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Podcast Transcript

Episode 28, Season 1

Bringing your value and I.P. to your service proposition, with Vicki Writer


Vicki Writer: [00:00:00] Advisors are going to have to get a very different service proposition that they can clearly articulate and charge for, and having been offered actual services for such a long time but also been researching human behaviour motivation, and the development of human potential I’ve started to unpack my own IP around what I know about all those things and all of the research is pointing towards an integrated approach.

Fraser Jack: [00:00:25] Hello and welcome to the Goals Based Advice podcast. Where I have conversations with pioneers of the new world of financial advice. I’m your host Fraser Jack and I want to thank you so much for tuning in today. Let’s give a big shout out to all the feedback reviews i had so far. If you’re enjoying this podcast please help me spread the word and share it with friends and colleagues, and lead me a review on ITunes to whichever platform you access the podcast. Also I would like to thank our supporting partner advice intelligence for powering this podcast. You can book a demo directly from a advice intelligence dot com. In this episode I chat with Vicky Writer, who runs her own coaching and presenting business working with financial advisors on all sorts of things but mostly on soft skills. Vicky is trained in neurolinguistic programming. And in this chat we went really deep on some of the strategies that advisors should know when working with their clients. We also chatted about speaking and presentations she’s doing, and some of the strategies that she uses to deliver competent presentations. Well worth considering if you’re planning presentations to any groups or any size. Let’s get stuck into our conversation right now.

Fraser Jack: [00:01:41] Welcome to the show Vicky.

Vicki Writer: [00:01:43] Thanks Fraser, thank you.

Fraser Jack: [00:01:45] You’re very welcome. Now tell us about exactly what you are doing at the moment.

Vicki Writer: [00:01:49] At the moment, very varied, I’m doing obviously a lot of work in the advice space really working with advisors around, I’m just kind of extending their thinking about what is possible in the 21st century. What this service model really needs to look like. But I’m also doing a lot of work in the health well-being space. So starting to actually now dabble into talking through different strategies and concepts with GPs and surgeons, particularly in the world of health, wealth and wellbeing, the combination of those three elements. Yeah.

Fraser Jack: [00:02:19] Well certainly a busy time for you, with you know as you said a lot of advisors trying to work exactly what they’re doing at the moment.

Vicki Writer: [00:02:26] Yeah absolutely, I think you know given everything that’s kind of going on in the industry; all of the regulation changes, which is pretty much been constant now for a number of years. I think there’s a lot of people that are kind of looking for different ways, different solutions, different kind of packaging ideas that they can start to kind of integrate into their existing service offering, to really extend out what it is that might be possible in terms of what they deliver back to their clients.

Fraser Jack: [00:02:51] Yep. Now you are running your own business now; have been for four odd years I suppose, and then but before that you would have done a lot of work with the corporates and working with advisors in wearing your corporate hat.

Vicki Writer: [00:03:04] Yes I was, 25 years in financial services. My background is extensive in that area, and predominately, I guess my background is probably made up of a couple of key areas; one is originally started off kind of heading up ops areas. My background is traditionally risk, you know underwriting claims, all of those kinds of things. Then I spent about 12 years and distribution. So running kind of business development teams, where really a lot of the focus of those roles was going out well with advisors around growth strategies, and developing centres of influence, and really looking at how they could start to capitalize on their client base and really work with them around some strategic planning. And then in 2015, I set up my own business called the 360 degree solution, which kind of lead me and enabled me I guess, to consult back into large corporate companies. I specifically did a fair bit of work with MetLife actually around really looking at building out their retail proposition, and giving them a strategy. So they kind of got to a piece, but ultimately Yeah working with advisors around growth. Growth, service proposition, extending out what they do in terms of their delivery to their client base.

Fraser Jack: [00:04:11] Yeah and one of the things that you’ve always been passionate and I’ve been too to is around that language and how what are the languages where users advisors and what are the languages the clients here.

Vicki Writer: [00:04:21] Yeah well I’m obviously trained in you know neurolinguistic programming, so communication and influence, and persuasion is something that I’m very passionate about. Something that I tend to know a fair bit about, given my background around human behaviour and triggers. So I’ve done a lot of work with advisors around soft skills, you know how do you recognise someone’s preferred learning style. How do you then have enough behavioural flexibility to be able to adapt what it is you do, and how you communicate in order to enter the model of the world of the person that you’re communicating to. Because traditionally the way that we, as humans communicate is traditionally in our own learning preference style, which may or may not be, aligned to what the customer’s preference style is. So if you’re going to maximize communication, and maximize your outcomes, and really shorten the sales cycle to be honest, then it’s really about becoming aware of motivation triggers and language, and being able to adapt your style. So yeah, I’ve done a fair bit of coaching and a bit speaking in that area to help, yeah.

Fraser Jack: [00:05:21] Yeah, the behavioural flexibility piece is interesting for me; a lot of the great advisors that are very good at what they do, they know that chameleon type person, they can just adapt to any situation and not get pressured under that. A lot of that comes with experience but how can somebody learn to do that. That behavioural flexibility quickly.

Vicki Writer: [00:05:40] Yeah, look I think that you know there’s probably a whole piece around really looking at kind of the way that people process and store information; and there’s a huge piece around neuroscience in that piece that I mentioned before neurolinguistic programming. Because you know we all are different, everyone’s got different life experiences, and they come from different worlds, and you know how did you initially kind of recognise what someone’s preferred style may be; and it’s ultimately through their character or their language, the words that they use. Someone who is typically highly visual is going to use words that are visual, say, look, show, reveal. You can start to pick up people’s patterns by tuning in to, that was an auditory word tuning in to, the way that people actually speak, so getting conscious for listening in terms of finding people’s patterns, and then being able to adapt your style to be able to match their preferred communication style or preference.

Fraser Jack: [00:06:38] Yeah I’m a little bit auditory myself, I don’t mind the tuning into conversation, obviously that why I make podcast, maybe.

