Coach Joe Lukacs Provides Advice for Growth-Minded Financial Advisors in Swift Chat - View Video and Transcript Here
In this Swift Chat video conversation, I speak with Joe Lukacs, founder of Magellan Mastermind & Network. We discuss client communications and marketing financial services in a digital world where so many more people are working from home, seeking good information and advice, and feeling the stress that has come with the COVID-19 lock-downs.
Joe and I talk about the best ways for advisors to "create their own economies" during these challenging times -- and beyond.
Click to watch this 16-minute video now.
Or read the transcript below.
Marie Swift: Well hello everybody and welcome back to another Swift Chat. I'm joined today by Coach Joe Lukacs. Joe, you and I go way back. We've gotten to know each other over many of years. It feels like twenty or so years! But recently we've gotten reacquainted and I'm just so happy to be back in touch with you. I'm excited to hear all about the Magellan Network and the things you are doing to help so many more advisors get what they need to have a thriving, successful, business. If I could just get you talking a little bit about your history, your purpose, your mission. Why are you doing what you do?
Joe Lukacs: Well, first of all Marie thank you for having me. I will be as brief as possible. So, I've been coaching Financial Advisors and exclusively coaching financial advisors for twenty-six and half years. So, when I started my career and we won't get into all the details, but I basically started my career cold walking lower Manhattan when you could do that. Almost like a wholesaler would just going into different brokerage houses, half which are no longer with us and just offering to help advisors. My value proposition back in the early 90s was very simple. Give me an hour of your time, I will give you a blank invoice, you put any amount that you thought was valuable to you and that's how I really started my coaching career.
Marie Swift: Wow, so that was your coaching career twenty-six years ago. So, if we fast-forward today, what does it look like be part of your network?
Joe Lukacs: One of the reasons why I founded Magellan Network, was first of all I am very passionate about what I do. In my career I've built two coaching companies. Typical, be the head figure, guru, leader, the founder you go recruit other coaches, you train them and then fortunately most cases you then become the Chief Marketing Officer and you have to go and keep everything moving. I did it twice and hated it both times.
Number one, what I do is very unique. I'm very personality driven not process driven. So, it's hard to take that and train that into another human being. They can get the words and they can get system, but they can't get the person.
Number two, it took me away from what I really enjoyed doing.
Sidebar story, when I founded Practice Power back in 2006, I had this idea for many of years, decades in fact, of how do I leverage what I do? How do I get my content out there in more of virtual type manner? In 2006, I founded Practice Power. Today, we have fourteen hundred members and advisors are still part of that community. The challenge was the technology was not available. It was not virtual enough. It wasn't app centric. So, fast-forward to today here we are in 2020 where everything is mobile based. So, now the platform technologies exist.
What I did two-years ago, is I went back to the drawing board. I said, how do I do this? What I did was take some great ideas, knowledge, and launched Magellan Network basically through just my clients. We did a ninety-day trial-run. We put it on everybody’s mobile device. The unique thing is when it came time to make if formal, I asked the members what they thought the value-proposition was? What do you think the pricing should be?
The membership really set the offer. I let them do a Survey Monkey and come up with it. So, fast-forward to today, we have about 175 members in the network. It thrives. It's a living thing in terms of everyday I produce content for those clients, for that tribe, whether it's for a live or a virtual event. It's morphed and the beauty of it, in my mind, is #1, we do everything on a month-to-month basis, and we don't really lose members. The value proposition is so strong that unlike other programs where you see a lot of turnover and flow, our client engagement is very high.
Marie Swift: So, describe to me who would be a fit for the Magellan Network? Who are you looking for? Who is best served by the program?
Joe Lukacs: Great question. We don't cater to wires, versus independents, versus RIAs. It's really just about the advisor. We want someone who is open minded, innovative, not afraid to change and who doesn't have a fixed mind-set. That is really key. We don't care about age or anything like that. Our membership goes from 22 years old to 74. So, we've got and really care about the person.
