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Building Trust Through Healthy Pushback

Do you ever challenge your prospects to think about money differently? By deliberately disrupting the status quo way of thinking, you actually begin to build their trust in your expertise.

Advisors use many different approaches as they try to win over prospects. On this episode of the Elementality podcast, Reese Harper and Matt Glazer examine one method you can use to take greater control of the sales experience. When you compel prospects to consider money from new perspectives, you begin laying the foundation for an alternative way forward. And by using Elements® for support, you can provide a unique lens to view money issues through as you start teaching prospects what they can expect as they change their behavior.

 


Podcast Transcript

Reese Harper:
You challenge someone’s status quo thinking, and they respect you on the other side of that. If they believe you, if they actually look at your way of seeing things you go, “Yeah, I guess that is superior.” Then you have a deep, instant relationship with that person. Deep trust is built immediately because they can see that you helped them frame a world that was different than what they thought before.

Jordan Haines:
Welcome to Elementality. I’m Jordan Haines, Financial Planning Specialist at Elements. Each episode, Reese and Matt will discuss major challenges faced by financial advisors and the things they can do to navigate the complexities of delivering quality financial advice to clients. We hope you enjoy this episode.

Reese Harper:
Welcome to another episode of Elementality, everybody. Super excited to kick off what I hope will be a very exciting series of interviews with a new co-host that we have appointed chief co-host of the Elementality Podcast. I’d like to welcome Matt Glazer back to the show. Matt, how are you doing today?

Matt Glazer:
Oh, super glad to be your chief co-host. It’s been a life-long dream of mine, and here we are. Now that I have it…

Reese Harper:
What’s the acronym for that? C-C-H? That’s in the C-Suite. In today’s…

Matt Glazer:
Chief podcast co-host, CPCO?

Reese Harper:
Yeah, CPCO. Yeah, I like that. In today’s world where everyone’s got a podcast, I think you’re gonna start seeing the C-Suite with the new addition. I aspire to that one day where literally a C-Suite role appears, and all you do is podcast. That would be pretty awesome.

Matt Glazer:
Very niche, but…

Reese Harper:
Yeah, it’ll be really cool. Anyway, well, thanks again for joining. We decided for the foreseeable future to have Matt start acting… I’d like to give Chad the Dad a shout out and thanks for all that he did to get this podcast to where it’s at. We’ve got great listener demand and it’s been growing each week, and we decided to have Matt start to pair with me because Matt and I are working really intimately. Matt’s our Head of Product at Elements, and for those of you who don’t know, he had a previous role where he was in a product management position at eMoney, and that was one of the reasons why we decided to start working together. I guess I’d like to hear it from you, Matt. Why… Do you remember being interested in what we were doing when we met little over a year ago? What was it that was interesting to you about what we were doing?

Matt Glazer:
Yeah, so I spent three years at eMoney building product with very minimal background in delivering advice and being in an advisor role from a financial planning perspective.

Reese Harper:
Yeah.

Matt Glazer:
And so I left eMoney ’cause I was really interested in exploring that space more, and I joined a small Boutique REI, an independent REI here in… Right outside of Philly, worked with a small set of clients, fairly high networth and affluent folks, and certain things about the delivery advice, delivery of advice in terms of effectiveness, productivity, efficiency, all the things that go into essentially running a small business and delivering a great service and product to folks. Certain things became abundantly clear on where my perception of how things should or could or would work was different when it came into practice, and so as we were trying to build that operation and scale that to be a more scaled platform and bring other advisors on.

Matt Glazer:
You know what, Reese, I came across Dennis Advisors and met… Many of our customers that we work with today, became enamored with the product that you had put together over there, and I thought to myself, “Man, if I ever built my own REI from the ground floor, it would look a lot like this.” And that ensued along. The next several months of getting to know first Jordan and then you, and then working together in a consultative capacity, and here we are. But it was what Dennis Advisors had become which really attracted me to what Elements was doing. What you were doing with Elements and how that really changed the conversation with clients. It really changed how we delivered advice and it really aligned much more to what I had experienced as a better way of working with clients.

Reese Harper:
Well, tell me a little bit about what you’ve seen in the last, we’ll say, a handful of months around what you feel like the origin story really is of Elements. Why do we exist? As I’ve asked you this question, it’s changed over the months because we keep seeing… I think we just keep having more clarity around exactly what it is that we’re trying to accomplish in our product, but I don’t feel like that it’s departed that much from where we were at originally, and how would you describe the pain or the reason for our origin?

