This week on The Elite Advisor Blueprint, Derek Coburn (@cadredc) of CADRE joins us to talk about a wide range of topics, including networking and how he redefined “success.” CADRE is a network of high-level professionals who value high-quality networking opportunities and speakers over the traditionally self-interested networking circuit.
Derek began his career as a financial advisor in 1998, establishing his successful wealth management firm largely through cold-calling. During the economic downturn of 2008, Derek realized that he had to spend even more time focusing on his current clients (and even less time networking and learning). Despite the financial hard times, Derek learned what would become the foundational lesson of CADRE: that creating meaningful relationships will always be more time-efficient and fruitful than simply collecting contacts. Thus, Derek and his wife Melanie founded CADRE in 2011 to provide elite professionals with opportunities to meet with and hear from similarly ambitious, dedicated, and exceptional peers.
In this episode, Derek shares his journey, some key client stories, and why he had to reconsider what “success” meant for him. Derek also talks about how to stand out from other financial advisors (or whatever field you’re in), and reveals some of his favorite email-enhancing tools that help him stay in touch with clients.
This interview is absolutely packed with excellent advice. Don’t miss out on all of Derek’s game-changing ideas!
Already heard it once or twice? Please leave a short review here, and tell me which guests I should have on!
- Listen to it on iTunes.
- What Derek’s initial work as a financial advisor taught him about networking. [3:03]
- How Derek and his wife Melanie came up with the idea for CADRE. [6:35]
- Why you should have pre-interviews with potential clients to avoid making exceptions that hurt your practice. [8:44]
- The “Ultimate Tiebreaker” you can provide for your clients by be excellent at what you do. [11:45]
- Why you should spend time learning about your client’s ideal clients. [18:41]
- Why the client appreciation events Derek often hosts are key to his success (and that of his clients). [20:01]
- The importance of being a resource for your clients, no matter their needs. [21:05]
- Why you should think of yourself as your clients’ wingman when you’re at networking events. [26:42]
- Why you should encourage your clients to invite guests to your events, and how to connect people for even more fruitful relationships. [27:05]
- How your clients can make a better first impression on potential leads than you can on your own. [29:40]
- How Derek improves the businesses of his clients by referring them to his network. [34:40]
- Why asking your clients to invite peers to events where they meet other thought leaders is a much more effective way of generating leads. [38:55]
- Key apps and tools that Derek uses to keep in touch with clients. [45:12]
- The story of Derek’s friend, Scott the Pool Guy, and how he marketed his way from near-bankruptcy to huge success. [53:02]
- The books Derek often gifts to friends and clients. [60:33]
- How Derek has recently revamped his morning routine and feels better than ever. [1:06:34]
- Derek’s number-one piece of advice for success. [1:11:31]
SELECTED LINKS FROM THE EPISODE
- The Thank You Economy by Gary Vaynerchuk
- Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion by Robert Cialdini
- The Way of the Superior Man: A Spiritual Guide to Mastering the Challenges of Women, Work, and Sexual Desire by David Deida
- The Obstacle Is the Way: The Timeless Art of Turning Trials into Triumph by Ryan Holliday
- Manhood for Amateurs: The Pleasures and Regrets of a Husband, Father, and Son by Michael Chabon
- The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell
- MUSE – meditation tool
- Connect with Derek: Website | Twitter
- Tools for connecting with clients:
PEOPLE MENTIONED IN THE EPISODE
- Marcus Sheridan
- Mitch Joel – Six Pixels of Separation Podcast
- Tarah Brach – Guided Meditations
- Hal Elrod – Taking Your Meditation to the Next Level
- Malcolm Gladwell
[0:00:37] Brad: On this episode, I’m joined by special guest, Derek Coburn. He is the co-founder of CADRE. Along with his wife, Melanie, they started it back in 2011 as a way for elite professionals to learn from the top experts in the world while also connecting and developing meaningful relationships with like-minded peers. Think of it this way: it’s like a mastermind group for top professionals in the DC area with the added benefit of special appearances by top thought leaders as guest speakers.
Derek’s experience with the Networking success of CADRE, along with the strategy he tested with his very own financial advising clients, lead him to write a book, “Networking Is Not Working: Stop Collecting Business Cards and Start Making Meaningful Connections”. Derek uncovers a strategy he calls “Networking 3.0”. It completely flips conventional wisdom on its head when trying to successfully run a networking or client referral event. You guys are gonna love it.
Besides sharing some inside strategies on networking and referrals, we also discuss a strategy Derek uses to pro-interview potential clients to avoid making exceptions that hurt his practice; the ultimate tie-breaker you can provide for your clients that will make them never wanna leave you, why you should learn about your client’s ideal clients and why it matters, how your clients can make a better first impression than you ever could with prospects, and we wrap with one of my favorite parts of the interview. Derek shares a story about his buddy, Marcus the pool guy, how he went from near-bankruptcy to creating the most trafficked pool website in the world. It’s a content strategy that works just as well in the financial advisory space.
