Speaker 1: This is the Ultimate Advisor Podcast, the podcast for financial advisors who want to create a thriving, successful, and scalable practice. Each week, we'll uncover the ways that you can improve your referrals, your team, your marketing, and your business operations, helping you to level up your advising practice, bring in more assets, and create the advising practice that you've dreamed of. You will be joined by your hosts, Brian Sweet, who has more than half a billion dollars in assets under management, Brittany Anderson, the driving force for advisors looking to hire, improve their operations and company culture, and Draye Redfern, who can help you systematize and automate your practice's marketing to effortlessly attract new clients. So, what do you say? Let's jump into another amazing episode of the Ultimate Advisor Podcast.
Brittany A.: Welcome back to the Ultimate Advisor Podcast. This is Brittany Anderson alongside Draye Redfern and Brian Sweet, as we dive into episode nine of the 12 week series on, what are the top characteristics of top advisors? Today, we are going to be talking about the importance of having a strong support team, which includes a really solid next gen talent so that business continuity is always forefront. Now, aside from ensuring that your business can continue with or without you with, which is the obvious in continuity planning, there is a lot more wrapped up into the benefit of having next generation talent.
One thing that I think is really important to put out there right away is that, when you look at the top advisors, when you look at elite practices across the US, what typically happens is they have key people in the right seats, so that your clients know that if something happens to you as the business owner, if something happens to you as the key advisor in the firm, they are going to be okay. Right? They are going to be taken care of regardless of what happens to you singularly as an individual. Brian, I think you have done an exceptional job at putting the right people in the right seats. You have added partners. I mean, you have got a solid continuity plan, so I would love for you to jump right in today and talk on that and what it's done for your business.
Bryan Sweet: Thank you, Brittany. Interesting topic and, you know, everybody runs their businesses differently, everybody has different org charts. For us it's really been important for, one, me to know that if something does happen to me that my clients are still well taken care of, that Sweet Financial continues as an ongoing concern. But, you know, being in business for a few years and getting up there in age, your clients start wondering, well what happens if you get hit by the proverbial beer truck. They may not tell you that, but they're thinking that. One of the key things that you want to do is be very proactive with your clients on what does happen if something happens to you, or literally training your clients for any aspect.
When we have appointments in our office, I always have somebody sit in. The other advisor that sits in is actually the advisor that will ultimately take over the client should I retire or get hit by that proverbial beer truck that I mentioned. I'm setting the stage for a situation where a client calls, they know they have me, but they also know they have this other advisor. One of the things that you will find is that, if you train your clients in that, when the clients call, they'll actually start calling the other advisor and they'll answer the questions for you. It frees up a lot of your time so that you can do, as we've mentioned before, your unique abilities. You can be out being the rainmaker and getting new business.
One of the other things that I've been very conscious of is, I'm 61 right now and fortunately I'm with these really young talented people on this podcast, but my partners are also very, very much younger than I am. There's a purpose behind that. One is in his forties and one is in his thirties, so we've got a lot of time for, one, them to learn the business while I'm still around, but also if something were to happen to me, we have a lot of years before they may even consider retiring.
I will tell you, when you start telling your clients you've been proactive, you've got some business succession planning that you've done, obviously that's a relief to them. They don't want anything to happen to you, but it doesn't ever give them the reason that, "Gee, my only contact person is Brian. What happens if something happens to him? I don't want to leave." Well, when you tell them you've done the succession planning, there would be no reason for them to leave because they just literally keep moving on with people that they already know, a very similar process, it just may be a couple of different faces.
I think it's just so critical to think about those things and actually make sure you have from young to old built into your practice. Because, if you do want your practice to continue, and I don't plan on selling my practice, I plan on letting the team continue it versus selling to an outside source, it just gains a lot of comfort. Yeah, so Brittany, your thoughts having actually run the company for us, would you add anything to that?
Brittany A.: Absolutely. I think that something that's really interesting that happens when you make the hard and fast decision as to what your business continuity plan looks like. So Brian, he has got it completely spelled out. It is clear, there's really no gray area. It's black and white, and we know exactly what's going to happen in the future. Should something happen to Brian, he keeps mentioning, old versus young, which age is just a number. Right? But, if something were to happen or when that time comes that he's maybe not as actively involved, we know from a team perspective too that everything is going to carry on as usual. Right? You're going to continue taking care of the clients. Our mission and our vision is not going to change just because Brian is no longer individually involved.
What that does for the team is, number one, it gives them something really powerful to be part of and to be proud of. Because, Brian believes so incredibly in our mission and in our vision and what we can do for people that he's like, "I don't want to sell out to some outside party that's maybe not going to carry that on for our clients." That is a big deal. What that does is it gives us the freedom internally to know, "Hey, I bring on a 25 year old and in 40 years when they're getting to retire, nothing's going to majorly shift. We're going to have the same true vision. Maybe we'll change how we do things, but that doesn't matter because the end vision and how we treat clients is what matters most."
