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'll 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 Redford, 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 Adviser Podcast.
Brittany A.: Welcome back. This is Brittany Anderson with you on your Ultimate Advisor Podcast. We are on to episode 10 of our 12 week series where we have been talking about characteristics of top advisors. Today, you get me and me alone. My lovely partners are not with us today, but that's all right because I am excited to talk about this topic. The 10th characteristic of a top advisor is that they and their partners are closely aligned in terms of their goals and vision. What this means is that the ship is always steering in one direction and that is forward. You don't have one person over the other pulling, tugging, taking you in different ways that maybe are not in congruency with the vision for the overall company. That being said, I'm going to talk a little bit today on what this all means. What does it mean to have alignment amongst partners amongst your top people on your team? How does that look in the office? How does it impact your culture and how does it impact your ability to grow and scale?
This can be a big one and this can be a tough one, because sometimes people get into partnerships within their firm, especially when you're looking at succession planning. If you have a successor to your business that you find out down the road is not necessarily in line with your overall vision, is not seeing the end picture in the same way as you are, that can present some challenges. Now, the thing that I want to add clarity to here is that it doesn't mean that that person, that your successor, that your partner, whatever the context is for your company, it doesn't mean they have to have the same way of getting there. They can take a different path, they can have different ways of getting to that big picture, different ways of accomplishing the same objective, but what you want to be sure of is that everybody is clear on that end goal, everybody is clear on what that future vision looks like, because that is how you can work in awesome congruency. That's how you get your team behind you and that's how you can close gaps in your company.
This is so important. I want to touch a little bit on how you can set the stage for this. How do you really get clear on what that future vision looks like so that you can have the alignment that I'm talking about here? I highly recommend the book Vivid Vision. It's by Cameron Herold. It's not even a great book, it's just a necessity. It's a necessity in your business. It's really exceptional because it spells out how you can create a crystal clear vision. What he likes to use for a timeframe is a three year look forward. Looking forward to three years, that tends to be a timeframe that people feel like they could get their hands around, that they can get on board with, and that doesn't feel so far out into the future that it's just future talk. It's just lip service.
I highly recommend checking it out, but what he does is he breaks it down into several different examples of how you can get crystal clear on the vision for your company, and even for yourself. I think that's a really important thing to consider here is that so many people, or so many business owners I should say, get so hung up on what the future of the business looks like that they don't always take the time to look at what they want to be doing. How do they want to be spending their time and how does that align with that future vision of the company? For example, let's say you have some really big AUM or you have some really big production targets for your company, but on the same token, if you're currently the rainmaker, you're the one that's primarily driving the revenue, the assets, that's kind of your game, and your future vision for yourself.
So three years down the road, let's say that you are looking at your lifestyle and you're saying, "I actually want to slow down a little bit, but I don't want my business growth to slow down." You can see where you can get a little bit out of alignment there if you're saying, "I still want all of this good stuff to be happening in my business. I'm the primary rainmaker. But in three years, I don't necessarily want to be putting in as many hours, as much time, and I want to kind of reap the rewards of my hard work." Then what that means is you have to close that gap. You have to figure out how can I get the same or even better results within my business while taking some time away, right? If you don't have a really crystal clear vision and a path of how you're going to make both of those things meet and how you're going to accomplish that end goal, that can be a really big frustration, and that can throw you off course.
What it can also do is if you're out of alignment with what your personal life, what you want for yourself, and what you want for your business, that can cause confusion on your team, too. Because what they might see happening is you're acting, again, I used the term congruency a few times here, but you're acting out of congruent se from what you're saying you want your business to do and how you want it to grow. All of a sudden they're like, "Well, he or she really wants this to be a very lucrative firm, we're trying to get more clients, we're trying to bring in more assets from existing clients. But in the same token, they are saying they want to take more time off. Well, that's a little bit scary because we don't know how this is going to happen." You see the issues here.
You see how this can cause partners, it can cause team members, it can cause everybody in your life that's engaged with your business and close to you personally to look at you going, "Hey, something's got to give here. You have to make sure these two ends meet." That's why there's so much power in this Vivid Vision process that Cameron Herold wrote the book on because it really does help you look at the holistic picture. It helps you to decide what is really important to you. Looking at multiple different categories of your business, looking at different categories of your own life, and seeing how this all comes together.