Vicki Writer: [00:06:45] Podcast, exactly. It’s really interesting, Fraser in all of my work I’ve done around the country and even overseas in trying to uncover what advisors preference is in terms of their communication style, and it’s what we call auditory digital which is a form of auditory. But it’s about detail, a lots of information and when you look at kind of what advisors are, you know, having to do in terms of the detail and the statements of advice, and everything kind of goes with their job. That’s not surprising. But you know, what I’m kind of trying to get advisors and other people who recognise is, most of the clients they dealing with, are going to have a different preference style to them. So how did they one recognise that, what the primary preference is of the person that they’re working with, and then how do they adapt their style to be able to enter into someone’s model of the world. I mean 60 percent of people are going to be highly visual, so if you have a detailed kind of orientation where we have a tendency to kind of go into lots of information, and overwhelm people with lots of detail, that’s not going to be suitable someone who is highly visual. They’re going to be into images, and flow charts, and process mapping, and whiteboards, and colour, and lots of pictures. So there’s you know, there’s a lot of practice I guess that advisors can do to be able to work and adapt,t and work on that to be able to maximize their outcomes.

Fraser Jack: [00:08:09] Yeah when I think of this, you know highly visual aspects of most of the clients that we’re having conversations with every day. And when, you know when you are with them and you draw a picture, and they grasp hold of that; and then we’re going to present advice documents to them, and you know in a language that has hardly any visual look pictures.

Vicki Writer: [00:08:31] Yeah, and it’s you know, and I think it probably it’s just around the set up that a lot of the document, you know being able to present the initial concepts at a very high level is being able, to you know potentially tap into that whole visual element. But then explaining they are going to receive a whole lot of detail, that is just part of what needs to be provided to them in terms of being able to deliver quality advice. But I think in order to get engaged to clients, and to get a client engaged in what it is they’re that the advisor is actually delivering, there needs to be their preference style and their learning. They you know they preferred learning style needs to be matched and the advisor needs to have enough behavioural flexibility in order to be able to enter the client’s model with the world.

Fraser Jack: [00:09:12] Yes, this is the beginning of the conversation isn’t it. Matching, call it mirroring and matching what the client’s doing and understanding, and trying to understand what their model of the world is. And then so, after you’ve done that and then you can start to learn their behavioural styles that you mentioned before, of course it was not only going straight through the behavioural styles.

Vicki Writer: [00:09:33] Oh look, you know there’s a whole range of, you know when I start thinking kind of behaviours, I mean everybody has got different papers based on their own kind of experience and things, like that. So it’s a bit of a hard one to kind of dabble into in, because you know there’s obviously a lot that goes with it with behaviour but the way that I kind of start to think through you know behavioural flexibility, is that there’s really a quadrant of four different kind of characteristics. One is, kind of the you know the very assertive kind of decisive characteristics. In extreme if you start using those kind of characteristics in extreme, you can often be perceived as being quite aggressive or even angry. Opposite to that is the very soft gentle, very good listener, completely opposite to the one I just described. And then there’s you know there’s a characteristic of actually having credibility and knowledge, really knowing this stuff, and then opposite to that is a is a characteristic or a behaviour piece, that really sits in what I call distracter and they’re you know they’re kind of spontaneous. It’s an element of spontaneity and it’s that quick wittedness and it’s about being funny. See in terms of behavioural flexibility, depending upon the person that we’re working with, depending upon circumstance, we are going to have to have enough behavioural flexibility to adapt our style to mood in and out of each one of those four quadrants. Depending upon the person that we’re working with, in the situation that we are confronted with. And I teach advisors and others, that the way to develop those areas is through extracurricular activities. There are things that we can do in life, that would give us a different range of skills. So if you wanted to develop assertiveness and confidence, then you potentially look at the kind of martial arts, kind of classes because they are all about body posture and about decisiveness and being confident. If you had too much of that, and you really needed to develop the kind of softer side, your listening skills, then that’s perhaps doing some volunteer work, doing meals on wheels, you know sitting on a suicide hotline where you can’t actually say anything; all you’re doing is really helping people. If it’s about building credibility and knowledge, then that’s university degrees, it’s really educating yourself, writing articles, and if you want to deliver client presentations with no notes and actually be quite spontaneous, and that’s about going and engaging in activities like acting, or drama, or serious sports. So you know, this is the part that we actually never get taught, you find out what areas you like, you can identify yourself what areas you perhaps might want to develop but then it kind of stops there and no one really gives you the strategy as to how to do that. But for those that want to engage and develop their range of behaviour across those four areas, there are activities in life that you can participate in, that would naturally give you those skills.

Fraser Jack: [00:12:12] That’s fantastic. I see that as a really good way you know, working on yourself before then working on. You know what you going to do to a new client’s presentations.

Vicki Writer: [00:12:21] Yeah exactly.

Fraser Jack: [00:12:23] Yeah. Thanks for that. Now, moving on now are those behavioural styles if you like, because sometimes we are going to be faced with clients that are in differing behavioural styles, you know, where might be somebody who is a quiet husband or wife, or a couple and funny and one is quite assertive and the other one is obviously taking the introvert role, so you’ve got to be adapted to both styles within the same meeting.

Vicki Writer: [00:12:49] Yeah, that’s right I mean you know you obviously have to build rapport with both people that you’ve got there. And one of the ways that we can build rapport is by, as you mentioned, matching and mirroring words or predicates, the way that they communicate but also kind of body language. And so we had this kind of scenario where what we want to do is kind of enter the model of the world by potentially starting to mirror some of their body language in their language. And then you can slowly start to lead them out of where they kind of are naturally positioned in to another style by chat, slowly kind of leading them out through again your own kind of language. So yeah the basis of rapport is, you know people that like each other are like each other. And there’s kind of a method to why that’s a saying. So if you can present yourself as actually being quite similar to the person that you’re working with, the chances of them actually liking you, and relating to you, and engaging with you are obviously a lot higher. If you look at some of the persuasion statistics, the people that are very good around influence are those that have done research on the people that they’re working with and really understand their values. And what’s important to them, and then to find a common level of liking. Find something that you know about them that you have in common, and start to really kind of position that whole piece that you actually have something that you can talk about. People who are like each other, like each other.

Fraser Jack: [00:14:19] Well said. Now if you look at the learnings styles around, you know if somebody is visual or kinaesthetic. I relate it to, not just their learning style but you know how they, how they learn, how they remember and how they can transfer that information back, or what they will remember about the conversation. Could you just go through those styles and give a bit of an overview of what they are.

