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Podcast Transcript

Episode 02, Season 1

How to scale an advice business, with Adele Martin


Fraser Jack: [00:03] Welcome to the Goals Based Advice Podcast, where we have conversations with pioneers of the new world of financial advice. I’m your host, Fraser Jack, and I want to thank you for tuning in today. I’d also like to thank our supporting partner, Advice Intelligence, for powering this podcast.

Fraser Jack: [00:23] Welcome to the show, Adele.

Adele Martin: [00:25] Thank you for having me.

Fraser Jack: [00:27] It’s a pleasure. Fantastic to have you on the show. Tell me, let’s get started by giving an overview of you, where you’re at, where your business is at today.

Adele Martin: [00:38] Currently today I specialize in helping people in their 20s, 30s, and 40s, largely helping them save money and then figure out what to do with the money they actually save.

Fraser Jack: [00:47] Perfect. Bit of an overview of you. Where abouts is your business?

Adele Martin: [00:53] Our business is everywhere, because we’re virtual, so we help clients all over Australia and I have my team spread out all over Australia, but physically right this second, I live in Newcastle, New South Wales.

Fraser Jack: [01:02] So location independent.

Adele Martin: [01:05] That’s right. Kicking back in my casual clothes today, working from home.

Fraser Jack: [01:08] Perfect. Now, tell me, what about your clients? Are they also all over, they’re all over Australia, and all over the world even I suppose?

Adele Martin: [01:14] Yeah, all over Australia. I actually sold some stuff to New Zealand this year, so I went to New Zealand and spoke to some New Zealanders and they’ve got our cash flow program as well. So savings, which is what I concentrate on, is universal across the world, so we yeah, we have clients all over the place.

Fraser Jack: [01:31] Did you just say New Zealanders?

Adele Martin: [01:32] New Zealanders, I did. New Zealanders.

Fraser Jack: [01:35] Nice. That’d be me. Perfect. Your business, how many staff have you got?

Adele Martin: [01:43] We have two team members, but we also outsource paraplanning as well, and we outsource some of the automation functions as well. I’m a big fan of being able to scale, so how we’ve been able to scale is to use offshore support for things like automation and website stuff. We’ve been able to do that. We also use offshore paraplanning as well, and then we have our advisor is in Townsville, and our other executive assistant is in Melbourne.

Fraser Jack: [02:08] Wow. That’s going to be confusing once daylight savings kicks in.

Adele Martin: [02:12] Yeah. I thought that, it was last year, we did have some confusion at times, but we just do New South Wales time. That’s what we stick to.

Fraser Jack: [02:21] Right, fair call. Tell me, that’s where you are now, let’s jump right back in time. Where did you grow up?

Adele Martin: [02:29] I grew up in Singleton, in New South Wales, which is a little coal mining town.

Fraser Jack: [02:32] Nice. So small country town, went to school there I take it?

Adele Martin: [02:37] Yep, went to school there. We had 20,000 or so people in Singleton, I knew I didn’t want to live in Singleton, wanted to do something else, so I went up the road, an hour up the road to Newcastle, and in Newcastle is where I went to university, went to Newcastle Uni.

Fraser Jack: [02:48] Went to Newcastle Uni, hit the big smoke, the big city.

Adele Martin: [02:53] Yep. Hour, that’s it. Stumps. Stayed here ever since.

Fraser Jack: [02:56] Fair enough. So out of uni, what was the first job from there?

Adele Martin: [03:01] Actually, I still got a job when I was at uni. I actually was doing a bachelor of commerce, and if you know me, you realize commerce was not the degree for me, accounting. I did the degree, I remember my first lecture, my first tutorial, going to to ACFI 101, I put my hand up and I asked the tutor, “Is the rest of accounting like this?” They said yes. I thought, “Oh, my God, I’ve done the wrong degree, this is going to kill me” and it did nearly kill me, but at the same time I thought all my friends were going off, getting accounting jobs, and I’m like, “I know one thing I’m not doing, accounting” and I got a job just in an office somewhere.

Adele Martin: [03:33] That office that I happened to get a job in was as a personal assistant to a financial advisor. I was 19, I didn’t even really know what super was, and I got a job as a personal assistant to a financial advisor. I could hear his conversations through the walls. He only had a very thin partition wall, and I could hear his conversations. That’s when I was like, “I understand how this is different to accounting. This is people first, and then money is second.” I realized it was a much more people based profession, and that’s how I accidentally fell into financial planning, because I knew I didn’t want to do accounting.

Fraser Jack: [04:07] Great, so from being an assistant, how did that evolve? How did you evolve into wanting to be [crosstalk 00:04:12]?

Adele Martin: [04:11] Yeah, so from an assistant, I was there for a couple of years, and I could have actually stayed there. They wanted me at the age of 20, when I finished uni, or 21, they wanted me to go be an advisor. They put me up for a weekend somewhere, I could be an advisor. I knew that that was not the path that I wanted to choose to be an advisor. I actually took a pay cut and as a 21 year old that was hard. I could have got a car as a 21 year old, working at this particular bank, that would have been amazing for me, but I knew that wasn’t the path I wanted to take.

