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It’s fun to tell prospects about investments. Their eyes light up when you tell them how much their portfolio would grow if they bought the right assets.

In contrast, tax planning is boring. But it’s an exciting marketing opportunity for financial advisors:

If you’re touting your favorite stocks, bonds and funds, you’re like any other advisor. But if you can help your clients deal with the IRS, you’ll save them have happy clients that stay with you. 

In this episode, Steven Jarvis of the Retirement Tax Services Podcast stops by. He’ll show you how to grow your business and attract more clients with tax planning that saves your clients money.

Want to get more clients by offering better tax planning? Listen now!

Show highlights include: 

  • Why most financial advisors sell tax planning the wrong way (and how to communicate so that clients pay you for it)  (5:10) 
  • How to sell tax planning to clients who already have a tax planner (6:30)
  • The counter-intuitive way to get new tax planning clients without getting political (11:31)
  • How an AirBnB Screenshot can give your clients tens of thousands in tax-free income. (16:11)
  • The ‘teamwork’ approach that attracts tax planning clients who already have a CPA prepare their taxes. (21:37)
  • Why paying $250 to talk to a CPA is a better investment than most courses, seminars and coachings. (24:11)

If you’re looking for a way to set more appointments with qualified prospects, sign up for James’ brand new webinar about how financial advisors can get more clients with email marketing. 

Go to https://TheAdvisorCoach.com/webinar to register today. 

Go to https://TheAdvisorCoach.com/Coaching and pick up your free 90 minute download called “5 Keys to Success for Financial Advisors” when you join The James Pollard Inner Circle.

Discover how to get even better at marketing yourself with these resources:




Read Full Transcript

You're listening to Financial Advisor Marketing, the best show on the planet for financial advisers who want to get more clients without all the stress. You're about to get the real scoop on everything from lead generation to closing the deal. James is the founder of TheAdvisorCoach.com, where you can find an entire suite of products designed to help financial advisers grow their businesses more rapidly than ever before. Now, here is your host, James Pollard. [00:31.7]

James: Financial advisors, welcome to another week, another episode of The Financial Advisor Marketing podcast, we're going to do something that we've never done before. It's a topic that I've never discussed on the show. I've never had anybody on the show to discuss. We're going to talk about how financial advisors can leverage tax planning as a marketing strategy. And my guest this week is Steven Jarvis CPA of Retirement Tax Services, and you can find him over at retirementtaxservices.com. And speaking of Jarvis's, there are a lot of cool Jarvis's I want to say thank you to Matt Jarvis for being an inner circle member. I appreciate that. Now I really like tax planning as a marketing strategy for many reasons, and I'm sure we'll discuss it in the show. But first I'd like to open the floor to you, Steven, and let you introduce yourself and take the reins. [01:18.1]

Steven: Well, thanks for having me. I really appreciate you bringing me on to maybe deviate a tiny bit from, from marketing, but ultimately this is a great topic for advisors when they're looking at marketing. In fact, some of the inspiration behind retirement tech services, honestly, as a company comes from advisors who are just really just crushing it because they were using tax planning to differentiate themselves from the rest of the market. And I think that one of the reasons it's so impactful is because all of us have to pay them, right. There's very few, I can't think of any instances where you would have a client who's looking for financial advising, but doesn't pay tax of some kind. So, I guess just a couple of other things about me. I am a CPA. I spent a lot of my career doing the more traditional CPA route, whatever that might mean to you. You're probably pretty spot on with what I was doing. And then I had this opportunity to partner with some advisors to really focus completely on providing resources and education and content to financial advisors, to help them deliver value to their clients through tax planning. And it's been a, it's been a lot of fun to do. It's been really exciting as that network of advisors continues to grow; cause advisors are honestly in a great position to be providing this value to their clients. [02:32.7]

James: Well, I like the idea of this for a few reasons. There are so many different levers you can pull when it comes to tax planning or so many different areas where you can add value as an advisor. And I also like tax related marketing because there's an inherent urgency there. So, I come from the marketing world, like marketing is my thing, which urgency scarcity, social proof, that sort of thing. Taxes in general, they have a huge level of urgency them. And you can actually get people to do stuff with that urgency. But tax planning is an ongoing process. And my personal accountant likes to say, if you have a tax preparer, you do not have a tax planner. So, it might seem like a super basic question, but in case there are non-advisors listening. Well, I know there are, what is the difference between preparation and planning? [03:23.4]

