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Leo Pusateri: The Next Big Project is About You

Guest Leo Pusateri, President and CEO of Pusateri Consulting and Training | June 12, 2019

Summary and Full Episode

Many advisors are at a crossroads in their careers and are wondering what’s next. Consultant Leo Pusateri believes advisors must spend time looking inward in order to have authentic relationships with clients. In this episode, he and host Bill Coppel – Managing Director & Chief Client Growth Officer at First Clearing – explore how gaining a better understanding of their own emotions can help advisors redefine their value.

Transcript

Host
Bill Coppel, Managing Director and Chief Client Growth Officer at First Clearing
Guest(s)
Leo Pusateri, President and CEO of Pusateri Consulting and Training

BILL COPPEL: Hi, this is Bill Coppel, and welcome to The Next Frontier. One of my favorite quotes is from Mark Twain, who said, “The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.” Today’s episode is about discovering what really matters in life. Not just to you as a financial professional but to you as a client. Because when you think about it, we’re all clients. And on even the most basic level, this episode is about what matters to us as human beings. Our guest today, Leo Pusateri, is uniquely equipped to help us explore this topic. Leo is the founder, President, and CEO of Pusateri Consulting and Training, a firm that helps financial professionals discover, articulate, and capitalize on their unique value by doing the internal work that lets them live lives of significance and be authentic in how they engage with clients. And he does this from a very unique perspective. More about that later. Affectionately known as the Value Man, Leo has provided inspiration and value based guidance to advisers around the globe for more than 30 years. He lives his values effortlessly and with undeniable passion and teaches others what he’s learned over his professional lifetime. He is widely quoted in industry publications and is the author of Mirror Mirror on the Wall, Am I the Most Valued of Them All? and You are the Value. Later this year, his third book will be published, Time Out, What You Need to do to Keep and Grow Your Most Valued Clients. Leo, welcome to The Next Frontier.

LEO PUSATERI: Thank you, Bill, it’s a pleasure to join you here today.

BILL COPPEL: Leo, you’ve been working in this industry for a long time and you’ve seen a lot. In this digital world where you don’t have to remember phone numbers or addresses, no need to get directions anymore, everything from managing one’s investments to grocery shopping, managing your health, hitching a ride, finding an answer, entertaining yourself, communicating, finding a flight or a hotel, getting a date, or even finding a mate, because there’s an app for that. With all this change underfoot, what is the biggest challenge advisers are facing today?

LEO PUSATERI: Well Bill, they’ve got to raise the bar themselves. They’ve got to raise the volume on their own clear and compelling story of value that they provide. It’s got to be priced right, it’s got to be able to quantify it to be able to prove it to people, they’ve just got to elevate their game. They just got to get better and better to compete in this digitally disruptive environment that they’re all facing today. So all the things that we talk about, Bill, they’ve got to start practicing more of what they preach. Just to elevate our game out of just the investment management dilemma or paradox or paradigm as we might view it. To do the things that we’re talking to clients about today, everybody’s talking about leading with planning, but do advisers have a plan? We’re talking about achieving wealth management mandates, but are advisers doing what they need to do to practice what they preach in that area regarding their own wealth mandates? Are we integrating legal and tax correctly with some of our clients? Are they doing it for themselves? And what I’m finding, Bill, is a lot of people are preaching these things but they’re not doing it for themselves so they’re losing some authenticity. They’re just getting by on their existing paradigm, as I mentioned, around just getting quarterly fees and living on hope is not a strategy. That type of thing. Or they’re hoping that this thing doesn’t disrupt further in front of them. So those are some of the key things I’m seeing here. They just got to keep getting better, Bill. They’ve got to raise the volume. As I keep talking about this thing. Integrate into family conversations and to do things. They’ve got to just take their business to another level of thinking and some of them are just a little bit too proud and plateaued, Bill, and they just– they’re somewhat afraid of this and just hoping that they can outlive what’s happening around them.