Adele Martin: [04:42] I didn’t have enough life experience. I’d never even bought a house and I was going to be helping people with their investments, so I went down the course of being a paraplanner. I was a paraplanner, I was a personal assistant, then I was a paraplanner, and then as a paraplanner I became an advisor, and them from an advisor, I became a business partner, and then exited that partnership and then I started again.

Fraser Jack: [05:04] When you’re an advisor, I’ll just go back, you’re a paraplanner, you decided that you wanted to become an advisor.

Adele Martin: [05:12] I knew I wanted to be an advisor. I knew I needed the tech skills first [crosstalk 00:05:14]-

Fraser Jack: [05:14] Sure.

Adele Martin: [05:14] ... in paraplanning.

Fraser Jack: [05:16] Okay, so you had the base maybe. Was it a competence thing for you? You wanted to be paraplanner, or that you didn’t want to be advising, or was it just?

Adele Martin: [05:26] I wanted the technical skills. I wanted to get a technical understanding first before I dove into having the conversations.

Fraser Jack: [05:33] Great. So then when you became an advisor, what was that? You were an employee or you’re own-

Adele Martin: [05:37] I was an employee to start with and I was an employee for probably five years before I became, I bought into an existing partnership. It was quite a large retiree business, we specialized in retirees, people just before they retired and at retirement. Myself and another guy who was about my age, we bought in, 20% or so each, and we became small shareholders in a much bigger practice. Yeah, so that was my path into ownership, which we did just before the GFC hit.

Adele Martin: [06:04] That was great timing, before the GFC we bought in, and then the GFC struck, and all our revenue was based on one times recurring, which then dropped significantly in value, and we had bought in with debt, and we had debt that we needed to now pay back. It was a good learning experience that one.

Fraser Jack: [06:20] Wonderful learning experience, isn’t it? Financial advisor, theoretically, and this is the thing about financial advisors. Theoretically knows better, but everybody comes up with these things along the way.

Adele Martin: [06:32] Yeah, but we got super good then at putting people onto service packages and fixed dollar fees, so having that conversation, it forced us to be a much better practice. As a result, it actually improved things massively, although at the time it did not seem like that, but that’s exactly what happened. We got very good at being able to have those conversations with clients about fees, and quite comfortable discussing fees, and giving them choices about what package they wanted to go on.

Fraser Jack: [06:56] It’s almost, it forced you into the situation which actually grew you as an advisor.

Adele Martin: [07:01] Exactly. It put us years ahead of everyone else.

Fraser Jack: [07:03] So then you decided obviously that wasn’t for you, and how did that come about?

Adele Martin: [07:08] So, for a variety of reasons, so I knew I wanted to work with young clients. That was principally it. I wanted to be able to work with younger clients, because I was seeing these retirees come through, and ultimately a lot of them wouldn’t have enough to be able to retire. They would have to rely on the age pension or be forced to sell the house. I would hear them say all the time, “I wish we saw you years ago. Why didn’t I see you years ago?”

Adele Martin: [07:29] I knew that I really wanted to have a big impact and really impact people’s lives, I needed to work with them much, much sooner. I wanted to work with younger clients. That’s ultimately what was one of the pushes.

Fraser Jack: [07:42] I just want to open this up a little bit more. There’s going to be a lot of advisors, I guess, that have retiree client bases, that are looking at succession planning and bringing a “younger” planner in or something like that in that situation. Is that something that you think maybe there might be some younger planners that want to work with retirees, but would a lot of younger planners want to work with people more their own age in that space?

Adele Martin: [08:05] Yeah, and I think people generally take advice from people that are 10 years younger or older than them. Much past that, when you used to see someone with gray hair, you think, “Well, they don’t have a mortgage, how would they understand my [inaudible 00:08:15], what I am?” You don’t want to take advice from your dad’s financial advisor, it’s just not the cool thing to do.

Adele Martin: [08:20] So, I would say that that definitely comes as part of it, as well. But for me, was I somewhat succession planning? Yes, and I think for me, I’ve now had two business partnerships. I didn’t learn enough the first time, so I did it a second time, another business partnership. What I learned from business partnership, having bought and exited two now, is the most important thing with a business partnership is to make sure your values are aligned.

Adele Martin: [08:42] On paper, it might work in terms of where you’re heading, but really your values have to be the same. Anyone considering a business partnership, make sure your values are aligned. Do you both value education? Do you both value learning development? What are those things that are really important to you and do they fit with your business partner? Because if your values aren’t aligned, you’re not going to get very far.

Fraser Jack: [09:04] All right. Let’s think about that. How would you have that conversation around values with somebody?

Adele Martin: [09:09] I would say, there’s actually a, called Gallup Strengths, definitely helps to find your strength, but a lot of them are your values as well. One of my top five strengths is learning, I really like learning and professional development and that came through in that Gallup Strengths that I did, and I also have achiever. Achiever is my number one, so achievers love to be ticking stuff off. My second strength is futuristic.

Adele Martin: [09:29] I’m always thinking about the future, always hustling, always working hard. If you’ve got someone that has low achiever, or low learning, it might be hard to have a business partnership because you have such different values. So, we actually strength test all our team now. When our team members come onboard, we do a Gallup Strength with them, so we can see where their strengths lies, because it often relates to their values.

