Sam Robinson, Director of Pursue Wealth, prefers to call her clients members of the Pursue Wealth community – a group of like minded people who share the same gusto and passion for financial freedom through wealth accumulation. Sam sees herself as her members’ accountability buddy and in this podcast, Sam shares the various ways she engages with her community to help them plan and achieve their dream lifestyle.

Patrick Murphy:

Welcome to the MetLife podcast series. I'm Patrick Murphy, and today I'm joined by Sam Robinson, director and co-founder of Pursue Wealth, to discuss financial advice for accumulators. Sam, thank you for joining me.

Sam Robinson:

No worries. Thanks for having me guys,

Patrick Murphy:

Pursue Wealth. Share with me a little bit about your business if you wouldn't mind.

Sam Robinson:

Yeah, of course. So we are a boutique firm based in South Melbourne and realistically, my partner Josh and I, we started the business because we wanted to selfishly work with people who were like us. It was all about making sure that other people were making smart financial decisions while they were growing their wealth and being able to achieve the life that they wanted to. So, the whole business is based around inspiring people to achieve financial freedom and just get shit done to be honest. It was more so seeing a lot of inactivity when it comes to personal finance with wealth accumulators. So giving them a bit of a guiding light.

Patrick Murphy:

Fantastic. Is it a full financial planning business? What sort of services do you provide?

Sam Robinson:

So, we are full financial advice. Like you mentioned, we are specifically designed around wealth accumulation. So, a lot of cash flow management is the core and the foundation of all of the advice that we give. And we build on that through what we call lifestyle planning. So really getting a key understanding as to what their life is going to look like in the future. And that might be building on investment portfolios, obviously sorting out super and insurances, what we call just hygiene. Making sure that is sorted and then learning to build on that, to creating an awesome life. On top of that, we do have a mortgage broking firm Pursue Property. And the idea of that is we wanted to be able to control the conversation so that people weren't over leveraging themselves when it came to debt as well.

Patrick Murphy:

And I couldn't help, but look at both Josh and yourself build in financial advice and go getters. I must admit, I love that terminology. Who is a go getter in your eyes.

Sam Robinson:

So when we were designing the business and like I said before it all came around quite selfishly was we wanted to work people who had the gusto to make changes. So a go getter to us is somebody who knows what they want and is willing to make the changes in their current life to achieve that. So, whatever that looks like, they're willing to do the hard yards. I feel like a lot of people treat a financial adviser, like a PT and they kind of, or a gym membership. And they expect that if they don't go, they're going to get results. And that's not at all what we wanted. We wanted to have a collaboration and working partnership where if we work really closely with our members, then that means that we can achieve some pretty awesome stuff together. So a go getter is somebody who's willing to give it a go.

Patrick Murphy:

So I dare say it's almost like holding the client to account essentially isn't it around the strategy and the goals.

Sam Robinson:

Definitely. Yeah. That's exactly it. And it's about... It's not about handholding, but it is about that accountability buddy. We know that we are far more likely to achieve the things that we set out to do when we have somebody that we know is going to check in and say, "Hey, I know you said you wanted to achieve this, but what you're doing at the moment, doesn't actually show me that. Let's reassess your values and figure out what's going wrong here."

Patrick Murphy:

And we've been currently leaving sort of, really interesting times. And obviously, with this Victoria in particular we're still as a recording still in lockdown. How has your business adapted to what you would consider now that the new normal?

Sam Robinson:

Yeah, I mean, just like everyone we've moved everything online, we've sent the team home. And I guess for us, the biggest piece is really missing being one on one or in a room with a member. I think that's the really missing that connect. But we've needed to adapt. And so I think that's probably one of the biggest adaptions that we've had to make is, getting clear on the language that we're using and how we're communicating. That's just probably the biggest piece of the puzzle for us.

Patrick Murphy:

Definitely, I don't know. I just picked up there. You used the term member. What do you mean by member?

Sam Robinson:

Yeah, so I feel... Working in this demographic is that we want to be part of the community. I mean, I don't think that's dissimilar to everyone else, but I would say when we're talking about 25 to 40 year olds, they're looking for a sense of community, to be a part of something bigger. So when we talk about our members, I guess it's exactly the same as an ongoing client base. So we put a lot of focus on actually connecting them with each other and connecting them with like minded people. So we have events and certain access to seminars and things like that, that they can chime in with. But the whole part of that is networking with other people who we know that they're going to get along with because they're all seeking much the same thing in life. Which is to push themselves and become better versions. That's what members are all about.

