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Episode 32: 
Embrace Fiduciary Mindset Wholeheartedly - Always Putting Clients' Needs First
Show Notes:
In this episode of The Ultimate Advisor Podcast, we break down the fiduciary concept and how this ties into your marketing plan and overall practice. We discuss the importance of always acting with your client’s best interest at heart, and provide tools and strategies to gain further momentum. So, push PLAY and join us as we delve into the ways you can embrace YOUR fiduciary mindset to provide stand-out, top quality service and gain more loyal clients and business!
Read The Transcript Of The Episode:

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, Bryan 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 practices 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.: Hello, hello Brittany Anderson here, back with you with the Ultimate Advisor podcast as we continue on the 12 week series of top characteristics of the top advisors. We are on 11. We are on number 11 of the top 12 characteristics, and today we're going to talk about how top advisors embrace the fiduciary mindset wholeheartedly.
 They are always putting the client's needs first. So this is going to be a great one, because of the fact that we all know, in the advisor world, we know what it means to be a fiduciary. If you're listening to this podcast, if you're taking the time to invest in yourself, if you're taking the time to grow and to continue to learn new ways of doing things, better ways to serve your clients, then you're familiar with what it means to be a fiduciary. However, what some don't fully embrace or don't realize is that there is a ton of opportunity when it comes to marketing your business as a fiduciary in itself.

 So that is what is going to be the topic of today's conversation in how you can not only embrace the fiduciary mindset and practices, or put the best practices in place, but how that actually ties back to your marketing plan. So when you look at what it means to be a fiduciary, in all actuality, it is a necessity in order to build or scale your business.

 Because the minute that you start making decisions for yourself versus what's in your client's best interest, that's the day you start dying. So there's that saying out there that if you're not growing, you're dying. Well, the same thing applies when it comes to acting as a fiduciary in our industry. If you start making decisions based on, number one, based on just you as the sole individual, as the key primary advisor, as the business owner, and you start pushing aside what is best for your clientele, that's when problems arise.

 That's when things are going to start happening that are not in your favor. And again, your business actually gets stunted in its growth because of that fact. So it is so important to always act with your client's best interest at heart. And some may be listening going, "Okay, that's a no brainer. That's what we're supposed to do. That's the standard we're held to." But again, it really spins into so many different facets and aspects of your business.

 So something that I wanted to share with you today that we have done at Sweet Financial is we've actually taken this whole fiduciary concept and turned it into a marketing opportunity. And in particular a piece that we're using to put out to prospective clients to get their wheels spinning on the whole concept of a second opinion and what they should be looking for in the right fit advisor.

 So what that is, is it is a right fit advisor checklist. And essentially what we did is we went through, I believe it was eight to 10 different characteristics or different things to look for in your advisor. So are they acting in your best interest? Are they being proactive in their approach? Do they have a team based approach where everybody is acting towards a common interest, and that is your best interest?

 So we spelled out essentially eight to 10 different characteristics that they should be looking for. And one of the closing items was a description of what it means to truly be a fiduciary advisor. So the great thing about this is that, as with anything, there are plenty of scare tactics out there for people who are looking for financial advisors, who are looking for wealth planners, to kind of say, "Hey, you want to make sure they're acting in your best interest. They're not self-serving."

 You don't hear about the amazing exceptional experiences that advisors provide to their clientele or to their prospects. What you hear in the news is when somebody does something really dumb. When they do something that is completely out of line with what is considered a fiduciary, with what is considered to be best interest of the client or best interest of the prospect.

 So again, going back to this particular piece, as we laid out as kind of a final close on this particular checklist, it was all about what it means to find a fiduciary advisor. Now you might be thinking, "Great, good for you guys. You created a checklist. That's a wonderful," but the awesome part about this is that we can use this then in our marketing pieces. So it can go into or has gone into our new client kit.

 So if somebody is on the fence and they're just unsure of a change in advisors or they're retiring, they have a 401k, they've never worked with an advisor, so they don't know what the heck to ask or what to look for. So these are particular items that we have put together where if you were to grade us as a wealth planning firm, if you were to grade us on a scale of one to 10 on each of the eight to 10 characteristics that are spelled out, we're going to knock it out of the park every single time.