Vicki Writer: [00:14:41] Yeah, so you know typically we have four; there’s three major learning or communication preferences; the first one is visual. You know these are the people that will use visual predicates as I mentioned before like you know, say, look, show and reveal. And these are the people that are usually highly organized. You can you can start to sense who they may be by the way that they dress, these very bright colours, they’re very well organized, and they’re going to be the people that respond to you know whiteboards, pictures, collage, drawings, high level kind of concepts. You’ve got auditory, which are you know the people that actually enjoy chatting, love doing podcasts and you know speaking, and kind of educating from a verbal perspective; they’re going to use words that have an auditory kind of thing. Like, it rings the bell, you know tune in, Let’s talk it through, and then you’ve got obviously the kinaesthetic piece, which are the people that actually enjoy doing, participating, getting involved. They going to use ‘doing’ type words, so grasp, get a hold of, let me touch that, you know feel it all. They really into their feelings, and then you have the auditory digital piece, which I spoke about before, which is around detail. Lots of information, lots of detail, kind of process orientated, and auditory digital is a subset of auditory. So we want to kind of connect and understand what someone’s primary preference is, and then adapt our style to be able to enter their model of the world. But when it comes to memory and recall, you know one of the best things that we could do to actually remember things, is to actually learn a concept through our primary preference, and then reinforce the learning through the other preferences. So if you are a visual person, you are best to learn something through pictures and diagrams, and lots of colour, and then to be able to recall that and remember it; a great thing to do would be to going to teach that concept to someone else and actually talk it through, which would be the auditory. And then maybe even you know, do something physical, whether or not that’s actually put it into practice by actually typing it out, or getting up and doing role plays, or whatever that might be. But actually reinforcing the learnings through the other two styles is how you remember.

Fraser Jack: [00:16:55] That’s incredible, yeah I haven’t really thought about how the best way to, for that long term memory to be able to go well, okay well, you know trying the other learning styles.

Vicki Writer: [00:17:05] Yeah absolutely, look the best way to learn something is to actually teach it to others. So for all the advisors that are going to have to go back to university or you know educate themselves, that perhaps have not studied for a very long period of time. That can be a strategy that they can deploy in their own life and applied to the study. Learn three primary preference and then reinforce the learnings by going and teaching what you learnt to someone else. And then overlaying that with the kinaesthetic piece, which is you know the doing piece, putting it into action, that will enhance and really supercharge the way that they are able to recall.

Fraser Jack: [00:17:43] You mentioned earlier that nearly about 60 percent of people are visual. Do you know what the percentages are for auditory in them.

Vicki Writer: [00:17:49] I think It’s about kind of 40 percent or so. So the visuals definitely are the highest. And look this is the interesting thing. So our preferences can almost, you know we all move in and out of each one of those four preferences. We don’t just stay in the one style but we will tend to have a preference from one to another. So you know over time like anything, it can actually change, you know, one year you might do a questionnaire that kind of indicates that your highly visual and you’ve got elements of the others going on, but then you know in a year or two time you might kind of start to shift that but, ultimately everyone has got something going on in each of those kind of areas. But we will have a preference to one to the other.

Fraser Jack: [00:18:37] I’m wondering how deep we go with this chat, whether we bring it in like an eye pattern into it, or

Vicki Writer: [00:18:42] An iPad?

Fraser Jack: [00:18:44] Eye pattern, like looking where their clients are looking.

Vicki Writer: [00:18:47] Oh yeah, yes you can use eye patterns to start to detect someone’s preference style. You know typically people that look up are going to have a high visual kind of preference because you’re either constructing something in visualizing something for the future. Or, you’re going into a recall piece where you actually want to remember something from your past, yesterday or last week, so you tend to either look up, you know, left or right, then the auditory pieces, kind of you know, from side to side, which is again recall or constructions, thinking about what you’re going to say or recalling what you have previously said. And then down to your left and right, are accessing these feelings which is kinaesthetic, and then you have that auditory digital piece which is about the soft dialogue and the talking to yourself. You know, I often think about that and it’s funny that you mention that because you know, I go to the gym and the last place I want to be actually looking, is down to the floor because I’m either then accessing how I’m feeling, which usually isn’t all that great because I’m in the middle of pain. Or, I’m talking to myself about how much I actually really don’t enjoy the exercise. So I’m always trying to be conscious about where my eyes are located when I’m going through and kind of doing exercise in a gym and I’m always trying to look up visual. Staying out of that zone down there because it’s that’s where you start to access your feelings and it’s, you know it’s interesting when you catch yourself kind of talking to yourself in perhaps a way that is not really conducive to, you know, peak performance let’s say, or you start feeling a little bit sad or down if you start to take notice of where your eyes are at. They are probably down kind of l king at the ground somewhere. So the quickest way to kind of kick yourself out of that, is probably to raise your eyes, and start to get, kind of visual, which is up.

Fraser Jack: [00:20:37] So that’s a great reason why people don’t like the treadmill, because you’ve got to look down and where you’re running and then.

Vicki Writer: [00:20:42] Yeah that’s right, that’s right. It also makes sense when you hear the old saying chin up. Yeah exactly. You look down there and you see the dirt, and look up there and you see the stars. You know all those kind of sayings start to make sense when you overlay it with what they call eye patterns, which is exactly what we’ve just spoken about.

Fraser Jack: [00:20:59] Thank you. I was wondering if we’re going to deep in but I think it’ll actually work quite well so thanks. So advisors now are having conversations with clients. A lot of the stuff I would like to talk about, as you know, are goals and eliciting goals, and having conversations, and you know like working out with clients what their goals are along their timeline. So I know you’ve done a lot of stuff in this space, and questions, and quality questions and stuff like that. Do you want to talk about some of that.