Lastly, Derek went above and beyond for all the Elite Advisor Blueprint Listeners by offering each and every one of you a free copy of his book, Networking Is Not Working. It’s where he shares all of the strategies we discuss in this show and more. It’s available to download free at www.bradleyjohnson.com/derek. “D-E-R-E-K”. As always, show notes that include links to all the resources, books mentioned, everything else we cover are available there as well.
Thanks for listening. And, without further delay, my conversation with Derek Coburn.
[0:02:45] Brad: Welcome, everyone, to the Elite Advisor Blueprint Podcast. I’m so excited to welcome Derek Coburn, who for those of you that have not seen or read or heard Derek’s book, Networking Is Not Working, he’s basically a financial advisor, just like you. So, Derek, welcome to the show.
[0:03:06] Derek: Hey, Brad. Thrilled to be here. Thanks again for having me.
[0:03:09] Brad: Awesome. So, it’s always fun. Seems like the more awesome guests I have on, the more awesome guests I get referred. So I know you’re friends with Joey Coleman, John Ruhlin, and it’s crazy we actually got connected here. I think Joey posted one of your Forbes articles on your different spin on how you do networking events, and then the next thing you know, we’re connected here on podcast. It’s awesome, when you put out good content and you know good people, how those connections just seem to happen.
[0:03:35] Derek: Yeah, exactly. That’s great.
[0:03:37] Brad: On my front, I just wanna give a little bit of background to those that aren’t familiar with you. Obviously, you run a financial services practice, have been doing that since ’98 out of the DC area. Also, you started this little side gig that turned into like, bigger than side gig. Really kind of an un-networking concept called CADRE, and so… I wanna do it justice. I’m gonna let you tell everyone what CADRE is and how it came to be, if you don’t mind.
[0:04:03] Derek: No, no. Absolutely. So, I was just plugging away with my Wealth Management business. I started my career, as you mentioned, in ’98 with MassMutual, and I, very quickly, established myself and became “successful” in terms of the metrics that we use in the financial services industry to measure that sort of thing.
I was qualified for a lot of the trips and I mainly built my practice by being really good at cold calling, and it got to the point where I was finally able to graduate from doing that, and I started spending more time networking. But, obviously, as financial advisors, we’re limited in terms of the marketing that we can do compared to other industries. We have the marketing shackles on us a little bit, and we are not able to cast as wide of a net, so, we have to, more or less, settle for a volume play. I was looking around and seeing the successful financial advisors on these trips and the ones who were 10, 15, 20 years my senior, they all had six, seven, eight hundred clients and I noticed that they probably all really liked working with 25% of their clients.
And so, I said I don’t want to be in a spot where I can’t leverage a lot of the marketing and connecting that other businesses are able to leverage by using online strategies and writing blog posts and that sort of thing. And I wanna really try to only focus on working with people I really enjoy working with, and they really get what I do, and they like our approach. I’m gonna answer your question, by the way, even though it may sound like…
[0:05:47] Brad: Oh, you’re good, buddy. Take your time.
[0:05:49] Derek: …I’m not going to. I said it’s starting to feel like it was burning me out a little bit, and I had used a lot of non-traditional networking strategies to grow my practice, which was yielding some clients that I really enjoyed working with and really enjoyed spending time with, which made it even more obvious when I was dealing with somebody that I didn’t feel that way about. What I did was, I had about 350 clients at the time and I transitioned a little more than 250 of them to other advisors, other firms, and just said, “Hey, you’re not a great fit for…whatever reason.”
Now, I had some extra time on my hands and we had been talking about—my wife and I, who’s my co-founder and partner in CADRE—about trying to take a lot of what I was doing to add value from my network and grow my Wealth Management business to see if it could run as a business where we would facilitate connections and bring people together in a meaningful way. And that’s what we did. At first, we weren’t sure if it was going to work, but I had a really core group of about 15 or 20 people on my network— lot of them were Wealth Management clients—and explain to them what we wanted to do, the type of people we wanted to serve and build a community around, and it really just sort of took off from there.
The way I communicated with to my other Wealth Management clients was, “Hey, you might see that I have this other business now,” and, eventually, they would see that I wrote a book and I knew that some would be concerned. “Hey, are you paying attention to my portfolio? Are you paying attention to what’s going on with our finances?” And I let them know. “Look, I’m taking the time that I would have been spending with these additional 300 or 400 clients that really weren’t a great fit, and might have been more time-consuming for me and my team. Instead, I am focusing on building my network and, hopefully, finding ways to be even more valuable to you through that. So, it’s not at the expense of the time that I would be spending with you, it’s at the expense of these other relationships that I had that weren’t a great fit.
