Succeeding with Energy and Authenticity

President & founder of Ross Financial Matt Ross was featured on the latest episode of the Truest Fan podcast. Rob Brown, author of Truest Fan book & podcast is also a remarkable business coach & former financial advisor.

In this episode, Matt & Rob talk about how to stay focused on your biggest goals. How to put more energy and authenticity into your life and business. Also, how to take action on the things that will move the needle and the biggest difference to his clients, team and family.

Podcast Transcript

Rob  00:05

Do you ever wonder how you’re going to get it all done? There just seems to be way too much to do. And you don’t know how to put it in order or how to prioritize. Well, in this week’s episode of the Truest Fan podcast, you’re going to meet Matt Ross. Matt is great at staying focused on what’s most important. He talks about why we shouldn’t be afraid of hard work and sometimes hard work is simply the best way to get it done. And also, why can’t mail it in, in a world where sometimes it feels like people aren’t giving your best or their best, Matt does. And he encourages us don’t mail again. You’re going to enjoy this conversation.

Announcer 00:56

You’re listening to the truest fan podcast and now here’s your host, Rob Brown.

Rob  01:06

Hello, friends, welcome to the latest edition of the Truest Fan podcast. excited today to have on board Matt Ross, president, and founder of Ross financial in Seattle, Washington. Welcome, Matt.

Matt Ross  01:22

Thanks, Rob. Honored to be here.

Rob  01:24

I know you are because I’m honored to have you so it’s good to have you here and have a good conversation. So, I like to ask at the beginning of the podcast who your favorite baseball team is because those who have read through his fan know that it is partly written because of my love for the Cleveland Indians now, Guardian. So, I was going to ask you that question. But I realize that you actually probably aren’t as much of a baseball fan as you are a football fan. So, I’ll give you that option.

Matt Ross  01:54

Yeah, well, you know, the funny thing about that question is I actually played baseball in high school and a little bit in college. And so, I would always consider myself a sports fan. I’m actually a sports fanatic. But when I left college, stopped playing baseball, I’m kind of a all or nothing kind of person. And so, when I wasn’t playing it anymore, I kind of lost touch with the game a little bit. But being in Seattle, I have to say it’s my duty to say that I’m a Seattle Mariners fan. But I do find myself being a little bit more of a fan of my newfound game that I love, which is golf.

Rob  02:34

Gotcha. Well, talking about golf, that PGA finish was pretty crazy, wasn’t it?

Matt Ross  02:41

That was that was something else? I don’t think that too many commentators saw that finish happening. Nor did the person who won. I don’t think the odds were stacked in his favor that people thought that he was going to walk away with that trophy. So no, but it was awesome to watch.

Rob  03:01

Yeah, it was it made for an exciting, exciting final round. So, in full disclosure to everybody listening, Matt and I know each other very well. He’s been a client of mine for a number of years. And that’s why one of the reasons I’m excited to have him on this podcast, because when I think of people who are truest fans, who really believe in themselves go out of their way to be a truest fan to other people on his team and his family and the different causes and things that he cares about. Matt is one of a kind, just a super guy. So, I know that we’ll all learn a lot from our conversation today. So Matt, as we get started, I’m curious, when you think about great advice that you’ve been given over the years, is there one nugget, one thing that kind of sticks out in your mind that you always remember and go back to, you know, over and over again?

Matt Ross  03:57

Yeah, that’s a good question. You know, I think advice that really stands out to me, you know, there’s, there’s advice that I think people give or get given in the moment, and that’s the right advice for that particular instance. But when I think about advice that I’ve been giving, that spans multiple years, multiple decades and multiple instances, I’ve got to say that the one that stands out for me is this concept of working hard and staying diligent in whatever you’re doing in life. This is not advice that I was given, but I don’t believe in coincidences as a believer. And so, I would say that a quote that I’ve seen multiple times in the last couple of weeks is a quote that says hustle beats talent when talent doesn’t hustle. And another word for hustle in my mind is working hard. So just this concept of you know, my dad instilled in me a tremendous work ethic. And that’s not me patting myself on the back. Because if I didn’t have a work ethic that I do, and I would say that I’m not a lucky person by nature, I would not say that I’m a highly educated individual by nature. So, by default, I rely on my work ethic. And so, I think that was instilled in me at a young age.