For example, when you're looking at painting a future vision for your company, being so crystal clear so that there is no room for misinterpretation per se, from partners, from successors, from team members, you have to be so crystal clear. You might look at categories such as your culture. What is the culture of your company look like in three years? How are you or who are you servicing, I should say. Who are you servicing? It forces you to drill down into your avatar again, to get crystal clear, and we'll talk about that in relation to your marketing efforts in a minute, but that really helps you decide, "Hey, just because we're serving a certain clientele right now, it doesn't necessarily mean that's the same person we're going to be serving down the road.
So getting crystal clear on who you serve, what are your service offerings? In our world we're all, or not all, but many of us are very similar and that most have gone to a fee-based approach. We get paid in a similar way. You have your general assets under management. Maybe there's an influx for some planning that you do. You might get some sort of upfront deposit, or engagement, or something like that, some fee for the planning work that you do. But maybe in three years, you want to get creative. You see industry changing, you see certain trends coming about that you want to address.
That's where you can spell out what are some of the offerings that you want. We know an advisor where he oversees 401ks while the person is still with the company, but he oversees them, he advises on them, he suggests certain changes, and he charges a really minimal fee for that. Well, that's a creative way. That's another offering. Maybe there's something there that you want to offer that you're not doing right now. The Vivid Vision will help you uncover and help you paint the picture of what that looks like.
I also encourage you to look at, and this is especially important when it comes to shared values between partners, but look at what your community involvement is. Look at how you want to give back, whether it's monetary, whether it's in the form of time. Darren Hardy recently, I know Brian Sweet, he was at the Darren Hardy High-Performance Forum, and Darren talked about how it's so important to have a mission with a company versus a company with a mission.
I thought that was really powerful and I think it relates to the characteristic we're talking about today in that top advisors have a closely aligned vision with their partners. I think that's really important because when you look at the greater good, you look at why the heck are you doing all of this, why are you in business in the first place? Because there's some headaches that come with it. There are certain things you have to deal with that aren't fun, so why the heck are you doing it? When you look at creating that mission, that vision that's greater than you, it's bigger than you. It's bigger than your team, even. That's when things get exciting and people start aligning behind it.
On the flip side, if you have some big mission, something that you want to fulfill in your life and you have partners that are not in line with that, well, you can about imagine the friction that's going to cause. That's why this whole process is so important. Again, you're looking at your culture, you're looking at your service offerings, who you serve as your clients. What does your team look like? That's a big one. Some people are very focused on having more and more team members. They want to have more offerings, so they want to grow in size. Other people are looking at it saying, "I don't really want to add any additional team members," whether it's space limitations or whatever the case is, but they still want to grow. They just want to become exponentially efficient.
They maybe want to look at outsourcing certain things. Again, if you don't have a clear vision that partners cannot align with that successors can't align with, again, you can see some of the issues that could potentially arise. Top advisors are doing these activities, are going through the exercise of creating that future vision so that there isn't any lack of clarity, so that everybody can get behind the cause and all steer the ship in the exact same way.
The nice thing about this too, when you look at strategic planning, so many advisors in our Ultimate Advisor mastermind that have gone through the Ultimate Advisor coaching, they have worked through the process of creating a vision. Now, the other side effect of this is that when they go through that exercise, they make sure that partners, that successors, that team members are all aligned with this, all of a sudden their process for decision making becomes so much stinking easier.
It becomes easier for them to vet everything against that future vision, because now you know that, "Hey, if it's not going to get us to X, Y, and Z down the road that we have put careful time and attention to, I'm not going to spend five seconds on it. I'm not going to put the energy into it." Whereas when you see advisors who don't have that crystal clear vision, who are just kind of going through the motion, who maybe have a little bit more of a, a lifestyle practice per se, where it's just kind of like, "Eh, that's fine. Wherever I go, I go." Well, that's not being very intentional and that's okay for some, but what we're seeing in the characteristics of the advisors who are really growing or making big impacts, who are doing things that are just so creative and exciting, they are using that future vision to vet everything against.
When I use the term partners, I want to add a little bit of clarity here. Because generally speaking, when you're talking partners, it's people who are physically partnered in your firms. Maybe they have some sort of an ownership. Maybe, again, they're going to do a buyout at some point because you have that full succession plan, you want to carry on your legacy, whatever the case is. But I also want to bring in partners that are outside into this conversation. When you have a crystal clear vision that people can align with, think about how much your centers of influence could improve. You put it out there as to what you stand for, who you serve, the work that you do, who you work best with. That is what you're communicating out into the world. All of a sudden you're going to be getting in line with more strategic partnerships that are outside of your company. Maybe in the form of CPAs, maybe in the form of attorneys, whatever the case is. But it's going to be people who share and feel impacted by , that greater mission that you're striving towards.
