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Podcast Transcript

Episode 39, Season 1

How to give best practice advice, with Cara Graham


Cara Graham: [00:00:00] Yeah absolutely, informed, engaged, empowered. It’s really lovely and desirable and because you’re being just, like you said, really kind of educating and empowering them to lead. They’re in a much more comfortable position. They can see the light, so to speak. We’re on the same page, in the sense of where we’re headed.

Fraser Jack: [00:00:26] Hello and welcome to the goals advice podcast, where I have conversations with pioneers of the new world of financial advice. I’m your host, Fraser Jack. I want to thank you so much for tuning in today. I would also like to thank our supporting partner, Advice Intelligence, for powering this podcast. In this episode, I chat with the 2018 AFA practice of the year director, Cara Graham. Cara shares her inspiring story of just how she forged her career path and takes us through their award winning advice process in detail.

Fraser Jack: [00:01:00] As we follow the client journey through each step of the way, Cara discusses the five different advice offerings, from simple and streamlined advice to private wealth clients, we chat about how they price their advice and the detail of their five to seven meeting process. We also touch on the culture of never ending improvement. I don’t know why TWD are the 2018 AFA practice of the year, you’re about to find out, as we hit play on my chat with Cara right now.

Fraser Jack: [00:01:39] Welcome to the show, Cara.

Cara Graham: [00:01:45] Good morning. Thanks for having me, Fraser.

Fraser Jack: [00:01:45] No problem at all. Now you’re in western Australia, aren’t you, so we’re on a different time zone.

Cara Graham: [00:01:49] I certainly am. It’s nice and early here.

Fraser Jack: [00:01:52] Thank you for getting up early and sharing your wisdom with us today. Do you want to start by giving a quick overview of yourself and the business that you’re working in at the moment?

Cara Graham: [00:02:04] Absolutely. So I’m Cara Graham. I’m a director at WD Australia, the business is now in its 10th year and I joined about eight years ago. So when I started it was a very small business. I think I was the seventh employee at the time. I sort of wrangled my way into the business, to be honest. We can come back to that a little bit later. Really, I guess, I just sort of worked my way up. I came in as more like a para-planner administration person. I finished my studies. I became an advisor, sort of, I guess, really cemented myself in the business, proved myself and became a director last year. So TWD Australia, we’re a first based business, but I guess building our national presence as well

Fraser Jack: [00:02:50] It certainly is a business that’s won a lot of awards over time now I’m really interested in the word “wrangling your way in.” You want to go back in time and give us a bit of an overview of what [inaudible 00:03:03]?

Cara Graham: [00:03:03] Well I had been at a previous business for five years, at the time. I had gotten to a point where I had realized that I didn’t want to work for a big business or a big corporate. I wanted to work in the small business. I wanted to work in a business where my voice was heard and I made an impact. The advisor I was working for, at the time, said, “You should go and speak to Troy. Troy just starting this great business. He has got an awesome website, looks pretty great. Why don’t you just go and have a chat?”

Cara Graham: [00:03:37] So I made an appointment to go and see Troy. We talked for about an hour. I almost felt like I had these penny drop moments where I was just talking to him and going, “Oh my God, this is the business I want to work in. This sounds incredible.” He was talking about things in such a different way from what I had heard, but it all just made so much sense. At the end of the conversation, he turned around to me and he said, “Oh it was really great to meet you. I really enjoyed this conversation, but we’re not actually hiring a para planner, at the moment, we’re looking for a general manager. So it’s great to meet you and if something comes up in the future we’ll be back in touch.”

Cara Graham: [00:04:19] I went home and I was so devastated that I actually called him the next day and I was like, “No way, you’re hiring me. This is a non-negotiable.” I pretty much just forced myself in from there, so that the general manager didn’t get hired for another year because I came onboard.

Fraser Jack: [00:04:38] I love that story. I think it’s a testament to when you know you want something, and you just go after it.

Cara Graham: [00:04:47] Well actually the day just before I called him, the next day, I had been offered a job somewhere else and I sort of, in the meeting, I kind of almost verbally accepted. Then I got home and I was like, “I don’t want to work there. That actually just sounds horrible now that I know that this other opportunity is available, or not even available. But I could make it available to myself.”

Fraser Jack: [00:05:08] Yeah. Troy is a fantastic character and I’m just trying to imagine the situation he would be in at that point going, “Okay”.

Cara Graham: [00:05:16] He’s going “Okay.” Then we were a pretty small business. I mean you know, he obviously doesn’t regret it. We actually talk about this story all the time. It’s so funny now to look back to. I guess it was just one of those things. We just kind of had an instant connection in terms about the way we thought about things and ideologies. Eight years on, it hasn’t changed. We still get on as well today as we did right back in that very first meeting.

Fraser Jack: [00:05:51] Something went right because he’s been winning awards for a long time, Troy. I think that you can take from that.

Cara Graham: [00:05:56] Yes.

Fraser Jack: [00:05:57] You first started though, what were you doing, if they already had a para planner, what was that like, that transition?

Cara Graham: [00:06:04] I mean, you know, I guess at the time I was still at uni. I was studying part time, working full time, so you know, I was doing everything a para planner would’ve done. I was doing administration. I was going into meetings as well. So I started going into meetings with clients from my very first week. You know, we at TWD, we have our first and second chair approach.

Cara Graham: [00:06:29] So I was primarily second chair at that point because I was relatively inexperienced. But it really just meant I got hands on experience with the clients, filling out my relationship skills. Really right from that early point. Also, you know, that also just gave me so much more engagement in the business because if I was doing work for someone, whether it was writing a strategy or whether it was implementing one, I was really engaged because I knew the benefit of giving to the people that I had met that I cared about. I think that it actually just made me more passionate and more engaged in what I was doing.

Fraser Jack: [00:07:09] Yeah I really love that first and second chair approach. It’s giving you the experience you need, even though you’re not sort of getting the experience. I remember Troy also saying, many years ago, that they used to spend a lot of time, I think it might’ve been on Fridays then, going back over meetings and what was said and how it was said, and whether it could be improved.

Cara Graham: [00:07:30] Yeah, we still record all of our discovery meetings. To be honest, we probably need to spend a bit more time revisiting and reviewing, but certainly after every meeting, we have a debrief. We revisit what went well, what could’ve gone better. Again, I guess just sort of going over the client and agreeing on what was their priority, what were the complexity, what are some of the things that we could be doing to help them? I just love the first and second chair approach. I don’t really know of any other way, to be honest. So I find it interesting when I talk to people that don’t do it that way because two brains is better than one.