Intro: Welcome to The Next Frontier, where we examine what the role of the financial adviser will be in a world that’s being disrupted by artificial intelligence and algorithms. Our mission is to spark new conversations that create stronger connections and build greater client confidence. Join us as we look at our industry and others through a new lens and explore the opportunities emerging at the intersection of high tech and high touch. It’s time for a new conversation. Are you ready?

BILL COPPEL: Hi, this is Bill Coppel, and welcome to The Next Frontier. One of my favorite quotes is from Mark Twain, who said, “The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.” Today’s episode is about discovering what really matters in life. Not just to you as a financial professional but to you as a client. Because when you think about it, we’re all clients. And on even the most basic level, this episode is about what matters to us as human beings. Our guest today, Leo Pusateri, is uniquely equipped to help us explore this topic. Leo is the founder, President, and CEO of Pusateri Consulting and Training, a firm that helps financial professionals discover, articulate, and capitalize on their unique value by doing the internal work that lets them live lives of significance and be authentic in how they engage with clients. And he does this from a very unique perspective. More about that later. Affectionately known as the Value Man, Leo has provided inspiration and value based guidance to advisers around the globe for more than 30 years. He lives his values effortlessly and with undeniable passion and teaches others what he’s learned over his professional lifetime. He is widely quoted in industry publications and is the author of Mirror Mirror on the Wall, Am I the Most Valued of Them All? and You are the Value. Later this year, his third book will be published, Time Out, What You Need to do to Keep and Grow Your Most Valued Clients. Leo, welcome to The Next Frontier.

LEO PUSATERI: Thank you, Bill, it’s a pleasure to join you here today.

BILL COPPEL: Leo, you’ve been working in this industry for a long time and you’ve seen a lot. In this digital world where you don’t have to remember phone numbers or addresses, no need to get directions anymore, everything from managing one’s investments to grocery shopping, managing your health, hitching a ride, finding an answer, entertaining yourself, communicating, finding a flight or a hotel, getting a date, or even finding a mate, because there’s an app for that. With all this change underfoot, what is the biggest challenge advisers are facing today?

LEO PUSATERI: Well Bill, they’ve got to raise the bar themselves. They’ve got to raise the volume on their own clear and compelling story of value that they provide. It’s got to be priced right, it’s got to be able to quantify it to be able to prove it to people, they’ve just got to elevate their game. They just got to get better and better to compete in this digitally disruptive environment that they’re all facing today. So all the things that we talk about, Bill, they’ve got to start practicing more of what they preach. Just to elevate our game out of just the investment management dilemma or paradox or paradigm as we might view it. To do the things that we’re talking to clients about today, everybody’s talking about leading with planning, but do advisers have a plan? We’re talking about achieving wealth management mandates, but are advisers doing what they need to do to practice what they preach in that area regarding their own wealth mandates? Are we integrating legal and tax correctly with some of our clients? Are they doing it for themselves? And what I’m finding, Bill, is a lot of people are preaching these things but they’re not doing it for themselves so they’re losing some authenticity. They’re just getting by on their existing paradigm, as I mentioned, around just getting quarterly fees and living on hope is not a strategy. That type of thing. Or they’re hoping that this thing doesn’t disrupt further in front of them. So those are some of the key things I’m seeing here. They just got to keep getting better, Bill. They’ve got to raise the volume. As I keep talking about this thing. Integrate into family conversations and to do things. They’ve got to just take their business to another level of thinking and some of them are just a little bit too proud and plateaued, Bill, and they just– they’re somewhat afraid of this and just hoping that they can outlive what’s happening around them.

