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Revolutionizing Advisor-Client Interactions Through AI With Tom Rieman

Updated: May 21

Tom Rieman

Tom Rieman is the CEO and Founding Partner of Practice Intel, a cutting-edge platform designed to enhance advisor-client relationships through AI-driven simulations, research deployment, and strategic data analysis. With over 25 years of expertise in wealth management, he offers a deep understanding of the asset management distribution and broker-dealer ecosystem. Before Practice Intel, Tom worked at JD Power, conducting industry-level research on advisor-client relationships. He is passionate about improving the quality of financial advice and firmly believes in the profound impact it can have on clients' lives.

Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn:

  • [1:48] Learn what Practice Intel is and how it's revolutionizing financial advising

  • [3:25] Explore the seven key attributes that define quality financial advice

  • [6:29] Find out why niches in financial advising may not be as crucial as delivering core value

  • [11:05] Learn about the SaaS platform that provides an irrefutable moment of truth for advisors

  • [13:55] Discover why artificial intelligence may not completely replace human advisors

  • [15:03] Unpack the specific role of NPS scores in evaluating financial advisory services

  • [17:32] Get a sneak peek into Practice Intel's AI prospecting simulator and its benefits

  • [20:13] See how innovative questions can transform sales interactions

  • [26:23] Learn why expressing vulnerabilities is essential in establishing client trust

In this episode…

Have you ever wondered how some financial advisors stand out from the crowded wealth management market? What makes their services so valuable that clients stay satisfied and become enthusiastic advocates for them? Could there be a secret ingredient to creating such high-value relationships?

Tom Rieman, a relentless advocate for great financial advice, delves into a fascinating conversation about the intersection of AI technology, sales narratives, and establishing trust in the advisor-client relationship. He brings a fresh perspective on using AI to simulate sales scenarios, allowing advisors to hone their narratives and pitch methods without the risks associated with practicing on real clients. He emphasizes the importance of creating a compelling narrative and leveraging vulnerability to build rapport and trust with potential clients.

In this episode of The Customer Wins, Richard Walker interviews Tom Rieman, CEO and Founding Partner of Practice Intel, about creating value-driven financial advisory relationships. Tom shares the transformative potential of blending deep industry insight with cutting-edge technology, how client experience research can be brought to the practical level, and equipping advisors with data and tools to meet evolving investor expectations head-on.

Resources Mentioned in this episode

Quotable Moments:

  • "We believe, in many ways, that financial advice can be considered the fourth great profession."

  • "The goal of advice is to help people make good decisions."

  • "AI just does not have the ability to read between the lines very effectively."

  • "To trust you, you have to do something trustworthy."

  • "Vulnerability is not just a leadership trait but a profound way to connect with clients."

  • "The best pitch is when they ask you for a meeting."

Action Steps:

  1. Embrace a data-driven approach to understanding your clients' perceptions of your service. It helps advisors to measure and improve on key attributes identified by clients, addressing their authentic needs.

  2. Focus on delivering on core advice attributes before finding niches. Mastery of core attributes ensures you provide high value irrespective of client demographics or preferences.

  3. Utilize client feedback surveys regularly to assess the quality of your advice. Feedback helps to maintain alignment with client expectations and improves advisor-client relationships.

  4. Engage in advisor development opportunities to refine the advice process. Continuous learning ensures advisors can navigate the evolving landscape of financial advising effectively.

  5. Explore AI tools judiciously to complement human advising. While AI cannot replace the nuanced understanding of a human advisor, it can aid in identifying growth opportunities by simulating client interactions.

  6. Foster an environment of vulnerability and trust with clients by sharing your limitations, encouraging them to share theirs. Continuously seek out strategic insights from client feedback to iteratively improve your service and deepen client relationships.

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Episode Transcript:

Intro 0:02 

Welcome to The Customer Wins podcast where business leaders discuss their secrets and techniques for helping their customers succeed and in turn grow their business.


Richard Walker 0:16 

Hi, I'm Rich Walker, the host of The Customer Wins where I talk to business leaders about how they help their customers win and how their focus on customer experience leads to growth. Some of our past guests have included DocuSign, FutureVault, The Mendell Family Office and GovernGPT. Today I'm speaking with Tom Rieman, CEO and founding partner of Practice Intel. And today's episode is brought to you by Quik! the leader in enterprise forms processing. When your business relies upon processing forms, don't waste your team's valuable time manually reviewing the forms. Instead, get quick using our Form Xtract API simply submit your completed forms and get that clean, context-rich data that is 99.9% accurate, visit to get started.


