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Podcast Transcript

Episode 52, Season 1

How to build a business coaching empire, with Sue Viskovic


Sue Viskovic: 00:00:01 I think a lot of it is when you’re outside of your comfort zone, when you’re in that space that particularly you’ve been [inaudible 00:00:08], even if you’ve only been doing it for 10 years, you thought you knew what you were doing and now all of this things are being thrown around that says we have to completely shift the way that you do business. And getting over the insulting aspect of that as well and pushing through the ego.

Fraser Jack: 00:00:27 Hello and welcome to the Goals Based 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 today. Of course a big shout out to all of the feedback and reviews that I have received so far.

Fraser Jack: 00:00:42 In this episode I chat with Sue Viskovic from Elixir Consulting. Sue is somewhat of a legend in the advice coaching space in Australia. She’s planning to launch her own membership community which I love. We chatted about many of the pains that she’s seeing out there for advisors [inaudible 00:01:00]. This episode is packed with great tips.

Fraser Jack: 00:01:04 If you’re enjoying this podcast then please help me spread the word and share it with your friends and colleagues. I would also like to thank our supporting partner Advice Intelligence for powering this podcast.

Fraser Jack: 00:01:13 I know you will get a lot out of this episode and the great pleasure to share my chat with Sue right now.

Fraser Jack: 00:01:22 Welcome to the show Sue.

Sue Viskovic: 00:01:24 Thanks Fraser. Thanks for having me.

Fraser Jack: 00:01:26 It’s wonderful to chat to you today.

Sue Viskovic: 00:01:28 It’s lovely to chat to you too, and I love even though it’s a podcast I can see your very smiling face. It’s fantastic.

Fraser Jack: 00:01:33 Yes, we’re lucky enough to be doing this, recording this on the Zoom so we can see each other across the country.

Sue Viskovic: 00:01:38 Yeah. So I can see if you’re going to roll your eyes at me or anything like that.

Fraser Jack: 00:01:41 Yeah, I’ll probably do that. So Sue, do you want to give us a quick overview of you and what you’re doing at the moment?

Sue Viskovic: 00:01:49 Sure. I run a business called Elixir Consulting. We do business coaching and provide consulting services to the financial advice profession, mostly small business advisors. But we also do a fair bit of work with some of the product providers, manufacturers and licensees as well.

Fraser Jack: 00:02:07 Fantastic. I’ve known you for many years in that role, working with small businesses as you did with mine many, many years ago. But you want to give us an overview, just go back to the beginning. Let’s start with your journey and tell us how you got into this crazy profession in the business.

Sue Viskovic: 00:02:23 Well funny enough, it was a little bit by accident. I was one of those, through my 20’s I was still trying to figure out what I wanted to be when I grew up. At one point I was actually running a serviced office place in Perth and I went to a networking function and I happened to sit next to the head of network banking at Bankquest at the time. It was one of those weird things. We kind of quickly worked out well, we’re probably not going to do business together. Let’s just chat and have a nice lunch. By the end of it he said to me, “You need to call me because I think you should come and work in banking.” I just looked at him like “Really?” So anyway, long story short, I got into, I was a mortgage, pretty much a mortgage broker that worked for the bank to be honest. It was a mortgage manager.

Sue Viskovic: 00:03:10 Then I, when my husband and I got married in 2000 we went on a three month holiday around US, came back to Perth and said I don’t want to live in Perth our life, want something different. I’d really start to get a taste for financial services, but I pretty much, in about two years, I’d pretty much had learnt and done all I could with mortgages and I wanted to go into more detail. Decided we wanted to move to Sydney, and I got a role with Challenger. So I started out in being in funds management. Of course those were the days when you had to be Piers [inaudible 00:03:41] Six, so I started doing the four units of study at that point. Then once I started I just loved it. I kind of found my home. I loved the financial advice. So I went all the way through, did all my, what was it, eight units of [inaudible 00:03:54] pay, and then I did my four units of CFP. Throughout that time I was a medium in funds management. I found that I kept walking into advisor’s businesses to talk to them about annuities, but I couldn’t help myself but talk about their own business because I’d run a couple of businesses prior to that, the service office and actually performing arts, but that’s many moons ago.

Sue Viskovic: 00:04:13 I just kept finding I was talking to advisors that were great advisors but didn’t have, weren’t, probably fair to say they weren’t great at running a business. So that was where I would just spend most of my time talking to them and, whoops, it happened that they actually ended up then generating more revenue for the business I was working with. Then I moved into practice management. I got head hunted into that actually with the licensee. So that was Bridges. There were a lot of advisors there. Then I decided that I should put my studies to good use and actually sit in the chair as a financial advisor. So I did that for a couple of years. I ran the Sydney office of the Charter Accounting and Financial Planning business. Loved working with clients. That was while we lived in Sydney.

Sue Viskovic: 00:04:56 Then when we started breeding we moved back to Perth. I went back into another role of practice management, and that was pure business coaching with a group called Epic at the time. They were then bought out by Century. Then when I met all the team at Century and they said yeah, we love all your practice management coaching stuff, but we want you to also be estate manager. I finally had the kick up the butt when I am on the hotel after a conference, writing up my business plan that this was the time to start Elixir.

Sue Viskovic: 00:05:32 I always wanted to run my own business. At that point I hadn’t decided whether it would be a financial advice business or consulting and coaching, so then I took the leap. That was merely 12 years ago.

Fraser Jack: 00:05:44 Yeah, tell me about that leap. Obviously that’s a pretty big moment in anyone’s life to go right, I’m going to go start my own business and go out on my own and start with zero clients I guess is always the concern. Because you can’t exactly just jump and then start earning revenue from day one.

Sue Viskovic: 00:06:02 Well, on that note I was probably pretty fortunate because when Century bought out Epic, as it turned out apparently which I didn’t know at the time, I was part of the deal because I was coaching I think it was eight or nine of their biggest, best practices. So they had said to them look, if you don’t Sue, some of these guys are probably going to leave. So you have to bring her over. So three months into it and I was realizing that actually, and totally understood from their business perspective it wasn’t viable for them to have me just coaching a handful of their advisors. They wanted me to spread me around a little bit more.

Sue Viskovic: 00:06:40 So I was fortunate enough to say look, I know that there’s at least six or seven of them that would want to engage me directly. It was also, I had built a little bit of material at the time while I worked there. Obviously under an employment contract your pay belongs to your employer. So I was fortunate enough that they were very understanding and we came to an arrangement where I locked in a discount of faith for them for a period of time where I would work with I think it ended up being six, they’re all going to be really annoyed at me but I don’t remember now. I think it was six of them that I started with from [inaudible 00:07:19]. Part of that deal was that I did it at a discounted rate for a period, but it also meant that I could take any of the IP that I had built while I was working for the organization. So that was kind of a win win for everybody because all of those advisors stayed with Century, kept growing their business, kept doing really well, and I managed to start Elixir.

Sue Viskovic: 00:07:41 So yeah, at that time, gosh, I look back now and go wow. I was pregnant with our second child. We were renovating our house and building upstairs at the time. I just took this ridiculous leap into self employment. If I knew then.

Fraser Jack: 00:08:03 Sounds like a great idea.

