Kye Harris: 00:00 It was really, for me personally, the last seven years, that I’ve done a hell a lot of work on understanding myself, understanding how a human being thinks, and I firmly believe, on the back of those seven years, it’s not stopping, it’ll just continue now, as I’ve found it actually quite addictive. But the biggest thing I got out of it was the more and more I understood and understand myself, then the far better I can be for a client as well. It was really quite eye-opening.
Fraser Jack: 00:32 Hello, and welcome to The Goals Based Advice Podcast where I have conversations with pioneers of the new world of financial advice. I’m your host, Fraser Jack. I want to thank you so much for tuning in today. I’d also like to thank our supporting partner Advice Intelligence for powering this podcast.
Fraser Jack: 00:47 In this episode I chat with Kye Harris, a financial advisor running his own business in Queensland’s Sunshine Coast, creating deep relationships with his clients thanks to a focus on service and deeper questions. As you just heard, Kye believes in a better understanding of how he ticks to better understand his clients, and in this episode Kye talks about some of the deeper conversations and gives away some of the questioning that he uses. Now I do apologize for the overall sound quality of this recording as there’s a couple of internet lags, but the content is well worth it. Let’s jump into our chat with Kye now.
Fraser Jack: 01:24 Welcome to the show, Kye.
Kye Harris: 01:26 Thank you very much for having me, Fraser. I’m looking forward to it.
Fraser Jack: 01:29 You’re very welcome. Now give the listeners a quick overview of you at the moment.
Kye Harris: 01:33 At the moment, a quick overview, we’re expanding. We’re growing. We’re doing a lot of work on how we can get our true message out into the public, whether it be through websites, whether it be through client documents, forms or brochures or meeting centers of influence. That’s where we’re at right now, and I think it’s timely, and it wasn’t necessarily done on purpose, given what’s happening in the industry, it’s just kind of evolved that way, and it was the right time for us. So really excited about it.
Fraser Jack: 02:00 Exciting time. Lot of change, lot of growth, lot of different things happening.
Kye Harris: 02:04 Absolutely.
Fraser Jack: 02:07 Let’s go back to the beginning. Run us through your story. How did you get into financial services in the first place?
Kye Harris: 02:13 Well, I was actually aiming to be an engineer in high school. Well, wind back a little bit. I was going to be a chef, loved food, but I soon realized I didn’t really want to be cooking it all the time, I just wanted to be eating it. Anyway, I started going down the engineering route. So I did all those second tier type maths and sciences and physics and chemistry. That didn’t really wash with me in the end. It came towards the end of Grade 12 and dad basically suggested to me, “Go to uni and do a business degree. At least if you do a business degree you’ve got the opportunity to tap into so many different channels in so many different areas, and from there then you can pick what you really want to specialize in.”
Kye Harris: 02:50 What I really loved about uni was the finance subjects, the making money, the trading, all those sorts of things. Ultimately, out of uni, I ended up at the Commonwealth Bank, at a branch level, and I was also aspiring from there to get into the financial planning, so basically helping people manage their money, make money. Within the branch network, at that level, it’s very, very sales focused, very product focused. So that didn’t work for me, and I literally walked up the street to a local financial planning business and handed in my resume and said, “This is what I want to do. Will you have me on board?” And I pestered them a little bit, and ultimately they took me on board and I was there for about four or five years.
Kye Harris: 03:34 I was very retirement focused. So what I did find was that while there was a great education point, and gave me a lot of knowledge in and around retirement needs, [inaudible 00:03:43], but back then it was TRAPs, transition to retirement allocated pensions, those sorts of things, there wasn’t really much on offer in how do I talk to someone who’s 35, and how do I help them with their needs and what issues are for them in and around money.
Kye Harris: 04:00 So I moved on from there, went to another practice who was more growth focused and they were more about wealth accumulation. They had some really, really professional specialized ways around what they did so I learnt a hell of a lot from them in how to be, I guess, so client centric and deliver the utmost best service that you can possibly deliver. So I learnt a lot from that practice.
Kye Harris: 04:24 For me, they were, again, and this is probably industry wide, a little bit too product focused. So just as an example, if I was sitting down with a client and saying, “Put your money here through this platform,” or, “Put your instruments through here, through this insurer,” they actually didn’t have an open APL to say we can compare this to this and then make sure that, “Okay, Fraser, this is the very best option for you.” And it wasn’t that they were not, I guess, checking what should be done and checking what’s right, it just, to me, wasn’t fitting. I wanted in all good conscience to sit there in front of Fraser and say, “This is the very best option, and I can say that because I’ve compared it.”
Kye Harris: 05:02 So I moved on from there and I was with another practice for a while and they just captured everything. They had an open APL, they had a very broad spectrum of advice to give, and the conversation I would have with people would be around, “What’s your money mindset?” So they incorporated a little bit of Bill Bachrach, and also a few other, I guess, services and support where they were, “Let’s hack into the money mindset.”
Kye Harris: 05:30 From there I was just in too much of an urge to have my own business. So I left there and created my entity, and we’ve been here now for five years, and for five years it’s been evolving and growing in the exact way that myself and my best friend, my key business partner, my wife, have been creating it. So where it is today is exactly where we want to be, and that was part of me getting into my own business I suppose, and creating exactly what we want and delivering to our client exactly what we really want to do. So that’s where we are. That’s how I got here, I suppose.