Cara Graham: [00:08:09] Again, whether you’ve got more experience or less experience or whether you’re younger, older, male, female, from different backgrounds, you just think about things differently and you pick up with little nuances in the conversation or you pick up emotion as well, slightly differently. Sometimes when you’re busy talking you’re not focusing as much on their body language or other non-verbal signs, but that second chair might. So I always find it truly powerful. You have that debrief and there’s always something else that someone else knows that you did not quite pick up at the time.

Fraser Jack: [00:08:44] Certainly I think about with every conversation like the deep listening position, where you don’t actually have to think about talking or adding anything, you can just listen to everything that’s going on.

Cara Graham: [00:08:55] Yeah, absolutely.

Fraser Jack: [00:08:57] Now with those recordings, you mentioned you record the discovery meetings, is that something that the other staff do as well, the para planners and the other staff in the office?

Cara Graham: [00:09:06] They can where they’re going back and preparing the terms of engagement for us. That’s primarily why we record it. So from a training perspective, so we can critique ourselves, but also, to ensure that we capture everything correctly. I mean we still obviously need to be really mindful about privacy as well. So that’s always front of mind when there’s a recorder there, but certainly when, whether it’s first or second chair or one of our other team members there, that’s helping us put together a proposal, then we can go back, we can re-listen if there’s something in the notes.

Cara Graham: [00:09:42] I’m constantly told that my hand writing is atrocious and no one can understand it but me. Having that recording to reflect back on and go back on is really, really useful. Again, it’s more for that nuanced understanding of why something is important or comparing it to, if it’s a husband and a wife, for example, they might have different perspectives on the same issue and again understanding okay how do we combat that? What truly is the most important for that family group?

Fraser Jack: [00:10:13] Yeah I’m with you on the handwriting thing too, by the way. Just before you record a meeting, how do you set it up with your clients or potential clients in discovery meeting? We’ll go through the process in a minute, is there anything that you say to them, as you’re turning the recorder on?

Cara Graham: [00:10:33] Absolutely. I mean legally we need to inform them that we’re going to record the meeting. Essentially they do need to consent as well. So generally we have a process, I guess if there are some points that we want to go through in terms of setting the scene for the meeting. Really, I just always position the room recording it doesn’t go outside of the private and confidential. Nothing that they say will be heard by anyone else.

Cara Graham: [00:11:01] It’s really there to make sure that we can focus on the conversation and ensure that we don’t miss anything. So we do take notes, but obviously, if you’re so focused on taking notes then there are things that you might not necessarily pick up on. So it’s really there as an aid, to ensure that we capture the thing correctly. In the eight years that we’ve been doing this approach, I probably only had one or two people that have actually taken an issue to it. You know, if that had been the case then I would fix that. I wouldn’t want to be put in a position where I felt uncomfortable, because, again, you’re asking people to disclose some pretty personal stuff. Sometimes, I think that our initial, our discovery meeting, it’s about getting naked. Some people feel very uncomfortable about finances. To make them feel even more uncomfortable right at the beginning, I don’t think we’re going to get the right outcome.

Cara Graham: [00:11:53] Generally speaking, if I think you position correctly, it’s there as an aid. It’s still to remain private. Again, they’re never going to have to listen to it back. Sometimes people just don’t want to hear their own voice. Then, you know, in my experience, most people are very accepting of that and understand that it’s going to help them as well.

Fraser Jack: [00:12:12] Yeah I think you’re right. I think some of the fear and anxiety around the recording can be overcome with, like you mentioned, a level of comfort and trust-

Cara Graham: [00:12:22] Yeah, you need to make it a safe space, if people are going to go and disclose a lot of personal information.

Fraser Jack: [00:12:31] Now do you want to run through your advice process, so from, we talked about discovery meeting, but before that, obviously with referrals coming in or somebody approaching the firm, or if you do any marketing externally or referral sources, anything like that, you want to talk us through how a client journey would look, for a new client?

Cara Graham: [00:12:53] Absolutely. I mean we probably get a lot of our clients come from other clients. We’re pretty active talking to our clients around introducing other people, and I guess, introducing people for us to help. We also have some really good relationships with centers of influence. So you know, accountants, lawyers, brokers, and things like that. We don’t, I guess, do advertising campaigns or employ money into advertising in that way, but we do focus on our branding quite a lot. Certainly we invest a lot of time engaging and working with and being pro-active with our soliciting influence. So having regular meetings with them to run through clients, on topical issues, having, again, getting our team together to have a meal or some drinks, from time to time, to really just, I guess, strengthen that relationship and build trust.

Cara Graham: [00:13:51] So clients and centers of influence is really the majority of where our introductions come from. We also get a pretty steady trickle of inquiries just through our website. I think a lot of that comes from the fact that we have won a number of awards. We are fairly well-known in the first area, so we get a fairly steady trickle of people just making inquiries, saying, “Hey you came up high in this search,” or sort of seeing you coming up in these articles, and things like that. Troy does tend to sort of get involved in the media where he can. If it’s writing an article, he’ll give an opinion about something. So we sort of get a fairly steady trickle there.

Cara Graham: [00:14:33] Now once an inquiry comes through, then normally we start with either having a bit of an account conversation with them over the phone or asking them to give us a little bit more information about their situation. Really the main reason that we do that is just to make sure that when they’re coming in for a meeting that they’re catching up with the most appropriate persons within the business. We have five different divisions in our business. So from, I guess, our essentials simple streamlined advice right through to our private office. We’ve also got investment and we’ve also got a not for profit service, as well.

Cara Graham: [00:15:13] So if somebody’s coming in, then, we’ve got different advisors that specialize in these different areas. We want to make sure that they’re meeting the right person at that initial meeting, and again, part of that is building trust, building a safe space. You don’t want anyone to feel like they’re getting palmed off or they’re not good enough to sort of speak to anyone in the business.

Cara Graham: [00:15:35] You want them to feel respected and like they’re going to be looked after because that’s what we want to do, we want to help people. If they don’t feel like they’re being treated with respect then people get their guard up as well. Once, we’ve, I think, understood them a little bit more, figure out which part of the business they may potentially fit in, again, sometimes you find that more along the way and you realize where they could potentially best be suited. Then we have our discovery meeting, which we touched on.

Fraser Jack: [00:16:05] Something-

Cara Graham: [00:16:05] We had-

Fraser Jack: [00:16:05] Before we go to the [crosstalk 00:16:10], who normally does the fine core and how long does it go for?

Cara Graham: [00:16:16] It would depend sometimes where the referral came in from. If it came in from a client or a referral forward, then generally, they might’ve been referred to a particular advisor. So that advisor might have the initial conversation. Again, say for example, if I find that someone that was more suited to our essentials business, whereas I work with people in our advisory business are a little bit more complex, then I might position, okay I’m going to bring my colleague, David, into the meeting with me, he’ll be a really good fit because he focuses on all these complexities that you’re talking about.

