Chris Smith founded PSBLTY Co., a coaching and consulting firm created to help advisors and wealth management firms stand out as leaders and dramatically grow their income and impact.

Russ Alan Prince: What is the importance of leadership in the financial advisory industry?

Chris Smith: In the fast-paced financial advisory world, one truth stands out boldly: you're either a leader or you’re invisible. Leadership isn't just a choice in an industry where success hinges on visibility and differentiation. It's an imperative. Without it, financial advisors risk being perceived as a commodity and often feeling like they are the best-kept secret. And those advisors who are seen as leaders will continue to capture massive amounts of market share and business from those who aren’t.

Prince: What are some of the most significant opportunities for advisors to stand out, be seen as leaders, and differentiate themselves?

Smith: Creating a private wealth practice is a tremendous opportunity for select advisors and firms. It is a profound way for them to establish their leadership while separating themselves from the rest of the industry. Research shows that ultra-affluent families are being drastically underserved, and The PSBLTY Co is committed to doing something about it.

Prince: Can you share an example about an advisor or firm you have helped with this?

Smith: I would love to. Homer Smith with Konvergent Wealth Partners. We began working with Homer and his team over a year ago. They were already on the path of working with the ultra-affluent. They already had a private wealth practice. Yet, Homer knew they weren’t differentiated enough. He recognized that he and his team had something unique to offer their clients and COIs, yet he knew they were often seen as just another advisor or firm. He wanted to establish his preeminence and separate himself from his competition.

In the year we worked together, Homer's clients' average net worth went from $5 to $10m to over $50m. The firm's AUM went from $200m to $400m. They went from receiving one COI introduction per month at best to an ultra-affluent family to now averaging three to four COI introductions per month.

And, I must say, he and his team have done the work and continue to do the work. One of the issues we often see is if advisors and firms say they want to grow but are unwilling to do the work. Are they willing to build something sustainable or just looking for a quick, cheap result?
As much as any client we have ever worked with, they embraced leadership and differentiation. Now, Homer and everyone in their firm see themselves as leaders, and their clients and COIs also see them that way.

Prince: As you mentioned earlier, the opposite of leadership is being invisible or commoditized. What is the biggest risk of commoditization for advisors and firms?

Smith: It's often said that being commoditized is akin to being anonymized. In the eyes of clients and prospects, if you're perceived as just another advisor offering generic advice, you become virtually invisible. Leadership is the distinguishing factor in this industry, where advisors seem to be everywhere, and competition is fierce. While advisors often share advice that merely informs, leaders provide something far more potent: they offer guidance, inspiration, and transformation.

However, the path to leadership isn’t a road often traveled. Many advisors may be content with their status quo, enjoying moderate success and comfortable earnings. Yet, we believe there is tremendous untapped potential where true leadership unlocks unprecedented income and impact.

I also think most advisors underestimate the cost of commoditization on their clients. If you are perceived as a commodity, you unknowingly put a lot of pressure on the people trying to find you. The people you can make the biggest impact on are forced to shop on price to some degree. They are forced to talk to way more advisors than they would like to. By being perceived as a commodity, you create a lot of work and anxiety for your prospective clients, and it could be so much easier for them and you.

Prince: How does PSBLTY Co contribute to fostering leadership among financial advisors and help them stand out?

Chris: Our approach is multifaceted, focusing on leadership development and the strategic use of language to amplify income and impact. We start by helping them uncover their identity—specifically, an identity that is bigger than the industry. A common mistake is for advisors and firms to create an identity exclusively focused on the industry. The challenge with this is you end up commoditizing yourself without meaning to.

The key is to create an identity larger than the industry. We believe everything begins with identity. It is the cornerstone of effective leadership and the foundation for all messaging and communication. You want to create an identity your team and clients genuinely feel they belong to—an identity bigger than money and, quite frankly, bigger than any one person, including the founder. 

But identity alone is not enough. To truly stand out in a crowded marketplace, advisors must unlock their message—a powerful and authentic narrative that speaks to their clients' and teams' needs and aspirations. You cannot stand out with a commoditized message. Unfortunately, most advisors and firms sound like everyone else. You want to create a simple, scalable message that stands out.

Simple. You want to create a super clear, concise, and consistent message. Scalable. You want everyone in your firm to know your message, consistently share it, and feel personally connected to it. Stands out. You want to create a message that stands out, which means you intentionally do not look and sound like everyone else in the industry. Through authentic messaging, advisors can cut through the noise and dramatically grow their income and impact.

The ultimate goal of leadership isn't just personal success. It's unleashing impact. We want to help advisors amplify their influence, not just with their clients but also with their teams. A real test of leadership is whether or not advisors can create a culture of belonging, performance, and leadership that allows them to make a meaningful difference in the lives of their teams and clients.

Prince: How can you support other advisors and firms like Homer and Konvergent?

Smith: We have created a mastermind specifically designed to help advisors unlock unparalleled growth by creating a private wealth practice. From what we can tell, there has never been a mastermind quite like this.

Prince: Who is the mastermind for, and what do advisors get by joining? 

Smith: The mastermind is designed exclusively for purpose-driven leaders and firms who know they want to serve the ultra-affluent, are committed to dramatically increasing their income, are willing to do the work, and don’t want to have to figure it out alone. One characteristic that makes the mastermind unique is that only ten spots are available. This is a very intimate, exclusive group.

In the mastermind, we will help each advisor uncover their identity, unlock their message, and unleash their impact. We have advisors, firms, and strategic consultants who are experiencing unprecedented success serving the ultra-affluent and will share their strategies with everyone in the group.

Each mastermind member will have access to proven client introduction systems. They will also learn and implement proven systems that significantly increase referrals and introductions to their dream clients from premium centers of influence. Also, they will have access to our team of experts and a COI of their choosing each month, unlocking new opportunities through Discovery sessions conducted on their behalf.

This isn’t a tell you, and you do it. This is a teach-and-mentor approach. Let us do it with you.
If advisors show up and do the work, they will experience exponential results.

Prince: Where do you see the advisory business going? 

Smith: The industry will continue to become increasingly commoditized with fee compression and the advancement of AI and other technologies. Those advancements will either be the greatest threat or the greatest benefit to advisors. Advisors who haven’t done the work to stand out as leaders will become further commoditized by technology. However, advisors who have already done the work to be seen as leaders will only benefit. 

Russ Alan Prince is a strategist for family offices and the ultra-wealthy. He has co-authored 70 books in the field, including Making Smart Decisions: How Ultra-Wealthy Families Get Superior Wealth Planning Results.