To say that we’re living in interesting and unpredictable times is an understatement. For business owners and leaders, this is especially true.
However, no matter what industry you’re in, or what you do, there’s still no tool more powerful than a team that’s ahead of you and allows you to focus on your unique ability. They give us the power to grow our businesses without giving up even more of our time and to see our visions through.
Gina Rainey understands this better than almost anyone. She’s the leader of AE Coach at Advisors Excel, where she specializes in “total practice management.” She helps advisors bridge the gap between leaders and their employees, and has helped countless businesses struggling with a lack of structure and high turnover become high-performing organizations.
Today, Gina joins the podcast to share what business owners can do right now to lead their companies, be the person that their employees look to, and get through these (and other) difficult times together.
In this podcast interview, you’ll learn:
[00:00:00] Andrew Rafal: Welcome back, listeners, to another episode of Your Wealth & Beyond. Super, super privileged to have on a good friend, a mentor, someone I’ve known for a long time. Gina Rainey, welcome to the show. How are you this morning?
[00:00:13] Gina Rainey: I am doing great and thank you so much for having me. I’m excited to jump in to talk about leading our teams through these interesting times to say the least.
[00:00:23] Andrew Rafal: To say the least. I mean, I was thinking back. Remember towards the end of December we’re toasting a glass. It’s entering a new decade, the roaring 20s and, boom, we got two months of it. And then the world flips on its side kind of like Stranger Things. And so, today, listeners, as the Your Wealth & Beyond Podcast is about helping you as business owners lead your team, find purpose, no better person than Gina to come in and help us in this timeframe be able to come up with the tips, the strategies that we can use to better our business, better ourselves, help our employees So, Gina, where I’ve had the privilege to work with you over the years, but a lot of listeners have never had a coach or don’t know what total practice management is. And I know your focus is more on the financial advisory side but really as a whole, before we jump in, let’s go through what a coach can do, what a practice management can do to help a business thrive, and especially in times of chaos.
[00:01:26] Gina Rainey: Sure. I think that most entrepreneurs get into business because they have a passion or because they have an interest. And if you haven’t read the book E-myth already by Michael Gerber, I would strongly encourage you to read that but what ends up happening is as the business develops and grows, you end up doing all these other things in the business that do not allow you to focus on your passion. And so, I feel like a business coach should be able to come in and identify and say what are the three things that are your unique abilities and let’s get rid of everything else. Get a team in place. So, the team is actually ahead of you instead of reacting and responding to you. And that’s a real interesting concept, I think, especially in this country. It’s almost like corporate America teaches people you do what is asked of you. And when you’re working with small businesses or entrepreneurs, there is no bigger game-changer than the team being empowered and telling you what to do.
I often say to the business owners, “Listen, how you spend your time determines your success, but your team is going to determine your freedom.” Now, all that being said, most of you really struggle with leading a team or you’re really terrible managers. And that’s okay because if you were a great manager, you probably wouldn’t be a phenomenal business owner. So, I think that the coach really should free the entrepreneur to do their passion and get everything else taking care of with the team.
[00:03:03] Andrew Rafal: And you weren’t talking to me, were you, about that?
[00:03:05] Gina Rainey: Never.
[00:03:07] Andrew Rafal: I think that the gene that most entrepreneurs have is that they have the vision, they are hyper type A and a lot of us are ADD and it doesn’t matter what industry you’re in. So, that’s great when you’re starting off and having this infancy of a business but then as you grow it, if you don’t have the proper people in place or know how to lead, that’s where the trouble can arise.
[00:03:33] Gina Rainey: Absolutely.
[00:03:36] Andrew Rafal: When we think in terms of a business itself and a business owner, what are some of the things that they can do right now? As we’re in this time of chaos today, and we want to timestamp this, this is August, and the reason being is that in two months, things may completely shift. But what are some things that we can teach a business owner right now, now that we’ve been three, four, or five months into this to continue to lead their business and to be the person that their employees look to, as we try to get through this tough time?
[00:04:08] Gina Rainey: I think the very first thing that has been very interesting to me is that as an entrepreneur and business owner, we thrive in chaos. We are the people who like to go right up to the deadline or to jump off the cliff and then we look for the parachute cord. So, when something as monumental as 2020 happens, yes, we may be nervous and, yes, we wake up at two o’clock in the morning, but our skillset allows us to embrace it and sometimes even be energized by it. On the flip side of that, the majority of the time your employees do not feel that way. They want the stability. Most of them are paycheck to paycheck. And if they’re watching the news and they’re buying in to all the noise that’s going on out there, they do not under any circumstance feel the same way that you feel about this.
And so, I think it’s really important that you, as a leader, are carving out that time in the morning to get yourself centered and balanced, even if you’re not so that when you show up for your team, you are showing up with somebody who has a vision and has a plan. Even though we may pivot or we may change that plan, your employees need that stability. So, I think one of the worst things a business owner can do is to show up and have the fear that they’re kind of pushing down to their team or saying, “I’m not really certain how this is all going to work out.” They are relying on you to show up and to be that center point for them. So, I don’t know, Andrew, in January when you came to the conference, did you see Hal Elrod speak?
[00:05:50] Andrew Rafal: I did. Yes.
[00:05:51] Gina Rainey: Perfect. That’s been a game-changer for me, The Miracle Morning, and I don’t know if you’ve gone through and done that but for me, if you have not done that and you’re a business owner, and honestly even giving that to your employees. I started it at the end of last year and it was a game-changer then but it’s been a lifesaver during the COVID situation.
