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A Value-First Approach for Working Effectively with Clients (and Other Professionals)

Working well with other professionals is critical to helping your clients and growing your financial advisory practice. But how can you earn the trust and respect of specialists in other fields? Today’s guest will give you practical advice for working effectively with both your clients and other professionals for the benefit of everyone involved.

Jamie Robb is the Principal and Senior Wealth Advisor at FIDUCIA Wealth Management. Since he began his career in 1999, Jamie has worked with Canadian business owners and families to help them successfully manage their wealth. He’s also an expert at working with other professionals and acting as the cohesive force that brings their knowledge together to help his clients achieve their vision of financial success.

Listen in to the episode to hear how Jamie manages relationships with clients and other professionals, how he helps his clients decide what financial success means for them in the first place, and how he managed to build a successful business as an independent wealth advisor.

What You’ll Learn in This Episode:

  • How Jamie went from working in a nickel smelter to running a successful financial advisory practice (4:20)
  • The importance of having a philosophy for financial decision-making (10:00)
  • Jamie’s value-first approach for working with clients (15:45)
  • Why Jamie doesn’t believe in niching down (23:35)
  • Working effectively with other professionals (28:10)
  • The mantra Jamie feels has brought him success (36:50)
  • The major gap in the value proposition of robo-advisors (43:00)
  • Jamie’s mission to make sure everyone he knows has an up-to-date will (50:25)

Links and Resources:

Jamie Robb

Jamie on Twitter

FIDUCIA Wealth Management

Willing Wisdom Index

Quotes by Jamie:

“When we have specialization, it really falls to the client, the end user, to be the general contractor who’s directing all these people building the house.”

“The only way you’re going to be a long-term client for me is if you really trust me and if you trust that I can deliver value for you.”

“If you just do the right things over and over again, eventually the right things will happen.”

Having spent 20 years in the business and holding seven different professional designations, Jamie has a lot of experience to draw from to help us understand more about the financial advisory business.

Below, we’re sharing three key ideas from this episode:

  • Jamie’s value-first approach for working with clients
  • Why Jamie doesn’t believe in niching down
  • Working effectively with other professionals

For the rest of the episode, find the podcast on iTunes or Stitcher, or hit the link above.

Jamie’s value-first approach for working with clients

One of the most common first questions a prospective client will ask their potential new advisor is “How much do I have to pay you?”

It’s a question Jamie isn’t keen to answer.

Building trust

Instead, Jamie wants the opportunity to actually deliver value before asking someone to sign a contract and hand their money over to him. It’s like a no-obligation free trial — something common in many other industries.

Hint: In our previous episode, Allan Dib discusses various ways you can apply marketing tactics from other industries to financial services. You can listen to it here.

That’s because he’s in it for the long game, and he wants to work with his clients for the long term. The way he puts it, “the only way you’re going to be a long-term client for me is if you really trust me and if you trust that I can deliver value for you.” He wants to ensure they’re comfortable with him first. Delivering value first is essential to building that trust.

This means that after an initial discovery meeting (or more), Jamie takes the time to roughly sketch out a plan so he and the client have a framework to work from. At this point, he has enough information to make some recommendations about how he can help the client, what kind of value he can deliver, and what kind of compensation will make sense for the situation.

A practical benefit

Waiting to discuss compensation has another, more practical, benefit: simply, it’s hard for him to know what exactly clients will want from him just from the first meeting. Maybe they have a family friend who has always managed their money and they just want his advice; maybe they want him to manage all aspects of their finances. Until he digs in, he can’t be sure that he can deliver enough value to justify the compensation he needs.

Once he and the client are clear on what Jamie will be providing for them, then he can come up with how compensation can work for both of them.

Why Jamie doesn’t believe in niching down

Profit-wise, there’s no question that specialization is key — being known as the expert in your niche is the best way to grow your practice.

However, Jamie doesn’t think that approach is all that good for the client. “When we have specialization,” he explains, “it really falls to the client, the end user, to be the general contractor who’s directing all these people building the house.”

And most clients don’t have the skill or knowledge to manage a team of specialists, no matter how amazing those specialists are. What they end up with is a group of professionals with limited perspectives with nobody to bring all that expertise together.

That’s why Jamie believes that multidisciplinary advice is the future for financial professionals. In other words, he decided to “make a specialty out of being a generalist.”

He considers himself to have expertise in a couple of key areas, but his real value-add is that he has enough knowledge of the other areas to be a cohesive agent for his clients. He can speak the language of accountants, lawyers, and other professionals and be that force that connects everything back to the three parameters he uses to gauge a client’s financial success: security, efficiency, and enjoyment.

Working effectively with other professionals

Working with other professionals can be a risky business.

When choosing to work with you, a lawyer or accountant has a lot to lose. If you fail a mutual client somehow, their reputation with the client and within their firm can be on the line.

And in order to effectively help your client, you have to be able to work well with other professionals; if your relationship with them isn’t solid, you’re going to have a hard time working in your client’s best interest.

A big part of this is having that level of knowledge about what they do, being able to speak confidently about that knowledge, and thinking about things from their perspective — but it’s not just about that.

Treating other professionals like your clients

Jamie views working with another professional just like working with a new client. And true to form, he focuses on building trust and delivering value to them first.

He has made it a point throughout his career to help other professionals solve problems for their clients without much in it for himself. Jamie has earned a lot of respect from professionals who hear directly from their clients about the ways Jamie has helped them — often for free.

It’s a long game to play, certainly.

But Jamie has found that he hasn’t had to do almost any marketing in quite some time, simply because nearly all of his clients now come to him through referrals, many of them from other professionals.

When you take your relationship with other professionals seriously, “they really start to see you as part of their team and they want you involved with not just the clients you already work with, but the ones that you don’t already work with.”

Hint: Jamie is also very strict about never accepting money or paying for referrals; he believes that as soon as the arrangement includes compensation, the trust — which is the whole point — is gone.

For more helpful advice from Jamie, catch the full episode to hear his success mantra, learn why decumulation is a huge opportunity for new financial advisors, and more. You can find the show right here on this page or subscribe on iTunes or Stitcher so you don’t miss any episodes.

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