Sue Viskovic: 00:08:06 Yeah, top idea. It’s one of those things that you just go with your gut and you know with all of your heart it’s the right thing to do. It’s scary and it’s frightening and you don’t know the answers to all of the questions. The only thing, I have a totally, absolutely no regrets. I think all of these things create an amazing learning experience for you. The only one thing I would have preferred is that if I was a little bit better capitalized.

Fraser Jack: 00:08:30 Yeah. So you had passion, purpose, determination, and no sleep all mixed together.

Sue Viskovic: 00:08:36 And pregnant.

Fraser Jack: 00:08:38 Yeah.

Sue Viskovic: 00:08:39 Maybe that was why. Maybe I was just, some of my rational thought had escaped my brain and was building a baby at the time therefore I ...

Fraser Jack: 00:08:48 Then you also, building a baby. You mentioned braiding and building babies. But also you’ve been building the business because it’s not just you obviously, you’ve got-

Sue Viskovic: 00:08:58 No. That was always my intention, which is why I called it Elixir Consulting and not Sue Viskovic and Associates. I always knew that I didn’t want to build just a job for myself. I really wanted to build a business. So yeah, we have consultants that work with us around the country. We’ve got, and in fact I’m looking for someone in Sydney at the moment. So we’ve got Linar in Breezy. We’ve got Glen here in Perth that works with me, but he has other interest as well so he’s really just doing some workshops and not so much of the one on one consulting. We’ve got Andrew George joining us in Melbourne when he’s back from his tour around Australia with the family. And yeah, like I say, we’ll have someone in Sydney again soon.

Sue Viskovic: 00:09:45 We have been, at one point I had five consultants around the country. Then we scaled that back over a period for various reasons. One of which being that I knuckled down and spent way too much time and money building a piece of software that didn’t work. But now we’re back growing again. We’re just at a point where we’re evolving the business with the changes in the profession. There’s just, I’m in one of those fortunate but very frustrating points in business where we just can’t keep up with the number of people that are wanting our services. So from the capacity planning perspective I’m actually having to either turn people away or throw them elsewhere. Which is not a great place to be.

Fraser Jack: 00:10:37 It’s definitely being, there’s been a lot of changes. I see your business being reasonably consistent throughout all those changes that have been happening, but there’s also been a huge amount of changes going on. There’s a lot going on for advisors. There’s a lot of business changes they have to make. I guess that’s a lot of keeping up for you.

Sue Viskovic: 00:10:55 Yeah. It’s interesting. Because we do this all day every day, we work with advisors on the business. So we’re not called up in looking after their clients. So we can focus on what are the key things that will help advisors run a better business. For most of them they are still practitioners. They are still on the tools, and so the precious little time that they do have to focus on the business it’s really important that they can maximize that. So we do a lot of time looking within and outside of financial services as well at different types of business models and different things that we can learn around the globe. For us one of the things that’s actually kept Linar and I really busy and I was going to say kind of behind the scenes a little bit, but I guess social media is a wonderful thing. We’ve still been communicating with the world although I wasn’t on a plane for an entire three months which was cool.

Sue Viskovic: 00:11:52 But we have built now a membership platform that we’re taking out. We just found that we’ve created so many tools and how to guides and things that have helped our coaching clients over the years that one way we could reach more people and help them without either having the capacity to be their coach or if they just didn’t need a coach we could actually bring some of these things to them under a different format. That’s pretty exciting, that kind of kept us really busy as we freshened up all of our content, added more creative video, all sorts of stuff. So that’s, yeah, almost done now.

Fraser Jack: 00:12:31 This membership platform is a really interesting space. Obviously a reasonably new form of doing business in financial services. A lot of other businesses have been doing it for many years very successfully. It’s the sort of thing that we haven’t seen a great deal of in financial services, but I’m seeing a lot of it coming up these days with different platforms and people providing. I guess the technology becoming more available and people being able to create communities and provide a space where people can come and get information.

Sue Viskovic: 00:13:04 Yeah, yeah. Absolutely. From the business perspective, and that’s something we talked to advisors about as well. It’s just well, if all of your revenue is generated from you physically being in front of a client, you are going to have limitations there. You can scale that by having other people in your employ or contracted or however you work it. But ultimately if you can’t deliver those services face to face then your revenue stops. So how can you generate that circled passage. Not really [inaudible 00:13:35] but, scalable revenue which in the past advisors have got from commissions. So you do the work once, you sell product, you have done the work and then you can leverage from that over time as the trial comes in.

Sue Viskovic: 00:13:47 With all of that gone I think advisors are thinking about that for their own business, but certainly it’s something that we’ve looked at for a long period of time. One from the business perspective that it just makes sense if you can remove your own principle dependency and you can take the intellectual property and the knowledge that you have to help people and put it in a format that is one to many or easily for people. That makes great business sense, and it also fulfills that real deep seeded desire to be able to help more people in a meaningful way. I think that’s where advisors have struggled with this concept because they’re so accustomed as a way to having very personal conversations with clients. That’s where advice really sits is when you can help people understand what’s holding them back and educate them at a level that is pitched to the person sitting across the desk from you. So how do you then take that knowledge and do it en masse in a way that people can take the information they need at the right time?

Sue Viskovic: 00:14:50 So I hope we’ve nailed that. I think for advisors, one of the things we love is this concept that you can either create video learning modules for your clients or even something like an information platform like the financial knowledge center. We’ve brought Rob Skinner, built with that. We’re seeing clients creating things where they’ve got a lot of content already in there and they can filter what their clients get, but then they add some customized content that is specific to their niche market. There’s more opportunities who do these things now then there ever were.

Fraser Jack: 00:15:27 Yeah. I see this and I visualize this in a way where, as you mentioned, the scale conversation. We used to, there was only one option you could provide high level of service to less clients, or you could provide less, a lower level of service to more clients. That was the only two on the axis. Like more clients, less clients, less service or more service. It was, it correlated directly with each other. But now with this idea of the membership site, it’s about being able to provide a high touch to more of the clients. That membership to me also helps create community. That’s one thing that hasn’t really existed in the past, sort of clients have been separated from each other and unless you’re running events and creating community it’s sort of a way of bringing everyone together for a common goal. Not everything has to be that financial product advice. A lot of the time the help that you’re providing your clients is not around product advice.

Sue Viskovic: 00:16:26 Yes, absolutely right. I was just talking, actually interviewing an advisor for the site who is an advisor [inaudible 00:16:35] and he has just retired. He, it was really interesting because he has worked with clients his whole life helping them to move into retirement. He said he had this factual knowledge and experiential, seeing his clients go through it about the whole, particularly with business clients or executive clients that their whole identity was wrapped up in the job that they had. So moving into retirement the challenges were less around funding it and more around their health and well being and their mindset and so forth. He said he was used to doing a little bit of stuff that helped his clients through that, but now that he’s done it himself and come through the other side, he’s like oh my gosh, I just wish that we did more because it is such a mind blowing thing. Even when you’re as experienced at retiring as this advisor was when it came to doing it himself it was really challenging.

Sue Viskovic: 00:17:31 So those sorts of things around, I love this almost movement we’re starting to see around health and wellness and wealth sort of combining. I’m starting to see some awesome things brewing there. But even as simple as you could still be very pure financial advise but start tapping into a making referrals to other professionals that help clients in the other areas of their life that are quite common.