I'm really excited to introduce Tom Rieman, who is the founding partner and Chief Executive Officer of Practice Intel, a pioneering growth platform that focuses on aligning financial advisors with the authentic needs of their clients. Practice Intel provides insights and tools to help advisors improve advice quality and increased valuations. Its platform offers advisor development resources, embedded growth, valuations, research capabilities and AI-driven insights. With a career spanning over 25 years in wealth management, Tom brings significant expertise to the table, ranging from Asset Management distribution to a deep understanding of the broker-dealer ecosystem. he can speak to evolving investor expectations and how advisors can measure and achieve the ideal advice experience to drive organic growth. Tom, welcome to The Customer Wins.


Tom Rieman 1:48 

Hey, Rich, thanks so much for having me. And whenever I hear my bio being read, I always find it interesting, I think I need to edit it. But thank you so much.


Richard Walker 1:57 

I know that feeling, I still know that feeling. So for those of you who haven't heard this podcast before, I talked with business leaders about what they're doing to help their customers win, how they build and deliver a great customer experience. And the challenge is to grow in their own company. Tom, we want to understand your business a little bit better. How does your company help people?


Tom Rieman 2:16 

Now Rich, great question. And so Practice Intel is a data-driven platform to scale organic growth. And we do so by helping advisors replicate the highest-value relationships. Now, if we think about that across really the entire value chain of our industry, the entire purpose of what we're doing is to help advisors be better advisors deliver a better advice experience as is defined and measured through research from JD Power, which is where I was prior to Practice Intel. And of course, that the better the advice, the higher the value the experience, the greater the impact on the client, right? We believe, in many ways that financial advice can be considered the fourth great profession, right, when delivered really well has a profound impact on a client's life.


Now, we do believe it's a pretty significant cap, which is why we exist. But a great impact on the advising of course, is we go all the way upstream for the broker-dealer, the RIA real impact for them as well. So we are fundamentally about helping people be better, better experience for the client, better deliver advice by that by the advisor, and of course better outcomes from that, and better results for the broker-dealer as well.


Richard Walker 3:25 

I love that. And I thought I saw JD Powers award behind you on the shelf there. Correct. So let's talk about this in more depth we talked about better, is it knowledge? Is it looking at portfolio and coming up with better allocations? What does that actually mean to be able to deliver better advice and better value to your customer?


Tom Rieman 3:45 

Yeah, so that that arguably is was the million dollar question. As I navigated over the last 2025 years of my career, I was struck pretty early in my career with this idea that we were fairly commoditized as a profession, and that there always seem to be this small subset of advisors that did really well and everybody else not so much.


Richard Walker 4:06 

Yeah, I seen that.


Tom Rieman 4:07 

Right. Yeah, right. In fact, my favorite questions is to anybody in the business is like, out of all the advisors he's ever met, how many would you work with? Right? And I think I'm not going to make you answer that Rich, because I know we have advisors listening. And believe me advisors, there a lot of hard-working well-intentioned advisors, but the reality is the perception of the advice profession is not the best. So navigating through my career in a multitude of roles, what really happened is when I landed at JD Power, when I was asked to lead the wealth solutions practice, I was able to model through all the JD Power consumer data, what made for the best advice, and there were seven key, what I like to call advice attributes, but seven attributes that when the client says yes, my advisor is delivering on these seven things.


They would advocate at very high levels NPS in the high 80s to low 90s, which is you and I know, I mean off the charts. And so what we want to do is take that industry-level research was really telling made a lot of sense to the C suite we talked to, but you couldn't say, well, how's Rich doing? What a Rich client saying about him? So our platform brings that institutional consumer resource and the ability to measure what we call the strategic drivers of organic growth, the strategic drivers of the highest value relationships all the way down to the practice level.


Richard Walker 5:30 

Okay, so you've said this a couple times the highest value relationship, does that mean the high net worth client type? Or is it just mean, you're delivering the most value in the relationship? Or something else?