[00:06:10] Andrew Rafal: Yeah. It has been with a lot of us not being able to go to the gym and workout or go to our favorite classes. One of the things that for me has been a salvation and kind of looking at that Miracle Morning, I picked up biking, road biking, and for me, it’s solitude. It’s getting out there early, especially in Arizona, where it’s 115 today, but it helps me clear my mind and just helps me get my day started so much different than if I didn’t, like this morning. Because we were recording this pretty early, I didn’t get out there and I know that I’m not going to feel as good later on today. So, for listeners, it’s just finding those little things and it doesn’t have to be where you have to wake up and listen to a podcast and meditate and do this and this. It’s little wins, things that are going to get your body moving, your mind thinking and having that ability to say we’re going to step to this day and we’re going to be the best we can be so that the people that look to us will have that confidence that we’re going to get through this day, this week, this month, this year.
[00:07:10] Gina Rainey: Exactly. I was actually doing a meditation this morning and there was a quote on there from George Mumford, who’s an athletic coach. And he says, “Respond from the center of the hurricane rather than reacting from the chaos of the storm.” And so, I think that morning routine, whatever that is to you, is absolutely critical.
[00:07:27] Andrew Rafal: I love the quote that you started off the show with is that your team can unlock the freedom for you from the business. As you’ve seen in with businesses as they get bigger and bigger and more successful, businesses are selfish. They need more and more of our time. So, let’s walk through one of the key components that you bring to the table as you’ve got to surround yourself with that good team. And so many times business owners are afraid, afraid to give up control, micromanaging. So, walk through for the listeners how we can start constructing the team, number one, and then some of the things we can do to structure the week to make sure that the team is being held accountable and letting them run and do their thing.
[00:08:15] Gina Rainey: Yeah. Whenever I start coaching a new advisor or a new business owner, I often start with what is the vision of the company. And most business owners are great at telling me what they want their revenue to be or what they want their profits to be but there isn’t a lot expanded beyond that. And so, Cameron Herold has a great book out there called Vivid Vision and it really forces you to basically write the story of what you want your future life to look like. And I think that’s extremely important for you as a business owner but it’s also very important to your employees for a couple of different reasons. Obviously, we are all working with millennials at this point in time, and millennials want to be part of something that is having an impact. And so, if it’s not just about profits or revenue and it’s about helping families, and the impact that we’re going to have, you’re going to get a lot more buy-in and people are going to feel a lot more empowered.
And the second point to having that vivid vision is that it allows us to say, “Okay. This is where you want to be. Now, let’s find the people who can get us there.” Brian Tracy says, “Tell people what you want, and then get out of their way.” And to your point, the business owner is always trying to get in there depending on the day and they’re being the technician or they’re trying to be the manager. And you have to find that right talent and you have to find those right personalities to come work alongside you. But with that vision then, you start to break it down. So, you have maybe it’s the 10-year vision, then we break it down to the five, three, and the one-year vision. And then from there, okay, what are the measurable things that need to happen that are going to tie back up to that number one objective for this year? And then how do we delegate that out? And then how do we measure it? And I know that sounds really simple and that makes entrepreneurs’ heads almost spin-off their necks but that is what will free you from the business.
[00:10:12] Gina Rainey: Because sometimes you get aggravated that the team isn’t doing what you want them to do. Well, guess what, they don’t know what you want them to do except by giving them that vision. We give them the keys to the castle, basically.
[00:10:27] Andrew Rafal: And the other factor is, is that this business for us as owners is one of the most important pieces of the puzzle in our life. It’s just for a lot of our employees, no matter how good they are, they’re not going to have that same passion day in and day out that you have as the business owner. You have to understand that you have to have that empathy that you’re not going to get the best out of everybody every single day. But to your point is having that ability for you to have this mission and to have it clearly laid out that it’s, “Here’s what our business to do. Here’s who we want to help. Here’s who we can help,” and then giving back and I think you’re so right on. I have five millennials right now that work with me. And first off, the notion that they don’t work hard is completely BS. They work sometimes harder than my employees in their 40s and 50s.
So, it’s great to see, but sometimes for them, it’s not about the money. It’s about what can we do? What can we give back? And having them part of that’s been awesome in helping for them to say, “Hey, I’m passionate about this. Let’s do it.” And then we do it and we bring in a lot of times our clients to it. And that’s the type of thing that we’re building here, that culture that goes beyond me, beyond our clients, and they feel empowered that we’re building something for the long haul.
[00:11:51] Gina Rainey: Correct. And then that helps you create the non-negotiables and create the culture that you want at your firm too, which then makes your recruiting more clarified to you because you know what you’re looking for that’s going to help you accomplish that vision. And if you have one or two leaders within the organization, you can start just by profiling those two people and then building that around them. I think to your point too just to add, sorry, to the millennials, I agree with you 100%. The millennials have gotten such a bad rap and I think it was either Darren or Simon said either you figure out how to work with millennials or you’re not going to have anyone to work with at a certain point in time. So, you got to change your messaging and your motivation to your team.
[00:12:35] Andrew Rafal: The train has left the station and I just actually had on and you got some big shoes to fill. I had my daughter on the podcast for the 47th episode last week and she’s a Gen-Zer. So, they’re coming right behind and we’ve got to with businesses know that these next generations are going to be taking over and what is important to them and how technology fits into all of that. So, I look back to when we were working together and it’s been I think three or four years but to think of the evolution I’ve had in my team and some of the things that you brought to the table that’s to allow me to think of finding the right people as an investment, not a cost, not an expense, but it’s an investment on the business on like you said, freedom. In today’s world where it’s like chaos and where are we going to be next month and next year, what is your thought for businesses to go all in and say, “Listen, this is the time that I can find talented people that I may not have been able to find last year that can help me grow and excel?” What as we business owners, what can we do there? And should we be looking to try to hire right now if we’re thinking positive on where things are going to go?