The other thing that I want to put a little bit of a spin on is that, when you create a true continuity plan and you know what the vision is for your company, it changes the way that you go about hiring people. Because, you're no longer just putting a body into a seat to fill a position. You are bringing somebody on to carry on your vision and be part of your culture. That whole concept of slow to hire, quick to fire, it becomes a really real thing. It is really easy when you're hiring, when you have an open position in your company, the short term pain of being down a person, or even if you're creating a new position in your company, it is really easy to just be like, "You know what? I just need a butt in a seat. I just need somebody to fill that gap."
But, when you have the longterm vision spelled out for your company, you as a hiring manager, so if you're listening to this as a second in command, or maybe if you're an adviser who doesn't quite have that and you're still in some capacity involved in the hiring process, it's going to change the way you think, because you do not want to upset the apple cart when you know how much time and effort has been put into creating a company, building actual talent so that the future vision can be carried out in an impactful way. It really makes you think about who you let come into your culture because you know, hey, it's a big deal. We're not going to just sell out. We're not going to randomly close our doors, or whatever the case may be. You want to put people that are genuinely, they have a vested interest in carrying out your mission.
I think that's a little spin that people just don't talk about enough and don't think about enough when it comes to continuity planning and when it comes to making sure that you have the right people that are sailing your ship. Like Brian said, whether you're involved or you're not, all of the stuff that you have worked so hard for, the vision you have clearly painted, because I hope at this point you have figured out what it means to create that clear vision, it becomes so important to you that you don't want to have any one person have the opportunity or the ability to disrupt that.
So Draye, I want to bring another little perspective in here that I don't think, again, is talked about enough in our industry, and that's how there's actually opportunity. When you have a succession plan, when you have a continuity strategy, there are actually ways to market that to appeal to your target demographic and actually drive business that people just do not take enough advantage of in our industry. Draye, I would love for you to share your expertise and wisdom with us when it comes to that topic.
Draye Redfern: Here's the reality, is that every financial advisor is looking for that differentiation. They all say we're different, or they all say that, we care about you, and they all say the same darn things. But, if everyone's saying the same thing, there's no real differentiation there. I think that using this to your advantage is absolutely could be a game changer for your practice. Here's an example. In another business that I'm an owner in, we actually market the fact that an individual who is newly hired will not talk to any prospect or client for a year. They're not talking to anybody for a single year, because we want that person to be trained up and licensed and qualified, and all the other individual facets of it, before they are then qualified to, hey, you can talk to somebody on the phone.
What that then does is it ensures that the individual who we have hired is qualified. They what they're talking about. They know how to handle someone. They have the scripts or they know what the process are, whatever it may be to tee that relationship up for success, whether it's a prospect or a client. Then, we market the thing. The idea that someone, if they were to call in for the first time were to only talk to someone if they've got a minimum of a year of experience, and it could be many years, it could be decades, it really puts that prospect or that client at ease, and it's a really easy thing to market. You could do the same thing in your practice.
As an example, if you have a particular duration of time that someone has been with you or on average, like on average we've got 150 years of experience collectively, or people, our clients or prospects are never going to talk to someone without a minimum, X amount of years or months of expertise. There's all sorts of ways that you can use this by actually building a support team to your advantage to add as another differentiator. That could be done in your marketing, that could be done in your sales process, that could have been done in your initial meetings or discovery calls that you have with some of these people.
Just to give some additional resources and things that we use to go about that process, we use an online service called Process Street, process.st, and it basically just allows us to create these processes online so that we can ensure that these individuals are following what they need to do and that everything is being taken care of. Because, people do move, people do start families, people do pass away, and you want to have that strong support team because, if you don't, then all of this sort of, you know, if you're going to use it in your marketing, is all for not.
Number one, obviously follow Brittany and Brian's advice. Have that strong support team, but then if you do it, you lock in whether that's months or years of expertise, whether that's the duration or the time in which they've been with you, it could be all sorts of different things. You can use that to actually better market your firm in a way that, simply, your competitors are not using. That is just another way to add onto the differentiation that you're already providing into the marketplace. Brittany, I want to throw it back to you to, to tie this episode off with a pretty bow and then sort of circle back to some of the key concepts here.
Brittany A.: Yeah, so Draye, when you were talking I got to thinking, I'm like, there's one thing that we haven't brought up yet, and Brian alluded to, he's got partners in the firm now at Sweet Financial, so one's in his forties, one's in his thirties. The thing I think that needs to be emphasized a little bit is that you have a really cool opportunity in doing what Brian has done. Right? In including these other partners. When you are in the seat where you are the primary driver, right, you are the sole technical decision because you have 100% ownership in your company, so it's you. It's your ideas. It's your expertise coming to the table.