Tom Rieman 5:40 

No, great question. And so much, and I love the title of your podcast and the very direction. So think about our industry, so many of our metrics in our industry, our advisor metrics about the client, industry metrics about the client, well, we create our client metrics about the advisor. So when I say highest value, whenever I say metric thing, it's the client thinking about the advisor. So we're replicating from the clients perspective, what they deemed to be the highest value experience they can have with an advisor. Okay, now that could span of course, higher net worth, right? But it's really about how do we get that customer or that client to go, oh, my goodness, how do we help them realize the full potential financial advice and get that profound impact? And of course, all the wonderful things that follow?


Richard Walker 6:29 

Yeah. Okay. So you're really turning on its head, you're saying? How does the customer value you advisor? And what is it they're looking for? And therefore, what's driving their decision to work with an advisor? And if you can model that, if you can become that advisor, you will attract more business? Am I getting the right?


Tom Rieman 6:47 

You are. Yeah, and it's interesting. So there's some complexity here. Because when we think about what a client is looking for, that brings up the idea of what are client expectations, and we can argue that client expectations are not necessarily the highest level, because we see a lot of advisors. In fact, we see the majority of advisors are clients saying they're relatively satisfied with their advisor. But that when you look at where they then speak to advocacy, advocacy or NPS is in the high 40s to around 50. So they may be satisfied but not satisfied with a really high value experience.


So little nuance. So yes, we're basically saying, hey, when you deliver the seven attributes, and by the way, those seven attributes, it's not a latte. It's not taking me play golf, or concert. Not bad things, right? Or it's not a client event. But instead they are, is the advice comprehensive? And does the client perceive? Yes, my advisors delivering comprehensive advice. Does the advisor have my best interest in mind? Does the advisor understand my values, goals and aspirations? Do I understand what I'm paying? Right? These are basic core advice attributes. And when the client says, yes, my advisor is delivering on all those net promoter scores off the charts. So we want to replicate that.


Richard Walker 7:59 

And obviously can be different by types of clientele. I'm an entrepreneur, I probably care more about tax in the wealth management strategy than I do about my 401k. Right. And high net worth had different objectives than people who are just starting, but it's still the same thing. Like, am I actually understanding what my advisor is telling me? Oh, man ask my wife that question. Does she understand what the service is about? And I think the other one you said about transparency of what am I spending my money on for it? I think those are huge values.


Tom Rieman 8:29 

They are. And Rich when we think about that idea of comprehensive advice. And I had conversations when I was still a JD Power, where I actually had, I can't remember the firm, it's probably a good thing, because I shouldn't say it out loud anyway, where they literally blamed the client for not understanding what comprehensive advice meant, which is what led to the slow percentage of clients that said they are receiving it. Now, our definition is simply if you as a client perceive it as comprehensive, it's going to be something if you're 25, something else if you're 50, something else if you're a business owner, it's fundamentally the perception of the client. Am I getting comprehensive advice? So that's the beauty of this. It's all from the client perspective,


Richard Walker 9:07 

Doesn't that also reinforce the need for an advisor to have a niche to be focused on a certain type of clientele that they know how to serve best?


Tom Rieman 9:15 

Yes. So you know what, that's interesting. I don't necessarily agree with that. And let me give you a little analogy. So we often will say that personalization, or even hyper-personalization is the real key to successful advisory practice. And I argue that what's even more important is delivering really well and what's common versus delivering on what's different. So you're ready for a food analogy. So imagine we've got 30 people in the room and we're going to make hamburgers for everybody. Right? So I'm going to ask everybody well, how do you want your burger? You want lettuce, tomato, pickle, ketchup, mustard, toasted bun, not toasted bun, whatever, right? All those different things. And everybody gets their right order, and it's all different.


Everybody has their nuanced difference on how they want their ham. And then we pick up a box of frozen hamburgers, cook them and serve them that burger doesn't really matter what the level of customization was if the underlying core deliverable was like really subpar, right? So, what we're saying is if you can deliver on that core value prop, that's the most important thing, not saying niche is not saying particular market segments are not appropriate. But the focus because usually the focus is find your niche. No, the focus is first deliver on this fundamental advice proposition that's been defined. And when you deliver on it, great things happen. And by the way, it translates across multitudes of clients. Right, so maybe niches become a little less important. Not at all. So not say they're not important at all?


Richard Walker 10:48 

Well, a niche may be something that you're just comfortable with, you have a certain type of audience, like you used to be a doctor, you became a financial planner, you love working with doctors, great. There's not a problem with that. So I want to get down to some of the bare bolts here. How does somebody actually use your product or your service?