BILL COPPEL: That’s a great observation. I think I’ve– I want to share with you some research that kind of backs up what I think you’re saying, Leo, about this need for them to connect differently and more profoundly than ever before. What I’m referring to is a recent Capgemini study that came out in 2018, where it found that 56.2% of high net worth individuals would think about working with one of the FANGs, right–Facebook, Apple, Netflix, Google– if they offered wealth management services. And when you stop and think about that, that’s pretty profound, right? 56.2% of people, which is sending a signal, I suspect, that supports the observation you just made. So let’s kind of break it down for a moment, Leo. What are the skills that advisers need to really begin to start to focus on to regain their position with a client where they’re actually delivering a level of value that is appropriate given the world we live in today.

LEO PUSATERI: Well Bill, first and foremost, they’ve got to get closer to these clients than they’ve ever been before. Let’s start there. It’s not just the sending out the quarterly reports anymore and you’ve got to really understand what clients are demanding from you. What their expectations are from you. And most likely, while they might tell you that, hey, just send me your newsletter or that’s fine, give me a call once a year, twice a year, that type of thing, it’s probably not enough. I wouldn’t be making assumptions today if I were these advisers. I’d want to really sit down, I’d want to call a time out, I’d want to find out and almost revisit where the landscape is and revisit through what we affectionately call a relationship time out and to find out through a series of questions why people hired you in the first place a few years ago. 5, 10, 15, 25 years ago, whenever it was. How they describe what it is that you’re doing for them today. That’ll find out if they’re really connecting to your current value proposition and see if it’s really unique. Find out what they really value about you, Bill, today. See if that’s changed at all. The fourth question would be, I’d want to know in terms of how they’ve been able to measure the real value, the impact that you’ve had in your relationship. Through questions, Bill, and what your research study there is telling you through Capgemini and things. You’ll find out if there’s any disconnect points. We’ve had advisers, through some coaching, ask a simple question like, “How would you describe what it is that we do for you today?” And how would you like this with a $20 million plus client when they respond and say, “Not much.” You think there’s some competitive threats going on out there? So I can go on with the questions of sensitivity and finding out if there’s any gaps that they don’t know about or what they can do to improve on their relationships or how they’re going to measure success going forward, but boy, Bill, I’m telling you, they better get closer to clients than they’ve ever been before.

BILL COPPEL: That’s interesting, what you’re saying, what I think I heard you say here, Leo, is that one of the easiest first steps they can take is to simply sit down with their clients and ask them, “What is it that I do for you today that really makes a difference?”

LEO PUSATERI: Yeah. No question, Bill.

BILL COPPEL: That changes the conversation because it’s typically– I’ve found, in my experience over the years, that we’re very good at telling people how to do things and how much we know. And perhaps we don’t always direct enough time to learning about clients. And I want to reference an article that you recently wrote. The title of it was Squeeze the Heart. And you make this observation. You state that you’ve uncovered a real communication illness in our industry. What do you mean by that?

LEO PUSATERI: Well, it was set up. I affectionately refer to these, and I want to say this correctly, is three diseases that I’ve seen in the marketplace in the last number of years. The first one, you and I have talked about in the past is about the concept of winging it, when people are in this verbal quicksand and they’re just not on top of their game. The second disease I talked about that I see in the industry is when clients are working with an adviser for a period of years and all of a sudden they’re being addressed by other competitors and things and something might be brought up to them and the client affectionately goes back to their existing adviser and says, “I didn’t know you folks could do this. Why didn’t you ever talk to me about this?” And what you’re referencing, Bill, in this article is this third area. This inability to squeeze the heart. And what this is all about to me is that clients have these imaginary zippers on their chest, as I refer to them. Advisers do, too, Bill. And the really great advisers have this ability somehow to just to pull that imaginary zipper down and they have this ability just to reach in and touch the heart and see what’s in the soul of some of these clients that they’re dealing with. And this whole issue of emotional connectivity and some people talk about it as their EQ and things like this. And I’ve just seen so many people who are just so much to the point of getting to our products and our solutions too quickly to not really just embrace just some core fundamental life communicative techniques of just listening. Using some silence. Clarification, confirmation, acknowledgements. Things like this. The best communicators, Bill, in my 42 plus year career right now have been ones that have been able to somehow stop selling and start squeezing. That’s what the metaphor is all about. That they can feel like they got their hands around someone’s heart. They can feel their issues, Bill. When people– I’ve always said they’ve got these seven emotional issues. People today have these challenges to their wealth planning. They’ve got concerns, they’ve got circumstances affecting their wealth. There are things that frustrate them. They’ve got needs, they’ve got opportunities, they’ve got problems. The best advisers, Bill, need to elevate their game to squeeze and understand more of those issues and to make sure they’re attending to it correctly before they start spraying and praying, as I talk about. To do things like that. That’s what I’m talking about with that article.