Again, that's enhancing relationships all the way across the board. It's not just internally in your office. Don't keep it a secret, right? Don't keep your future vision a secret. Put it out there. It's amazing. I can't remember the exact saying, but it's what you put out into the universe, what you put your attention towards, that's what starts coming together. That's what you start attracting. It's interesting and I'll talk about this in a moment as it relates to marketing, but it's interesting how when you get really crystal clear on your vision, when you get your partners, when you get your successors, when you get your team aligned with that, all of a sudden really big things start happening, really exciting things, and the momentum is unstoppable.
What also happens is you start repairing the people, the relationships, the projects, the whatever, you start repelling the stuff that doesn't align with that greater mission in that greater vision. That is so important. That's why this whole vision process, that's why I thought this was such a great one for a episode or for this particular episode in the 10th characteristic of a top adviser, is that this vision is such a necessity and it's so powerful when you look at keeping partners, keeping successors, and keeping your team all aligned with the same goal, with the same vision, and everybody is helping to row the boat.
Now, the thing that I want to circle to is this whole marketing concept. So how in the world does alignment have a vision within your company relate to marketing? I will tell you it relates in every way possible. When you look at getting very clear on, again, we go back to the multiple different facets, and this is only a handful. There's so many ways that you can take this vivid vision process. But if you're looking at who you best serve, the products, the service offerings, the structure of your business, of all the things that you can do for your client base that are going to help them, well all of a sudden it creates the language for your marketing. It creates the copy that can help drive business. When you have a very crystal clear painted vivid vision of what the future looks like, all of a sudden the marketing process becomes a lot easier, a lot simpler.
One thing that we have heard time and time again is that especially when it comes to marketing, because there's a million different ways out there. There are so many ways that you can market your business that you can allocate dollars, that you can allocate your spending towards. There are so many different opportunities and options out there that sometimes the biggest hangup and the reason that advisors especially do not do enough marketing of their business is because they just don't know which one to choose. What the heck do I go with? How do I decide how to allocate my funds? Which one comes first? That's a question that we hear a lot. I would guess that if you're listening, you've probably questioned yourself in that way before where it's one person tells me that I should have an amazing in-depth website, the next person's telling me, "Well, you don't really need a website. You just have to have the right page for them to engage with."
And there's all these terms, there's all this lingo around marketing with SEO, so search engine optimization, and there's Facebook ads, there's all those other social media. There's others out there saying, "No, LinkedIn is the way to go." Holy smokes, my head explodes just thinking about all that stuff. The important thing here to tie it back to this particular top characteristic of the top advisors is that many of the top advisors are painting this picture of the vivid vision and then backing into it with their marketing. What this allows you to do is it says, "Okay, if I attract and I work best with, looking forward into the future, I know that I work best with this type of person." Let's just say for example, you have a business where you work really, really well with business owners who have appliance stores, and they have at least five million in revenue, and they have less than 50 employees. Okay, so there's just a total hypothetical pulled out of thin air.
But let's say that's your demographic and you're like, "Gosh, that's really who we serve best. That's who I want to focus on going into the next three years because that's what all of our service offerings, et cetera, is going to go towards." What that does for you is it allows you to shift your marketing language to only speak to them. So, talk about attract and repel.
If you get so crystal clear on who you serve, all of a sudden anything you put out, you can do research to see, okay, that particular business owner, are they more so on LinkedIn or are they more so on Facebook? Is that person on Instagram? Is, you know, whatever the case is with social media platforms? Or maybe you've decided that, "Hey, they have these conventions or trainings and I really need to get in there to be able to speak in front of that audience because a lot of these types of business owners attend that event, so then when I'm marketing my presentation, I know the types of words to use. I know what appeals to them because I know my target demographics so well that it makes it so crystal clear to be able to speak to them in their language. Because I know exactly what my vision is. I know who I best serve and I know how I can help them."