Cara Graham: [00:16:52] We generally wouldn’t make that conversation more than 15 minutes or so. It’s really just a brief intro, as well part of that call is just to understand a little bit about what they’re after, position, we do like to get a little bit of information from them before the meeting, just to make sure that we’ve got the most time to focus on some of the more important matters. Also, just to position as well that every meeting is not an advice meeting. It’s really just there for us to get to know each other and figure out if we’re a good fit. From there, we can work out what we need to go.

Fraser Jack: [00:17:26] You mentioned you had five levels, was it simple streamlined essentials, is that one or is that two?

Cara Graham: [00:17:34] Essentials is our simple and streamlined business. It’s there at a more affordable price point for the everyday Australian. Again, I guess, it’s a more simple type of advice. It’s there because it’s got a price point that’s valuable to people that are at a more simplistic level of their financial services. We have advisory, which is primarily where I sit. It’s actually the biggest part of our business. That’s the people with a bit more complexity.

Cara Graham: [00:18:04] It might be people with structure set up. It might be people with businesses. It might be people that need a bit more hand holding or project managing in their lives. We’ve got our private office, which is really a wholesale client. It’s a more sophisticated exclusive service. We have our invest, or TDW Invest, which is our investment committee. Then, we have TWD, for purpose, which is focusing on not for profit, philanthropic advice and things like that.

Fraser Jack: [00:18:44] Great, thanks for that. So you might go through that sort of stuff with them on that phone call just to make sure they’re coming into the right area?

Cara Graham: [00:18:52] Yeah, I guess you do just sort of really want to understand why have they engaged, why are they looking to engage an advisor. I generally also ask if they’ve spoken to an advisor in the past. That’s more of a context thing. Just to understand okay have they had a good experience, have they had a bad experience? Do you they not really understand what an advisor does? Just sort of put it into context that we are a little bit different to some of the other advisors out there. That’ll come through in our meetings and during our process.

Fraser Jack: [00:19:23] Yeah I think that “we’re a little bit different” is a great way of stating the reason why we’re having this phone call to find out what is sort of different and find out where you fit.

Cara Graham: [00:19:31] Absolutely.

Fraser Jack: [00:19:31] Fantastic, sorry to interrupt you, you were about to talk about the discovery meeting.

Cara Graham: [00:19:41] The discovery, yeah. So as I touched on before, so we would always have a first and second chair in the meeting to meet the clients initially. It’s not an advice meeting, it’s really there just to get to know each other. We have a script, in terms of our frame up, we follow the certainty advice group process, in terms of going through and understanding their aspirations and goals, referring back to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. We use that course. We follow that approach at our discovery meetings. We find it works incredibly well, in terms of probing and understanding what they want to achieve, how important it is, what’s holding them back, what are the complexities they’re facing. That takes up a huge component of that first meeting.

Cara Graham: [00:20:30] You know we go back and understand just a bit more about their initial situation, so re-visiting the set times. Often we’ve got a bit of info about them beforehand, whether it came from their accountant or whether they completed a brief questionnaire. Then, from there, again, we set the scene in terms of where do we go from here. So in the vast majority of cases, we would be going through the proposal stage because we’re probably already worked out, from our initiative call, where do they need to be, why are they engaging us? Does this really merit to go forward?

Cara Graham: [00:21:07] On the odd occasion, there’ll be someone where it just might not be the right time for them to take advice, and again, it’s pointing them in the right direction, in terms of what’s the best thing for them, at this given time. Again, it’s just about being respectful to what they want and need. Then with booking their proposal meeting, normally we would aim to have that within one to two weeks-

Fraser Jack: [00:21:26] Can I interrupt you just a moment.

Cara Graham: [00:21:26] Absolutely.

Fraser Jack: [00:21:30] Just in this discovery phase, as they’re still going through it, inside this meeting, which is how long, by the way?

Cara Graham: [00:21:36] Ninety minutes, we would normally allow.

Fraser Jack: [00:21:39] So you’re being through all of their, you know what their hopes and dreams and aspirations and life goals are, and where they currently positioned. Then you mentioned that you can go through a bit of a proposal, do you mention fees at this point and talk about how much you charge for a [inaudible 00:21:56]?

Cara Graham: [00:21:56] No, at the discovery meeting we don’t touch on fees. Often it is a question, at the end, well how much is this all going to cost? I just always go back, and again, our advisors always go back and just position our job now is take things away and work out where we can come in and add value to your situation. It’s not a cut and dry approach, in terms of saying, “You’ve got this many dollars, or you’ve got this many products that we can recommend,” it’s really an individual assessment of okay where are we going to come in and add value? What can we do in the pursuit of their goals to make them more a reality or closer to achieving them?

Cara Graham: [00:22:37] You know again, if I guess if we get lots of pushback around fees, then perhaps it’s an indication that that’s really what they’re focusing on and maybe they’re not the best suited clients for us. We’re focused on adding value, and our fees are always fair and reasonable. Again, that’s part of the reason why we have our different divisions as a business, is to make sure that we can provide a service that’s valuable at different price points. Because certainly, you can have someone in a very early stage of their financial life, and what’s valuable to them versus what’s valuable to a senior executive that’s been working for the last 40 years, it’s going to be completely different. We need to make sure that, at the end of the day, we’re providing value that the primary objective of any kind of engagement. Again, it’s positioning that within that we’re here to provide a service that’s valuable and that’s fairly priced as well.

Fraser Jack: [00:23:39] I love that focus on value not fees. It’s great. So then, do you sit down with your first and second chair then and work out what, to put the proposal together, I guess, what value, and then put that in the proposal?

Cara Graham: [00:23:53] Yes, absolutely. So we have a debrief form that we use and it really just is a guide, to sort of I guess, encourage us to think about the various different things that we could be doing. So I guess we sort of review the client or the client in terms of okay are they likely to be advice takers? Are they going to be respectful? Can we add value to the engagement first and foremost? We agreed on what they’re aspirational priorities were. Again, sometimes it’s a bit of a debate between first and second chair where some things might fit, sometimes it’s sort of more cut and dry. Sometimes that debate might come because one partner is very adamant about something and the other partner is adamant about another way. Again, that’s sometimes the complexity that we need to focus on, to really get the couple on the same page and working in the right direction. You know, we go through some of the different strategy areas that we could come back and focus on.

Cara Graham: [00:24:57] Are they needing cash flow advice? Are the projections are going to give them a lot of certainty? Do we need to have meetings with their accountant to get through certain issues with the business and the structure whatever it might be? So go through and sort of assess high level. We’re not coming up with strategy at this point. We’re just coming at high level in terms of okay we can focus on this or we can add value here or here’s an opportunity that they haven’t considered. We go through the complexities as well, what’s holding them back, is it their ego? Is it that they’re impatient? Is it that they’re not trusting? Is it that they’re not working together? Whatever it might be.

