplanner goes to call it entry-level advisor where so say the more seasoned advisors, I don’t know how you all do it. I’ll just use it in dollars over here and say, hey, the entry-level advisor say his minimum is $250,000 of investable assets where the more seasoned advisor his new minimum might be 250 to 500 or 500 to a million so they’re stepping up the more seasoned advisors and then the entry-level are taking kind of the lowest rung as far as that firm takes on.
[00:23:34] Sean: So, one of the things that’s interesting that we’re seeing evolving over here in the UK is the rise of paraplanning as a profession on its own. A lot more people are kind of staying in roles or developing their skills as a paraplanner and enjoying very good careers as paraplanners the whole way through. Is that something that you see happening in the US at all?
[00:24:01] Brad: For sure. So, I think what’s interesting I’m just pulling random stories out so I think you guys are cool with that. We had an advisor up in Chicago and so as Advisors Excel has evolved, we try to listen to the pain points of our advisors in the firms we work with, and then if we don’t have a solution, we try to find a solution or build a solution. In one of those frustrations was hiring good quality people for your firm whether it’s on the advisor side or whether it’s on the administrative side and this advisor, he was really struggling. He had sent a girl in his firm down twice to one of our trainings where it was more the administrative side of new business so paperwork applications, all of the minutia that goes along with that. And she still could not fill out paperwork properly. And so, she was getting very frustrated. Well, we actually had a psychological assessment we called a preview assessment where it’s like a Colby or some of the other more standardized tests.
And so, we have her take this test and her attention to detail and working with numbers was a one on a scale of 10 with one being the worst. And so, he was trying to train her for this role that, I mean, she just didn’t. That was not how her brain was wired. And so, to your point, Sean, as far as do some people stay in the paraplanner role, I think it goes to the analytical mindsets, maybe the people that are completely cool not having a conversation where the introvert, they just want to chill in the back office not be bothered, and they can just crank out spreadsheets all day long. If that’s how they’re wired and if their compensation is set up to where they see a future in that role, absolutely, because what works not very well at all, actually, I’m going to sell some of your audience against from going to the advisor side is if you love that about your role, then the last thing you want to do is say, “Oh, well, I want to go be an advisor now because an advisor you’re going to have to have a lot of conversations.”
[00:26:03] Brad: I mean, it’s going to be more of an extroverted role. It’s actually way less about true financial planning and way more about relationship building and psychology and marriage counseling that I said before. So, it is really important to know because I think sometimes that role is very sexy. It’s like I don’t want to go be an advisor but if you don’t enjoy human relationships in connection and the challenges that come along with that, it might not be the role that you’re best suited for.
[00:26:30] James: Definitely. We’re looking to do podcasts with a young lady that sets her own paraplanning firm so now we source her planning firm. She’s got about 8 to 10 paraplanners underneath her and they’re aligned to firms across the UK two show that you can make a good living. I mean, she’s fine in terms of earnings and there’s a massive shortage of paraplanners in the UK as in paraplanners that want to move from the firm they are to another firm and they’re just commanding really high salaries at the moment in the UK because of that kind of shortage of high-quality paraplanners and then there’s a lot of them are then taking that view that actually if someone’s going to pay that much money for me if I can get a group of us together and found like a fine partner paraplanner, we all work together and collaborate, they’re just working the floor in some respects because it’s such a demand.
[00:27:39] Brad: So, would it be similar to – that definitely at least, as far as I know, doesn’t exist in the US currently but that sounds like almost like so there’s financial planning then there’s like tax planning or estate planning. So, it almost sounds like you’re creating a new a new role in financial services where you’ve almost outsourced like a CPA does tax planning and you outsource the paraplanning. It’s interesting.
[00:28:05] James: There’s a lot of guys that are kind of setting up on their own or they’re starting out with a few advisors. It’s a very low-cost way to access the regulated report requirements that we have in the UK compared to taking him on as a full-time employee and all the additional taxes that you have to pay as a business owner, I suppose, so it’s quite interesting. It’d be interesting to see if that evolves in the US, but hopefully, we can kickstart that in the US with our podcast.
