Welcome to the Eventual Millionaire Podcast. I?m Jaime Tardy and today we have Dr. Ronald Stair on the show. He runs Creative Plan Designs, Ltd., a pension consulting firm and he is a national speaker on topics like retirement plans and employee benefit programs. Thanks so much for coming on today, Dr.?Stair.
DR. RONALD STAIR: Well, thank you.
JAIME TARDY: So first, I want to talk about your background a little bit. How did you get into doing a consulting firm?
RS: Completely by accident. I actually was going to go to med school, I ran out of money and while I was going to graduate school, I had studied actuarial science and was working as an actuary and just stayed doing it. In 1974, when the laws changed dramatically, the individual that owned the company I worked for came to me and the other actuary and said. ?Would you two like to buy this place because I think it?s only going to get worse? and we were just sort of young and na?ve and said, ?Sure!?
JT: So what was it like then? I mean never owning your business and then having it given, well not given to you, but buying one?
RS: Quite frankly, we were young and stupid. I mean seriously. It was exactly what it was. We didn?t know. We figured we were smart and we would figure it out.
JT: Wow. So have you guys been in business since the ?70s?
RS: Actually, what happened is in 1979 I had a child who needed surgery and we bifurcated the business at that time. I took the clients that were in New York. He kept the clients that were in Connecticut and I moved to Long Island in 1979 and started over with a handful of clients.
JT: What was that like feeling like you have to start over after you already had been doing it for so many years?
JT: It?s so funny because usually we don?t hear the things that are scary for business owners. We hear of all the wonderful successes but gosh, starting again must have been horrifying. I mean trying to start up from nothing again with just a few clients. What did you guys do, or what did you do specifically to try and build up that business?
RS: Well I aligned myself with a couple of people that were it the insurance industry at that time because prior to 1986 most retirement plans were sold by the insurance industry. Unfortunately, they only understood the product side of the business, they didn?t understand the people side and the consulting component. So, in 1986, what happened was insurance no longer was a viable funding vehicle for retirement plans because of legislative changes.
Then it took them about five years more to figure that out. So, in 1991, we separated again but at this point I had a core of clients and I had a few employees that were talented so I literally put a sign up in the office that said, ?Here are the clients I am taking and here are the employees I look at as assets rather than overhead and here is where I am moving to.?
RS: It upset the other employees but too bad.
JT: How did you make that decision? I mean that?s a hard decision to pull away like that.
RS: You know, it?s quality of life. When you want to provide a good service to your clients and we?re dealing with very serious issues, we?re dealing with very complicated issues and, as a result of that, if people are standing in your way because they are looking just to get wealthy from what you?re doing as opposed to providing a real genuine service, it becomes problematic. It really becomes problematic.
JT: Yeah, it?s more about helping. I mean that?s what I?m getting from you is that it?s more about helping the people in the business than it is about making a quick buck.
RS: Well, you know, it becomes an annuity after awhile. You build your business slowly, you manage the control of the growth so you can still provide the level of service and the clients stay around. I?ve got clients that I?ve had literally since 1975.
JT: Wow. That?s crazy. So how many employees do you have now?
JT: Great. So are each one sort of consultants or what does the business structure look like?
RS: Well, there?s me, there?s another actuary here. There are ten administrators. Each one is credentialed because one of the focuses that we have, let me back up. We are a non-regulated industry surprisingly. So you could go out and buy a piece of software for $400 a month and hang out a shingle and say that you are a pension consultant.
JT: Good to know. Let?s hope nobody does that.
RS: So I compete with people like that. I compete with the major payroll companies whose focus should be doing payroll but instead they are now what we call asset gatherers. They want the assets in the retirement plan because that?s where they make their money. So they will say we?ll do your administration for free or for a low cost and they botch it up horribly but they make their money on the assets and the clients don?t understand it?s botched until they get an audit notice.
JT: Oh that?s good.
RS: Well, and again, so what happens is they got a bunch of people who are not trained doing a very technical component.