Adele Martin: [09:53] All my team value learning, and all of them off their own backs have went and done courses, so even my executive assistant, Elsa, she has a communications degree, she wants to now do, she went and did extra study. She wanted to do the DP just for fun, to really understand, and looking at doing a master’s, all that sort of stuff for me really just aligns with our values, we’re on the same page. It’s something that I would look for in a business partner, but it’s also something I would look for in our employees, as well.

Fraser Jack: [10:21] Great. Now, take me back to the last couple of years of your business. How’s it evolved and grown over the last couple of years?

Adele Martin: [10:27] Yeah, so as soon as I got a business coach, I work with a guy called Kerwin Rae, as soon as I got a business coach, the first year in business by myself I really struggled. I wanted to work with younger clients, I’ve never worked with younger clients really before, and now I was thinking I had to, I don’t know what I was doing, I was just thinking I knew I wanted to do it, and had no real plan about how to do it.

Adele Martin: [10:47] Yeah, just work ridiculously hard that first 12 months with very little to show for it. So, got really frustrated, but then thought, “I know I want to work with young clients, I know I can get it work, and I know I want it to be fee for service.” Everyone was catching on at the time, you have to take insurance commission, you won’t get it to work, and I knew I wanted to work fee for service, and I knew I wanted to work with younger clients, but I also didn’t want to go broke in the meantime and I didn’t want to burn myself out.

Adele Martin: [11:10] I had that point where something had to change and that’s where I met Kerwin and I’ve been working with him now for the last four years, and very, very quickly I had massive growth in [inaudible 00:11:21], like a five times, six times growth in 12 months of my revenue, from that first year where I was ... I was growing very quickly, introduced some of these sales and marketing, and as a result, grew quickly.

Adele Martin: [11:31] Then I was at that struggling point with I need to scale, how do I scale? So, at that point, I thought the solution was going to be another business partner, and because he, they had systems and processes in place, and they had a team and they sucked at marketing. I thought, “Perfect, we’ll work together.” On paper, again, it should have worked, but it just in theory, it didn’t work. That was a very amicable split. We’re still good mates. Ended really amicably, and we just unwound things really easily.

Adele Martin: [11:57] Then I was forced to then look at the business again to go, “I want to scale, the achiever in me wants to scale, how can I scale without killing myself? How can I do it?” That’s when I came up with the model that I’ve come up with now which is scalable, does it involve me doing heaps of work? It is a scalable model that we’ve been able to build, and happy to go into how we’ve done that, but yeah, that’s where I’m at now where it’s forced. We’re a second exit, all these bad stuff that happens that forces you to then make a change, but yeah, from that we’ve launched an online savings program, we’ve been able to change our model, we’ve got virtual, there’s lots of cool stuff we’ve done as a result of that.

Fraser Jack: [12:34] Great. Now, we might just ask to give a bit more about that. Before we do, you mentioned you’ve had a couple of business separations if you like. I mean, they’re obviously pretty difficult conversations to have with the business partner and somebody who may not see it coming, or may not feel the same way or anything, but how did you go about those conversations? How did you bring yourself to that? I mean, it’s a fairly strong will type thing to do, to bring to the table.

Adele Martin: [12:57] Yeah, to be honest, I lost a lot of sleep both times. It actually made me quite anxious and sick. The first time, though, I was stuck. I knew I wasn’t in the right thing, but I didn’t know how to get out. I think I was only like 25 or 26 or something. I didn’t know how to get out. How was I going to get out? I actually worked with an emotional intelligence coach. Again, I’m a massive fan of coaches, and that’s why I believe in financial advice. I just know you get results quicker if you work with a coach.

Adele Martin: [13:21] I worked with an emotional intelligence coach, a guy called Brian Fitzpatrick, and he works a lot with financial advisors, and he just was able to say a couple of things to help me get unstuck, and I remember it was a little coffee shop that we were at and he said, “Adele, tomorrow you’re going to hand in your notice.” I said, “Oh, but I don’t even know where I’m going to be an advisor at, I don’t even know what licensee I’m going to be. My licensee may even let me, and I’m going to put my notice in tomorrow?”

Adele Martin: [13:47] He goes, “Adele, if you put your notice in tomorrow, the universe will open up and it will support you.” I was like, “This guy is full crazy, I am not doing that” and I felt like I was going to vomit, but I did it the next day, I put my notice in, and just like he said, very, very quickly I put my notice in, not doing this in the future, I had a friend that was an accountant say, “Hey, you know what? I have an accounting firm, I’ve got a spare desk, why don’t you just move in here? I’ll charge you bugger all, you can move in our office. We can have a referral relationship, and you can borrow my receptionist, she can [inaudible 00:14:21] clients.”

Adele Martin: [14:22] And so yeah, he was right, very quickly when you make the right decision, the hard decisions, the universe has your back and supports you, so I am into a little bit of that woo-woo stuff now which I certainly wasn’t before, but yeah, just having to embrace those difficult conversations and learning that it’s okay to have these difficult conversations. The second time was much, much easier, still not pleasant, but much, much easier the second time.

Fraser Jack: [14:47] Yeah great. Now, Brian’s a wonderful person, I really like Brian, he’s great, but he’s absolutely right. You ripped the Band-Aid off, call it, put your hand up. Any learnings from that period I guess?