Steven: Yeah, so I'm going to make a couple of generalities here, that from my perspective are generally true, but there's going to be a few people who will kind of get a little irked by them because they don't feel like it applies to them and they might be right. But in general terms, tax preparation is focused on getting this year's tax return prepared and to the IRS, with whatever refund back to you or whatever payment you owe to the IRS. It's all about what happened this last year. Let's get it done and move on. Tax preparation also typically happens up against the deadline to your point about urgency, it's usually more transactional focus of, again, let's, let's get this done and move on. There are exceptions to that, but that's the general idea behind tax preparation. The contrast of that in tax planning is taking a forward-looking approach to saying, okay, what can we proactively do to make sure that we're minimizing how much we have to pay to the IRS over a lifetime. Or as I like to say that on the Retirement Tax Services podcast, how do we make sure that we're leaving our server a tip and not the IRS? Because when, if you, if you only look one year at a time, if you wait until March of 2022 to figure out if you can pay less taxes for 2021, you're probably too late. But if you look at the next 5 or 10 years, there's things that you can start doing totally legal, totally valid, totally allowed under the IRS. We're not talking about creative accounting here. There are things you can proactively do to kind of sand the rough edges off of your tax bill over your lifetime. So, it gets into areas where we can quantify the value, we're adding to clients by having these conversations. [04:57.6]

James: Yeah. And just like I said, where there are so many different like levers, you can pull people who are listening to this podcast, it's audio only, but you can see, I am in my home office, this is the place of business. There are tax advantages that come with that. A lot of times in my experience, and you can correct me if I'm wrong and you can have your own spin on this. It just, there are financial advisors who don't communicate well enough with their client to learn their situation. Are you taking miles on your car? Do you have a home office? What is your commute? What business expenses do you have? Are you diversified not just in your investments, but in different buckets? Like, would you say that more communication can have, you know, of course it can help, but is that a root problem of financial advisors not being able to serve their clients with tax planning, it's just, they don't communicate well enough? [05:45.6]

Steven: I think that's a piece of it. I think part of it is that advisors don't take the time to understand what some of those things they should be looking for are.

James: Hmm.

Steven: Because that actually, as you were describing that, what came to mind for me is, Hey, a lot of those questions are going to be on intake forms, the tax preparers provide, or they're going to be on TurboTax, rates in our blocks, do it yourself software, that the questions are all out there and taxpayers can go through and look at this massive overwhelming list of questions that they're going to skip through as fast as they can, that they're not really going to understand how it applies to them. And so, the questions are getting asked, but that doesn't necessarily mean the values there. And so, where advisors can come in is if they're taking the time to understand, okay, what are, what are kind of some of the signals that we should be digging further on some of these questions, rather than putting a 15-page list of questions in front of the client, as you're having your regular meetings with your client, you can be on the lookout for those things. But if your client mentions that, oh, Hey, you know what, I went ahead and set up a home office because working from home for so much this last year, and he say, oh, Hey, well, did your tax payer work with you to make sure that you were going a deduction for that? You know, so it can be, it can happen more organically, which is where advisors are really in a great position to be able to do this because typically advisors will meet with their clients more often. And they'll be more involved in the kind of inner workings of a client's life than a tax preparer might be. [07:07.3]

James: Yeah. That makes perfect sense. And you said something similar in one of your articles and I've been reading your article was quite a bit. And something I saw in an article of yours that was tax planning focused is that it should be about preventing headaches and reducing headaches. And specifically, you said that taxpayers don't go around bragging that they paid a thousand dollars less in taxes this year, but they do go around telling people how their CPA or preparer or planner or whatever you want to call it, screwed up their tax return and made it late and made major mistakes. So, can you elaborate on that as well? [07:46.0]