Tom Rieman 11:05 

Sure, yeah. So it's a SaaS software as a service platform, you come to the platform. And the first thing you do, so we talked about this research all at the institutional level, we want to know, we want to allow the advisor know with certainty what their clients think around those key advice attributes. And that's one of the metrics we bring to bear as well. So the advisor is actually able to deploy research at the practice level. So they come in, they upload their client base, where they're currently we're integrated with wealth box and red tail, or you can use a CSV, right to get really technical, to bring the clients up really benign PII first name, last name and email. So, pretty much from that standpoint, they can customize the framing of the survey, the survey questions are set, there's 14 questions. None of them relate to the seven attributes, then there are seven, I didn't mention them all.


And the other five relate to something we call the Relationship Quality Index, which I'm going to come back to in a moment because it's really important. They can customize the survey in terms of logo and color to match their theming they edit and personalize the actual email body, right, and then they click Send, email goes out, lands in the clients inbox, surveys filled out, comes back to the portal to populate a very dynamic dashboard around a multitude of the metrics, the data comes back with anonymity, really, really important, not only for the client, because you're more likely to be honest, if you don't know, if you're anonymous, but the other thing is we're asking compliance. How do I say this? We're asking questions that could create a compliance red flag, right? So if I asked you, hey, Rich, do I have your best interest in mind in writing and you go?


No, not with certainty. Bam, that is a that's a reportable event. So we bring them back and like little packet, so you can't tell exactly what any one client said. You review, look at the dashboard, see where you are? Like, okay, wow, my goodness, guess what, irrefutable moment of truth. Yeah, so Rich, you're in good shape. I'm in great shape. Have you stepped on the scale lately? No, right. No offense, I don't know you, right. I can't see you, but from the neck down. But my point is, so data creates this irrefutable moment of truth. You can't say, advisors might think I do a great job on these attributes on delivering advice, attributes, but in our responses, you're probably right. But how do you know for sure, and then that leads to our advisor development content, which is focused specifically on the advice process, not the sales process, so focused on helping advisors execute on those seven attributes unique content for our industry, high production quality, credibly rich, and then there's an AI prospecting simulator baked in as well.


Richard Walker 13:45 

Man, that is actually very comprehensive, because so in a way, you're, you're like a very robust NPS score. In fact, I should just ask you guys do NPS score for the advisors too?


Tom Rieman 13:55 

So we incorporated NPS score. And mentioned Relationship Quality Index. So one, we believe there's some real flaws in satisfaction and retention as a primary metric. And our industry uses those a lot to say, hey, look, we're healthy, we're good, they're satisfied. They're not leaving. But there's some significant flaws in those one, satisfaction is a function of expectations, right? So if expectations rise satisfaction, can evaporate very, very quickly. And secondly, retention along with satisfaction don't correlate, as I mentioned before, with NPS, so it's hard to look at those as ideal metrics.


So our relationship quality index measures the quality and value of the experience being delivered, it measures the amount of embedded growth or conversely, the amount of embedded intuition risk in a practice. And it's made up of Net Promoter Score, loyalty, trust value for fees and overall experience all rolled into an algorithm and pops out with a single number correlated to those seven attributes, right? If you have a low arc UI, you'll most likely have low. You'll have low scores on the app. attribute so you know what you need to work on to get that number up?


Richard Walker 15:03 

Yeah. So just real quick for anybody listening who doesn't know NPS Net Promoter Score? It's that question you get in the email a scale of one to 10, how likely are you to refer me to such and such company or to your friends, etc. And only a nine and a 10? Count positively, I think seven and eight are neutral. And anything below a six and below is detracting from your score. So it's actually quite hard to get a high score, I mean, 40, 50, maybe average, a 60, or 70, those are outstanding scores in most industries.


Tom Rieman 15:33 

And what are we seeing with advisors that clients say their advisors delivering on all seven attributes? 90?


Richard Walker 15:40 

Yeah, I mean, that's unreal, right?


Tom Rieman 15:43 

So don't we want more of that?