[00:13:48] Gina Rainey: Hiring and recruiting is very interesting this year because the understanding of recruiting right now is that there’s all of these people out there looking at for jobs and looking for employment. And the first thing I always say, in 2020, and all the years past is good people are never out of work. And so, I do feel like you have to show up differently and you really need to make sure that you have a solid value proposition. So, one of the divisions that we run is a recruiting ring. And we have 47 open positions and I just talked to my team yesterday, over the weekend, on 47 positions across the US, we had 10 applicants. And so, we were talking through this with my team and Kim, who is my lead recruiter, she’s been doing this for over 15 years. So, she’s kind of run the gauntlet on everything. And I said, “What do you think is happening right now?” And it’s really been hit or miss. We get good spikes and we get good quality people and then it falls completely off.
And she said, “Honestly, right now, with it being August and September in these school districts not knowing what they’re doing, we’re not going to have a lot of those people applying for positions right now because they don’t even know what’s expected of them from a homeschooling.” And she said the people who are applying are saying, “Hey, is this a work from home position?” Because for the single moms out there, they don’t have another choice at this point in time. And I do feel like that Kim has said that you get a lot of people who are applying who are just doing it to satisfy the unemployment, which we’ve all heard plenty about that, but that you will find the people who are really serious and really talented, but it is like finding a needle in a haystack right now. And so, I think using your LinkedIn and using your referral network is probably going to be one of your better approaches right now. It’s not as easy as people make it out to be.
[00:15:40] Andrew Rafal: Yeah. And full disclosure, on that note, I worked with Kim over this past few months as we were on a search for director of marketing. And you hit it on the head. She was awesome. We did have at that time and this was like in March, April, we had a ton of applicants and I think like you mentioned LinkedIn for us has been huge. LinkedIn, if you’ve got a presence on there and you’ve got a big network, it’s a great way to get qualified people. A lot of times on the other outlets, you may not get as qualified people so you’ve got to go through so many different resumes. But she was awesome and I held out. I was like, I’m not going to bring anybody on who I don’t envision being with me for the next decade. And lo and behold, that resume came in to LinkedIn and I looked at that, Gina, and I was like, “She’s the one. I knew it.” Now, we’re two months in and although I miss Cathy who’s worked with me for over a decade, she’s moving on to her own business, it’s been awesome and it’s been great to have somebody in here that gets our vision, had experience too. And like you said, she had a job. She didn’t have to leave. So, we knew we were fit and it’s one of those things we’ll look back and say she helped catapult us to that next level.
[00:16:57] Gina Rainey: I agree. I think compensation is a good conversation point right now too. When you think about recruiting to your team, you’re not going to get people for under market value. You’re just not. And if you’re really looking for that key employee, for the ideal culture, you need to pay at the higher end of the pay range for that position. I think you can go out to PayScale.com and really make sure you are being competitive in your marketplace. I’ll even tell people sometimes, “Hey, let’s run two postings and two different comp models,” and maybe there’s a $15,000 difference between the two different positions and we’ll send those people into the business owner and say, “Hey, here’s what you’re going to get for these two different ranges.” At that point in time, 90% of the time, the business owner says, “That person is worth $30,000 more than the person I was going to pay less and that person is going to transform my business.” So, I don’t think it’s a time to be cheap either.
[00:17:56] Andrew Rafal: And you brought up a good point about the school situation. It’s so fluid around right now. We’re just starting to get back to school. We’re starting to see colleges like UNC shutting back down. And so, as a leader thinking about leading with empathy and you’re going to have to in today’s world, and it’s going to go a long way. It’s going to go a long way in creating for your employees that notion that you’re on board with them. And like, for instance, I have our Director of First Impressions, she’s a single mom and her eight-year-old has been coming to the office. They started school a week-and-a-half ago and we have room. So, he is in here and he’s doing his work from here. And that flexibility is something that I think business owners have to look at and say, “Go the extra mile today because it’s going to reward you tenfold in the future.”
[00:18:43] Gina Rainey: Yeah. And I think we really have to figure out the schooling situation. Because even if they’re not a single parent, it could be the other one doesn’t have the flexibility. One person on my team, her husband works in the food industry and they have worked more hours during 2020 than any other year prior. And I think this old-school notion of we work 8:30 to 5 and we’re all expected to be all hands on deck from 8:30 to 5 just isn’t realistic in this current environment. And so, I think there are some tricks and some trades that you can apply to this if someone is working from home. We say when you’re in the office, you have an eight-hour workday. When you’re working from home, you have a 24-hour workday. And that can be a double-edged sword because you can go down the path of burnout where the employee is working around the clock. But if they’re homeschooling, we can’t expect them to work 8:30 to 5 depending on the age of the child. And so, that’s where I think we really carve out the time and say, “Okay. You’re going to work two hours here, you’re going to be off from here, and then you’re going to work three hours here, and then we’re going to work two hours here.”
And that’s where that communication with your team and that trust with your team really is going to even get you more productivity out of them. Instead of them trying to balance all of this and make it all work in those eight hours, it doesn’t make any sense anymore.
