Blogs

how to knkow when its time to change advisorsFarm transition can be hard work. One of the biggest challenges is finding a financial advisor, tax specialist, and legal professional whom farmers feel they can trust. They are wondering if they are well-served by their current team of advisors or if it’s time to change advisors, as some folks are not getting clear answers to their questions, and sometimes don’t know what questions to ask!

The song says “breaking up is hard to do…and I know, I know that it is true.” I think is it hard to fire your advisors because we live in small towns, have to drive further for more options, and we are a loyal bunch.

However, loyalty to a lawyer for 36 years without getting an estate settled is not healthy, happy or smart! I am not kidding; this is a real-life situation. A farmer is fighting with a very elderly brother who is the executor of the father’s estate, and the farmer still has no clear title to his home yard…after 36 years. Stubborn? No.  Just not assertive about firing bad advisors, and moving on to a better one. The question is, how do you find a better one?

How to Change Advisors – My Advice

I like word-of-mouth referrals from people I trust. I won’t refer farm clients to financial planners or lawyers unless I am sure of their work.

I belong to the Canadian Association of Farm Advisors. You can find our directory at www.cafanet.com. All across Canada, these are the folks who care about farmers and keep up to date. We also talk to each other, so ask us what we have seen in our travels working with clients across the countryside.

You also want to check out designations. CAFA stands for membership in the Canadian Association of Farm Advisors. We have a code of ethics and professional development standards.

Certified Management Accountants are different from Chartered Accountants, and I have worked with folks that hold either of these designations, and they do great work. How big a team of experts is behind your book-keeper, accountant, coach, financial planner or lawyer?

Farms are pretty tight with their advisor dollars. They don’t want to be cheated, and they want a good return on their fees paid. A woman I spoke to relayed that it was worth it to spend more money for professional advice. She had been “burned” with a lower cost advisor who did not perform well for her farm.

[Tweet “#Farmers, know when it’s the right time to #change #advisors.”]

As professionals, we don’t want to discredit the work of other professionals, but we do raise “red flags” when clients tell us about exorbitant charges or work that is left undone, or not done in a timely fashion.

Why are your tolerating poor service and performance from your advisors?

I have fired two of my suppliers, one with an exit interview and one with a file being pulled to another professional. These are not easy things to do, but if you want to “do the tough things right” as a farm manager, sometimes you have to let go of folks who are not giving you the service and quality of work you need to run a profitable business.

If you have paid a retainer and are locked into a contract that you want out of, you can work your way out. It might take six months of persistent letter writing, phone calls, and deadlines, but it can be done.

Google the phrase “how to fire your advisor” and see what tips come up.

Remember: Farming Is a Business

Each situation will have its special challenges, and I don’t intend to give you a “quick fix approach.” My intent is to make you pause and think about whether or not it is time to change advisors, and seek out folks whose skills match what your business requires.

Farming is a business, and we need to be profitable with good risk management and very solid written agreements in place. If I had a hundred dollars for every sad story I hear in a year; I could pay lots of advisors a very handsome retainer!

Get it done.

Ask for feedback from the farmers you see making good decisions.

Talk it over with your current advisor and challenge them on the things you think they are weak on. Don’t be shy about asking for what you need and challenging the current situation. Letting go of bad advice is a good thing. You can’t keep pouring your dollars down a drain that is costing your farm money.

When it’s time to change advisors, be wise, do your research, and ask lots of deep questions.

