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Steven Jarvis, CPA is joined in this episode by the founder and President of Advisorist, Jeremiah Desmarais as they talk about ways Advisors can spend more time delivering value and less time drowning in tasks that could be delegated. Jeremiah brings deep experience and countless success stories of helping Advisors take their practices to the next level and Steven brings it all back to tax planning (this is still a tax podcast after all). Listen through to the end as Steven and Jeremiah share some exciting upcoming collaborations that will offer Advisors a chance to go deeper and get resources that will help them make 2024 the best year yet.
“Who wants to spend eight hours with a prospect that you might love as a person, but you know really can't help them and you should be getting off the phone and moving on to the next person.” - Jeremiah Desmarais Click To Tweet
“I think people often feel like there isn't another option and that if I want to accomplish more, I need to grind more.” - Steven Jarvis Click To Tweet
“Start off by writing down a list of the things that you love to do, but you know that there's somebody who could actually be doing them better than you.” - Jeremiah Desmarais Click To Tweet
Steven and his guests share more tax-planning insights in today’s Retirement Tax Services Podcast. Feedback, unusual tax-planning stories, and suggestions for future guests can be sent to email@example.com.
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Hello everyone and welcome to the next episode of the Retirement Tax Services podcast, Financial Professionals edition. I’m your host, Steven Jarvis, CPA, and in this second episode of the year, I’ve got a very special guest. This is someone who is personally recommended to me by a good friend of the show, Benjamin Brandt. He told me that this is just somebody I had to spend time with who’s doing great things for the advisor community. So joining me today is Jeremiah Desmarais, who is with advisorists.com and is changing the way advisors build community and do things for their clients. So Jeremiah, welcome to the show.
Thanks, really an honor to be here. I’m so glad that Ben connected us.
Yeah, absolutely. There are so many people in this industry. I know we talk about, it was like a relatively small industry. There’s only 300,000 advisors or whatever the number is, but that’s still a lot of people. And so when I have someone that I’m already working with that I have a lot of respect for that says, Hey, you’ve got to meet this person. And Ben doesn’t do that casually. I think he’s actually, you’re the only person. He’s that adamantly told me this is someone you need to work with. So for people who might not be familiar with you or with advisors, give us the overview. What is it that you are doing? How are you helping advisors and why?
Yeah, thanks so much. So our mission is to help advisors live a more fulfilled life by working with more of the clients that they want with less time spent. I don’t think anybody ever goes to get help on business growth. They really want to work an extra 20 hours a week so they can crush it and be away from their families. And the reason why that’s so important to me is I actually started Advisorist, I guess about eight years ago. I was in the Andes Mountains and I had my old laptop. We were doing some volunteer work, my wife and I hanging out with the llamas and the alpacas there, and I remember trying to send my first email newsletter to a group book. I think at that time I had 4,000 financial professionals on my list and I had to hold my laptop up near the sky to try to capture one bar of wifi so they would register to hit send and that was the beginning.
But my intent was to build a business that would give me a lifestyle and that is what we build into all of our programs as a coaching and training organization. We pride ourselves on programs that yes, usually take anywhere from three to five hours a week for an advisor to set up, but then once that’s in place, it’s really something that actually buys them back more time because they’re seeing the kind of clients that they want. They’re meeting the kinds of people they want to actually enjoy spending time with and they’re doing it in less time. So that’s my personal why I think everybody should live a virtual lifestyle and I’m a huge believer in enjoying life while you’re building a business, not just I’m going to crush it for 40 years of my life and then I’m going to really play for another 10. I was like, why don’t you just crush it and play at the same time?
I’m certainly a huge fan of that mentality as a CPA. It’s not one I was raised with. Most CPA firms are very much on the side of, let’s see how many hours you can grind out. And while I’m totally with you that most people don’t really want to just say, Hey, how do I add 20 more hours to my week? I think people often feel like there isn’t another option and that if I want to accomplish more, I need to grind more. And I mean I get on here every week and talk about tax planning and what advisors can be doing with taxes and just the questions and feedback I get. Sometimes that becomes a piece of it of where do I find the time to do this? Because to your point, advisors don’t want to just add more hours to their week. Give me some examples of how you make that a reality.