[00:28:40] Sean: Oh yeah? Cool. So, Brad, obviously, one of our objectives here is to help the guys who are looking to transition into financial advisor positions to develop the skills that it takes to do that from a roadway straight technical knowledge focused and you got times kind of build plans to being able to conduct live client meetings. So, what I want to know is are there any sort of great habits that some of the top guys that you deal with portray to be kind of at the top of their game as financial advisors?
[00:29:21] Brad: Yes. So, here are a few things that I thought of then you could go on for days. So, I think that when I look at our upper echelon clients and not just the ones that like they hit a big number one year, but they hit big numbers every year and they continue to grow year in and year out. I think the biggest common theme is they’re a student for life, lifelong learner. They never got it all figured out. They may, I mean, this is even it’s interesting. Our top client last year brought in over 300 million organically in one year and that puts him as one of the top in the US and he was sitting in a training the other day from an advisor that maybe did a 20th of the assets that he does each year and he was sitting there taking notes.
And I find that theme that’s common in business, it’s not just financial services, the very best are going to continue to learn and grow and challenge themselves and there’s like almost a constant paranoia of, “I’ve never got it figured out.” So, I think that that’s a common theme. Another common theme is our very best and I find this as almost a disease in financial services of we like to show people how smart we are. And I would assume that it’s probably just being real here. It’s probably going to be more of a challenge for a paraplanner because that’s kind of the world you grew up in and it’s very analytical and here’s how stocks and bonds and all of these different financial tools work. So, you almost have to untrain yourself purposefully in that because your clients don’t care.
[00:31:19] Brad: The analogy I make is like if you go into a doctor and you have a sore elbow like immediately, we all freak out. We’re like, do I have cancer? Like what’s the worst-case scenario? And that’s what your prospects and clients do. I mean, this is very uncomfortable to come in and just share one of our advisors jokes he calls it getting financially naked and that’s like, that’s how uncomfortable it is because, I mean, they’re sharing things with you that they probably haven’t shared with their own kids sometimes. And so, to come in there like if you went into a doctor’s office you said my elbow hurts and then they just start spouting off Latin terms at you about human anatomy, you’d be like, “Who’s this jerk?” Like, what an arrogant guy that just thinks like but that’s what we do in financial services all the time. We use all these acronyms and we’re talking about just all of these ticker symbols. And so, the very best they simplify the complex. They ask powerful questions.
And they find out what are the true emotions so, yeah, you want to have $1 million in your nest egg but what’s that really mean? What are we trying to accomplish here like is it a bucket list trip that you want to take to come hang with Brad in the US? What are the things that you want to do? What are those hobbies that you didn’t have time for during your working years you want to rediscover? Time with the grandkids. If you’re talking with retirees, it’s not about $1 million. It’s about how do I have a plan here I have confidence year in and year out to spend and know I can take that annual trip across the country to go hang with my grandkids. And our very best advisors asked great questions to get to the core emotions of why people need a financial plan, not the actual plan itself. And then the last thing is they listen.
[00:33:13] Brad: So, probably a great advisor talks 10% to 15% in the first appointment. They ask a great question, and then they sit there, and they listen, and they take great notes. That’s high-level. We can keep going. I’m sure.
[00:33:30] James: Yeah. Well, you’ve given us loads of viable insights so far so thank you so much for that. So, if you were a non-advisor come looking to go to an associate financial planner role or you’re currently in that transition, what advice would you give to those individuals?
[00:33:56] Brad: Well, one of my mentors gave me, “Go find a coach.” So, any time there’s something in life you want to accomplish, you can do it the hard way, which is figured out yourself, trial and error or you can go find somebody that’s made that transition, or listen to a podcast maybe about it and just go surround yourself. That’s a rule I have in my life. You’re the average of the five people you associate most with so I try to associate people that I aspire to be like. So, if there’s a role that you want to take, I guarantee if it’s not your firm, it’s some other firm locally. Ask him out for lunch. The worst thing they can say is no and guess what, more of them are going to say yes than no because it’s flattering if you approach it the right way.
[00:34:45] James: All right. Great answer.
[00:34:48] Sean: So, Brad, look, you’ve given us some value content and insights there. Thank you so much for joining us on the Adviser Gap Podcast. It’s a real pleasure to have you on the show. I think we’ve got still time to move on to our quick five questions. So, if you were to look back at our profession in terms of financial advice in 10 years’ time, would you like to have happened in that 10 years for our profession to have grown and expanded into something new?