Steven: Yeah. Well, and the other thing that they'll go around and telling you is, Hey, my advisor didn't get the 1099 to my tax repairer on time. So, the tax return was late. Now there's all sorts of problems with that statement because the advisors are not the ones sending out the 10 99’s, but that, that happens often that the tax preparer won't be aware of something. It comes in late, it comes in unexpected, and so when the, when the preparer is sitting there, either having to tell the client to write a big check or telling the client that return's going to be late, they're looking for someone to blame and advisors are prime candidates to get blamed. But really more the point in that article was that if you go and ask just about anyone or think about this for yourself. Think about the last couple of years of your tax returns. Do you know how much you actually paid in taxes during the year? Not if you wrote a check at the end of the year or got a refund, but actually throughout the year, whether you made quarterly estimated payments or there were withholdings, most of us don't know here's how much I paid in total taxes, but we all have this emotional tie to, did we get a refund? Do we have to make a payment at the end of the year? And did our taxes get filed on time? And so best-case scenario, we should working towards finding opportunities to help our clients save real money, cause tax planning is a great way to do that, to be able to show them okay, because of the strategy we implemented, you are paying $5,000 less or $10,000 less, or over the next 10 years, you're going to save $200,000 in taxes. Those situations are fantastic when we can quantify it. But there's also value to your client, if you can simply reduce confusion, give them peace of mind, prevent headaches by doing things like working proactively if their tax preparer, to let them know about strategies, you've worked with them on or getting their 10, their 1040 every year and just comparing it to the information you have already in your CRM, to make sure that their social security number is correct, that their personal information is correct. So that they're not inadvertently getting nastygrams from the IRS that aren't even meant for them. [09:42.3]

James: You mentioned quantifying the.

Steven: Hmm…hmm.

James: Tax savings and the benefit of tax planning, that is a superpower in marketing. With financial advising and money management there are studies like advisors alpha. Yes, there, there have been studies to prove that financial advisors over the long-term add value, it's like 3% or so. But when you can put a dollar figure in front of people and say, here's what you can save, it's tax law. It's written into the code. That's very powerful. I actually saw someone have this exact situation this morning. It's a real estate investor who's working with a financial advisor who has a subscription-based model. And that real estate investor was just taking the regular standard depreciation every single year. The advisor was like, Hey, are you doing any cost segregation? Nope. So, boom, there you go. You have something that you can put a real dollar amount in front of the person and say, well, if you do cost segregation, you can save this much in taxes. You can take the money and move it there. So that is a beautiful, beautiful thing. Now they can pay their fair share. Was that you, I think it was you that you posted something on social media about paying fair share. [10:50.6]

Steven: I might have.

James: Okay. Cause I said that it's whatever you legally owe and not a penny more. What are some other responses that you got from people or like what inspired that post about fair share?

Steven: So, what, what directly inspired plenty of things did. But what that directly came from was the the article that came out about Peter Thiel is that the PayPal guy who has a $5 billion Roth account.

James: Oh Yeah, Roth IRA.

Steven: Yeah. So, so it, anytime there's headlines about someone in an extreme situation with a tax loop rule, because that was perfectly legal, what he did, you, you get all these really visceral reactions of that, that person needs to pay more in taxes. And I'll have advisors that will shy away from taxes because they don't want to get political. But what I tell them is, Hey, listen, I'm not telling you anything political. This isn't a pining on, is that rule, right or not, it's helping your client identify what the rules are and how they can make sure they're paying as little as possible because I have yet to meet the individual that for themselves, they want to pay more in taxes. Plenty of people want other people to be more in taxes. But as an advisor, you should be working on an individual basis with specific clients. And please have any of your listeners call me when they find the person who's like, Nope, I want to pay more in taxes. There's no patriotic award for overpaying the IRS. [12:09.8]

James: Well, the thing is, I mean, Republicans make tax law Democrats make tax law, everybody, and they all benefit like the senators or representatives, they are following the tax law. They are just, they're making the law and following it for the most part, as far as we know, but it's not as if you're saying, oh, we support only this Republican or this Democrat’s tax law. You can't really do that because it's the law. So yeah. I don't know where people get this idea of paying your fair share, but you're totally right. They want other people to pay this magical mystery number. And it's just, it's funny to watch. [12:43.0]

Steven: Yeah. So, when advisors are talking to clients about this, it's important to bring it back to their situation and trying to quantify it for them because you don't want to go down these rabbit holes because they are rabbit holes of, of what should the rules be. In fact, a lot of people don't really even realize that Congress not accountants or the IRS or the ones who make tax rules, right. So that's, that's a whole thing in and of itself.

James: Hmm…hmm.