Vicki Writer: [00:21:27] Yeah. One of the, I guess key things that I’m kind of talking to advisors at the moment, is really around this whole kind of integrated approach. We are a holistic human beings and every single part of our life, you know really affects another part. So I’m talking to advisors about kind of integrating and really stretching out what their proposition actually may be, to start to integrate a whole range of different conversations that goals can be set from, which is more than money. It’s more than the money piece. And you know, when I first kind of started my business in 2015, the reason I started out was because I really sat back and started to think about what the future of financial advice service models potentially would look like in the future. And I kind of went on this journey to find the answer to that when I heard Bill Shorten in 2011 and say if the industry can’t get its act together that we’re going to come in and cap commission. And it was really at that point that I started thinking advisors are going to have to get a very different service proposition that they can clearly articulate and charge for. And having been in financial services for such a long time, but also been researching human behaviour motivation and the development of human potential, I’ve started to unpack my own IP around what do I know about all those things and all of that research is pointing towards an integrated approach. It’s a combination of a health piece, and it’s a combination of a wellbeing piece, and both of those two things are a wealth piece, a health piece and both those two things are underpinned by how we feel about each other and the wellbeing piece. So when it comes to goals and the questioning, I think it’s got to be a very broad based questioning technique that really looks at a multitude of different areas of a client’s life. Because they’re going to have more things going on in their life than the money piece and, you know, I talk a lot on research particularly around positive psychology and there’s now a lot of really good research to suggest that how we feel about ourselves is directly now correlated back to prosperity. So often posed the question to advisors is that we’re kind of working in the air of building someone’s economic life and their financial security and we now know that there is research around to suggest that you know low wellbeing or hypertension and stress will have an impact on someone’s ability to be prosperous. Where does the extension of the service proposition actually start to need to go. So there’s some really good research around it, it is all backing up all the stuff that I originally was thinking, you know, five or six years ago. Yeah. So when I’m talking to advisors it’s really around that concept and I’m finding that more and more and more advisors are actually recognising the need to kind of go down this path. One element is the money piece but there’s usually some other pieces going on that need to be addressed.

Fraser Jack: [00:24:34] Yeah that’s really interesting I sort of look at it as a model of three areas you know, the financial side of it; the mindset side of it; and the physical side of it and I guess that’s what was coming off on a couple of those things you mentioned; the stress and anxiety around money is often a huge factor, probably a much bigger factor than the actual financial factor.

Vicki Writer: [00:24:55] Yeah. And so you know if you think about the combination of those three things in play, like your health and lifestyle choices will impact our economic life and our financial security. If you don’t take care of yourself and take preventative measures by eating well and exercising and make sure you get enough sleep, then the chances are stress and anxiety is going to go through the roof. You’re going to be less productive, you know, not getting enough sleep directly correlates back to disease and illness. All of these things have been proven. If you get sick then it’s going to hit your back pocket because you either need to take time off work, or you somehow need to get rehabilitated. Like all the financial impact start to unfold and then you know you actually have a connection back to this whole wellbeing piece. You know I talk a lot about elements of wellbeing, and also the fact that so many people just do not enjoy what they do every day. And if you look at wellbeing the number one thing to building overall well-being is actually having a purpose in your life and a reason to get out of bed. All of these people are getting up every morning and going I don’t want to go to work today because I hate what I do. So actually finding in your life something that you’re passionate about that gives you purpose that you actually really love and enjoy doing is so critical to building overall wellbeing and then also connecting into your health. You can only imagine the health issues and the stress and anxiety of actually going to work every day and actually not liking what you do. That is going to take its toll on your health, which is going to impact, you know, your wealth and your economic life. So all of these things are all kind of interconnected and there’s good research around to suggest that you can find and focus on your top five strengths. 600 percent more engaged in work, and 300 percent more satisfied with our own life. So we’re satisfied with our life, our health goes up and therefore it has a direct correlation back to our world. I mentioned just before we got on kind of and started recording that I’ve been doing a bit of work in the health and well-being space, particularly talking to doctors, and my research around stress and anxiety, all of the stuff that I’m reading and kind of validating was suggesting that you know, there are 26 percent of people going to doctors for stress and anxiety issues. When I was presenting to a bunch of GPs last year, I actually had them validate that for me, which is just frightening. 26 percent of, you know, people that are going to see a doctor are there for stress and anxiety, which could relate to money, it could relate to their health, it could relate to their job or other life satisfaction kind of issues. You know all of this stuff is HUGE and these are the things that I’m talking to advisors about; what other challenges and problems that your clients have that I’m not really specifically related to the delivery of personal financial advice. What are they and how are you helping them solve those problems and their incomes in this integrated approach. And that’s how I think, you know, the whole goals based advice piece kind of sits in there. Its goals around all of those aspects.

Fraser Jack: [00:28:01] Yeah really interesting, so if you and I are setting up a new business venture, or new advice practice, you know, what would you suggest. How much would we spend on helping customers find their purpose and passion and life around their goals. And you know, it sounds like we’re almost going to be a health business, and then that you know, the way that I put it actually it’s about producing a business, but a human business that then provides financial services rather than financial services business.

Vicki Writer: [00:28:31] Exactly right, and the client is at the centre of everything we do. I think a couple of things. I think this whole integrated approach is definitely the way of the future. And you can start to see more and more evidence of that being kind of proven as each day goes by. But I also think that a model for the future, which is what I’m talking to a lot of advisors about is, really you know; number one harnessing your own talent; what is you what is your experience; what are you passionate about; what do you know/not know about; what have you actually experiencing in; who potentially is an ideal target market for you to be able to capitalize on that; and then how do you package up a process that taps in to the major problems of that demographic. How do you package up a process that you can charge for. Yes, which has financial personal advice attached to it as one part of a process but there’s a whole lot of other stuff that you are doing, that taps into your own intellectual property, that adds value to that client base. How do you unpack all of that and package it up so that you can charge a fee for it and then choreograph all of your marketing messages directly and specifically to that market. And I start talking to and I was presenting yesterday, you know, there’s a multitude when I start talking through these concepts with advisors, I can see the light bulb goes on because they start to realise that there is a whole world of possibility around how they can actually start to stretch their service proposition, which is you know, it’s a change management plan, it happens over a period of time. But you know I’m talking to advisors that they’re realising that they, you know, they themselves have got an intellectually disabled child. So there in lies and awesome opportunity for an advisor to actually package up a process to target families who have disabled children. Yes, financial advice is going to be one part of the conversation and one part of the process, but there is a whole lot of other stuff that they could bring to the table that helps those clients reduce their frustrations, eliminate their fees, and capitalize on their aspirations in terms of, you know, what they want to have happen. And so those that have had specific purposeful experience themselves, they are extremely well placed to be able to capitalize that and change their whole target market.