BILL COPPEL: So for our listeners, as I mentioned at the top of our conversation today, that Leo has done this work and he has done it from a unique perspective, this is exactly what I’m talking about, and I want to drill down on what you’re talking about here and the metaphor you’re using about squeezing the heart. And I think that the audience would benefit, Leo, from understanding how you as a practitioner in what you do and when you engage with a client because in full disclosure, I have been a client of Leo Pusateri’s in the past and we have maintained a very long friendship, both personal and professional. But there’s a reason for that. And it starts with the way in which you approach it and I think our listeners would value from understanding not now to do it in the context of professional services– or excuse me, in financial services, per se, but in your own life. How do you go about cultivating a relationship with someone?

LEO PUSATERI: Well, it’s really having a genuine intent to learn about them. And most people get too consumed about wanting to talk about themselves and the big guy upstairs, Bill, gave us two ears and one mouth and we should be listening a lot more, obviously, in our life. That’s just an old adage, everybody knows that, but I was with a group of folks in a recent seminar and I told them, I said, “The best way to learn how to sell is to first understand what it’s like to buy.” And the best way to really learn about other people’s emotions is to first connect to our own. And so I had them go through an exercise and I would urge your listeners today to think about their own emotions, both personally, both professionally. If you had to draw a chart out, at the top of the chart I’d put personal, professional, I’d draw a line down it and I’d put those seven emotions down. Challenges, circumstances, concerns, frustrations, needs, opportunities, problems. And I say fill them out for yourself. Because to me, what heightens my sensitivity in my life when I’m talking to friends like you or other people is the connection point. When I hear those things, I’m like, if there’s any old Seinfeld listeners, I’m literally like Kramer. Kind of like a giddy up mentality where I get apoplectic inside of me if I hear someone say, “Geez, Leo, one of the challenges I’m running into right now in my life” or “One of the concerns in my business practice” or “I tell you what’s really frustrating me, Leo” and what I do, Bill, is I just remind myself, I literally will write that emotion down and I circle it in my own journal and the circling of it in life is a reminder to me to start squeezing that right now. Just to keep my candy in my back pocket is the metaphor. Meaning my products and my services. That this is not a time to talk about Leo or talk about yourself and the things that you can do for people. This is a time for you literally to start squeezing. And to find out more about that challenge. Bill, what is that? Because challenges turn into concerns. Concerns turn into problems. And the best relationships you have are ones that you can really literally get your hands around these emotions in such a way that someone– literally get to the point of the conversation, someone says, “Well, tell me more of what you can do. How can you eventually help me here? Is there a pathway that we haven’t talked about or whatever?” You come into it differently. Consultatively. Same side of the table, not across the table. Looking at things together. It’s a different mindset. The same way an adviser needs to look at someone’s financial plan by sitting next to them, not across the table from them. Is the same way that this metaphor extends into squeezing someone’s heart. That’s where it all comes together, Bill. I’m telling you, the best people in life, not just financial advisers, the best folks, the best doctors, the best architects, the best engineers, the best folks here at the Mayo Clinic in Arizona, the best ones are the ones that know how to squeeze and to get these emotions out on the table where you can have great conversations. And that’s the stuff that a lot of advisers today are losing sight of. They’re just too comfortable. They’ve got longstanding clients, they feel that they know them well, and I always ask people, how well do you really think you know them? I mean, how well? I know you know them. But how well? And you’ll find out that there’s a lot of gaps because they just listened enough to position their products or their services, they haven’t listened enough to truly squeeze them and find out what’s really keeping people up at night. Or what a competitor might be talking to them about that they don’t even know what’s going on yet.