Cara Graham: [00:25:37] Then we’ll talk about okay what is the right price point for these clients as well. What clients are they like that we might already have to give us an indication of where their appropriate first year could be? So I guess agreeing on that. Getting, I guess, at least, a bit of an agreement at that point. Sometimes I tend to find that after I’ve finalized the proposal, I actually sometimes find that I increase the fees slightly. I think part of it is because I finish the proposal and I go, “Damn, we can do so much. There’s so much value to be added.” I also think to myself, “These people will be crazy if they do good ahead.” At first I go, “This is fair and reasonable, in terms of things we’re going to do, the time it’s going to take, ultimately, the value that we’re going to add.” Again, I guess revisiting all of that and just working on what’s the best way forward and what’s going to be fair and reasonable to the client as well?

Fraser Jack: [00:26:41] Yeah so you really get it straight in your head as well of the risks at the start, together with the number and you’re really delivering that number with conviction after that.

Cara Graham: [00:26:54] Absolutely. We, I guess, we quote for that first year. On occasion, I have a client at the moment, where we’re really just working on a three month project. But for the vast majority of clients, we’ll engage for the first year and then in January there’s a portion paid for that first months, then the balance paid out over the next 11 months. But again, sometimes you might have clients that have cashflow problems. Then you might decide okay let’s just pay this evenly over a 12 month period because really it’s not just about saying, “Okay, well, in this first month we’re going to do a statement of advice and we’re going to prepare application forms to implement.” Really looking at what are we doing over that 12 month plan and sort of staggering the priorities, in the projects that we’re going to be looking at. Making sure as well that we’re not causing issues in what we’re trying to solve, say in cashflow, we use a particular budget for them.

Fraser Jack: [00:27:50] Very nice, thank you. So then you’ve got their proposal ready and you have a meeting with a client, come in and go through it?

Cara Graham: [00:27:57] Yep. I would always advocate having a face-to-face meeting for the proposal. On the odd occasion where say the client is inter-state or in a rural area or something along those lines, generally if we could have a scout meeting that would be great, but I actually wouldn’t send them the proposal ahead of time. I would just talk them through it because that’s what we do now in our meeting when they come into the office.

Cara Graham: [00:28:24] We go through in that meeting, we confirm their position, make sure we’re on the same page. We haven’t missed anything. We haven’t made any inaccurate assumptions. We go through the priorities in terms of this is where we can add value over the next 12 months. We go through what that will cost over the next 12 months, how that can be structured and paid. We revisit and recap on the value that we’re adding, and the reason why we’re making the proposal. Then, we run through the next steps from here, in terms of the next meetings we might have. What they can expect, the kind of climate they might need to do.

Cara Graham: [00:29:00] I’m very big in terms of setting expectations for a client. I don’t want somebody to engage an advisor and then just simply think, “Okay great, I can put my feet up from here and I’ve got an advisor and now I don’t have to pay any attention to my finances.” Certainly you engage an advisor to take over certain parts of your financial position. If it’s administration or project management, but the best engagement that we know are ones where you’re working with the client, not just for them. They often when they review expenditure, are they going to have to meet with a lawyer? Are they going to have to commit to coming into meetings over that next 12 months, as well?

Fraser Jack: [00:29:45] It’s certainly understandable that if they’re more involved they’re going to be actually making habits and making decisions outside of your office, not just inside the office.

Cara Graham: [00:29:57] Absolutely. I just think if we don’t set those expectations then they’re not committed or they’re not willing to do the work, then we’re not going to add any value. It’s not very fulfilling for me in that case. It’s certainly not going to be fulfilling for them, if they’re paying a fee and not getting value. I would rather get those expectations up front, prove essentially that we can add value, that’s how we’re putting this proposal together. Then going from there.

Fraser Jack: [00:30:24] So you’re having the proposal meeting. How long will they go for?

Cara Graham: [00:30:36] Sorry I was just getting another call coming through. I just had to cancel it. Sorry what was that question, Fraser?

Fraser Jack: [00:30:41] In the proposal meeting, how long does it go for?

Cara Graham: [00:30:44] We normally allow 60 minutes for that proposal meeting. If there are lots of, I guess, questions and follow-ups, sometimes it might go up to 90 minutes, but we normally try and keep it to 60. Again, if we’ve got a really good understanding of their position from the discovery meeting, then we can go over that component really quickly, and just focus on the priorities, focus on the value, focus on the next steps. 60 minutes is normally the ideal.

Fraser Jack: [00:31:16] Do you have any people wanting to then take that away and think about it or do most people make up their mind here and there?

Cara Graham: [00:31:22] Absolutely. I actually always encourage people to take it away. Part of the reason as well is I want them to be committed before they go ahead. So what we would generally suggest is, at the end of the meeting, sort of answering the questions that they might have and then we would set up a time to do a follow-up call a couple of days later. So maybe it’s the following Monday so that they’ve got the next couple of days to review it. They can chat about it, if it’s a couple over the weekend, then we’ll say, “Great. I’m going to call you both at 3:00 o’clock on Monday and we’ll just have a bit of a chat going through any further queries that you’ve got”. That creates a good call to action because then they go, “Oh okay. I’ll make sure we prioritize this over the next couple of days.”

Cara Graham: [00:32:09] Realistically, if they haven’t made a decision by that point, again, it’s just a good opportunity to run through any queries or questions that they might’ve had. A bit of information that comes out of those meetings. Especially if somebody hasn’t received advice before, they might be new to the process. Again, if they have received advice before they might be going, “Okay this is a bit different to what I had experienced or expected.” Then again, we can just make sure that they’re really comfortable and committed as well before they go ahead.

Fraser Jack: [00:32:41] Very nice. Now if you’ve, at this point, though, you haven’t charged them anything. If they say, “No,” at this point, do you just walk away without any payment?

Cara Graham: [00:32:52] Yeah. Absolutely. So essentially, we wouldn’t put together a proposal unless we knew we could add value to their situation. If we had a discovery meeting and we could tell right then and there, they’re not an advice taker, they’re not, I guess, engaging with us, they’re not a good fit, then again, we position it there and then, that we don’t feel like we’re a good fit for the meeting, I think this is where our discussion should stop. We’re suggest that given your situation, you speak to X,Y,Z. If they’re needing a different type of advice or they’re wanting to focus more on some other resources.

Cara Graham: [00:33:33] So generally speaking, if we’re putting together a proposal, we’re feeling pretty confident around the value that we could add. Realistically, as well, at the end of the day, it’s up to the clients whether they’re going to be onboard and want some engagement. I have had clients before if perhaps they might have had a particular complexity that was particularly burning for them and there was something that was holding them back, then the only way that we can ever reduce the fee is actually just to reduce scope.

