Stephanie Bogan thinks it’s time for a breakthrough and through her experience working with some of the most successful planners, shares tips that will help new planners excel in their careers.

Through Educe Inc., Stephanie works with countless successful advisors on elevating their career, focusing on their personal fulfillment, and changing the way they approach financial planning. Before she was a coach, Stephanie ran a successful startup, sold a Fortune 200 company, and held roles on senior executive boards. Finally, she decided it was time for a change. She pursued her true passion – helping financial planners run their businesses with a virtual coaching practice while moving her life to sunny Costa Rica.

Stephanie helps financial planners through both group and private coaching. As an advisor coach, she’s truly seen it all – and she’s ready to start solving the problems that new financial planners are facing in this profession.

In this episode, we’re talking about how up and coming advisors can find a position with a firm owner – and what they should look for when forming a partnership. We’re talking about work life balance. We’re talking about commitment both to your career, your firm, and this profession.

By the end of this episode you’re going to be ready to tackle your biggest goal as a new advisor. Stephanie has some fantastic insights on getting clarity, and you’ll leave the episode inspired to pursue your purpose as a financial planner.

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[tweet_box design=”box_10″ url=”” float=”none” excerpt=”We’re going from fear to here. From confusion to clarity. From complexity to certainty…They want the value of your advice, not information. Stephanie Bogan from Educe, Inc. on #YAFPNW”]We’re going from fear to here. From confusion to clarity. From complexity to certainty…They want the value of your advice, not information. Stephanie Bogan from Educe, Inc. on #YAFPNW[/tweet_box]


What You’ll Learn:

  • What makes financial planners successful and what you can start doing today to put yourself on that path
  • How to approach a founder about a potential partnership or succession plan
  • How both founders and new planners can talk to each other and understand one another’s experience and validate emotions
  • How young planners can engage with clients in a way that is meaningful right now
  • How to know why clients come to you for financial planning services
  • The best ways to dig deeper and grow personally as a young planner
  • Knowing how to approach clients about money – because it’s not always a happy topic in their household
  • How to get clarity

Stephanie Bogan: Are you building a wildly successful business and a life that you love?

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Ep103 Transcript

Hannah: Well, thanks for joining us today Stephanie.

Stephanie: Oh, it’s my pleasure, Hannah. Thank you for having me.

Hannah: For people who don’t know you, you work with a lot of very successful financial planners. We’ll just jump right in. What do new planners need to know in order to really be wildly successful like the planners that you coach?

Stephanie: Well, there’s a lot. There’s a lot that goes into success. But I think one of the things that’s most often overlooked is sort of what are the key variables to success? So, one of the things that I talk a lot with my clients about, are what are the three contributing factors to success? And behavioral psychology and neuroscience have basically determined they are environment, skills and mindset. Now that makes perfect sense to most people, but what is most shocking to most people, and it blew my mind to be honest the first time I read it, is that 80 percent of success is driven by mindset, sort of by our behavioral psychology, how we intake, process and respond to the world and the information around us.

Stephanie: One of the things that I’ve really noted about some of the most successful advisors, entrepreneurs, CEOs that I work with is that they tend to be very, very focused on what it is they want whether it’s revenue growth, building a firm, right? So this concept of what you focus on it what expands and so the sooner that you’re very clear about what your endgame, or your outcome is and I don’t mean, right, “Hey, I’m gonna build a firm and sell it in 30 years” but even in the next best step of your career. When I talk to younger planners or what I’ll call emerging planners, right? They have a number of years of experience, They likely have their CFP. They have an established role in a firm and they’re trying to figure out, “Do I continue on in that path? Is there a path to partnership? Do I just want to stay what I’ll call an employee advisor? Do I want to take that path to ownership?”

Stephanie: There’s no right or wrong answer. What really matters is that you have clarity about what you want to accomplish and why you want to accomplish it. So, I would say that clarity is really important. But with that construct of mindset behind it, which is, “How am I thinking about things?” When I talk about very senior planners or I talk about with emerging or even younger planners, often times there’s not that sort of sense of what that perspective is going into it. So, mindset and clarity are really, really important.

Stephanie: The second variable is what I’ll call personal growth and I don’t mean go out and read every self-help book although there’s no downside to some of that. It’s really about investing in yourself. What are the skills, capabilities, mindsets that you need to be more successful in your career and your life? This goes back to that first point around focus and clarity. What is it that you think that you want and why do you want it? And if it’s right, “I want to be on a career path to becoming a partner” you’re gonna in one of probably three situations. You’re either in a firm where that career path is set. That’s not the most common, but they certainly exist now more than they used to. You’re gonna be in a firm that sort of has something in place, maybe written, maybe not, but sort of a general path or maybe someone else has done it. But it’s not necessarily formal or documented.

Stephanie: And the third option is you’re in a firm where that’s not necessarily an obvious option. It hasn’t been put out; it’s not on the table. You really don’t know. And so, if you have an idea of what career path you want, understanding that environment is really important. Where the skills that you need to succeed in any one of those paths, and they’re different, right? Moving up a career ladder to becoming a partner in a firm is a different path than staying an employee advisor, which is a very different path than becoming a business owner, right? Lots of similar skills, but they’re still really different.

Hannah: So let me ask you, a lot of, especially new planners, I’m talking to people who just graduated school, are in their first job and still trying to figure out which way is up, how often, at what point do you see people gain that clarity. Do they have that at 22, first job in financial planning? Or is this something that people progress into?

Stephanie: I would say you definitely progress into it, right? If you’re in your early to mid-twenties, you probably don’t know yet and that’s okay. To be honest, even if you think you know, that can change. So for people who are, let’s call it, under thirty and how aren’t certain, A. Just know that that’s okay. So this is where that mindset piece becomes really important, which is, you don’t necessarily have to know, when I said you don’t have to know the exact outcome, what you do need to know is what you want for yourself and your career. So for me, because as many people know, I sold my firm, I retired to Costa Rica four years ago and now I work part-time and my clients are in the US and I’m in Costa Rica. For me, one of my non-negotiables is that my work needs to be location independent. I need to be able to work from anywhere. So when someone calls me up and says, “Hey, will you come be the CEO of this company?” And I say, “No because I know I’m going to have to go into that office every day and be in that location. That’s just not going to work for me.” Right?

Stephanie: So I’ve talked with younger planners, for example, who really want a more flexible work life balance, or they want the ability to work from home. Those people aren’t going to necessarily pick a path in a firm where that structure is not in place. So what you do need to know is what your next best step is. And so when I’m asking myself about big things I want to accomplish, right? Most people will say they want a successful career, they want to do work that they love with people that they enjoy, they want to be financially successful, and they want to live a happy life, right? When people come to me in some form or fashion, they want solutions to problems that will help them have one or all of those things. And so I presume that, that’s what everyone on your podcast for the most part wants too, right? No one calls up and says, “Hey, I want to do mediocre work with people I don’t really enjoy, for crap money and be miserable in the process.”