 So it's structured so that we can answer, "Heck, yes," to all of the things that we've spelled out for, that we're saying are the characteristics you need to look for if you're looking for an advisor that truly acts in your best interest, that truly has systems, processes, plans, the right people in place to be able to serve them in the way that they deserve to be served.

 So this is how you can see how the fiduciary concept, it really spills into your marketing plan. So you can actually lay out there anything, when you're looking at how you service your clients, when you look at how you service prospects and what that experience brings to them, you can also put together a similar type checklist where you lay out, "Hey, if you're looking for an advisor, if you're in that stage of confusion where you just don't know what to ask, you don't know what you don't know essentially. That's actually something that we've heard from clients in the past when we asked the question, why did you choose to engage with us at Sweet Financial? Why did you choose to come to us? You have different options. You have all different advisors out there. Why did you choose us?

 And what we often hear is that the person is saying, "We didn't know what we didn't know and you just put it all out there on the table for us. You helped us know the things that we didn't know and it was a comfort thing. It was something where we felt like, wow, they've really done their research and they know what they're supposed to be providing to me and what I need. They anticipated my needs before I even knew what the heck it is that I wanted or needed in a financial advisor." So that's what we're hearing time and time again.
 So the great thing about this is, again, you can create your own version of a checklist that you can use with prospects that spells out, here's what you should be looking for in an advisor.

 Now the caveat here is that you better make sure if you're going to put something out there like that, that you can live up to those things you're saying need to happen, those characteristics, the way that they're serviced. You need to be able to answer a 10 out of 10 on all of the things that you list because you can't be deceiving. You don't want to be out of congruency with what you're preaching. So again, practice what you preach. You can absolutely use this whole fiduciary concept, the concept of always putting your client's needs first. As long as that's truly how you act, that's truly what you believe, you can create awesome marketing pieces off of this to really help you gain further momentum in your company, with your ideal clients, with ideal prospects. And there are so many different outlets and methods that you can use to actually put that content out there for the world to see.

 So I highly encourage you, and in fact, you know what we'll do? Is we'll go ahead and put a copy of just that checklist page into the show notes so that you could potentially download it. You can go ahead and and see what we've put together. If you want to use portions of it, whatever, that's fine. But make sure that whatever you come up with, whatever you put out there, what you're telling prospects they should be able to find or they should find in a financial advisor, that is truly a fiduciary that acts in their best interest, you've got to make sure that you're actually doing that. That you are doing everything that you're putting out there and that you are serving the heck out of your clientele, that you are creating wild experiences for them that stand out amongst the crowd, that stand out to really make it so there isn't any competition. From your perspective, you know so well the service, you know so well the care and the intent that you have with your client base, that you can speak with full conviction on the items that you put out there, on anything that you're saying and how you serve your client base. You can speak with such conviction on it, that it is impossible to be misunderstood in that regard.

 So I highly encourage you to download that. We'll go ahead and throw it in the show notes. Definitely recommend that you check that out because it can be a great tool for you to use when you look at marketing, what it is that you do and how you serve your clients, how you serve your prospects. And it's interesting, and I can't help but go this direction with it just because I am the culture queen. I have to steer it this way, that when the leader of a firm, especially in our industry, in the wealth planning industry, when the key leader is focused on the client first mentality, it makes building your team culture that much easier.

 And the reason for it is, is that when the mission is always centered around not only doing what is best for the client, but also with the focus on making things as easy as possible for the client, you are suddenly creating a team of rock stars. You're creating a team of people, or you have the opportunity to create a team of people that are really servants at heart. That are there to serve by nature. So that is something that I encourage you. As you're going through and maybe use the checklist that we're providing to you as a guide for this, you want to go ahead and pull out, what are the things that really differentiates us? The best thing to do is look at or listen to the things that your clients are saying. What are the compliments that they're paying to you? What are the things that they're saying about how you serve them, how you take care of them, how your team serves them? What is it that they're saying that is really impactful? And then take that from your very best clients and manipulate that into a checklist or into some sort of marketing piece where you're speaking to what impresses people, you're speaking to the ideal client base that are absolutely hungry for what it is that you can provide them.