Cara Graham: [00:34:06] So if it was ever just a specific project that they wanted to focus on first, they had, say for example, I had a doctor-client last year who had some issues around his lending. He had some issues around sort of potentially moving into the state that was holding him back from getting advice. So we’re focused I guess okay I say, “Let’s focus just on the insurance side of things,” because he had some real gaps that were causing him and his wife some concerns. Again, there’s still value that we can add there. We can still, again, have that opportunity to sort of show to them this is why we do what we do and this is why we approach it this way. Then once some of those issues have been overcome or they’re feeling more in the right mental state to commit then we can leave it at that. Certainly for the majority of clients, if they’re not ready or it’s not for them, then we’ll just respect that.

Fraser Jack: [00:35:05] Fair enough. So then, I’m assuming, I’m jumping ahead that the next meeting is the advice meeting, is it?

Cara Graham: [00:35:13] We actually before our advice meeting, we have what we call a strategy meeting. So the strategy meeting there’s no advice. We haven’t prepared in a certain way or anything along those lines. But we’re there to run through and understand their cash flow, educate them about risk investing, educate them around insurance. Go through their insurance needs, educate them about estate planning. Sometimes depending on the client and how bold the advice we’re focusing on, sometimes I might even have two strategy meetings because it’s too much to cover.

Cara Graham: [00:35:48] So the strategy meetings are there for education. They’re there for us to get on the same page and kind of agree on the path that we want to take together. We introduce the strategy meetings a number of years ago because we realized that there’s a lot of education that needs to take place for us to be able to get involved in for the advice. Realistically, we don’t want to go and put together advice and then spend hours on a statement of advice and then come back and go, “Okay the insurance is in line with my expectations,” or whatever it might’ve been. So the strategy meeting is a really great stepping stone to get everyone on the same page, build up the education. Really kind of empower them to make some decisions and be really committed about some of the strategy.

Cara Graham: [00:36:40] If we’re talking about salary sacrificing to somebody in their 40s, and they’re putting away money for a really long time, then we want them to go, “Okay I am committed to this because I can see the benefit, that long-term benefit, that’s going to come from whatever it is I’m doing.” If they’re going to be changing the way that they’re structuring their insurance or their business or whatever it might be, again, we want to really kind of prove to them that the value is being added so that they’re really comfortable, once they do proceed.

Cara Graham: [00:37:12] So we have the strategy meeting, then once we sort of reach some agreements around a few areas that’s when we actually have our advice meeting, put together the statement of advice, pre-populate all of the paperwork, get everything in place, then we can sign off on everything, make it all happen for them.

Fraser Jack: [00:37:30] Yeah I really love the strategy meeting idea of empowering your clients with that information and education and the understanding of the strategies before you even think about going and looking at advice or around product on the back of it. Just getting that buy-in, co-creation of the strategy, just as yes this is the strategy I want to implement how we’re going to do it. Then go away and the how can be the product and the platform or the [crosstalk 00:38:02].

Cara Graham: [00:38:01] That’s exactly it. Again, it’s there during the education, working out what we’re doing before we’ve even said, “Okay what are we looking at, a self funded super fund or are we looking at insurance with X,Y, Z company? Or are we looking at an education bond”? We’re really I guess just accessing all of these options before we’ve even really thought about some of the products and things. It’s sort of deciding on the strategy well in advance and getting them really comfortable with how it is.

Cara Graham: [00:38:31] Sometimes I sort of think about it as it’s like a choose your own destiny game. You can see all your different options spelled out for you. We’ll say, “We think you should go with this one.” Then they can choose, “Yeah I feel comfortable with that.” Or for whatever reason this is holding me back. Okay let’s work on that. Okay let’s go to Plan B, in that case. At least then, in that case, they’re really well informed, they’re empowered. Again, inspiring them as well. If we’re going to put them on a path to do something, then they actually need to be engaged. They need to be inspired. They need to see the bigger picture. The strategy meetings are so powerful for that.

Fraser Jack: [00:39:09] Yeah, just in some of those meetings, you talk more theory, theoretical or do you actually say, “This is sort of how it would work with some numbers attached to it”?

Cara Graham: [00:39:21] Yeah well we go through say from an investing point of view, we have, I guess, an education process we go through. It’s educating them about risk and volatility and risk profiling, and again it’s setting the expectation. Making sure that then when we do go ahead and invest, we certainly, as we know we’re investing in an uncertain world and timing is everything and we can’t control it and we’re setting the expectations.

Cara Graham: [00:39:49] We go through projections for them around their real strategy. I like to do the projections in layers. So starting off with their best case and we’ll look and say, “Okay what if we change the way you structure your debt? What if we change the way we structure your cash flow or the way you set the cashflow to go? What if we use [inaudible 00:40:08], what if we use a different structure? Sort of layering in the advice. They can go, “Okay this is why I’m doing the debt thing. This is why I’m doing this sort of thing. This is why I’m doing the cash flow thing”. Kind of, again, getting buy-in from them, at kind of each point.

Cara Graham: [00:40:26] Again, I guess I’m very aware for some clients you need to make those projections a lot more simple. They don’t want all the details. They just want to see the bigger picture. You might have these other clients, engineers ,who really want to see all the little numbers that go behind it and understanding every little bit of detail. So it’s kind of tailoring it as well to what’s going to resonate best for them.

Fraser Jack: [00:40:51] Nice, are we 60 minute strategy meeting or are we back to 90 minute?

Cara Graham: [00:40:57] Normally, I would allow 90 minutes. Again, depending on what we’re covering, sometimes I have to do strategy meetings. It really just depends on the clients and the scope of the engagement.

Fraser Jack: [00:41:09] Beautiful, then by that time obviously you’re sort of four meetings deep, if you count the phone call and maybe get to the advice.

Cara Graham: [00:41:19] Yep. Absolutely. So by the time we get to the advice meeting, really there’s not too many surprises by the time we get there. We might be talking about different product providers that we haven’t touched on before, but again, we’ve got engagement or buy-in around okay are we’re going to be investing? Are we going to be using [inaudible 00:41:37]? Are we going to be engaging someone to look at the decks or whatever it might be. We’re sort of on the same... we’ve kind of built up the journey. We’ve educated them. We’ve got on the same page.

Cara Graham: [00:41:48] So the advice meeting is quite straight forward. you run through and go, “Okay bullet points these are the things that we’re going to be doing, we’ve got the paperwork here. We can sign now. You can take it away. You can have a thing to read”. Often clients, by that point, they’re ready to sign there. Because again, we’ve kind of taken them through that process and on that journey so that they’re feeling pretty comfortable to go ahead.