[00:35:29] Brad: So, I’m going to give you the US perspective. I’m not sure if this is as big of a deal in the UK, so if it isn’t, I apologize. I think one of the things that I see that’s really interesting is how the industry, the financial services industry has evolved in the US. You had kind of the insurance background that was kind of more of a sales driven background and then you had the asset management background which is still sales based background, but it’s kind of more framed in the way of the fiduciary and I win if you win and we’re on the same team. What I see happen very often in the US is based on I’ll call it a bias from the financial advisor’s perspective based on the world they grew up in. If you grew up in the insurance world, you got guys saying, “Well, as a retiree, the market’s bad. You shouldn’t have all this risk in your portfolio as you get closer to retirement.
And if you grew up on the asset management side of the world, you’ve got the well, these insurance products are commissionable. That’s bad. And in reality, the truth is, it all loses perspective of what really matters. And that’s the client. So, these people are bringing these biases in and it’s limiting the solutions they provide to their clients where in reality, if you had a true fiduciary standard across the entire industry because you got guys managing $1 billion of assets that don’t do any insurance planning and that’s cool if you don’t believe your clients are ever going to die. So, I don’t get it and these personal biases they really, they hurt the clients because they’re not building a holistic financial plan that serves them on a level. So, my wish 10 years from now would be that all of these walls are broken down between the insurance side, the asset management side to where you can have a true standard where you put the client first and you have as many tools as possible in your financial toolbox and then you’re just picking out best in class to most efficiently solve the problem minus personal biases, whether it’s how you get paid or what world you grew up in, or anything else. That would be my first wish.
[00:37:42] James: Okay. That’s a great one. I think there’s a bit of a battle still on that over here the side of the pond. So, you mentioned quite a lot about the kind of training that you guys offer at Advisors Excel but are there any courses that you recommend guys and girls to enter Adviser Gap go on whether they’re in the US or they’re a global training at all?
[00:38:07] Brad: Yeah. The one that I think is fairly standard, that I think is big in the UK as well is Strategic Coach, Dan Sullivan. I have the privilege to have him on my podcast a year or two back and I joke he’s like if Jesus were living – he’s like the Jesus of business of entrepreneur. So, I highly recommend Strategic Coach. A lot of our top clients have been longtime Strategic Coach clients as well. I think, like less formal training if you just want to nerd out on finance stuff, Michael Kitces, his stuff is great. I know his podcast is huge. I’m sure it’s huge over there as well. I have a podcast course coming up for financial advisors that want to learn how podcast. It’s not live yet, but I’ll throw a little selfish plug-in for that as well.
[00:39:03] Sean: We should have waited a few months.
[00:00:00] James: Yeah. It could use a few takes.
[00:39:07] Brad: Hey, I think you guys are doing well. You’re much more polished than I was on my earlier episodes. Maybe it’s the accent though. I don’t know.
[00:39:20] James: So, Brad, what sort of books and you’ve mentioned podcasts there. Any kind of books you would recommend?
[00:39:30] Brad: Yeah.
[00:39:34] Sean: Or any material really, that’s podcast. Anything you’ve read recently?
[00:39:40] Brad: I think it goes back to the advice of our most successful clients, they’re lifelong learners. So, however you absorb good content, books, podcast, audiobooks, trainings, live trainings, so if I went to a book actually more of a philosophy, a guy named Darren Hardy, former publisher of Success Magazine and he wrote a book called The Compound Effect. I’ve had the privilege to be in a couple of his private masterminds. One thing that I took from him a long time ago but probably going on 10 years is if you would turn your time in the car or transportation, however you get to and from your place of work and home into a study session that in America at least, I think the average commute time is like 40 minutes a day, you can literally have a PhD in like I think he said a year-and-a-half if you just consume content.
So, one of things I really try to do, not that I don’t like rock out to some music every once in a while but I really do try on the to and from work, that’s time where I’m either listening to a podcast, an audiobook, where I turn that into just that’s how you increase your knowledge base and, I mean, it’s just easy to see the people that do that, you can have interesting conversations with them about just about anything. And so, just even from a perspective of bringing on clients, it just takes you to a whole another level. But if I had to pick books, one that made a massive impact on me early on was How To Win Friends And Influence People, Dale Carnegie. One thing that I took out of there that’s really good as a financial advisor, “A man convinced against his will is of the same opinion still.” And as a paraplanner transitioning to an advisor, you can win the argument and still lose the argument. You can be 110% right but if in their mind they’re not open to the whatever you’re positioning, it doesn’t matter. They’re not going to become your client.