Yeah. Great. Alright, so let’s go to just outside Dallas, Texas and the energy corridor. One of the advisors who came into our program that teaches LinkedIn, I think telling his story is probably better than me and I’m happy to dive into anything you want me to, what are the specifics of what he did? But he came to us a while back with some really good clients. I think he was making about 250 a year and with two kids, he just wasn’t spending a lot of time with them. So we taught him a technique that he could use on LinkedIn to build local networking groups that are a combination of virtual and in-person. And he ended up within about six months, taking off one or two days a week while tripling his business. The cool thing that he loved about it was he was now seen as the power connector in the energy corridor.
This opened up huge opportunities for him to work with oil and gas executives, oil and gas entrepreneurs. So he ended up leveling up the type of client he was working with and all through virtual interactions that he converted into in-person business. And that’s just one of many examples. There’s another one, this is actually an advisor who decided to create a YouTube channel where they realized that by creating content once and YouTube almost acting like a type of money Wikipedia these days, a lot of people go to YouTube first to learn about money. We know that the next generation is going to TikTok first, but there’s huge search volume on YouTube. So they started to create videos, they specialize in cash value, and whole life insurance. And so they started creating a channel. This couple, they were really struggling, burnt out on seminars, networking groups. They actually were telling the story of doing a mailer to do a seminar and the only people in the audience were them.
And so they turned to YouTube. It was the only thing they could do that was left that was free. And they built up a channel that today has 187,000 subscribers and all they do is videos. And actually after basically writing a bunch of policies for a year and a half, like really nice whole-life policies, they’ve decided to do a joint venture with a firm that actually does all of the sales for them. And they just focus their time creating content and they’re raising two beautiful little kids. They love to travel. That’s just another story of advisors using modern methods. And both of those are programs where we teach advisors how to follow those successful models.
That’s really interesting. I love the idea of emulating success. And I mean as we’re sitting here at the beginning of January as this airs, I would imagine that just about if not everyone listening has growth goals for the year. Most of us as business owners running a book of business, okay, where does that next prospect come from? How does that funnel work? What’s that pipeline look like? And I don’t meet that many advisors. Every now and then I come across one who’s really got dialed in, but for the most part, advisors are always hungry for how do I better define this? And so it sounds like that’s really where your focus is, is in helping advisors with how do I get connected with the right types of prospects so that I end up with the right types of clients so that I can build the type of business that I want to be a part of and deliver a lot of value to clients along the way?
Yeah, that’s correct. And what’s interesting, there’s a new problem that happens when advisors go from, I’m working referrals in the warm market where very easy to do 80 to 95% close rates, right? Because kind of like how we’re connected, we got connected through referrals and we didn’t have to spend a lot of time sussing each other out because we had a mutual friend who trusted us. And that is still by far the best kind of referral. However, for most advisors, it’s not a scalable process. It’s almost catches catch can I hope I get a referral this week? I hope I get a great referral this month. And there’s programs out there that teach you referral strategies and so forth. But the new problem that happens when you switch from a warm market approach to a cold market approach, whether it be your podcast voice, your YouTube channel, your LinkedIn strategy or even paid ad strategies, which still work, is how do you manage the sales process?
And that’s the new problem that a lot of advisors face after going through that. And it’s interesting, there’s a really cool line I want to share with everybody if I may, that we’ve been teaching to advisors on how to actually start a conversation with someone in the cold market and it’s the first four minutes that we’ll make or break you. What we teach advisors that works extremely well is this simple one-liner. What is it that made you invest the time to have this call today? What’s great about that question is that it puts the onus on them to share why they’re there and you’ll get answers that range from a life story of five minutes to somebody who very rarely somebody will tighten up and clam up and say, oh, I’m just curious. And then you have other question frameworks you can use for that.
But that’s such a powerful question. We actually taught that to an advisor who specializes in attorney marketing. So he came to us, he was kind of a catch-can advisor, he is doing okay, 250, maybe 200 a year, but he never had a niche. And so we really worked with him to start developing a niche of attorneys on LinkedIn and he was like, there’s no way that’s going to work. Attorneys aren’t out there. But he started to craft his messages around attorneys. His posts were about top 10 retirement strategies, which he would take from Forbes and then he would just put at the end of it for attorneys for he would customize the article. We taught him, Hey, Google articles that give advice on retirement, financial planning, tax planning strategies, and then just put at the end for attorneys and then of course make it your own right, do your own editing.
