Track 1: Brian Briggs

Apr 10, 2018

Brian BriggsI am sure there is a millennial joke here somewhere.  We invited a millennial (Brian) to take over what Missy Pohlig started – to be a voice for the next generation of planners and provide a millennial point of view for Practically Speaking readers.  Brian’s first post?  It’s about him; a perfect millennial stereotype!  Kidding aside, Brian’s story is a great example of a learning opportunity that all young planners need. 

If we don’t give our successors the opportunity to fail, they won’t learn. Too often, I hear the founders of planning firms talk about their younger planners who don’t know anything, yet want to run the company. But are we giving them the opportunity to really learn? 

Please read Brian’s post, get to know him as we welcome him to the Practically Speaking team.

Years ago, after being groomed to present SEI content, my manager (you guessed it, @SEIJohnA) sent me on the road to give a presentation to a group of advisors seeking to grow their book of business with us. I spent countless hours preparing my message, role playing with co-workers, and even forcing my then-girlfriend (who is now my lovely wife) to act as my audience while I practiced my delivery. This was my first time getting out there and spreading my wings, and I just knew that if I crushed this first presentation, my career would take off.

After getting to the event early enough to eat breakfast and drink plenty of water, the time came for me to give my portion of the presentation. I stood up and said hello to the audience and asked everyone to hold questions until the end – and off I went. The presentation was going exactly as I had rehearsed, I was hitting all my talking points, heads were nodding, notes were being taken…and then it happened, I got my first question. An audience member who was sitting in the back of the room asked me the most straight forward, yet most defining question of my career, “Ok, so tell me who you are again?”

In retrospect, this was an easy question, yet I was lost for words. There I was; young, ambitious, trying to take my career to the next level, and being exposed as still a little green. I forgot, or hadn’t yet learned, one of the most important factors of this business: it’s all about personal relationships. By simply introducing myself, I would have established value and credibility to the audience, but instead I led with content that was ultimately lost because no personal connection was made.

In case you’re curious, my first presentation didn’t go as planned, but it was a learning experience. Regardless of age, experience, credentials, designations, etc., if you don’t connect with your audience, you may leave your audience wondering, “Who is this guy?”

So, let’s start this new relationship off correctly. Who am I?

Brian and Missy

The mentor becomes the mentee

I know Missy Pohlig very well

Transitions are never easy, especially when you’re attempting to establish yourself with someone else’s audience, but my working relationship with Missy made this transition really fun and easy. Before Missy was a full-time employee here, she was a summer intern, and I coached her intern team. The following summer, when she became a full-time employee, we continued our mentee/mentor relationship, as well as working together on various projects. Missy spent some of her last days coaching me into this new opportunity. She even took the time to pose with me for a picture on her last day.

I’ve been in the industry for awhile

Fourteen years to be exact, and in that time I worked with financial advisors like you for 12 of those years. I genuinely enjoy working in this industry and fostering the relationships I’ve built over the years. I regularly represent SEI in a number of public speaking engagements throughout the country, so I’ve also seen the financial advisor landscape evolve. For example, years ago being a financial advisor was almost exclusively a face-to-face business. Now, an advisor doesn’t even have to be a person, e.g. Robo-advisors!

My goal here is to connect, and share with you the ideas and best practices of adopting the “Next Generation Advisor” concept.

I’m a 90’s kid all the way

To put that subhead in context: I LOVE the 90’s. Everything from the music (hip hop and alternative), to the entertainment (“The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air”), and even the technology (anyone remember “You’ve Got Mail”?) Aside from the culture, the 90’s also illustrated a time when social norms were in transition. There were countless instances when my mom would ask me, “How can you listen to that stuff?” What was amazing music to me was only loud noise to her. Although the differences in opinion may not be as dramatic today, professionals and parents are still faced with the headwind of connecting (or understanding) with the likes and dislikes of the next generation.

Going forward, I’ll discuss industry- related content in more detail, but as I learned during that first presentation – and from advisors over the years – it’s better to position who you are first, then position the solutions. If you have any suggestions on content (or would just like to talk about the 90’s), feel free to contact me via email or LinkedIn.

John Anderson

John Anderson

John Anderson is the creator and lead author of Practically Speaking blog and Managing Director of Practice Management Solutions for the SEI Advisor Network.

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