Fraser Jack: [00:31:03] Yes packaging up something like this, and my mind is going back to some of the legislative things like the FDS, and may have been able to show what you know, what services you’re offering, and what you’re providing for that fee. And maybe separating out what are the financial advice pieces, and then also charging and separating out and having a separate offering that says ‘here is the social benefits I’m providing you and here are the mental health benefits’, we may not use that term because we’re not doctors, but and then ‘here are the financial aspects’.

Vicki Writer: [00:31:39] Yeah absolutely and I think you know there’s obviously two things at play here. There’s you know, personal financial advice which obviously has a governance and a framework around it. You know, there’s audits and there’s a remuneration structure that is regulated in that world, and obviously that’s where the advice piece kind of sits, but there’s a whole lot of other stuff; value add, intellectual property, that advisors can bring to the table that can be packaged up separate and in addition to that, that potentially may sit as a separate entity because it’s not actually all that other stuff is not delivering personal financial advice. It’s a source or a business or a model that becomes a referral source into personal financial advice. If that makes sense. So you know one of the things I’m kind of talking about a lot at the moment, is working with advisors and providing them with a framework to help them unpack their own IP and package it up. Because you know, everybody moving forward is going to have to think completely differently about what they bring to the table and how they represent themselves and how they differentiate themselves from the other, you know 18000 advisors or however many we have at this point in time. So you know being able to unpack all of that by harnessing talent, finding audio clients, and working out what your marketing messages are going to be specific to that target market. But then working through a process of actually unpacking everything you know around the topics that need to be part of your program and doing what I would call building a signature system or productisation of services. So then, once you do that, then you’ve got an opportunity to really leverage, that when you can start to write books on your process, where you become an authority an expert on the topic, you can start to run events and webinars you can package things up and start to develop digital content. There’s a whole range of different opportunities that start to present themselves. So I’ve created a model now because that’s all the stuff that I did with my own program; How do I unpack my own IP; how do I write a book; how I digitized the content; how do I get scale and leverage that you’ve rolled out anywhere; and what I’ve done now, is really thought through. What was the process that I adopted and how did I actually make all that happen and put it into a framework to be able to teach it to others.

Fraser Jack: [00:34:01] Now I like the idea of starting with a blank sheet of paper on all this stuff, but I mean all of advisors are at the point with they are seeing clients, they’ve got staff, they’ve got, you know, businesses to run, they’ve got tons of clients to see. So how does an advisor who’s, you know, busy in everyday life, you know, at the moment everybody is busy with education and all these other things as well. How does a busy advisor starts this process.

Vicki Writer: [00:34:25] Yeah. And I think that there’s a concept that I talk a lot about, is the present company and the future company, and you know, the present company is the environment they’re working in. And now the existing business, the client, you know, the target market that we’re working with, and that still needs to remain because we need cash flow. And it’s probably working really well, and it doesn’t need to say that that needs to cease. But there is a whole other future company model that could be kind of worked on, over a period of time, to start to, you know, start to develop new markets and productise intellectual property and start to create independent income outside of the personal financial advice kind of environment. So I think there’s two things happening in play; one is maintaining the existing structure and the way that this is currently running; and then thinking about the client base that you could really tap into, based on your own kind of knowledge and expertise, and building a process around that. And I’m talking to advisors about; you actually might have three or four different processes in your business one might be packaged around the market that you’re currently working with, and that remains. But you might have a number of different other target markets that have its own separate process and its own separate kind of piece that you’re also working with, which gets evolved over time.

Fraser Jack: [00:35:42] Yeah, nice. And so you obviously do a lot of work whether you mention before with advisors, and how those advisors engage or chat to you, what do you do when you start working with it. How do you advise it start working.

Vicki Writer: [00:35:53] I think its just an initial kind of conversation piece really, it’s a phone hookup, or it’s a Skype meeting, or Zoom meeting to really find out where they currently are at. Whether they want to get to where some of the gaps are, that they want to start to address, and then working out whether or not I’m even suitable to be able to work with them. You know, everyone is going to need someone different, and so that’s really the first part. And if I can’t help someone directly, or what I do is not really going to assist in what that advisor wants to do, then hopefully I can put them in touch with someone who is perhaps better suited, or you know, has a different skill set. But yeah that’s kind of where I’d start. It’s really a conversation really to find out where they are, where they want to go to, and what their gaps are. And, how can I based on what I know, and what I bring to the table, help the advisor to do that.

Fraser Jack: [00:36:44] So you’ve done a lot of coaching in your time but you’ve also done a lot of speaking, is it something you’ve always enjoyed doing, like public speaking.

Vicki Writer: [00:36:52] Yes, it has actually, I became very passionate about speaking many years ago when I joined the Professional Speaker Association, when I was actually, you know, early 20s. Completely out of my comfort zone, mixing with some of the best speakers, not only in Australia but all around the world. And I just educated myself and I read lots of books, and I gave myself every opportunity to practice. And over time it’s been a skill that I’ve honed and continued to get more and more passionate about, and that’s one of the things I absolutely love doing, and if I, you know, talking about, you know, harnessing your talent and focusing on what you’re passionate about. I’m very fortunate that I can share messages, you know, on stage nationally and also overseas. But you know speaking is something that I love doing, I love educating, I love coaching and I just love imparting knowledge and making a difference.

Fraser Jack: [00:37:46] Yeah. When you speak you come across very confident. Did you get nervous at all.

Vicki Writer: [00:37:51] I don’t like to call it nervous, the way that we talk to ourselves, ends up having a very dramatic impact on the outcome. So I like to label it ‘excitement’. I’m feeling excited about this opportunity. Even though I might have sweaty palms and feeling a bit kind of, you know, my stomach churning a little bit but, you know, look I make sure that I’m prepared. I think, you know, being prepared to be able to get up and stand, and confident we deliver messages to an audience is key. And a really great presenter can get up on stage and actually look like it’s kind of happening off the cuff, but no presenter really that does an amazing job on that stage is getting up and talking off the cuff. Everyone has thought through how it is they want to present the information, and it put a lot of thought into it. But the ones that are really great, are the ones that make it look seamless, and the ones that make it look easy, and the ones that really look like they’re talking off the cuff. And yes they are off the cuff and, you know, spur of the moment kind of conversations and stories. But you do know what your start is, and what your end is, and you know kind of what the messages are in between. And then we kind of take those, can be kind of modified and adjusted and you can use a bit of flair. But yeah lots of preparation.