Patrick Murphy:

Sounds like one of your events would be quite a party, like minded people It sounds pretty cool. In terms of seminars how often would you run them? Have you still stayed the course with running those seminars to move them virtually. Talk me through what that looks like.

Sam Robinson:

Yeah. Well, during all this social distancing and everything, we've obviously had to move everything online. So we are doing more probably collaborative seminars at the moment, joining up with other people in our network so that we can provide joint pieces of professional advice. So most recently we've collaborated with a psychologist. And so, talking about mental illness and the impact, and then what impact that has when you aren't in control of your finances and how you can take more control and be empowered during this time where nothing else really seems in our control.

Sam Robinson:

So, probably the tone or the language of our seminars has possibly changed a little bit, but I'm thinking it is more important than ever that we ramped that up. I think one of the biggest things that we're noticing, even if we look at right back to the beginning of when all this happened. There were some pretty heavy conversations around what leavers people have to pull, or should they be panicking, or what that happens if we were talking about contingency plans and stuff. Whereas now it's really about how to empower people again. So reinvigorating with some inspiration as to what can they actually do looking forward. Because I think for a long time, people kind of lost the light at the end of the tunnel. And I think it's a big part of our job. So really understanding our messaging and our branding is important with everything that we do.

Patrick Murphy:

How important is that messaging for you in terms of your client base, and what has been sort of the underlying feedback from your clients around how they handled this little period of what has been for a lot of your content? I didn't notice the first real experience of something significantly happening as in the world that we currently live in.

Sam Robinson:

I think you're spot on, this is the first kind of financial type crisis that a lot of our members have had skin in the game. So it is a little bit of the unknown. Is this kind of what we've been bracing for? Is this why we had emergency funds? Is this why we had contingencies built into all of our strategies? So, getting some clarity around why we had put everything in place and reassuring them that even though we didn't predict the magnitude of what we're experiencing right now, we always have to have contingency within a sound financial plan.

Sam Robinson:

So the reassurance and the language that we're using has been the biggest part of that. Everything to do with our brand is based around our values. Our values are to be fun, to be innovative, genuine professional, inspirational. And right now we are honing more in on that professional piece than we've ever needed to because people are needing that comfort. And they're wanting to hear more than words. And right now at a time where we can't actually sit down and give the energy to people that they need and the comfort. How we're choosing our words, how we are for training our business in terms of our brand via video, via email is more important than ever because people are looking for somebody to hold their hand right now.

Patrick Murphy:

I must admit, I follow you on Facebook. I follow the business Facebook. I see a lot of posts, so there nice beaches and nice sun. It does make me quite envious right now about wanting to travel. How important is social media and the use of social media within your business and with your members?

Sam Robinson:

It's something that I think when we started doing it, it hadn't really been done overly well within financial services. And I think the reason is that we think given we don't have a product to advertise, then we don't have something to say on socials. And I think that is so misconstrued because realistically we've got more to say than anyone. We are helping people create a lifestyle. So part of our role is to inspire and empower people. And I talk about that a lot. But if we can do that through our socials and get them thinking big. What is it that they want, what is the lifestyle that they want, stop thinking within four walls and really push themselves. Then all of a sudden you can have deeper conversations about what it is that they're trying to achieve. It's no longer about, I want $100,000 in my investment portfolio, by the time I'm 40.

Sam Robinson:

It's now I want to be able to send my kids to an amazing school so they have an opportunity that I never had. Or I want to be able to take them on a holiday every year. And to me, that is something that I missed out on as a child. Or whatever that looks like to them or whatever picture that they're wanting to paint. It's no longer about numbers. It's about something a lot more than that, a lot more visual. So our social media is kind of all about pushing those boundaries of what financial advice really is.

Patrick Murphy:

And is it about understanding your members and the platforms that they use and then determining which social media sort of platform you promoting or so-

Sam Robinson:

Definitely. So for example, if you look at our Facebook and Instagram versus our LinkedIn and Twitter, you'll see we are way more engaged on our Facebook and Instagram. And the reason for that is that, that's where our members go to connect with us. So they're wanting to see what we're up to and they're wanting to see what other people or other members in the community are saying about us. And they're wanting to see the blog topics that we think are important because we've had this question a zillion times over. So that is for us and our demographic, Facebook and Instagram is a hundred percent where we go.

Sam Robinson:

LinkedIn and Twitter is kind of like a nice to have, but if your demographic I would say is 45 to 55, I would say, interestingly enough, Twitter is pretty heavy at the moment there. So it really just depends what your demographic is as to which medium that you need to use. It's just like, I'm not going to send out letters to my members because they'll probably you'll sit in their letterbox for a week or two weeks or a month. Because they just don't look there.