Rave reviews

“A joy to work with, heard loud and clear. When the farmers laughed or asked a great question, I knew they were listening and really wanted to learn from her. Her tips were easy to understand. It was just about understanding that conflict happens, and to have the confidence in yourself to ask for what you want. In the glowing review from farmers after her presentation, I knew they had heard that loud and clear.”
Maddy Berner, Event Planner & Communications Coordinator, National Milk Producers Federation National Milk Producers Federation
“I wanted to say a HUGE thank you for your virtual kitchen table chat with Arlan Academy. My wife and I signed up as it was exceptionally relevant to our current journey with potentially transitioning to her parents’ farm. The session was able to cover so many aspects of these crucial conversations and hearing you speak to both sides of the conversation was eye opening for my own perspective on this topic. It seemed to be very well attended and sounded like there were many other people who would echo my thoughts and feelings on it.”
N. Oakley, Farmer, Ontario
“Elaine helped me allocate $1 Million of assets the night I listened to her. Elaine’s presentation brings value to the use of my services in my office.”
Don Forbes, Forbes Wealth Management
“I recently joined in and listened to your Healthy Farmer Agriwebinar for FMC. I truly enjoyed hearing your perspective and even went and grabbed my Mom, away from her work, to come and listen in on some of your main points as well! One area that really stood out for me, both personally with our own succession plans and with our clients, was your discussion involving "Instant Influence" and how ready are you to change? I loved this concept!”
Annessa Good, FCC Transition Specialist, Alberta
“Elaine Froese truly is the Farm Whisperer. With her big heart and stern resolve, she guides families through uncharted waters and helps them arrive safely at their desired destination. She has been there, done that, and has helped hundreds of families come out on the other side. With your family and your farm legacy on the line, you owe it to yourself to start this conversation. You do not need to do it alone. Let Elaine Froese guide you through. Your legacy is being written day by day. How will you be remembered?”
Tracy Brunet, Host of The Impact Farming Show & CEO of Farm Marketer
“You speak like you’ve been sitting at our kitchen table! You know our family issues well. I am feeling more comfortable understanding what we now need to do. Elaine Froese is real.”
Audience Member,
“I attended the meeting you spoke at in Stratford Ontario recently. We held an emergency family/farm meeting today because of issues that I had enough of. We used a 'talking stick' like you recommended and wrote a chart of rules. The rest of the family thought the idea that we needed a meeting was worth rolling their eyes over, until we got started. The younger ones were quick to clue in that they now have an opportunity to be bluntly honest. The older ones took a bit longer to believe they could truly say what they think. In the end, the meeting needed two sessions because there was so much to talk about… and so many things people didn't realize were a big deal to the others. Your lessons and encouragement have given us the tools we need to get to a better place in our relationships and our business. Truly thankful.”
Kim Martin, Dairy Farmer, Ontario
“Helped me develop my framework to start having constructive and meaningful conversations around the farm.”
Tennille Wakefield, Farm Partner
“Some great lessons, Elaine! You continue to do some remarkable and potentially life-changing work.”
James Mitchell, Principal, Conversations Consulting
“Our family had a good farm meeting yesterday afternoon. Your Fairness video was a great topic of discussion. One of the action items after the meeting was to have my two non-farming siblings watch the video before the next big meeting they are involved with on the farm. It will be a great conversation starter as we catch them up on our current plan. As they are younger, we also hope it will help them to ask new questions that may not have been on their mind.”
G.G., Farm Family Legacy Coach, Alberta
“Elaine gives me excellent tools that help me work with my clients!”
Laurianne Osmack, Financial Planner / Partner, Doell Osmak Wealth Management
“She has a sense of “knowing” quickly what is happening in the family dynamic. Her messages to her audiences drive home what needs to be done next to solve the complex issues of farm transition and conflict resolution.”
Audience Member,
“Eye-opening. Excited to open the door of communication with my spouse and farm family.”
Ashley Hoppe, Farm Partner
“The Strong Farms, Strong Families session gave farm families an opportunity to meet face to face with Elaine Froese... hear her own story, experiences and skill set. From this information packed session and related materials, families could identify areas of success in their journey and other places they need assistance. The greatest take away was that participants could see that Elaine Froese is someone they can trust with the things that they hold most precious.... their family and their farm.”
Nancy Atkinson, Nobleford Ag Society, Alberta
“Elaine’s real-life scenarios help her audiences know they are not alone, knowing there are creative solutions to help them get the life on the farm they have always wanted.”
Audience Member,
“A long time female client who had refined the art of procrastination was so moved by the end of your presentation that she accepted your permission to “drop the bananas.” She contacted me soon after for an appointment to do some planning which included the selling of the family “Century Farm.” A very, very emotional decision on her part that was not likely to have occurred without your presentation.”
Don Forbes, Forbes Wealthy Management
“I just have to say… that your work is amazing and I have never forgotten your teachings from our session in Williams Lake at TRU. It is super important work. I know so many people going through the trauma of succession. I hate to use that word, but I was an “out-law” and know it can get terrible. I continue to forward your emails on to others. Keep doing what you do! You are amazing. You kind of walk into the fire regularly… and with a smile. Proud to have met you.”
Megan, BC Rancher
“As my husband and I eagerly started the course we were optimistic and excited to be taking this next step in our Farm Transition. We were starting to question ourselves and whether or not we were just being selfish and greedy, and if this Farm Transition was still an option for us. We barely got through the first Module and were already having such a huge relief. As we moved through the modulus there were so many times that we just sat back with our hands in the air and thought YES. My husband and I would smile with relief because all of the concerns that we have been struggling with were relevant and came up in the modules. We really enjoyed the course and are excited to move on to the next stages to find our farm resolution.”
Shannon Gilchrist, “Get Farm Transition Unstuck” online course participant
“My hubby farms with 2 brothers and parents, and it’s become a really toxic place. No communication, no respect, etc. Twelve months ago, my husband’s brothers told him they don’t want to work with him anymore and offered him a pay out. His parents did nothing to stop it! He had no choice but to leave. Three months later, we moved off the farm and into town. He has been offered heaps of jobs and is now truck driving and carting hay and grain. We have tried communicating with his parents about what happened but they are not interested. So basically my hubby has lost his family. Very sad but we as husband and wife are overall in a good place and moving on to create our own life. Please continue on with all your wonderful work in helping families on the farm. I continue to tell any farmers I know about you, that they must ‘google’ you, and read your books.”
Donna, Farmer, Australia

Book Elaine
for your next event

Contact Elaine to start the conversation.

+1-204-534-7466 | elaine(at)elainefroese.com

Contact Elaine