Fraser Jack: 00:18:03 Yeah, it really, you’re right about that movement. It’s almost felt like the regime of what is personal financial advice and what is general. That all pushed the human thinking and the human health and well being and the nature of the fact that money does, can cause a lot of health issues and problems. It almost separated the two so far that though, and now it feels like it’s coming back together.

Sue Viskovic: 00:18:32 Yeah. Well I think with advisors who are delivering as goals based advice, they’ve been not treating or advising the money. Their advising the person. Therefore as they get to know their clients more and dig into perhaps deeper conversations than just what do you want to happen to your kids if something happened to you, then it almost becomes a necessity. I see this name for my clients, and if I’m not, it’s going to sound medical, but if I’m not treating the whole person or providing support for the whole person then it doesn’t matter how much money we have. Because we all know that there are self limiting beliefs around money. There’s energy around money that can impact people’s health and their mindset as well.

Fraser Jack: 00:19:19 Yeah. I just want to go back to you mentioned the advisor that had retired and therefore had some great sharing and learnings that they could then provide back to a membership. So I’m thinking this is probably as we go through a whole lot of changes here, and a lot of advisors, maybe even exiting their advice licenses and working in some coaching spaces and that sort of thing. That’s probably an opportunity for the coaching and the licensed advisors to work a bit closer together and then put it together with that membership site. I see a lot of opportunity there.

Sue Viskovic: 00:19:55 Yeah. Absolutely. We’ve got sort of the functional things like yesterday I shot over to one of our members, they’re looking at buying a business at the moment so we’ve got a checklist and a bit of a guide to say what should you be looking for if you’re thinking about that. Then you’ve got KPI, you have instructions to help you figure out your KPI’s, you need staff, and then your business planning pricing and all that kind of stuff. But I think, and certainly the bits that I really love is finding advisors and people outside the profession as well and really digging deep on some of the concepts that we bring to the, in the portal. So people do a business analysis and that’s part of the system. We’ve structured things around the 16 areas of the business that we know will impact their success, so therefore then we’re talking to people about each of those areas.

Sue Viskovic: 00:20:48 One of my favorite interviews so far is an advisor that runs a great business who was focused on being able to call themselves independent. So therefore they just have removed commissions all together. I know for some people they just go wow, that’s not my business. That’s not what I want to do, and that’s perfectly fine. It’s really interesting to be able to drill down into how they do that. How they structure it. How they position it. And advisors who either may have wanted to do it but just don’t think it’s possible, or still don’t want to do it and that’s perfectly fine, but just hearing some of the language and some of the way that concepts are explained is really helpful to just expand your mind. Even if it’s not something that’s what you need in your business right now, to be able to listen to things in depth and just get another view of thinking. Another way of thinking is healthy for everyone.

Fraser Jack: 00:21:42 Yeah.

Sue Viskovic: 00:21:42 That’s why I love what you were doing too in podcast here because just hearing from different people that you may never have met otherwise. That’s great.

Fraser Jack: 00:21:50 Yeah, yeah. Thank you. Thank you for that. I love doing it just for my own conversations, let alone the conversations, the fact that everyone else tells me they enjoyed them.

Sue Viskovic: 00:22:01 Yeah.

Fraser Jack: 00:22:03 So you mentioned this areas of the business and obviously you’re in the driver’s seat. You get to see a lot of different areas of the business and you can put them in different concepts or different conversations. But what are the main areas that you would see at the moment that you’re helping advisors with?

Sue Viskovic: 00:22:26 That’s funny. We’re actually kind of dealing with people at very ends of the spectrum. Some of our clients, particularly I think those that I think have grown to a specific size, not a specific size but a certain size, or people we’ve been working with for a long time, they’ve already removed any reliance on trail commissions. A lot of the changes coming out of the Royal Commission really aren’t impacting them. So they’re thinking more around how do we maintain our sustainability, the profitability levels that we’ve got at the moment, how do we continue that? What kind of size do we want? Right down to the other end where we’ve got advisors just saying I just, I’m about to lose a whole chunk of my revenue with grandfather commissions going. I’m at a period now where I have less time than ever because I have to do this study and I need to work on my business because the way that I’m running it isn’t going to cut it in the future.

Sue Viskovic: 00:23:24 So they’re wildly different ends of the spectrum. So I suppose if we’re talking probably for the sheer numbers of advisors if I focus more on those that are just really feeling stuck at the moment, it’s probably a good way to describe it. I think one of the things that has resonated a lot with people is, and it’s very similar to what advisors do with their clients, it’s just being able to help advisors really go back, forget about the noise, forget about the fear, and just really have a good think themselves about their vision of what they’re actually trying to create. Why are they even an advisor? What drives them? Why are they running a business? What did they start out to do? What were their expectations? What do they want to create for their families? For their staff? What do they want to be known for by their clients? That whole big picture thinking and the really coming back to their core purpose.

Sue Viskovic: 00:24:21 I’ve had advisors actually, we ran a webinar on this a little while ago, and I’ve actually had two advisors since then reach out to me and say, and thank me and say actually that helped me crystallize the decision that the vision that I did have I don’t have it any more. I don’t have the passion. Now they feel less stuck because they’ve actually made some plans to move on into a different phase of their life outside of advisor. That wasn’t my intention, but that’s still been incredibly empowering for them. Then other advisors just going yeah, you’re right. When I get down to the core of why I’m doing this the noise falls away. It’s easier to make a plan that’s really structured around how I’m going to move forward.

Sue Viskovic: 00:25:00 So for a lot of them, if they’ve got past that point, this is thing around coaching. It’s about we help people achieve a greater level of success, but that success is how they define it. One business wants to be an uber firm or a super firm and another business just wants to have one or two really great quality people dealing with no more than 200 clients. That’s great. That’s fine. But either or, there’s still some decisions that need to be made in a business. So I think a lot of advisors, they’re thinking I’ve got this big chunk of revenue I need to replace because those grandfathered commissions going to be turned off. Now we know technically that’s going to happen in 18 months time, but we also know those product providers switching it off early. So that creates anxiety for them because they’re worried about their cash flow.

Sue Viskovic: 00:25:52 But then when you really drill down to it, for a lot of them it’s not just about going back to every one of those clients and figuring out how to charge the fee. It’s actually going, taking a step back and getting really clear around who the client will be that they’re going to work with in the future because the old way of doing business where you could see anybody, you fixed up their problem, you put them in a superfund or sell them some insurance and tossed over your shoulder, moving on to the next one while the revenue kept coming in from the first one. That’s just not going to happen. So what that’s done is it’s created habits and I think subconscious biases too in a lot of advisors where they think that they have to say yes to everybody. It’s partly also because we all love to help people. If they feel that they have to say no to someone that goes against the grain of everything that they believe in.

Sue Viskovic: 00:26:38 But once they get really clear on saying well, I only have a finite number of people that I can work with, I want to be clear that the types of people that I’m delivering my services to A, really need it, and B, I can really impact in a positive way. So this whole concept of ideal client, which we don’t even use that language anymore because I think people just think I’m doing these quotation marks with my fingers here, people think in an ideal world it’s not possible. But it’s just more about real clarity on who you want to work with moving forward. Then building out your whole proposition around that. What are you actually doing for these people? How do you impact their life in a meaningful way? Then invariably that often then goes to how do I deliver services on an ongoing basis or if I’ve got a whole bunch of people that I’m generating revenue from right now, but they don’t look like the type of person that’s going to be the future of my business, what do I do with that?