[0:08:07] Brad: Basically you made it in the special club.
[0:08:10] Derek: Potentially. What do you mean by that?
[0:08:12] Brad: I mean, really, if you think about it. Because, in a good way, it’s like, “Hey, I just really zeroed in on the clients that I connected with personally. And, obviously, we’re a good fit for my business, and you’re in that club and I wanna serve you at a higher level once I’m doing this other cool stuff, too.
[0:08:26] Derek: Yeah, and I think what’s interesting is, I had always done that, I always thought about that. And if there was someone that seemed really obvious in terms of not being a great fit, I wouldn’t work with them. But, what’s interesting, the insularity benefit of having two things going on side-by-side is it’s giving me, from day one and to this day, it’s giving me the courage to really stick to my guns in terms of who’s a good fit and who’s not a good fit. I feel like 99% of problems for financial advisors in our practice stem from us as a financial advisor not making a good decision about bringing on a new client at the very beginning.
If we look back at all the clients that caused us and our teams the most problems, we could look back all the way at the beginning and know. Look, I knew it then, but we were making an exception. They were referral from a great client. It was the uncle of a great client, and we feel like we were gonna be able to massage them and win them over eventually, but we probably knew all along. And that’s been a great benefit for both, in terms of growing each business very methodically, and really keeping the quality level of our CADRE members at a high level, ’cause we’re betting for people that not only are successful, but they have a pay-it-forward mindset, and they’re showing up, focusing on how they can add value for other people.
I’ve been asked in the past, ’cause that sounds like rainbows and unicorns, you know? How do you stick to that? It wasn’t until a year and a half ago. It’s like, “You know what? The revenue that I generate on my Wealth Management business allows me to be more or less indifferent to any one person’s 500 dollars a month; which is what we charge with CADRE.” And then, the same is true the other way. I don’t have to make exceptions. That’s really fulfilling, when you’re only spending your time engaging with and having conversations with clients and members that you really like, and they really get you, and they’re a great fit. It’s a lot of fun.
[0:10:26] Brad: Mm-hmm. So, I had a chance to get through your book, Networking Is Not Working; great read for those of you that are listening, by the way.
[0:10:34] Derek: Thank you.
[0:10:34] Brad: I did an Audible version, which is my preferred method. You had something in there I wanted to open, at least on the front end of the interview here today, I wanted to hit on it, because I just thought it was brilliant. I’ll give the brief version. If you wanna expand, I’d love to hear it.
[0:10:50] Derek: Sure.
[0:10:50] Brad: Brief version was, you had a client that was unhappy with their return over the prior year. Basically, you were setting up an annual meeting and it was, basically, whatever meeting you were on, they were unhappy with the prior results. I think part of what stemmed on this meeting was another advisor. They had been to see them and basically said, “Hey, we can do other things that Derek and his firm aren’t doing. They could lead to better results, right?” This, I think, was an Aha! moment for you, but essentially…
[0:11:17] Derek: Are you talking about the Ultimate Tie-breaker story?
[0:11:19] Brad: I’m talking about the client that basically, when he did the math, he’s, like, “Even if Derek loses me for 5% a year, I still couldn’t leave him because here’s what he did for my business—which leads into the whole networking and CADRE and everything you’ve developed there. I figured if you could just share a little bit more on that story and expand on it for the listeners, that would be a really cool way to differentiate how you created a networking event that’s totally different from anything else I’ve ever heard of.
[0:11:46] Derek: Yeah. Yeah, definitely. There is one key distinction I wanna make, and this client was not unhappy with what I was doing. And the reason I point that out is because what I’m about to share, I do not think it’s a substitute for doing great work as a financial advisor. I think it’s something that you do in addition to providing your core service that makes you more valuable to your clients, and probably makes you stand out more from other financial advisors in your space. This client and I changed the name and the industry just because it’s an existing client, but the story that I’m about to share is exactly what happened.
David the Landscaper— a good client of mine, I had a good relationship with him— he called me up and said, “Hey, one of my really good clients asked me to meet with their brother-in-law who is a financial advisor, and I let them know that I was happy with you and I wasn’t looking to make a change, and they said, ‘No pressure. You would just be doing us a favor by taking the meeting. All we want you to do is just to take an introductory meeting and see how it goes.” So he let me know about it and he called me the day after that, which was a couple of days later. He said, “I’m in this meeting and this other advisor, towards the end of this 45 minute meeting, proposed and showed him a hypothetical portfolio. Had my client, David, been investing his money with this other guy for the past couple of years, he would have earned an extra 2-3% on his portfolio than what he had with me.