[00:41:43] Brad: And that served me really well in my business as well. The one that’s just outside of our industry but really made me think differently a book called Sapiens. I’m going to completely mispronounce his name, Yuval, something, Noah Harari I think is the author. Is it familiar?
[00:42:02] James: Yeah.
[00:42:04] Brad: Yeah. Pretty decent? Okay. What it made me realize is how humans are wired. It talks a lot about the evolution of humanity through the history of time. It’s a super interesting book on what is typically pretty dry content. He somehow pulls off to make it super interesting. But he goes through just the psychology of why humans make the decisions they do from an evolutionary standpoint and I found that really, really interesting.
[00:42:32] Sean: Yeah. Now, that is a brilliant book. One of the best books I’ve read probably really sort of makes you understand the human race more.
[00:42:42] Brad: Yeah. Why we’re so messed up sometimes. Well, if you want to nerd out a bit on that one, this one just completely blew my mind. I had to reread this section but it was the section that he is kind of assuring the analogy of there’s the African savanna. There’s this like baboon up in a tree that hasn’t eaten for a week. He looks across to this other tree. There’s a banana in it and then he looks off to his left and there’s a lion like hiding out like 100 yards away and he basically compared it to all living organisms are just more complex algorithms because the math that’s going on inside the monkey’s head is, “Okay. I haven’t eaten for a week so if I don’t eat, I’m going to starve so I need that banana but wow, there’s a chance that lion’s going to eat me before I get there,” and it was like it blew my mind on multiple levels. I’m like, “Wow. We’re really that simple of creatures but at the same time like we’re that complex all at the same time.”
[00:43:43] James: Yeah. Definitely, a recommendation that I give to a few people as well. So, it would be rude of us not to ask you about Elite Advisors or Advisors Excel. So, you got your Elite Advisor Blueprint and you’ve obviously Advisor Excel has loads of different kind of resource as you support lots of business in the US. So, if you’d like to kind of give us kind of a high-level understanding of what Advisor Excel does for clients and some of your courses. I hope to try and get you across the pond maybe.
[00:44:20] Brad: Well, you know what, I will be taking a trip to Prague next year. My wife and I were discussing where else do we want to hit while we are exploring Europe? And the UK is at the top of the list so we might just have to make it happen. Do version 2.0 of this live from some pub somewhere that you guys recommend or something.
[00:44:41] Sean: Oh yeah.
[00:44:42] James: We’re definitely in for that.
[00:44:42] Brad: Okay. Everybody in the UK is always up for pubs I find.
[00:44:47] Sean: Oh. It’s dry January at the moment. I’m 25 days without a beer and for a brit that’s quite a challenge.
[00:44:55] Brad: You’re almost there. You can see the…
[00:44:57] Sean: I have caved at this point.
[00:45:02] Brad: So, was it what? A good two to three days into January that you made it, Sean?
[00:45:06] Sean: No. I made it three weeks but I seem to have been pretty flat out since the turn of the year so it’s no rest and, yeah, eventually I caved.
[00:45:19] Brad: It goes back to those five people you surround yourself with.
[00:45:23] James: Taking glances.
[00:45:26] Brad: Yeah. So, Advisors Excel and the podcast. Advisors Excel’s been really cool for me personally. So, I was the 12th employee back in the days. That was 2007 and I came from an IT background actually and just had always been interested in finance and this company has allowed me to like going back to a lot of the advice I’ve given here, it expanded my horizons. When you’re doing mastermind groups of guys like Tony Robbins and Darren Hardy and just like some of the best thought leaders out there, it’s just like I grew up. I was 27 when that happened and so I kind of grew up in a very kind of like personal development-centered company and so it literally changed my life and it’s made me a better dad. It’s made me a better husband, at least I hope my wife thinks that’s the case.