That is how this ties back into marketing. That's how having strategic partnerships, how having successors, how having your team all on the same page of this vision, because all of a sudden you go from being, maybe you as the rainmaker, maybe you as the one that's constantly trying to get business in the door. Or maybe you have a couple of advisors who are rainmakers that are the same thing. Well, all of a sudden if you are so clear, you're so crystal clear on the future vision, you're so crystal clear on your goals, what this looks like, you can turn your team into walking billboards.
You can turn your team into people who are they're clear. There's no room for confusion, or misunderstanding, or whatever the case is. They are so crystal clear on who you serve and the value you provide that they can walk the walk and talk the talk. They know and they have on their radar who it is that you're looking for in your business, and all of a sudden everybody is aligned behind one commonality, behind one common goal, and that is so darn exciting. That's where the energy kicks up. That's where your culture comes together. Oh, I could go on a whole other tangent with that, but I won't. But that's where you see how this vision, this alignment, this congruency with your whole picture of your business becomes so important, not just in your partnerships, not just in your succession plan, but overall. You're able to attract who you want to attract, you're able to repel who you want to repel, and that is, again, how you can make exponential strides in your business.
It's good stuff. To round this out, the last thing that I want to touch on here when it comes to the characteristic of a top advisor being that they are so closely aligned in terms of their goals, in terms of their targets, their vision with their partners, with their successors, with their team, is that it really is freeing for you as the advisor. The reason that I use the word freeing is because it actually gives you the ability to provide autonomy to your team members to make decisions on how they can catapult the success of the business, on how they can make great strides.
What this does is when you know, when you know without a shadow of a doubt that everybody is in full alignment with the future vision of your company, when everybody is striving towards, when they're all rowing in the same direction, it frees you up to not feel like you have to be the sole decision maker in your company. It frees you up to be able to focus on some of the other things that maybe give you passion. Maybe you get excited about that you have as part of your personal vivid vision for your future. That's where you start closing those gaps, because you're able to tell your team, "Hey, you know where we're going. You know the bigger picture. We're all on the same team here. We're all going in the same direction so I'm going to give you the freedom and the autonomy to make decisions around that. I'm going to let go of the reins a little bit, per se, because I know that we're all working towards this common mission, this common vision for the future."
So you don't need, you as the business owner, and this can be a very much a mental shift, a tough mental shift for some, but you don't need to have all the answers. You do not need to be the one that is figuring out every step of the way how to get to that vivid vision, that clear picture at the end of the road. You just have to have the right people in place to get it done. That's why this particular characteristic of a top advisor is so important, because all of a sudden when you start seeing your team members, your successors, your partners, internal and external, remember, you start seeing everyone aligned towards this common picture, towards this common vivid vision of the future, that is something that is so unstoppable. You start having all of that come together and that is freeing.
That allows you to divert your attention, to do the things that you want to do, and you know that you have an exceptional team in place. Then what that does for you is that when you're hiring or you're having hopefully somebody else on your team do the hiring, but when you're bringing any new person into the business, you are then vetting them against your vivid vision. Are they somebody that's going to fit into your culture? Are they somebody that's going to be able to do the job and have that common future goal, that future vision at the end of the tunnel? Are they somebody that's going to add to that? All of a sudden you become much more strategic in your hiring because you don't want to upset the apple cart.
You worked hard to get everybody on the same page. You worked hard to master your communication around this. You're not going to let somebody come in and flip it all upside down on its head. You want to be strategic. Again, you see how this particular characteristic spills into so many different aspects of your business. It is just something that is so exciting, so incredible to get behind, but so absolutely important.
To round us out, the top few takeaways for today are number one, I can't recommend this anymore, but go check out the book Vivid Vision by Cameron Herold and do the work. Okay? Do the work to create that future vision. You will not regret the exercise because it adds so much clarity to you, it adds clarity to your partners, your successors, and your team. The second that I, again, highly recommend is crafting your marketing message all around that vision once it is done. Getting so crystal clear, crafting that marketing message, making sure that everything you're putting out there is in line with that future vision. And the third thing, the third one that comes highly recommended from today, is to let go a little. Put the right people in the right seats and let them do their magic. They do not have to do it exactly the same way that you would, all they need to do is make sure that they are aligned with that future vision, with the vision that you have worked so hard to get everyone aligned against.
That rounds out today's episode of your Ultimate Advisor Podcast. We will see you right here next week. We can not wait.
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. And 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 the clients can't stay away from. We look forward to seeing you back here in next week's episode.