Adele Martin: [14:58] I guess I wish I would have done it sooner, and I wish I would have left immediately. It was quite a messy process in the end, and very little talking now. I think if I would have had the time again, I would have had somebody else facilitate the exit, because we really had, I always felt like an us and them. I always felt like I was in a conflict, and being only young at the time, and not having a lot of experience, I felt yeah, that to me wasn’t a great experience. I would have really liked someone else facilitating it.

Adele Martin: [15:30] And it wasn’t a lawyer, I mean, a lawyer’s charging like 400-440 an hour or something. I just needed someone to help with the communication, to help with what was fair. The second time I went to a business partnership, I had that, I had someone help facilitate the entry and the exit was a lot smoother. This person wasn’t a solicitor, they were just someone to help with that communication, and I wish if I had my time again, I would have had someone either bipartial facilitating that conversation, because at times it did not get very pleasant. It got quite an unpleasant period.

Adele Martin: [15:59] When I [inaudible 00:16:00] limit, it was quite pleasant, I wish I would have had somebody else neutral helping us talking to each other.

Fraser Jack: [16:05] Thank you for sharing that part. Don’t want to relive it, thank you for sharing it.

Adele Martin: [16:08] That’s all right.

Fraser Jack: [16:09] Let’s move forward in time a little bit to the last 6-12 months. You’ve got some great and different and progressive and futuristic pioneering, if you like, business model. Your clients, you interact with your clients in a different way. Let’s talk about that, your clients, and how they work with you in your business.

Adele Martin: [16:29] Yeah, so most of my clients find me virtually, so online, largely Facebook. But also through Snapchat. I have clients Snapchat me and stuff as well, and now Instagram as well. But largely they’ll find me through Facebook. We have an online community, a Facebook group, we’ve been able to develop, and that’s where they see who is inside that group before they take action and become a client.

Adele Martin: [16:50] Once they take action and become a client, there’s two ways I help them. One is I help them save money, and that’s the very first thing that we do. Often people are earning good money, they’re not sure where it’s going, and they just, sometimes they come to me and they think that if they buy an investment property, if I had a dollar for everyone that told me that, buy an investment property, that will solve all their problems.

Adele Martin: [17:07] I’m like, “Actually, how about we just get rid of these credit card debts first? It’s costing you like 18% interest rate. How about we start with a foundation and actually get some savings in place? Because property’s going to actually cost money, let’s actually look at that stuff.” I start with savings. Now savings, if you’re doing it one on one which is what I was doing when I first started the business, is expensive for you as an advisor’s time.

Adele Martin: [17:27] Often people don’t have the money to be able to pay you for the time that you are investing. So, often people substitute that with insurance commission and stuff like that. I wanted it to be a standard loan service, I also wanted something to be scalable. What we were able to do is take every conversation that I had one on one, and put it into an eLearning program. We actually broke up the budgeting process and all the stuff that I’d been doing one on one, and put it into modules, so the clients could watch at their own pace.

Adele Martin: [17:54] That has been amazing, and it’s given me so much time back. Within the first six or seven months I think, we’d signed up about 40 clients into that program, that paid for this program, without me having to see them one on one. Those guys still get importantly, incredible, amazing results, still are paying off their credit card, but then I don’t have to see them one on one. Now, those clients are now transitioning into us doing full financial planning clients.

Fraser Jack: [18:20] Great. There’s two parts of that I just want to unpack a little bit. The first bit is the Facebook group. Now, you have started and you’ve facilitated a Facebook group. Tell me how you went about doing that, and what’s the sort of things you do inside that group?

Adele Martin: [18:35] Yeah. That came off the back of, people wanted to build up that trust with me, seeing me multiple times before they’d make a decision. And also see that I was a real person. So, I knew that, and I wanted to hang out where my clients hang out which was on Facebook. I went to FinCon a couple of years ago, so I already had a little group going, but when I went to FinCon a couple of years ago, I saw a lady there called The Budgetnista I think her name is, and I saw she had like 20,000 or 200,000, some crazy amount of people in her group.

Adele Martin: [19:01] I saw some of the stuff that she was doing in her group, and so after then I was like, “Right, I’m upping this, we’re doing more stuff” and so off the back of that is when we really ramped it up. Inside of there, we do things like the financial book club, we do different challenges, so we did a meditation challenge, we did a three-day meditation challenge inside there as well. We did lots of different stuff, we had tight ass Tuesday where people shared their best savings tips on a Tuesday, and once a month we pick a winner.

Adele Martin: [19:29] Lots of cool stuff and interaction we get. People were often asking questions and supporting each other, as well, inside there. So, yeah, that group is really, and then, when I want to have a webinar off the back of that, invite people to learn more about money or learn more about what I do, I’m pitching that to people who already know, like, and trust me, and so then you have a much better conversion into our savings program and then into our financial program, because they’ve seen me multiple times.

Fraser Jack: [19:54] Great. Just with the content of that group, is that all you or is it people in the group are sharing and creating that content?

Adele Martin: [20:03] Yeah, people in the group, once you build up that community and you build up that safe space, people share. They share all the time, savings tips or ask questions and other people support. Especially on the childcare changes, that was something that came in, people had a lot of questions about. The group was really able to support and help each other which is what you want in that community. There is something for advisors doing in that group, yes, you want to be in there, but you want them to still want to see you one on one.