Sue Viskovic: 00:27:29 So some advisors are actually challenged by but then freed by the realization that all of those people, I have some advisors say I’ve got 1000 clients. Sorry, no you don’t. You’ve got 1000 policy holders some of which probably don’t even know who you are. So let’s just put that to the side. That was the old way of doing business. Within that group of contacts that you have, there’s going to be a subset of people that will actually engage with you properly and take on your new proposition. For some of them, you didn’t have this evolved proposition when you first saw them. So you probably did just answer the question about super and roll their product over into something. But now if those people would have seen you now, for a start sometimes some of those people may not become clients for you, but others you would have delivered a very, very different type of service to them. So consider them almost like a warm lead and make a targeted approach to say which of these people can I convert to a proper faith end client.

Sue Viskovic: 00:28:31 So then it means I’m essentially dealing with what’s the proposition that you’re delivering to them? What extra skills do you need? And yes I know everyone’s focused on the education to tick the boxes for the seer, but how can you make sure that you construct that learning in a way that’s going to add to the future client at the firm, and the future value proposition, and then figure out how you’re going to charge for it. We’re still seeing advisors, I feel that we have to break this nexus between the assets that you manage for someone and the value of your advice because even advisors that have wanted to move away from an asset based, and I get the history, we had commissions, and a lot of advisors moved to asset based. It was just the way that we thought. But quite often the value of your advice when you’re giving a true goals based advice, significant service to people, the correlation between how much you happen to manage on your platform doesn’t necessarily match up with the value of the overall support and guidance and outcomes that you provide for clients.

Sue Viskovic: 00:29:37 So that’s something that we see happening a lot at the moment. People having these real epiphanies and a-ha moments when they just can really break through that old world thinking and start pushing forward.

Fraser Jack: 00:29:50 Yeah, you covered a lot of different things in there.

Sue Viskovic: 00:29:54 I did, didn’t I? Sorry, I was on a roll.

Fraser Jack: 00:29:55 All right, great. Just something I said facing, obviously that was a business model of the past. When you look at all these possibilities around the future it could be there or it could be different. Certainly I’ve heard arguments either way on this one. I guess as you said-

Sue Viskovic: 00:30:15 [crosstalk 00:30:15] flat.

Fraser Jack: 00:30:15 It depends on the person, but I think it’s probably something that’s changing a lot.

Sue Viskovic: 00:30:26 Yeah. It’s interesting because we as a firm we’ve always taken the view that it depends on the individual business. Right? I’m not going to come out publicly and say oh, asset based means are terrible and we should get rid of them, because I have seen some firms where the majority of their value is delivered in the assets that they manage for that client. In which case their survival appropriate method of changing. However, in fact in the book that I’ve written and the software that created to help create the pricing, at the process we’re taking is here’s the pros and cons of each model. You work through it in light of your own business and arrive at your own decision.

Sue Viskovic: 00:31:11 But something that I’m seeing more, A in the research that we do every couple of years we’ve found a consistent trend away from asset based faced. More people are moving to a flat fee. Here in Australia anyway. Not so much the US. As if that’s the only other market in advice. But what we do see is where advisors, particularly where advisors are getting what I call true life changing financial advice, goals based advice, help me understand you as the person and I will help guide you towards creating a better future or living a best life. When that’s your value proposition there’s very little to do. The link with the value that you provide is not necessarily just what you manage for them. So therefore having an asset based fee, it just doesn’t make sense.

Sue Viskovic: 00:32:02 So where I see people servicing clients when they’re saying if that is your proposition I will help you define what you want more and less of in your life and create the structures around that and create habits and improve your behaviors around money to enable that. Then it doesn’t matter if you’ve got 50 grand and I roll it on to the platform that I use. Or if you’ve got 500,000 and it’s better for you to stay in your industry fund or wherever the case may be. So even when we look at that asset based fee model with best interest, you’ve got to jump through a lot of hoops to be able to look at a client, as you should do, and say well actually you’re better off rolling the money onto my platform so that I can manage it.

Sue Viskovic: 00:32:45 Advisors that have broken that nexus between how they get paid and how they manage the money, in a lot of cases they do have a really great way to manage the money and so in the absence of if the client doesn’t have something better than that then they will roll it over and they will manage it on their behalf. But otherwise if there’s various benefits in a different product that the client’s got that the advisor can’t necessarily manage on their behalf, they can still look at asset allocation. They can still look at the underlying investments within there and support the client through making better decisions.

Sue Viskovic: 00:33:17 But arguably I think the greater impact and outcomes that clients achieve from great financial advice is not necessarily getting .2% less in phase or half a percent better alpha, or even three percent better, it’s actually the daily decisions that they make with how they spend their money and what they do with the income and how they generate that income and so on and so forth. So when you are really providing that guidance and those better outcomes why would you then link it to you’ve got $50,000 that I manage and therefore I can only charge you 1% of it or whatever the limited thinking is.

Fraser Jack: 00:33:58 Yeah. It feels almost like a hangover to me from the product providers or the fund managers, that’s the way they value themselves. That’s the way they value their business. How much funds they’re managing, they have, it’s carried over into the advice businesses in a way and as a valuation thing. I’ve got this many funds under advice or under management. To me in a true goals based advice business it should always be about the client’s goals and how many goals you help your clients achieve. I’m sure it’s the same with your business. Helping the advisors get to, going through those areas that they need help in, helping them get and achieve their goals is the key, not the value of their goals.

Sue Viskovic: 00:34:45 Absolutely. Sometimes those goals are not even financially related. They’re not I want the European holiday. Sometimes they are i just want to sleep better at night because I go to bed and my mind doesn’t stop thinking about all the things I haven’t done or worrying about money or whatever. So those intangible things that, you know we used to say you can’t manage. You actually can. It’s just about having conversations with people and bringing it to light.

Sue Viskovic: 00:35:11 They’re sometimes even more powerful than just oh, well, that’s good. We’ve got less debt now. It’s less debt and I’m still working my butt off and I’m still not spending quality time with my kids or exercising or having a real relationship with my partner. Well then what’s the point?

Fraser Jack: 00:35:26 Yeah. I think it’s been real powerful how you can say you helped a client achieve X amount of their why, amount of goals. It’s a little bit of not helping them get an extra 1% return or hitting benchmarks or acting on returns. Actually you said it a few times before, but as a business metric I think that we should be understanding and tracking how many goals that we help our clients achieve and be able to look back and say over the past 12 months we helped our clients achieve X hundred goals and to be able to do that rather than saying we helped them achieve an L for whatever month.

Sue Viskovic: 00:36:03 Yeah. Fantastic. Fantastic. And that’s, so that’s the thing that I love in helping advisors unpack that because quite often the advisor has the sense that they want to be providing that type of advice but then when you get down to the okay, what do I do? The next time I see a client, how am I going to reframe my discussion? How am I going to have a different conversation with them? What tools am I going to be able to use to bring that to life? How do I? It’s these detail things about how to make not only the mindset shift from the advisor, and recognizing when they’re falling into old habits, but then also the physical step by step how do I actually make that work. That’s where it’s exciting because I’m seeing lots of good things coming to market and being built to help that, enable that.

