Keys to Being a Remarkable RIA in 2023
This week we talk about how nailing something really simple with your firm can create something truly extraodinary for your clients
We made it. It’s Friday, party people.
This week we’re talking music, food, dentists, and how simple things done at the right time and context can make experiences remarkable.
Here’s the breakdown of what I’ll be covering in this week’s edition of Connected:
Finding Your Unique Firm Identity & Making Remarkable Experiences
Transforming the Wealth Management Landscape Through Doing Business and Doing Life - Brad Johnson 🎧
You’re Invited: Forging the Future of Financial Advice 📍
Coming in Blank ⬜️
Cover Songs (Arguably) Better Than the Originals 🎶
Rekindling a Remarkable Firm Identity in the Midst of the Consolidation Hamster Wheel
If it feels like the advisors are on a carousel of consolidating and breaking away, it’s probably because that’s precisely what is happening in our industry.
The story of independence is the story of professional evolution, consolidation, and diaspora.
And for good reason.
There are countless reasons why advisors go independent, most of which you are likely very familiar with. Top of the list is the freedom and flexibility available to advisors who break away from wirehouses.
From setting up back office admin to maintaining regulatory standards to creating your brand, RIAs have a lot of things on their plate. While transitioning to independence and consolidation of practices, it’s easy to lose sight of what sets your business apart and makes it truly remarkable.
You don’t have to and you absolutely shouldn’t lose what sets your firm apart from the crowd in the middle of the shuffle of streamlined processes, software and services.
What does being remarkable really mean in the context of our business?
In this 2007 piece from Seth Godin, “How to Be Remarkable,” Seth talks through his ten rules for being remarkable. Number 2 reads:
Anyone asking you to define your remarkable characteristics is actually offering up a trick question. You can’t define it. It’s something your clients define whenever they mention you.
What are your clients saying about you? How do you know?
Creating and maintaining remarkable moments is not a one-time effort but an ongoing commitment to emulating all of the things you say you value. Here are a few things to think about as you lead your firm toward being remarkable in the very best way:
Embrace Authenticity - People resonate with authenticity, and it builds trust and credibility. It never means oversharing with your clients but it absolutely means that you say what you mean and mean what you say in your own voice, manner and style.
Iterate, Experiment, and Risk Take - Remarkable moments show up when people are unafraid to challenge the status quo and seek innovative solutions to problems. A remarkable experience is often found in profoundly studying what matters and delivering that experience far beyond the client's expectations.
Reach for Remarkable - While plenty of people only eat to consume fuel, the rest of us are always on the lookout for tasty bites. Great food is a big part of what we are looking for, but the experience around food takes everything to the next level. That doesn’t mean fine dining makes a meal better. It might be the artwork, music and friendliness of the burrito shop or the lighting and branding with the best acai bowls. You aren’t offering up financial planning in a vacuum and you don’t necessarily need to present it in a stuffy, fine dining establishment.
You need to combine your authentic self (What do you like? Who are you?) with a little iteration (Try some stuff out. Measure responses along the way. See what gets people talking) and thoughtfulness around your full experience.
Will Guidara’s Unreasonable Hospitality provides all the details on his journey to turn Eleven Madison Park into the top restaurant in the world.
Strangely enough, the path to becoming remarkable started with a New York hot dog.
I’ll share this clip here, but you must promise me you will also grab his book.
Finding Creativity in the Ordinary
Years ago, I was tasked to help bring Creative Planning to Orion. Even at that time, they were a complete rocket ship.
As part of getting to know Creative, learning what made them truly unique was one of my goals. I quickly discovered their special attention to details I’d never heard other firms mention before.
One item, in particular, seemed to set them apart in their client’s minds. Each client received a simple 3-ring binder. You probably picked up a few during your back to school shopping recently. The binders themselves weren’t especially significant.
The binder took on the role of the central place for each household to keep their essential records and everything around their relationship with the advisor. As prospects walked through their presentation, they could imagine themselves on the other side of the messy financial life, living in a financially peaceful future that they’d created with their advisor, attorney and CPA all working off one binder-centric playbook.