Hannah: Right.

Stephanie: Right? We all chose this career and this profession for a reason. And that reason is it has immense value, and it can be just incredibly fulfilling work and it can also be very financially rewarding. And so you don’t have to decide if you want to be a partner or an owner. If you’re going to be an employee advisor for the rest of your life between the ages of 20 and 30, you don’t have to make those decisions.

Stephanie: What I think you should know in terms of always looking at how you can be the most successful is, one, keep yourself in a success state, which is focus on what you want and where you want to go and ask yourself what the next best step is, right? “What’s the next best step to advance my career, to put me in a position to serve the kinds of clients I really enjoy, to have the kind of financial success that I want. To be happy and fulfilled in my work and my life. What’s the next best step?” Because sometimes you know, I’ll have the heads of multi-billion dollar firms come to me, these huge problems and, and the answer almost always is, “How do I solve this problem?” Is you eat the elephant one bite at a time, right? You’re 25. You’re not going to decide where you’re going to be at 35 and even if you did, it would change. You can always ask yourself what your next best step is.

Hannah: You know, as you’re saying this, I’m loving it, and I’m also just imagining in my mind of being, always asking yourself these questions, and a lot of job hopping. And I know that’s maybe not necessarily what you’re implying on that, but what are your thoughts on continuing to explore a job hop, if that makes sense?

Stephanie: Are you asking in terms of in general or am I asking from a business owner’s perspective or am I asking, are you asking me from the right of, if I’m in any of those scenarios, you’re probably going to end up in one place, which is the phrase job hop by itself has a negative connotation.

Hannah: Yep.

Stephanie: So even when we, when we phrase it in those words, right? We’re saying that’s probably not a good idea. Does that mean that you have to be at a job seven to ten years before you can reasonably leave? Absolutely not. Now I can tell you I have helped dozens and dozens of firms hire advisors and I have helped dozens and dozens of firms build the partnership tracks and make the decisions about who makes partner and who doesn’t. So I’m absolutely able to give you some insight into how it looks from that perspective. And I can tell you that when I look at a resume where someone has moved three times in three years or four times in seven years, you really have to dig very carefully into why, because it sort of creates the impression that someone’s going to be there a year or two and they’re going to leave. And what I want everyone listening to this podcast to understand. There’s always two sides to every equation and I explore both of them fully anytime I’m doing consulting work.

Stephanie: But for people on this side of the equation, what’s really important to understand is when you’re asking someone to make an investment in hiring you, they’re making an investment in you and the development of your skills and your capabilities, your experience, teaching you what they know, introducing you to and integrating clients, which is the biggest risk from a firm’s and an owner’s perspective. It’s a significant investment, so what they want to know is that you have the capability technically the commitment, right? In terms of the kind of work and being able to stick to it if you will, and sort of the character and cultural fit that are going to align with them and that you’re going to be around long enough for them to have some safety and security and continuity that when they give you work, when they transition clients, that you’re going to be a reliable resource for them hopefully for years to come. That’s not to say that you are not well within your right to pick up and change jobs if the environment isn’t right, if another opportunity comes along right? There’s a whole list of reasons where it makes perfect sense to move, but just be cautious about how frequently you move relative to how that’s going to be viewed by the person looking, that you’re asking to make that investment in you the next time that you ask someone to hire you.

Hannah: You know, one of the things that you said that I think it’s a really interesting idea, is this idea of like commitment and how firm owners are looking for a level of commitment, what does that look like? What is a healthy level of commitment?

Stephanie: Well again, this is where one of the phrases I use so often working with, what I’m going to call up and coming advisors and founder advisors, right? The people who own the firms and who are looking at hiring or doing succession or maybe even selling at some point, is I’ll tell you what I hear all too often is this difference in perspective. So that phrase that I use all the time is, “The problem is you’re both right, and you’re both wrong.” And here’s what I mean by that is, I can’t tell you the number of times I have heard, I just wrote this in my investment news article that actually turned in the other day, so it’s funny that you ask it. I can’t tell you the number of times that I have heard firm owners or partners in a firm say, “They just don’t understand. You know, when we started out, we had to work twelve hours a day, seven days a week. We filled out our own applications. If somebody wanted to see us at 10:00 at night, we did. We worked, we sweat, you know, blood, sweat, tears; we went to work uphill in the snow both ways. Right? All of that they don’t understand.”

Stephanie: And there’s sort of this feeling and perception that there’s an element of entitlement that all that they worked for looked so easy now that, that next generation of advisors is just expecting it to sort of easily and effortlessly flow to them. That is, whether you agree or not.

Stephanie: I’m just going to be honest and say that is so frustrating to owners and partners because it always takes so much more than the next generation sees because obviously they haven’t been around for all of it. At the same time, I’m just as direct with the other side of the coin, which is most people at this point who aren’t in that founder or senior generation have grown up in a different time and place, it’s an entirely different world, where it used to be a sales culture where you were dialing for dollars now, right? We’re coming out of school, we’ve got degrees, we’ve got CFPs. We’re expecting to have a professional career like a law firm, or an accounting firm where you go in, and you have a job, and you have a salary and clients are assigned to you and you move your way up the ladder and if you develop rainmaking skills, great. And, and so this idea that they’re going to work twelve hours a day, seven days a week, you know, blood, sweat, and tears. There’s generations of people saying that was great for you and we respect that, but that’s not the way we want to live. Right? We want our work life balance to be a little bit something more.

Stephanie: And so there’s always two sides the equation and it’s about how you reconcile those sides. So when I talk about commitment, it’s in the sense as what firm owners want to see, they want to see initiative. When I talk to firm owners I use, I use these stories all the time. You sometimes have to imagine like you’re laying down a trail of breadcrumbs, so they know where to go next and what the next step is and what you want of them. And then the owners will say to me, “Why do I have to do that? When I started out, I just got up every day and I looked around, I saw what needed to be done and I did it. Why do I have to spell it out in black and white? I don’t understand.” Right? So, and that’s not, you know, there’s a little bit of sort of generalizing and stereotyping, but that’s a theme that I see all the time.

Stephanie: And so what I think they want in terms of commitment, they want initiative. They want someone with an owner mentality that looks around, sees what needs to be done, steps in and says, “I’ll take care of it.” And it has authenticity, accountability, and ownership. “Hey, this went wrong, it was my responsibility, here’s what I’m going to do to make sure it doesn’t happen again.” And I think if they saw a lot more of that, it would make the conversation easier and of course there are a lot of things that they could do to make it easier on the next generation, which I tell them all the time, I promise I do. I really am like, “That’s not, that’s not going to play, that’s just not gonna work.”