Fraser Jack: 00:36:51 Do you do any work around with advisors and can you share it around the quality of advice that they provide?

Sue Viskovic: 00:36:58 That’s one of the spokes on our business success wheel. Yes, absolutely. So we don’t, I’ll qualify that by saying we don’t actually, we don’t provide advice coaching as in let me see a client, show me the strategy you do, no you missed this strategy or you miscalculated that. But we do look more at the how are you constructing conversations and presenting your advice in ways that you can ensure that you really are getting to the heart of what means something to clients and helping them achieve more.

Sue Viskovic: 00:37:30 So that’s in some cases means completely reinventing their onboarding process or the way that they conduct their client review conversations or I prefer not to even call them reviews, but their on track meetings.

Fraser Jack: 00:37:43 Progress.

Sue Viskovic: 00:37:43 Their planning meetings, their progress meetings, whatever it is.

Sue Viskovic: 00:37:48 So that also does mean that we look, and that’s part of what we’re doing with Evolve Alliance as well, because we’re coming across these service providers or different tools that advisors can use and in a lot of cases they just don’t know about them. So we’re trying to bring them to people’s attention as well and doing a little bit of due diligence first because I’ve been wooed by lots of shiny things before that really don’t have much substance but look really good on the outside.

Sue Viskovic: 00:38:15 Yeah, yeah. So being able to drill through the bullshit. I mean, sorry. I shouldn’t have done that. Drill through to reality and find some great providers that can help advisors work through that.

Fraser Jack: 00:38:28 Yeah, very good. What are the other I guess the fears advisors are having at the moment, because I guess a lot of what you’re doing will be around that anxiety and fear and helping them remove some of those fears.

Sue Viskovic: 00:38:44 Yeah. I think a lot of it is when you’re outside of your comfort zone. When you’re in that space that, particularly if you’ve been doing this, even if you’ve only been doing it for 10 years, you thought you knew what you were doing and now all of these things are being thrown around that says you have to completely shift the way that you do business. And getting over the insulting aspect of that as well and pushing through your ego to say well, hang on a minute, are you trying to to tell me I’ve done this wrong my whole life? That’s actually quite a big issue to move through.

Sue Viskovic: 00:39:18 But then once they get there, just being able to have a structured way to look at what’s going on and make some prioritization in that. Because I think for a lot of advisors they sort of feel a bit messy. That oh my gosh, I’ve got to do the education, all my pricing’s not right, now I’ve got this revenue, I’m not ... so just to be able to get rid of the noise and give them a structured way to look at their business on an initial kind of analysis basis, but then also on an ongoing basis what are the numbers you should be looking at? How do you track your achievement? How do you run a project to fix something that’s so fundamental to the way you’re doing business? Just providing that structure.

Sue Viskovic: 00:40:04 Then helping them, I guess some of it’s preventing them going down rabbit holes that we know probably won’t serve them. Sometimes they’ve probably got to do it for their own benefit, but sometimes you can shortcut those ones. But just getting them to a point where they feel like they’re having their wins and they’re starting to see everything rebuild around them to create that sustainability.

Sue Viskovic: 00:40:26 I think this fear of the unknown around are we in a place where the regulator doesn’t even understand what we do, and yet they’ve got so much power. Then you look at the Royal Commission and you can understand why. A lot of advisors are still shaking their heads going how could this have even got to this point, that’s just so far removed from the way that I look after my clients. Like I would never do that kind of thing, and yet here I am in the environment where I’m being governed by that kind of behavior, by reactions to that kind of behavior.

Sue Viskovic: 00:40:57 But once you can move through that annoyance and the fear and the anger I guess about all of it, it just puts you in a much better place to be able to lean into it and make some logical decisions about what to do, in what order, and then just get on with it. It’s at the heart of it. You’re here to look after your clients and everybody I suspect too that sticks around, even some that have chosen to leave, advisors do what they do because they have a genuine passion and desire to help people live a better life. The end. Let’s just figure out how to do that in the world.

Fraser Jack: 00:41:32 Exactly. So a good structure, getting on with it obviously, and so I would imagine there’s a fair bit of, do you do in right down to the okay, so here’s all the time you need to spend on your business doing your qualifications, exams, working on all the stuff that you’re helping them with. What would be a time spent working on the business versus working in the business and actually seeing clients at the moment? Seems to me like that’s probably now is the time when that’s a lot higher.

Sue Viskovic: 00:42:01 Yeah. Yeah. Absolutely. It would vary considerably from one business to the next. I think it starts with understanding just how much needs to shift and how much time that advisor is required doing client facing work. So it’s really hard to come up with a number. But yeah, you’re right. There’s a lot more time and effort being spent on the business. One of things that we’re trying to do is just help people cut to the chase. Because when you don’t know how to do something you could spend five hours working on your business achieving what you could have done in one hour if you had a little bit more guidance and little bit more structure in how you’re approaching it.

Sue Viskovic: 00:42:45 So there’s certainly a lot more. For some advisors they’re really just realizing that actually they need to just stop seeing clients for a couple of weeks or whatever the case may be, focus on this map out the approach, have a structured way to be, if you’re doing it completely a new approach where you’re restructuring all of your existing clients. Let’s say you’re deciding that you haven’t been charging enough, you need to lift your fees, you need to get better at articulating that ongoing service and you’re choosing to move to 12 month agreements. Well you’ve got to build that out, and then put it in front of each client as they come in. So you have a map. You know how many clients you can see in any given week or month or whatever, and it’s just a really structured project that you manage. If that means that maybe you need to get better at outsourcing or maybe you need to use your technology better or your staff needs to be retrained, or any of those sorts of things to give you back those hours in the day or improve the output for those hours, then that’s part of the project before you start sitting in front of clients.

Sue Viskovic: 00:43:46 Then at some point you just rip off the band aid and start having those new style of conversations.

Fraser Jack: 00:43:50 Yes, then every advisor has to go through it, so you’re definitely not alone.

Sue Viskovic: 00:43:55 That’s right.

Fraser Jack: 00:43:55 Also it’s going to create a better business, better industry, better profession at the end of it.

Sue Viskovic: 00:44:04 Absolutely. I’m seeing advisors that have gone from businesses where they have hundreds and hundreds of what they use to call clients, they’re now called customers. Where there would be people on their books and people that are generating revenue from them. They don’t even know it. If I’m huge in this industry and I wouldn’t know who they were. To really well structured businesses where they have a plan for every single client. They have a robust connection with them. They know that if they’re making a promise that it will get delivered because they’ve got structures in place to ensure that they do their follow up calls or the implementation gets done or they bring them back into the next meeting or they’re tracking whatever. That becomes, maybe it’s 100 clients. Maybe it’s 200 clients per advisor. Totally depends on the value proposition.

Sue Viskovic: 00:44:52 But that’s a much more manageable number of people to deal with. As the advisor you actually get more satisfaction from what you do because you can see that you’re making a difference to people.