And let’s give him the benefit of the doubt and just say, “That’s entirely true and it wasn’t just he was plugging funds into Morning Star until it worked really well.” My client said, “Well, that’s fine, but Derek has referred me to clients for my landscaping business that had generated over 2 million dollars of revenue for my business over the past couple of years. So, in theory, if Derek lost half the money in my portfolio, which I did not do, I would have been much better off with him for my net perspective.” That was an Aha! moment for me because I was sort of already doing this thing. I was doing this without being overly intentional about it. I had business owner clients and clients who were in business development roles where I was connecting them and making these sorts of introductions, but I had never thought about how it factored in from a pure numbers perspective.
I think at the end of the day, as financial advisors, most of us would admit we’re selling a commodity, and some of us may think we’re better than others and we have different types of offerings, but really, in order to stand out, I think that we need to do something that is completely different, but also not in place of the core service that we are providing. I thought about it, as a financial advisor, a lot of my clients, and probably a lot of the clients of people in your community are hiring and advisor because they want to increase their net worth. And so, assuming that we are very good in what we do, and we have good teams and we’d leverage good managers and provide good advice, it gets to a certain point where, you know, how are we gonna be able to eke out an extra half a percent a year from a portfolio? How are we gonna be able to lower somebody’s fees by ten additional basis points? Instead, what if I was, as a way to grow their bottom line, instead, really got to understand their business and their ideal client, and figure out a way to position myself as an extension of their business development or marketing department? That’s something where I would have a lot of control over how I would add value for them.
It became commonplace for clients that would refer me or introduce me to their friends and they would say, “I’ve got a financial advisor. I really like him. I really like her.” My clients would say, “Well, do they refer you business?” “What do you mean?” Right? And so, that’s why I call it The Ultimate Tie-breaker. Because, heck, if you are very good at what you do and recognize that there’s other advisors and other firms out there that are also good at what they do, but then you also have a great network, and you also take the time to understand your clients and their business and how you can make good introductions to them, how can identify good opportunities for them, then all of a sudden, they’re not gonna think their current advisor’s as good as they thought they were.
[0:16:12] Brad: Mm-hmm. So, and I think you actually used this term in your book, “connector”, which reminds me of Gladwell, I forget which of his books. They talked about the connector and the different types of people.
[0:16:22] Derek: The maven, the connector, yeah. That was his first one.
[0:16:27] Brad: Were you naturally a connector? Was that just someone you kinda were, and then you, as you started to have this realization about yourself, you know, like, “Okay, well, I need to turn my superpower and just focus on it more and create things like CADRE.” How did that all come about?
[0:16:42] Derek: Building on the story that I just told, I think that for the majority of us, 99% of our ideal clients that are out there right now either don’t know we exist, or they don’t know why we would be a better option for them that their existing providers. For example, I think that maybe 5 to 10 percent of people out there love their financial advisor. Just love them, they think that their advisor’s amazing, there’s no way I’ll ever leave them no matter what. I don’t think that there’s very many people, maybe 5% of people who really have this thing for their current advisor, they don’t like their current advisor, they don’t like their current firm, they’re gonna be proactive about finding another firm to work with.
I would say that as financial advisors, I think our biggest competitor is indifference. I’m sure a lot of people listening can relate to this, but I’ve had so many introductions over the years, where we have an initial meeting, or an initial phone call, and I’m talking to the prospective client and they like what I have to say. They acknowledge that we would be a better option for them than their existing advisor. But, they’re getting their quarterly statements as they had been for the past five, six, seven years, and they’re up in their accounts. Right?
It’s one of these things that get tabled. Even though they know we’re potentially better, or they think that we are better, it’s not anything right now that is going to make them disrupt other things in their lives to fill out new paperwork, move over accounts because, hey, we’re making money. I always say that I don’t want the market to go down and for my clients to lose money any more than doctors want people to be sick, but unfortunately, that’s when consumers and prospective clients really take a look of what they have and say, “We need to make a change.”
For me, a big way to stand out—I mean, it’s our job to increase the net worth of our clients; for a lot of our clients, how else can we do that? It’s not just about a desire to connect, but it’s also understanding. For example, you may know that you have a client that owns and IT company, right? But have you ever talked to this client about the clients that they serve, their ideal client. Is it certain size company, you know, 500 employees to 5,000 employees? Is it a certain industry? Who is the decision-maker inside of that company? Who are the types of professionals and the types of industries that are best positioned to opening up doors for them?
So, when I went from having this conversation with my client and realizing I wasn’t being as proactive about it as I could or should, I began a client interview process where I would reach out to my best clients who also happened to own businesses, or in a business development role, and I said, “Hey, I just wanna ask you some questions.” And I would get a better understanding of exactly what I needed to be on the lookout for. It served as a great reinforcement in terms of the value that I was gonna be capable of providing to them on an ongoing basis.