RS: Then we have people that we compete with who build Model Ts. They just have an assembly line of everybody gets stuff into their box and they administer those plans in accordance with the box they designed for you but it may not be the plan that?s best for you but they?re not giving you choices.
JT: That?s what I?ve realized. I mean when I used to work in corporate America you had, what, two or three choices to choose from and if you didn?t like those choices it was sort of a too bad kind of a thing.
RS: Correct. Then you?ve got firms like ours which is the top three to five percent of the firms that are real high level, high touch, well-trained consultants and everybody in my shop does three times the required continuing education every year and everybody that touches your plan is credentialed. So at the very least, my worst person is at least trained.
JT: Yeah. Wow. So do you guys go into medium size businesses or small businesses and just consult? So you don?t actually hold any of the assets or anything like that, you just consult and suggest plans to them?
RS: That is correct. So, for example, most of my referrals come to me from financial advisors and some of the clients? accountants and that?s where the bulk of our referrals come from because we?re not a threat to the financial advisor because we don?t want the money. And I don?t care where the money is so when people come to me and say well I got a plan that?s got X millions of dollars I don?t care. I want to know how many people are in the plan because we charge by the person.
JT: Wow, just because of all the paperwork and crazy stuff that you have to go through?
RS: Yes. Well the more people you have, the more things you have to check. If it?s a plan like a 401k plan, you got all those little individual accounts that really should be audited because mistakes are made. So the large institutional places just take whatever comes out of the computer and spits out and if it doesn?t balance well then it doesn?t balance.
JT: Yeah, that?s fun. So how do you feel about, I was just learning the other day about self-directed retirement plans. Do you guys stay completely away from those or do you tell people that that?s an option?
RS: Well they?re certainly an option and probably half our plans that we administer are self-directed.
JT: Oh, nice.
RS: But that self-direction leads to other levels of administration that are required. There?s an educational component to the employees. There?s a segmentation of accounts. So now instead of having one big account that has to be audited I might have 35 or 40 little accounts that have to be audited and then added together.
JT: So you sort of stay onboard with the small business or medium sized business for awhile and you audit accounts and do that sort of stuff too?
RS: Yeah, we just, you know, and every year there?s a tax return that needs to be filed on behalf of these retirement plans and we prepare, we do all the compliance for them.
JT: Wow, that?s a lot of paperwork I?m sure.
RS: It?s overwhelming. We actually have a form that was added two years ago that at the top of the form says it was added as part of the Paperwork Reduction Act which I thought was quite comical.
JT: Yeah, go us! Paperwork Reduction Act. Good idea!
RS: Which use more paper.
JT: Yeah, exactly! That?s horrible. Well I guess we can?t talk too much about that. There?s not much that we can do. So what are some of the obstacles and challenges and even failures that have happened? I mean you?ve been doing this for a very long time and there are people that listen to the show that have been doing it for a long time but also some that are just starting out. What are some of the obstacles that you?ve overcome in your journey?
RS: Well the obstacles are always, the first obstacle is do you remember the stupidity of our rules because if you understand how abusive tax legislation gets formed, you have somebody in Congress who has an idea who doesn?t understand tax, they don?t understand the math but the idea sounds good socially. This is where all tax deductions come in our society. They are all socially based tax deductions because the government feels that people should own a home. They feel that we should have health insurance. We should have a retirement plan. Certain people should get welfare payments.
These are all social programs, all those deductions. So when they come out with something they?ll promulgate this idea to the rest of the floor. They sort of say yes or no. In the middle of it, things get slipped in like a little bit something for the transportation industry, the real estate industry, because it?s just buried in the piles of tax stuff. Then it goes to either the Senate Finance Committee or the House Ways and Means Committee who hammer it a little bit more and then it goes to the Tax Writing Committee which is a bunch of attorneys who have been out of law school for about an hour and a half who really are very bright people but have no idea what they are doing yet. They write this piece of complicated legislation that I take advantage of because they misplace punctuation and use the wrong conjunction.