[00:20:03] Andrew Rafal: And the one thing what COVID has done is thrust us into the working virtually. And what’s amazing is that if you’ve got the right team, they’re going to work and they’re going to get things done. If you don’t have the right team, you’re in a lot of trouble.
[00:20:21] Gina Rainey: A lot and you know it.
[00:20:24] Andrew Rafal: I’d know it. Yep. So, what’s your thought on the pendulum is swinging to this other side of tech companies? I think what Twitter says you may never have to go back to an office. Google, not until the summer of next year. But what’s your thought on virtual versus having an office and having your team come in and if you are in a service industry, having your clients come in?
[00:20:49] Gina Rainey: So, my team has worked in a different state than me since I started my business. It’s not always perfect and it’s not always easy and I think one of the things that’s lost is the magic of the camaraderie and the interaction. But I do feel like this is going to remain part of our culture from a working perspective, the work from home, or the flex hours. And to your point, you have to have the right people because if you have the right people, once they figure out their rhythm at home and we have to grant some grace there as people are navigating this and some people need some bumpers put on them so they’re not cooking the chicken at two o’clock in the afternoon when your phone’s ringing and your clients need something. And I always use that because that was a real-life example. One of my clients called me. She’s like, “Well, my employee’s putting a chicken in the oven. That’s why she said she couldn’t answer my call.” So, I always reference putting the chicken in the oven now.
[00:21:46] Andrew Rafal: So good.
[00:21:47] Gina Rainey: Yeah. A consideration when you think about working from home, I’ve worked independent my entire career because I’m on the phone coaching or I’m on the road and I thrive in that environment. Your extroverted employees really, really struggle working from home. And it’s been interesting to even watch in my neighborhood because I am an introvert and I love quiet and I love being by myself. My husband and some of my neighbors are like crawling up the walls trying to figure out how to get together and I think that your extroverts need that social connection even if we’re all working virtual. So, whether it’s a Zoom happy hour, instead of phone calling, you’re Zooming with people so you’re getting that face-to-face because I feel like that loneliness can creep in for a lot of people. And I also think people have said we’re all in the same storm and I feel like we all are in the same storm, but we’re all in different boats.
I have the luxury of working from home. I have two workspaces. I have a door. I don’t have children. I don’t have the noise in the background. We have plenty of people who are working at their kitchen table and they have four or five kids running around the house. And so, we really need to work with and coach our employees to figure out solutions if that is their current situation at home.
[00:23:07] Andrew Rafal: Yeah. Well, we were shut down here in June for, well, it was really May into June. What I did is I had every morning at 10 o’clock we just did a Zoom call and whether our Mondays were a little bit longer like our weekly meetings which I want to get into a little bit later but ultimately, just having 15 minutes to see everybody, it held people accountable. I made sure people were dressed for work and I think like you said, they like to have that camaraderie to see everybody. So, that was really helpful for us and even though it was 15, 20 minutes, it went a long way to keep everybody on track and smiling and laughing and keeping up the camaraderie that we’ve been building all these years.
[00:23:47] Gina Rainey: Well, and I had one client who said we do an eight o’clock Zoom meeting every day and I have one employee who literally is showing up to Zoom in her bathrobe, her hair on top of her head. And in my opinion, I think there are things that we can coach to and we can coach people up. I think in that situation, that’s a pretty black and white decision for the business owner about the investment of that employee into the firm from a professionalism perspective. So, I feel like it also does expose potentially some underperforming employees that you haven’t been dealing with when we go virtual as well.
[00:24:25] Andrew Rafal: And some businesses are going to continue to be okay virtually. I think from the standpoint of our industry, I know people say, “Hey, I can work virtually and I can work anywhere,” but if you’re working with those, from our standpoint, business owners or those getting close to retirement have a higher net worth, I still think they want to come in. They want to see the office. They want to look us in the face. They want to meet the team. I just don’t know if financial services is going to be able to be successful just being a straight virtual, straight Zoom, not having that relationship with the client.
[00:25:01] Gina Rainey: Well, and I think we sell the invisible and I think a lot of people forget that or your employees don’t frame it that way. We are one of the only industries where we say, “Hey, give us everything you’ve worked your entire life for. Give it to us and just trust us that it’s all going to be okay.” And that’s where the brick-and-mortar and the dress code and the client experience really do become key because they’re coming in, they’re scared. So, they have all this fear and all this doubt. People are more afraid of running out of income than they are of death. And I do feel like we have to have that physical presence and to be there when something does happen, when someone does pass away, or something unexpected happens for them to have that human connection. Especially with the generation, I think, Andrew, that you work with. I think it’s really critical because they are much more relationship-driven than transaction and if we’re going to go transaction, they can always go to TD Ameritrade, honestly.
[00:26:03] Andrew Rafal: And that’s what helps to separate independent-type firms like us is the experience. It’s something that the bigger firms can’t do and that was a lot of what was lost in this last few months and you can’t recreate that. It’s hard to at least recreate that over a Zoom or a Zoom happy hour with the clients.
[00:26:22] Gina Rainey: It is. People want that. Some of my advisors are telling me, the widowed clients are really struggling through this. And so, they’re asking to come in just to do a review meeting just to have that human connection and that human touch. So, I think that’s a consideration too. Sometimes people don’t have a lot of people local to them. And that’s something I think we can help provide as well.
[00:26:47] Andrew Rafal: So, you talk about efficiency, having the right team, and I know you’re a big proponent of weekly meetings. So, let’s get out of kind of COVID now and say things are getting back to some normalcy. So, as a business owner, those that maybe haven’t run a weekly meeting, why do you think the Monday morning meeting is so critical no matter what industry you’re in, but getting that team together there? So, what have you seen success? And then why do some fail in getting that structure set up the right way?