Steven: But you want to bring the conversation back to that individual and their situation. And just go ahead and ask them, just start with, Hey, you know, over your lifetime, especially as you get into retirement, taxes will be one of the biggest expenses you have. Would it be all right, if we look for ways that we could reduce the amount you spend in taxes, and again, please call me when you find a client that says, nah, let's pay more in taxes. Well, speaking of that, let's let's get into some of the specific angles financial advisors can use when talking with clients or approaching prospective clients to open the door for a conversation about tax planning. And one of the things that I talked about with you off the air was like the Augusta strategy.

Steven: Hmm…hmm.

James: So, is there any particular angle or strategy you want to talk about on the show? [13:45.6]

Steven: Well, I feel like we should say opportunity instead of angle, but that's, that's my head trash around words.

James: Opportunity for sure. I love that.

Steven: Opportunity, yeah, because that's what we should be doing. We should be identifying opportunities. So, the, the Augusta rules are really fun one. It's not one that's gonna be applicable to everyone, but it's, I like it because it's one of the few examples of truly tax-free income. So, for people who aren't familiar with, the Augusta rule is named for Augusta, Georgia, the home of the masters, not a huge golf fan myself, but this is a pretty cool outcome of the Master’s Tournament because it was literally named for that tournament. And what it allows is for a homeowner to rent out their personal dwelling for up to 14 days a year completely tax-free. And the reason this was named after Augusta Georgia is that the rule was created for homeowners around the golf course so that they could, you know, leave town during the masters when there's huge demand in charge all the, all this rent and not have to pay taxes on it. But there's widespread application for it. There's, there's no rule that it has to be tied to the masters or to a sporting event of any kind. There's kind of a next level that you go with it that you can, even, if you own a business, you can actually rent your house to your business and get the income tax free and still take the expense on the business side. And the great thing about it is this still all gets reported to the IRS. This isn't a wink and a nod and Hey, you can, you can do this, just trust me that the income still gets reported on schedule E, which is where we report passive income. You report, okay I rented my house for $20,000 or whatever it might've been to get it to that 14 days. And then there's a line where you just take that full amount as a deduction. So, none of it comes to the face of the 10 40. And so, it gets reported to the IRS and you don't pay income on it, but it's just, I mean, it's a great situation. [15:31.8]

James: And it's beautiful in today's world because you have stuff like Airbnb, you can just go see how much, how other houses are renting for on Airbnb. Check that out before I've done the Augusta strategy, the Augusta rule. And I would have to call hotel conference rooms and be like, Hey, you know, with no food, like I had to be super specific. I was like, can I get something in writing so I can prove this, but now Airbnb has made my job way easier. So, if anybody is interested, that's something for me, but I can't get enough of that. [16:02.0]

Steven: Yeah. And like you said, there's an article out on the retirement tax services website about it, retirementtaxservices.com. There, there are some, some specific details you need to make sure you're following you illustrated a perfect one. There, it has to be a market rent. You can't just pick something arbitrarily and like any tax strategy you want to make sure you're keeping documentation. So, taking, you know, printing to PDF or taking a screenshot of the Airbnb that you looked at as a comparison, it's a great thing to do. There's, there's a couple of other boxes you need to check, but none of them are really that complicated. You just need to be proactive and make sure you have done it. [16:36.3]

James: Yeah. So that's one of the ways. Another thing that I see that financial advisors try to use as a value add is Roths.

Steven: Hmm.

James: And like Roth IRA. And I'm actually from Delaware. So, I don't know if you know that or not, but my business address is in Claymont. If I go to go down south, there's a bridge called the Senator Roth bridge. So, there's a monument to this guy. And whenever I pass it, I'm like, I know, I mean, regular people going across this bridge, they don't know who Senator Roth is or whatever, but like, it's cool for me. But I saw one advisor who was touting how amazing the Roth was. And he gave up the gave off this vibe that people should be all Roth all the time. And I know that can be a mistake depending on what your income level is and all that. So, I appreciate you giving the real information behind whether or not it makes sense for people to have certain buckets and you have advisors for that. [17:26.2]

Steven: Yeah. And maybe part of what you're referencing. Since you've read a bunch of my articles. I wrote an article that's five reasons not to do a Roth conversion.

James: Correct.