Fraser Jack: 06:05 Good story. Now there’s a couple of things I want to draw out of that. First one was the idea of when you actually decided that you wanted to move, so you went and pestered a financial advice firm. I really like that idea actually. Don’t just sit back and wait and apply for jobs when they come up, actually push yourself in the door, get your foot in the door and actually go and say to people, “This is what I really want to do.” I think that’s probably really a great idea.
Kye Harris: 06:33 Well, for me, it was something I just really wanted. I had potentially delusions of grandeur, especially if you look at where the industry’s been now, but back then I was like, this is what I wanted to be. I wanted to get into the money sector, the planning, helping people make money, because in some way or another, and I didn’t actually consciously realize it back then, but it was about what can that money deliver. It’s not necessarily the money that people are after but they’re after what it can provide. So that was exciting to me.
Fraser Jack: 07:03 But as an owner of a business now, if somebody knocked on your door and came in and said, “Hey, I really want to do this thing and it fits with what you’re doing,” you’d probably look at your business model and, at the time, whether you wanted to take on another person or expand. It’s a nice thing to happen as a business owner, isn’t it, if somebody comes and knocks on the door and says, “I really want to work here.”
Kye Harris: 07:26 Yeah, yeah. “We love what you stand for and we want to be part of it.” And that’s part of, not necessarily the rebranding we’re going through, but I guess just getting our message out there more accurately and getting it worded more accurately to fit with exactly who we are as a business and what we are actually doing on a day-to-day basis. So we’ve-
Fraser Jack: 07:46 Now what-
Kye Harris: 07:47 Sorry, go on.
Fraser Jack: 07:47 I just want to take you back, before we move on, to that moment when you opened the doors for yourself. Did you just open the doors with no clients or did you buy a book? How did you open it?
Kye Harris: 08:00 I can honestly say, proudly say, that every client that I have now is one that I’ve created or worked for. So all through the practices I was with, they had their client bases which is quite common in the industry, that you would call, and you’d contact them and they may not have been contacted for a couple of years, or they’re an old [inaudible 00:08:21] policyholder, or something along those lines. But, for me, my networks and what I created outside of those client books, that’s what I still hold to this day, and that’s how we’ve been built. We’ve been built by client referral and I guess showing centers of influence like accountants and things that this is what we do, and they’ve liked what we do so they continue to refer their clients as well.
Fraser Jack: 08:43 So you’ve basically built it up from scratch, based on the relationships that you’ve obviously maybe previously had and the centers of influence and those sorts of things.
Kye Harris: 08:54 Yeah. Service has always been paramount. If you put a philosophy around what we do, is service the client as much as possible, really look after them, let them know that they’re getting taken care of, and that was our plan in how we built our business. If you look at some of the business purists out there they go, “That’s not a strategy. You’ve got to document it,” and blah, blah, blah, but it’s worked. We’ve gone above and beyond to try and deliver the best service possible and, as I said, it’s working.
Fraser Jack: 09:20 So you opened the doors, new business, no clients, or a few clients maybe trickling in. How did you get through those initial first 12 months?
Kye Harris: 09:33 Actually, I was only just looking back on it and reflecting on that just yesterday, and it was hectic. It was nerveracking. Now it’s a lot calmer, a lot more settled, and I guess, in particular, once you do work through a few years and work through a few different ways of doing things, trial and error, you start to realize, okay, this is what works and, most importantly for us, this is what is most comfortable, this is where we sit. We know it’s delivering value, we’re getting great responses. So, nerveracking, and I was running. I was running pretty hard. I was trying to get things done. Everything was done quickly, and then there’s obviously the compliance challenges. But I wouldn’t change anything though. I learnt a lot from it, for sure.
Fraser Jack: 10:14 So if somebody’s going through that process now, what would you say to them?
Kye Harris: 10:18 Relax, it will come. You just keep putting in the work. You keep being diligent, and above everything, you keep delivering the service, you keep taking care of the client, and it will come. It will work, for sure.
Fraser Jack: 10:31 How long did it take for you to get through that period where all of a sudden... well, not all of a sudden, but after a lot of hard work, the income starts coming in?
Kye Harris: 10:43 Well, again, I was actually thinking about that the other day too, is that I’ve heard different bits of information that you pick up along the way, and with experience in a certain industry, and in life in general, and some of it really started to resonate with me just a couple of days ago in particular, and I’ve heard stories like it takes three to five years to really get up on your feet and be cruising. I always thought, are you kidding me? Three to five years? I’m not doing that, that’s too long, blah, blah, blah. But, yeah, probably three to five years to really feel settled and to really have momentum. When I say settled, settled in your service offerings, settled in how you conduct yourself, what message you’re relaying to clients, how you’re responding to clients, how you’re being proactive with clients. The way I look at it is, you find your feet, and you find what works. So it’s probably about the three year mark it started to feel really settled.
Fraser Jack: 11:30 Yeah. And your clients probably grow with you as well over that time.
Kye Harris: 11:34 Yeah. So settling in, I guess, it’s a way of doing things around that three year mark, and then it becomes more of a growth focus, how are we now going to do better, how are we going to deliver a better service, how can we change things up to be even more different and add more value? So how can we serve more people, add more value and get a much better outcome? So that’s kind of what shifted in year three to year four, and then year five, we’re now fifth year now, we’ve really, as I said before, ramping up what our message is and the conversations we’re actually having with clients as well.