Hannah: Well, and you know, it’s building a business versus just building a book of business.

Stephanie: Exactly.

Hannah: There’s huge differences. You know, one of the things you said just a little bit earlier was about the mindset and the psychology behind it and almost that behavioral psychology. And it was really interesting because we talk about clients and behavioral psychology, but really like you’re really applying it to us as the advisors and how we approach our career and in our career growth. Is that right?

Stephanie: Absolutely. In fact, while I’ve done the consulting work for the last, what, 20, 21 years now, really, the last couple of years, I’ve sort of always done it, but now it’s a very intentional focus is around sort of this executive and leadership coaching and it’s because of what, I mean I spent a number of years when I first moved to Costa Rica, I literally spent like three solid years just studying performance psychology, behavioral psychology and neuroscience. What makes us tick? What’s the difference between people who are really wildly successful and people who are not? What’s the difference between people who are really happy and who are not? And for me, what I was seeking was the ability to have what I now call, ready wildly successful business and a life that I love. I wanted both and I wanted to know how those two worlds can play really well together. And what I learned is it’s 100 percent mindset. I say 80 percent because that’s what the Cambridge study said. I was actually sitting down with the neuroscience a couple of weeks ago and he said, “Stephanie, you know, it’s 95 percent, right?” I said, “I know, but I don’t want to freak people out.” Eighty percent, 80 percent.

Stephanie: And so here’s what I mean by that, and if you, if anyone’s interested, they can, I think if you Google me and investment news, my articles really always layer in this concept of mindset and it shows up in every single thing we do. How we hire advisors, right? The process through which we screen and filter them. We tend to hire people just like us. That’s not necessarily what a firm needs. How we define our client services. Do we have service segments? Do we have tiers, right? Are we actually servicing clients in a profitable way? Right? How many of you have, are in firms where there’s sort of this mass of clients from, you know, somebody with almost nothing to really wealthy people and everyone in between and there’s no service model and it’s not organized. That’s really, really common. There’s no business case for that.

Stephanie: There’s no business case for waiving your minimum. There’s no business case for taking a client that’s below your minimum just because they were referred. There is no business case for discounting fees. There’s no business case for not having open, honest conversation with your advisors about what your expectations are. There is no business case for not having a good marketing plan in place and not asking for client referrals. When 85 percent of the industry’s growth comes from client and centers of influence referrals, right? So most of the problems in firms, there’s no business case for and look, I’m not the first person to talk about practice management. It’s been around for decades. Everybody’s heard the big stuff. Everybody’s heard that you should have a career path. Everybody’s heard that you should have a model for segmenting and tiering your clients so they’re fairly serviced and profitable. Everybody’s heard about marketing and branding. There’s nothing new. What is new is how we approach it. It’s no different than what advisors are doing in the context of how they work with clients.

Stephanie: It has really evolved over the last few decades and so what we’re really learning is that mindset is what drives ultimately everything that we experience in our lives, our businesses, our bodies, our bank accounts, right? Wanting better relationships. All of it’s driven by sort of this state that we’re in, and when I talked earlier about having a success state, that’s what I mean is most of us, most of the time are in a stress state. So just a little geeky neuroscience. Each of us has between 12 and 60,000 thoughts per day. Eighty percent of those thoughts are unconscious, right? Because we can’t process that much information. Our brains are actually processing 11 million bits of information a minute. It’s not possible without shortcuts, and so there’s a whole lot of brain biology that goes into, you’re not really processing 80 percent of your thoughts. Your subconscious is doing that for you and it’s doing that through the lens of your mental model. Your internal representations, or your belief systems.

Stephanie: So you guys see this all the time with clients. If you’ve seen people come in and they grew up with no money, what’s their mindset around money?

Hannah: Right, there’s never gonna be enough, yeah.

Stephanie: “I can’t buy a new car, ever.” Even though there’s a million and a half dollars in the bank and the pension covers everything. It’s like, “No, I can’t buy a new car.” There is no logical reason for that. That is behavioral psychology. That’s a mindset issue. Their mindset around money is scarcity. It’s conservation. It’s you never know if it’s going to go away, so you have to protect and guard that resource to the utmost.

Stephanie: Now, the interesting thing about mindset that neuroscientists have figured out is they’re not fixed. There’s a concept called neuroplasticity. You can actually change your mindset. You can grow your brain, so those 80 percent of thoughts that we have or that are unconscious, it gets better. Hannah, are you ready?

Hannah: I’m ready.

Stephanie: Eighty percent of those are negative. Negative. So listen to those voices in your head. They’re not your friends, right? Do you get up every day? And they’re like, “Hannah, you look so amazing. Your work was so perfect. That meeting you couldn’t have said anything better. Wow. That was the, you’ve organized the best podcast of anyone ever.” Are those the things that the voices in your head say to you? Most of the time?

Hannah: Oh, of course not.

Stephanie: No, it’s. “Well that outfit wasn’t, maybe we had one too many burritos last weekend.” I mean, this isn’t just you, this is every single one of us and the way that I know it’s every one of us is everyone listening as a human being, nobody is exempt. So 80 percent of our thoughts we’re not even aware of, we’re operating on autopilot and 80 percent of those are negative and then frame everything that you’re talking about through that lens. “I have to hire an advisor.” Well, what if I have a fear mindset? What if the last advisor didn’t work out? What’s the thought process that I’m going to approach that process with? Is it going to be open and optimistic and objective or am I going to go into it worried, fearful and conservative. Right?

Stephanie: If I believe that my identity is wrapped up in my firm and I have financial security issues, I mean I literally have a client right now that has millions of dollars, millions, he could, he doesn’t have to work another day in his life and every time that there’s an investment to be made in the firm, it’s an event. It’s an event. Which is really frustrating to his team. There is no business case for that. It’s all about his money mindset, right? What his thoughts and feelings and views on money are, and in his mind, it’s something to be conserved, not necessarily an investment to be made in a firm for a ROI. Now that doesn’t mean he can’t get there, right?

Stephanie: That’s what coaching is for and that’s the path he’s on and right? He’s made probably $100,000 worth of investments in the last year. But that required coaching to give him a different perspective and so that’s the value of mindset as your listeners are approaching their careers and they’re looking at any issue in their firm, the best advice I can give them is understand the frame. What’s the frame that you’re viewing the situation through and what’s the frame that the people that you’re interacting with, right? In this case, maybe your managers or the firm owners, what’s the lens that they’re looking through? And that commitment issue is a really good one, right? We’re saying “We want a career, we want a job, we want the path to be laid out” and they’re saying, “Hey, if you want to get ahead, you have to put in some extra effort and we want to see that extra effort.” Right? And somewhere in there is a balancing point that works for everyone, but there’s almost never communication around it. And that’s the biggest breakdown that I see in firms, no matter who you are working in them.