Fraser Jack: [00:39:12] Yeah. That’s good advice. Now, I know. You presented a couple of years ago now on some fairly large stages, over the MDRT and things like that. Do you want to talk about it.

Vicki Writer: [00:39:28] Look, I am such an ambassador for the Million Dollar Round Table (MDRT), and I’ve gotten involved with that organisation, you know, many years ago. I’ve done multiple presentations for them at a local level and at a national level, but I also had the opportunity to apply and speak over at their, you know, main meeting over in the US. So the first presentation that I did over there was called ‘referrals, ideas for million dollar producers’ and I’d packaged all of that up based on kind of all the knowledge I had. And there was fourteen hundred people in that room that day. And yeah, it just, it was just the most amazing incredible experience and I just absolutely loved it. And then, I was fortunate enough to actually get a main platform session over in Hong Kong. I think it was 2016 and there was 10000 people in that audience, so I kind of escalated my comfort zone dramatically. Going from 14 hundred, which was the biggest audience that I’d ever spoken to, to ten thousand, where I just think oh my God, what was I thinking, but you know again I just applied everything that I know about human brain, and everything I know about motivation, and just applied all of that, and went out and delivered the presentation of my life. So it all went well, and I survived it, and I did a really good job that I’m proud of. So yeah very proud about that achievement. Most definitely and can tick it off. Don’t need to do that one again.

Fraser Jack: [00:40:53] They might want you back.

Vicki Writer: [00:40:55] Oh look, I love it you know, I get so excited when I can empower you, so you know, and I think to a certain degree, it’s almost easier delivering to more people than less people. It doesn’t matter if there’s five people in a room or there’s a hundred or there’s 10000, you’re still delivering the message. So, you know, the more the merrier. If I can get to more people at the one time then, you know, this whole one to many piece and I’m talking to advisors about that as well, is really the way to go for the future. The one on one kind of staff, it’s expensive, it’s ineffective, the whole kind of one to many pieces is huge, so if I can get up and deliver a message and add value to large audiences. Sign me up.

Fraser Jack: [00:41:36] So advisors looking to get into this space where they might want to do a bit more work with seminars, and those sorts of things. Do you have any tips for them.

Vicki Writer: [00:41:45] Look ,I think, there is an enormous opportunity for advisors to do more speaking. Most definitely. I think it’s really around, you know, having the confidence, getting the material, doing the preparation, plugging a gap, so find out what the biggest problem area is of your client base, and build a session around that. Make it exciting, choreograph your marketing messages to address that. But I think you know, coming back to those four quadrants of the behavioural flexibility. Doing some work in that area, if you want to do seminars or events, you want to do speaking, and you don’t want to stand behind a lectern and reach your notes, go and invest in doing some acting courses or some drama or theatre sports and get out of your comfort zone and get used to doing those kinds of things, to position yourself well, to be successful. But yeah any advisors out there that want to kind of dabble in, doing more speaking, I’d be more than happy to speak to them and help them in whichever way I can.

Fraser Jack: [00:42:45] Thanks. So there is obviously a lot going on with the advisors at the moment you speak to. It’s very easy to focus on all the pains and I’m sure you do a lot of reframing of that, but what are some of the main pains you see around the advisors at the moment.

[00:43:03] Well, you know, one of the things that lends itself to all of the strategies that I’ve just spoken about, is the regulation that’s kind of taking place, that is impacting revenue. I think you know the fact that the industry is highly regulated, if it’s associated with personal financial advice. Unfortunately, it kind of restricts the amount of cash flow control and certainty that an advisor is going to have in their business. Because each day they don’t really know what government is going to be in play, what piece of legislation is going to be rolled out. You know they don’t really have a great deal of certainty, or control. So you know, that piece is huge and that’s why a lot of the things I’m kind of talking about now. And positioning and packaging up for advisors, is to help address that issue and to give them back control and certainty, and create more independent income. But actually also to teach advisors about, you know, becoming an entrepreneur. I think we’re kind of, in a world where a lot of advisors are advising, you know, they’re advisors in a business, but really we need to shift that thinking now and they need to become entrepreneurs who have a distribution outlet in financial services. So it’s really about helping them build that entrepreneurial mindset, and giving them a framework and tools to be able to make that happen. So regulation is huge and everything that’s going on there. Costs to serve obviously is massive as well, you know, the cost of delivering advice is just gone through the roof for all the reasons that we just spoke about overregulation. So that’s, you know, that’s hurting a lot, and there is need to be different kind of avenues to generate income, and that the conversations and what I’m working with people on at the moment.

Fraser Jack: [00:44:45] So really trying to reframe these pains into opportunities.

Vicki Writer: [00:44:49] Oh absolutely, no question. And I think that, you know, when you start to talk about some of these things, and that’s why I love having these kind of conversations with advisors, because I literally see the light bulb go on about what is actually possible. You know, yes all of stuff is actually happening, but where does the actual opportunity lie. And I think that if you can extend your thinking, and actually start to really position, you know, yourself kind of mentally to be open to change, then there is just an abundance, and a world of opportunities for advisors. I see it as actually quite an exciting time, I’m really excited about it, and more and more advisors are catching on to that way of thinking. And there’s some others obviously that still are kind of caught up in that in that. You know, rightly so, their business models and everything is kind of very much under question. But, you know, there’s a whole world of opportunity out there, and I think if you can extend your thinking to be able to embrace it, then the world can be your oyster.

Fraser Jack: [00:46:00] Yeah, I also like to talk about the idea of sitting down with your ideal client and asking them what they want, you know, to help you design a business that they want.

Vicki Writer: [00:46:10] Yeah absolutely. And you know even doing this kind of thing called ‘test and learn’, which is a bit of a corporaty kind of term, but you know build a model, build a package, build a service proposition, and actually go and talk to people about it. Wouldn’t this be something that you would pay for, how much would you pay, and start to test it out as you say with the market, and actually see what are people really prepared to pay for this. Do some of your own market research, from there start to modify change. That sharpens the feedback that you’re currently getting. There’s no point having something that no one wants to buy. So being able to package something up that people want to buy into, want to engage with, and you know, that you can clearly articulate, that gives you confidence as well as an advisor, you know, that’s ultimately where we want to kind of head.