Fraser Jack: 12:13 So you’ve made some conscious decisions to, as you said, ramp up and really start focusing on the business and what it looks like from the outside and the service offering that you [inaudible 00:12:24]. Do you want to give us a bit of an overview of what made you decide that and then how did you go about it?
Kye Harris: 12:31 It was really, for me personally, in the last seven years that I’ve done a hell a lot of work on understanding myself, understanding how a human being thinks, and I firmly believe on the back of those seven years, and it’s not stopping, it’ll just continue now, as I’ve found it actually quite addictive. But the biggest thing I got out of it was the more and more I understood and understand myself, then the far better I can be for a client as well. It was really quite eye-opening, particularly in the last couple of years.
Kye Harris: 13:03 So where it came about into focusing, it was getting to that point where, okay, this is where I feel comfortable and I can’t be everything to everyone. So one of the terms I’ve used is that you try and be as efficient and systemized as like a McDonald’s store, but we were feeling like we were a McDonald’s store and we’re still trying to sell KFC, we’re trying to sell Subway, we’re trying to sell Domino’s Pizzas, we’re trying to be everything to everyone. And particularly two things: In this day and age, way too difficult for this industry, I believe, that could just be me, but the second thing is too, there’s a certain clientele that I actually love working with.
Kye Harris: 13:43 So as we’ve moved through the third year, fourth year, et cetera, I started to become more self-aware of what I loved actually working with, certain age groups, a certain level of income, a certain drive and a certain personality. So it wasn’t just about financial metrics, it was more around mindset: What are these people thinking? What do they want to do? Are they on board? Are they committed in such a way to go, “Okay, we want to now come, Kye, and we want your help”?
Fraser Jack: 14:11 Yeah. I find it really fantastic that you started this development, I guess, this development of your business with your own personal and self-development. It started with you as a human, up-skilling and up-developing and understanding more of your own self and your mind, and that’s what led to your business then... it sounds like you tried to align that business with those ideas?
Kye Harris: 14:40 Absolutely. And what I’ve found too is it just flows. So some of the work we’ve done, there’s been many courses, whether they be leadership courses or just mindset type courses or training programs or just some supports and mind expert in that field, what I’ve found is that you have a natural state and then you have these different states that you actually, I guess, flex into over time. So when I first started the business, that wasn’t my natural state. I was stressed, I was running. I had to make it work, I was feeling that pressure, and it wears you down.
Kye Harris: 15:18 So my natural state is more relaxed. Like the clients yesterday, I spent three hours with them. So from a business efficiency point of view, someone might come in and go, “What the hell are you doing? You’ve got to cut it back to an hour. How does that actually come about with your fees? Are you getting underpaid now because you’ve spent three hours...” But, for me, I’d rather relax into the meeting, be comfortable, and have a good, meaningful chat with the client and get them to realize some ah-hah moments and go, “Oh, I never thought of that. Cool.” So I got a text from the client yesterday, last night, saying, “Thank you. It was really valuable.” And it wasn’t just about numbers, it wasn’t just about money.
Kye Harris: 15:54 So, for me, it’s a natural fit and it’s a natural flow, and if I look at all the most successful people in the world, that’s where they sit. They sit in their natural state and they’re comfortable, they love it, and that’s why they are successful. It’s not work to them.
Fraser Jack: 16:09 Yeah. There’s a huge amount of authenticity and for the long-term status in the relationship with your clients, I think that authenticity’s the key because you’re not trying to be somebody you’re not. And as you said, it attracts the people that you want to really have long-term relationships with to you, and so you’re not really battling with that relationship over a long period.
Kye Harris: 16:35 Exactly right. It’s more than just the work. So there obviously is a work component, they’re not there just to have a nice somewhat, say, fluffy conversation. So, importantly, what these conversations lead to when they create an ah-hah moment is, what’s the intrinsic link between their emotional decisions, the emotionally based decisions and money. So our role obviously is how do we put the money in the right buckets to get the most meaningful outcome they’re after. The discussions are bigger than, “Okay, Fraser, what are your goals?” To me, personally, they’ve been done to death, and we are, yes, a goals based industry, I get that, but goals, to me, they’re a task. They’re a task of ticking off a certain achievement or a certain milestone in time but the meaning behind that, the why, is freedom, feeling satisfied, feeling content, and a lot that actually has come about is self-worth. I know that sounds way out of left field but we attach a lot of self-worth to what’s external to us: It’s a new car, it’s a new house, our business is bigger, we’ve got some new clothes. So it’s all those exterior motives.
Fraser Jack: 17:43 There’s plenty of status symbols to be purchased, that’s for sure.
Kye Harris: 17:48 Yeah, yeah. And a lot of it too is, what I have found, it’s not the stigma of... it’s ego-driven, “Look at me, I’ve just got a new Range Rover,” it comes from within. So I guess they’re not tuned in to okay, how do I feel some self-worth outside of buying something, or creating something external to me? Like the clients yesterday, they’ve got a $40 million a year business, but it’s not enough. It’s still not enough. So my aim at that meeting was to uncover, okay, why is it not enough, what’s the problem, type thing. It was really, really interesting what come out of it, and it was so clear to him after it all got fleshed out, “Oh, right, that’s why it never feels like it’s enough.” Really fascinating.