Hannah: So I have two questions from this. The first one is, as younger advisors or newer planners who are interviewing at firms, how can we interview firm owners as whether or not this is a place to work based on their mindset?

Stephanie: I feel like I should write an article on this or it should be a White Paper or even a book, right? I think this is the opposite. And it’s a really valid viewpoint, it’s not the viewpoint that people talk about a lot. And what I would do personally is I would, this goes back to that first question of, you know, sort of what are the things that you can do in one is have some level of clarity if you don’t know what that is in terms of a long-term career path and as we talked about, you don’t have to. What is it that you’re looking for in your next job? Right? So if you were going to write a glowing review of your next job, what would it be? Right? So what I always tell clients, no matter what work we’re doing is begin with the end in mind because when your vision is clear, your decisions are easy.

Stephanie: Now the execution may take some work, a little elbow grease, but your vision, when your vision is clear, decisions are easy. If, for example, you decide that you want to have a flex schedule and the ability to work at home some time that would be a question that I would ask of a firm. “Do you have a flex work at home schedule?” And if they say no, then if that is a non-negotiable, right? So I will generally put in a list of wants and a list of needs, wants are things I’d like to have needs are non-negotiables, right? So I’d always have my needs and my wants and then I would ask questions around those. The flex schedule is one example.

Stephanie: If you think you would like to have the opportunity to advance in the firm and at least have the opportunity to become a partner someday. Then of course it’s totally reasonable to ask a question in that regard. Be thoughtful about how you ask the question, don’t say, “How do I become partner someday?” Right? Do say, “You know, I really want to join a firm where I can make a long-term commitment, really invest myself, make a significant contribution, advance the firm, while also advancing my career and I’d love to be able to do that in a place where in exchange for that, I had the opportunity to participate at a partnership level at some point when I’ve obviously just determined that I, you know, that my contribution had merited that being a serious conversation.” Right? If you say it like that, someone’s going to be like, “Oh my God, can I please hire you?” But if I’m being honest, that’s not how most people ask the question.

Stephanie: That’s what I mean by frame. Frame is, “I want to be partner. How can I be a partner?” Not a great way to ask the question ’cause it’s a me-centric frame. What’s the other person’s frame? “I’m a firm owner. What kind of person do I want to hire? I want to hire somebody who is going to show up, do a great job, demonstrate initiative, contribute and make everything better and make this place easier for me to be in.” Right? So frame the question from that standpoint. “I want to be in a place where I’m doing this, this, this, and this. If I’m able to demonstrate that, is there an opportunity for partnership here?” You win points just by asking the question.

Hannah: There’s so much research on behavioral finance and there’s so much, I mean, every conference you go to there are sessions on how to help our clients get a better mindset around through behavioral finance and you know, there’s all the techniques and everything like that. Is it possible for an employee to come into a firm and help their firm owner with their behavioral issues around running a business?

Stephanie: Absolutely.

Hannah: So what does that look like?

Stephanie: Well, remember, so one of the conversations I have all the time with clients and we all joke about it ’cause it comes up all the time, is what it’s what I call framing, right? Framing is everything. So how many of you listening have observed things in your firm that you think should not be that way? And if we were all in a room, every single one of you would be raising your hand. Right? And I’d raise all my hands because this is what I do for a living. Like there’s so much going on in firms that makes no sense whatsoever. Like none. Like we all know how to run a business. We know we need systems, we know we need scale. We need it to be efficient, right? We kind of get that and then we all sit around scratching your heads going, “Well, what’s so difficult?” And what’s so difficult is everything has to go through the mindset and so you can absolutely, you don’t have to be an owner in a firm to be, to have an impact and to be an incredible contributor in a firm. And part of how you can do that is understand that everyone is evaluating everything through their frame and then approach everything from that perspective.

Stephanie: I audit firms. I’ll go and I just delivered a report this morning. We go into a firm and we assess everything, right? It’s a three month process. We look at literally everything in the firm and then it’s my job to sit down with the principal or partners at the end of that process and explain to them what’s working and what’s not and you can imagine which list is usually longer. I have to tell them really difficult things. I don’t sit them down and go, “You’re not doing this, you’re not doing this, you’re not doing this. You really start doing this and this and this. It’s all framing, right? You’ve got a really good base here in order to take this to the next level. Here are the three things that are going to sort of allow you to get through the strains, the capacity constraints that you’re facing, one, two and three.” Framing.

Stephanie: So if you see something in your firm or there’s an opportunity you want to create, I’m working with two, I don’t know what you call them, mid-gen advisors, right? They’re in their mid to late thirties and they’re bringing financial planning into an investment firm. They’re bringing in the CRM, we’re building out the automated processes. We’re defining services and segments and fees and who’s going to do the planning and how we’re going to do it. And so every time that there’s a conversation with the founder about what we’re doing or how we’re doing it, we don’t walk in and say, “Hey, here’s what we’re doing.” Or “Hey, we want X” or “Hey, we want to spend Y.” Right? So I’m coaching them on how to better engage themselves in the firms so that they can be change agents and contributors that are viewed very positively by the partner as opposed to them, him perceiving that they’re just coming in and asking for stuff or complaining. Right?

Stephanie: So one of the things I teach my kids that I would say to any human being is don’t complain, contribute. So if you see a problem like, “Hey, you know, the service tiers aren’t organized, it would be a lot easier if we knew who the A’s B’s and C’s were and we knew how to schedule that.” Think about the frame. Ask Yourself, this is common sense at this point. So basic question number one is, “Has my owner or partner heard this? I’m going to assume yes, unless they’ve been hiding in a cave for the last 20 years. Okay. So, but let’s ask ourselves the question.” Two, “What’s their position and view on it?” Either they’ve never spoken a word of it or they’ve said something, right? If they’ve given you some inclination like, “Yeah, it’d be good to do that at some point” then you know that you’re working with maybe fertile ground if they’ve never uttered a word, you don’t know what you’re dealing with, which means that you need to do a little probing before you just go in and say, “Hey, we need to create a service model and we need to do this and we need to do that.” That’s overwhelming to someone who’s been doing it this way for 20 or 30 years.

Stephanie: And so the framing is what becomes really important is, how can you frame it in a way that respects and validates what’s been done, always because all firm owners and partners are humans and that’s what people want, to be respected, validated? And that identifies the problem in a constructive view. I’ve noticed, you know, “Bob, do you have a few minutes to sit down and talk with me on Friday?” Do it thoughtfully. By the way, don’t just be like, “Hey, by the way” just be like, “Hey Bob. There’s a couple of things that I’ve been noticing. I’d love to get your feedback on could I meet with you tomorrow?” And then you sit down and you say, “Hey, you know what? I keep, you know, I’ve heard you say a number of times now” right? Something positive. “You really want to take the firm to the next level. You’ve been wanting to spend more free time out of the office.” Whatever it is, tie that back into your what I call a point of contribution that’s code for the problem you want to solve.