BILL COPPEL: Well you know, it’s interesting you bring up this notion of competitor and not knowing what’s going on. I’ll share a quick anecdote and I think, Leo, I think you know the story but I think it’s worth repeating. I was recently speaking at an event of a chairman’s club type event with very, very successful professionals there. And the question I asked the audience that were all financial advisers was simply this. How many of you have a financial adviser? And not a single hand went up, and I thought that was really telling. And as you mentioned this notion of competition, I know so many professions that regularly are visiting competitors, authentically, to learn what they’re doing and how they’re dealing with things. So ultimately at the end of the day, as I said at the beginning of our conversation, we are all clients. We all have the same issues. As you put it, the seven life issues. We all have challenges and circumstances and concerns. We have frustrations, we have needs, we have opportunities, we have problems. It’s interesting to me that what you’re saying is stop for a moment being a financial adviser, perhaps, and start to be a client. To understand and align what you do with how you would address it for yourself personally.

LEO PUSATERI: Yeah, we get in these cocoons, Bill, you’re exactly right. And we lose sight of the fact that things are okay. Everything is fine. We’re charging our fee. We’re getting paid quarterly. We’ve realized we’ve got a poker hand as an adviser. Many advisers today that work for certain types of firms in our industry, I said they have like a five card poker hand. They’ve got three wild cards in it. I mean, how many businesses can give you three wild cards in a five card poker hand? Where they know they can charge their fees. So it eliminates some of the regular contact for some of them. Where they’re not getting as emotionally connected. Two, when you look at this thing, is that they can gather strength through market appreciation. They can continue to grow without having to pick up the phone sometimes and say, “Hey, the markets are up.” We’ve had a longstanding run obviously for the last decade or so here and a lot of them have been able to rise in their growth and their earnings as a result of this.

BILL COPPEL: Let me take a slight turn because I really want to come back again and dive a little bit more into this self introspection for a moment. But I want to dive into something I read in your book, You are the Value. You write, “Don’t ever take for granted these people called clients. Always remember the following great introspective question. Are you convinced that your clients are convinced that you are adding value? You can never do too much introspection on your relationship with key clients.” Why is that important?

LEO PUSATERI: It’s not just important, it’s critical. It’s a strategic imperative going forward.

BILL COPPEL: It’s not a one and done thing. Right?

LEO PUSATERI: No, no. You’re right on it, Bill, with– you talked about these FANGs as you said, the Facebooks and Amazons and the end was– what was that for, Bill, again, the N?

BILL COPPEL: Netflix and Google.

LEO PUSATERI: The Netflix and the Googles, right, and things like this. Boy, you better. You better be on your game. With all this noise going on. I mean, today you’ve got these direct competitors. You can almost draw a circle, Bill. It’s almost like a radar screen from an airport. If you’re in the control tower and you’ve got the circle with your– whoever is listening is, you can picture yourself, who are the direct competitors in your community or nationally that you compete against and run into? And who are those indirect competitors? The ones that you see sometimes and then draw another circle around. Who are some of those remote competitors? You know, that are flying into the airport. Or flying into your clients’ turf here and things like this. And it might be, if you’re a national firm, it might be a local registered investment adviser. It might be someone from the bank brokerage group. It might be from one of the other national firms that are doing work out in the group today, whether it’s the Fidelities or Schwabs or TDs or Vanguards of the world. Picture these circles, direct, indirect, remote, and then maybe someday is another circle. These planes, these FANGs, circling right now the client pace and wondering how that– someday, maybe someday it’s going to be coming into their direct flight of attack into your clients. That’s exactly what they’re thinking about today. So those advisers have got to start saying, you know, this is happening. But people, Bill, there’s so much of our industry where people are just saying, “Hey, it’s not happening yet. I’m still fine. I’m annuitizing here X amount of dollars and things. I’m still okay. I’ll wait this thing out. I should be fine. I’m going to retire in the next five years” or things like that. And people just got to start looking at things and saying, wait a minute. Time out. If this happened tomorrow, if somebody flipped the switch tomorrow and it wasn’t maybe someday but it happens tomorrow, are you prepared- literally- to defend yourself? To be able to prove and to quantify your value that this is what I’m doing for you. And Bill, we were talking about someone that realized he was paying a fee, right?