Now, when you include partners and you expand that, what I encourage you to do is really source. You all have a collective vision, or at least you should have a shared collective vision. But, sourcing the different ideas that come from the other generations in new ways of thinking, different ways of thinking, and really maximizing their brain power and how you use it, I think that is, it's so invaluable. There's just so much that can happen as a company. I know Brian will attest to this, that the more and more we get the junior partners involved and really pick their brain on what they see happening for the future, the vision of the company, it has really opened up some interesting conversations and some interesting new ways of doing things or different ways of thinking.
I think that it's important to, especially as a financial advisor, and I'll preface this by saying for many of you, if you have been in the business 20, 30, 40-plus years, you have gone through the grind. Right? You have gone through and started at that bottom where you're sleeping in the office, you're making a million phone calls every day. You are scraping to make sure like, hey, Draye's talked in previous episodes about that point of no return, you know that's real. Right? You know what it took to build this business and to get to the point that it's at now. That is exceptional and there's nothing that can take away from that. But, it is so essential to the future growth to enlist that next generation, to bring some different perspective and to absorb that, to honor it, and then to put it into action and implementation. Because, it is amazing the things that can be implemented when you are sourcing the talent in your office.
If you decide to go the route of continuity where it's internal, like Brian mentioned, and you want to train up some junior partners, you want to maybe offer up some ownership opportunities, don't just have it be black print on white paper. Right? Don't let it stop there. Have it be actually something where you have a common mission to grow your practice, to grow your business by your definition. To set some awesome targets, and then watch and see how that talent and how those people can help you get there. It is so important and it's so fun to watch. I get on my pedestal a little bit on this topic, so I'm going to just cool it for a minute and say Brian, Draye, is there anything else that you would want to add before I share some of these top takeaways?
Bryan Sweet: Great comments, Brittany. I would just add that, you know, having been 100% owner and now I'm not, I've been so happy that I turned over some ownership. I still own the majority, but I've been so happy to turn over some ownership, because one, it's fun to teach new people all the kind of tricks of the trade, if you will. But, as Brittany alluded to, it's been amazing the new ideas and thoughts that, you may think you know at all or you've been doing it long enough and you kind of got it all figured out. I will tell you, we've learned so many things that I would have never thought of myself that have been so helpful, not only from my partners but really from all the key leadership and people in the office. The more you get them involved and buying into them being helpful and helping the company grow, they just want the company to get better and are willing and able and helpful to get you there. If you have never considered it, please give that some thought.
Brittany A.: Brian, I think you brought up a really important point that I just want to highlight before we tie in the top takeaways. Is that, you mentioned you still maintained majority ownership. I think that's something that's important to state and to just put out there, is that if you are an advisor who, because you have come from the bottom, because you have built this with your own blood, sweat, and tears, it's okay to maintain that majority ownership. Just because you are selling a piece of the pie, per se, doesn't mean you have to give up that, well, let's just say it like it is, that bit control factor. Right? That's okay.
You're just bringing other people in to be able to continue the business, to get them having additional skin in the game, but you can still maintain that majority if that's important to you. Don't be afraid of the continuity or continuation plan conversation because you're afraid of relinquishing control. That's not what this is about. It's making sure that you have longevity planned for your clients, that you have longevity planned for your team members, and that you're able to truly leave a lasting legacy by your own definition.
I want to just highlight the top takeaways from today. You know, the first step when you're looking at surrounding yourself with a great support team, with engaging that next generation talent and having business continuity as a forefront in how you run things. I would say the first step is to figure out if you haven't started and created one, do it. Really take that first step in, you know, there are many companies out there that can help with that process. You don't have to figure it out on your own. Definitely doing your research, doing your due diligence and getting it started, having that conversation started and start putting the pieces of the puzzle together.
The second takeaway is, once you have that succession plan in place, once you've got the right talent, you've got that firm culture built around this continuity plan, market it. Right? Use that as a point in your business to attract high level clients, the people that you are best suited for, that are best suited for you. Use that to your advantage, because it's real for them. I can't tell you how many conversations we have had with clients who have come on board because they don't feel that their advisor has any sort of continuity and there's just so much, they're unsure. They're unsure of what the future would hold, so they come to us knowing that that's not going to be an issue.
The final thing is, when you do have your next generation talent, you've got your succession plan in place, you have partners with skin in the game, get them included in your vision, in the journey to get there, because amazing things will absolutely happen. That rounds out episode nine of our 12 week series where we are diving into characteristics of top advisors. We will see you here next week on the Ultimate Advisor Podcast.
Hey, Brittany here. We hope you got a lot of value out of today's episode. To access the key takeaways, the show notes, and any deliverables, go to ultimateadvisorpodcast.com. While you're there, check out the Ultimate Advisor Mastermind if you want to learn ways to maximize your income, your impact, and your legacy through an automated practice, a self managing team, and a killer culture that clients can't stay away from. We look forward to seeing you back here in next week's episode.