[00:27:19] Gina Rainey: Well, I’ll start with failing and I think most the time it fails because you entrepreneurs hate doing team meetings. It’s one of those things that you all, it’s just Sunday night you’re just dreading going in and having to do it. And a lot of that starts with because you feel like you have to drive that weekly team meeting. And in all honesty, we don’t even want you to drive the weekly team meeting because we end up going down 52 rabbit holes, instead of being 45 minutes. It’s four hours and it becomes death by meeting. So, you need to lay some ground rules for your weekly team meeting so you should not be in charge of the meeting. You should have a mayor So, there should be a mayor or a sheriff is what we like to call it, someone who is assertive on the team who can make sure we start on time. They are not the babysitter. They start on time, we end on time, and more importantly, with the entrepreneur personality is that we’re staying on track as we’re going through the meeting. And then that meeting should definitely be structured.
And this all ties back to that vivid vision and then breaking it down to the one-year goals. The data that’s reported should be reported by each individual department and it should be benchmarked against the results that we’re seeking to accomplish those one-year goals. And I was even at fault. When I first created years ago the weekly team meeting structure, I would say, “Hey, here’s the data that needs to be included,” but I didn’t have the benchmarks. And without benchmarks, for someone in marketing who’s talking about new business metrics, it’s completely irrelevant at that point in time. So, to identify what are the metrics that we need to achieve on a weekly, monthly, quarterly basis, and how are we tracking that data, and then making sure that that data is being reported efficiently. And you have personalities, right? Like you have some people when it’s time for them to give their data, it’s a 20-minute dialogue about why the data is what it is.
[00:29:18] Gina Rainey: And by that point, you the entrepreneur are like falling out of your chair unto the ground, needing CPR to be resuscitated. So, there’s some coaching that needs to happen there to keep the entire team engaged. I know some people say, “Well, marketing should have its own meeting and operation should have its own meeting and sales should have,” and there is some truth to that but I feel like from a weekly, biweekly, or monthly perspective, as a small business, everybody needs to know what are the core metrics across the board. And are we winning or are we losing with those metrics? And it’s good to know that, right? If the team is really tired and everyone’s kind of getting their brain beat in, well, we can look at the data and say, “Well, our goal is to help five new families and we’ve helped 15 this month.” Well, that would make sense then but at least it’s all for a good cause and it helps give perspective. Does that make sense?
[00:30:10] Andrew Rafal: Yes. And that was something that having our meeting religiously every week prior to working with you and your team is that every, “All right, we’re not going to do it this week because I’m so busy because I’ve got this client coming in on Monday,” which now we don’t even do. We’ve structured it where I don’t have appointments on Monday. My advisors very rarely do but I’m still guilty of still leading the meeting a little bit but we’ve tried to keep it efficient, 30 minutes. What’s been a saving grace for us is we’ve invested over the years since like 2010 in Salesforce and I’ve really got the dashboards dialed in. And what’s been great on this is it holds, especially advisors are competitive, it holds them accountable for where we are. Are we on track with goals? Who’s winning that week? Who’s doing…? And it’s a fun competitiveness, right?
[00:31:01] Gina Rainey: It is. Right.
[00:31:03] Andrew Rafal: But having that Salesforce, it’s like we could just pull up this one dashboard. It’s got everything we need. So, that’s been helpful. But I do need to set that goal to have them drive it and for me just to be there to take in the data and ask the questions, takes on more of that CEO role, which is where we want to be.
[00:31:23] Gina Rainey: Well, and the other thing too, without your weekly team meeting, the entrepreneur will say to me, “Well, my team interrupts me all the time.” So, I had this one advisor years ago and his office was at the very end of the corridor that took him to the washroom and in between his office and the washroom sat his entire team, and he said, “I have just stopped going to the washroom during the day because as I make my way there, my team stops me every step along the way and I never make it before my next appointment.” And I said, “What that’s telling you is that your team is not getting the direction that they need from you.” And sometimes that’s flipped, right? The team is clear but then you’re interrupting your team all the time. And so, by having this team meeting, having the team drive it, give you the metrics that you want, having the accountability of reporting it in front of the team really should set you up to run efficiently throughout the entire week with limited interruptions if it’s done appropriately. So, you all hate it but then after 30 days, you’re like, “I don’t know how I did it without it.”
[00:32:21] Andrew Rafal: I tell you it’s been a game-changer there. And that helps you too with those SMART goals, those shorter-term goals that we can look at on especially now for working virtually. It’s so important to have those metrics because nobody, especially an advisor, they don’t want to think six months out. They want to see, okay, what do I need to do to hit my numbers for this week and this month? How many people do they need to call? And then marketing, you bring up some good points on some of the podcasts. I know with Brad Johnson a couple of years ago but having marketing bring to the table, who did we bring on as new prospects? First meetings? Second meetings? What did we lose? Those type of things. So, it’s all about accountability and then we can talk through on certain cases and that’s been helpful too. It’s not just numbers but like let’s break it down and have a situation where we can talk through of what happened, the good, the bad, the ugly.