BILL COPPEL: That’s right.

LEO PUSATERI: Didn’t know how much the fee equated to. Remember that story? Didn’t know how much the fee equated to, though. People that have been longstanding clients, many of them to this day, quite honestly, they’re just somewhat out of the picture in terms of, I know I’m paying this person a 1% fee, I had no idea it was $50,000 or $30,000 or $100,000 or $10,000 or whatever the number is. And people are mystified. They say, “Wait a minute. Wait a minute. When’s the last time I talked to this person? And I’ve got this thing from Amazon hitting me right now in my account” or “I was downloading a book, next thing I heard was that they’re talking to me about portfolio management. What the heck is going on here?”

BILL COPPEL: That’s it. And you know that– and Apple has already come out and said how they’re going to begin to introduce different services to their audiences. And to build on the story you just told about the person I know, and I think the listeners will enjoy this or at least learn something from it I hope, is that when– it happened that this individual’s adviser chose to leave the firm. And so this was a 25 year relationship and this is not someone part of my organization, but a different organization but a friend nonetheless, and when that individual was posed with whether to go with their adviser, again another example of an adviser moving to a different business model or a different platform or a different firm for whatever motivation is involved, what the client chose to do was not move because of the ease of use due to technology they had to see what their world looked like. So essentially they said, “You know, you’re a nice person, I like you, we’ll have lunch once in a while, but I don’t need you anymore.” And that’s becoming a bigger and bigger issue and this is what the FANGs are beginning to focus on. I want to go back to the introspective work that you talked about, because I want you to share with our audience your own personal story, Leo, relative to something that you’re working on that you’ve recognized that– we’ve done a wonderful job oftentimes preparing someone for “retirement” by making sure they had a paycheck after they stopped working, right? But what we’re beginning to realize and what we’ve learned, certainly over the last couple of years or maybe four or five years, is that while we may be financially prepared, we’re not emotionally prepared for that transition. I don’t know even use the retirement word any longer. I call it transitioning or a life transition. I think you’ve discovered that. And I want you to talk a little bit about this notion of the seven life issues that you personally have discovered as it affects you and how you’re translating your personal introspective journey into the work that you do to deliver back to advisers.