[0:19:58] Brad: So that segues into; you talk about: number one, networking events and then from there the next version of that. Many of our listeners and clients do this, what I would call client referral events. Maybe a monthly wine tasting or some fun event that people want to come to and they want to bring their friends to, but you actually took that, which is a very good idea and we’ve had a lot of our offices build substantial business off ideas like that. You took that to the next step and it was; not only are these people going and having a good time, but they’re actually making collisions and connections with people that actually drive revenue to their very own business. Can you explain the missing steps in there?
Let’s just assume for a starting point most of the listeners here have hosted some sort of client event or wine tasting or some fun event like that. What are the steps missing to take it to this event where you’re having all of these cool business collisions where people are going and they’re excited because they’re meeting three people that are going to actually drive revenue for their business?
[0:21:05] Derek: Those are two more or less independent events for me, but I hosted both types and other types with a lot of success. On the wine tasting side, the way that I approach networking, I guess the way to really dumb it down would be to say I view networking as the inner section of client appreciation and business development. I think attending networking events, for the most part, if you’re a financial advisor and you’ve been in business for a couple of years and you’re making a couple of thousand bucks; I don’t think you should be in a network event. Instead, I think you should be curating and hosting things on your own that are first and first most meant to deepen the relationship that you have with your existing clients.
The nice thing about this is that we are in a recurring revenue industry for the most part. We keep our clients happy, they’re going to continue working with is. The way that I would structure wine tastings is, it would not be about “come and learn about my firm.” It would not be an in depth discussion or topic. It would first and foremost be, “we’re going to get together and we’re going to drink good wine and have good conversations and meet good people.” I would typically take about ten minutes and provide some thoughts on a topic that would be valuable for my existing clients and potentially valuable for their guests. It could be explaining the difference between; or understanding why you would want have like a rotary back when there was a loophole and you could do it if you made a lot of money. I would try to pick topics that would be interesting but also topics that may disturb the guests’ indifference towards their existing advisers. So no one is showing up. My clients are inviting their friends to come to a wine tasting event. It’s going to be a social event. It’s going to be a fun event. There’s going to be a ten minute talk by my financial advisor, but for the most part it’s going to be fun. I want to speak a topic that will have them thinking at the back of their mind why hasn’t my financial advisor ever told me about this before. That’s the first layer.
The second layer is: I don’t talk about my firm at all because I know that my clients are going to do the selling for me. So, by me identifying in advance who’s coming to the event, I know that Client A would probably really like to meet Client C’s guest. So, I will either connect them before the event or after the event and I’m making the strategic connection that helps out one or both of them, but of course I am the thing that they both have in common so the guest is going to say, “So are you a client of Derek’s?” and Client A is going to say, “Yes. I am.” and then my client is going to sell on my behalf. I think the other way, and what I’ve heard from a number of prospective clients who came there without thinking at all that they were interested in changing financial advisers, they started thinking, “Okay, why doesn’t my adviser host events like this? Why doesn’t he allow me to bring other people?” For me, it’s not as much prospecting going on there. I don’t view it as a prospecting type event. I view it as a client appreciation event; and I’m inviting my clients; and while I’m inviting them, I’m giving them a pass or a ticket to bring one or two other people that they would like to enjoy the evening with.
[0:24:28] Brad: I think the point you hit there at the end, spot on because we’ve coached a lot of advisors on how to host these type of events. The thing is, if you don’t get one referral from these type of events, it’s still a win because you’re existing clients, like you said, recurring revenue. Almost all of our advisors are asset managers as well. Okay, so your best clients love you and they stick with you. That’s a win by itself right there. You bring up a question here. You said sometimes you connect them before the event actually happens. Do you mind sharing an example of how you do that?
[0:25:00] Derek: Sure. I do that before all of our Cadre events as well. I practice something that I call networking 3.0, which is a term that I completely made up. It might not mean anything to anybody. So, networking 1.0 is the way a lot of people approach networking, which is a “what’s in it for me?” type attitude. I’m going to network because I want it to translate into new clients for me. Then a lot of books were written. Some of them were very good articles, what have you, that encourage us to approach network with a network 2.0 mindset, another term that I made up, which is focus on this person that you’re meeting for the first time and how you can potentially add value for them. I think that’s kind of weird if you meet somebody at a networking event and they’re all of the sudden, “Well tell me more about how I can refer you an opportunity.” or “What I can do for you?” It’s like, why do you want to do this for me, we just met? I think it’s risky.
I almost lost a client at one point because I was looking to plant a seed with a new connection, a new strategic partner. I connected this person with my client. My client called me and said, “You know, after I met with this person, during that first meeting, they were trying to pitch me on their services.” So my client was like, “Look. It’s not that big of a deal, but I just want to let you know so that you don’t maybe potentially introduce him to other clients of yours.”