Stephanie: Point of contribution is a lot nicer and then you look at it through the lens of, “How can I help? How can I be a facilitator and what’s the frame?” So if you know that Bob is a diehard on not wanting to change anything, that’s going to be harder than if you just don’t know why it hasn’t been done yet. Right? And you can change your languaging to address any of those scenarios. So what I always tell my clients when there’s any kind of meaningful or significant interaction that you’re going to have with another human being, that the outcome is important to you, sit down and do the following. Ask yourself what outcome you want. Two, ask yourself, what the frames are, yours and theirs. How is Bob likely to perceive your issue based on what you know of Bob? You can’t be in Bob’s head, but Bob may or may not have said some things, come back from a conference, etcetera. Right? So you should have some kind of a read or you need to do some probing. And then ultimately how are you going to frame the conversation as a point of contribution?

Stephanie: And then what you really want to make sure of is that you really think through for yourself, what the options are, so I will always ask my clients, “Well, what are the possible outcomes? All options of what could happen?” So you have this conversation with Bob. He might be like, “Wow, Hannah, that’s a great idea. Let’s do it.” Okay, so it’s a sure yes. He might say, “Heck no Hannah, that’s the worst idea ever. I don’t ever want to hear you say that again. Walk out of my office.” That’s a hard no. And then probably some variation of in the middle. Right? And so if you know that, how are you going to handle the yes. How are you going to handle the no, and how are you going to handle that, maybe in the middle.

Stephanie: And if you know that going in, it fundamentally changes the conversation. I do this in terms of “Hey, you keep telling me I’m going to be a partner.” I’ve coached so many younger advisors on how to have those difficult conversations. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gotten a phone call. “He keeps saying I’m going to be, I’m the heir apparent, I’m going to be the partner someday, but there’s nothing in writing. And he keeps saying not to worry about it and I’m, you know, now I’m 32 and my wife’s had a baby and you know, I got to know like, is this my future or do I need to be going someplace where I’m actually going to get to be a partner someday?”

Stephanie: And so it’s all about how you frame that conversation. If you say, “You know, you’ve been saying this to me for years and it hasn’t happened.” How do you think that conversation is going to go?

Hannah: They’re immediately defensive. Yeah.

Stephanie: And by the way, and I’m guessing that this will be spot on for many of you, depending on the types of people that you work with, but many advisors are conflict avoidant. And what I mean by that is they’re usually people who are kind of, they’re louder and they’ll get in there and they’ll have the conflict, and then there are people who won’t. And the people who won’t are actually harder to deal with when you want things, because anytime it’s uncomfortable, they withdraw and retreat.

Stephanie: So I’ve got a client right now, multimillion dollar firm, two advisors and literally the comp conversation has been so difficult that they, that was ultimately the impetus for them calling me. There’s a lot more broad we’re going on ’cause they had other needs, but it was, this is, like people are gonna leave and then it was like, “Well we need to have a comp plan. Why don’t we have a comp plan?” And he’s like, “Well, you know, we haven’t really gotten around to it.” Okay, that makes sense. Then I talked to the two advisors. Not only had they talked about it, Hannah, they talked about it multiple times and put together a PowerPoint deck with a proposed compensation model, talked to him about it and left it on his desk and he said, “Okay, let me look at that and get back to you.” And that was where it left, literally. But when he explained it, it was, “Well, you know, we’ve talked about, we haven’t really gotten around to it. Totally different perspective and it’s because that’s an uncomfortable conversation for him.

Stephanie: It’s a mindset issue. There’s a lot, and this is what I mean by framing and I say this with all due respect, but if you haven’t been in their shoes and you don’t have their mindset, it’s really hard to understand. So if you really want to know what your prospects at a firm are, look at the mindset of your owner. Is it positive and abundant? Things are good for everyone, positive culture or is it, I’m avoiding doing the things I need to do. I’m avoiding putting plans in place, I’m avoiding documenting. That will tell you a lot about the future of a firm and what the possibilities in that firm can be.

Hannah: So I have to go back to the succession plan analogy that you just gave because I’m like, I need to know the answer. You left me hanging.

Stephanie: You and 5,000 other people, yeah.

Hannah: I know. It’s like, okay, let’s get back to this. So you talked about the succession plan owner, you know going into the conversation, there’s going to be one of three. It’s a hard yes, it’s a hard no or somewhere in the middle. What do you do when it’s somewhere in the middle? It’s still that ambiguous state?

Stephanie: Well, and let’s also not negate the no. Now here’s the trick. They probably won’t tell you straight out no.

Hannah: Yeah.

Stephanie: Right? Most people don’t go, “Nope. You’re never going to be a partner someday. So just be good with being an employee and you got to be okay with that.” I would prefer that sometimes just so people knew what they were dealing with.

Hannah: Right.

Stephanie: But let’s just talk a little bit about the, what I call the maybe in the middle, right? That gray area where you don’t even exactly know where it got left, right? The, “Oh yeah, I’ll take a look at that and get back to you” or “Yeah, I’m working on that.” So the yes is easy. “Great. How can I help move this forward?” So you always want to take responsibility for that next step. “What can I do to help move this forward?” “Oh, nothing. I need to meet with the accountant to talk about X, Y, or Z.” “Great. So why don’t we get together and you know, would it be okay if we got together in two weeks to kind of circle up on that?” Right? So that’s just in a yes scenario, that’s option.

Stephanie: In the no scenario, what you want to do is make sure that you’re asking them to think about why and then be able to articulate that back to you. Not right now. “Bob, I totally respect your view. It was really important to me to kind of get a sense of where you were on this. I’d love to better understand what about creating a partnership opportunity is really uncomfortable for you. Is it something about my individual performance? Is it the construct in general? I’d really appreciate having a better understanding so that I can understand what my future role in the firm will look like. Would it be okay if we got back together in a week or two to just kind of download on this?” Ninety-nine percent of the time, the person’s not going to say, “No. No. I will not explain to you the rationale for my thinking.”

Stephanie: But what happens is many times when we get the no or we get an answer, we don’t like making that transition to the maybe in the middle is we don’t frame it in a way that still allows for resolution. Right? When they turned in that comp plan or when that senior founder said, “You’ll be the partner someday. Don’t worry, I’m working on it.” The junior person in this scenario didn’t frame it and say, “I understand that these things take time and you might be working on that. How can I best help move this forward? Can we get together next month to talk about our progress?”

Stephanie: And so that’s kinda that maybe in the middle gray area is depending on how soft a yes or no it is, right? It’s usually somewhere in that spectrum, is you want to be asking what can I do? Because what is that demonstrating?