JT: Oh my gosh. So your job involves a lot of dealing with grammar issues and trying to get around, finding ways around things because of grammar issues. That?s really funny.
RS: Yes, I mean what does this mean? I mean you?ll just see sentences that are like, it?s almost like M.C. Escher wrote this code because it goes nowhere.
JT: That?s so funny because me, as someone who doesn?t know that much about taxes, I mean I do my own taxes but I don?t go through and read the code. I look at that code and I?m like, ?Wow, that?s way to smart for me.? Like that?s way too complicated for me to understand but the fact is that apparently it?s too complicated for the people writing it also. Not to insult anybody but it is. I mean maybe that?s a big issue of ours that we?re having.
RS: Well, currently, I mean, there?s a lot of talk in the papers over the last year about a thing called the cash balance plan. And cash balance plans were out of favor for a bunch of legislative reasons for a number of years and now they?re in favor because they?ve been resolved. Those legislative issues have been resolved. We have a client that put one in and we submitted it to the IRS back in August and we still don?t have it approved because the IRS?s guideline language was just wrong. It doesn?t work.
JT: So how do you deal with that? I mean as a business owner to have to have so many rules and regulations and constantly adapt and not know when things are coming back. How does that work for you?
RS: Well, this is where we?re challenged because I keep going, fortunately I have a good relationship with this particular client who keeps getting nasty letters from the IRS. But it?s now at the national office for tax advice and the attorney who drafted the regulations admitted last week actually that she didn?t understand the math when she wrote the rules. I said, ?Okay, but now I need somebody to interpret this so I know what to tell my client.? If I didn?t have that relationship with the client, the client would think I was incompetent.
JT: Yeah, so customer service is?
RS: So one of our challenges is really open communication with the client. When I first started getting letters from Treasury, I called her up and I said, ?Listen, you?re going to start getting a series of letters. Don?t worry about them. I?m on top of it. We?ll fix it. It?s not even broken but you?re going to get these letters.? So a lot of this is communicating clearly to people and that took me a long time to learn how to do that because I had to take very complicated issues and turn them into little stick drawings.
I?ve gotten good at that but that took time. Another challenge for us is people in my industry are not here on purpose. I?ve only ever met and I?m doing this now for 37 years and I have only ever met one person who went to college specifically to come into this industry.
JT: I was actually going to bring that up because I?m going who decides to like go into this because, like you said, you were sort of like well I was doing it and then they offered me to buy the business but yeah, who decides to do that and that?s really funny that you said that there?s not, not very many do.
RS: Every one of my employees got here by accident. They worked in a bank trust department. They did auditing at an accounting firm. One of the people here was a waitress and I just thought she was talented and I said, ?Let me teach you how to do something else.? Because the one thing I can?t teach somebody is talent and work ethic.
JT: So how do you find someone with that?
RS: You just find them and there are a lot of really smart people that are talented that just don?t care. So you have to parse that out. Sometimes that?s problematic because you sit there and you look at these people and sometimes it takes two years in house to realize they?re not a good fit.
JT: So what are some signs that you look for when you are interviewing someone that they have both talent and work ethic?
RS: Well, I want them to look at my shoes instead of their shoes when they are talking to me. That?s a bad actuarial joke, I?m sorry. It?s the extroverted actuary versus the introverted actuary.
JT: Which I totally don?t get so that?s good.
RS: Well they say that the actuaries are the people who lack the dynamic personality necessary to be an accountant. Our industry seriously has a high percentage of Asperger?s people.
JT: Oh really?
RS: And we have a bunch of people that for the most part are very bright and very pleasant but not real social. So that becomes problematic in trying to staff an office. So the office environment becomes very important and we?ve worked hard at that. We are actually nominated to win the Sloan award for the second time.
JT: Wow. So tell me some tips on that. I mean that?s a big thing that a lot of small business owners have to deal with is work environment.