The other unique thing is you have to come in on an application, on a trial basis. If we both feel like it's a good fit, then we can extend you an invitation to become an official member. So, unlike other programs that will try to sell you on working with them, we really believe in attraction and fit.
I'm the first one to admit, my style, how I do things, is not a great fit for everyone. I think coaching is a personality driven process. My personality, quite frankly, may not fit with everyone. I want people that are forward thinking. Our whole premise and network are not what is working today but what is the business going to look like in 2025? Or 2030?
Because of recent events, we are really getting a taste what the new world is going to look like inside of our space. I think advisors are either going to have to innovate, adapt that innovative model or they are going to struggle. There are no two ways about that.
Marie Swift: Let's talk about your style. Let's also talk about the time we are living through. When coronavirus realities hit, it felt a little bit like we were all wadding through molasses to figure out what the new reality was and now many of us have adjusted. Some maybe not so much, but one thing I heard on your video was something on creating our own economy. Is that right? So, talk a little bit about that and your style.
Joe Lukacs: Back in 2008-2009 when we had all the other fun and games going on in our world. I saw a lot of advisors adopt a victim mindset, right? They were part of the “regular economy” if you will. I reminded everyone, I said look when economic times are great; did every advisor double or triple their business? The answer is no. So, is there really that close of an association. In my experiences, the answer is no.
Every advisor has the opportunity to create their own economy. So, if your own economy is based on how many clients you serve, how many new clients you get. If you are AUM based, what does that look like? If you are fee-based, what does that look like? There are no rules. You don't have to subscribe to anything that is going on economically. Yes, the environments are going to be different.
As an industry, quite frankly, we've gotten lazy in the last decade. We have easy conversations with clients. It's easy to just go around and talk about business. Now, the standards are much different. Those advisors, and inside of our Magellan group, we see advisors getting new clients virtually, getting new money from existing clients, doing planning engagements, writing premiums. So, it's not hypothetical here, this is how it can be done. But, if the advisor subscribes to the “oh my god the market is X and therefore, I'm going to be X” then they are going to struggle. They set the game up where they can't control the rules.
When you set the game where you have control over the rules, then you are going to get a much different outcome than if you don't.
Marie Swift: Yes! So, what we know is that people are looking for help right now. They are sticking their heads up out of the foxhole and thinking, Okay, am I with the right professionals?” Am I getting the right advice? Maybe, it's time for a second opinion.”
So, a lot of advisors that I'm talking and speaking with, and maybe it's true for you too Joe, they are saying “we were defensive at first, and now we are going on the offense. If we are going to capture market share and we are going to help more people.”
Joe Lukacs: Agreed! And the way I'm seeing that happen is virtualization. Many of my clients are doing Zoom casts, Zoom townhalls, Zoom trainings, to where they invite family and friends and guests. I just had a client reach out to me earlier today; he signed his first new client who was a guest on a Zoom event he did three weeks ago. He does his every Saturday without fail.
What's happening is advisors have got to morph from just being an advisor but now you have to be a subject matter expert, a thought leader. Key word, leader!
People are looking for leaders right now. They want content and answers from people that they trust. There are more people today, and this is what I tell my tribe, let's look at the facts. What has changed?
Number one, Boomers are still going to retire.
Number two, advisors are still going to retire. So, we are going to have more need, less capacity.
Number three, this is a new development. The do-it-yourselfers, a lot of them are going to say “I was a Rockstar for ten years.” Well, if a monkey could throw a dart board at a stock market chart and pick stocks the last ten years. So, then they are re-thinking their game, right?
Then the fourth piece is we have advisors who are not retiring. But, behaviorally they kind of have. So, they are not in growth mode anymore. They are just going to hang out, ride it out, and see what happens.
If you are a growth-minded advisor, the last time I saw an opportunity like this was 2008-2009 with the caveat now that because our world right now is at least temporarily different that you have to say, how can I go reach those people?