And he started using this question in his 15-minute discovery calls that he would do with these prospects and they would start opening up their life. Do you know that within six months he had built up a pipeline of $3.2 million in fees and commissions? That’s not AUM because he does a combination of annuities his whole life and then AUM as part of that. We didn’t even count the AUM, but that was 185 attorneys going in his pipeline because of that simple outreach strategy and then a simple cold opener that it really builds trust. And if I may just speak one more thing on this topic because I’m a firm believer that most of the sales training that we get in this industry is hopefully outdated. It’s regurgitated from the eighties and nineties where hype and energy and enthusiasm was the flavor of the day.
And we live in a very jaded world right now. The news cycles, the mental abuse that social media puts on all of us, the imposter syndrome that continues to grow these old school tactics of let’s be super friendly or this is the one I see the most often is advisors try to over-help. One of the things I love about financial planners is it attracts the most giving family oriented, noble-minded people I’ve ever met. And when we do these events, we have hundreds of advisors coming virtually with thousands of drag-up summits. I look at these comments and everybody just wants to help. They want to make a difference. They want to be a service in their community. And that actually works against us as advisors because what happens is we end up overgiving, we’ll be very happy to do 5, 6, 7, 8 hours of calls before we ask for a sale. And it doesn’t have to be that way. There are new modern methods of selling virtually that are extremely effective and are based on proven frameworks and neuroscience, and that’s one of the things that we love to share as well because who wants to spend eight hours with a prospect that you might love as a person, but you know really can’t help them and you should be getting off the phone and moving on to the next person.
I completely agree with that. To be the best advisor possible, you have to run a successful business. You have to be doing this profitably, you have to be doing this effectively. This can’t just be, I mean, if you want to have the work you do pro bono every other Friday, please do, but make sure you know that that’s your pro bono work and not building your business. So I really appreciate your highlighting there. This isn’t just the very top of the, Hey, let’s talk about how to get marketing in front of people. You’re working with people on the entire sales process down to closing them as clients, helping them actually deliver value, which was I think one of the reasons that Ben got us connected. And one of the reasons I was excited not just to do this podcast with you, but we’ve got some other things coming up we’ll talk about in a minute because for my listeners that come every week to hear about tax planning, you might be wondering, okay, where’s the tax planning piece of this?
And for me, the only way you’re going to be able to help people with tax planning is if you have more clients, if you’re able to go and find these people that you are able to serve in a very specific and articulate way. And the more we can focus on whether that’s attorneys or people in the energy corridor and then take this a step further and say, okay, what are those things, whether it’s from a tax planning standpoint, an estate planning standpoint, life insurance, whatever it is we’re helping them do, we’ve got to get ’em in front of us as a client before we can ever move on to these other really valuable services. But Jeremiah, from what you’re doing, you’ve talked about how you help people with the sales process, and sounds like you’re seeing advisors have a ton of success with that. Can you talk a little bit more about the other side of what you mentioned upfront, which is helping people to take more time off to have a more balanced business and life approach, I’m hearing the great sales stuff, help me with the time off side of it.
Yeah, absolutely. So there’s a technique that I was taught a long time ago called Delegate to Elevate, and that comes from the EOS framework. And I’m very grateful I found that framework so early in my business career and I still struggled with it to be completely honest. I’m not sitting on top of Zen Mountain, but I’ll tell you, I’ve built Advisorist in really two and a half days a week over the last seven years. Like I’ve never spent more than three days a week building this brand and company. And it’s not because I’m amazing, it’s because I’ve surrounded myself with really great talent. So here’s a very simple thing you could do to start with, and it comes from the Delegate to Elevate framework that I’ve talked to a lot of advisors. Start off by writing down a list of the things that you love to do, but you know that there’s somebody who could actually be doing them better than you.
And again, this is tricky because there might be something that I love to be in emails because I don’t get rejected when I’m sending emails. I love to plan my calendar, nobody rejects me. I don’t get objections, but we got to put those down there. The second thing is things that you know are not good at and you know should be getting off your plate. And I taught this to one advisor who started writing down a bunch of the things. He had kind of this epiphany. He’s like, man, I’m doing all these things I’m mediocre at, but I thought I was good at, and after helping him find a virtual assistant on Upwork upwrk.com or you could go to online jobs.ph, which is all Filipino VAs. If you just want to work with VAs from the Philippines or just go hire some students if you wish locally, you could do internships, and work really well.