Fraser Jack: [00:47:00] Yeah I was going to ask you about the long term; how you see the long term value. But you’ve already explained that with regard to the opportunity that are available.

Vicki Writer: [00:47:07] Yeah absolutely, I think the long term, kind of vision for advisors is really quite exciting. It’s about getting out of there now. We stay stuck in the now, and we look at what’s going on today and everything that’s kind of unfolding. It’s just going to be a spiral down. I mean, the brain is pessimistic by design unfortunately, and has a negative bias, so it doesn’t take much for us to actually have to focus on the negatives because that’s just the way that we are actually pre-wired. We need to get out of the day to day and we need to actually almost take a bit of a helicopter view. Get out, you know, disassociate from what’s going on, and look for all of the possibilities, because when I look at the possibilities, I see enormous opportunity. And the more I get to chat to advisors, the more they can see it as well. So that part for me is very exciting.

Fraser Jack: [00:47:58] Yeah, I know, disassociation sounds easy, but sometimes it can be very hard. Is there any tips you give for people to be able to say I can practically try this exercise.

Vicki Writer: [00:48:08] Yes, yes there is. I have a concept that I talk about called ‘perceptual positions’ and it originates from the world of neurolinguistic programming, and there’s really three positions. And if you can imagine kind of three chairs in a triangle kind of, you know, shape. Position number one, is you in the moment, looking through your own eyes, totally associated when you sitting in that chair. It’s probably painful because you are feeling everything from your own perspective. Position number two is the chair, kind of the next chair around, which is the other person’s viewpoint, so perhaps you might have had even a bit of a disagreement with your wife, or your child. Position number two is actually empathy. It’s about actually getting out of disassociating from how you feel, and sitting in someone else’s shoes, literally. I often talk to people about, you know, if your kids come home and having to fight with their best friend, this is a really great exercise to do because they actually get to understand other people’s perspectives. And so got position number two as the other person. And their position number three is a total kind of outsider, someone who is not associated or at all, totally impartial. So actually being able to move yourself out of position number one into two and even into number three, will allow you to actually disassociate and see different perspectives and get a new viewpoint on a situation. You know different positions 1 2 and 3.

Fraser Jack: [00:49:32] I love this exercise. You can actually get the chairs out and physically do it, and no one has to see you doing it, but you can still physically do it.

Vicki Writer: [00:49:39] Exactly right, exactly right. The actual physical movement of moving from one to two to three is extremely powerful. And that’s why I said to people if you got, you know, kids come home and had a big bust up with their best friends, and get them to go through this exercise, and physically move the chairs, and teach them how to have empathy and a new perspective.

Fraser Jack: [00:50:00] And this is why it’s so easy for us to see something, you know, tragically going wrong in a process, or two people in a conversation process to go see. It’s very easy to give advice on someone else’s relationship for example than it is to actually to be involved in.

Vicki Writer: [00:50:14] Yeah exactly because we’re in a different position. You know we took what we consider position number three and be very objective, and looking on the situation and you know it’s a completely different viewpoint that being in position number one where you’re in the heat of the moment; it’s you it’s your feelings. Yeah. So it’s a really good strategy, a very simple one, very effective one. To be able to change your perspective but also to be able to completely disassociate from an event or a situation or, you know, something that really hasn’t served you very well.

Fraser Jack: [00:50:47] Yeah. And advisors can be used to that position three, as well, because a lot of the time when they’re speaking to clients they’re sitting in position three.

Vicki Writer: [00:50:54] Yeah exactly. So you know, we do tend to kind of move in and out of those ones. It’s just a framework you know, and people go ‘oh that makes so much sense’. Yeah, I often kind of take myself out of position one and go to position three, and actually see it from a different viewpoint, or I’m often putting myself in someone else’s shoes which is position number two. So we probably do it unconsciously.

Fraser Jack: [00:51:15] Very good. Great exercise to try.

Vicki Writer: [00:51:25] Yeah that’s right.

Fraser Jack: [00:51:26] Thank you. Now what sort of things are you working on at the moment for the future, you’re working on building anything up.

[00:51:32] Oh look, you know, obviously I’ve created this kind of ‘Fit for Life’ program, which is the integration of health,wealth and wellbeing. That’s sitting on all a learning management platform, which really just took a significant amount of time, because it’s on a global world class kind of platform. I Kind of project manage that for about 12 months actually, on my own. One of the things that I have really missed about being a solo kind of player, is that the collaboration and the discussion, and having someone else kind of carries some of the load. So I’ve done all of that, so yeah, getting that program out,you know, rolling it out as a helpful strategy into corporate, and then using the kind of outputs as a facilitation of equal interpersonal advice. Because people come through the program, it looks at every element of their life, and they get to uncover their gaps and their challenges, but also uncover their goals around each one of those areas. So it’s a facilitation vehicle into a range of different services, whether would that be, you know, personal training or nutrition, or personal advice, or going and seeing an accountant. So yeah obviously that is a key piece of mine. One of the other pieces that I’m doing, as I mentioned before, is really working around helping advisors and or others, repackage up their service offer by unpacking their IP, harnessing their talent, and then leveraging by looking at digitisation, and a whole range of other things, and I’m continuing to do my speaking, and also very passionate about. So yes lot’s going on.

Fraser Jack: [00:53:08] Yeah, I think the whole of life advice piece is a really amazing piece and congratulations on that.

Vicki Writer: [00:53:16] Yeah thank you. And you know, if you look again. I stumbled across this article or white paper not long after I started my own business actually. And I just built my program, and I was running workshops, and I’d written the book on this holistic approach, and I came across the white paper from Deloitte called ‘the advice space world’. I often ask people, has anyone actually read this? And very few people put up their hand, and it’s like you really need to get across what they’re actually hypothesizing as the future of financial advice. But long behold they’re actually validating everything that we’ve just spoken about. It’s a holistic model, and they’re talking about holistic advices is not going to consist of, you know, retirement investment and risk anymore. It’s actually about the whole person. And there’s probably going to be relationships, that advisors will need to have with career counsellors, nutritionists, doctors, everything that we’ve just spoken about is what they are hypothesizing as the future of advice. And that all fits in with all my research, and is completely aligned to the concept and the Fit for Life program that I, you know, spoke about developing.