Kye Harris: 18:28 And that’s where it really starts to evoke some positive emotions and excitement for me. Numbers you can do on the back of your hand, that’s the easy part. Compliance, that’s a pain in the butt part. But the value is these sorts of conversation for clients.
Fraser Jack: 18:42 So really eliciting behind the goals, you’re eliciting their why, their values, what’s their limiting beliefs, their history, the decisions that they’ve made in the past, how they’ve affected them. What sort of questioning techniques are you using in this and how deep will you go with a client?
Kye Harris: 19:01 It’s something that I do tread carefully with because I don’t want to overstep the mark but often I do find... because potentially everyone as a story. Everyone has a story that can be either painful in parts, really happy in parts, or it could just be one or the other, we just don’t really know. So when I start digging, I am mindful, and I’m almost asking for permission as I go, and if it starts getting quite deep, I say, “Look, I hope you don’t mind but can you tell me a bit about that?”
Kye Harris: 19:37 So the questions really start with a [inaudible 00:19:41] the topic of, “What was your experience around money growing up?” That’s how it starts. And as the client responds, it’s a little bit more reactive, and to dig with certain questions. So I’ll give you an example with the people we met with yesterday. They have a business that turns over $40 million a year. They’ve got something like 80 or 90 staff. The income that drips out to them on the back end is more than enough to cater for what their goals and objectives are but more importantly, what they want their lifestyle to look like. The numbers are happening, it’s working. But for the husband, enough’s never enough. So he’s on this treadmill. He’s just constantly running on this treadmill but he’s not really going anywhere, or he doesn’t feel like he’s really getting to the finish line.
Kye Harris: 20:25 So what I asked of him was, basically, “What was your experience around money?” And as the conversation evolved, he said one thing to me which really stood out, and he said, “It was actually pretty horrific to watch Dad shoot 600 sheep during a time of drought.” So he grew up on a farm, and for him to bring up that memory quite early, and that use of language, straight away told me, okay, this is a pretty significant time in his past, it’s really stuck with him.
Kye Harris: 20:55 As I dug deeper and found out what family life looked like, “What was money like within the house? Was there saving? Was there arguments? What do you remember hearing about money?” So things like, “Money is the root of all evil,” those sorts of comments or quotes, did they hear any of those sorts of things? But in the end, what he basically relayed was that, “Dad worked his butt off seven days a week. We never had any money. We never felt like we had any money. Everything was always tight. Everything was skint. There wasn’t a lot. We were in drought a lot. He worked away from home a lot. When he was 60 he got cancer and he died.” So he worked his butt off for nothing. He never got to travel. So in the client’s words, “Dad never got to travel. He never had the choice of whether he was working or not.” And this is one of the kickers as well for me, “Dad always felt pushed by Mom. Mom was always looking over the fence. She was always looking for more.” And this has actually resonated.
Kye Harris: 21:51 So this is the program that this client had downloaded. He’s downloaded all these feelings, these vibes and experiences around money and now this is what he’s running with as an adult. So he’s come from a place of scarcity, he’s never had enough. There was never enough money. And he’s felt a lot of pain. He watched as a 12 year old 600 sheep get shot, and he said, “It’s horrific.” He said, “It’s a living thing, and we had to shoot 600 of them.” So that pain, he’s run so hard from that pain, that he’s created such a massive business that he thinks, okay, if I can just keep going, I’ll have enough and I’ll never have to be in that place again. Does that make sense?
Fraser Jack: 22:26 Yeah. It seems to me like the pendulum. So he’s gone far left on one thing and so now he’s really overcompensated and the pendulum’s swung the opposite direction and he’s trying to hold it at that other direction to stay as far away from the pain as he can.
Kye Harris: 22:42 Absolutely. Funny you say that. Coincidentally, I’ll use that example, the pendulum example. Exactly that. And you’re right. One of the things too that kicked in was that mom apparently had said to him and the other brother, “You wouldn’t be where you are without this business,” because it was the parents’ business, but the boys inherited the business with a truckload of debt and no profit, but mom was still saying, “You wouldn’t be where you are if we didn’t give you that business.” So he’s on this treadmill too of proving, hang on a sec, I’ve created this, I’ve turned this around. So, again, it comes from a place of not enough, never enough, and he’s focused on what’s external to him, which is, I’m going to get this business as big as I can get it.
Fraser Jack: 23:26 Yeah. Amazing, isn’t it? So a lot of internal conflict going on there. No financial strategy or [crosstalk 00:23:33]
Kye Harris: 23:33 Not in that part of the conversation.
Fraser Jack: 23:37 But this is a really important part of the relationship that you have with a client. You’re trying to reset and recalibrate their existing beliefs and those changing habits and ideas and all these things that obviously don’t form part of the financial product advice but do form a huge part of that client’s future and what they’re going to do and the strategies you’re going to use.
Kye Harris: 24:06 Importantly, and as alluded to earlier, okay, how does money come into play? What is it that can we do to help? So the purpose and the aim of these conversations is simply to create awareness, and I’m very, I guess, diligent to say to the clients, “This is not a place of judgment or criticism, it’s not what it’s about. It’s about trying to help you create an awareness of why am I doing what I’m doing? Why am I running like I’m running?”