Matt Glazer:
No, I don’t think it’s changed much from where we started originally as well, and that’s how do I create a really scalable service offering that I could deliver consistently and repeatedly from client to client, and advisor to advisor? That was the thing that attracted me initially to you. It was like, if we’re gonna bring on advisors there has to be some sort of standardization to our offering so we can control the quality and consistency of the product we’re delivering to our customers, which is advice effectively to clients. And so I think that’s really core to what we’re still trying to accomplish. I think what’s become more clear to me over the past six to 12 months, has been the role that client comprehension and awareness of financial health plays in how impactful that service model or that standardized delivery model is. We can create a standardized version of a product all we want, but if it doesn’t have impact at the end of the day and doesn’t drive towards what we’re really trying to accomplish then, yeah, we’ve created a lot of efficiency in our practice, but to what extent… To what end, rather. And so it just became clear…

Reese Harper:
So I wanna unpack that a little bit more. Tell me more about this client financial health, learning education, you said… You started kind of saying that it’s become more… You’ve seen that play a larger role, what do you… Tell me more about that.

Matt Glazer:
Well, and I’m trying to lean back to some of the individual experience I’ve had with clients over the past year or so at the prior REI and whenever we would enter some sort of evaluation conversation with the client around a given set of choices, around a certain financial planning topic, so to speak, we would go to the planning software to evaluate just as most people do today, “Okay, let’s model it. Let’s see what the impact is.” And the conversation… And I didn’t really recognize this at the time, it just, again, it’s become more clear here, the conversation quickly went into a wild rabbit hole of assumption, unpacking. And what are we assuming here? Why are we assuming that? What does it look like when we project that out 20, 30, 40 years? And the conversation with the client, one of two things happened, one, it went down this rabbit hole to a place where it wasn’t that productive of a conversation that yielded what we really wanted to deliver to the client, want the client to realize. We would deliver great value, but it would just be in a very inefficient way.

Matt Glazer:
And two, is the… I’m not totally sure that our clients walked away with the feeling of comprehension empowerment that we really wanted… Yeah, certainly where we’re driving towards, where we needed to get them to take action in some way, shape or form, perhaps inefficiently, but I don’t know how empowered they felt as part of that conversation when it went through this very comprehensive and analytic-driven kind of method. Whereas, what have we been seeing with our advisors with Elements and what you’ve seen in your own practice, Reese, is that when we just reframe the conversation around a really simple concept that acknowledges on the surface that we’re ignoring precision here, and then that that’s not the most important thing. That precision is important at points in time in the relationship, but for the broad set of things that we could talk about at any given day with the client, the dime-a-dozen conversations, there’s a diminishing return on getting precise with a lot of the information. And so once we reframe getting to be directionally correct and get general alignment and bring the client, truly bring the client into the conversation, not just let them be a passenger, but let them be a driver. It’s really changed tremendously, and we’ve seen that in a lot of advisors that we’re working with right now.

Reese Harper:
When I started building Elements, the main motivation wasn’t, “I wanna leave clients feeling, not just feeling better. I do want them to feel better but I also want there to be an actual improvement in outcomes. I wanna know that as a financial advisor, my intervention into their life actually moves their behavioral choices in a positive direction. So I wanna know that they actually improve the way they utilize their cash flow, that they actually have higher levels of liquidity, that they have insurance coverage that’s actually comprehensive, that they’re actually titling documents correctly, and that their general estate preparedness is on point.” And I found myself seeing that clients a lot of times felt good about interacting with me regardless of whether they were actually making improvement. So just sitting down and talking to somebody therapeutically feels good. But I wasn’t convinced that… I saw that that only happened with some advisors, though. Not every advisor had that ability to sit down with a client and connect on a deep level, and then that connection or that, just that interaction itself was enough to where the client felt value. Lot of times I would watch advisors interact with clients and clients would leave feeling concerned or confused or overwhelmed or maybe a little bit worried based on whatever rabbit’s hole the conversation happened to go down.