Fraser Jack: [00:42:14] They can then, as you mentioned before, make a really informed decision about what they’re doing.

Cara Graham: [00:42:19] Yeah absolutely. They’re informed, they’re engaged, they’re empowered. It’s really lovely as an advisor as well because you’re there just, like I said, really kind of educating and empowering them. They’re in a much more comfortable position. They can see the light, so to speak. We’re on the same page, in terms of where we’re headed.

Fraser Jack: [00:42:45] Great and then I guess once they’ve decided what they want to do it’s implementation?

Cara Graham: [00:42:51] Absolutely. There we are to project manage everything, make sure if there’s any administrative things that our support team is taking care of. To make sure that if there’s a need for the meetings we need to have with lawyers, accountants, whatever it might be, then we know we’re pressing on with those, and kind of I guess, keeping them accountable. Certainly if we’re being paid a fee for something, we need to be held accountable, but we also need to hold them accountable as well.

Cara Graham: [00:43:19] We go through and we sort of follow the, I guess, the implementation path, in terms of what needs to happen and when. Again, sometimes it’s prioritizing things. We can’t do absolutely everything at once. We can’t expect the clients to do absolutely everything at once, so it’s just making sure we work through that strategy and get everything kicked off. If we’re hitting a hurdle okay why is that? Do we need to change the plan? Do we just to re-focus for them to accept.

Fraser Jack: [00:43:47] You know you mentioned the word “projects” a couple of times, which I’m really fascinated with, and like the idea of. So you position this as a separate project, implementation as a separate project. There would be a project manager and that person is X,Y,Z. You hand it all over, is that what happens?

Cara Graham: [00:44:06] Well again, it’s all with that first and second chair. The first or second chair are their advisors and their main point of contact in the business. We have our reception team and our support team that assist us. That the clients can hear from and speak to from time to time, but it’s that first and second chair, we’re responsible for those clients in making sure that everything happens when it needs to happen and that it happens correctly as well.

Fraser Jack: [00:44:30] Yeah nice. So everything’s in place now, is there a follow-up meeting after that?

Cara Graham: [00:44:37] Yeah we have, what we call, our comfort meeting. We, a number of years ago, we used to call it “our 45 day meeting”. 45 days after the advice that we found often it took longer than 45 days, so we changed it to the comfort meeting. Every client is different. Sometimes people say, “Well how long will this take?” Sometimes it takes a month. Sometimes it takes six months. Really it just depends on what happens along the way. How quickly do they get back to us. How quickly is the insurer. You’re relying on lots of tidy bank accounts and employees and ATOs and various things. So we have the comfort meeting really just to sort of tie up any loose ends at the end. Essentially just making sure the client’s feeling totally comfortable.

Cara Graham: [00:45:18] We revisit the advice. We make sure everything’s being ticked off. If there’s anything that hasn’t been, well why is that? Do we need to replan? Do we need to refocus? Do we need to set ourselves some better deadlines? Just to sort of, again, have that call to action, so to speak. Then from there, we’re an ongoing engagement. Then we would set our next progress meeting as well. So progress meeting that’s what we call our reviews. They’re really there to make sure we are still making progress. Depending on the type of client that it is, we might have four months, six months, or twelve months. Generally speaking, I always like to book them in advance so that we’ve got that date in the diary where we’re working towards it.

Cara Graham: [00:46:02] Again holding them accountable. Okay we’re committing to that next meeting. We’re going to be reviewing everything, making sure we’re on track, replanning. If there’s a project set couldn’t be done now for whatever reason we’re waiting for a particular financial year or we’re waiting for a particular amount of savings, whatever it may be, again we’re all that committed. Okay what with them we’re catching up, we’re working that. Again we’re continuing making progress with the client.

Fraser Jack: [00:46:28] Yeah I like the term “progress” rather than review. I’ve certainly heard it a few times now around the idea of you’re helping your clients track towards their goals and aspirations and dreams and you’re there to plot the progress along the way, rather than just review so it sounds more like it’s a time to review rather than-

Cara Graham: [00:46:46] I think review sort of sounds more retrospective. Certainly if there’s investments we might go through performances and things like that, but now our progress meetings is so much broader than saying, “Okay here’s what investments did over the last six months.” They’re really there saying, “Let’s read it your picture, let’s look at that and say, “what’s changed? How does that impact you? What’s happening with the market? What’s happening with legislation? What’s happening with your goals? What do we need to do going forward to keep ourselves on track”?

Fraser Jack: [00:47:21] Yeah fantastic. All of the progress meetings and everything were in the initial proposal is that correct?

Cara Graham: [00:47:30] Yeah, so in that financial proposal we’re engaging for 12 months. So at the end of the 12 months, and again sometimes that depends on how long that implementation process is taking, generally we would be looking at that first progress meeting. At that first progress meeting normally, we’re probably there to say, “What does that mean for the next 12 months?”

Cara Graham: [00:47:50] Often there might be a slightly more lower cost scope in the second year than the first because we might’ve set the foundation. Sometimes something from left of center is come in. Or there’s been a change and then that scope changes. But again, realistically we’re saying, what are we doing? Where are we adding value? What’s the fee for that going to be? Again, getting on the same page before we go ahead from there as well.

Fraser Jack: [00:48:13] So the 12 months service agreement, so you’re not an ongoing service agreement?

Cara Graham: [00:48:17] I mean I guess we are, again, it’s different for say different clients. For the majority of clients, we will work with them for a number of years, but I think the biggest thing that we need to kind of consider is that it’s not just a given that they will continue to be our clients. They will continue to be our clients for as long as they’re adding value to the situation. If that value changes, then so too should that fee. You know, if there’s lots of complexity, there’s lots of value to be added then the fee will go up. If there’s less things that we’re doing, there’s less things to be added, then the fee will go down. That’s an open and honest conversation at the beginning of the 12 month period.

Cara Graham: [00:48:58] Again, once we got through that first 12 months, those progress meetings, going, “Okay what are we focusing on”? If there’s not much on the agenda to talk about then it’s pretty clear okay well then we need to align things with that. But at the same time, we’re looking at value in the broad context. It’s not just a tangible. It’s all those intangibles as well.

Cara Graham: [00:49:20] Some clients really want that hand holding. They want someone they know they can call. They want to know that somebody is thinking of them and looking after their finances and keeping abreast with all the legislative, market, whatever it is changes that are coming through. So it’s really, I guess, rather than just saying, “Okay if the fee is X dollars or the fee is X percentage and just assuming that will just continue, it’s actually revisiting and having those open and honest conversations with the client on a regular basis.