Richard Walker 15:45 

Yeah, yeah, exactly. But the other thing I love about what you're saying and your services, you're not just saying, hey, here's your score, good luck, you're showing the methodology, or the how they can improve that score. Because if you go do an NPS score with some service, they're not telling you what to change. There's like, hey, do you get the score, go figure it out, you guys are actually focused on how the advisor can improve on those seven attributes to improve that relationship quality, which I think is outstanding. You said you guys also have an AI. So what is this? Let's talk about that.


Tom Rieman 16:15 

Yeah. So I mean, listening, we could spend 45 minutes just talking about AI, right? Yeah, no, no, maybe another one, right. But So first, I'll just make this fundamental content. I don't believe based on my academic background, in my own experience, that AI will ever replace human advice. And that's because from a science perspective, you cannot extract humanity from advice, because of the nature of how we know if you look at the science of epistemology, which is the science of knowledge, how we know how we convey what we know, how we learn, all that it's just literally is in the key is context. Everything is context. And AI just does not have the ability to read between the lines very effectively. So now, all that said, okay, I geeked, out in nerded, out on you for a moment there.


So, Practice Intel's AI-powered simulator. So we go in, click on it, and you're able to go in and it'll say, what's your name? And you'll say, Rich. Rich, who do you want to meet with? What's the persona? Or do you want to hit random? And you go random, and up pops a scenario? And it says, hey, Tom, is in a chamber event. And he's talking with a few people and mentioning, how he really loves the work, but has trouble balancing work and life, you know, blah, blah, blah? What do you say?


Richard Walker 17:32 

Hey, I got something tell you. Oh, sorry.


Tom Rieman 17:34 

Yeah, no, right. And so your job, the entire job, the task is to try to get a meeting with that person. Right. And believe me, it is not if I play it both ways, like I obviously, based on my background, and our ability to execute on the advice process, which by the way, the crux of the advice, press process versus the selling process, the goal of selling is to get someone to act on your recommendation, the fundamental process is one of discover and prescribe. If you think about the vast majority of advisors, no matter how eloquent and sophisticated they are, they are executing a discover, and prescribed methodology. Advice on the other hand, the advice process, the goal of advice is to help people make good decisions.


And that good is kind of a really loaded word, the good is aligned with the values, goals and aspirations. And the process is to equip and enable them to make the good decisions. So they're two very different and the dialogue that would lead up to that, it would be very, very different. And I love to draw from one of our really great behavioral psychologist, in our industry, and he talks about how the purpose of wealth, the real meaning of purpose of wealth is to translate into a life of meaning and contentment. Right. So if you're having dialogue around that versus sell, we can save you money on taxes, or do you have an advisor changes the narrative and dynamic completely?


Richard Walker 18:59 

Yeah. So this AI, if it brings up a situation, does it assume you know the person or don't know the person?


Tom Rieman 19:05 

No, it's prospecting. This current version is prospecting. And what's interesting, let's just add a little meat. For those understand AI. The goal is to practice like work on your narrative, like try this, do different ways of framing your drawing from the curriculum from the content that we have, we have 18 modules right now. So you can use the language and the approach and think about how you might do it, how you might spin it because you want to practice and you don't want to practice on real people. But AI you may be aware in your audience may be aware, one way of deploying AI is to train the model, where you're basically saying it answers and then you tell whether it's right or wrong and you train and train and train and train that by the way that is very long.


It's a very long and expensive process. So our model is simply using chatGPT, right, whichever three letters it is, and it instead it uses prompt engineering we all know prompt engineering the way, but it's something like 7000 words of prompt engineering that can go into the right. I mean, I have a wonderful partner that I work with on this. That's just a brilliant. So, again...


Richard Walker 20:13 

I love this idea. I know many times we in sales, you come up with an elevator pitch, and you're trying to hone it down to a minute and make it impactful, et cetera. Or I'll tell you a funny story. I wish I could have practice it until this point happened. When you go out and network and you meet people, you're at a luncheon, whatever it is, and you're meeting random people, how do you break the ice? And what most people do? Hey, Tom, what do you do for a living? Oh, you're an accountant. Great. What do I say to that? Right?


I tried to create more dynamic questions that at one point, so forgive me, I was younger, I would just randomly say to somebody, so Tom, how many people have you killed today? And that would get a laugh, right? And it would be like, oh, blah, blah, blah. Until the guy I sat next to and said that to said, How'd you know I was a cop.