Hannah: That commitment initiative.

Stephanie: Commitment and initiative, right? Critical, critical, critical. And if you can start with validation and belonging, affirmation, “I understand that this is a big topic for you. It’s a big topic for a lot of people. I know it’s confusing and complicated for me; it’s probably even harder for you. I just want you to know that I really want to have a constructive, open and positive dialogue around this and I want you to be really comfortable and I want us to have that conversation together in a way that feels good to you and me.” Affirmation, right? This is hard. I get that it’s hard. I want it to be a nice, hard, not a hard, hard. And then it’s, “I appreciate that.” Right? So this is sort of the, maybe we’re not exactly sure. I’ll get back to that or I’ll think about it and then it’s, “I appreciate that. As you can imagine, this is an important topic for me. What can I do to help move this forward?” And if they say something, then great, go do that, like lickety split be all over it. And if they’re like, “Oh well, you know, I need to ask the account about equity structures and taxes” or “I just need to talk to so and so” or “You know, give me a couple of weeks to think of, get back to me.” Absolutely make sure that you’re going back and doing that.

Stephanie: “Totally understand these things take time and thought, and we need to give it attention. How can I best help move this forward? And if it sounds like you need to meet with the accountant great.” Would it be okay? So two phrases that are really easy ways to ask for anything are, would it be okay if? Or would it be alright if? “Would it be all right if I came back in a couple of weeks to just touch base with you about the progress and sit down with you about some of the questions that I have?” Right? It would be weird for them to say no.

Hannah: Yep.

Stephanie: Right? So it’s all in the framing and the framing is really understanding the mindset of the stakeholders in the conversation and where they may be coming from. And then under, like if you know that, that person is in the mindset of having built a firm from scratch, then you’ve got to put yourself in that mindset of the blood, the sweat, the tears, the uphill in the snow both ways kind of thing. If that sort of where your founder’s mindset is at, and you can usually get sort of a general idea. And if they have like this, you know, it’s open and it’s abundant, everything’s wonder and positive culture, well then we probably aren’t even having this conversation because they’ve probably done the things they need to do.

Hannah: We’ve talked a lot about career growth and personal growth, but you coach a lot of people on like client skills and even looking at young advisors, there’s a point where if they want to advance to a certain point, they have to be able to find clients. So can I have you talk about just that client skills and how do we engage with a client? How can we as young planners engage with clients in a way that is meaningful right now?  

Stephanie: From a prospecting perspective or just as in terms of actually serving as an advisor servicing them?

Hannah: Let’s just about servicing them right now and then we can talk about finding clients in a minute.

Stephanie: Well, I think at the end of the day it’s knowing why clients come to you and I think there are quite honestly a lot of firm owners and firms out there that don’t go through this exercise. And when we all know why from a functional perspective, right? They want their investments managed; they want financial plans so they know when they can retire, right? The big five questions. But at the end of the day, the real question is, nobody wakes up in the morning and goes, “Oh my God, I’m going to go do some investment management. I think I’ll go hire a financial planner.” That’s not usually how it happens. It’s sort of a need, and then it presses and when you think about it, is money a really happy conversation in most people’s homes or does it tend to come with a little bit of stress?

Hannah: It’s a lot a bit of stress.

Stephanie: It’s, it’s a lot of a distress, right? Most people don’t come into your offices because they don’t have that stress or they wouldn’t be walking into your office. Right? So what they’re coming is with uncertainty, confusion, big burning questions, you know, a lack of clarity. They don’t know what the next steps are. They’re usually, remember I talked about states, success state, positive, abundance, feeling empowered, can do anything. Stress state is literally a different state, not just from a mindset perspective but from a physiology, right? So if our thoughts are going on in the background and they’re largely negative, and then we get on the topic of money, that usually triggers a lot of fears and pain points for people. When they’re coming into your office for the first time and even on an ongoing basis, what you have to ask yourself is, “What do they really want?” They want advice, not information. They don’t need 40 page financial plans. Doesn’t mean you can’t give them one, but they don’t need them. I’ve proven this dozens of times when people promise me that their clients had to have them.

Stephanie: A really simple way to solve that problem, by the way, is just at the end of a meeting tell the client, “We’ve covered a lot and there’s a lot of documentation that goes into this, but I know there’s probably only a few pages that are really important to you. If you want to pick out a couple of pages that you’d like to take with you, I’ll make a quick copy and you can take them away.” And I promise you they’ll never take more than a few pages and then you know which pages actually mattered to them and then you can stop killing trees. But I’m sorry I got on a sidetrack there, but that’s one of those things that come up a lot.

Stephanie: So I think what we really want to think about as clients is where they’re coming from, right? What need do they have and how can we fill it and what they usually want in some form, One, to get out of the stress state, what I call relief. They want relief from their big burning questions, from the lack of clarity, whatever it is, right? And then because they’re human beings, I guarantee you the next thing they want is what? To move into the success state. They want to move out of the stress state. They want to find relief, make the pain stop, and then, can we focus on the possibility? Success state, “When can I retire? What kind of income will I have?” Now, it doesn’t mean that those are always easy conversations, but that’s the journey that your clients are on at a behavioral level. “Move me from here at the pain point, to here to something that feels a lot better.” Right? “From relief to peace of mind.” Right? “From confusion, to clarity, from complexity to certainty.”

Stephanie: And so if you know that, the question becomes how do you approach those client engagements? So one of the things we talk about in our coaching program is, clients want, the value, is advice, not information. And the biggest mistake that I see financial planners make as a whole is they grossly undervalued the work that they do. I’m not saying everyone should run out and double their fees, some people probably should, but what I’m saying is the actual value of the work. If people truly understood the value of the work, they would never discount a fee. They would never waive a minimum; they would never take a client under that minimum because they need there to be a fair exchange.

Stephanie: But at the end of the day, if you understand what clients need, you can serve them so much better. It changes everything. It changes the questions that you ask, right? A lot of questions are very functional, but when I design sales processes and advice processes, we have a lot of different kinds of questions. So one of the fun questions, when people are sitting down, if you want to get a couple talking early on in a meeting about themselves, which is a good way for them to like the meeting, ask them great questions, like I don’t know, you guys have lots of great questions out there, but one of my favorite questions after you’ve done a sort of the warm-up is asking things like, “So tell me where the two of you agree about money and tell me where you disagree about money.” You won’t have to say anything for the next 45 minutes. Now you should because that should not be allowed to go on for 45 minutes.

Stephanie: But the point is if you asked that question, what are you gonna hear? You’re gonna hear where the pain point is around money for them and that’s the big value. If you can ease that pain point it’s a no brainer. Right? If you ask people, “What are the big burning questions that are keeping, do you have any big burning questions that are keeping you up at night?” Most people have a question or two. “Do we have enough to put the kids in college right now or do we need to save more?” That’s a big question if you have a child. Right?