Rob  05:24

So, repeat that quote, again, I really, I really liked that. I’m not sure I’ve heard that before hustle beats,

Matt Ross  05:30

Yeah, hustle beats talent when talent doesn’t hustle. Right. So, you know, relating back to sports. You know, in the days when I was playing sports, I was never the tallest, I could never hit the baseball the farthest. And I could never throw it the fastest. But I always worked on my mechanics, I worked on my base running. And so, there were plenty of people that could throw harder, farther, or bigger, stronger. But I think a lot of times growing up, they could always rely on their talent or their size, to get them on the team and to get them on the starting roster. But I never seem to just end up on the starting roster, I would sit the bench for a while, and then somebody would get injured, I’d get in the game. And because I had worked hard, quite oftentimes, I performed. So that’s what it means to me.

Rob  06:27

So, it’s in some ways that’s kind of like counter cultural today. Because you know, there are some who think that not working hard is like the in thing to do. Like how can I get more done spending as little time while spending as little time doing it? So, do when you talk about working hard and hustling? Do you again, I know you said you’re not trying to prop yourself up? But do you feel like that gives you an advantage in the things that you work on and care about? Because you’re somewhat uniquely really hustling and working hard to make a difference? Or do you not? Do you not see it that way? Do you not even notice when people are holding back?

Matt Ross  07:09

Yeah, good question. You know, I do believe that there is something to the whole mantra of work smarter, not harder. But I think if you couple the two together, it’s a pretty good combination. Right? In fact, my, my dad, instilling in me a work ethic, he would still always say, you know, figure out how to do it. And if you can figure out a more efficient way to do it, then do it that way. So, you know, I think there’s a distinction, or a line that needs to be drawn where, you know, work smarter, not harder, but they’re definitely not saying be lazy, and just let things come to you. So, I think, you know, maybe in a world where people are going to rely on their talent, or trying to be more efficient, they’re not working hard at being efficient. It’s almost like they’re striving to maybe, for lack of a better term be lazy.

Rob  08:05

Yeah, kind of get away with things. It’s and maybe I’m jaded and how I say that just being older and appreciating hustle and hard work and effort. And, and also seeing it smartly applied. And that’s one thing I do know about you. And the way that you work with your team is that nobody on your team is afraid of hard work. But you’re also very good at getting a lot done without having to work late into the night or come in on Saturdays. It’s a real kind of aura that that comes maybe from you living out that hard work that hustle mentality.

Matt Ross  08:44

Yeah, I like to think that I try to be an example. And I think that my team is naturally hardworking, but I do believe that the team has a tendency to follow the leader. So even still, to this day, I’m trying to be that example that’s worthy of being followed.

Rob  09:03

Yeah, I think that’s, I think that’s awesome. I think that’s great advice. You know, because when I think about how we can help other people become stronger, become better versions of themselves. I think we owe that to the people around us that leaving them alone, you know, to kind of become who they might automatically become versus trying to push a little bit and say, hey, you know, you can be a better version of yourself. And I believe in you. And I believe that if you work harder, or do things a little differently, that that you’ll get better results to be happier along the way. Does that make sense to you?

Matt Ross  09:40

Yeah, absolutely. You know, I think in a world today where I don’t know if I’m going to phrase this the right way, but you know, people feel like they are entitled to feel the way that they want to feel and do the things that they want to do and kind of write their own script. There’s not enough. I think there’s a handful of people that don’t have those that can speak truth into their life, or that they’ve given permission for individuals to speak truth into their life, whether they want to hear it or not. And I’m not talking about like a parent child relationship, just people being intentional with their friends, or people that they go to church with, or their neighbors, where they’ve got a deep enough connection, that they know that somebody cares enough about them, to speak whatever level of truth into their lives, to receive it, to authorize it, and to welcome it.

Rob  10:34

Yeah, and that that can be tough. But, you know, again, kind of going back to the whole idea of being a truest fan. That’s, that’s one of the ways I think that you can cheer somebody else on or encourage them on is by giving them that truth and doing it a way that doesn’t take it all the way from the love and care that you have for them. But it’s only because you’re looking out for their very best. And it can happen in all aspects of life as a financial adviser, that same kind of speaking the truth to your clients is extremely important. You know, we’ve been through some crazy times in the markets here the last couple of months. So, I’m sure you’ve had to have this kind of conversation with a client too. Does that sound right?