Fraser Jack: [00:49:51] Makes sense that some of the more high touchy, year one and two would be priced differently to than some of the more of... I won’t say low touch, but a less touchy or somebody might come back and say, “I’m hitting a new milestone and I need to do another high touching.”

Cara Graham: [00:50:08] Yeah, again things will change so you know, say someone pays or sells a business or they receive an inheritance or the couple separates or something like that. Like okay now we’re dealing with some different stuff, that without kind of the scope that’s going to change things. Again, I think it’s all about setting those expectations and making sure it’s always on the right page. We have those conversations regularly then you don’t get pushback about fees because they can see, okay we’re doing more or we’re doing less, we’re doing what we said we were going to do. It makes sense and I think generally speaking I think sometimes we can shy away from having those fee conversations. But if we’re confident we’re adding value and we’re doing what we say we’re going to do and we’re giving a good level of service, then we shouldn’t be afraid of those conversations because we should feel really confident about what we’re doing.

Fraser Jack: [00:51:06] Yeah exactly. Exactly. That was a really good overview. Thanks for that, Cara, that was a brilliant walk through of your advice process. I think a lot of people will get a lot out of that. Now obviously you’ve had a lot of process and structure in place. That’s sort of probably come with the time that you guys have been doing it for. I guess how has that changed over time? Has it added or relaxed you?

Cara Graham: [00:51:32] I mean our advice process is constantly evolving, so to speak. I think the beauty with being a relatively small business and we’re not that small anymore, but the beauty of being in a small business rather than a large corporate business is you can be innovative and you can be more dynamic. You can keep up-to-date. So you know, anyone who starts within the business I always say if you’ve got other ways of doing things then let us know because, at the end of the day, we all just want to get better.

Cara Graham: [00:52:05] Troy has a mantra in terms of this concept, “never ending improvement”. It comes from when he used to live in Japan. I love that saying. I think that just because we’ve always done something a certain way doesn’t mean that’s the way we should do it tomorrow. If someone has a better way, quicker way, more efficient way, then absolutely let’s all get onboard. Because we do have a team approach as well, it’s not as though we’ve gotten different advisors in different silos and different businesses kind of competing against each other. We’re all here to support each other. Even if I get an introduction or referral that’s not the best for me, then I pass it on to my advisor and it comes back the other way. So I think to answer your question, our process is always getting better and stronger.

Cara Graham: [00:52:52] Again, if there’s new technology or you need new templates or something that could make it a bit better then we tie that in and try and train up on how to do it going forward.

Fraser Jack: [00:53:02] Yeah so as to the whole team, I’m expecting them, that can come up with this never ending improvement culture if you like around the little things that just make small good.

Cara Graham: [00:53:14] Absolutely. If we can save 10 seconds on each task and then that’s something that we’re going to do 20 times a week, and a lot of us in the business are absolutely [inaudible 00:53:26] by that 10 second loop, that efficiency or there’s something someone’s doing that they shouldn’t be doing, okay well can we train some of our other staff to take over that to free you up to focus on the things that you’re really good at.

Fraser Jack: [00:53:36] Yeah, very good. Now what size is your team at the moment?

Cara Graham: [00:53:42] So we have about 18 people in our Perth office. We also have another business that sort of sits outside, which is about 12. Then we have four staff in the Philippines that help so 14. Hopefully from July, there’s another business that will be joining the TWD team.

Fraser Jack: [00:54:06] Oh wow a sneak peek. I like it. Thank you so much for sharing all this wonderful information. Is there anything that you’re working on sort of for the future, as like a process or technology or whatever?

Cara Graham: [00:54:23] Yeah absolutely. We’ve been going through a process for the last 18 months in terms of our technology. I guess recognizing that there’s a lot of sort of fintechs out there that could really improve the way that we do things. So our investment team is going through a lot of change and we’re really about 18 months into that project. Certainly there’s a lot more things that we can be doing in efficiency, just be adding.

Cara Graham: [00:54:55] We’re growing, as I mentioned. We’re, I guess, looking for other advisors and things to join our team. That affords better opportunities for us to add more value to more people. So we’re in a fairly rapid period of change, which comes with its own joys and stresses I’m sure you can appreciate, but there’s certainly, I guess, there’s always a lot going on here. We never really have a dull moment, which is good and bad in different ways. It keeps things interesting, makes the days go pretty fast.

Fraser Jack: [00:55:28] It sure does. I like that constant change idea. It’s good. Now if you were chatting to a friend of yours or somebody you just met maybe at a barbecue, a consumer and they’re thinking about getting advice, what sort of tips do you give them about going and finding an advisor?

Cara Graham: [00:55:46] I would give the tip to make sure that you do your research. At the end of the day, you want to be working with somebody that’s experienced. I think again sometimes having five years experience or 50 years experience, again, there’s a lot that’s changed in the last however many years that kind of, I guess, keeps things evolving. But you want to have at least a few years behind you, in terms of your practical experience.

Cara Graham: [00:56:13] Again, it’s looking at what do their professional partners say about them? What do their clients say about them? Then meeting with them and making sure am I, is their personality a good fit to mine? Because I think one of the biggest things as well is that you need to have professional respect for somebody. You need to have a good engagement. You’re not necessarily engaging them to be your best friend, but you want to make sure that they’re in line, they’re passionate, they’re excited, and they’re going to be there for your journey, as well. So making sure that they’re the right fit, personality wise and professional experience wise too.

Fraser Jack: [00:56:54] You guys have got a pretty incredible website. I guess this has a bit to do with it as well. You would see a lot of people coming through that and checked you out on your website and liked what they see. Good experience for them, good first experience for them?

Cara Graham: [00:57:09] Yeah, the website really just sort of fits the same in terms of who we are in terms of being an empathetic brand essentially what we’re trying to create because we’re an empathetic business. We’re here to understand and help people ultimately.

Fraser Jack: [00:57:26] Yeah I like that, empathy, empathetic brand. Now if you’re giving some tips to somebody coming through, and they’re looking to become an advisor, what sort of tips would you give to those?

Cara Graham: [00:57:38] I think a tip that I often give to advisors in the early stage of their careers, is just to put their hand up for things. As you go through challenges then really it’s those times of challenge is where you prove yourself. I know I can look back on my career and my first three leaps were because people left the business and I went, “Oh I can do that. Okay I’ll step up or I’ll fill in or I’ll take over or I’ll learn a bit more around that.” I think sometimes we can sort of be in the midst of those challenges, really just focusing and going, “Oh my God, this is so hard,” but those are the times when we prove ourselves.

Cara Graham: [00:58:23] As well, the other tip I always give to people, and this is any career journey, really is just don’t sit around and wait for something to be handed to you. If you’ve got a knowledge gap practically go out and learn about something. If you’ve got a skill shortage or, or whatever it might be, in terms of I’m not great at engaging or having conversations with people or I’m not great at building up my relationships within spheres of influence, just throw yourself into it or get a mentor. Get somebody that can sort of guide you along those ways.