Stephanie: So we tend to view meetings whether they’re on-boarding and what I call enrollment meetings ’cause I don’t really like the word sales process, I don’t think we’re selling anything at this point. I think we’re persuasive educators that give people the opportunity to improve their lives through planning and if they do, great, and if not, then okay, great, they’ll go on and do something else.

Stephanie: But at the end of the day, if you know what the need that you’re really filling is, it fundamentally changes the meeting and we have this tendency to focus on the functional and technical. “Here are the investment reports. Here’s the Morning Star report. Here’s your net worth statement.” And that’s all great. I’m not taking away from the merit of those things, but that’s not why people sit down with an advisor. They sit down with an advisor for all those other reasons that I mentioned. They’ve got questions that are important to them and you’re the source of answers and if you frame every interaction with the client from that perspective, you will have the best client relationships, right? Yes, you should have a service model. Yes, you should have a clear process. You should have great deliverables. It should be simple and elegant. You don’t need to overwhelm people. It should be advice driven, irrespective of kind of what that advice is, but if you can frame all of that in the context of “I’m getting people from here to there behaviorally, emotionally, and you view your interactions and frame them with the kind of questions and dialogue that are considerate of that, you will have powerful, deep, engaging client relationships.

Hannah: You know we mentioned extending this to finding clients that people get that to get to that point in their career where they want to, if they want the extra income, you kind of have to be able to find clients at that point. How does this extend to prospecting and bringing in new clients?

Stephanie: It’s exactly the same ’cause a prospect is just a person that hasn’t said they need you yet. Right? So rule number one is, and we all know this, you’ve got to be able to talk about what you do. You just have to. Now, that’s one of the other big things that I hear from partners and owners, is “She’s not doing any rainmaking. She’s not going out. He’s not doing any rainmaking. He’s not bringing in any clients.” Now, I’ll be really honest, there’s a lot of conversation that can be had around this because that isn’t always the expectation. That’s not always the advisor’s skillset. There’s not necessarily any training, right? They’re like, “Just go off and do it.” “Well okay, I didn’t go to go off and do at school. I went to CFP school, so they didn’t cover that part.” Right?

Stephanie: So there’s a lot, that’s a really complicated conversation. You have to really unpack it. But at the end of the day, what you need to be able to do is talk about what you do competently and confidently. And this is a huge problem, not just for the people on this podcast, but I promise you for really successful people, like most of them are just not that great at really articulating what they do in a clear, concise and compelling manner. So there’s a couple of really easy ways to do that. One of them is what I call my as a result of. If you say, “I do financial planning” people go, “Okay, thanks, that’s great.” But look, I also, you know, this concept of the elevator speech, I just, when was the last time that you got into an elevator, had that awkward pause and had them ask you what you did?

Hannah: Yep.

Stephanie: It doesn’t exist. That scenario doesn’t exist, right? What happens is you might be at a networking mixer or you might be meeting new people and someone will say, “What do you do?” You are not, I’m just so sorry. You’re just not going to say to them, “I am a wealth architect and I” that just sounds so weird. I mean, right? It’s like you’re trying just too, too hard and some people can pull it off and God bless them, but if you just say, you know, I’m a financial advisor, that kind of ends the conversation. Right? And so again, time and place for everything, but anytime you get the opportunity you want to talk about what you do, all you really want to talk about, and this is all that matters are the results of what you do. If I say to you, if you say, “Hey Stephanie, tell me a little bit about what you do.” And I say, “Oh, I’m a business consultant and CEO coach.” Well, that’s a boring conversation. That’s a period, we’re done. If I say “Hannah, I’m really, I’m glad that you asked, I’m actually a business consultant and CEO coach. I really love what I do because as a result of working with me, my clients see radical growth in their revenue with the owners gain back their time and freedom and they’re finally able to build a wildly successful business and life that they love.”

Stephanie: And if you’re really prospecting, then you could say, “Who do you know that sounds like that?” Right? “Who do you know?” So there’s these really simple ways to just, it’s what I call seeding. And I think that’s one of the big misnomers in the sales conversation. I say that in quotes in this profession is you’re not going to walk up to someone, tell them what you do when they’re not going to say, “Oh my God, can I please come into your office tomorrow?” I mean, that might happen like once every thousand times. What you’re doing is seeding. Seeding is you’re, you’re planting a seed, so when the time and place come that that person is someone or knows someone that might have a need for this work that you’re going to come to mind. And so that’s what you always want to be doing is always be seeding, right?

Stephanie: So if you’ve got a friend that’s a business owner, and even if they’re not your target client profile, right? Maybe they’re just not big enough yet, and you’re talking about what you can do, you could just say, “Wow, I really love the firm that I work at. We do an amazing job of helping people, you know, plan, protect and grow their wealth. We answer their burning questions and they go from not being able to sleep at night to being able to sleep on it and feel really good knowing that they don’t have to do the work and worry because we’re doing it for them.” Now, that person, again, might not even need you, not going to run out and call you, but are they going to remember you when they’re talking to someone who’s like, “Dang, I just can’t even get to sleep. I’m so stressed out about work.

Hannah: Yep.

Stephanie: Right? You’re always wanting to be seeding. Always. And that is, I think one of the biggest challenges for advisors sort of in the, you know, not founder or senior generations, is it is a different environment. So how do you develop this rainmaking skill because we aren’t dialing for dollars anymore. And quite honestly, I don’t know anyone that wants to.

Hannah: Yep.

Stephanie: Right? We’re professionals. We want to hold ourselves with a level of character and integrity and ethics, right? Accustomed to doctors and lawyers, and we could laugh about the lawyers and tell a joke, but we’ll skip that. But the idea is, right? That we want to operate at this real level of professionalism, which means that we’re not ambulance chasing. And so what we do want to do is find, really informed and appropriate ways, it’s what I call making a dignified offer. We don’t sell. You’re not a salesman, you’re a persuasive educator and you don’t sell, you make a dignified offer. Your job is to give people the information they need to make a good choice about their financial future and to give them the opportunity to make one.

Hannah: Right.

Stephanie: That’s your job. If they don’t choose to work with you, you’ve done your part. Sleep well. Go find someone who is ready to work with you. Don’t worry about the person who isn’t.

Stephanie: So I think the biggest, the best advice I would give anyone really wanting to advance their career is, develop that skillset. And if you don’t know how, and you have a firm manager, partner or owner that you can approach, I would find it to be really odd if someone called me up and said, “You know, someone at my firm came to me and asked me to help them develop rainmaking skills.” I think my clients would love it if people came to them and had those conversations “Hey, you know what? You know, rainmaking isn’t really a part of my role, but I can see the success that you’ve achieved. And rainmaking is clearly a big part of it. It’s not a skillset that I really developed and I’m not super comfortable, but this is a muscle I know I need to develop. Is this something that we could work on together?”