Kye Harris: 24:35 There was another gentleman a couple of weeks ago. He’s on 280 grand a year as an engineer but he still will check his budget every single day. He will check what his wife has spent. He will check what’s going out every week. He continues to watch and monitor. When you go into his history, his mom had a book. She would document down what they lived, that income from money. Everything in the house was measured. So there was just enough food to get to day seven of the week and then they’d be run out, and then mom gets groceries for the next week. So everything was really measured and watched and everything was quite frugal, and his dad said to him too, one of the tips that stuck with him is, “Make sure you put 50% of your pay away.” I said to him, “For how long?” The client said, “I don’t know.” I said, “Well, when’s enough enough?” He said, “I actually don’t know.”
Kye Harris: 25:23 So we’re running with this program but we don’t know why. So with these clients what would come out of it was, “Well, what’s your number? Why are you doing it?” And ultimately, it does boil down to some very common answers, which, “Well, I just want some freedom. I just want to do what I want to do.” “Okay. Well, what do you really want to do?”
Kye Harris: 25:45 The client who runs a $40 million business said, “Well, I actually love creating. I’d love to do what I want as far as helping new business owners, like new guys, get up off the ground.” He said, “I love converting bad businesses into great businesses.” He said, “I love that creation process.” I said, “Okay.” He said, “I would travel a lot.” He said, “If I wanted to do that I would go live in Canada and do it from there. I’d do businesses up in Canada.” He said, “That’s what I’d be doing.” And that was on the back of too, asking, “What would you do if you had $10 million in the bank and were debt free?” No-one ever answers, “I’d still be doing my same job. I’d still have my same business.”
Fraser Jack: 26:27 Obviously these conversations go fairly deep and they bring out a lot of stuff that might not have been discussed, especially in the home, with partners. How do you see this happening, because, I mean, often the conversation might not go that deep in a general environment. How do you see that working with two people in the room, them going, “Oh, I didn’t really know that”, getting a better understanding for their partner during that process?
Kye Harris: 26:58 Yeah. You’ve hit on a good point. It does happen. Another couple, in the last couple of weeks, she’s very, very, very frugal. If he’s watering the grass, she’ll go out and say, “Turn the water off. We can’t pay the water bill,” type thing. Again, great income, but they don’t do the link between, “We’ve got great income and we can actually be a bit free with the water, we’re okay.”
Kye Harris: 27:22 So what happened out of that meeting was, they’d both developed an awareness, particularly for him. He was a little bit critical, in a joking way, of his wife for saying those sorts of things, “Turn the water off,” but it created an awareness. So he’s aware now where she’s coming from and why, as opposed to, “Oh, she just likes to control everything. She just likes to tell me what I’m doing all the time.” You know what I mean? Does that make sense?
Fraser Jack: 27:50 I’ve no idea what you’re talking about when it comes... I’m only kidding! Absolutely. I’m thinking it absolutely would happen. People then work out, okay, that’s their background, that’s their history, that’s their program, as you put it, and help them then communicate better away from your office.
Kye Harris: 28:12 And it develops that understanding, and we touched on that a bit earlier. If you have that understanding, then you’re not left to assume or left to judge based on what your program is. You would say, as I guess we joked about even momentarily just a few seconds ago, around wives. Wives are controlling and bossy, type thing. There’s that stigma or that joking around wives, but put the jokes aside and you create that understanding. You go, “Okay, she’s not trying to be controlling and bossy. She’s just coming from a place of feeling poor, never having enough money, or feeling the pain of living in Housing Commission all her life and having houses removed from her or having stuff stolen from her or taken from her.” It develops that understanding and therefore they communicate a lot better.
Fraser Jack: 28:57 Mm-hmm (affirmative). Yeah, fantastic. Now you mentioned before this scenario of you now know who you like to work with and you have these conversations. How are people finding you based on knowing that you do what you do?
Kye Harris: 29:12 Referral. So existing clients or centers of influence. That’s pretty much our only source of new clients. That’s how they’re finding us.
Fraser Jack: 29:22 Fantastic. I also wanted to ask you some questions around your meeting process because obviously this is a long relationship building up, front process. You go a lot deeper with the conversations when you’re having them. How does that extend, say, your advice process from two, three... how does it extend from, let’s say, a standard approach?
Kye Harris: 29:44 I’ve worked on that. We’ve worked really hard on the process and our aim and what we’ve got, the process we’ve got in place now is to have it quite succinct. So we do have a [inaudible 00:29:57] call, a “We’ve been referred by... This is what we’re thinking. Can you help?” that type of phone call. From there, we can establish, okay, are they moving towards an initial meeting?
Kye Harris: 30:08 So as far as that initial meeting goes, there’s a little bit of digging, there’s some questions we want to know before they come in, and they touch on a little bit what we’ve spoken about so far, but not too in-depth or not too onerous. So we like the process to be fairly simple but a little bit eye-opening as well.
Kye Harris: 30:24 Once they come in, we spend an hour with them, maybe an hour and a half, and particularly within the first half an hour we’ll know whether we’re able to help or whether they’re an ideal client or not, and sometimes even with the first phone call, more often than not we know whether they’re an ideal fit. From the first meeting, we can establish, “Okay, this is the kind of help it looks like you’re wanting from us, and this is what we feel, based on what we’ve discussed and our experience, this is what the costs will be, or the ball park.” So the first meeting, effectively, is to determine can we work with them, can we help them, and vice versa for them, to feel that they actually want to work with us, do they feel like we’re a good fit.