Tom Rieman 20:59 

So Rich, I've got a great, may I. So here's a really good question. I've stopped many years ago asking what do you do? Yeah, because it's perfunctory. And I, I say to rich, how do you spend your days? It's a great question. I mean, because it's not like, maybe you tell me how you work, maybe telling me you like mountain climbing or whatever. But it's different.


Richard Walker 21:20 

Yeah. So the question that I love to ask is, what are you passionate about? Or what's one of the things that drives you? Right? What's amazing is about 50% of the people will talk about their work and their business. And half, we'll talk about something totally different kids, their baseball game, whatever. But it does create a more dynamic interaction with people versus oh, yeah, I'm just I'm a cop. I'm just an accountant or whatever. But I love this idea of using AI to practice that. I mean, how valuable is that, you can feel all that fear, etc without showing it to the world? Just try it out.


Tom Rieman 21:52 

Indeed, and Rich, there's no one else that has this? I bet. Right? This is the only one so Practice Intel, not only phenomenal research to understand what your clients think about the most important drivers of advocacy and organic growth in the highest value relationships, really interesting, unique, Rich, advisor development content to hone in your advice skills, not necessarily your sales skills, and then the ability to practice it through an AI-powered simulator. I mean, how about that for an elevator pitch?


Richard Walker 22:23 

I love it. No, I love it. So that you said this AI is driven on the prospecting side, which is how do you build rapport? How do you get trust? How do you get to a point where you could actually talk about the advice that somebody may need? Which there's a lot to that, I mean, understanding somebody's needs and their situation? Are you also looking at building an AI purely for the advice-giving and how it lands and interacts?


Tom Rieman 22:45 

So sure, I mean, we'd be foolish to say we weren't, I mean, so you know, the old phrase, like we're in the first inning, or whatever. So I often say, with AI, where the pitcher is still in the parking lot walking to the clubhouse, and one of my partner said, no, no, the pitcher still in the seventh grade. I mean, that's where we are with AI. So this is where context comes in. How many different situations and nuances arise and giving advice? There's a lot, right, there's so many. So we want to focus first on helping people hone their ability to create a narrative that's compelling. I said that way, on purpose. It's not about holding their value prop.


We all have a narrative. What is your narrative? What are you about? What do you talk about? Now, clearly, your value proposition is embedded in that and it drives that but we want to help people create a really compelling narrative that draws people in think of the word compelling, like we want people to lean in and go, that's kind of cool. Tell me more. My best iteration when I use the simulator, you can either get someone to say, oh, that sounds interesting. Send me some info, and we'll find some time later. Or you go, I want to meet and they go, Sure, let's schedule time. But the best one is when they ask you for a meeting, that's how I like to work it. Like wait for them to ask me. Yeah. So anyway.


Richard Walker 24:13 

I'm a big fan of Chris Voss, his book Never Split the Difference. Are you familiar with that book?


Tom Rieman 24:19 

I'm not, no.


Richard Walker 24:20 

So he was an FBI negotiator like the lead world negotiator. And so he brought all these principles of negotiation into this amazing book. I've listened to it probably eight times now. I love the book. But one of the things he talks about in the negotiation is you want to get the other person to say to you, you're right. Sorry, that's right. Like they've come to the conclusion like, Okay, I see it now. And so it's kind of the same thing. You want the client to say, I want to meet with you. That's right. This is the right solution for me.


Tom Rieman 24:49 

So Rich, can we count on that for a second because it comes back to our industry. So I grew up live cut my teeth. I'm gonna use air quotes here as an advisor for the equitable back in the 90s, of course, I wasn't an advisor, I was a variable universal life salesperson, by the way, the equitable has shifted has gone a completely 180 degrees. The work, David Carr has done with Equitable Advisors and truly transforming them into a comprehensive holistic wealth management platform is amazing. In fact, I just saw him last week at a conference and it's night and day, I'm so proud of what they're doing. But this idea of being compelling, I mean, when we deliver advice really well, when advice is delivered to its full promise. It's amazing.