Reese Harper:
And I guess for me I kinda wanted to start re-orienting the conversation around things that clients could have awareness of that would actually move the needle, and when I thought about… Just take the simplest… One of the simplest ratios we’re trying to cover, let’s take retirement or retirement wellness or retirement preparedness. If I have a client that I’m training on a Monte Carlo simulation or a cash flow model for retirement, and I give them a number and they get that number in their head like, “I need three million or I need 3.54 million.” That’s very different than telling them, “You need to have a big enough amount of money to where your spending is a low percentage of that.” Right? I can teach them a concept like, “Your spending needs to be a low percentage of your total portfolio.” And they might go like, “Well, how much do I need?” And I might be like, “Well, you just need your spending to be… ” They’re gonna ask me, “How much is it? What do I need? Tell me the number.” And I can do that and I can kind of fall into that trap of giving them a number or I can push back and I can hold back and I can say, “Well, the number just is so not the thing. It’s what percentage? It’s getting your spending to where it’s a low percentage of your total portfolio.”

Reese Harper:
And they’re like, “Oh, well. Okay, well, what’s a low percentage?” And then you can start having that conversation, “It’s probably lower than five, and probably lower than four. And if you’re like at three, that’s pretty awesome, and if you’re like at two, of course, you’ll be fine, you can almost… On a 30-year treasury bill, even after taxes, you’ll be having plenty.” So that starts to just orient them around an idea, a concept that they didn’t know before, and once I share that concept with them, they don’t have the desire for precision because they realize how imprecise this whole thing is anyway.

Reese Harper:
So they realize that it’s just about having a part of… When it comes to retirement, the conversation is, the more you spend as a percentage of your portfolio, the more at risk your portfolio is from being able to sustain your lifestyle. And reinforcing that every time, that’s why we came up with a score of TT, because it was like every time we have a retirement conversation, just wanna reinforce to them this idea that it’s their spending and their total net worth that really is gonna drive this conversation, and I find… At least I was meeting with our VP of sales the other day, and he just barely came on board and we were talking about different sales methods, and he’s just like… Well, it started with him being on a sales call with me and he got off the call and he’s like, “Oh my gosh”, he’s like, “I didn’t realize that this product lined up so well with my favorite sales strategy.”

Reese Harper:
And apparently there’s this… You can go online and Google this, The Challenger Sales Model. There’s a bunch of different types of sales models that have been researched to be successful, but the one that’s the most commonly successful… There’s one that’s called the wolf, the lone wolf, and it’s like where the sales person does whatever they want, they go and just go wild and kind of have their own strategy and they don’t follow any rules, and that person tends to… It’s a very small percentage of people, or that sales type, but they tend to be successful.

Reese Harper:
And there’s another sales model called The Challenger Sales Model, where essentially what you’re trying to do is, it’s allowing a sales rep to build up a sale by creating constructive tension, essentially by intentionally disputing the person’s thinking in the sale. So when you have a customer you’re talking to, you’re trying to challenge their status quo thought process and get them to see a different way of seeing the world, or a different way of comprehending the solution that you’re providing. And it doesn’t matter what you’re selling, if you challenge someone’s status quo thinking and they respect you on the other side of that, if they believe you, if they actually look at your way of seeing things, and go, “Yeah, I guess that is superior,” then you have a deep, instant relationship with that person. Deep trust is built immediately because they can see that you helped them frame a world that was different than what they thought before.

Reese Harper:
And he was looking at Elements and just going like, “Oh, man, every time these people are asking for… Every time a client asks an advisor a question, an advisor can be able to frame or challenge the status quo way of thinking back to the client and share a new frame for what the client needs to do to be successful, and that will build deep trust.” He’s like, “This is definitely an interesting… ” It was one of his first sales calls with me. He’s like, I didn’t appreciate how… He’s like “I was expecting that to be the case in the… How we would sell to advisors. That we would have to challenge the advisor’s status quo,” but he’s like, “This product actually allows the advisor to challenge the client status quo thinking about money in a way that will deepen that relationship.”

Matt Glazer:
Yeah, that’s what we really… I think that’s what we’ve seen. I feel like the feedback that comes back is… These are conversations I’m having with clients that… And I’ve been in this business for 10, 20 years and I’ve…

Reese Harper:
Yeah, it’s interesting, yeah. I think we’re just challenging the way they thought about money, and this provides a different lens to think about. Your asset mix, your cash flow, your overall readiness, your financial health overall. Like this is just a different framing.

Jordan Haines:
A big challenge for advisors is delivering a consistent, ongoing financial planning experience to clients. Knowing what to do initially with a client is easy, but how do you consistently add ongoing value to strengthen that new relationship? The Elements financial planning system is centered on key indicators of a client’s financial health, and it gives you the structure you need to deliver ongoing value through financial planning. Start by evaluating key client financial data, then deliver the timely insights that are both valuable and appreciated. To learn more, schedule a time to talk with us today by going to getelements.com/meet.