Cara Graham: [00:58:58] I’ve had some really good mentors over the years that their contributions to my growth has been immeasurable. I’m also part of an SME group where I meet with other business owners on a regular basis and we talk about our businesses, our challenges, how we can help clients. How our different businesses can support our clients as well. I just find that so valuable that makes me a better advisor because I’m so much run across different things that are going on, particularly in the Perth business community. I’ve got some really trusted people there as well that I can engage with my clients, too.

Fraser Jack: [00:59:40] Great tips, thank you for that. The group mentoring is a good one like you mentioned. All of those things that pretty much summed up exactly what you did in what you just said, “You know what? This is going to matter. I’m doing this get out of my way or come along with me”.

Cara Graham: [01:00:01] I think sometimes I thought what if I didn’t call Troy back the next day. What if I just took the job with the other place. I would have a completely different life, who even knows where I would be now. I probably would’ve called him back a few months later.

Fraser Jack: [01:00:16] Sounds like my tip to people looking to joining the industry or get involved is to channel Cara Graham and what she did [crosstalk 01:00:25]. There’s a lot of change going around in the industry, like you mentioned, a lot of advisors making decisions. What sort of tips do you give to those practices or advisors?

Cara Graham: [01:00:41] I think certainly be open to change, you know we can sort of look at say the taxi industry, for example. You know if people are going, “No don’t let Uber, don’t let Ola, don’t let these services in, keep things the way that they are”, then they’re not going to win. Because consumers, advisors, the industry want change. They want things done better. They want things done fairer.

Cara Graham: [01:01:09] Sometimes when people will say, “Oh the good old days,” I kind of think, “Well the good old days for who?” Because in a lot of cases it wasn’t the good old days for the clients. Our job is to add value and to help people. Again, if we’re not doing that, or we’re not doing that as well as our competitors then we do need to change and change can be a little bit scary, but you get through that hard part and you’ve got a more fulfilling job as a result because you’re doing better, you’re doing more good in the community. That’s really a good feeling.

Cara Graham: [01:01:43] So I think those practices should be they don’t have to go and re-invent the wheel. There’s other practices out there that’s got some really good behaviors. I would always advocate, as well, really, really highly for Jim [Stackfallen 01:01:57] the Certainty Advice Group. He has been incredible for our business. For me personally in terms of his support and encouragement. If you’re not sure what to do get a coach, join a coaching group. Be part of, surround yourself by people that are inspiring. You don’t have to do it all by yourself.

Fraser Jack: [01:02:20] Yeah fantastic, Jim was on our podcast a few episodes back, so jump on that one, if you [inaudible 01:02:29]. Thank you for that. Now last question, we’ve been rattling on for a little bit. Last question about you, if you could go back in time, what tips or advice would you give the younger Cara Graham?

Cara Graham: [01:02:43] I would probably say to myself just to have a little bit more faith in myself. I think I am and have definitely been the kind of person, along with a lot of other women, that have the imposter syndrome. That’s where you sort of think, “Okay I have to work so much harder than everybody else. Are people are going to realize I don’t know what I’m talking about? I don’t belong here.” You sort of put so much pressure on yourself to, I guess just sort of... I almost at times thought okay I’m faking it till I make it, in a sense. I guess there was still some components of that sneaks through, enter into my mind. even now when I’ve been in the industry for 13 years.

Cara Graham: [01:03:35] I guess this is that self belief that you need to over run that and really the only way that I really got through that was building up my skills, building up my knowledge, having really strong support networks, having mentors that encourage me. Something that Jim actually said to me a number of years ago is when you’re constantly striving for the horizon, you’re never going to get there because that’s the thing with the horizon it’s always way out there. You need to look back as well and realize what you’ve actually achieved over that time, rather than always looking at what you haven’t achieved.

Cara Graham: [01:04:15] You do need to have some of those inspiring people around you to really make you look back and reflect on that, so I think I would just say to myself to have a bit more faith in myself and you don’t need to rush. Things will come in time and just be a little bit patient there.

Fraser Jack: [01:04:31] The imposter syndrome is an interesting one, isn’t it? Because I see you as somebody who’s hugely successful. You’ve already done one national roadshow this year, presenting to advisors around the country. You’re about to do a second one in the same year. You’ve achieved so much, you’ve out there, you pushed your way into the place that you believed was right for you. You got there and you’ve done amazingly well, yet still, you can look back and question yourself at times. I think you’re absolutely right a lot of people do it. It’s probably something we talk about a little bit more in forums like this. With our fears, just to say, we also have that moment where we doubt ourselves and sort of reach out to the friends. I guess that’s where a lot of peers and group coaching and those sorts of things can help out.

Cara Graham: [01:05:26] Absolutely. I guess we’re all going to have, unless we’ve got the biggest egos in the world, we’re all going to have some moments of self-doubt. To be perfectly honest, I think that being an advisor you do actually have to put your ego to the side. That’s for certain things you’ve got to be confident because you’ve got to sit down in front of somebody and say, “This is what you should be doing.” You need some confidence. You can’t sort of make it your ego, the biggest point. You know, as well, I think a strength of mine is my empathy. I think that good advisors need a lot of empathy because then again, you’re always going to have that client those attitudes because you do genuinely care about them.

Fraser Jack: [01:06:10] Wow, I couldn’t agree more, 100%. Good thing to finish on, actually. Thank you so much, Cara, for coming on the show today and sharing an amazing client journey with us. Very, very successful and award-winning business practice. So yeah really appreciate you coming and being so generous with sharing everything about what you do, appreciate it.

Cara Graham: [01:06:36] Not a problem. Thanks so much for having me, Fraser. It was fun.

Fraser Jack: [01:06:41] Just before we go, just if somebody wants to continue the conversation with you, how can they get a hold of you, what would the business way?

Cara Graham: [01:06:48] They can find me on LinkedIn Cara Graham, CSP on the LinkedIn. They can contact us on the business website, as well, always happy to have a chat. After the last road show that I went on earlier this year, I did have a couple of people touch base with me. More than happy to have a chat. I genuinely believe that if we can raise the standards of advice in Australia then that’s good for all of us. You know, I think if we’ve got a higher standard, if we’re raising the perception then we’ll all benefit from it because advice is valuable.

Fraser Jack: [01:07:22] Fantastic, thank you, Cara.

Cara Graham: [01:07:26] No worries at all. Great to talk to you, Fraser. Bye.

Fraser Jack: [01:07:30] If you haven’t already I would love you to subscribe to the podcast on your podcast platform of choice. 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.