Adele Martin: [20:29] You can’t be answering 5000 questions all the time. You give value, but you want to make sure, like I would never, ever tell them, we’re careful obviously of advice stuff, so we would never tell them what super fund or anything like that. Be careful, make sure you’re not stepping over your advice barrier, but I use it as a way to be able to educate, add value, and yeah. It really has now the community is really supporting itself a lot.

Fraser Jack: [20:52] Great, so that’s your freemium product if you like.

Adele Martin: [20:54] That’s right.

Fraser Jack: [20:55] And then you do a webinar to those people that already know, like, and trust you, and on that webinar, you sell/promote your coaching.

Adele Martin: [21:03] Yeah. I promote the Money Buddy program.

Fraser Jack: [21:05] Sorry, the Money Buddy, yep, which is your initial, your lower level product.

Adele Martin: [21:09] It is the lower level product. That is a $500 once off payment, or we also offer payment plans as well. That is a very entry level price. We’ll probably be bumping that up to close to 1000. We’re working on a few things to be able to get that up higher, so yeah, that is where it’s currently standing, and for those guys, and then once they’re in that, they get access to a private Facebook group as well, where we are more active in, and so they’re a private Facebook group, and we’re running training webinars on the software and stuff like that inside that group as well.

Adele Martin: [21:41] We actually use, we have re-badged Moneysoft, so we use Moneysoft as part of this program, as well as Teachable, and so these guys get access to that. Plus on top of that, they get this private Facebook group as well, and that’s a chance for us to show them how to use the software, to run some [inaudible 00:21:55], but just today, you can add your super fund, how do you add your super fund? Elsa and my team’s done a little video showing how everyone can add their super fund to it. There’s little things like that where we’re adding value, or it’s coming up to Christmas time, let’s talk about how we can start to plan for presents, let’s have a little bit of a present budget, or something like that.

Adele Martin: [22:11] It’s all around that savings, and then we position them from that to then becoming full financial planning clients.

Fraser Jack: [22:17] Great. Just in that zone there, completely scalable because you’re not giving them any personal comments, all you’re doing is providing video content and content and conversation in a group.

Adele Martin: [22:27] Correct.

Fraser Jack: [22:27] It doesn’t matter how big the group gets, you don’t actually have to do anymore work, fantastic. From there, you offer them the personalized service if they want to have one on ones with you, or one of your advisors, or?

Adele Martin: [22:41] Correct. I do the onboarding calls, so I figure out whether the right fit. And you know what’s great? Because you have all the data in there, you know whether they’re going to be the right fit. You know who is saving money. You know who’s engaged, they’re the ones using it. If they’re not using it, I can also use that as a, “Hey, I noticed you’re not using it. Do you want some one on one support?”

Adele Martin: [22:58] Even if they’re not using it, that can be a trigger to have a one on one conversation, so certainly some of our doctors, if they won’t have the best intention to do it themselves, they’re probably not going to. So they end up being one on one clients, and then from a saving money, I can see you’re saving money, let’s have a conversation about what goals you want to do with this money. Then you have that one on one conversation which I do that fit, and then see if they’re a good fit for us, for our financial planning program.

Fraser Jack: [23:22] Great. That’s your full financial planning program. It goes from the savings program directly to the full financial planning program.

Adele Martin: [23:30] Correct. I don’t have any differentiating service package on our ... I used to, and I used to, if people wanted to come in, they just wanted to look at super, I’d just do super. But what I learned is, I didn’t want to be the sort of person that just did a little bit, and also I found that just doing a little bit of super uncovered like 5000 other issues. Like their insurances or their estate planning or their cash flow, could they put more into super? Who knows? For me, just concentrating on one area, I didn’t feel like I was really giving great advice and value, and so I really concentrate on if you’re coming onboard as a client, we’re doing everything or we’re doing nothing.

Adele Martin: [24:02] I’ve done that, and clients understand that and they understand it’s a minimum 12 months commitment that they make, and then there’s all the advice areas that we need to be able to work through.

Fraser Jack: [24:10] Yep, so a plan’s a plan, and a plan costs X, and we don’t do half plans.

Adele Martin: [24:15] Nah, exactly. No half plans. Because to do someone’s super, it’s so much work if they come in and, “Just consolidate my super.” It’s so much work and it’s really hard to, for them to say, “Is that how much it’s going to cost?” It also unravels all those different areas. For us, we just made a decision that unless they were going to do everything, we weren’t going to work with them.

Fraser Jack: [24:34] Great. And so you’re doing the goals based conversations with them, setting goals?

Adele Martin: [24:39] Correct. We start with goals. If someone comes to us and they say, “We just want you to do some investing,” we always ask what’s the reason? For us, we’re very clear that we are goals based advisors, we concentrate on what’s important to you, and then we figure out how you’re going to get there. Investing might be part of that, or it might not. We’re very clear on that’s what our focus is, which is why we had a relationship with our clients.

Adele Martin: [24:59] We are relationship advisors, we have a relationship, very much we’re goals based, and we’re constantly looking at goals that we’re working towards which as an advisor is very enjoyable. When I was working with [inaudible 00:25:10], goals, working towards the end wasn’t as exciting as working towards someone having their first baby, buying their house, having that dream holiday, having a career change, and you being partly responsible for that.

Adele Martin: [25:25] I get a lot of kick out of helping them with their goals, because when they buy their first house, it feels like I’ve done it again. Yeah, it is very exciting and a privilege to be part of helping them with that.

