In our January episode of the Bucket Plan On-Demand podcast series, Dave Alison sat down with longtime friend and business partner, Greg Hammer, to discuss Greg’s experience and success running The Bucket Plan® Process in his office. Greg is a top advisor in the country, gathering $40,000,000+ in new client assets each year. He runs Hammer Financial Group out of Schererville, Indiana and has been with C2P for 10 years, just shy of its inception.
In this episode, Greg recounts the evolution from having a sales-driven business approach to having a systematized process with tools and resources that he’s obtained from The Bucket Plan Process and training. Greg and Dave discuss some of these tools that are part of The Bucket Plan 2.0 Holistic Planning Process training for Bucket Plan Certified advisors.
In Greg’s words, 10 years ago, the easiest way to put it is that he was a salesman. He was great at what he did but his process and the value he brought to his appointments was all in his head. Everything he knew and his whole communication style for sharing his wisdom with clients was neither duplicable nor documented in order to be passed on to others in his office, if needed.
Prior to The Bucket Plan, his own process was not holistic in scope. His main focus in client meetings was to show value through mitigating their concerns and risks, and simply making the sale based on those solutions…
At the time, Greg had one other advisor working with him who was helping facilitate things. However, at the end of the day, Greg was at capacity with just two of them handling the workload…They were running at about $8-10 million of new assets per year, but if Greg wasn’t in the office things weren’t getting done.
Today, Hammer Financial has six planning advisors: Three full-time planners, a paraplanner, an advisor that focuses on high-level work with wealth management clients, and Greg himself, who dedicates his own time to the design part of their financial planning process. For the last four years, Hammer Financial has been operating at $40 million of new assets per year and is looking to project at higher rates to do even more.
Concepts & Tools
Like most advisors, Greg was able to implement The Bucket Plan concepts into his practice first. Concepts are easy to implement right away because they take otherwise complex ideas and simplify them into something advisors can easily explain to clients. The philosophy of bucketing and how to use the three-bucket system, for example, are good starting points for offices transitioning to The Bucket Plan Process.
The Bucket Plan tools come into play after the concepts, as they help reinforce and execute the overall plan. Today, Greg sits on the Clarity 2 Prosperity Planning Innovation Committee. He and his office have been instrumental in defining and innovating some of the tools in the process, like the advisor checklists and client agendas that Greg and Dave discuss on the podcast.
Advisor checklists account for all the things the advisor needs to do in their meetings with prospects and clients. They act as a behind-the-scenes playbook for ensuring you dot every i and cross every T. Hours and hours have gone into creating the tools in The Bucket Plan Process because skipping steps or trying to run a meeting from memory can cause one to miss something or to compromise quality control or the relationship with the client.
Client agendas are forward-facing tools. They help set expectations, control the pace and goals of the meeting, and also give you and the client the opportunity to agree on the exact outcome of the meeting.
The Important of a 4-Step Process
We can’t talk about the importance of having documented tools without mentioning the power of the process, in which these tools are contained. The Bucket Plan Holistic Planning Process follows a simple, four-step structure:
There are several benefits to having a simplified, named, and documented process. For Greg, however, a lot of it comes down to what he calls his “fit calls.”
Without the process, it can be very difficult to have the right kind of upfront understanding with the prospect. In today’s environment, with the information that is easily accessible and how people research advisors, transparency is critical. It’s not enough to list the things you can do for clients. Prospects need to know what the process and relationship is going to be like as well.
Having a clear, concise, and understandable process allows a prospect to know exactly how their time together will evolve, what steps you will walk through together, what their role is, and what your commitment is to them. The fit-call and Step 1 Discovery Meeting can help determine right away if the client is a planning only client or a wealth-management client. It can also help establish from the start whether that client is the right fit for you, and often more importantly whether you are the right fit for that client.
To hear more from Greg about his company’s evolution, his implementation of The Bucket Plan Process, and the tools available to advisors in The Bucket Plan 2.0 Training, listen to the podcast here. To see if you qualify to attend The Bucket Plan 2.0 Training, click here.
Are you ready to discover how the Bucket Plan Concepts & Tools can help your sales process? Schedule a 20-minute consultation with our Business Development team below.