But I think I can’t say enough great things about the company that I work with, and what’s been really cool is how we’ve impacted advisors. We’ve got numerous stories over and over of advisors that were bringing 3 million to 5 million of assets in per year and, I mean, actually I just got off the phone today. One of our clients on the East Coast when we met them 2012, him and his two other partners are bringing in 8 million a year. Last year they brought in over 160 million. So, 2012, 2018 that sort of growth that is just astronomical and like if you sit back and actually reflect on it, it’s not just about the advisors, how we’re changing their practices in their lives. Think about all the retirees that now have a better financial plan in place for their retirement. I mean, it’s just like this compound effect on down. So, I really think that we are in the most noble profession next to health. To me, health is first because it doesn’t matter how much money you have if you don’t have your health.
[00:47:27] Brad: But we’re a close second to where you sit down with clients, you can actually give them confidence and, I mean, you can put these plans in place that are generational plans or it’s not just for them. It’s their kids, it’s their grandkids, and what a noble profession to be involved in and I’m proud to be a part of it.
[00:47:47] Sean: Yeah. I think we concur that 100%.
[00:47:50] James: Definitely.
[00:47:50] Brad: And the podcast was just an extension of that. I like to have interesting. I’m curious by nature as I’m guessing, you two are too or you wouldn’t have a podcast and it just allowed me like if nobody listened to my podcast, I would still do it because it’s conversations like this like I’ve learned from you guys during this conversation on how things differ on the UK side and like the paraplanner like outsourcing that, that’s new to me but it just allows you to facilitate really interesting conversations with people you respect and can learn from. And so, that’s what the podcast has been for me. And the side benefit has been people that are wired like me that find those interesting conversations, they have now reached out and applied through the website to see if they can work with us. And so, it’s a win-win on all levels.
So, I want to give you guys a compliment to having the guts to hop on a mic and have random conversations with people we’d never really met before, and I promise you, stick with it. It takes a while. It’s kind of this organic thing that has to pick up steam but, promise, it will serve you guys just as well because this has been a really fun conversation.
[00:49:06] Sean: Thanks so much, Brad. Do you have any advice for us just before we go?
[00:49:13] Brad: Don’t stop podcasting. It’s work as you guys know. It’s work, it seems like a lot of fun and then, oh my gosh, now we’ve got to edit this and we’ve got to put an intro on this and all of the work that goes on behind the scenes. Try your best to really systematize, kind of Tim Ferriss’ 4-Hour Workweek. Systematize all the minutia behind the scenes on this but keep having interesting conversations with people that can benefit your audience and it’ll come back 10X. So, just stick with it. It’s not easy. It’s work, but you’re obviously well thought out guys. I mean I was telling you before we went live here. I’ve done a number of podcasts. I’ve been a guest on a few as well and the homework you did to prep for this conversation made sure we had a great conversation so I appreciate it.
[00:50:06] Sean: Well, Brad, it’s been an absolute pleasure having you on the podcast. Thank you so much for giving out your time and sharing some great insights to stories there. I think that’s a wrap, guys. So, Brad, thank you so much.
[00:50:19] James: Brilliant. Thank you.
[00:50:20] Brad: Likewise, guys. Sean, James, it was a pleasure. I will absolutely take you up on meeting up in person when I make it to the UK.
[00:50:28] James: Yeah. We look forward to that. Maybe you’ve even got an audience with Brad.
[00:50:3] Brad: I’m game as long as I can have a pint while I do it, I’m in.
[00:50:37] Brad: Brilliant.
[00:50:38] James: That’s definitely allowed in the UK.
[00:50:40] Brad: Right. Cool. Thanks, guys.
[00:50:42] Sean: Cheers, guys.
[00:50:49] James: Another great interview there with Brad Johnson. On the back of the last episode, so, Sean, I thought we would do something similar and we will do another John Bond style wrap up for you guys on Twitter. Well, you know what that’s all about but for those that want to listen to Sean and I ramble on again, this is your point of exit. We look forward to you guys listening to the next episode. As I said, at the outset, we got some great guests lined up and maybe a bonus episode here with people there so looking forward to release those. But Sean and I have highlighted a few key takeaways from our chat with Brad Johnson. It was fascinating to hear that though some similarities with the Adviser Gap in the US and there are also some differences as we know. That kind of adviser land in the US is slightly different but it’s nice to know that that the adviser gap is there and we hope we’d be able to help some guys across the pond.