Fraser Jack: [00:54:25] I might see if I can hunt their white paper and put a link to the show notes. I just wanted to ask a couple of quick questions before you go. If you’re chatting to a consumer, maybe at a barbecue or something, and they’re asking about potential advice. What tips do you give them about finding an advisor.

Vicki Writer: [00:54:45] I would say, you know, obviously do your research. I think that, you know, finding someone that has similar values to you is obviously key, and that’s that whole principle of liking again people. You know people who like each other, like each other. So really doing some work and finding out and researching what makes the advisor tick, what are they really passionate about, what do they believe in, what do they stand for, and is that align to you, and who you are, and your values and your beliefs. Because I think that’s, you know, having that element in place, the foundation principle before you even engage your relationship is critical.

Fraser Jack: [00:55:23] Great, thank you and tips to a younger advisor coming through, or maybe a paraplanner who wants to become an advisor.

Vicki Writer: [00:55:30] Yeah, I think for someone who hasn’t got an established business, that may be kind of coming in, you know, fairly fresh new, I think they have an enormous opportunity to really create a very robust very differentiated service proposition. Really coming back to the points that we spoke about, looking at the whole person, an integrated approach, and or, and in addition to, tapping into what your talents are, and what you bring to the table. You know some people might have been an expat, let’s say they’ve travelled over from South Africa, and now an Australian citizen. There’s a whole market there, that can be tapped into because you understand what it’s like to move countries, and all the other bits with having done that. So how do you package up that and target, you know, expats. Maybe you come from a family that has disabled children. How do you unpack everything that you know about the struggles of being involved in that situation and packaged it up to target specifically that market. Maybe, you know, you’re dealing with aging parents. What are the struggles that you’re going through. What are the struggles that they’re going through and how do you unpack all the IP and package it up, and target a market that’s aimed at, you know, baby boomers with aging parents. There’s, I think an enormous opportunity to think differently, and tap into what you what your purpose is and what you’re passionate about. Because we know through the steps that we have to have wellbeing, and we have to love what we do everyday. So if you can find that, and then build up a model, and a system, and a process, and a business around that who needs to retire.

Fraser Jack: [00:57:02] I love the way that you talk about some experience and life journey as their IP, and then that’s a really good way of looking at it.

Vicki Writer: [00:57:09] Yeah absolutely.

Fraser Jack: [00:57:10] Now if you’re talking to an advisor that has to go through some transition at the moment, and change in their business. What is one of the tips you’d give to them.

Vicki Writer: [00:57:17] I think really you know. Try to have a glass half full mentality and attitude, even though there’s a whole lot of stuff going on. The way that we’ve kind of always thought, and our kind of existing business models, embrace the fact that they absolutely need to change moving forward. The old way of doing things is just not going to be a viable business model moving forward. So embrace change, and you know, work with other people that can help you get there. You don’t have to do everything yourself, engage a coach, engage somebody who can actually help you transition, and help you, hold you accountable and helping you create the business with your dreams. Use it as an opportunity to actually start doing more of what you love. Yeah and capitalise on opportunities I believe for sure. Embrace change.

Fraser Jack: [00:58:11] Embrace change. Great, now one last question, can you give yourself some advice and tips as we go back in time. What would you do.

[00:58:20] I look. I often kind of sit back and reflect on what I’ve done, and where I’ve come from, and all the different bits that... I don’t know that I’d really change anything about what I’ve done. In terms of the business and the program and everything that I’ve kind of created, I would say, you know, what I probably should have looked is a co-founder, or someone that could kind of share the journey with me rather than me just carrying all the load again. Coming back to that point, you don’t have to do everything on your own. And I’m very very very big on, you know, sticking to your strengths and outsourcing your weaknesses to someone who has a strength in the areas that you have a weakness. So why do any of us actually have to spend time getting frustrated and annoyed, and you know, doing our own head in around our own wellbeing, by trying to do things that we are actually not passionate about and that we’re not really good at. We should actually just focus on what we’re good at and bring in and surround ourselves with people that can plug the gaps for us. Because if we can do that, then everybody’s operating wellbeing, because we’re doing only what we love and what we’re really good at and then we get synergies where you things start to multiply quite exponentially. So I would say, I probably should have done, you know, kind of align myself with other people on the journey, but instead I was just going to make it happen. So it was quite a painful journey, a long journey, but you know, one that I reflect back home and I think it’s been worth all the blood, sweat and the tears.

Fraser Jack: [00:59:52] Yeah it’s interesting isn’t it when you can look back on that, and go okay well I should have outsourced and I didn’t enjoy that part, and...

[00:59:57] Yeah absolutely. And you know, when you look at all of us, how many things are we doing on a day to day basis that just, you know, frustrate us so much. You know, take away energy, distract us from actually producing good results and we put it off, and we procrastinate, and we carry around a backpack full of bricks because we haven’t done that task and we’re going to put it off till tomorrow. Oh my goodness, and the stress that we are creating on our own bodies carrying that around. And one of the things I’ve learnt through all of my work around you know goal achievement, and the whole psychology piece, is that there’s no relief in avoiding some of the tasks, there is only ever relief in getting the task done. So give it to someone else, or start it, and do what you can, and then handed off to someone who can finish it for you.

Fraser Jack: [01:00:46] Very good. That’s a that’s a great way to finish. Just quickly before you go how can people get hold if they want to continue the conversation.

Vicki Writer: [01:00:52] The 360 solution, the 3-6-0 solution dot com dot au, that’s the website, or if they contact you Fraser, you’ve got all my contact details. But I’m all the socials, LinkedIn, I’m on Facebook, Instagram, any of that. So yeah probably via the website is perhaps the easiest.

Fraser Jack: [01:01:09] Okay and we’ll include the LinkedIn and all those sorts of links are on the show notes as well, so thank you very much, I appreciate your time, and you’re very busy and thank you so much.

Vicki Writer: [01:01:19] My pleasure. Thank you.

Fraser Jack: [01:01:22] If you haven’t already, I’d love 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.