Steven: Because you're, you're exactly right. People, advisors will throw out their Roth, like it's this golden bullet to, or silver bullet golden ticket, whatever the analogy is, there's this perfect thing that works all the time. But the answer to the start of the answer to every tax question is it depends, because it's going to be situational. There are lots of great advantages to Roth, don't get me wrong. And it does, it makes me laugh anytime. Someone's like, well, I know what IRA stands for. What does Roth stand for? Because a lot of people don't realize it's named after someone. But yeah, there are definitely situations where Roth doesn't make sense because Roth only makes sense if you think that your tax bracket might be higher in the future, whether that's because of your income or because of tax law changes. Now where we're at right now, it's still going to depend on individual situations, but tax tax rates are the lowest they've been in decades. And so, for a lot of people, it's probably a reasonable expectation that tax rates might go up, but that still doesn't make it a 100% across the board true statement that Roth has always the right answer. [18:34.1]

James: Well, yeah, when I ask these questions, my brain is going like a hundred miles an hour, and I'm thinking of different examples and different people that I talk with. There, I'm thinking of a couple that they're expecting their first child and both of the parents are going to they're in their thirties. So, this is not like a young 20 something couple. So, they have a little bit of money saved. They're going to take both of them or take a year off.

Steven: Hmm.

James: So, their income is going to drop a lot.

Steven: Yeah.

James: So that's a Roth conversion time for them. And it makes sense for them to do that. And it is their specific situation is not broad advice for everybody is right for everybody that everybody should follow, but they would benefit quite a bit from talking with a financial advisor and getting these sorts of details and information. Because that's where the beauty comes from having an advisor is knowing the person's life situation. And it just makes sense. [19:26.8]

Steven: Well, this is a really great example because I think a lot of times people and advisors as well will confuse tax with complexity. And they'll also confuse value with complexity. Because complexity does not always equal value to the client. So, in this situation, so I'll make a couple of assumptions here, but you can tell me if I'm too far off. So, you have a young couple who's going to have almost no income for a year. They've already got some savings. So, they're in a position where, Hey, they're going to be in a very, very low tax bracket. Now that, that sounds like a perfect opportunity to take advantage of doing Roth conversions. And it seems pretty straight forward, but since they're under 59 and a half, they need to make sure that the full amount they're converting ends up in the Roth and that they don't withhold part of that for a to pay the taxes because they'll pay a 10% penalty on that. Whereas if they paid out of their checking account, they won't pay the 10% penalty. Or you at least need to know, Hey, that 10% of 10 of these there, maybe it still makes sense, but that's not a complex issue, but having someone who can articulate that for them and can let them know that's a possibility is so valuable, because if you're not talking to them about that as their advisor what's going to happen is they're going to get to tax time. Their preparer may or may not identify it, but even if they do that's now that's in March, April, it's up against the deadline and they're just now finding out, okay, here's an extra 10% penalty. And if they've just taken a year off, even if they have savings, they're probably not gonna be real thrilled about unexpected expenses. [20:57.8]

James: Yeah. Yeah. This is wonderful. This is amazing content.

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Head on over to TheAdvisorCoach.com/coaching to learn more. [21:24.3]

James: I want to kind of shift gears a little bit and get into what it looks like when a financial advisor is talking with a client about the value, add of tax planning. What happens when the client says, oh, I already have a CPA? How is the advisor supposed to respond? [21:42.7]

Steven: So, I Think we've actually given advisors a lot of great contexts for kind of how to start framing that answer. You need to start from making sure that this is what makes sense for the client, because may, maybe you have the rare client who's tax preparer happens to also take a tax planning focus and they're fine. It's probably not real likely, but you want to make sure you're approaching this from a team standpoint. This can't be, Hey, Mr. Or Mrs. Client, I'm a lot smarter than your, your tax preparer, so you need to trust me on this. It needs to be a collaborative approach. You need to explain to them, Hey, listen, tax repairs do really great work, but they end up with a lot of activity at one particular time of year and so my experience has been that as you and I have conversations throughout the year, I'm in a great position to help identify opportunities so we can address them proactively. And just so you know, Mr. Mrs. Client, anytime we talk about tax planning strategies I'm gonna recommend that we then talk together with your tax preparer to make sure these are implemented correctly and to make sure they're reported correctly to the IRS. So, some version of that conversation is where I would start. [22:46.7]