And the interesting fact that I took from Brad is that there may not be outsourced paraplanners in the US so hopefully, some of the paraplanners out there will be out to give us some more info on that but…
[00:52:07] Sean: Huge, huge, business opportunity.
[00:52:09] James: Well, yeah. For you guys that want to jump across the pond, that’s a massive opportunity so hope we’ve helped you out there, guys. But the first kind of key highlights that I took away or we took away, sure, was that this kind of you build great foundations as a paraplanner, building tens or hundreds of financial plans and often that some of the lead advisors haven’t had that experience. So, did you want to touch upon that key take away there?
[00:52:45] Sean: Yeah. Again, so going back in the past, the route to being an advisor was often through a sales position where you come for a training program learning sales. You then straight out on the road doing sales and you’ve never really had a back-office function up until that point where you’re out in the road, and I think that it’s certainly. Although you’ve lost some of that, these days we’ve got some of that sales training initially and that is part of the Adviser Gap. What people now have as a massive advantage when they’re making that transition is they’ve had potentially years of doing plans in the background. Actually, building plans for clients if that’s the sort of fun that they’ve been working where they actually do build financial plan as a paraplanner as opposed to suitability letters which I know will be the case in a lot of other firms.
You’ve got a massive advantage there because you’re going in having all that experience of how a plan is structured, how to explain to somebody how they’re going get from point A where they are now to point B, which is where they want to be in the future and tying all of that together in a way that makes sense and is meaningful for them and their family. You’ve had years of experience doing that. You just haven’t had the experience of doing it live in a client meeting situation I suppose. So, that’s one of the things I took from is, yes, you’ve got all of that experience, but the gap is very much there in that you’ve then got to take that experience and put into a lie situation with a client to get them to realize what it all means and why it’s important. Did you want to add some more to that, James?
[00:54:38] James: Yeah. Definitely. Having the skills to use the software in front of the client will be integral to your success of the marriage of their life and their plan. Brad raised as the biggest gap that he notices in the US is that he got some great technicians and they can talk about the software but it’s back to one of our key takeaways from all of the episodes that we’ve done is simplifying the complex. So, some of the software is quite complex. If you go deep into it, it’s great to know that you know that stuff is [inaudible] if you ever get challenged by a client, but these can I take my skills with the software and building plans and can I articulate it to a client in plain English, easy to understand way and that will only come with practice.
And this kind of brings us onto the marriage of life and your plans is if you cannot bring those two things together that the relationship may struggle. You make sure to pick your services to a client because at this point, understand to know or just think oh it’s something else that I can discount and not have to buy. It should be integral to the service. It shouldn’t be an item at all.
[00:56:08] Sean: Yeah. It has to mean something to them ultimately. Part of your job is to get them to understand what it means and why it’s important.
[00:56:18] James: Yeah. Very much so. And on the point that Brad raised about, yes, the math there is important. Getting the number is right but you got to have that purpose as you say, and he even raised the point of you may need a degree in psychology and marriage counseling along the way. So, it is what the Adviser Gap we’re trying to articulate to you guys is the communication of those foundations that you’ve built will be the successful downfall I suppose. Another key point highlighted from Brad’s chat is are you the next Ray Croc of financial planning or as we might be more familiar over here that the Henry Ford of financial planning. Systemization of the process, did you want to talk through that takeaway, Sean?
[00:57:18] Sean: Yeah, I think this is probably more appropriate to the actual business that you’re working in or if you are a business owner, a way that you can really make a big difference to how you work is having those systematized processes to know that everybody who’s working in your business knows exactly what’s going to happen from point A the moment the client brings you up, sends you an email, walks through the door to point B where you’ve created that ongoing client relationship. You have to have a process that’s going to get you from A to B to C all the way to Z really because it is that sometimes that longer process in a 20-year relationship potentially. So, yeah, you’ve got to know from the outset what you’re doing and again, as we touched on in the last episode you’ve got to then be able to without missing a beat explains your client what the process is as well so that they’re familiar with it from the get-go.
Because, again, as we mentioned before, it just makes them so much more comfortable. You’d like to know what you’re doing, which I’m sure you do, because you’ve got that process to fall back on which means if you’ve got a track to run on you’ve got some guidelines. You’re less likely to cock it up basically.