Networking 3.0 is, every time I’m engaging in an activity; that would be networking. Whether it’s going to an event, whether it’s hosting one of these events we’re talking about here, whether it’s just looking online like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, what have you, I am representing my existing clients. I’m representing my existing members. I’m a virtual wingman for them and I’m thinking about who am I meeting or who has something going on that one of my existing clients might be able to solve. In the example I gave you, I know I can trust my clients and I don’t really feel like I’m putting, you know, client sees guest in a platter, but I also want to leverage the fact that they can be there and if it could be really a good win especially for my client, I want to make sure that I’m trying to make that happen for them.
[0:27:20] Brad: Makes sense. I want to make sure we got this. So, the connection standpoint, is that an email? Is that person phone call prior to the event?
[0:27:29] Derek: Yes. So, we’re hosting an event on Thursday. So, today we took a look at the guests that are coming and we spent time looking at their website, learning a little bit about their business, and get an idea for which of our members who are going to come to these events, because look. Their guests; maybe a handful of them may join Cadre, but a lot of them we may not ever see them again. Some of them in industries or some of them doing things that could potentially benefit our members and, if so, we want to make those connections. So I just sent off an email, and I have an email template for this, to say, “Hey! Just checked out your website, really looking forward to meeting you on Thursday. I would love to be able to connect you with a few of our members.” If it were for a wine tasting event, “I would love to be able to connect you to a few of my clients if it could be mutually beneficial. Would you mind sharing a little bit more on your ideal client or who a good person would be for you to meet? If you let me know and it makes sense for everyone involved, I will go ahead and I’ll make that introduction.” There’s a lot of benefits from doing it. A guest is showing up to an event is going to like meeting in advance a couple of other people that otherwise they might not have ever had the opportunity to chat with, and, again, we are finding ways to add value before it even happens, before they even get there.
[0:28:56] Brad: I would like to do the test: What if I was in that position? If I was the guest that was showing up at this event there’s no way that really goes wrong. It’s like, “Wow! These people are thinking enough of me already before they even met me. What’s my ideal client look like and they’re going to potentially connect me to people that might make sense?” I already like you and I haven’t even met you at that point if you’re already asking those type of questions.
[0:29:20] Derek: Yeah. And, again, I would say too that the focus is first and foremost on benefiting my existing client. I do think that if there were guests coming to a wine tasting event that the financial adviser was hosting, the temptation would be to carve out some time and make a really good impression on your guest, but in reality it’s connecting that guest to an existing client or two and you’re adding value again for another one of your clients who’s there. It’s not the reason for doing it, but like I said, what ends up happening almost every single time is a conversation started, “How do you know Derek?” and they now have the person that brought them as my client and this other person they’re meeting is a client of mine. If you’re doing a good job for your clients, that’s going to reflect really well on you and make a really good impression. A much better impression than you would ever be able to do by saying, “Hey! Let me tell you why my firm is so great and how awesome our team members are and the flexibility that we have to invest in different types of investment vehicles.”
[0:30:29] Brad: For sure. Let’s stick with this ideal sort of event where you’re connecting people, networking 3.0. Obviously, Advisors Excel, we’re dealing with the fixed income, the annuity space. That means our advisor clients tend to go towards the baby boomer, the retiree stage, so, therefore, they might not always have an active business. They might officially be retired. Do you have ideas that could still create an event like this? I don’t know if you then focus on their hobbies or what that looks like. Have you ever run into that before where your clients that are maybe retirees or not necessarily running a business today like they used to?
[0:31:09] Derek: Yeah. It’s a different model but I don’t do it as much, but we do group benefits, 401K plans, and in that scenario, we’re dealing with directors of HR or Chief Operating Officers at organizations. They’re not in a business development role. They probably don’t care if we are drumming up revenue or clients for their company. What they do care about though is if we’re able to make their lives better by being resourceful and being able to help them solve problems. I told my clients and position my clients through those initial interviews and on an ongoing basis. As financial advisors, we are in a great spot to position ourselves this way where, “Hey, any time you’re thinking about making a decision about money I just want you to call me up.”
I’ve got one of the best car salesmen certainly in this area. I’ve referred probably twelve of my clients to him. I’ve referred one of my best clients to him when, after they sold a business, they were going to get a new, fun car. It’s like one of his rewards to himself. The guy that I referred them to took such good care of them they said, “Hey can you give us his address? We want to send him a bottle of wine.” I don’t know how many people you know that are sending bottles of wine to car salesmen, but I’m making their lives easier. I do think that with the baby boomers or with the non-selling executives within organizations, your ability to understand what their hobbies are because you do events around their hobbies and interests and that’s going to mean they’re inviting friends. Again, not to hear you pitch your services, but to enjoy in some activity together. Taking it another step further, it’s really thinking about what can you do to be a great resource for them and make sure that they’re emailing you, calling you, every single time they’re thinking about spending money or have a need so that you can help them? Make sure they’re dealing with the right individuals or companies.