RS: The first thing is really understanding that your employees are people. I pay my staff well, they get great benefits but I do super well because they work hard and they care. It really is, it?s not a co-op but it?s sort of like, it?s a beneficial dictatorship. So we treat them like people. I don?t care, do you need a mental health day? Then take a mental health day. If your kid is sick, stay home because if you are here, you aren?t functioning anyway. But everybody is a professional. They know what their workload is. Get your work done.
So it?s not uncommon for me to come in here on a Sunday afternoon and have two or three people here because they know that they got a kid?s softball game during the week that they want to go to. People are in and out of here. We won the family friendly business of Long Island award about 12 years ago. It was the first time in six years I saw my entire staff at the same time.
JT: That?s how you won the award, right? Man, that?s awesome.
RS: But that?s really all it is. It?s like people have to stay home and wait for the plumber. They have to stay home and wait for the sofa to get delivered. Check your voicemail. Call your clients back and don?t make me hear from anybody ever at all that you didn?t return a phone call.
JT: It all boils down to what you said before is that they care. Do you find people that care or can you turn somebody that?s not necessarily like a pusher and a go getter. Can you get them to actually care?
RS: No, that?s a job their mother was supposed to do in terms of building character. No, really. I mean, people just have it or they don?t. That?s a hard thing to find. I do find the employees pleased at themselves. We had an employee a few years ago that took advantage of some of the flexibility and the other employees cornered her in the kitchen and said you screw this up for us and we?re going to kill you.
JT: Yeah, that?s good though because then you have a team of everybody watching out for you instead of just you being the bad guy going well you need to do this and you need to do that.
RS: Well the other thing that it does though is the employees, a lot of them socialize together outside of here which I don?t necessarily encourage but I have to like it. When we get into crunch time because we are a tax based business, so especially when you get into September 15 and October 15 when all the extensions are due, it?s not uncommon for somebody to walk around the office saying I?ve got nothing to do right now because I?m either done with my cases or I?m waiting for information so I can go to the next step, what can I help you with? So they are very cooperative and helpful of one another because it really is a team.
JT: Yeah, did you start out with a team like this or has it really, you?ve had to cultivate it over the years?
RS: No, it has been cultivated and every so often we have to pull back. A couple of years ago when the economy hit it was one of those things of I can keep everybody working but nobody is getting a raise this year.
JT: And the employees, if they are team, it sounds like they probably would have understood that and would rather not have somebody be let go so that way everybody else could have bonuses.
RS: That?s exactly what it is. That?s exactly what happened. In fact, last year, the end of ?09, we did give bonus. I?m sorry, the end of 2010 we did give bonuses and people did get a slight raise and people came to me and said, ?Are you sure we can afford to do this??
JT: Because they care.
RS: Well they do. They do and it makes me feel good. We?re all in this together. We really are.
JT: That?s great to hear. I mean I know I talk to a lot of business owners who are just pulling their hair out over employees and I think that?s inspiration to be able to hear somebody that has cultivated a really good team that can work and can actually do these things and I?m sure people are like, ?Oh it does exist! Thank you for telling me it does exist.?
RS: It absolutely does. I can?t sit here and tell people that they have to cow tow to me. I make mistakes. I have two meetings a year where we sit with the employees, me and my COO and my CFO, because the other thing I did is as I got bigger I gave away responsibility to other people to focus on the things that I like to do, that I do better and to take it away from things that I just didn?t want to do or did poorly. I spent a lot of money doing that but it has come back and making me more productive and it more than made up for the difference.
I find too many of my small employer clients micromanage too much. Let it go. It?s like that whole thing you got a pile of reading on your floor. Well, after three weeks, you might as well just throw it away. It?s dated and it?s useless.
JT: That?s so hard though even whether it?s throwing away the reading or not micromanaging. Do you have any tips on how not to micromanage?