[00:58:35] James: Yeah. Definitely. This kind of putting the skeleton off a process, remember, all clients are different and that at each stage in your process, you may have to do different things, but as a practice as Sean raises that every client gets something that looks similar accepting the fact that every client will be different and that’s what I would add to that.
[00:59:02] Sean: Absolutely.
[00:59:04] James: Something that we have raised or we have raised and other guests have raised about how to fast track your journey to being a great planner was riding shotgun. So, Brad raised this is one of the key learnings that some of the great firms in the US are doing is they put their trainee planners or trainee advisors in kind of a second seat just sitting, listening, and observing the client meetings for three to six months and most of the guests that we had on have said, “That is one of the fastest ways in which you’ll advance skill is by being present in those meetings and we took some as many a time. Did you have any kind of further comments on that to add?
[00:59:58] Sean: I think it’s key to the development of somebody who’s transitioning from a support role to being the advisor is you have to go through that period where you’re shadowing an experienced advisor going out to meetings or, you know, welcoming clients into your office just fundamental things like that are really going to harness your development. And also, it’s something – it’s not just about learning how to conduct the meeting or certain things to say or certain questions to ask a client. It’s just the actual physical thing that you’re doing of welcoming of client into the room or actually going out to somebody’s house to see them. It’s things like that. It’s just silly things that make a difference is getting used to preparing for a meeting and having that in your diary and just through osmosis I think it becomes second nature then once you do step out on your own, you’re confident you know what you’re doing.
[01:00:54] James: Yeah. Very much so. On that point, if you are the lead advisor or you’re the business owner bring in those trainees or the newer guys, Brad raised a point of make sure you build them up, give them the confidence to be in that room and take part. Remember, they’re in a vulnerable position. So, if you’re either training or coaching guys through to become the leaders of your business but confidence needs to come from you as well as from them. But playing to your strengths is something that we have mentioned before. I know a few podcasts coming up that we’re going to discuss this in more detail, but Brad raised the point that plays to your strengths, be the best version of you and if you think being a relationship guy is the right thing for your relationship, it goes the right thing for you, go for it.
But if you are questioning whether you want to be kind of on the phones talking to clients in front of them talking through things, getting to know them, and their life and their family, you find that exciting, great. If not, then you need to have that checked. Is this the right thing for me? Did you have anything to add on that at all?
[01:02:25] Sean: Yeah. No, you’ve hit the nail on the head that really so, yeah, just figure out what you are the best in the world at and just do that all the time.
[01:02:36] James: Yeah. Very much so. And to wrap up our chat, I thought we just list off some of the great habits that Brad has noticed with the leaders in the US and the guys at Advisors Excel are coaching. You probably hear this from any successful or great financial planner around the world is that they are students for life and we’ve raised this before but as you want to add anything on the students for life habit, Sean?
[01:03:13] Sean: I guess so, yes. So, one of the things that you have when you first come into this business is everything will be focused around doing your CII exams or you feel doing the CFP route. It will be focused on industry exams and I can tell you that that’s only the start of what you need to be focusing on in terms of your development. Wider reading is I think fundamental for any financial advisor. You have to do it. If you’re focusing on getting the charters as quickly as possible but you’re not doing any reading outside of the syllabus then I think you’re still going to be behind some of those guys that do, do that and haven’t got the chartered financial planner badge. So, yeah, I think Audible is brilliant. I absolutely adore it. There’s no chance I’d be where I am now if I didn’t listen to Audible all the time. Podcasts, again, listening.
Audio is great because you can multitask while listening to a book or a podcast. I play golf and you know I can often just gauge the golf course on my own here. I’m listening to an audiobook that’s going to give me some information or teach me something that I’m going to then put into practice or just take one thing away from it. It just makes a lot of difference to then what you do going forward, and also just reading. I think we are relentless readers by nature because we’re just curious as people. So, yeah, I’ve already banged on it. Don’t you think that the exam syllabus is the be all and end all. You have to widen your reading.
[01:05:00] James: Yeah. And there’s loads and loads of reading around communication skills, psychology, body language. All of those things will enhance your chances and help you on your journey. We mentioned simplifying the complex I think I’ll rush through that one and just say, look, anything that [inaudible – 1:05:21] does for simplifying the complex and then you’ll get the gist of what habits you need to create around that. Asking powerful questions that drive you to find all the time real emotions are and why they want to do things. I think that says it all. If you can’t ask great questions, you’ll struggle to find what it really is that the client wants. Do you have anything to add on that one?