LEO PUSATERI: Well, Bill, what’s happening is through unique introspection for 20 plus years now, helping advisers to really assess their own value, to come up with a story that’s clear, compelling, and memorable, this unique introspection not just about their business and their story of differentiation, why people should do business with them, why they should turn over their wealth mandate to them, it turned into a deeper introspection that people said, I got to start thinking about myself here. This is not just who I am as an adviser at XYZ firm, but who am I as a father or as a mother, as a brother, as a sister, as a uncle, as an aunt, as a family member, as a community member, as– you can go on and on. And what I’m finding is that a lot of these successful, let’s say financial entrepreneurs have realized that the next big project is about them. It’s about you, as I would say. And this introspection needed to go deeper on a personal level. And I was finding that many advisers today are at a crossroads in their careers. They’re wondering what’s next. Some are just not fulfilled today and there are some others who are seeking some new insights or they’re seeking some new perspectives. Others are just wanting some personal meaning, Bill. With regard to their own purpose. They’ve been successful, right? You know what’s interesting, Bill? It’s not just the advisers, it’s the clients of the advisers themselves are going through these same issues. They started thinking about their own legacies. They needed to start thinking about– they needed more time for their own time outs in their life. For rest and reflection and invigoration. They needed to re-evaluate, Bill, what’s important in their life going forward for the next 5 to 25 years of their lives. To think differently about this. And this is– it gives you, Bill, a chance to think about where you’ve come from and what you’ve learned, what you’ve accomplished and what’s next, your dreams and your vision to make sure you’re remembering the people in your life and you’re reassessing to re-energize these batteries. This unique introspection, Bill, has got to go at the individual level next. Right? It’s got to go beyond the business level and that’s why I created this new wave of thinking, and you know what, Bill? I can tell you something. You talk about authenticity, I’m living this thing. Big time. And when you start thinking about careers and– I just celebrated my 40-year marriage, I’ve been blessed with four kids and two grandkids and another one on the way and health and all these blessings in life and things like this, but I’m telling you, the next 5 to 25 years, thinking about– are you listening to this? Whoever’s listening to this, are you living a life of significance? Are you living a life of no regrets? Do you understand abundance of your time and your talent and treasure, how it can help others? Do you have this concept of gratitude down pat? Do you have perspective in the ways that you need to think about sensitivity and what you have and what others don’t? Are you committed to be your best going forward? Are you committed to not just think about your legacy, Bill, but to start living it right now? And that’s what I’ve been finding out for the last decade journey of my life and all these advisers I’d been sitting down helping to win mandates, to grow their businesses, to get closer to their clients. The bottom line is, there’s a certain point when that clock and that meter goes off, when they start to transition to say, “Okay, wait a minute. What about me? I’ve been taking care of these clients for years and my teams for years and all these things.” There’s a point of looking in the mirror and saying, “The time for me is right now to do this. And these are the things that I’m committed to help people with because I’m living them and this is what we’re going to be doing going forward.”

BILL COPPEL: What I think you’ve just defined is the definition of being authentic. Thank you for sharing that, Leo. I know it’s rather a personal quest you’re on, but you’re also going to build this out to make available to not only financial advisers but anyone who is at a transitional point in their life. But I think what’s really important to reiterate here if I may, for our listeners, is the fact that if you don’t start with yourself as a financial professional, if you don’t start to think about what’s important to you, how your purpose and values align with your behaviors, and live the kind of life that embraces the things that we’ve been talking about here, Leo, it becomes very difficult for you to do that authentically with the clients you serve. Which, at this point in the world that we live in, dominated by a tremendous amount of information, most of which we don’t know whether it’s real or not and who to believe and who to trust, our anxiety levels and our stress levels are higher than ever. So these questions become more and more and more important, I’d say. So what I’m hearing you say, basically, is start with yourself, answer these questions for yourself, recognize that you are exactly who you’re serving in many ways, and once you’ve mastered that, you’re in a much better position to authentically go out and really redefine who you are and the value you create. If I’m following you.