Kye Harris: 31:08 From there, the reason why we talk about costs right upfront is to just ascertain whether they’re willing to pay, and if they have the capability to pay, because they need to see the value in what we’re doing and sometimes it works, what we talk about, and sometimes it doesn’t. But more often than not, because they’re referred, it’s from the first meeting they do move ahead with advice.
Kye Harris: 31:30 Once that initial meeting’s out the way and we’ve got some agreement on fees, we put an advice agreement together, effectively, a quote, and we sit down from there and we put a fact find together. We get all the nuts and bolts, all the figures, and we’re putting advice together from there pretty much. So a fairly succinct process I think.
Fraser Jack: 31:48 So sort of a three meeting process?
Kye Harris: 31:51 Three meeting process.
Fraser Jack: 31:51 Three meeting and a phone call.
Kye Harris: 31:52 Yeah, yeah. And there can be some phone calls in between to recheck information or liaise with an accountant or something along those lines, particularly when it comes to putting advice together, but it’s a three meeting process.
Fraser Jack: 32:08 In that first process you’re holistic, you’re looking at all of their lives, their businesses, everything about them?
Kye Harris: 32:15 Yeah. We get a snapshot. So what we call, I guess, a financial overview, just some set values and what they are. We’re not after extreme accuracy here, it’s just, okay, ball park, what do you have financially? But our questions before the financials in the questionnaire that we send out, it’s all about, how can we help, what concerns you at the moment, what’s a priority for you? So it’s all establishing what is the problem you have that you want us to solve, and what’s a little bit about you so we can understand how you tick and what worries you.
Fraser Jack: 32:51 And then what would your standard ongoing process be after you’ve done the initial advice and put that in place?
Kye Harris: 32:58 Standard process is probably every quarter we have contact with the client and that can be in relation to making a contribution to their investment plan or checking to see what’s changed in their circumstances as to whether that affects the financial plan or we need to adjust anything as we go. So that would probably be pretty standard.
Fraser Jack: 33:17 Now a lot of work obviously at the beginning when you talk about going reasonably deep on their background, their system, their process, those things that they go through. How do you see that develop over time? Once you’ve really worked with a client over a longer period, how do you see that changing?
Kye Harris: 33:37 What we try to do is, obviously we’re not psychologists and we don’t have the tools to go, okay, this is how you can, I guess, reprogram your thinking to be not coming from a place of scarcity, you don’t have enough, you’ll never have enough. How we, I guess, work around that or try to help that is reinforcing through every contact or reinforcing through every review that you do, in fact, have enough. So here’s the numbers. So I guess it’s a validating point for a client, they can see the proof in the numbers. And ultimately what happens is that they do gradually unravel some of their more, I guess, smaller money decisions that get affected by.
Kye Harris: 34:18 So one lady, for example, I think I touched on it earlier, she questions herself at Woolworths as to whether she should pick up the $10 item versus the $7 item. Earning great money, can totally afford it, but would still question herself. So, for her, she doesn’t do that anymore. I guess through our process and reinforcing that the numbers are okay and reinforcing to them, okay, how do you actually shift your thinking through the process I discussed earlier about being aware of your history and your program you’ve downloaded, then they gradually unravel and they get better and better with money. It’s interesting though. We’ve got a client who earns $2 million a year, net cash profit, and still doesn’t feel there’ll be enough.
Fraser Jack: 35:05 You’ve done your own self-improvement courses and those sorts of things. Do you ever refer those courses to your clients as well, find yourself saying, “Here, here’s a great tool over here or a great resource that I’ve been through that helped me and maybe help you”?
Kye Harris: 35:19 Yeah, I do. I often do refer them onto, particularly, I guess, a couple of key people that I’ve sought resources from or help or guidance, whatever the case may be, whatever you want to call it, over the years, and I have referred definitely on some occasions. As I said, we’re mindful not to step outside the boundary and go, okay, now we’re all of a sudden psychologists or counselors, but for us, it’s really, really important that we establish this awareness for a client and then get the money to work, get the money into the buckets that’s going to help them get the outcome that means the most to them. So we do refer on but it’s not every client, if that makes sense. It depends how conversations go and how open they are to it and what they ask.
Fraser Jack: 36:03 If you were mentoring an advisor, are there anything off the top of your head, any resources or courses that you’ve done that you’ve found really valuable, that others would?
Kye Harris: 36:15 I’ve got a close family member who’s actually in psychology and has been for 20 years, so she’s my main resource. And that comes back to the earlier thing I was saying about understanding myself, it’s helped me understand clients a lot better and it’s actually a love of mine, that I’ve just kept reading and researching and assessing and applying and trying and failing. There’s no set course that’s really given me the one outcome. It’s been a combination of resources and a combination of people being involved, particularly over the last seven years, and if you wind back the clock, little things I’ve picked up from different companies and people I’ve been working with as well, in the last 17 years in total. So sorry, Fraser, there’s no real [crosstalk 00:36:58]
Fraser Jack: 36:57 No, that’s all right. I really liked what you said there about understanding yourself to understand others. I think it’s a pretty important message.