[01:05:54] Sean: No. I think we’ve covered that into good detail in the previous episode so yeah.
[01:06:00] James: Yeah. Great. The best advisors that Brad has come across are great listeners. You’re born with two ears and one mouth. It should be in the halls. And sometimes I’m complacent of that I would say, and we all have our own problems and we all have our challenges but that’s great. And Sean?
[01:06:24] Sean: Which means great communicators will say in two words what other people might take 20 words to say. You got to get your point across and don’t waffle on like we do a lot of the time on this podcast.
[01:06:43] James: We enjoy a good waffle.
[01:06:45] Sean: That’s a wrap-up.
[01:06:47] James: The final point that Brad raised was get a coach.
[01:06:50] Sean: Another great episode, guys. Take care and see you next time.
[01:06:55] James: Take care, guys. Cheers.
[01:06:59] Brad: Thanks for checking out the latest show. On to this week’s featured reviews. The week’s first review comes to us from James Conole, CFP who says, “One of a few must listen to podcasts. Five stars. The insight that Brad pulls out of his guests is incredible. He interviews amazing guests and each one has something valuable for me and my practice. This podcast has been incredibly valuable in helping me to grow my business and I’m grateful to Brad for all the value and insights I’ve gained from this podcast.” Hey, James. Thanks for listening in and the kind words. Love to hear that the shows helping you grow your business. And honestly, if you get a second, please swing by the website, drop me a note, and let me know an idea or two that you picked up from the show that you put into action and stay after it and thanks for the review.
The next review comes to us from user Hope4Everyone who says, “Great ideas and fun to listen. Five stars. I just came across this podcast series and find it invaluable. As a financial advisor for 20 years, I can tell you this is one of the best out there. I’ve listened to and seen in person leaders in the field and this is so helpful to listen when I have some time. Thank you, Brad.” Thanks, Hope4Everyone. Love the name and appreciate the review and sounds like you’ve been at the financial advisor business for a while so it’s awesome to hear that someone with all your experience is getting some great takeaways for your practice. More episodes coming your way.
Next up is user Rickkkky Ruuuuubioo who says, “Finally found it. Five stars. Best financial advisor podcast I found. I wish this information was available to me earlier in my 12-year financial services career. Real actionable information. Definitely restructuring my business and brand with the gems I picked up.” Thanks for listening in, Ricky, and for the five-star review. It sounds like we both actually started out the business about the same time and although I do wish I would’ve started my podcasting career just a bit earlier, I’m pretty sure my episodes from 12 years ago would have been very iffy at best.
[01:08:58] Brad: However, some advice for those of you out there looking to dive into podcasting. I do love the advice Michael Hyatt gave me when I was first starting out. He said, “Fail while no one is watching,” and that advice has served me really well and for those out there trying to figure out when is the best time to start a new venture or platform, the answer is now. So, fail while no one’s looking. Get out there.
And the last featured review for the week comes to us from mccomasknows who says, “So relevant. Five stars. Love the last episode, Brad. James’s book Atomic Habits is very relevant to today’s financial advisors especially after a historically long bull run and I can’t wait to read it. Tons of little golden nuggets of wisdom scattered throughout this latest podcast. Keep up the excellent work, Brad. Looking forward to the next podcast as they always get me in the right mindset, Darren.” So, Darren, thanks for the review. I love the conversation with James clear as well. He shared a number of mental models that financial advisors can use to simplify the complex for their clients, which from my experience, that’s with the very best in our business do. And if you happen to be listening and out there and haven’t had a chance to give his episode a listen yet, I can promise you’re missing out as it is consistently ranking as one of our most downloaded episodes. Also, his book, Atomic Habits, if you have a grabbed a copy yet, amazing as well.
Okay. As we wrap this show, thanks again for those of you who have taken the time to write a quick review. I personally 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 happens to be consulting financial advisors from all over the US on how to grow their business and design a practice that serves them. So yes, it’s possible to actually grow your business and work less. It’s a model we’ve replicated over and over in markets all over the country.
[01:10:52] Brad: So, if you’d like to apply to see if it makes sense for us to have a one-on-one conversation or 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 again for listening in and I will catch you on the next show.
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.
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