 So when I look at the fiduciary aspect from my particular perspective, when it comes to teams, when it comes to culture, it really envelopes every aspect of your business. And that goes from setting your core values for your company. So what is it, what are the few key things that you have set for your company that you're like, "No matter what, these are non-negotiables. This is how we act in business. This is how I expect my team members to act. And you better but darn sure, as the leader I am going to live, eat, sleep, and breathe these core values."

 So an example of that that I can share with you is, at Sweet Financial, we have five core values that are really centered around, if you think and you really connect these, it's really centered around the whole fiduciary concept. So the number one is being client focused. It talks about how we treat people, not in the way necessarily that we want to be treated, but in the way that they want to be treated. So if I like a Pat on the back, as my warm fuzzy for the day, but my client likes to have a great cup of coffee or whatever, when they're greeted in the office, that's what's meaningful to them. So you have to, and this is something, again, I could go on a total side tangent about this, but when you look at how you serve your client, when you look at the core value of being client focused, it's understanding what they want and it's serving them with the most or highest ethical regard possible, to act as a fiduciary in their best interest at all times. So again, that's the first one that we use at Sweet Financial.

 The second one, again, tying it back to the fiduciary mindset, always putting clients first is that, we expect our team members to have 100% honesty and integrity in every single thing that they do. So again, think about that. When you tie it back to the whole fiduciary mindset of acting in the client's best interest, what would not be in the client's best interest or the company's best interest for that matter as well is acting out of integrity, is acting outside of being honest. So that's something that's a non negotiable. That's actually one that if that's ever broken, that's grounds for immediate termination because we just can't tolerate that. If we did tolerate that, then the problem is, is that we talk about being a fiduciary, acting in client's best interest, having that mindset, that's what we embrace. If we allow our team members to be dishonest, to not uphold the highest integrity, well then we are lying to ourselves. We're not being honest with ourselves and who we say we are and what we believe in. So I encourage you to apply that to your business. Look at what your core values are.

 Another one that we talk about is excellence. So this is where I had to bring this one up for you, just because people mistake excellence for perfection. That is not what a fiduciary is. It's not that you're never going to make a mistake. Even when you're acting in the client's best interests, sometimes a process fails, sometimes a ball gets dropped. Sometimes human error comes into play. So what you look at when you look at the term excellence, what that really means is that you are constantly looking for ways to improve, to become even better. It's not a chase of perfection because perfection doesn't exist and that actually can put people in a really negative mindset when they strive for perfection because you get procrastination, you get mistakes actually being made because you get so far in your head about how perfect things have to be, that it becomes completely unrealistic. It's really hard for a team to get behind if you say excellence equals perfection or excellence is the chase of perfection.

 I personally don't believe that that's effective when it comes to setting core values. So when we define excellence, it's looking for what are ways that we can just continue to wow the pants off of our clients? How can we just serve them with utmost integrity, with utmost care, and do the same thing amongst each other? So as we deal with each other on the team, how can we have a mindset of excellence to continually strive towards? I believe personally that that's a huge aspect when it comes to acting as a fiduciary, is that you're not going to let yourself down. You're not going to let your team let themselves down. 
You're going to constantly look for ways to better serve your clients, even if you are so well known for service, that's what we are at Sweet Financial. That's part of the gig. That's part of why people do business with us. But if we ever let that slip or we got lazy or got too comfortable with where we're at, that's where things can open up and cause a very negative ripple effect. So I love excellence, but it has to be clearly defined that it does not mean perfection, and it does not mean the chase a perfection because it's just not realistic.
 The fourth of the core values that we express for our team is teamwork. So when you look at teamwork, the nice or beautiful thing about this is that, if you relate it back to acting as a fiduciary, that also means that you need eyes and ears in your whole entire team. Now, if everybody is aligned with the fiduciary mindset, if everybody is aligned with the client first mentality, it really helps the team to be able to speak in that language to each other, to be able to notice like, Hey, you're about to take off on this project, but how is that really going to benefit the client? Is that going to be in their best interest? Who are we serving here? Whose best interest is at heart?