James: It makes sense. And one of the things that you say on your site, which I love, and this is a quote, “CPAs do not have exclusive rights on all things tax related. Many of them will thank you for taking these steps with your sheared clients.” So, my question to you is how can advisors better work together with CPAs? Like when the relationship starts happening, or is there anything that an advisor can do to make it better? [23:10.5]

Steven: Oh yeah. Lots of things. And in part, because I think the bar is a little bit low right now when it comes to relationships between advisors and CPAs. So, part of the background, I usually give being a CPA myself. When I came out of college and started into this profession, I was told just like advisors are, Hey, work with centers of influence, that's the best way to get referrals as best we get new clients, all that kind of stuff. And then I would go to Chamber of Commerce or whatever networking events were in my area and I would avoid the advisors like the plague. Because they all pretty much had the same schtick, they'd come up with of, Hey, we I, I think we serve some of our clients. Why don't you send them all my way? And like, no, never I'm not going to do that. So, I think the bar's a little bit low sometimes what that relationship looks like, but there's a lot that advisors can do. So, I'll break it into kind of two just general buckets of what you can do, working with a specific client situation and what you should be doing in general to build your network of CPAs you work with. And really the common theme between the two of them is you have to focus on value to the client. So, one of the things recommend to advisors because I see this work with advisors who are doing it is call and ask to pay for an hour of a CPA's time, who you want to have a better relationship with. [24:20.5]

James: That’s brilliant.

Steven: Half the time.

James: That’s brilliant.

Steven: Half the time, probably more than half the time. They won't even actually take your money, but let's say worst case they do. So, they charge you $250 for an hour of their time. And you go and get to spend an hour asking all of the questions that you hear from your clients on taxes or learning, what CPA actually doing this want to hear from advisors, so that it's a better experience for their clients. That's a fantastic use of $250. Think of how much you spend on continuing education or other courses that you walk away from and you're like, eh, I'm not sure I'm going to do anything different about that. Spending $250 on an hour of someone's time, dedicated focus to having great questions, to ask them to, to help your process. And if, if your listeners, aren't sure what they should be asking the CPAs. If they send me an email at advisors@rts.tax, I'll give them a list of example, questions that advisors I know use. So that's a great starting point if you're just trying to build relationships in general, I guess one other comment on that when you're talking to the CPA at no point, can you ask for a referral, like, absolutely not. That is not what your meeting is there for [25:26.3]

If you aren't asking them questions, the only thing, the only other thing you should be sharing is here's how I add value to my clients. There, there should be no request for referral. So that's, that's the general approach. When we're looking at specific client situations, the biggest thing in my mind is proactive communication. So, if you wait until tax time and then try to fight it out with the CPA over whether the Roth conversion should have happened, the client's the one that loses. No matter who is right, the client loses. So, if during the year, so if it, and this, with this, this couple, if they have a tax preparer, they, they work with when you recommend an amount to them of what their Roth conversion should look like, that conversation should include, and by the way, I would love to if, as long as you're okay with it, reach out to your tax preparer and let them know we've talked about this and kind of let them know how this is working to get their input on it and make sure it gets reported correctly. That you're proactively communicating. And then at the end of the year, you should be preparing and then providing some sort of tax summary letter or 10 99 letter, we call it sometimes of here's the things we did with the client throughout the year that are going to be important to know for tax preparation. [26:31.5]

James: That is phenomenal advice. I, I hope advisors don't skip over that because it's just like a podcast and they're going to be driving or at the gym or whatever. That is totally brilliant. It confidence, it takes guts and it just separates you from everyone else. So, I was going through my files. It's so funny that you mentioned this. Though, there's like a book slash study by Russ Alan Prince that came out in 2003, and it found that accountants CPAs at that time, this is there's 2021 now. So, this is 18 years ago. They were getting approached by 6.6 financial advisors every six months. And that has got to be way worse today with social media and LinkedIn and Facebook and all these other tools. Just curious, how do you get these pitches from financial advisors? I'm sure you do. What do they look like? And how many do you get? [27:22.9]

Steven: I don't, I don't keep count.