In 08-09, advisors did the workshops and client events, like wine tastings, and did all these normal things. Today, it's how do I virtualize everything? How do I create that infrastructure where I don't have to people-face? Those advisors that do that, are going to have an incredible bench.
I have my own Zoomcast that we do for the Magellan tribe on Friday's. I made the comment, picture us in 1990 and I come to you and say, what do you think about doing workshops for people that are going to retire? We’ll buy them dinner and we will just educate them and then we will offer them a chance to visit with us. This is back in 1990 and we all know that advisors that were out there at that time, doing that missionary forward-thinking work, dominated because they were the first to market.
On the virtual side of things, we are back in 1990 just with a different premise. What would happen if we created a virtual business model where the advisors that adapted first, to your comment, would go get market share? That is the environment we are in today.
The new world starts today.
Marie Swift: So, the advisors that were already out there doing the video work and getting their camera skills down and their little studios wherever they were going to do that, mastering that, they are already ahead.
People are still going to work with people they like and trust. So, how are you going to do that when you can't meet with them face-to-face? Obviously, we could sit six or eight feet apart and shout across the conference room table, but nobody wants to travel, right? So, virtual has really started to take off for the forward-thinking advisors. Now, it's kind of a reality for everybody.
Joe Lukacs: Yeah, we've been forced to it. We’ve had early adopters. I've got clients that have worked virtual for years. The advantage for the advisor is that we now have what we call “locational independence.” They don't have to be in Minnesota in the winter if they don't want to be. They can be in Arizona, depending on their personal situation. Most of them, advisors, work within a 50-mile bubble. They think of that as their market area. When you are virtualizing, again, we are not getting into licensing in states and things like that, but the reality is you can have a national practice.
So, it's not a comprise at all, it's an enhancement. It's a freedom to go and get market share from anywhere. If you just took your clients and where their friends and family were from, they are not all within that 50-mile bubble. They are spread out! Just having the availability and even serving you on Zoom just ten miles away, I can serve your friend who is a thousand mile away. It's seamless and irrelevant in terms of distance anymore. That's the beauty and the world we are now going into. Granted, I never predicted this was the reason why we are here, but we are here. That's the important message here.
Marie Swift: In the time we got left, I want to hear about people that are interested in finding out about the Magellan Network, how they can put in that application and get involved.
Joe Lukacs: Right, so the first thing is going to www.MagellanNetwork.net; and I don't believe in very little information, so we give you a full executive briefing and at the bottom of the page is the application. You submit the application and I personally review that application. It takes two days, maybe three, depends. Then, you are granted access to a trial and inside of that trial you and I will have a conversation to see if that's a good fit. That's the way it works. There is no “join button.”
You have to go do and experience and be the right fit. Quite frankly, about 50% of the advisors come in and we find they fit, and they stay with us. Nobody has a bad experience, it's just not a good fit for them and we are okay with that. We know who we are good with and it's not going to cost an advisor to find that out.
Marie Swift: Okay, so last question. It's Mother's Day and you have a mother or wife in your life, right? What are you going to do for fun this weekend?
Joe Lukacs: Well because we can't go out to dinner, right? So, we are going to make homemade pizza. We got the yeast and are going to make the dough. I will be manning the oven or grill and do two different versions of that. There will probably be some wine involved as there always tends to be in my house at those events and celebrate family. I think we all have to embrace and just really appreciate the little things we have. The simple things we have like walking outside and having good weather. At least for me, I have such a deeper appreciation for just the small things in life and not the hustle bustle of life.
Marie Swift: Indeed! I thank you for your time and hope that we will be able to spend some time together in the fall. If not, it will be virtual for a while until the dust clears on all this pandemic stuff. Onward.
If you were listening, just create your own economy. Take that, push forward, create your own economy and practice some of what Joe is sharing here. Take that free trial and dig in and see what you can take away. Even if you or Joe decides it's not the right fit for you to join the Magellan network. Again, thank you Joe and happy weekend to you. We will see you around.
Joe Lukacs: Same to you Marie and Happy Mother's Day to you also.
Marie Swift: Thank you!