 So it really helps each other. It helps your team members to keep each other in check to help maybe some of the projects that come down the pipeline for many advisors, we tend to be shiny object chasers. We tend to think the grass is greener on the other side because the other side is where all the other projects are and that's exciting. That's energizing for many. Now the problem is, is that sometimes we take things on that don't necessarily move the right needle. And not to say that you are doing anything that is negative towards a client by any means, that's not my assumption. What I am saying here is that sometimes, if you take a step back and you look at, okay, maybe part of your filter would be how does this create an even better experience for our clients? If you can't answer yes or you can't explain how it's going to enhance that experience, maybe it's not as high of a priority.

 Now, if you've got a team of 5, 10, 15, 50, 80 people, now you can't be everywhere at one time. That's why this whole idea of having everybody embrace the fiduciary mindset, of keeping the client's best interest at heart, that's where you can get eyes and ears everywhere because you just simply can't be in more than one place at once. It's pretty simple. So that helps you to really encourage your team to act in a certain way.

 So the final or the fifth core value that we have for our team at Sweet Financial is, a positive attitude or positive mindset. Now that again, as it relates back to this whole topic of how top advisors embrace this fiduciary mindset characteristic, when you look at positive attitude or positive mentality, the thing that comes with that is that even in the tough times, even when you have something negative going on in the office, when you have a core value of maintaining a positive attitude, regardless of what's going on in the business of who's maybe having a bad day, when you're in front of a client or when you're on the phone with a client, you're interacting, regardless of what the context is, if positive attitude is one of your core values and that's a non negotiable, the client on the other end is not going to feel it if you are having a bad day, if your team member is having a bad day.

 Think about it this way, let's just say that your team member... We'll just use the name Susan, for example. Let's just say that Susan is one of your client service people and she just had a horrible morning at home. The kids weren't listening, the husband was being a pain, the dog got out and whatever. So there's just all these things that happened. So Susan comes to work, has a super negative attitude. She's crabby. She gets her first phone call of the day from a client and immediately in her voice, the client can sense on the other end that Susan is having a terrible day. It's in her tone. It's in how she's being short. She's really not maybe listening. Those are all things.

 And some of you might be laughing at this thinking, Oh gosh, that's not reality. But I would challenge you to think about a time where you have called a business, where you have engaged with the business. Maybe you have ran to the store to grab some groceries and the person in the checkout or the person on the phone or however the engagement occurs, you can immediately tell that they are not happy campers. You can immediately tell that something's going on in their life, that they are just crabby. And then you start assuming, well, maybe that's just who they are as a person, and that can just spiral out of control. So when you think about this from a service mindset, do you really think that coming in with a negative attitude is in the best interest of your client? I don't think so.

 And when you think about your mentality, when you think about how you interact with your clients and how you want your team members to interact with them, that should be an absolute non-negotiable. When they get on the phone, when they're facing a client, when they're interacting in any way, shape, or form, even via email, they better have that positive attitude in play. They better have that mentality that, "Hey, regardless of what's going on with me, regardless of how negative I am, may be feeling I'm not going to ruin our client's day because of something that happened in my own life." So again, for some, this may seem like a no brainer, that yep, that's the standard you uphold. But it absolutely amazes me at how many offices I've personally engaged with, whether it's in our industry or out, where you can just tell the person on the other end is not super excited to be answering the phone. They're not super excited to be helping with whatever it is that I need or the question I'm asking or whatever the case is.

 So I really encourage you to take a look at that from maybe that kind of perspective, from that little shift in mindset, to understand that mindset and positivity is actually really important when it comes to acting in a fiduciary manner and really embracing the whole concept wholeheartedly. You just can't serve your clients in the way that they deserve, if your mindset is not in the right space, if you are negative in nature. You've got to be positive. And I'm not talking the rainbows and sunshine and unicorns thing, I'm just saying, just smile when you answer the phone. Have that be a standard for your team members. And when somebody comes into the office, don't act like you're the busiest human on the planet because everybody's got stuff going on. Take the time and give them the care and attention that they deserve.