Fraser Jack: 00:45:01 Yeah. I want to touch on this conversation. I see an obvious what about the customers type of thing. That’s people too who have needs and probably benefit from getting financial advice, but then they are now being pushed away from advice practices or always being focused on long term relationships with the clients. So if we think about a client long term relationship, and the customer, maybe somebody who doesn’t have a long term relationship but may want to get [crosstalk 00:45:31]

Sue Viskovic: 00:45:31 They still have a need.

Fraser Jack: 00:45:32 Yeah.

Sue Viskovic: 00:45:33 Yup. That’s a really, really good point as far as I’m concerned. One of the things that people often come back to me with is but Sue, but I don’t want to be in a world where only [inaudible 00:45:46] people can get advice. What about the moms and dads. I love how we say moms and dads because even wealthy people are parents as well. You know what I mean. Probably five years ago I was worried about that. I also didn’t want to be in a place where people who really needed advice couldn’t get it. I am actually less worried about that now because, well for a number of reasons. Number one creating a value proposition that is based around a profitable thing does not have to be for high net worth people. It’s just, it’s more around something that you can feel is a tangible outcome that you’re creating for people that have capacity to pay for it and still get a good return on that investment. That return doesn’t have to be financial technically. As per what we were talking about before.

Sue Viskovic: 00:46:29 But also there are more and more really clever people cracking this nut of how do I deliver education and financial support is probably the wrong word, but maybe that ad hoc, maybe that single issue advice on a scalable way so that if it is a young couple on a combined income of 70 grand and they just need some income protection we can actually get them quality advice in a way that’s helpful, meaningful, profitable, but doesn’t break their bank.

Sue Viskovic: 00:47:00 But typically that is not the traditional or today’s method of giving true financial advice. You can’t have face to face, in depth, long term meetings and do all of the hoops that we need to jump through, do an SOA, if it’s a single need like that and do it on a profitable basis. It’s about people that are thinking outside of the square. Not outside of legal square, but just utilizing different ways to engage people to deliver a single outcome.

Sue Viskovic: 00:47:30 So I’m less worried about the customers that aren’t going to get support. But one thing and I definitely say is it used to be, we’ve all been brought up with just the automatic assumption that if I’m going to do business with a client they’re going to be, or a customer, they’re going to be an ongoing customer because we used to get revenue on ongoing. Technically, we didn’t actually have to do much for it until that client or customer needed something extra. Then, oh, I’ve been getting trial or oh, I’m going to provide you this kind of management service because now you need to manage the claim. But I’ve been getting trial and I’m getting trial from your video so that funds my ability to do that.

Sue Viskovic: 00:48:08 Now we’re in a world where rather than when you see a new client, rather than looking at what ongoing service package am I going to put you on, it’s do you actually need me on retainer? Is this, are your needs and your lifestyle at the moment such that you would benefit from having me as your financial planner on an ongoing basis with a structured delivery method of my services. In a lot of cases those answers, particularly for advisors who haven’t got clear on who they’re dealing with, and they’re still yessing all over themselves, anybody with a heartbeat. In a lot of cases those people actually don’t need them on retainer.

Sue Viskovic: 00:48:48 So therefore the business decision for the advisor now becomes either A, am I just going to find someone that I can refer those people to? So I’m not saying no to them, they’re still getting their needs met, but I’m finding people that I trust that I’d be happy to send them to. Or do I actually create a part of my proposition that says I will give you single issue advice because you have a need right now, and I won’t put you on retainer. I will provide this license as a stand alone. You will pay for it. It will be profitable, but then I have a transactional service that then says when you need me reach out to me. I might put you on my email list. I might stay in touch with you through social media so you still remember that I’m there and I can still educate you from a distance. But when you need me then you’re going to come back and see me.

Sue Viskovic: 00:49:38 It kind of goes against this whole business concept that we’ve always had. That well, you know, even a lot of advisors in the past would say it doesn’t matter if I make money from a client at the outset, I’ll do it as a loss leader because I know they’re going to be worth more to me in the long term, over five or ten years. Well that’s not a given anymore.

Sue Viskovic: 00:49:55 In those circumstances some advisors will say I will do that if I can still see that they’re likely to be a long term client in the future and I do want to provide some support to them. But figuring out a way how to do that profitably and then also it means within a business structure, to have the ability to then charge for that transactional advice. Some advisors, they’ve never raised an invoice for anything. They don’t even know how to position. Well I’m just going to take care of that for you now. My fee is going to be this and you’re going to pay a deposit now and then we’ll invoice you the balance when I do X, Y, Z. Sometimes that is a whole business structure. You need the administration. You need to be able to invoice. Direct debit or credit card, whatever the case may be.

Fraser Jack: 00:50:35 So do you see these businesses in that case then either specializing in, let’s say that the two options are specializing in either relationship business, long term relationship businesses or transactional businesses or a combination of the both?

Sue Viskovic: 00:50:54 I am seeing more either still just the long term and saying if someone’s got a single need right now I’m just going to find somebody else to take care of that. Which is a big shift in business thinking, right? Because they go, it’s silly, it’s not a good business idea to turn away a client. But they understand the opportunity cost of then spending six hours with that client that’s not going to be a long term prospect versus somebody else that will be.

Sue Viskovic: 00:51:21 So either that, or a combination where they say no, our goal is still to build to X number of clients based on retainer where we have meaningful long term relationships, versus, and then we will do some around this side if they meet a certain criteria which usually is linked to they are going to likely be someone that will want to put some retainer in the long term.

Fraser Jack: 00:51:46 yeah, okay. So that really comes down to really just talking about that earlier on in the relationship. Really just letting the consumer’s understand are they the type of business, their business model is long term relationship or their type of business is transactional or a combination depending on the client’s needs.

Sue Viskovic: 00:52:06 Absolutely. It’s actually a good point we should talk about too because I know this is an anxiety for some advisors around a potential of moving to 12 month agreements. A lot of my clients are already there. They see that they have a very structured meeting process. The clients now when they’re due to come in. They come in. They have their ongoing contact. Each time they review it, they go okay, this is what you plan looks like at the moment. This is where we’re heading towards. These are the goals that we’re achieving, working towards. This is the amount of service that we have provided you in the past. Is that still appropriate, that level, or do we need to scale it up or down? Yes we do. Agree on this. Right. Sign a contract for the next 12 months.

Sue Viskovic: 00:52:54 So the interesting thing that I think a lot of people, and I know the first reaction to some is well, I think we still need the two year period like we have with opt in because what if the client goes away in month 12 and they can’t come back? They can’t do their review until the 13th or the 14th month. Does that mean that technically for that period of time I’m not their advisor? Technically, yes. That is what it means because if you have a 12 month contract and you didn’t renew it you’ll get a new contract for the following period then. That is a possibility. But when you know that you structure your conversations, your administration, your delivery of services in such a way that that doesn’t happen.

Sue Viskovic: 00:53:32 One of the things that solves that challenge is that if, usually when people are going away like this it’s a pretty long term planning process around it. It’s not like they’re [inaudible 00:53:44] unless they’ve lost a family member or deceased. But usually they know in advance when they’re going away. So they have more of a connection to the advisor and more communication so you can plan around it. But equally if they happen to be away in the two weeks leading up to the interview or your period, your 12 month period, but they’re going to meet you on the third week back, you figure out how to use digital signing and you send them their agreement and you have a Zoom meeting or a conversation. You make sure that there’s still nothing untoward happening in their finances. That they don’t need any tweaks or any support. But they sign your next 12 month agreement and the delivery of that review is from the first year’s commitment, but they’ve signed on to the next 12 months and you’ve articulated what they’re going to get as part of that agreement. It’s actually as simple as that.