The BLX program will actually help you find interns from the black and Latino population. Shout out to my man who runs that and they’re specifically for financial planning. You can check ’em out. They’re a nonprofit in the US. But the point is that by getting those things off your plate, so I’m talking like you can start super basic with email like somebody to manage your inbox. Actually, I interviewed a VA this week out of the Philippines who actually uses the “Buy your time back” book to manage executives’ inboxes. That’s how specific of a VA you can get out there for $7 an hour, right? So is it worth it for someone to organize all your emails into seven different folders so that you just look at the most important ones every day? I think so, right? That’s a real simple one. Then you get things a little more sophisticated.
I can almost hear the words of some advisors listening go, yeah, that sounds really simple. What about more complex things? Well, that’s where you start looking for other talent or there’s great teams overseas that will handle some of the portfolio building. You can teach someone how to build a portfolio, right? They’ve taught AI how to do it, but you can teach human beings with loom videos. I love to use loom videos in teaching where we force ourselves here at advisors that if you’re going to do something that is going to be over and over, record a loom video about it, which is a great way to just document how to do a process and then pass it off to somebody. And the biggest epiphany people have is I ask them, look at, let’s do a little bit of math. Let’s say for example, you’re making 200 a year.
I’m just going to use that as a number. And if you divide that by, let’s say we work 50 weeks a year and then you take the number of hours per week and then how much are you making per hour? You have a fixed hourly rate for that, but just do the calculation. You’re going to figure out you earn anywhere from 75 to $500 an hour depending on how much you make per year. So here’s the question. Is there somebody who could be doing your day-to-day tasks that is available for less than, let’s just say 75 bucks? If you calculate you’re making $75 an hour, then you should only be doing activities that are worth $75 an hour or more. You should be delegating everything less than $75 an hour, which is almost everything most advisors do. And what happens is you create this space where you’re buying starts to get clear and you start to get inspired again of the things you really want to do. And we’ve seen this happen over and over again with advisors that once they have these breathing rooms in their day-to-day life, and it’s consistently showing up where they have breathing space, all of a sudden they’re happier at work. They start getting these breakthrough ideas, they make these powerful connections that lead them to not become just my local advisor, but they start foundations or they start creating their own programs to inspire other professions or they start getting into philanthropy, which we’re huge fans of, and that all comes from delegating the right things.
Jeremiah, I appreciate you walking through that. I’m a huge fan of delegation. We’ve actually been implementing more and more of the EOS framework ourselves. I know one that stood out to me that might seem silly to a lot of people, but when I first started going through that exercise, booking travel is always something I’ve actually really enjoyed doing. There’s something about the logistics of it that I just enjoy. That was a hard one for me to let go of because I told myself that, well, this is something that’s fun for me, so I’m just going to keep doing it. But then when you put in this framework of is this really my highest and best use? How much time am I really spending on this? As I speak at different conferences, I end up traveling quite a bit. And so when you look at, oh geez, if I take a dozen trips in a year and I’m spending a couple hours on each one, there’s just one thing I can push to someone else, then I can elevate what I’m doing.
And especially when we bring this back to the framework of tax planning to do effective tax planning, like so many areas of financial planning, there are details involved, there’s some legwork involved to do it right, to do it accurately, to do it effectively. And the more we can delegate and involve teams, that’s why we take the time at RTS to put together checklists to do things like webinars like that you and I are doing here, coming up to help people with not just what should the advisor be doing, but what should their team members be doing to help make this process successful so that we’re doing a couple of things all at the same time that we’re building an effective system where I as the advisor don’t have to just grind away, but that we’re involving the team and that we’re delivering a tremendous amount of value to our clients along the way. Because you hit on a couple of different things in there that really reinforced. This isn’t just about making as much money as you possibly can in as little time as possible. This is about building an effective framework. So again, you can accomplish those goals that are most important to you. Things like delivering value to clients like philanthropy, like giving back to your community. These are all very important things that we can do more of if we have the right system in place.
Well said, and you’re a great example at that. I’ve noticed you and I have been collaborating for a few months now, putting together this very special event, which I think is really going to be an amazing combination. You and I are cut from very similar cloth, but actionable tactics embedded into broader strategies, and I’ve noticed how you’ve mentioned to me in a few emails, my team is working on this thing or this person is doing the trademark process and these folks ran our events. So it’s really refreshing to chat with somebody like you.