Kye Harris: 37:05 It’s huge. It’s huge. It really is. I think it’s a real unknown for a lot of people to have that real in-depth understanding and how it then flows in to understand others. Really eye-opening it has been for me, for sure.
Fraser Jack: 37:18 You mentioned before that you re-look at your systems and your processes and all that stuff recently. What are some of the stuff that you’re working on at the moment with the future in mind and the stuff that you’re working on to improve the practice for the future?
Kye Harris: 37:31 Right now, I’d have to say service agreements. So what does a service agreement look like, and we’re pretty much sticking to the 12 month. So in the past it would be, let’s start a service agreement and then opt-ins, the usual process, but what we’re doing now is fine-tuning how we tackle it on a 12 month by 12 month basis. So we have a bigger picture created, let’s say, a standard retirement, we need $3 million to retire on, how are we going to get it? Well, to get that, you’re going to have to put away these contributions every quarter. So we establish a process around the plan, the financial plan, but we’re tackling it on a 12 month by 12 month basis. So what have we got to do between now and... where are we? September... September next year to keep this on track? So that’s our main point of work at the moment, is exactly that.
Fraser Jack: 38:27 Okay. And then you have your major review meeting this time next year and do another service agreement.
Kye Harris: 38:33 Exactly. So we’ll get a new service agreement signed in September next year and it could potentially be something a little bit different. It could be, okay, let’s keep our eye on the bigger prize, which is retirement, but for the next six to 12 months you’ve got to focus to do x, y, z. So we’re going to have to actually manage the money in a slightly different way to get those outcomes over the next 12 months, all the while making sure that that bigger retirement picture is still getting taken care off and still getting created. Does that make sense?
Fraser Jack: 39:02 Your ongoing service, would they vary from year to year depending on obviously what the client’s needs might be? They might have an extra need this year and a bit [inaudible 00:39:11]
Kye Harris: 39:11 Yeah. They don’t tend to vary too much. It tends to be just little tweaks, but overall, it’s usually, how do we get enough money to be financially free? So there’s levels of financially free. There’s financial independence and there’s financial freedom. There’s financial stability. So how do we, I guess, reach each level? And that takes time. As you know, you can’t make money in 12 months, unless you win Lotto. It’s about tackling that bigger picture, or that bigger desire for a client, but all the while managing little things like our renos, or we want a new car, how does that affect our bigger picture target?
Fraser Jack: 39:50 And how do you see the business growing over the next few years or so? Are you looking at expanding, are you just consolidating to you? What are your plans with the business?
Kye Harris: 39:59 Plans for the business are for me to be more involved just on this part of the process. So probably a fairly standard type target, which is let’s delegate as much of the admin as possible, streamline it, and what is actually on the radar is, how do we potentially create another entity. I’ll rewind a sec. The reason for this creating another entity is that 90% of our work comes from 10% of the value add to a client. So 90% of our work is in the compliance, is in and around product placement or product replacement. That’s this whole Royal Commission, and it’s more basically on product placement. The whole compliance regime is in product placement. But 90% of the value we actually add to clients is everything I’ve been talking about today, but it’s 10% of the compliance work.
Kye Harris: 40:58 So a potential target we’re looking at is, how do we create another entity that adds 90% of the value of a client, which literally has no compliance attached to it, and do we keep Perron Financial Group going as the product placement compliant advice giving licensed entity. Does that make sense?
Fraser Jack: 41:16 It’s an interesting world, isn’t it, that it’s all shaping up to be, and obviously a lot of the value financial advisors add are not necessarily in financial product advice which is where the big regulation piece is. Essentially, to me, in the ongoing relationship side, there’s a big difference between transactional, come in, one ad hoc transaction, and then that ongoing relationship which is a lot around having somebody there, all the different things that are not necessarily product advice, and the compliance build is all very much around that stacking up where the value of that service is. It’s interesting to see how transactional and ongoing relationship works in the future, whether they split and we have a very clear definition or direction around both and make it very obvious, like this is a transaction, or that’s what you get, and this is the relationship piece.
Kye Harris: 42:15 Yeah. Interestingly, I guess, the most unknown for a client is actually in that product placement, is, “Okay, where do I put my money, for example, to make it grow? And I have no idea where it needs to go so, Kye, I’m relying on you and I trust in you that you’re putting it in a good place and it will grow and it will meet our objectives over the long-term.”
Kye Harris: 42:37 So, as I said, interestingly, it’s a piece of the puzzle that I feel personally and believe you can’t remove from the advice piece, and it’s not something we’re looking to remove, but 90% of the value add is more around how do we actually get to where we want to be and how do we actually get out of life what we want, how do we get our life to look exactly as we want it, and that involves money. Money’s intrinsically linked to our quality of life. I don’t really like this word because it’s getting thrown around a lot now, but I guess it’s maybe a bit of a coaching piece, and that’s where people are finding the most value. The product placement, it’s like, “Yeah, good, that’s great, you’re doing fine. However, blah, blah, blah, blah. This is what’s meaningful to us. This is what we want in our life. How are we going to get it?”
Fraser Jack: 43:24 Yeah. That’s interested me too, the point around acting in the client’s best interest and all the things that we do, with ethical behavior and everything, based on just their financial facts, or based on their facts and all of their values and their behaviors and their history and their learnings. It’s a very different extension to that essentially, if you’re just doing transactional: it’s only based on their financial facts because you don’t know or you haven’t found out those deeper questions like you ask.