Fraser Jack: [25:30] Yeah, I love the idea that when somebody hits a goal, you get the good vibes and the good feelings about it, too. I think that’s brilliant. Do you find that because you’ve already got this longer relationship with them, you’ve been helping them with their I guess removing financial stress around the money side of it, do you find that that’s easier than to elicit those goals or have those goals conversations? Because sometimes people can be really standoffish or difficult to actually come up with goals.

Adele Martin: [26:02] Yeah, so I think that’s where you have to make sure you’ve got some pre-framing around it. They’ve maybe seen me speak about it before, or we extend them a little video explaining what we’re going to be doing in the actual session. They’re not dear in a headlights, “What are your goals?” I think giving them some framework and helping them, giving some background, the reason why you’re doing it, explain your reason before they get to a meeting, and give them a little wishlist, and get them to fill in their wishlist well before they come to see us.

Adele Martin: [26:29] Because it’s often the first time they’ve started to think about it. That’s one of the very first things that we do is goals, and we also have a values discussion as well. We help them highlight what are their top five values, and then we see an alliance of their goals. Because often they might be trying to save for something and they’ve failed several times, like let’s say they’re saving for a house and they can’t figure out why they can’t save. They can save for a holiday, well that’s because they actually don’t value security.

Adele Martin: [26:51] It’s going to be impossible for them to save, so we have a discussion about values and we have a discussion about goals, and we see how the two can align.

Fraser Jack: [26:59] Great. Now, you obviously need to use a little bit of tech along the way, because you’re doing virtual meetings and you’re doing all these other things, and you’re doing when you say, a checklist and asking questions, you use quite a bit of other tech around that.

Adele Martin: [27:12] We do use a lot of tech. We use Infusionsoft, so Infusionsoft is our CRM. We use it, it can send out forms to clients, it can send out emails automatically, so we use Infusionsoft to help automate a lot of our processes around meetings and returning homework and all that sort of stuff. If you can send out a form to a client, if they haven’t hit submit, it sends them a reminder until they actually do it. Yeah, that was a big thing about being lean as one of our values. I want to look for ways, technology, we can do stuff smarter and be lean, which means you have more money to be able to reinvest into the business as well.

Adele Martin: [27:45] So yeah, Infusionsoft is one that we use. Obviously online bookings, I think online bookings are an absolute must. Think about your clients and how you want to make things easier for them. My hairdresser has online bookings, I’m really surprised that our advisors don’t have online bookings. Yeah, we have an online booking system, we use Calendly. I know there’s lots of other ones out there, but we like Calendly.

Adele Martin: [28:05] We also use obviously Facebook groups, Facebook Lives, Instagram stories, we use Zoom for our meetings, so Zoom, we can see the clients, they can see us, they can see our screen, and so it really, even for our clients that are local, they’re actually using that Zoom option for convenience, don’t have to worry about parking. I’m trying to remove all the friction around the advice process as well.

Adele Martin: [28:27] Maybe people don’t want to come and see you because it takes them 40 minutes, they have to wait in traffic, they can’t find a carpark and it’s stressful. What about if they could just do it in their office at lunchtime via a Zoom meeting? Then you can record the session, they can watch it back, so yeah, we use technology to remove friction for clients, but we also use it to make our life easier as well.

Fraser Jack: [28:47] Yeah, and because you’re so heavy on Facebook groups, you also use ManyChat as well.

Adele Martin: [28:52] Yeah, so we’ve just started using ManyChat probably about six months ago. So for everybody else, ManyChat is, it basically sticks on top of Facebook messenger. For all intents and purposes, it looks like Facebook messenger. There’s a couple of ways you can use ManyChat, so we use it when someone enters the group, so our group, we can send them a link and they can complete a little survey, and we can learn a little bit more about them. Are they single? Are they married and have kids? Are they renting? What are they saving? We ask them a couple of questions.

Adele Martin: [29:17] Very interactive, so clients want to do it, new people want to do it. That information stores in our Infusionsoft, in our database, and we have all that information saved, so when we want to do a particular campaign, or a newsletter or something, we know who we’re sending it to. We don’t want to send someone single, that doesn’t have a family, articles about having kids or about education funding or anything like that. It let’s us segment the database better as well.

Adele Martin: [29:42] But ManyChat, we also use on our website. So clients can come onto our website, so I’ve done a personal brand business, so that’s another thing I learned off the back of some of my studies is the personal brand business, and then go off the back of it, so everything goes to AdeleMartin.com. We have ManyChat set up on there, so clients come onboard, they can have almost a little conversation, a new client, or an existing client, and they can select and book in their time and stuff like that.

Adele Martin: [30:03] Lots of ways we can use ManyChat. You can also it for Facebook competitions as well, if you have a Facebook competition, so you can use it there. You probably would have seen some people on Facebook saying yes in the comments if you want to win something, or some sort of prize draw. That then triggers them coming into your Facebook messenger, and you can have a conversation with them as well. You can use it for competitions, you can use it for booking appointments on your website, you can use it to have conversations with people when they come into your groups.

Fraser Jack: [30:30] Great. Thanks for sharing that. Great business model. Love it. Love it, love it, love it. Now, tell me about a little bit past now, what have you got lined up in the next 6-12, 18 months?