Yet the vast majority of people if I say I'm an advisor will go oh, yeah, I'm sorry, real busy got to go. And that's just a shame. And we need to shift that narrative, and we need to shift it hard. And that's one of the reasons why the way why we created practice in Holland did it now. Because we got to do it. I mean, this idea, we know that we need, we know that more comprehensive, holistic, client-centric advice is better. We know that for us, it's more profitable, but we just can't seem to get over the hump. Like the numbers aren't moving, the numbers, the 10% that I shared about JD Power, those have been exactly the same since 2001. They didn't move an inch in the three years out the three studies I was there. Yeah. And it's just it's a crime almost,


Richard Walker 26:23 

I agree with you. And I think a lot of it may come back to the sense of I don't want to be sold to. As an advisor, you're selling to me, are you helping me? And how do I know you're the right person to help me? Do I need your help? And this is something I thought of in my own career as an advisor was I want to work with people who think they can do it all themselves and help them realize they can't. Yeah, because they're smart, they're successful. So I can manage my own money, really? Like my mentor said it this way. Do you drill your own teeth? No, you go to a dentist. Why would you do that to yourself?


Tom Rieman 26:56 

Well, you know, Rich, even the advisor. So we think about there's so many really important dynamics that we can pull strings on. But this idea that when we express fallibilities, and limitations about us, that helps people reveal limitations about themselves. So as advisors, like we recognize, like, you need really good strategic partners to execute on the entire value proposition of really good financial advice. And if you're with a client or prospect saying, listen, I do this, but we got a bunch of strategic partners, because we need all that expertise to do this really well. So even we bring in partners, so the fact that you're trying to do it yourself, I mean, really. So there's some really key dynamics there.


Richard Walker 27:41 

Well, there's also something else in the word relationship, we have to be able to relate to each other, which means you have to have be vulnerable enough to show the other person who you are. And you have to get to that point where you get to see that other person. So you say, you know, what you are somebody I can identify with, and I want to work with. So it's not a sales process. It's a relationship-building process.


Tom Rieman 28:00 

It is and I love that phrase. So we talked about vulnerability a lot. And so I posted something recently on LinkedIn, and I did a little advisor-client dialogue. And it's like, advisor says, do you trust me? And the client says, well, to trust you, or you got to do something trustworthy, right? And then the question is, well, how do I do something trustworthy? Can I get your trust without doing something trustworthy. And the reality is, you can engender trust by trusting someone else with your own vulnerabilities. And the more we do that upfront, and think about where you grew up, in an age where it was the assumptive close, and everything was great, and everything was perfect, that it needs to get flipped on its head, say, listen, I am rich, I have no idea how or if we're gonna be able to help you, right?


We got a great team, we got to bring in a bunch of external partners to help us execute on this really cool process. Right? It's very in-depth that, there's usually we had this happens, but that's kind of how we're playing out the only way we can know how or if we might be able to help us to start talking about you and kind of uncover some of those things that are important, your values, goals and aspirations. Right, that dialogue is gonna go a lot further than so have an advisor.


Richard Walker 29:07 

Yeah, do you have an advisor who's helped you through the whole process of wealth building, and tax planning and retirement? I mean, it is about the process. And if there is no process, how can you create the trust?


Tom Rieman 29:18 

Indeed. And into that end, we think about process, there's the financial planning process, but there's also the process of advice itself, which means the process starts with framing the engagement, which by the way, comes from process consulting, where you got to frame who's responsible for what, what's the goal, and then as you move forward, there's this constant process of discovery and inquiry both ways. Yeah. Right. And as you move forward, and you never know exactly where you're going, and you just know you're going and together and you explore and you understand and you have new highs and new insights. And you just keep moving forward until you reach the kind of the peak. Think of a Sherpa. Sherpa helps the climber to the peak but the climber does all the work to get there. That's a good analogy. So anyway.


Richard Walker 30:01 

All right, I have one other question about your AI. Is it free to the public? Is that a subscription? Is there a trial? I'm just curious how somebody is going to start trying it.


Tom Rieman 30:09 

So okay, so it is part of our platform, which is subscription-based. We're just launching a free version of our platform which does allow advisors to deploy research to a limited number of clients and then see a limited amount of the data that comes back. So they're able to see where they fall on that advice, experience dispersion, like how many of their clients think their ideal versus average versus poor, they don't get access to the strategic drivers are QI development content, or the AI. Now Rich, I don't know, maybe you and I talk afterwards, I'll give you like a coupon for a few free passes, if you'd like.


Richard Walker 30:48 

I was just insanely curious, because I think it's a cool thing. Pfizer anymore. So I don't really need that kind of practice. But it'd be so cool to see it. So my other question was, have you ever had a customer go through this process, get bad scores and get angry at you?


