September 26, 2019

September 26, 2019 | Risk Pulse

Podcast & Profile: AFA AOTY winner Simone Du Chesne

Referrals are a gift not a right. Adviser of the Year, Simone Du Chesne discusses how she keeps them coming in and makes the conversion.

It’s taken Simone Du Chesne a long time to enter the Association of Financial Advisers prestigious Adviser of the Year Award, but her time has come.

“I just thought maybe now I have something to give back and maybe I’m worthy,” she says.

While in previous years Du Chesne has enjoyed learning from the experience and wise words from previous Adviser of the Year finalists and winners, this year she wants to be that person.

“I want to share my experience. Perhaps I can add one, two, three things which add value to their business.”

An established business with a fresh edge

Du Chesne is the principal of two Sydney practices, EQ Wealth and Quantum Wealth. She has spent ten of the past 12 years as a financial adviser.

Prior to this, Du Chesne worked for two years as Head of Product for fashion jewellery retain chain DIVA and 15 years as Global Design Director, Sheridan Australia.

She considers her background in product and marketing in completely different industries to that of financial advice as being instrumental in developing her ability to always see things from the clients’ perspective.

Du Chesne holds a Master of Financial Planning from Kaplan and genuinely enjoys solving clients’ financial problems and providing/delivering solutions which give peace of mind.

EQ Wealth has four employees with Du Chesne as the sole adviser. The business provides holistic advice and services to all age groups.

The business seeks to act as a trusted adviser, to help clients build wealth, save on tax and guide financial futures. It offers financial planning packages to help get people started as well as private wealth services, personal insurances, corporate services, Self-Managed Superannuation Funds, estate planning, retirement planning and aged care advice.

Joint venture gives the business a fresh outlook

The previous owners of EQ Wealth are Du Chesne’s parents who started the business 50 years ago.

She bought the business from them two years ago and quickly established a valuable joint venture with Quantum Partners, an accounting practice in Bondi junction.

“It’s changed my business quite dramatically,” says Du Chesne. “The JV provides a constant flow of referral contacts which makes growing the business so much easier.”

The Principles at Quantum Partners are clients of Du Chesne and made the decision they wanted to share their great experience of financial advice with their clients. Assisting one of the partner’s wives with a successful trauma insurance claim was the impetus for the burgeoning joint venture.

Of course, a great referral source is just that, and there is still the task of converting clients and showing them value. Du Chesne says with referrals walking in the door having been referred to you from a trusted source, you are already over one of the significant barriers to finding and securing clients.

Ninety per cent of referrals are from the joint venture with the remainder coming from existing clients. This is in stark contrast with time spent on marketing and taking time out of valuable business hours to seek new clients.

Du Chesne acknowledges the joint venture is in its early days so referrals are perhaps top of mind, however she says the longevity of it will ultimately depend on the referral relationship itself.

Taking nothing for granted

Just because a good referral comes through, there is no assumption that the client is ready to sign up. There is a tight process wrapped around any referral, (which includes, initial meetings, forecasts, documentation and hand holding to gain their trust.)

“I don’t charge a client until they are ready to move forward with advice. That can take one meeting, or it can take three.”

Given this personalised approach, her conversion rate is high. “I want to ensure clients want to come on board. I don’t have many tyre-kickers because I have a good referral service.”

Going forward, Du Chesne’s formula for success is simple despite the ever-changing operating environment.

She agrees change is inevitable and disruption can be very distracting. “I want to provide great outcomes to clients.”

Work hard and receive more

A successful referral system naturally creates extra workload and it is vital that the business is equipped with the right personnel.

While Du Chesne acknowledges ensuring staff are the right fit for your business is a challenge, it is therefore critical when you have good staff, to look after them.

“We have enough disruption in the industry without it being internal.” In this regard, rather than seeking out new staff, she prefers to motivate her staff with the opportunity to work hard and receive higher pay.

“I do tend to pay higher than the industry rewards.”

Her standard of advice

Du Chesne does not see a lot of competition from other advice practices in terms of what she offers clients. In fact, she regards many clients as “under-serviced”.

“Most clients do not have a clear picture of what to expect when seeing a financial adviser.  I think they expect run of the mill advice with regards to superannuation and insurances – however very few understand that sound financial advice delivers so much more.”

Du Chesne’s version of financial advice is about empowering her clients with financial independence, showing clients how to achieve the lifestyle they want by providing smart financial solutions. 

“Money is not the most important thing in life, but it makes the important things possible.”

Please listen to our adviser podcast series where we uncover more insights from all Adviser Of The Year and Rising Star winners and finalists. Click here to listen.

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