 So those are the kinds of things and how you can take this particular concept of what it means to be a fiduciary without all the jargon behind it, without all the technical stuff that you already have been coached on, that you've already heard just by being in the industry. But really apply it as part of the culture to your business. That is what's important and that's what makes the difference with people. That's what makes you stand out when it comes to you as a company. You as a firm and you as a business that is there to serve your clients and do it in a fabulous way, that gets talked about, which increases your referrability.

 So to put a bow on this, to tie it all together, to wrap it up, I want to give you a couple takeaways that you could implement immediately into your business. The first and foremost is to create, if you have not, create some core values for your company. There are so many resources out there on how you can go about doing that in an effective way. Google is your friend. Look up the different ways, the methodologies, the practices. I can't tell you that there's really one over the other that's better because there's just so many ways that you can go about doing that. So review or put into place your core values so that your team can get behind it and show them how it ties into how you act as a fiduciary, as a company, and how you really need as an entity, as a whole to embrace that mindset.

 The second big takeaway is to go ahead and download the checklist that I talked about, when it comes to spelling out what a right fit advisor looks like and then coming up with your own version. I think this is something that you're going to be able to use in your marketing, you're going to be able to use in your communications and it will absolutely help you gain some stride in how you're connecting with prospects and the value that you're adding to them right upfront.

 The bottom line is, they don't know what they don't know. They don't know necessarily what to ask. Yes, there are some savvy investors out there that come to you and they might have a little bit more knowledge around our industry, but the majority that we stumble across are not necessarily like that. They might've accumulated a lot of wealth and they've been really great savers, but when it comes to the actual planning component, when it comes to choosing an advisor that is going to have their best interest at heart, that's going to do all the things that are needed in order to create an effective plan for them, they just don't know what to ask always. So make it easy for them. Take that pain away, make it easy, make it simple so that their decision becomes simple also.

 And then finally, I would encourage you to continue to bring this up amongst your team. To talk about your core values, how they relate to the fiduciary concepts. So that first step is the creation of them or the review of them to make sure that they really are representative with who you are as a company, but then the final component of this is to have it be a constant reinforcement in your business. Have this be something that just becomes part of your language in team trainings, in meetings and in any interaction you're really having with your team. It's just so impactful when you start tying everything back to your greater purpose.

 If you didn't catch last week's episode, I highly encourage you to go back and listen because it does talk about how you can create this bigger vision, how you can have a bigger mission for your company, versus just having a company with a mission. So I highly encourage you, listen to last week's episode, it really ties this all together and helps you paint the picture of what the future of your company looks like.
 So that rounds out today's episode of the Ultimate Advisor podcast. We'll catch you right back here next week.

 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 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 here in next weeks episode.

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About The Ultimate Advisor Podcast:
The Ultimate Advisor podcast is a business podcast for financial advisors who are looking to grow their advising practices with greater ease and effectiveness. Ultimate Advisor was developed to help financial advisors master their marketing, sell their services with greater authority, generate repeat clients, and additional revenue in their business.
Each week, your hosts Draye Redfern, Bryan Sweet, and Brittany Anderson will share some of the closest guarded secrets from successful financial advising practices across the U.S.  

Draye Redfern

Draye is also the founder of which helps Attorneys go from “Surviving” to “Thriving” in their business.  In addition, Draye helps to provide insurance solutions to more than 8,600 law firms across the United States annually.

Bryan Sweet

Founder of Sweet Financial, CEO, Wealth Advisor, RJFS
Creator of The Dream Architect™
Co-founder of Dare to Dream Enterprises
Creator of Elite Wealth Advisor Symposium
Author of 3 books – Dare to Dream: Design the Retirement You Can’t Wait to Wake Up To, Imagine. Act. Inspire. A Daily Journal and Give & Grow: Proven Strategies for Starting an Running and Effective Study Group

Brittany Anderson

Director of Operations at Sweet Financial, Office Manager, RJFS
Co-founder of Dare to Dream Enterprises
Author of 2 books – Imagine. Act. Inspire. A Daily Journal & Dare to Dream: Design the Retirement You Can’t Wait to Wake Up To
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