Matt Ross  11:21

Absolutely. Absolutely. You know, with all the events that have transpired over my almost 20-year career in this industry, the one thing that I realize that it could be good, and it could be bad is that I feel like I speak truth, without a motive of selfishness or arrogance. But I try to speak in a version that sounds caring. Because I think there’s way too many people that know things that don’t say things, people that have guidance, but they don’t give it. And that’s kind of been one of the new things that we’ve tried to tell a lot of the clients that we board is you pay us for our advice. So, we’re going to give it to you now. It’s just a matter of how it’s delivered, how it’s received, and what level of permissions people are willing to give to us. Because a lot of times it’s a stressful or tenuous situation. And we’re trying to speak non emotional truth, which can be like playing with fire sometimes, but I don’t know that we’ve ever had a, you know, a difficult interaction, where good has not come from it.

Rob  12:41

Right? Yeah, it’s powerful. It’s a, it’s a powerful way to go about working with other people, whether it’s in business or in other aspects of your life. Because that guidance with care truth with compassion, it’s kind of a rare commodity these days, and something that I think when we are in situations where we are able to be the advice giver, the truth giver, we feel better about what we’re doing. But also, when we’re on the receiving end of it, it’s really nice to know that somebody absolutely cares about you and the results that you’re getting. And, you know, I’m trying to think about it from the perspective of one of your clients, how, how could they not feel really good about what you’re saying to them, when you’re talking to them in a non-emotional, truthful way, that’s really steering them in the right direction. And you probably don’t get the message exactly right. Sometimes the first time you say it, so you have to repeat it. But that consistency becomes something that they can hold on to, which I think helps them stay a client of your practice for a long, long time. So, let’s, let’s switch gears. So, my favorite lesson in Truest Fan is smiles and kind words go a long way. So, I’m curious, what makes you smile?

Matt Ross  14:07

Ah, you know, I could, I could probably use a lot of different instances of things that make me smile, you know, very superficial, surface level things. But I think what, you know, there’s, there’s a surface level smile, but then there’s also deep-down joy that comes with it. I mean, just in general, my family makes me smile. We’ve got a two-year-old that we adopted, Peyton and you know, just the things that she says deep down, gives me joy, which creates the outward expression of a smile. I mean, my wife is the biggest servant. She makes me smile, nonstop. Kennedy, my nine-year-old, but I got to tell you this quick story, and I’ll try to make it quick. A couple of weeks ago, we’re in Hawaii, and Kennedy makes these bracelets made out of rubber bands called rubber bands, they’re super cute. She’s gotten really good at it. Well, one day she decides at the pool, she’s going to sell, set up like a little stand with dollar amounts. And she’s going to go sell these wristbands, and she asked for some tips. And I like to think that I know how to sell or deliver a pitch or information to people and long story short and an hour of selling bracelets for $1 Each, she made $28. Now there’s a nine-year-old that I paid $6 an hour to do chores around the house. And I mean that put a really big smile on my face. But if I were to lump all those experiences together, I would say what makes me smile is when I see maybe mine or my family or my friends, hard work and efforts pay off. Because so much of the time you do things, and you don’t experience the result that you’re looking for. And so, to see the culmination of your efforts pay off, that’s always a surefire way to get a grin on my face.

Rob  16:12

Well, that was a number one a great story in entrepreneurship. But I do have this picture of some general manager coming out from the resort asking Kennedy for a share of the profits since he was poaching on the resort territory, but you’ve escaped Hawaii without that. So maybe you’re safe.

Matt Ross  16:36

Yeah, I think we might be clear

Announcer 16:45

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Rob  17:10

So, when you think about it the other way, what do you what do you do to help to kind of lift others, do you have little things you do on a regular basis to lift other people up to help make them smile and feel important?

Matt Ross  17:26

Um, I wouldn’t say I do any one thing, but I try to I try to be intentional. You know, I’ve got about a 20, 25 minute commute each way to work. And so, I try to if I’m not listening to a podcast, or an audible book, I tried to just be quiet in the car. And whether it’s a time of reflection or prayer or just, you know, letting the spirit move and put people in my mind. I know I shouldn’t be texting and driving. But that’s when I get my best texting, while I’m driving, but I will just reach. Wait, is this being recorded?

Rob  18:03

No. It’s the world’s first free podcast.

Matt Ross  18:11

You know, I try to text people, and just ask them what’s going on in their life, how I can be praying for them and try to be intentional, because that allows me the ability to connect with them. But let them know that you know, there’s somebody else out there that’s thinking about them being intentional about what they might be going through good or bad. So, I wouldn’t say that there’s any one thing, but I would say that that is something that I try to do on a regular basis.