RS: You know what, the first time you don?t do it and the results come back okay, the next time is easier. You just have to promise yourself you trusted this person enough that you hired them. You?ve given them responsibility and they may not do it the same way that you are going to do it but if they don?t mess it up, who cares?
JT: Yeah, if the end result is the same, don?t worry about it so much that it?s not done your way. Yeah, I hear that a lot.
RS: Two different people are going to cook a steak completely differently. They both may taste well. Who cares?
RS: It?s just a function of did it get done and did it get done accurately and did it get done with integrity and what happens now is I let everybody just run with this stuff but they have to come and tell me when they make a mistake because the mistakes we can fix. There are no pension emergencies. Nobody comes to me and says, ?Hi, I?m 65 tomorrow what do I do?? So there really are no emergencies in this environment. It?s simply people make mistakes. We?re human beings we make mistakes. So we fix it. We call up the client right away. Listen, we made a mistake here?s what we?re going to do to fix it.
Sometimes we have to write a check. Most of the time we don?t. Sometimes I have to go to the client?s employees and say, ?Listen, the client is not screwing with you here. Your statements were messed up because we messed them up. It?s not like he?s taking money away from you.? We made a mistake in our office and we go through that because these benefits are very important to the clients? employees as well. We?re dealing with one of the three largest assets universally anybody will have in their life.
People have their business, they have their house, they have their retirement plans and money is a very emotional item. It?s a horribly emotional item and if I knew you better I would give you my whole money rap.
JT: We like to hear about money, go ahead.
RS: Well, we have a society where money is a taboo subject.
RS: It?s just a completely taboo subject. So we don?t talk about it. It is easier for me to say to an acquaintance how?s your sex life than it is to say how money did you make last year?
JT: Isn?t that crazy?
RS: Because when we were growing up our parents didn?t talk to us about money. If our parents had an argument about anything they fought about the kids, they fought about sex, they fought about money. When they fought about money they went into another room and closed the door. I had no idea what my father made. I had no idea how to balance a checkbook. We had no idea about any of it when we were growing up and that has just purveyed into our society. We don?t talk about it so people are very uncomfortable with it.
So, we?ve got to take this emotional lump of money, as tied up in these retirement plans, that is now also enveloped in mystique of silly rules from multiples of government agencies and urban legend because the press reports sometimes, as much as three quarters of the facts, on a story, because they?re limited by space and the employees? mistrust of the employers and then understand that this money represents a bunch of other negative emotions. It represents getting old and getting displaced or getting dead or getting disabled or getting divorced.
JT: Wow, I don?t envy you right now.
RS: And this is what this lump of money is in addition to being my future financial security. Now, I?ve got to go in there and now we take it a step further. I?ve got the employer who?s putting the money into the plan and he?s looking at his employees who most of the time don?t appreciate it. I?ve got an employee here who would rather have $500 in her paycheck instead of $5,000 in her retirement plan.
JT: Wow, isn?t that crazy? Yes.
RS: Well because her needs are today. She is trying to feed her kids today. She doesn?t worry about 20 years from now. So I don?t get to arbitrage with her at the end of the year when I say, ?Hey, this is what you?re worth to have your butt sitting in that chair and here?s how much I?m going to pay you? and she?s going to say to me, ?Well, I don?t care about that retirement benefit and I don?t even care about the health insurance. I care about Bob going out to buy another quart of milk.?
So, I don?t get to arbitrage the value of that benefit so my employee doesn?t appreciate the value of that benefit and that?s not all employees but it is a handful of them no matter where you are geographically. More so, we have that problem greater, that problem is greater in the northeast corridor, central Florida, central Texas, central Illinois and the west coast because the cost of living is disportionately higher than the salary differential. My clients in Kansas, we can go to them and say to the employees you?re not getting a raise because we put away 10 percent of pay in the retirement plan and the employees say that?s cool because they have enough money to feed their kids that week.
JT: Yeah, definitely.
RS: But here, the employee says, ?Screw it, I don?t care. I want my money now.? So managing these plans is very problematic for all of those areas because I still have to design a plan in a way that it works for the employer because if it doesn?t work for the employer, then there?s no plan at all.