[00:33:12] Gina Rainey: Yeah. And what’s interesting, I’m noticing this recently, over probably the past 30 to 60 days, as things have slowed a little bit, we don’t have that urgency and I’m starting to see that the data is slipping inside of these smaller businesses, which is really scary to me in this environment. So, it’s like because we don’t have this urgency and maybe we don’t have all these marketing events going, it seems to me we have data, for example, on a webinar, but then no one’s able to tell me what happened to the people who did set appointments. Did they show up to the first? Did they show up to the second? Do we have a marketing problem? Do we have a closing problem? And I think right now, as a small business owner, it’s really important that we drill down on what are the top three things that are going to move the needle for this firm and making sure that everyone can recite those three things and that we are focused on impacting or doing those three things on a daily basis.
[00:34:09] Andrew Rafal: And so, for those top three things, would that be something that the owner would come in and say, “Here’s what they are,” or would you look at it more of let’s take a collaborative approach with the team and say, “What are the top three things that we need to focus on to get us through this period?”
[00:34:23] Gina Rainey: I’m really all about collaboration. So, I think it was Cameron Herold said become, or it was Darren, become the askhole. So, if you want your team to be able to make decisions, you need to do a lot of the asking and stop doing the telling. We have a tendency as this type-A personality to tell, tell, tell, and sometimes in this environment, we do have to be very direct about what needs to be done. But if you have the opportunity to ask, that allows you to understand their thinking patterns and to coach too how you want them to think about your business. Does that make sense?
[00:35:01] Andrew Rafal: It does. I’ve actually got my entrepreneur’s organization forum later today, and that’s a group that I’m part of that every month we get together out of the eight of us. We are not all in the financial services industry but it’s something called non-gestalt and that means sharing experiences versus telling this is what you should do. And it’s just this little verbiage and we even have somebody in our group that is the non-gestalt if you come out and say, they’re going to kick you down and you’re going to get fined and the whole thing.
[00:35:36] Gina Rainey: Love it.
[00:35:38] Andrew Rafal: It is those little ways in how you can do it because especially another business owner, they don’t want to be told what to do. They want to hear have you had an experience that could help me in that. And trying to then carry over to the business on our side here is something that I work on. It’s hard because you want to tell people what to do but, long term, it’s not going to be in the best behavior for you to get the most out of your employees.
[00:36:05] Gina Rainey: Well, it won’t give you the freedom and I think that’s the tradeoff. You can keep doing all the telling but that means you’re always going to have to keep doing all the telling. And if you have some people on the team that you feel could really be some good leaders within your organization, you have to start to transition that baton to them. It’s the same thing when I have a second-generation coming into the business. That’s always an interesting dynamic because the original founding partner wants to keep hold of everything, especially the financials. And I’m like, “Listen, second-generation needs to understand the financials of the business so that they can actually take over your business,” and it’s interesting to me that’s always on the last things that’s discussed. So, I think just really investing and becoming that askhole is absolutely key with developing your leadership team.
[00:36:52] Andrew Rafal: I think of that second generation in the show Succession on HBO, that’s a great show, I don’t know if you’ve seen it, but that’s something that any family business should probably watch to the look of things of what not to do.
[00:37:04] Gina Rainey: Oh, I do need to watch that. I haven’t heard of that yet. So, I’ll have to tune into that.
[00:37:09] Andrew Rafal: It’s kind of a take-off of the Murdochs and you’ve got a powerful patriarch that built a media empire. He then has four kids and three of them are vying for taking over. So, it’s such a play-off of that and it is so well done. It just finished its second season. I highly recommend that. I think you’d love it.
[00:37:27] Gina Rainey: Okay. I will definitely because I do have these second-generation businesses, and that’s a whole another animal.
[00:37:35] Andrew Rafal: So, one of the things that COVID has brought to the forefront and you bring up three things and I was actually reading in the AE Insider, but you talk about planning, planning ahead. And so, what this has done is kind of put us all as business owners stop us on our tracks and said, “Wow. Things that you never would have envisioned in projections and thinking in short-term and long-term.” So, what should we do as we stop, we take a breath, and we look at how we can learn from COVID to become better business owners? Talk to us on those top two or three things that you think are critical right now.
[00:38:15] Gina Rainey: Well, obviously, the first one that comes to mind is going to be the flexibility in the business, and the ability to pivot and the ability to have data to help drive certain decisions within the business. So, I think the prime example, especially in our industry, from the financial advisor perspective is one of our primary marketing funnels that we use to reach families got basically completely shut off because we weren’t able to access restaurants and invite people out to learn from us. And the pivot was and I don’t think it was probably just our industry, I think everyone decided now is the time we’re going to do webinars, and that’s going to be the new silver bullet. And we’re going to take exactly what we did in a live event and we’re going to do it exactly the same way. And it doesn’t translate. No one’s listening to a webinar for 15 minutes of us droning on about taxes and social security. And so, it was interesting to watch which advisors invested. And I think when you’re doing a new marketing strategy, it’s important that you say, “I am going to invest X number of dollars in this for this amount of time before I make a decision.”
Some advisors will jump in and do something once or twice and say, “No, it didn’t work,” instead of trying to hone the craft but then it’s important to say, “Okay. Once I have honed that craft, and I feel like I’m following best practice if it’s still not yielding for me, what is the next phase there?” So, that would be the first thing is really making sure that you have flexibility. The second thing is I do not think that we can just bury our heads in the sand. And I don’t have a lot of them but I know there are some people out there who are just saying this is a temporary thing and we’re going to get back to business as usual. And I don’t think that’s the case. And so, I think that’s revisiting our marketing strategies in saying, “What do we need to consider that we’re not considering right now? And then how do we maintain our communication and our relationship with the families that we’re currently helping to help keep them on track and having them have peace of mind as the media is kind of going off the rails?”