Rob  18:37

Maybe that comes a little bit from your sports background of kind of cheering on your teammates. So that being intentional about reaching out to people stems from that, or does it come from somewhere else? Or you don’t know where it comes from?

Matt Ross  18:52

Yeah, good question. I mean, I’ve got a handful of, of intentional people that are in my life, and they know who they are, and I see what their intentionality does for me, how it makes me smile, how it lifts up my spirit, and makes me feel better about a dilemma that I’m going through. And so, I think it’s probably more recent, you know, I haven’t played baseball in 20 some years, but we all like to be complimented. We all like to be thought of it. You know, I think are the days where you write somebody a letter, but if you get mail, via snail mail in your mailbox, it makes you feel good. And I think we’re in such a fast-paced world that people don’t find themselves doing that anymore. But I think a good alternative is whether it’s a text message or just a quick phone call or an email, just letting people know that you’re thinking about them. Because I’ll tell you, I again, I don’t believe in coincidences. There’s been enough times where people have said gosh, I needed that, actually, yeah, I’m going through some tough times you can be praying about this. And it’s not, I’m 110% certain that it is not accidental that they were put on my mind. And I let the Spirit move and reached out to him. And I like to think that it was a meaningful interaction for them, because it most definitely is for me, you know, I think there are those that feed that get fed while they were feeding if that makes any sense.

Rob  20:25

It does make sense. Yeah, I think that is, again, part of this whole idea that I think is so important of being the truest fan to others. And sometimes it’s taken your family to Hawaii and having that long break, and just being present with them and living that out. And other times, it’s that quick little message because you thought about somebody. And as you said, everybody, everybody loves being noticed and appreciated, even if it’s just a quick hello. So, we have a little bit of time left. But I want to, I want to talk a little bit about your business, who is an ideal client for your business? Who do you really enjoy working with the most?

Matt Ross  21:07

Yeah, you know, I think there’s, I think there’s a, we’re in an industry where I think there’s a right answer here. But I think I break the mold in a lot of different ways. And I don’t know that I have an exact ideal client. And I think a lot of people would say, well, somebody who makes a lot of money, or somebody who’s worth a lot of money. But you know, we are running a for profit business. And I think technically people with more money have a higher level of complexity in their life. And I think a new challenge is something that I’m always up for. But I think across the board, an ideal client is somebody who has assets that acknowledges that they need help. But I think there’s plenty of people that acknowledge that they need help, but that they also value professional advice and are willing to take it. I think there’s a lot of people, especially in this day and age where technology is all around us. And answers are just one Google search away. So, there’s plenty of people that I think value professional advice, but maybe aren’t willing to take it. And I think the clients that I get along with, and I get along with a lot of our clients, the vast majority of them, but by default, you know, if you think about who an ideal client is not, it’s somebody who maybe is not trustworthy, or is not trusting, I guess is the right way to say it doesn’t necessarily value professional advice is constantly thinking that the fee that we charge is exorbitant compared to the value that they receive. So, I would say a client with a meaningful level of assets that adds a level of complexity that challenges us and somebody that acknowledges professional advice and is willing to take it.

Rob  22:49

And it also seems maybe just to polish that off a little bit that you enjoy working with, and they enjoy working with you. So, if they kind of hit those marks that you talked about the enjoyment because you have to spend time with them. Right, and they have to spend time with you and has to be a two-way street. So absolutely. If I were to ask one of your clients, why they work with you, maybe what would they say what they say the couple of things are the standout in terms of the way that you let you serve them and communicate with them on a regular basis?

Matt Ross  23:24

Yeah, you know, I think over my career, I’ve been asked this question plenty of times. And I think what they would say about us are that we are intentional, we communicate on a regular basis, we are trustworthy, we are honest, in the assessment of their finances, or, you know, the direction that we are guiding them. They acknowledge that we are real people, like we are not the superficial people that you know, have all the answers and you know, have, you know, 100% of their act put together they just they acknowledge that they know us as professionals, they know us as individual people, you know, I like to say that I’m proud to say that a lot of our clients know my wife’s name, they don’t refer to Heather as my wife. They call her Heather. They know my kid’s names. They know I like to play golf. But I think you know, the intentionality, our level of communication or trustworthiness, I think some semblance of those pieces put together is what they would potentially say.