Sue Viskovic: 00:54:38 What a lot of people don’t realize is that if you are on pure 12 month agreements, technically they’re not an ongoing agreement because they’re end dated. But the reality is it is a long term relationship in the client book or sign on to your next 12 month. But you actually don’t need FDS’s anymore. Because you’re not on a long term permanent arrangement, it will stop at month 12 if you didn’t deliver the services and the client doesn’t see value in signing another 12 month agreement. So the hassle that I see with an administrative processes and businesses trying to get their FDS’s run, and they’re opt in so they’re not, all of that just melts away because you only generate revenue from clients you are engaged that are signed on to 12 month agreements.

Sue Viskovic: 00:55:17 I know I’m making it sound oversimplified here, but it actually is.

Fraser Jack: 00:55:21 Yeah, no. I’ve heard the concept worked really well in a number of practices. Just going back to this word membership, and that’s the sort of thing where people go well you know, I’m part of a gym membership or whatever membership and it goes for this length of time and then I have to sign up again or whatever it might be. Understanding that it’s not an ongoing membership, it’s a one year membership.

Sue Viskovic: 00:55:46 Yeah. We plan that we will continue to renew that each year because we continue to provide meaningful support to you living your best life.

Fraser Jack: 00:55:56 Yes. So there’s definitely ways to be, this can be done. I don’t know, I guess if someone was looking to do it then they should contact you and talk to you about it. How do you see all this playing out over the sort of short to medium term future?

Sue Viskovic: 00:56:11 Well, I just see opportunity. I feel that it is sad for some who were towards the end of their career and they maybe only were planning to work for another five years or whatever. So the concept of doing where the study just isn’t going to work for them. So I do feel for them that they’re not managing to retire on their own terms. Yet, of those that I’ve spoken to who have made that decision they feel like they’re getting it back on their own terms. They feel a little bit more empowered and then it’s just about figuring out what they’re doing next.

Sue Viskovic: 00:56:45 But I think, obviously we’re going to have less advisors. Just purely from the statistics of the age base and social. I honestly feel that we’re moving into a space where advisors will have the professional respect that they deserve. Every advisor I know has the professional respect of their own clients. But certainly not of the media and perhaps advisors that don’t have clients that don’t know, or consumers I should say, who don’t understand what they do. So I see it as moving into a world where we will have much better use of technology.

Sue Viskovic: 00:57:19 We will have much more engaging relationships with the clients that are suited at their particular life stage or need. Advisors will be respected. It feels like the compliance burden is just so enormous right now. I don’t see that going away in the sense that it’ll be hands off and people can do whatever they want. But I see it getting a lot easier because we will have these frameworks in place and it’ll be a lot easier to deliver compliant advice. Especially when you’re really clear on what you do, who you serve, how you deliver it. Then you structure all of your processes and your templates and your compliance needs around those particular types of clients and that proposition. That’s when you start getting scale back again, rather than try and reinvent yourself each time you answer a client query.

Fraser Jack: 00:58:13 Yeah. I’m hearing all sorts of numbers about reduction. Advisor numbers reduction. We’re talking about licensed qualified, sorry qualified and licensed advisors numbers reducing. But I’m also seeing this new wave of financial coaching and money management and those sort of things that aren’t talking about financial services products specifically. So the numbers in the industry whilst the advisor number might be reducing, and I’ve heard numbers up to 40% going. There might be a new wave of additional people coming in to fill that almost pre-financial advice space.

Sue Viskovic: 00:58:55 Yeah. That’s a really interesting one isn’t it? Because I look at that and I think from a client’s perspective, yes there is a huge amount of value that can be provided from helping people understand their own biases and subconscious beliefs around money. There’s a lot of life coaches around that that do this. If there’s more of a bent around the financial aspect of that then other elements, great. I do see though that from a client’s perspective at some point they will require what is now technically a financial advice when someone needs to be licensed. So even if it’s not product related, when we’re talking cash flow or talking about a whole variety of things, the tax aspect particularly as well, so how are they going to get that.

Sue Viskovic: 00:59:45 I just hope that people aren’t moving down that path just because they don’t want to do study. I hope that it’s, if that’s really where they find they’re really great and their skill lies in that personal coaching side, great. But I think they’re invariably going to have great relationships with advisors that they trust so that when it does get to a point of okay, now it’s time for you to get some good advice specifically on what to do with your money, then they can create those referral arrangements and that they work.

Sue Viskovic: 01:00:17 Then I look at it and go well a lot of the great advisors I know they want that relationship themselves. So they’re not going to be happy to outsource it. So that well, you’re the money coach and you can have that deep goal spaced person, emotional conversation. I’m just going to take the transaction piece. There’s still something not working for me quite right about that yet.

Sue Viskovic: 01:00:41 But we will see how that all plays out.

Fraser Jack: 01:00:43 It will be interesting, just need to keep an eye on it. Now what are some of the things that you’re working on in your business at the moment? Any new innovations or anything for advisors?

Sue Viskovic: 01:00:53 Yeah. We’ve got the Evolve Alliance which we’ve only launched to our inner circle right now, but that’s coming out to the market shortly, which is that membership platform that we were talking about. So we have industrialized our business analysis process. So people, and the way we’re taking it to market is a little bit interesting in that you can actually do the analysis to get the total clarity for free. Then if you then want, so you get a two page download of the summary of the analysis. If you then want to get the full analysis with the suggested action items and all of the everything else that is in the Evolve Alliance, the tools, the resources, the idea, inspirations templates, blah blah blah, in order to know how to fix the things that you know you need to work on in your business, then that is you become an Evolve Alliance member. That is quite exciting.

Fraser Jack: 01:01:46 Is that out now or is it coming soon?

Sue Viskovic: 01:01:49 It is coming soon. Well it’s out to our inner circle. It’s literally a week from it, so I’m sure when this goes to air but it may even be out by the time people are listening to this.

Fraser Jack: 01:01:58 Okay. So how could people jump online and find that?

Sue Viskovic: 01:02:01 So if they go to our, well if they go to Evolvealliance.com today all of the information is there, and there’s also a link to it from our Elixir Consulting website.

Fraser Jack: 01:02:11 Fantastic. Good plug. Check that out.

Sue Viskovic: 01:02:15 Yeah. Then other things we’re working on, that has various evolutions because we’ve got first iteration go to market, then that’s evolving and growing. We’ve got new consultants coming on board. Excuse me. We have rolled out our group workshop and group coaching programs. We used to only do that when an organization sort of brought us in to run it for a licensee or an organization, but we’re actually taking direct bookings and stuff like that now because we’re, again, finding that we can reach more advisors in ways that are still effective but they may not be one on one coaching. So tapping into that peer group opportunity as well as the consulting services as well. So that’s pretty fun.

Fraser Jack: 01:02:54 Yeah, the peer group opportunities tend to work quite well. I enjoy the peer group opportunities as well. It does create a bit more camaraderie. Even membership off the back of that so.