[0:33:14] Brad: That’s a great example. It’s what used to be called a Rolodex. I guess it’s just your contact book in your iPhone now, but do you have other examples? I think that’s great and obviously a car, for a lot of people, that’s every few year type of investment where they’re upgrading what they’re driving. Are there other examples, resources like that that your firm has found super valuable to be able to say, “Hey, make sure you’re calling this person for this or that?” Just some things that you could throw out for ideas.
[0:33:41] Derek: Yeah. I think it all stems from making sure, and there are certain ways that you can do this, that you are positioning yourself as a resource for them and they are letting you know. It’s not like you’re just putting it up on a website but in the various interactions that we have with our clients as financial advisors, we should be knowing a lot of this stuff. We should probably know when our clients are thinking about buying a vacation home before just about anybody else. They are telling us they have plans to buy a vacation home before they’re contacting a real estate agent. They’re telling us that they are thinking about gifting money to a certain charitable organization before they’ve even identified what the organization is. If we are having the big picture conversations with our clients one or two times a year, we should be in a position without them having to ask us.
Look the landscaper. I’ve referred probably close to 30 clients or people on my network to a chiropractor, who is a good friend of mine. He is the CEO of an organization called Sports and Spine Rehab. He’s got seven locations in this area. When my clients are having back pain or knee pain or pretty much any type of physical pain, I am putting them in touch with Jay because I know Jay is going to take great care of them and I’m obviously adding a lot of value for the relationship I have with Jay as well.
[0:35:13] Brad: That’s a great example. That definitely goes into the retiree category. The older you get, obviously; I know my back, as a 36 year old I’m in trouble for later. Let’s go to a different topic here. Another thing I took out of your book is – let’s put it this way, my friends make fun of me because I have so many apps on my phone. I get the feeling you’re the kind of guy that stays in the leading edge as far as different technology and things that can make your life easier. One of the apps that you mentioned in the book was an app that helps you essentially stay in contact with the people you want to stay in contact with on the schedule that you want to stay in contact with them. If you want to share just a few tools that you use or things that have helped, I think that would be super valuable to the listeners here.
[0:35:57] Derek: Definitely. If you want to come back to later, I know I covered the wine tasting but I didn’t cover the lunches where I bring people together these business owners, but if you think that’s relevant we can talk about that too.
[0:36:10] Brad: Let’s hit the pause button real quick. While we’re on the subject matter, we might as well hit the lunches.
[0:36:13] Derek: Alright. Cool. I have now hosted over 600 what I call “un-networking lunches” or “round table lunches” and a lot of them have been in the context of Cadre, but the first 20/25 or so were just for my Wealth Management business. This would be something where, if it is retirees, it’s probably not going to work as well. If it’s a handful of clients, a handful of strategic partners, and a handful of guests that they are inviting, you are identifying a restaurant around where you live that has a private room and you are reaching out to make sure that they are okay with providing separate checks to people for lunch and 95% of them are more than okay with that.
You’re inviting these individuals to say, “Hey, I wanted to bring a number of you together because you’re all successful, you’re all doing great things and I want to put you in a room full of other people that I think can help you and that you can add value for them as well.” You are having them all take five to seven minutes, depending on how big of a lunch you have, to introduce themselves; their business. They’re describing their ideal client, they’re letting everyone know what other things they might be involved with: boards, charities, any events that they have coming up and you’re facilitating this conversation where everyone there shows up committed to learning more about the other people there and how they can potentially help them.
What’s interesting is they all love it because they typically are not used to engaging in any type of networking where they’re just meeting quality people. You as a host need to make sure that everyone there is relevant to one another. It’s okay to not do it for CEOs if your primary clients are VP of Sales or some other type of industry. Don’t have four CEOs and four business development reps because that’s where it’s not going to work. Make sure the people you’re inviting are at around the same level and you get a turn.
I always had a turn and I think, again, as financial advisors there really aren’t that many people walking around practically looking for a new financial advisor, but to the extent that you do is somewhat unique, to the extent that you incorporate something similar to what I did in my practice, which was being in a position to refer clients and business to my clients. You get an opportunity to say those things in a room full of people where half of them hadn’t met you before and we’re not clients of yours. I think that a lot of our great potential clients out there, again, they don’t know we exist and our ability to get in front of them in ways that is not about if you were to ask your clients tomorrow, “Can you refer me to some potential clients?” The way that I’m going to put that in action is I’m going to invite them to come into my office to learn about my firm. There’s going to be very few, if any, introductions you’ll get, but if you ask your clients to invite their peers, other friends of theirs that own businesses, or partners of theirs in their law firm to a lunch like this where you want to introduce them to other thought-leaders, other successful business owners, they’ll do that all day long. Now, all of the sudden, you have an opportunity to share your story and what makes you different from other advisors with people that you really were never going to have a shot to meet otherwise.