Rob  24:29

Yeah, cool. And I having obviously gotten to know a little bit about your business, I can really say that you put that into action. So, this might sound like a silly question, but with a yes or no. Are you accepting new clients? Yes, good. I asked that question because sometimes I think advisors don’t make it obvious enough that they are open for new business. And I think that people just automatically know that they’re looking for new clients. And not all are but most are. But in that vein, if someone’s been listening to this podcast, and they think, you know, Matt sounds like the kind of guy that I’d like to talk to maybe talk to you about working together, what are the steps that somebody goes through to become a client of your practice?

Matt Ross  25:21

Yeah, I mean, we’ve got a very specific onboarding process. And obviously, it’s something that you and I have worked together for a number of years on. And I think the most important steps for people to understand is that our relationship is a two-way street. It’s not just a one-way interview, there’s two entities making the decision. But in order for that decision to happen, you need to be educated, you need to be educated on the people that you’re going to potentially be working with, what types of services they offer, and what does the plan look like in terms of onboarding and how they’re going to help you accomplish your goals. And so I think one of the key things that we have instilled in our team to educate prospective new clients on is that it’s a requirement before they come in for their first meeting, that they watch three videos that are on our homepage, because so many of the times people will walk into our office, they will ask us questions that could have been answered, had we given them just a little bit of information, a little bit of peek under the hood, as to who we are, what we do, and our process by which we help people.

Rob  26:28

You know, and I think that is actually one of the very impressive things that you and your team have done is you’ve made it easy for folks who want to get to know you to get to know you, by the way that you’ve laid out that first thing that they often see when they’re considering hiring an advisor, which is going to the advisors website. So, you make that process very, very clear. And I think that’s, that’s something that is noteworthy about you and your business and accepting new clients. So, one last question. We’ve, we’ve wandered around, we’ve talked about advice that you’ve gotten and your belief and working hard and hustling, and that you can have all the talent in the world. But if you don’t hustle, you’re probably not going to get the results that you’re that you’re looking for. We’ve talked about the importance of speaking to people the truth and giving them guidance and doing it in a caring and compassionate way. Because people, especially those people that we care about whether their family or friends or clients appreciate that approach. We’ve talked about the stuff that makes you smile. And you’ve in particular mentioned your precious daughters who just looking at their photos is certainly something to make smile. So, we’ve and then we’ve talked about your ideal client and how somebody could get to know you a little bit if they were considering interviewing you to or talking to you about becoming a client, your back. So, we’ve gone a lot of different places. So, I think it’s been a great interview. And I just wanted to kind of go through all that is I asked the last question, which is if there’s like one piece of advice that you want to give the audience about anything that we’ve talked about, or anything that maybe that we haven’t talked about, what would it be? And I’ll just I’ll leave it there.

Matt Ross  28:12

Yeah, you know, I think like any good relationship, or using the title of the podcast, being a Truest Fan, you can’t mail it in, you know, you can be frank with somebody, but you can be frank, just to make a point. And their feelings and emotions aren’t important. So being real is one thing. But being authentic in a caring fashion, I think is extremely important. There’s plenty of people out there rubber stamping, their advice, and their guidance, and their perceived care for others. And I think somebody who really stands out as somebody who is authentic and cares about the outcome of the guidance, or the adviser of the person on the other end, right. So not mailing in a so-called authenticity.

Rob  29:06

Yeah, yeah, it’s being real. And I think that maybe goes back to your whole idea of giving, being able to truthful with people giving them guidance, and doing it with care isn’t something you should fake or maybe can’t fake. So, I think that speaks well about you, because I think that is definitely one of the strengths that you have because I never feel like you pretend and I think that’s a really powerful way to be. So, well.

Matt Ross  29:34

I think it’s I think it’s harder to be fake than authentic in a lot of ways so thank you for that.

Rob  29:40

You would think you would think but it takes all kinds in this world. And there are pretenders and there are those who are authentic and don’t mail it in. I think that is a great way to end this podcast. Because you know this whole idea about being a true as fan isn’t about faking. It isn’t pretending You’re a fan. It’s not being a band wagon fan; it’s being genuine about who you care for who you root for who you cheer for. And there are so many people in our lives that we know closely and deeply and people that we maybe just meet for a few minutes. But if we can make them smile and give them an authentic smile that really makes them feel like that interaction with something that was worthwhile. That’s, that’s a big deal. So, let’s, let’s call it a show, Matt. Thank you again, so much for being on in the show notes. I will make sure to give links to Matt’s website. So, if you want to learn more about Matt and his business, you’ll have every opportunity to do that. And with that, Matt, as you know, I am always rooting for your success. So, we’ll talk real soon.

Matt Ross  30:47

Thanks, Rob. I appreciate you

Take care.

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