Built on a Building Drilling Experiences
Mercer Advisors stands out from the crowd. In serving hundreds of advisory firms, it was one of the few firms I thought about working at. So many firms had energy levels that were low and cubicles full of uninspired, unfocused team members.
Mercer was different.
Founded with a core focus to serve dentists, they consulted and trained dentists around their full practice needs. It didn’t take long for them to expand their dentist care to wealth management.
The team's original members would tell me about when they were early on and were some of the first to do virtual dental training from a set they had built in their Phoenix office. That might seem like a common idea in a post-COVID world, but I met Mercer when they were $3B - ages ago now. They were cutting edge, thinking about how to use scale to reach a specialty.
Today Mercer has AUM north of 34B.
What about your firm? What are the moments you hear about through the grapevine?
I’d love to hear how you’ve knocked someone’s socks off by being authentic, taking a risk or how you’ve reached toward an extraordinary client experience.
On the Pod
Transforming the Wealth Management Landscape Through Doing Business and Doing Life with Brad Johnson
In this week’s episode of Milemarker's Connected Podcast, Kyle sits down with Brad Johnson, Principal and Co-Founder of Triad Partners and host of the Do Business. Do Life. Podcast. Brad shares how advisors can build real, lasting connections with their clients that go beyond financial advice.
“The core of connection is understanding first. You have to seek to understand.”
The episode is available now on your favorite podcast platform. While there, please don’t forget to Download, Like, and Subscribe.
You’re Invited: Forging the Future of Wealth Management, August 16, Atlanta
Join us for an in-person event this month. The event is designed specifically for RIAs, where we will walk through unlocking tangible success for your clients, business, and professional journey.
When: Wednesday, August 16, 2023 at 4:30 pm EST
Where: Bold Monk Brewing, 1737 Ellsworth Industrial Blvd NW Suite D-1 Atlanta, GA 30318
We still have a few spots open and would love for you to join us. Save your seat here.
Highways and Byways. Quick Takes on Industry News & Relevant Content.
Coming in Blank
It’s a wise person who offers advice to “listen before you speak.”
The concept is pretty simple, but it’s not always this easy in practice. So often, we are already thinking about what we want to say next or forming an opinion before the other person can explain their thought process.
I’m guilty of this myself. 🙋♂️
In one minute, Rick Rubin shares four steps to revolutionize the way you think about how you interact with others.
This felt so relevant to how we meet with our clients.
Check it out in this tweet:
I'm convinced that there is one skill that separates truly intelligent people from those that aren't:
This concept of "being a recorder" by Rick Rubin explains it perfectly.
In less than a minute, Rubin provides 4 simple steps that, if followed, will change how you… twitter.com/i/web/status/1…
— Blake Burge (@blakeaburge)
Aug 1, 2023
Other things I’m finding remarkable
Cover Songs (Arguably) Better Than the Originals - Scary Pockets
I’ve always had a love for music. Mostly indie music that leans more toward anti-establishment.
I’m almost always searching for new music and recently discovered Scary Pockets.
Scary Pockets is a funk cover band that releases covers of popular songs once a week- all with a funky twist on the original version—the same lyrics and general idea, just a little off the beaten path.
Growing up in bands, the idea of liking a cover band was anathema. (This is where I should admit to already having another cover band in frequent rotation. We can talk about Brass Against the Machine some other time.)
Here is my favorite cover they’ve done recently:
What I love most about Scary Pockets is how they take something already known, put their unique soulful spin on it and create something I didn’t know I wanted to hear.
With over 1.1 million subscribers on YouTube, I’m not the only one who finds what they’re doing remarkable. Give them a listen, and let me know what you think.
When was the last time you got outside?
I mean really outside.
No cell service or running water levels outside.
This company, Wilderness Collective, brings together “the best things in life into one experience—adrenaline-filled adventure, exploration of wild spaces, incredible food, and deep, soulful conversations.”
Take a look at one of their trips:
Wilderness creates a truly remarkable experience, and my friends who have gone on their adventures walked away changed by it.
Technically every time I craft one of these letters, I’ve found a new remarkable thing to share. Thanks for reading along and send me some of your remarks anytime.
I am looking forward to seeing you back here next week. Enjoy your weekend.
Written by Jud Mackrill
Edited by Amy Simpson and Kim Mackrill