Stephanie: I mean, I can promise you that half the people that heard that will just be floored because that’s not what’s happening in most cases. Now, in fairness, they should be going to the advisors that they’re sometimes complaining about taking the initiative and saying, “Hey, if you want to advance and achieve this level of success, rainmaking is a skill that you’re going to need to develop. I’m happy to help you with that. Is that something you’d like to do?” Right? It’s a two way conversation. It’s just that most firms aren’t having it.

Hannah: And you know it’s on younger planners to be the initiator sometimes. It’s not an excuse just because your boss isn’t doing it.

Stephanie: Well here’s a really good way for anyone listening to determine if they should take more initiative in this regard or in any other. If the point has ever been discussed and nothing has happened, that’s your clue. That’s your clue. Because if there were going, if you had a conversation and they were going to do something about it, they would have done it. So that’s when you really want to establish that, so here’s the real truth of it. There’s only one of three reasons that these “things we’re talking about” whatever they are or aren’t getting done, it’s because an advisor can’t, doesn’t want to or doesn’t know how. Can’t is not even an option in any of these conversations. Of course, you can do any of these things don’t want to, that’s a tricky one because sometimes they say they want to, but at a mindset and a behavioral level, they really don’t. Right? They’ve got some fears or some concerns that they’re not even always consciously aware of that are really holding them back. I see that all the time by the way. So it’s kind of a very passive aggressive thing. “Yes, you’re going to be a partner someday.” No game plan, no path, no documentation. “Yes, you’re going to get that raise.” No game plan, no path, no documentation. “Yes, I’m going to transition more clients to you.” No game plan, right?

Stephanie: So it’s either they don’t want to, consciously or unconsciously or and this is true in a lot of the cases, they just don’t know how. And what is really incredible, you guys will get a real kick out of this. I do every single time. It’s not what people would think Hannah, but I can’t tell you how many times advisors just freeze because they don’t know how to approach something. They don’t know how to design the comp plan. They don’t know how to design the partnership path. They don’t know how to design a process to transition clients from them to that right up and coming advisor. They literally don’t know how. And so again, what does your brain do when you have a problem you don’t know how to solve and you’re already busy? Your brain just goes, “We’re fine. We’ll deal with that later. We’ll deal with it later. We’ll deal with it later.”

Hannah: Right.

Stephanie: And so it’s not that they’re doing it in 95 percent of the cases. I promise you they are not doing it on purpose. They don’t know why they’re not doing it unless they are just intentionally, but that’s not usually the case. At least not the firms that I get called into. Those people may exist. They don’t call me for help. And so it’s really important for anyone listening as they’re looking at their firm and their environment and their opportunities, right?

Stephanie: We’ve talked about a lot. I’m sorry if that wasn’t the intent. I get excited about this stuff. What you really want to understand is what’s the environment that you’re operating in. If there are problems or challenges or things that you want to see change or happen that aren’t, and you’ve had a conversation about them. If you haven’t, then take everything you heard in this call, listen to it a couple of times and write out, write bullet point how you want that conversation to go ’cause there’s some really good advice in here about how to make that a better conversation. But if you’ve had any kind of conversation, go back to it with that new frame because we can always do it better and then apply that, “What can I do to move this forward? Would it be okay if we touch base in two weeks?” And then in that process, really try to establish is, if it’s an “I don’t want to, or I don’t know how.”

Stephanie: And that’s where the acknowledgement and the affirmation can be so valuable. “You know, Frank, we’ve talked about this” I’m now mocking up a real conversation that I taught someone to have, “Frank, I’ve been here seven years, I love the firm. I have the utmost of respect for you. I think I’ve made a really significant contribution and I really enjoy being here. As you know, we’ve talked about this path to partnership over the last three years a number of times and I’m really trying to understand what I can do to help bring some clarity to that process. I know it’s important to you. It’s really important to me and I have to say as important as it is to me, I know that it’s probably a lot harder for you, right? You’ve never had to do this before. There’s lots of, you know, it’s probably not as easy as I think it is, but I just want you to know that I’m happy to participate in that process in any way that I can that’s going to help move that conversation along.”

Stephanie: That’s very different than going home and saying to your boyfriend or your girlfriend or your parents or your spouse, “Oh, he just told me I’ll be there someday, but nothing’s happening.” Right? That’s not an empowered state. Right? So one of the things that, I just say one of the things like seven times, right? So there’s obviously a lot of things I would love for people to know about mindset. But the most important thing is everything that you’re experiencing is a function of your mindset and sort of the reality that you create. ‘Cause if someone says to you seven times, “You’re going to be a partner someday, don’t worry” and they don’t take any action and you’re still there 10 years later, are they the only one to blame?

Hannah: Right.

Stephanie: Right? There’s two parties in every interaction. So it’s a function of looking at your environment, right? What’s working, what’s not working, and then even though you don’t know where you might want to be long term, in terms of what you think you want for the next three to five years, does that environment exist in a way that you think that, that’s possible and how can you take responsibility and show commitment and initiative for helping that take place as opposed to just looking at the owners for that direction? Right? So creating a collaborative process. If they’re open to that, at least by starting that dialogue. Or, we cannot say anything and let time pass, in which case we’re sort of doing the same thing that they’re doing and that’s where these big chasms occur in firms around client transitions, compensation changes, partnership pass, is that everybody just sort of knows that it’s there but doesn’t really know how to approach it and then just doesn’t discuss it or we sort of have these spotty conversations here and there, but we never really get something concrete moving. And that’s a pain point and a source of frustration for everybody involved. That’s not the goal.

Hannah: Such good stuff. Oh my gosh, I’m like, I want to go, I need to go back and re-listen to this.

Stephanie: I promised we’d only do 45 minutes. I told you it happens. I can’t help myself.

Hannah: Well, for the people who want to find you, where are the best places where they can go and read more of your work?

Stephanie: They can certainly, I write a monthly column for Investment News, so they can just Google Stephanie Bogan Investment News. I’m actually getting a new website done, but for right now they can go to There’s information there just in general on our coaching program. But there’s always, I think we’re giving away the Five Freedoms of Limitless Advisers White Paper right now, so if you put your email in, you’ll get a copy of that and then you’ll be on the communication list for just interesting things that we send out from time to time. And if anyone wants to talk to me directly in terms of maybe working with their firm or like, hey, you want to email me a question? You can reach me at learn more at [email protected]

Hannah: Great. Well thank you so much, Stephanie.

Stephanie: It’s been a pleasure Hannah. Thank you for having me.