James: Maybe I should. But I will. So I was, I was just having lunch with a CPA friend of mine, not too long ago. And we were talking about some of the things that RTS, Retirement Tax services is doing. And I was actually telling him that we make those recommendations to advisors. And he said, I love that so much. So, there's only one advisor he gives referrals to. And that, that advisor didn't, hadn't offered to pay for an hour of his time. The, he didn't do that piece of it. They had a mutual connection and that advisor had a really complex client situation and just genuinely came to the CPA saying, Hey, we really, there there's been a death in the family. There were some complications if I'm remembering it right. That's, that's what the situation was. And just genuinely wanting to help their client. And the CPA was really impressed with that. So, the advisor led with value to the client, not giving me referrals. And as I'm talking to the CPA, he's going down his list of, I want to say dozens of advisors who just bombard him with, Hey, who are your top five clients? Some of those advisors are related to him and he still gives them zero referrals because all they ever do is ask for referrals. [28:27.2]

James: I mean, you got. Yeah, it's give and take, you got to do something. You've got to provide some value here, education working with the client show that you care. It's so simple, but it's not easy. And almost nobody does it. And they at least don't do it the correct way. I hear that all the time. I imagine it's like a marketer's version of people asking for backlinks, like, Hey, I can do SEO for your site. I can do SEO for your site. And one of the freelancers that I hired, he was like, just, he asked in parallel the same question I just asked you. He was like, how many of these link building outreaches do you get a day? I'm like, dude. And I hold up my phone, the camera, I started scrolling. And I was like, these are all outreaches. And whenever I talk to, I found that financial advisors, I don't know why they think that just asking for referrals, not doing anything else works. I don't know where that idea comes from because every single CPA that I talk with that they get pitches from financial advisors, they they're, they're exactly like you're talking about, they lock in on maybe one, two or three. If the advisors have different specialties, they'll send them to the respective specialties, but they they're pretty close knit. It's not as if they're saying, oh, sure person from two weeks ago, here's this client that I've been working with for 12 years. Like it's not going to happen. [29:41.9]

Steven: Well, if you don't mind, I'll probably offend a lot of your listeners here real quick and we'll, then we'll try to bring it back around. Right wrong or otherwise, I'm just going to tell you a reality real quick of professional designations CPA versus CFP or financial advisor in general, because financial advisor is incredibly loosely defined. There's people who fight about what that means all the time. And compared to CPA is not a universally trusted designation or industry as a whole. Because when somebody hears that you're a financial advisor, they're going to make a whole range of assumptions, not all of them necessarily good. When people hear I'm a CPA, they make a range of assumptions, not all of them accurate, but almost none of them are negative, which is crazy to me because there have been some CPAs who've done some wildly fraudulent things that are in prison for it. But for whatever reason, the CPA designation is one of the most trusted and respected designations that exist. And so, because of that, a lot of CPAs have this real hesitancy to sending their clients to financial advisors when the CPA is not sure what you're going to do for them. So, it's not, oh, you need a bow down to the CPA and just focus on value to your clients. It's that you need to show them because the industry as a whole has not that you, as an individual are going to treat their clients well, that you're going to provide value to them and that the CPA is going to feel good about sending this really deep relationship they have with their client to view as a person. [31:10.8]

James: Do you think it would help if the advisor had, I guess, like a page on his or her website outlining the process or a blog or a podcast or material that a CPA can at his or her own pace, go through that content and get to know the advisor. Do you think that would help at all? [31:26.6]

Steven: I think it can certainly in some situations. The only reason I don't say that more definitively, because it probably just depends on what channel is the CPA is actually going to use. In that when you offer to pay for a CPA's time and you meet them, one of the things that you should explain to them is what your client onboarding process looks like. Again, not because you're asking for referrals, but just so they know how you treat clients. And one way to kind of frame that, so it doesn't feel forced is let them know that you're always looking for places to send your clients because you should be, you should always be looking for great resources that you can send your clients to and make sure you understand what their process would look like. Because as I talked to CPAs that's, and for my own personal experience, that's, that's definitely a hesitation to making a referral is okay. I send Bob and Sue to James, so, what's this look like? I give them James his name. And then what happens? What's James’s onboard process look like, is he going to immediately start asking them for a bunch of money or to transfer all their assets? Or is he going to, is he just making stock recommendations? Is he the next Bernie Madoff? You know, whatever crazy idea they have, but if you don't tell them what's going to happen, they're left to their own imagination. [32:34.8]