Sue Viskovic: 01:03:04 Yeah, yeah. We’re nailing down this mix between understanding what others are doing, getting outside of your own inner circle, but also making that time really meaningful so it’s not just a oh, let me get ideas. Well I’m also here talking about my business plan and I’m sharing it with my small group of peers and I’m talking about specific things to do with my business that can help me move forward. Yeah, it’s fun.

Fraser Jack: 01:03:28 Fantastic. Now if you’ll turning to your some friends of yours, maybe at a barbecue or at a social event, and they ask you about what tips you should give them around finding a financial advisor. What do you say?

Sue Viskovic: 01:03:44 So the first is go with your gut. They usually ask me for recommendations of who to speak to. Depending on how well I know the person whether I’ll actually do that or whether I’ll say go and check out the find a planner or advisor ratings or talk to others that you know that have advisors. Get a personal referral. But then also when you’re in that first meeting just ask yourself overall do I feel like this person is really interested in understanding me. So are they going to advise me and my family for the person that I am and the life that I want to live or do they seem more focused on my money and just the financial aspect of things.

Sue Viskovic: 01:04:27 If you walk away from that meeting feeling that you’ve really talked about some things that are really important to you, you may not have even gone into a lot of detail about where your assets are in this first meeting, but you feel like you’ve got a better understanding of your own financial state and decision making process as does the advisor of you. That feels comfortable and you feel that they’ve asked the right questions to be able to get there, then that’s a great [inaudible 01:04:50]. If there were any doubt around their motivations or if they’re trying to jump too quickly into a solution before they even know who you are and what’s important to you, then I would probably go and find someone else.

Fraser Jack: 01:05:04 Good call.

Sue Viskovic: 01:05:05 And there’s all the technical stuff around education. Did they give you advice in writing? All that kind of stuff too, but that’s the hygiene stuff that comes after the actually do I feel comfortable that this person’s going to be able to work with me well.

Fraser Jack: 01:05:18 Yeah, I think certainly a way that we all make decisions whether we feel comfortable in situations. Sometimes we don’t know why we don’t, but we just need to walk away from that one.

Sue Viskovic: 01:05:27 Exactly. Exactly right.

Fraser Jack: 01:05:27 Now what tips or advice would you give to a person that’s looking to become a financial planner?

Sue Viskovic: 01:05:34 Do it. It’s fantastic. I would suggest go and speak to a couple of advisors that have great business models and propositions for their clients to get a bit of a feel for the different types of advice or types of clients, what you could be doing. Then obviously looking into what study is required. If you can find someone that you do respect in business that can be a mentor, whether it be that you work in their firm or whether it’s just an external mentor that’s really powerful and helpful as well.

Sue Viskovic: 01:06:05 Just make it work. If you’re starting it and you need to try and work part time in an advisor’s business, talk to Ally at Grad Mentor. Get matched out with some great businesses to be able to expand on that personal experience at the same time as doing the studies.

Fraser Jack: 01:06:20 Now what tips to give to an advisor who is really trying to weigh out whether they’re going to do the studying, get out, or stay in?

Sue Viskovic: 01:06:31 Really coming back to the core of who they are and what their vision is. Why are they doing this in the first place. Some of it also comes down to asset value. We’re talking to advisors at the moment that, I had a gentleman the other day that thought he had a business that was worth two and a half million dollars and in today’s market it’s probably not even worth a mil. So that really took the wind out of his sails. So he’s having to make the financial decisions around can he live the life he wants if he sells now or if not, what does he have to do to renovate the business in a market that is still really unscheduled.

Sue Viskovic: 01:07:09 So I think, yeah, going back to your core of what you want to do, why you want to do it, what are those outcomes that you want to achieve, be it family and for your own lifestyle. What other choices do you have? Then just make a plan. If it is, if you really hate doing it, if you just get angry time a compliance person comes in, maybe it’s gone beyond the point of no repair.

Fraser Jack: 01:07:39 Make the decision. Make the decision.

Sue Viskovic: 01:07:39 If you can still understand why and you can see through the noise that actually I can see a project in a way that I can throw myself into this with some logical steps and logical outcomes, then find your mojo again and just get stuck in. If you know what your outcomes going to be, whether that be well I’m going to sell or renovate a business in two years it might still not be worth the two and a half mil that I thought it was, but it certainly going to be worth a lot more than what I would get today. Then just, yeah. That clarity and purpose, it’s amazing what that can do the self esteem and mindset.

Fraser Jack: 01:08:11 Just on this evaluation method, it’s obviously been plummeting. We know that valuations have been coming down. Are we at the bottom now or are they going down further? Are they coming back? Where are we at the cycle?

Sue Viskovic: 01:08:23 Ooohhhh. That’s a big question Fraser.

Fraser Jack: 01:08:26 Just quickly. Just quickly.

Sue Viskovic: 01:08:27 Look, I think, well it also depends on how you view it. Right now trial based commissions is no value to them. So yes, we’re at the bottom of that market. We’re starting to see more, what I’m hearing, and I’m hearing this from probably focused a bit more on the bankers that are actually seeing transactions and not anecdotal conversations. But I’m hearing that the value of fee based advice relationships is starting to lift again. It’s just much more qualitative. So even a risk book, people are looking at the ages of their risk book and are they level premiums or, there’s just so much more qualitative decision making around that. Are they at the bottom? I don’t know.

Fraser Jack: 01:09:20 It sounds like we could do an hour podcast on just that one topic.

Sue Viskovic: 01:09:24 We could. We could. Even around fee based advice. So looking at well is it fee based advice post [inaudible 01:09:30] where people have been opting in and they are engaged, or is it fee based advice pre [inaudible 01:09:34] where they’re still struggling to get people in for review and they haven’t signed any opt in because they’re technically they haven’t need to. But guess what. In a minute they’re going to. So, yeah.

Fraser Jack: 01:09:44 Very good. Thank you. And the very last question I always save to last is what tips or advice would you give yourself if you go back in time and had a do over?

Sue Viskovic: 01:09:53 Oh. I love this one. Again, no regrets whatsoever. However I probably would have preferred to take my own medicine and have a mate mapping out the project plan and looking at the capital needs for the business to be able to achieve the growth that you want. Yeah, just take the leap. I don’t think I’ve ever been afraid to take a leap. Sometimes, no, hindsight’s funny isn’t it? Sometimes it’s better not knowing some certain things because otherwise you would have never taken the step forward. So yeah, and just enjoy it more. I’m a bit of a workaholic. As much as I love helping people come back to themself and have a great mindset and practice the mindfulness, I wish I had understood the power of meditation and mindfulness probably five years before I got on to it. I think that would have made a massive difference and I would have enjoyed it more along the way. Not that I haven’t enjoyed it, but you know.

Fraser Jack: 01:10:53 Fantastic. Thank you Sue for coming on the Goals Based Advice Podcast. I really appreciate sharing all your knowledge and wisdom and insights with us today. I know a lot of people are going to get a lot of great tips out of this episode.

Sue Viskovic: 01:11:07 Aw, thanks. It’s been a pleasure.

Fraser Jack: 01:11:10 Thank you.

Sue Viskovic: 01:11:11 Ciao.

Fraser Jack: 01:11:11 If you haven’t already, I’d 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.