There’s so much more we can get done when we collaborate, when we have teams that we can delegate to, we elevate the impact that we can have. And at the end of the day, for me, that’s what it’s all about. This really wasn’t some intentional tease throughout the episode. There’s so many exciting things for us to talk about, but we are collaborating on actually a series of events here coming up. The first one is January 11th, so hopefully you download this episode quickly because you’ve got just a few days to get signed up. Free webinar! That’s really an extension of this conversation that we’re having and getting more into details and examples and the specifics of it’s going to be live, it’s going to be on video. You’re going to be able to see what we’re talking about. So again, we can just help all of the advisors in both of our audiences elevate what they’re doing. So there’ll be a link in the show notes. We’ll have a link out at retirementtaxservices.com so that you can get signed up for this webinar to come join in and learn both sides of this, of how do I improve my sales process, how do I improve my delegation, how do I look at tax planning in a way that fits into this overall framework that we’re talking about.
I’m excited about this. I know I’m going to learn a lot from you. One of the things that I’m excited to learn from you is the strategies you teach on how to really work with CPAs in a way that’s not annoying and being that naggy. Hey, do you have any clients you want to refer to me in a way? And I’m excited to share some of the strategies you could use that I, I’ll actually go a lot deeper and I’ll show you guys screenshots, click by click over my shoulder kind of stuff, how you can work with CPAs to become referral sources, how to find them online, how to engage with them, but also if you, let’s say, are struggling with a niche, we’re going to talk about some of the top 10 niches that are working the best online right now. So if you’re struggling to find a lane, we’re going to talk about niching there, and I’m going to share some case studies. I’ll be very open and honest with some of the case studies we’re going to share of advisors who struggled for a while and by implementing the systems, what they were able to do, which I think is going to be very inspiring as well.
Yeah, I’m definitely looking forward to it, Jeremiah, I really appreciate how willing and open you are to share all of that. So again, make sure you get signed up. It’s this Thursday, January 11th. It’s going to be a very full hour. We’re going to go back and forth sharing very specific examples, like you said, sharing screens, making sure this is as real and specific as possible. As much as I love the podcast, there’s an element that gets missed when we don’t have that visual and we can’t say, can’t put it up on the screen and say, here’s exactly every month of the year, here’s what you should be sending to CPAs, because especially as we talk about this in January over the next couple of months, it looks a little bit different than it’s going to look during the summer because we’ve got some deadlines coming up, but there’s still things that we can be doing. I am not a fan of, well, I’ll get to that eventually, or let’s just wait until summer. Let’s make sure we’re at least starting the process. We’re building the framework. And for CPAs, you already have a relationship with. There’s absolutely things that we can be doing to build and foster that relationship more.
I’m inspired by something you just said about fostering relationships. We had an advisor who learned what we were doing. He came into one of our programs and he creatively on his own, went and taught his other business owner friends the strategies we were teaching him with our permission, of course. And he established himself as a thought leader to them by simply sharing some of the valuable nuggets that he learned and they were just blown away. So that’s another thing that you’ll get when you come to this special one-hour live event we’re going to do. We’re going to give you some strategies. You can actually turn those around and instantly go to your CPAs and add value. Like heck, record a short loom video of something you learned and said, Hey, I was just thinking about you, John, right? I just attended this class on business growth, and I know you’re coming up on a busy season, but here’s something to think about. If you’re looking for more referral partners or if you’re looking for more high-level business owner clients, which pay you more, watch this and then you record a three-minute video, show ’em what we’re going to teach you on the webinar and send it off. They’re just a perfect way to add value to an existing relationship. So thank you for reminding me of that.
Yeah, absolutely. And this episode’s airing on January 8th. The event is on January 11th. I think we’re still in that window where everyone’s still following through on their New Year’s resolutions. I’m sure everyone listening to this has some kind of goal for their practice this year that this event is going to help further. And so again, go out to retirementtaxservices.com. There’ll be a link where you can go and get signed up, block the time, come join the webinar, come ready to take action like you mentioned earlier, Jeremiah, but that is so key to me and who I decide to collaborate with. If we can’t get to the end of something and give people clear directions on what they’re going to do afterward, then hey, why are we spending the time? So this will definitely be one of those sessions where you’ll leave probably with more things to do than you’re going to get done the first time. So that’s something you’re going to have to revisit, but we’ll make sure you’ve got plenty that you’re going to be able to go and implement and elevate your practice, your team, and what you’re doing for your clients.
Yep. I can’t wait.
Awesome. Well, Jeremiah, thank you so much for being here today. I really appreciate your time and I’m really looking forward to doing these events together.
Same here. Thank you so much.
And to everyone listening, until next time, good luck out there. And remember to tip your server, not the IRS!
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