[00:40:24] Gina Rainey: So, those would be the two big things, I think, is that you just can’t sit back and bury your head in the sand. And I think it’s taught us all a lot too from a marketing perspective, regardless of which industry you’re in. If you have a single-prong approach to your marketing, you can certainly be exposed very, very quickly.
[00:40:43] Andrew Rafal: Yeah. That data at AE and I know Cody’s talked about this for at least the last year but our database, our list of not just clients but prospective clients is really going to be worth its weight in gold not just now but in the future. So, it doesn’t matter what business you’re in. You all have a list of people that have raised their hand and said, “I want to learn more about you or I may need your help.” It just might not be the right time right now. So, it’s just continually putting out good info, staying top of mind with them. Don’t you think at this time, it’s like, let’s not shy away from marketing. Let’s throw things against the wall and let’s spend the money to see what’s working because a lot of times your competitors at this time they’re hiding. They’re under the table. They’re like, “I don’t know what to do.” So, it’s like this is when the cream rises to the top and if we’re in growth mode, you got to live by that, right? You got to look and say, “I’m going to invest in different things.” It’s scary, though, to do that but it’s something that…
[00:41:44] Gina Rainey: It is. It’s very scary. And I also think there has to be some method to the madness. To your point, as entrepreneurs, we’re very good at throwing a bunch of crap against the wall and I’ve seen offices where I’ve really had advisors throw everything against the wall simultaneously. And then it’s really hard because the team, a lot of this is new to them. What data are we tracking? What funnels? How are we tracking it? So, just making sure there is at least a minute of pause to say, “Okay. What are we hoping to accomplish from doing this marketing strategy? And what is our benchmark of success?” And webinars are a great example. So, the impression was we’re going to start doing webinars and people are going to raise their hand and we’re going to be able to help them. To Cody had a great point, and he said, “No, probably for a lot of people with webinars, we’re going to transition that from an active strategy, something that’s driving first appointments, because if it’s not, we’re going to turn that into a passive strategy, which is something that helps build our brand and reputation but ultimately helps us build our list.”
And poor Cody has been talking about building your list for about five years and all of us are like, “Yes, yes, yes, yes.” Now everyone goes, “Oh, right, that list. I should have been building it.” So, everyone’s like going into the archives and trying to pull all these names and those are the people who are going to be viable in this type of environment, people who have previously reached out to you or shown interest, and that’s what we’re seeing is actually moving the needle right now.
[00:43:11] Andrew Rafal: What we’re doing now, especially having Sam as the new marketing leader is that we’re doing these little micro journeys. So, we’re going into the database and we’re able then to look see what maybe somebody raised their hand a few years ago and now they’re 64. So, let’s get them on a Medicare journey just to let them know that this is something that we know is top of mind for them and we can do that on autopilot using Pardot and creating all these little mini four or five email journeys. It’s just an easy way to set things on autopilot per se but it’s passive and just like this podcast, it’s something when somebody comes to me and says, “Andrew, what kind of business have you brought in from the podcast? What’s the return?” It’s impossible to quantify that. This is just another shirt for me to build credibility for the firm, have people get to know us, bring on good guests. I selfishly can learn from them and get the info out there that’s going to help not only live there forever, but it’s helped us with SEO.
It’s been tremendous in that. You type in Scottsdale financial advisor, Phoenix financial advisor, we’re coming up, we’re actually number one for organic search. So, it’s little things like that, the podcast, the blogs, the webinars that we’re doing, they’re all going to feed into each other. In any business you’re in, it’s all about getting good content out there, pushing it out, not trying to pull them in and saying, “Hey, you got to work with us.” It’s when they’re ready. They’re going to work with you if they trust you.
[00:44:43] Gina Rainey: Well, and I think the only thing that’s really interesting with marketing with financial advisors, it seems to be done like through a pinhole. So, I’m going to do radio through this pinhole. I’m going to do TV through this pinhole. I’m going to do workshops, but we forget, a lot of offices forget to cross-pollinate. So, when we have a PR piece or when we have a radio clip, are we taking that and using it throughout our other strategies? And I think if we give that nugget to our marketing team, it’s something that it’s common sense but it’s something that’s often overlooked, very overlooked. We’re doing something for our leads but we’re not doing it for our clients or we did something for our clients, but we’re not showing the leads how that actually impacted our clients. So, thinking about cross-pollination I think is really key right now as well. It’s free marketing.
[00:45:31] Andrew Rafal: And repurposing content. That’s a nice thing a podcast is like I’ve had Ed Slott on twice and I can take little 45 seconds snippets and, boom, we could have four different journeys going and I don’t have to do anything. It’s just, boom, pulling out that content or finding if a blog that you wrote is getting good traction, maybe put a video together on that, do a short two, three-minute YouTube video. Not a 45-minute Webinar, but let’s get short ones out there because attention spans are not there. So, it’s like if we can keep getting that out there and repurposing stuff that we know is driving traffic, those are important things to look at right now. Well, we have the time to be able to focus on these different marketing initiatives.
[00:46:10] Gina Rainey: Exactly. Agreed.
[00:46:12] Andrew Rafal: And so, one of the last things that you’ve brought up in one of your recent writings is cash, understanding how important it is as us, as business owners, to have the right relationships with the banks or to be able to know that payroll is going to be made. So, what has COVID done to teach us about planning our own businesses and not just for our clients?