JT: Yeah, but you have to keep in mind every single other thing like tax law and the employees and the employer and what you guys can do and yeah, that?s fun.
RS: And it?s a constantly moving target. I told a client this morning. He says, ?What are we doing next year?? I said, ?I don?t know.? Your demographics are going to change. Your cash flow is going to change and I guarantee you are going to have at least one legislative change so I don?t know. I worry about next year, next year. But that?s why it?s so important for us to stay apprised of what?s going on in Washington.
JT: Yeah. So what are some of the resources, I mean you had to learn a ton of information, but what are some of the resources or books that you?ve turned to or tools that you use to really make your business successful?
RS: I actually do it in a variety of ways. I ask my clients a lot of questions. I go to my successful clients and say tell me what I?m doing wrong. You?re my client, tell me what upsets you about the way my office communicates with you. I mean I have actually had clients say to me our corporate logo is this bright teal and he says, ?I see that damn teal envelope on my desk I get apoplectic.? I said, ?Well then Steve, why do you still deal with me?? He said, ?Because you really do good work but let me tell you why I don?t like dealing with you.? Okay.
JT: Yeah, that?s perfect.
RS: Then let?s fix that.
JT: Yeah. I love your attitude on mistakes and just fixing things. That?s awesome because everything can be changed.
RS: This is no different than any relationship whether it?s a boyfriend/girlfriend or a marriage or anything. These are all relationships. Tell me what I?m doing wrong. I?m the typical man. I don?t want anybody to say we got to talk but I encourage that. Tell me how to fix it. So then what I?ll do is from time to time I will get five or six clients together. I will take them to dinner and say, ?Guys, you get to take pot shots at me tonight. Tell me what we?re doing.? Let me see if there is a consistency in the thread.
They don?t like the way our bills read. They don?t like the way our letters look. It?s like can you consolidate some of this stuff. They come and they tell us because I ask. But I ask and I fix it before they get frustrated and leave. Real network, business networking groups, not the ones where we?re going to exchange business cards and have a couple of drinks. I look for clusters of eight or ten business owners who just want to sit and talk about their problems. My industry has a business owners meeting. Surprising only about 75 people go to it and it?s the same 50 or 60 every year with 15 people or so to tack on. What?s not surprising is if I go around the country they probably represent 75 of the best firms.
RS: Because the other guys are not investing in their business and I don?t care, our client base is unusual. We have a lot of small businesses. We?ve got some athletes. We got some musicians. Got a bunch of medical practices. We?ve got some delis. We got a few restaurants. We got a couple of banks, two or three manufacturing plants. We don?t do unions. We don?t do ESOPS because the unions are disgusting to deal with and ESOPS are a beast unto themselves so we don?t do a lot of them, so we?re not good at it so we don?t do them at all.
You pick your market niche. Don?t try and make, I?ve had people come in here, I can?t help you but let me refer you to a competitor who works more in your environment.
JT: So you guys are even niched down. I mean I hear that a lot, you know, making sure that you are differentiating yourself and picking people that you can work best with so you don?t work with everybody. I?ve been hearing that a lot. So that?s really with you.
RS: Life is too short. I mean if I can?t get data from the client up front, then they?re going to be a horrible client. Some people, there are varieties of plans that are available that don?t require our services. There are simples and sets and all these other little things that the government says you can set up yourself and run yourself. The answer is they still have pitfalls and somebody needs to be aware of those pitfalls but you don?t need to add on thousands of dollars a year of compliance and administrative overhead.
So sometimes and I?ve done that already this week, I have told a potential client you need to just go buy a set. I can?t help you. I mean I can help you but I?m not additive. What will happen is in three or four years that client is going to have some employees that are going to need something a little more sophisticated. I hope they come back to me at that point. In the interim, I keep them on my email list and my drip marketing.