James: That makes a lot of sense. This has been absolute gold. And like I said, in the, to the show, this is a topic that I've never discussed. I've never had anybody on to discuss. I think it's underrated. I think it's something that financial advisors really need to look into. It makes sense with a lot of this stuff that I talk about like specialization, you make your process clear or you work with a certain type of person. My accountant, personally, the accountant that I use, I mean, he has a team at this point, but he specializes in attorneys and he has had relationships with different people. When they meet attorneys, they know exactly the person that they're going to use it's him because he is the specialist there. And his marketing is super clear. He knows that he's going to go to different conferences. He knows what books we're reading, which podcasts are listening to the YouTube channels. He is in their world. So, it's a lot easier for him to get referrals from financial advisors and for him to send referrals to financial advisors, if the advisors in his network and his community also specialize in attorneys. I find it, I don't know, confusing / frustrating that there were so many financial advisors who still refuse to specialize in your view as a CPA and knowing other CPAs, do you and others prefer when advisors are specialized? So, it's a lot easier to know who they work with. [33:56.1]

Steven: It instantly provides more clarity about what the client is going to get when, if we refer them. So yes, having that specialty makes it, makes the process just, it gives you a better launching point of here's what I'm going to do for the client, if I know that, okay, you work with a specific type of individuals. It also helps that if, if I've had 30 advisors approach me and we'll just pretend for a second, even though this has never been the case, that I would be willing to recommend the client to any of those 30, knowing that you specialize in the type of client I have is going to put you at the top of my list. So, yes, I don't see any disadvantages to having that, that niche focus. There's James, you're the marketing expert, but as I learned more and more about marketing and I've got my team trying to help me with it, one of my takeaways is that you're way better off having a targeted approach, even if that results in fewer views or whatever it might be. But you're getting at the right people. Me trying to serve all 350 million Americans when only a certain number of them pay taxes, only a certain number of them are advisors and, you know, on and on and on getting really that, that focus is gonna help me as an individual and then when I'm hoping to develop relationships with people who might refer to me, it's going to help them know, okay, James should be at the top of my list because he serves these types of clients. [35:14.6]

James: Yeah, absolutely. And your conversions are higher. You're, it's clear where you should be marketing. Like I said, with the accountant, he knows where to go. He knows what to listen to. He knows what you do channels to watch. He knows who to network with. He can get somebody who has a YouTube channel, specializing in attorneys, he can contact that person, he can do a feature on that YouTube channel. And let's say that they have 25,000. That's not a lot in YouTube, but let's just say 0.0, 1% of those people reach out to him, took like an hour of his time to be featured. It it's a no brainer. So, I don't want to drone on forever. This has been a rock-solid podcast episode. I hope financial advisors listen to it again. I want to give you an opportunity to let financial advisors know how they can get in touch with you or how anybody can get in touch with you. What are any next steps that you have? The floor is yours. [36:06.9]

Steven: Well, thanks James. I really appreciate that the Retirement Tax Services podcast is the podcast that I host that we, we talk a lot about tax planning topics, but it's all focused on financial advisors. That is who I am speaking to. So, we don't get lost in the technical details. Everything we talk about immediately goes to, and then how do we put this in practice? So, you mentioned articles that we put out at retirementtaxservices.com. We do have a community of members. Our cart just closed at the end of June, but you're welcome to go out and get on the wait list, we will open it back up again at some point. And really our members have an opportunity to get a lot more exclusive content and access to the things we're doing so that we're just taking that value to even another level. And I don't know that they call them trade shows anymore, but I will be speaking at some conferences later this year and the industry waiting, waiting to hear back on the last one before I start announcing all of them. But looking forward to getting back and meeting people in person and being at some of the, the industry conferences that a lot of advisors go to. [37:03.0]

James: You got it. And your show, you got some heavy hitters on there. So financial advisors, you might want to check that out, a lot of good information there, and I leave it at that, maybe. I can make an appearance on there one day, who knows, we'll see.

Steven: Yeah, we can probably make that happen. I'm sure.

James: Yeah. So financial advisors, that is it for this week's episode of the Financial Advisor Marketing podcast. Seriously, I hope you listen to this episode again, this has been James Pollard and Steven Jarvis CPA of Retirement Tax Services. I'll catch you next week. [37:31.2]

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