[00:46:36] Gina Rainey: Well, I feel like and it’s hard because it’s kind of all over the spectrum right now of how people have managed their cash going into this and then throughout it. And I really am a firm believer that you need to have, and this is not anything new, three months of all of your expenses set aside that we can access at any point in time. And because I like to go a little bit further, I really think six months is the ideal number there. And that should be one of your benchmarks that you’re using to determine if you’re going to do a large investment into new marketing. Because new marketing, we don’t have the predictability yet. So, we’re going to do a large investment. We need to make sure we have the cash flow to support that so that would be the first thing. And then Joel Johnson who’s one of our top advisors, he says you should always have access to credit. Always. Every business out there should have access to cash or an equity line because you never know when you’re going to need it.
And I feel like sometimes small businesses that’s one of the things that really gets looked over or we’re so busy just going, going, going, we don’t take the time to really even look at our profit and loss statements or the profit and loss statement is so jacked up that we can’t make heads or tails out of it, itemizing, the bookkeeper isn’t doing it right. So, I feel like making sure you have that a true profit and loss, and you are using that to help drive decisions is absolutely key. And then I’ll share with you and I know this one around inside of Advisors Excel and I have started it, but I have not finished it yet. There is a book out there called Profit First. Have you read that?
[00:48:17] Andrew Rafal: I have not. No.
[00:48:19] Gina Rainey: So, it’s Profit First. And I had one advisor, he really was like true type-A entrepreneur, did a bunch of marketing all of 2019, spent a lot on TV and radio, and he almost sunk his business. And so, this book is Profit First and it’s really talking about paying yourself first and then the business is secondary. And I feel like so many of us get that equation reversed. And if you are paying yourself first, it puts a lot bigger priority on the cash flow of the business. So, that would be a strong recommendation there.
[00:48:56] Andrew Rafal: And that’s great. I remember a quote that I kind of try to live by it. It’s revenue is vanity, but profit is sanity. So, you got to know your numbers. Especially us in the financial services industry, you should know your numbers if you’re out there helping your own clients with theirs. For us, what was a huge game-changer, the CPA firm that I work with is really heavy into technology. So, they got me up on a platform called Xero, which is kind of like QuickBooks, but it allows me with that and it connects to Bill.com and all these other things, but it’s like anytime I need to go in, I can pull reports, I can see what’s happening. And then we’ve created different itemizations with regards to advertising and I can break things down. So, it’s critical for you to be able to look at your numbers to see where you are. It’s critical if you do need some financing that you can just get those numbers out. So, you got to know your numbers. If not, you’re destined for failure.
[00:49:55] Gina Rainey: Right. I mean, a lot of people are able to tell you revenues, but then beyond that, the conversation gets a bit vague. And I think you have to have that. It’s just it’s a non-negotiable to really running a true business are your financials for all the reasons. I also had a recommendation, another book that I have not read yet, but it’s from Keith Cunningham and the book is called The Road Less Stupid and it’s about not making stupid mistakes financially inside of your business. So, that was actually from one of our top advisors had recommended that too, so I figured I’d share that with the group.
[00:50:28] Andrew Rafal: And, listeners, in the show notes we’ll have all of the book recommendations in the notes themselves so we’ll have as the summer comes to an end some good summer reading there as well. So, I appreciate all the recommendations there.
[00:50:41] Gina Rainey: Perfect. Very welcome.
[00:50:43] Andrew Rafal: So, Gina, we’ve talked a lot. Wow. You and I could probably chat another two more hours but the listeners are ready to move on with their day. No, but this is awesome, tip of the iceberg stuff. The focus is leading your team, leading with empathy, taking charge, but then empowering your people to do their thing.
[00:51:05] Gina Rainey: Right. It will change your life.
[00:51:09] Andrew Rafal: It unlocks the freedom. And, guys, just stay positive. We’re going to get through this. At some point, we’ll look back. Don’t shy away from your business. Really make sure you got the right team. And if you don’t have a coach, you can hear how important it is to have somebody like Gina on your side who’s been there, done that, and can help guide you, and really sometimes you keep us from making stupid decisions, which is a very important part of a coach and a team behind you, right?
[00:51:33] Gina Rainey: Absolutely. Absolutely. I think one other thing, just in closing, we have an advisor down in Florida. David is his name. And he’s been in this industry I think 30 years at this point and he said, “Every time something like this happens,” right, so every so many years, there’s something whether it’s regulation or a market correction or a recession, he goes, “You just have to remember when I started in this industry, an application was two pages, and now it’s 22 pages.” He said, “But if you’re really good at what you do, all this does is it cleans out the people who shouldn’t have been here in the first place in this industry.” And I think if you keep this framed that way, as we’re walking through this, if you are where you’re supposed to be, doing what you’re supposed to be doing, impacting people’s lives, you will come out on the other side of this with more opportunity.
[00:52:24] Andrew Rafal: I love it. That is a great way to end. Appreciate you taking the time with us. All of the details we talked about will be in the show notes, but awesome stuff. Appreciate it and look forward to hopefully seeing you one of these days at a conference where we can actually get back on a plane and have interaction. That’s one thing my staff is very happy about. The silver lining is I’m not coming back from a conference with 17 different ideas. They’re like, “Yes, this is great. Let’s keep planes on the ground as long as possible.”
[00:52:51] Gina Rainey: Exactly. Keep those shiny ideas at bay for sure. Well, thank you for having me, Andrew. It was a pleasure to be here and thank you to all the listeners out there and hopefully, I’ll be seeing you down the road real soon.
[00:53:02] Andrew Rafal: Awesome stuff. And, listeners, stay tuned for a new episode of Your Wealth & Beyond later this month. Happy planning, everybody.