Adele Martin: [30:40] Yeah. We are looking at how we can now take the skills we’ve learned in our savings program and apply them in our financial planning business. How can we make that more scalable, more systemized? So, we’re going to do the same thing. We’re going to have a series of videos that clients watch before the meetings, cut down the amount of time the advisor has to spend in the meeting. The clients still get a great experience, they can watch in the convenience of their own home, but we’re not having to explain what income protection insurance is every time we see a new client.

Adele Martin: [31:06] We’ve cut down the time, help again with profitability. The other reason why I’m doing that, as we’re expanding and growing, I’m also thinking about, “Oh, what is my advisor saying?” I’m thinking about compliance now, because it’s not just me doing it, it’s somebody else. This helps to reduce the compliance with that, because you’ve got the videos, the proof, you can ask clients questions, you can do a little quiz off the back of that to actually test that they’ve understood what they’re doing.

Adele Martin: [31:29] I love it from a compliance point of view, so yeah, we’re using what we’ve done in the savings programs, we’re now applying that to financial planning program. We also, how I’ve been able to expand my time, which is another good thing about having a virtual team, is that you can have the best talent from around the country. We’re at the stage now where we’re looking at, I’m always thinking 6-12 months ahead, we probably need to start looking for another advisor.

Adele Martin: [31:51] Most of the people that I seem to attract are moms, and I say this to everybody else out there, they are often exceptionally bright. Like, I’ll just keep going to Elsa in my team. Elsa has a communications degree, she was in the Navy for 10 years, she’s worked at Ernst & Young, Macquarie Bank, she comes with a wealth of experience and she just wanted to have a job where she could pick up the kids from school, where she could go and do her stuff without having to feel guilty for leaving work.

Adele Martin: [32:18] We have a full flexibility, they can control their hours when they work, and for that reason, we have an exceptionally great team, that really goes above and beyond. That’s how we will continue to scale, is by using people in that casual part time basis, that wants just casual stuff, we’re going to use that around the country and we’re also going to be using videos to stop the amount of time an advisor has to see someone one on one.

Fraser Jack: [32:42] Great. Yeah. Good stuff. Now, tell me about the future. Like, as your business evolves over the future, how do you see the future of advice looking and in the future, the industry looking?

Adele Martin: [32:53] Yeah so future, I’m always living in the future. I definitely think that advisors that aren’t thinking about the goals based advice, that aren’t thinking about almost that life coaching element, I think if they’re not thinking about that, they’re going to get left behind. When I go overseas and I go overseas at least once a year and see some of the cool stuff they’re doing in the states, [inaudible 00:33:11] from the technology and stuff they’re doing, I really worry that in the not too distant future, you’re going to be able to ask Alexa or ask Siri, “Who is the best income protection advisor?” And it’ll know what the policy is for you.

Adele Martin: [33:23] Because they’ll already know all your medical history, already know what jobs you do, already know everything else about you, your family history, and in the not too distant future it’ll be able to spit out. I think we’re going to get definitely more audio and more audio commands. What’s the best super fund? You’ll be able to ask that. It’ll easily be able to tell you, I know a lot of the best players have already invested heavily in that search based voice recognition technology, a lot of those guys are investing heavily in that, and I think that’s the path that we’re going to go towards.

Adele Martin: [33:51] On top of that, I think investments is just going to get more and more automated. I think advisors are putting themselves out there as investment advisors, I think in 10 years’ time they’ll just be left behind. I really think building up your other tools and understanding how to have those life based conversations, those goals based conversations with clients, helping them figure out what’s important to them is a skill that we really need to master, otherwise we’re going to get left behind.

Adele Martin: [34:12] We’ll be the Blockbuster video of the financial planning, and Netflix will out pass us if we’re not on top of this stuff.

Fraser Jack: [34:21] Completely agree. Absolutely. Thank you so much. We’re quickly, we’re probably going a little bit over time, but there you go, I think it’s worth it. I want to finish quickly with a couple of your tips or advice you might give to certain friends. Just imagine that you’re down at a friend’s barbecue, and you’re catching up with a friend and talking to them, and they ask you, “What should I do about seeking financial advice?” What sort of advice do you give to them?

Adele Martin: [34:47] I would say, firstly have a list of criteria that you’re going to choose a financial advisor by. What is your checklist, what are you looking for? I would have that. For me, it is qualifications, how long they’ve been in the industry, it’s who else has used them I can chat to. Really having that list of questions that ... You should do that for every profession. You should do that for everyone, so having that as your list of questions that you should ask.

Adele Martin: [35:10] And then make sure you resonate with them. This is someone you’re going to spend a lot of time with, so I think sometimes some advisors are so serious, and so I think you have to make sure you’re being your authentic self with your advisor, and the clients will naturally mesh with the sort of clients that you want to work. Making sure you’re comfortable with your advisor, you feel comfortable asking questions, and so making sure it’s someone you connect with, because you do have to have quite a personal relationship with them.

Fraser Jack: [35:35] Great, thank you. And quickly, you’ve got a friend of yours who’s a paraplanner, coming through the same career path as yours, what advice are you going to give to that person?

Adele Martin: [35:43] I would say definitely think about the sort of advisor you want to be. Do you want to work with younger people, older people? Think about your [inaudible 00:35:50] niche and have a real niche that you want to work with. I think that makes it easier to be able to scale a business if you have a particular niche, so think about that. Then think about a workplace where you’re actually going to learn lots of stuff, where you’re actually going to get some mentoring, that are doing best practice. Think about that, how you’re going to make that transition.