Kye Harris: 43:59 Yeah, yeah. Exactly. Exactly right.
Fraser Jack: 43:59 So there’s obviously a lot of change going on. How do you see it all looking in the future with regards to once all of these regulations kick in and everybody’s been through their exam and their qualifications and we’re a profession officially?
Kye Harris: 44:13 Yeah, yeah, officially because prior to this we weren’t, officially. For me, this might sound a little bit arrogant, but I don’t pay actually a lot of attention to it because for us, I am of the firm belief, and I guess we keep getting reinforced by industry professionals, consultants or even with our own licensee through audits or whatever the case may be, that there’s not many practices doing what we do, and the practices that are getting the biggest overhaul or facing the biggest challenges are the ones that are doing what always used to be done. So for us moving forward, it is effectively business as usual.
Kye Harris: 44:55 What I see happening out there is that there’s going to be a lot of... well, there already is, I’m not shedding any new light on this, but there’s a lot of people leaving. There’s a lot of people that don’t want to go through the educational requirements, and there’s a lot of people that don’t want to make, I guess, the compliance shift that has to be made. But also, I believe, there’s a shift that has to be made from what I see as the more transactional advice to how do we actually add value to your life type advice and how do we put money into the equation to create that. That’s a shift I think a lot of people don’t want to make, they might not even know how to make, I’m not too sure.
Kye Harris: 45:33 I see, again, not shedding any light, a lot less advisors, and I think, for me, even less advisors who have the approach that we do. I think that personally, again, I don’t want to sound arrogant, it’s just what I’m seeing, and the skillset coming through to have, I guess, some sort of psychological understanding of people, what makes them tick and what’s most meaningful to them, I think is a very, very important component to advice, and that’s where I think it should be going. As to whether it will go that way, I don’t know, mate, I’m not too sure.
Fraser Jack: 46:06 Yeah, watch this space, I guess. I really liked what you said around adding value to somebody’s life too. I think that resonates really well. Now, tell me if you were giving some tips to younger advisors coming through, what tips would you give to them?
Kye Harris: 46:22 Possibly understand yourself and then you’ll understand people a lot better, and if you understand people a lot better you’re going to resonate with them a lot more, and they’re going to find you a lot more valuable. I really believe too that as an individual, as any human being, if you’re relating on a human to human level, you’re going to love your work a lot more. If you understand yourself, you’ll understand others better and you’ll love the work a lot more. So my tip would be, work on that understanding and love relating to people and getting people to realize something meaningful in their lives.
Fraser Jack: 46:54 Yeah, fantastic. And if you were giving tips to people making decisions now around whether they stay or go, have you got any tips for those advisors?
Kye Harris: 47:05 Do what feels right. If you don’t feel you’re up to it, or don’t want it, move on and try something else. I firmly believe that we are capable of a lot more than we actually believe we are capable of, and often we might feel a little despair, we might feel that things are really going pear-shaped, but to me, there’s opportunities in every problem. So I think for anyone who’s leaving or looking to leave, look for the opportunity in what’s happening, not look for the pain and not look for the, this is bad and I’m going down. There’s opportunities there, they can be found.
Fraser Jack: 47:43 Find the opportunities. Nice, I like it. Now, Kye, if you could go back in time and give yourself some tips or advice, where would you go and what would you say?
Kye Harris: 47:53 Look, I’ve never really been one to go, wish I had, wish I hadn’t. Looking back, really, I can honestly say it is what it is. I made the decisions I thought were right at the time. I’m not going to kick myself. And right now I wouldn’t be where I am had I not experienced what I did to then trigger me to go, okay, I want to try something different. Does that make sense?
Fraser Jack: 48:17 Yeah. I like the saying, sometimes you win, sometimes you learn, and it’s pretty much that, isn’t it? We all make good decisions and bad decisions and sometimes the bad ones we get more out of than the good ones.
Kye Harris: 48:31 Exactly right. There’s another saying which caught my attention a few months ago, which is, they say there’s no mistakes, there’s only lessons. But to add to that, there’s no mistakes, there’s no lessons, there’s just knowing. You just develop a knowing. So you simply are just developing more knowledge about life and what can happen and what can’t happen.
Fraser Jack: 48:53 Brilliant.
Kye Harris: 48:53 Plain and simple.
Fraser Jack: 48:54 Well said. We might leave it there then. Kye, if somebody wants to continue the conversation with you, how can they get hold of you?
Kye Harris: 49:02 I’m happy for people to call. They can call the office, 07 5437 9437. Or they can call my mobile, 0421 031226. Email at kye, K-Y-E, @perronfg.com. That’s P-E-R-R-O-N for Nelly, F for financial, G for group.com
Fraser Jack: 49:23 Fantastic. Thank you for being so generous with your time today, and really appreciate your insights and just how you go so deep with your clients and add real value to them. I really appreciate it.
Kye Harris: 49:35 Thank you very much for having me, Fraser. I appreciate it too.
Fraser Jack: 49:37 Thank you.
Kye Harris: 49:38 Thanks, mate.
Fraser Jack: 49:39 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.
Fraser Jack: 49:49 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.