RS: Here?s something that still may be of interest to you. We do a lot of stuff that has nothing to do with our industry but it?s informative to the clients. So, for example, we run a series of workshops where I have people from Social Security come in and explain Social Security to people. I drag in elder care attorneys and we talk about estate planning. Don?t forget, I?m still hoping the third largest asset that most people have, estate planning with that asset is a big deal, so let me have an estate attorney come in and talk to you about this.
I invite clients and I buy them breakfast or lunch or dinner and we have 15 or 20 people in a room and say this is informative, this is nice. One of the meetings I realized, as a country, we?re 70 percent in testate. People don?t have wills. The reality is that everybody has a will depending on what state you?re in. New York state has a will for me that dictates how it is going to get distributed if I die if I don?t have my own. So, I don?t like their will so I make my own. I had an attorney come in and do wills and trusts for all my employees.
JT: That?s a great idea. It?s a pain, I know, I did mine. It can be a pain.
RS: But I as an employer had somebody come in and I paid for all my employees.
JT: Yes, that?s awesome because they need it and nobody wants to do it.
RS: They need it, correct. My employees all get a day a month to do community service.
JT: Oh great.
RS: People want to help, they just don?t have time. So I?m going to buy you a day a month to go do what you want to do.
JT: And you don?t feel like that hurts your bottom line at all in terms of paying your employees to be out one day a month?
RS: No. Forgetting the fact that I feel good about it and you have to give back somehow, you really have to give back to society, you can?t just take it, but my employees come back and they?re energized and they work harder. They feel good about themselves. I?ve actually gotten business from this. It?s not my intent but I?ve gotten business from it because somebody says I saw you had five employees out there working in the soup kitchen. Yeah. Other people find that that?s interesting.
JT: It shows everybody that you care and that your people care and that?s who we want to work with in general. Any business owner wants to work with someone that cares about them and the environment and the people around you. That?s great.
RS: Because we really care.
JT: Yeah because you actually care not just because you say you care.
RS: Right, exactly.
JT: Excellent. So what is one action that everyone can take this week to move them forward towards their goal of a million?
RS: Take a look at your successful clients and figure out what you?re doing with them that you are not doing with everybody else. And it?s not because, that 80/20 rule is always true but why is it true? You need to identify in your particular practice why is that 80/20 rule true. What separates them? And it?s not just because they?re bigger. Some of my most profitable clients are the smallest ones.
JT: That?s excellent advice. Excellent advice. I was just talking to a client the other day about the 80/20 rule because we know it exists but when do we actually go into our business and ask these questions. A lot of the times we don?t. Excellent.
RS: I built a huge database. I know, for example, when we send out cookie platters and stuff like that, I know who?s diabetic.
JT: That?s awesome. Yeah, you care. You know about your customers. You don?t want to send them a plate of cookies when they?re diabetic. That?s horrible.
RS: When I have a new client come in here, I send a handwritten thank you note. I tell them I know they have choices. I send people birthday cards. I?ve actually had people call me up in tears saying it was the only birthday card they got. That?s sad but I?m glad that I remembered. And I sign them myself. I take the time. I write a note. I send them. And as hokey as it is, people appreciate it.
JT: Well great. Thank you so much for all this great information. I mean this is wonderful. What I?ll do too is I?ll definitely send you a copy of this and I?ll have the transcription and everything too. Thank you so much for coming on. Can you tell us where we can find more about you online? I know you said you have an email list and that sort of thing. Where can we find out more information?
RS: Our website is ctdltd.com.
JT: Okay, I?m going to have you say that again.
RS: Charlie, Paul, David, Larry, Tom, David.com.
RS: And right now it?s under progress because it?s really pretty sucky. We?re fixing it.
JT: A mistake you know that you are willing to fix. That?s awesome. What I will also do is I?ll link it in the article so everyone can take a look and get in touch with you if they need to.
RS: I appreciate it.
JT: So thank you so much for coming on today. I really appreciate it.
RS: Thank you. Have a good day.
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