LEO PUSATERI: Yeah, we’re right on the same page here, Bill. The second book title is called, You are the Value. And if you can think about the most important client that you have, the most important competitor that you have, just look in the mirror. It’s you. It’s you. And so, as I said earlier, if you can get closer to your own emotions, if you can get closer to some of these life issues that– are you making a meaningful difference in the lives of others? Starting with yourself. Do you have this inner pride, knowing that you’ve checked off things that are important to you? That you don’t have these regrets in your life backpack. You’ve assessed your time and your talent and your treasure in a different way. You’ve got authentic appreciation. Living Thanksgiving every day of your life. You’ve got this increased sensitivity as I mentioned. Things you’ve been blessed to have through your hard work and things in your life that you’ve been able to not just acquire but good health and friendships and things like this and living your values. You’ve got this focus now, this re-invigoration, Bill, it’s like someone has just got this flame inside of him and starting to all of a sudden when a lot of people’s flames are starting to go down, yours is still starting to go up. You’re not as old as your age, chronologically, as we start to ask ourselves in this legacy issue where some people say, “Well I’m not even thinking about that.” I say, “Why not?” What type of impact are you really trying to have on yourself and other people or your community or your– or the world, whatever. I mean, there’s certain things that really drive us. So Bill, think about this. If you could get your hands around this for yourself, how much of a better adviser would you be? Do you think your questions would start to be a little bit different as well? To some of your clients? Do you think you’d want to go beyond the, “Tell me how much money you have” and “Tell me– let’s talk about your risk and if the market– your million dollars, if the market goes up this way or goes down this way, how much would you be willing to lose?” and “What are your risk propensities?” and things– can we elevate the conversation out of that in terms of some of these other issues about people’s next 5 to 25 years, which we seem to just do at a surface level. And I’m telling you, I’m just convinced that the more you have a handle on these life issues, you yourself, as you said, Bill, your authenticity will shine. Your flame will grow brighter and this will exude in terms of conversations more confidently, more conversationally, side by side with clients, talking to them about more important issues in their lives. So when these FANGs come after them and say, “Yeah, I can get this at a lower price. You know something? My adviser’s worth twice this and they’re worth every single penny. If anything, you’re probably still undercharging me for the value I get.” That’s the adviser’s mission going forward. That’s the way we need to be thinking about this.

BILL COPPEL: Leo, let me wrap it up with a final question. Given that our industry has been traditionally slow to change, what’s the one thing you’d share that can help advisers perhaps get started on essentially reevaluating what it is they do and relaunching, if you will, their career?

LEO PUSATERI: Open up the zipper on their own chest. Do their best to feel what’s in their heart and in their soul, investigate it from within first. To look within themselves and to look at these issues that I’m talking about. Are they living a life of significance? Are they living a life of no regrets? Are they taking abundance to a level of helping others in need? Do they have gratitude in their life? Do they have perspective? Are they doing things– are they on cruise control or do they still have a burning desire to get better in different aspects of their life? Better dad, better mom, you can go on down the list. Have they thought about the things that are important to them and the things that they’re trying to have a genuine impact on? Are they just, as I said, on cruise control? I’d start within, Bill. Squeeze your own heart. Try to feel what’s in your own soul. That’s where your authenticity and your flame will start to come out a little bit higher. You’ll be able to be a better servant, a better adviser to others as a result of your own individual introspection. Start there.

BILL COPPEL: Thank you very much for that, Leo. That was very insightful and I know our listeners will appreciate it. Let me ask you this. If our listeners want to learn more about the work that you do or would like to connect with you, how can they go about doing that?

LEO PUSATERI: Two ways. One, check out The Sabbatical Experience, The Sabbatical Experience, S-A-B-B-A-T-I-C-A-L Experience, or call us at our headquarters in beautiful Buffalo, New York, at 716-631-9860.

BILL COPPEL: Thanks again, Leo, for sharing your insights with our listeners today. I’m sure that we’ll all take away valuable information to help us prepare for what’s ahead in The Next Frontier. To our listeners, please check out the additional episodes we have out there and we hope they’ll help you think differently about the businesses that you’re in. We hope you enjoy these episodes and please subscribe and rate the podcast. That’ll help others find us and in this way, together, we can change the conversation. Thanks for listening, and until next time, be well.

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Block Quotes

The best way to learn how to sell is to first understand what it’s like to buy. And the best way to really learn about other people’s emotions is to first connect to our own.

Leo Pusateri

About The Guest
 

As President, and CEO of Pusateri Consulting and Training, Leo Pusateri helps financial professionals discover, articulate and capitalize on their value by learning to live lives of significance and bringing authenticity to their client relationships. Known as the “Value Man,” Leo has been providing inspiration and guidance to advisors globally for more than 30 years. He is frequently quoted in industry publications and is the author of Mirror Mirror on the Wall, Am I the Most Valued of Them All? and You are the Value. His third book is set to release later this year.

Ways To Contact Leo

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