Tom Rieman 31:02 

So no. And also full disclosure, we're still an emerging Well, tech. So actually, our one-year anniversary is May 1, since concept. Congrats. Thank you. I mean, we're really proud of the work and the progress and the direction. We're knee-deep in some very large enterprise conversations. And so we're really proud of the work the team has done to get us to where we are. But with that said, we absolutely have advisors that one, have no interest in knowing what their clients have to say. And I usually say the reason they don't want to know is because they already know. Now, the flip side of that are some of our early adopters. And we find that really good advisors are tend to gravitate toward this, which is not surprising. They're really good, and they want to stay really good.

One of my early adopters, he Grille hierarchy, why, like in the 90s, like just through the roof, but his value, do I understand the fees I'm paying was in the 70s. He didn't get mad. Instead, he immediately added another bullet point to every single agenda. I said, let's talk about fees. He was like immediately was able to take that strategic insight, turn it into strategic action to improve on that critical attribute, which let's face it Rich, I mean, that's like the promised land. And that's what we're about is how do you, we talk about next best action in our industry. And it's usually like, talk about annuities or talk about it, talk about something right? No offense to the NBA is right, they're good. But our next best actions are very strategic. Like what do you strategically do to, again, highest value client relationships?


Richard Walker 31:07 

Yeah, we do this type of thinking and product design, are constantly asking, like, customers ask for all sorts of things. But what is actually going to move the needle? What's going to change their lives? What's going to create better adoption, better user experience, that kind of stuff? So what it sounds like is that advisors are very good business person along with being an advisor, because he's saying, how do I improve the business of what we're doing? Oh, man, this is so awesome. I really enjoyed talking to you. We're gonna have to wrap this up soon. And I have another question. But before we get there, what's the best way for people to find and connect with you?


Tom Rieman 33:12 

Yeah. So listen, they can email me directly, They can find me on LinkedIn. I'm very, very active on LinkedIn. Then go to our website, which is And I'm going to be at edge and Wealth Management Edge in, when will this be out?


Richard Walker 33:41 

Don't put dates on it, because then it might be asked date, but you're gonna be at conferences. Some people find you at various ones, I'm sure.


Tom Rieman 33:47 

Yes. There you go. Very good. Yes.


Richard Walker 33:49 

So look for Tom Rieman. Now, this is great. So here's my last question. You're an entrepreneur, right? You've had a lot of different experiences. This is something drew me to this, who has had the biggest impact on your leadership style and how you approach your role?


Tom Rieman 34:02 

So that's a big question. Right? So I just wasn't thinking about this before. So faith is a really important part of my life. And I think the biblical examples, whether it's Jesus Christ or others are just such great examples of humility and service. I'd be remiss if I didn't say that, because that is so framing. Rich, you've been a founder, a startup founder, it requires such a level of intensity and faith to see it through. I mean, in fact, I often argue that if you actually knew what it was like, you'd never do it. Yeah. Right. So that's one, the other one would be my Chief of Staff, my co-founder, and my wife, Kathy Cottrell, who's a brilliant, brilliant person. She has a PhD in org psych, incredible mind, work ethic, and is the most other focused person that I've ever met in my life, the most service-oriented person I've ever met in my life. So those would be a couple of my thoughts.


Richard Walker 35:04 

I think that's awesome. So first of all, congratulations that you and your wife worked so well together, you can start a company. That's huge. That is so hard. And second, I love how you framed it. I mean, I do, the reason I start the podcasts with how do you help people is because I think fundamentally humans depend on each other. Like, did you squeeze your own orange juice this morning? Probably not. So, therefore our fulfillment life comes from how we serve. It's how do we help others so I really, really appreciate that. Thank you. Man.


I love this conversation, Tom. So I have to say a big thank you to Tom Raymond, CEO and founding partner of Practice Intel for being on this episode of the customer wins. Go check out Tom's website at And don't forget to check out Quik! at where we make processing forms easy I hope you enjoyed this discussion will click like button share this with someone and subscribe to our channels for the future episodes of The Customer Wins. Tom thank you so much for joining me today.


Tom Rieman 36:05 

Hey Rich, I really enjoy the conversation. It takes a village to advance the advice profession and I feel in your in that village. So thank you for the time appreciate it.

Outro 36:15 

Thanks for listening to The Customer Wins podcast. We'll see you again next time and be sure to click subscribe to get future episodes.


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