Adele Martin: [36:07] I think a paraplanner, I mean it’s a pathway that I came through. I think it’s great, because you understand the compliance, you understand the technical aspects, but I think coming from a paraplanner background which is how I went, is a great way to transition to advice.

Fraser Jack: [36:18] Great. Now, I know you speak to a lot of existing advisors with a traditional advice practices, or even accountants or mortgage brokers, other related industries, anyone who’s looking to transition an existing larger business that they’ve always done things a certain way, towards a more modern or new world goals based advice business, what would you say?

Adele Martin: [36:38] I would say firstly it’s a mindset. Often with older advisors, you’ll have them say, “I understand technology” but they often will put all these barriers up. I think firstly, be careful of the stories and language that you’re telling yourself. Because if advisors have told themselves it’s hard, there’s too much compliance, there’s too much red tape, it’s not profitable, can’t work with young clients, if you keep telling yourself those stories, you actually start to believe it.

Adele Martin: [37:02] So, often I think we have to be very, very careful of the stories that we’re telling ourselves. Being cautious of that, and I think that’s going to be largely a lot of the unblocking, and then if you don’t know how to do something, just keep asking how. “How can I do this?” Not that I can’t. As soon as you use the word can’t, your brain actually shuts down all the different options and you stop searching for solutions. So, rather than, “I can’t,” look for solutions.

Adele Martin: [37:23] I also would say, just take extreme ownership and don’t blame others for the situation. I think so many times people blame the Royal Commission, they blame whatever, or the association, “The FDA should be doing” ... And I’m thinking, “No, you’ve just got to take responsibility and ownership and do stuff yourself and take responsibility for what’s happening.” I’d say be cautious of that language, take extreme responsibility, and don’t look to blame others.

Fraser Jack: [37:46] Great. “How can I do this?” Fantastic. Good advice. Now, if you could go back in time, and give yourself some advice, go back to any particular time, where would you go and what would you say to yourself?

Adele Martin: [37:58] I think I’d tell myself when I was younger, “Don’t worry, you don’t have to have it all figured out. It’ll somehow work out.” Feeling like you have to have everything sorted, everything together, you don’t, and actually seeing failures as a good thing. I would go back at each point where something hasn’t worked and actually see that as a blessing. So, I can see a classic example now, when I was at university, I actually had a question around finance, and I went to my finance lecturer, and asking the question about the assignment, it was a horrible assignment, everyone was having troubles with it. Me, happy to ask questions, he told me that I would never get a job in finance.

Adele Martin: [38:31] I was like, “Oh.” I said, “Well, I already have a job in finance.” He said, “I pity your clients.” Now, that turning point could have went two ways. I could have went, “Oh no, I’m not going to be very good, I shouldn’t be doing this.” Or I could have taken that as a great opportunity, which I did, to go, “I am good, I know what I’m doing.” I think that’s what I would tell my younger self. Each of those times when those little events happened that feel like the end of the world at the time, to actually see it as a massive opportunity to learn and to see failure, two failed business partnerships, as an amazing thing. Because each one of those forced me to do something.

Fraser Jack: [39:08] And I congratulate you for doing that, because certainly when you’re running through your journey, every time something’s happened, you’ve just certainly given your lemons and you’ve made lemonade. It’s been an amazing story to listen to. Thank you, I really appreciate that. Just wanted to ask you, we’re going to video some people in their offices as well, but make them available through the Goals Based Advice Academy. Would you be willing to do a video with us?

Adele Martin: [39:30] Absolutely. Happy to be able to help. I love what you guys are doing, so happy to be able to support.

Fraser Jack: [39:34] Great. Thank you. Also, I know you’re working on some stuff at the moment, how can people find you or get hold of you, and find out what you’re doing?

Adele Martin: [39:41] Yeah, so I developed a Facebook group called Marketing for Financial Advisors. If you just Google that, if you just search that in Facebook, it’ll come up. That’s where I really am passionate about marketing and getting that message out there, because I know if we can improve our marketing and skills, we can get the message out there and we can help more people. I know me as a lone voice doing that is great, but if we all do it collective as an industry, it’s much better.

Adele Martin: [40:02] We’ve got that group, Marketing for Financial Advisors. It’s the best place where they can share best practice marketing ideas, anyone, and I think there’s enough clients out there for all of us to be able to share best practice marketing ideas.

Fraser Jack: [40:15] Yeah, it’s a great group, I encourage people to jump on that. I just want to say, we’re running out of time, but thank you so much, so, so much Adele, for coming on the show today. It’s been an absolute pleasure getting to know you a little bit better.

Adele Martin: [40:25] You’re most welcome. Thank you for having me.

Fraser Jack: [40:29] Thank you. If you haven’t already, I’d love you to subscribe to the podcast on your podcast platform of choice, and to continue the conversation, head over to our social media channels. We’ll catch you next time.


Disclaimer: This document is a transcription obtained through a third party. There is no claim to accuracy on the content provided in this document, and divergence from the audio file are to be expected. As a transcription, this is not a legal document in itself, and should not be considered binding to advice intelligence, but merely a convenience for reference.