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Episode 22 - A Recap of 2017 AICPA Engage Conference, with Ann Gugle

Ann Gugle of Alpha Financial Advisors in Charlotte, NC joins Ben and Roger to recap her experience at 2017 AICPA Engage Conference.

Do you constantly dream of being surrounded by 4,000 CPAs and financial advisors who live and breathe for the latest tax planning strategies and exotic step-up in basis techniques...IN LAS VEGAS?!? Then this conference was for you.

Find out why the AICPA conference is considered to be at the top of most people's lists for the conference with the Best Technical Content lists. And hear the challenge of networking with 4,000 people in the cozy confines of the MGM Grand.

And for those who want to hear more from Bob Keebler - who presented a keynote session at the AICPA conference - consider registering for the 2017 NAPFA National Conference in beautiful Orlando, FL. Bob will be conducing a three-hour session on Tax Planning and IRAs at the pre-conference, as well as a breakout session during the regular conference.

Episode 21: Beach Read - Exceptional Service, Exceptional Profit

If you're a regular listener to this podcast, there's a good chance that you're the one at the beach wearing khakis and a sensible button-up, with a solid business/self-help business book in hand. And have we got the book for you!

Exceptional Service, Exceptional Profit: The Secrets of Building a Five-Star Customer Service Organization isn't a long book, clocking in at just 144 pages. But as authors Leonardo Inghilleri and Micah Solomon suggest in Chapter Three (Language Engineering): "Every. Word. Counts."

This book has made an impact on both of us, so much so that it's required reading for new employees at both of our firms. In this episode, we provide a brief tour, with extended stops at favorite parts along the way:

  • Anticipatory Service
  • The Four Elements of Excellent Customer Service
  • Creating a Preferred Language Lexicon
  • Turning Service Failures Around/The Perfect Apology
  • Client Feedback/Seeing Your Firm Through the Eyes of a Client

We could easily have spent another hour talking about the book, but hopefully we've whetted your appetite enough for you to buy a copy. So lather on the sunscreen, grab a floppy hat, and get out to the beach and read!

Exceptional Service Exceptional Profit

Bonus Read: High-tech High-touch Customer Service

Episode 20 - Metasode, Part Deux

We promised our faithful listeners that every 10 episodes, we would do a "metasode" to check in to see if we were accomplishing the goals we set for ourselves, share some lessons learned, and talk about what the Zebra Smash of the future might look like.

And after 20 mostly glitch-free episodes, we finally experienced the coming-of-age ritual of every podcast: completing an episode, only to discover that one of us hadn't recorded properly. Based on minutes of research, we're fairly confident that we made it farther than any podcast in the history of the universe before our first major recording snafu. So we've got that going for us.

We buckled our chinstraps, laced up our boots, did some more sports preparation thingies and tried again. Frankly, this recording is 10 times better than the first one. That one was terrible. But this one? Pure gold.

In this episode, we talk about:

  • Stats that show that, yes, people are listening.
  • Stats that show that, no, people aren't taking as many CE quizzes as we thought.
  • Stats that show that, yes, some people are putting some money in the tip jar.
  • Stats that show that, no, it's not much.
  • Absolutely no objective stats that help us evaluate if we're living up to our "conference in your pocket" tagline.

If you have a question or a topic that you'd like us to explore on a future episode of Zebra Smash, let us know at info@zebrasmash.com (now staffed by live humans!).

Intro inspired by the great Gene Chandler...

Episode 19 - Bob Veres 2017 Fee Study

How much are financial advisors charging their clients? How are most advisors calculating their fees? What constitutes a reasonable fee these days? Bob Veres put out a survey and study recently that tries to answer those questions.

To learn more about Bob Veres, here's his website. You can subscribe to his newsletter there, which will give you access to the study we discussed.

Bob Veres Inside Information: www.bobveres.com

Episode 18 - Software Quick Hitter - Two Programs We've Found Helpful

Roger is on vacation this week, but we want to provide a quick episode where we review two software programs that we've found to be helpful in our respective firms.

Remember on Reading Rainbow when kids would review books then finish with the catchphrase, "But don't take my word for it!"? Well this is the adult financial planning version of that. But without books. Or LeVar Burton. Or rainbows.

What we talked about in this episode:

We wanted to put that awesome Reading Rainbow sound after each review, but chose not to due to a combination of laziness and copyright concerns. Instead, we'll link to some guy's website who evidently has no such worries: Da Da Dah!