Patrick Murphy:

Absolutely. I can't remember the last time I actually checked the mail. What advice would you give to your adviser page in regards to communication in the digital world?

Sam Robinson:

Don't be afraid to get in front of the camera. I know for so long being a little perfectionist myself is that I found every excuse not to record something and send it out. But what I'm recognizing is that we all have different ways that we like to absorb information. And some people prefer a lengthy email and some people want to watch a one minute video. And if we're not reaching those people who want visual content, then your messaging just isn't getting the cut through that it really could. They doesn't need to be perfect to be honest, as long as you've got good audio, the rest of it doesn't matter too much. Obviously lighting would be preferable as well, but more what I'm saying is give it a crack and don't be afraid to get in front of the camera. The more your clients are seeing you, the more your message is actually going to meet more people's needs realistically.

Patrick Murphy:

And I can't finish a conversation without talking a little bit about it. I should start by saying, I know the staff... they're very big part of you and Josh in the business. Share a little bit with me. How many staff do you actually have at Pursue.

Sam Robinson:

There's eight in the team now. So we call them our little dream team, and they really are that, we have an incredible team. Realistically, when we look for people who we wanted to join us, it's all about ensuring that we have the same values. And I think that is just so important. We think you can teach technical competency, but you cannot teach values. And when it all comes back to why we started the business, Josh and I wanted to have fun and inspire people. So if we're not doing that every day with our team, then obviously internally reflects externally. So, it really is just so important that we're having fun, with our crew, because that's when you can push yourself and make sure that everything that we do relate back to our values, which then relates back into the work that we give our members. And so I think that is so important.

Patrick Murphy:

And how are you keeping up their morale and engagement in having them all work remotely.

Sam Robinson:

Do you know what, it's been pretty impressive to see them or adapt so quickly? I guess we were quite lucky that all of our systems were already able to be remote, but just seeing them all connect and checking on each other. And so we'd be setting... We'll be doing this for a long time, but something that keeps us all very connected is we've got a monthly energy challenge. So its something that is to promote good energy within yourself, so it might be something physical or it might be something mental. So it could be journaling or meditation every day for the month, or it could be 20 burpees every month, whatever that looks like. But it's something for us to all connect on and kind of keeps everyone's morale up as well.

Sam Robinson:

We've got daily huddles, so we all catch up every morning, every Friday have drinks, we might do dress ups one week, or we're trying to introduce some trivia and stuff at the moment. So it's all about everything that we would do for our members. We just think it is just as important if not more important to do it for our team, because that ensures our members get great advice.

Patrick Murphy:

Sam, thank you very much for your time today. If you could share three things that really worked well with Pursue Wealth that you'd like to share with your adviser peers around how they could work with accumulator clients, what would they be?

Sam Robinson:

Amazing question. I feel like there are so many things that we learned in the journey. A few of the main ones would be, get really clear on your brand. And I think for wealth accumulators, possibly more so than other demographics is that they really do want to fall back on a brand. They don't want to be solely reliant on one person. And obviously we want to mitigate key person risks. So if your brand is more... It's more than a logo, it's the thought and the feeling that somebody gets every time that they mentioned your name. So what do you want that to look like? And what are the values that you want it to represent? So that might be about the language that you're using internally, externally, whatever that looks like. It should be a complete representation of your brand and that should be honored no matter what.

Sam Robinson:

So don't abandon those when you're trying to stay relevant. In a changing world, we don't want to abandon what it is that our values and our brand stands for. Next would probably be to have fun and connect. I think wealth accumulators are looking for somebody who gets them, so you don't need to be completely polished around the edges and they don't need to get the fine China and the big lavish experience. What they're wanting is somebody who when they get to the reception, they're like, "Hey, how are you going?" And I can have a real conversation, and you're going to understand what I'm going through and what I want to spend my weekends doing. And you have to remove anything at all that's going to make a barrier to entry or it's all too scary. It's nerve wracking getting advice so let's make it as easy as possible.

Sam Robinson:

And then, gosh third one, let's say transparency. Wealth accumulators smell bullshit, nothing else. So if you are not genuine, and you can't clearly articulate how you were being paid, why you were being paid for certain things, why you were choosing certain strategies for them, they're going to see straight through that. So just be genuine and transparent. And I think that is going to get you further with more referrals and you know what to do with.

Patrick Murphy:

Sam, thank you very much for your time. It's been an absolute pleasure to have you in today. I wish you all the best for the rest of the year.

Sam Robinson:

Thank you so much, Pat. And thanks MetLife for having me.

Disclaimer:

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