In this podcast Seth Streeter joins Becoming Referable in a discussion on current research, evidence-based strategies and insights from experts from within financial services and beyond. Read more or listen below.
In June, Seth Streeter joined referral and client engagement experts Stephen Wershing and Julie Littlechild from Becoming Referable, in a discussion on current research, evidence-based strategies and insights from experts from within financial services and beyond. Their conversation includes an overview of Mission Wealth’s Inspired Living™ platform, powerful examples on how you can evolve your discovery conservations to deepen relationships, and the small steps you can take toward a differentiated offer.
Listen to the full conversation online or read the transcript below.
Welcome to Becoming Referable, the podcast that helps you become the kind of advisor people can’t help talking about. I’m Julie Littlechild, and today Steve and I have the privilege of speaking with Seth Streeter. Seth is the founder and Chief Impact Officer, which you’ll have to agree is a very cool title, at Mission Wealth.
Now, when I heard Seth talk about his business and the experience that he and his team have created, I just knew I had to get him on the podcast. Seth has redefined, in some sense, the scope of the offer that advisors can provide and they do that through their Inspired Living platform. They provide and curate extraordinary content and experiences for their clients and Seth believes that this is the future of client experience.
This conversation will give you a glimpse into what’s possible when you have a clear idea of your target client, a strong vision and the will to pull it all off. And while their experience is legitimately impressive, it’s important to remember that they didn’t start there. That’s the message that I think is so important for all of us. We just need to take the first step toward a bigger vision and watch what happens. And with that, let’s jump straight to our conversation with Seth.
Seth, welcome to the Becoming Referable Podcast, so pleased to have you here.
Yeah. Welcome, Seth.
Thank you so much, excited to be joining you.
Oh, yes. We were on a panel together some time ago and I was listening to you talk about your business, and the entire time I was thinking, “I’ve got to get you on the podcast because I want to learn more about this.”
Maybe before we just jump into some of those intriguing things that you’re doing, can you just give us a quick overview of the business?
Sure. Mission Wealth was founded 21 years ago, in the year 2000, by Brad Stark and myself. We really founded the firm based on four key pillars. Number one, we believed in independence and objectivity, this is before the fiduciary model was really commonplace as it is today. Two, we believed in comprehensive financial planning. Brad and I were two of the youngest CFPs in the state of California, and really believed in that approach. Three, we wanted to be proactive and make sure we had a meaningful service model that we proactively delivered to our clients. And four, we wanted to integrate with other professionals. Attorneys, accountants, bankers and so forth.
So today, we’re at four billion in assets, serving 1800 families. We have a national firm that’s really growing and we’re super excited about our culture. We’ve got an incredible team of over 60 professionals and we have a lot of fun working together.
Well, that’s half the battle right there.
I’d love to dig in on, you mentioned a meaningful service level. What I’ve found particularly intriguing, although there’s a couple of things you mentioned there I’d love to dig in on, was something that you’re calling the Inspired Living service, which just really jumped out at me as something so unique and so different. Can you talk us through what that is?
Sure. Let me start with the why, why we really developed this program.
The value stack has been spoken about a lot in our industry, and how at the bottom of the pyramid, the Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs pyramid, if you visualize it, is basic investment management, which we know can be delivered with a roboplatform for 20-30 basis points. Then, as you work up the pyramid, then you have more customized investments, maybe around socially responsible investing or concentrated stock. Okay, fewer people can do that but still, it can be done digitally. And then three, you get into planning. So now you talk about financial planning and adding value that way, which is a big tenet of Mission Wealth. But again, AI may be coming in, offering a lot of great planning tools.
So as you move to the top of the pyramid, which Maslow called the self-actualization, we believe in the financial services arena, that really gets to the coaching realm. The coaching realm is where you can add uniquely human services that will not be replaced by AI or a machine. Inspired Living was really our focus on delivering meaningful, value-add coaching elements that will integrate with the planning and the investment management piece.
Is this something that you offer to all clients, for your top clients? How does this actually get integrated into the work that you do?
Yeah. Some components of it are offered to all clients, and some components are offered to middle tier, and some components are only offered to the highest tier. Just like in a service model approach, we have unique elements designed for the appropriate audience.
Right. That makes sense.
And Seth, what kinds of things go into that coaching element at the top of that pyramid? What do you do there that distinguishes from the financial planning piece?
Yeah. Well, we have a number of programs which we can get into, and I can talk about the specific programs. But, I would just say overall, it’s about evolving the discovery conversation with clients from two dimensional to three dimensional. It’s going beyond, “Okay, let’s talk about your asset allocation, and your mortgage and what your home is worth,” to asking questions like, “Hey, do you feel a sense of place in your home? Do you feel in your career like you’re being valued and that your contributions are really leveraging your gifts in the way you want them to?”
It’s deeper listening, it’s deeper probing. What that does is it opens up a connection with clients that goes from your head to your heart. That’s where the meaning and the connection really broadens. So we’ve developed programs that are designed to take clients there, depending on where the client is. You have to meet the client where they are. You don’t just start a relationship, starting to talk about the broader life goals, you talk about their financial pain points. But when the timing is right, we do have tools and resources to go there.
It sounds like a really robust, deep conversation and I’m going to talk about some of the tools that you use to support that. But, one of the things that’s come up as I’ve been talking to advisors over the last little while about having deeper conversations is there’s almost, “Well, what do I do with the information? If I’m talking to my clients about these things and they tell me I don’t feel a sense of place in my home, where do I go from that?” How do you think about that?
Yeah. Well, our first and foremost job is to listen with clients, so just creating that safe space for them to share is really huge. The second step is to empathize, to really try to understand what the client’s going through and to feel what they’re feeling as they’ve just sold their company or just gone through a divorce. Or, they’ve just retired, they’ve just lost a spouse. Life transitions are where this coaching element really can shine.
The way that we integrate it is after you ask the questions, create the space, listen and provide empathy, then you need to have some way to provide a framework where they can reimagine their life, they can reimagine how they’re going to move forward. And then, the next component is you have to be able to give them agency in order to do it. You have to be able to support them, and provide an encouraging platform, and peer support and advisor support to really help them believe they can move forward in a positive way. And then finally, you need to integrate that into the financial plan, into the conversation.
So it’s not getting lost from the fact that we’re here to help them make financial choices, it’s just an additive element that then can be integrated back, to make the financial plan far more connected and meaningful to the client.
About Becoming Referable