Matt Glazer:
And going back to where we started with this point on quarter to what we’re trying to help advisors accomplish is the idea of scale, standardization scale, consistent delivery. If we can, we’ve got a… Client engagement is such a key. We talk about it all the time, but client engagement is such a key component of doing that, and client engagement means two things, I think, to us. Yeah, one, it’s physical, like actually physically getting, whether it’s providing a piece of data and maintaining that data, accomplishing a task, there’s a physical piece of that. But there’s a cognitive piece too in engagement and that’s comprehension, that’s understanding, that’s buy in. I don’t think I gave that enough credit initially. There wasn’t enough awareness of how impactful that really was to the full concept and full philosophy, yeah.

Reese Harper:
I remember talking to you about this initially with words that were kind of confusing too. I would be like. “I think it’s about literacy here,” or, “It’s like about financial literacy,” and I would say that kind of word and you’re like, “I don’t think so, dude. These people have basic understanding of money.” And I was using the word literacy to imprecisely describe something else I was feeling, which is like, “Hey, I’m teaching someone something that they don’t know and I can feel that they’re reacting to me positively as I teach.” And I think what I was experiencing wasn’t necessarily, it’s not basic financial literacy here. It’s a reframe of what financial wellness or health might really be, or how to think about money, and I’m feeling the customer actually responding to me going, “Oh, I never thought about my money that way.”

Matt Glazer:
That’s the key piece. I think literacy has this academic connotation with it. It’s very one-directional, right? But we’re talking bi-directional here, and I think literacy just as a term for that doesn’t work necessarily ’cause we’re not just trying to educate people on concepts of finance. It’s actually in context of their life, and as it relates to getting them to change behavior in a positive way in some way, shape, or form.

Reese Harper:
If you’re gonna take away one thing from today’s episode, one, I’ve really enjoyed interacting with Matt. He’s got a lot of great insight and you’d be wise trying to get time on his calendar. He’s very picky about how he dilutes it out, though, so. I can hardly get on it. And then two, think about how you’re challenging your client to think about their money differently in your interactions ’cause that is one critical way in which they’ll gain trust and respect for you. It doesn’t always have to be as complex or as heavy lifting as you might feel or think. Sometimes it’s just challenging the way they’re thinking that’s all they’re really looking for. Thanks for listening to the podcast today guys. Matt, do you have any final questions you wanna leave with the crew?

Matt Glazer:
No, I guess I gotta think of like going to a sign off, like a fancy sign off. I didn’t put any thought behind that.

Reese Harper:
Yeah, you need one. And we’re…

Matt Glazer:
Next time when we come back I will have taken at least half a day to brainstorm some good sign off.

Reese Harper:
Yeah. And I’m still coming up with the stage name. I think I liked what I hit. I organically hit that at the beginning though. I think you’re the…

Matt Glazer:
I’d like the opportunity to workshop that with you before that goes live.

Reese Harper:
Alright, thanks folks. I really appreciate everyone tuning in and we’ll catch you next time.

Matt Glazer:
See ya.

Jordan Haines:
Next time on Elementality…

Matthew Jarvis:
Every calendar quarter, we do what we call a value add, and I think I’d love to have an offline discussion. I think there’s some similarities between our value adds and what you’re doing with Elements where you’re saying like here’s a way we’re gonna proactively demonstrate our value in some area of the financial planning process.

Reese Harper:
Yeah.

Matthew Jarvis:
So as an example, this last quarter or two quarters ago, we sent out a beneficiary report. Now you might be thinking that’s not valuable. The custodian does it. Well, the custodian does it in percentages. No one thinks in percentages, so we say “Mr. Or Mrs. Client, if something happened to you, each of your kids would get $1.3 million from your retirement accounts. Are you okay with that?” “Well, I’ve never thought about it in that dollar amount,” and then we do that firm wide so then I know that all of our beneficiaries were all reviewed in Q2 of 2021, and then we can look at it again in two years.

Jordan Haines:
You can learn more about the Elements Financial Planning System at getelements.com/meet and schedule a time to speak with one of our friendly financial planning experts. Elementality’s executive creators are Reese Harper and Matt Glazer. Elementality is produced by Abby Morton and directed by Jordan Haines. Have a good one.

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