[0:39:45] Brad: I think you answered my question. My question was going to be, “How did the half of the room that you didn’t know get there?” So you leverage your existing clients their relationships to bring the other guests that you weren’t personally connected with.
[0:39:58] Derek: Yup. Exactly.
[0:40:00] Brad: Now, just thinking through this because the good thing at this point doing this a decade, I know the questions financial advisors start to ask in their head about why this won’t work. So I’m just going to ask it. So you’ve got a great client that’s a lawyer. How do you make sure the person he invites is a good fit for that group? You have to do that vet through you or what’s that look like?
[0:40:24] Derek: Yes, so it wasn’t a formal group for me when I was doing at first. So there are things that I know now that I didn’t do then that I might have done a little bit differently. But I did say there’s not going to be any direct solicitation, and that anybody who comes to this event is not allowed to reach out before, during or after the event to any of the people that are there to sell them, and made sure people agreed to that. There were a couple of times where the people that came, they either were not willing or they weren’t able to provide value for the other people who were there. And they just didn’t get invited back. But it got to a point where I was doing three a month. And you don’t have to do three a month. But if you think about it, if you have a lunch with ten people. And let’s say the first one is just all clients, but then everyone there had a really beneficial valuable experience, and let’s say half of them bring a guest. So now, you’ve got 15 people and you can do two lunches of eight and seven.
And then, let’s say you get another round of 60% or 70% of the people there want to invite someone back. By the time you host four lunches, and it can be spread over four months or eight months, or you can do, you know, two a month for two straight months, you’ll now know, I forget the number, but it’s between 25 and 30 people that you have a relationship with that you previously did not know. And you didn’t pay for it. Everyone paid their own way. I actually think people prefer that. People prefer, if somebody’s buying lunch, they feel like that means I owe this person now. So everyone’s paying for their own lunch. And people are connecting in a way that is really valuable for them. And you’re getting credit for being the one to facilitate that and make it happen.
[0:42:15] Brad: This almost kind of has the feel of almost a mastermind, like an impromptu kind of “I arrange this group of people”. Did any of these groups turn into that where these people wanted to keep meeting on an ongoing basis?
[0:42:27] Derek: Well, I mean, it’s one of the core pillars of what we do with CADRE. We do round table lunches four times a year. But, yeah, it never turn into it. And mastermind has different definitions, I think, now for different people. As I mentioned to you earlier, like my favorite annual event is Mastermind Talks. And that’s nothing like a traditional mastermind because that’s a 150 really amazing people who get together for three days at a fairly elaborate event. Whereas the traditional mastermind is just ten people and we’re in a room. It’s a forum like you would see the vestige or something like that.
[0:43:05] Brad: So what are some examples going back to you hit, “Hey, you wouldn’t want a bunch of sales guys, half sales guys/half CEOs in a group like this. Do you have some examples of groups that worked? Did you have a group of CEOs? Did you have a group of sales reps? What were the groups been forming out of those type of lunches for you?
[0:43:23] Derek: What do you mean by groups that we’re forming?
[0:43:25] Brad: Well, you said you wanna group them in the same types of people, right? So I wouldn’t want four guys that are just nothing but sales in their organization with four guys that are CEOs running from the top-down in an organization. Did you have different examples of groups that worked, that might be good for the listeners to hear about?
[0:43:43] Derek: So I didn’t, but my clients and my market were CEOs and business owners, or other trusted advisors like us, whether it was accountants, attorneys or what have you. And a question that I’ve been asked before is will this only work with CEOs? And the answer’s no. If you have a business that is serving other types of people, I mean, I don’t know if it will work for retirees or not. It would have to be finding ways to bring people together that would be in a position to benefit from the collective wisdom, knowledge, network of everyone that is in the room. But I would say if there’s advisors listening who have clients that are not CEOs but maybe they are really successful high-end sales people at organizations, right? I see no reason why it wouldn’t work to bring people together like that, that have crossed over in terms of the people they’re marketing to the types of clients that they have. I think it will work fine. I just do not think it will work to mix them up, especially from the perspective of the CEO.
If you have two CEO clients and you invite them to come to a lunch, and you’re surrounding them with people that are not at their level in terms of success, but more importantly, not at their level in terms of who they’re connected to and how they can add value for them, then you’re wasting their time by having them come there.
[0:45:13] Brad: Makes sense. Yeah, I get it. All right.
[0:45:16] Derek: So were you talking about contextually now?
[0:45:19] Brad: Yeah. Let’s dig into that. Now, you sent me the information on. I have not had a chance to check it out. So if you just wanna share with the listeners or the viewers here what it is, how you use it, really cool concept that I never heard of before.
[0:45:32] Derek: Yeah. So, I think it is the best. And it could probably serve most financial advisors. It could probably serve as their CRM. But it can also be an overlay on top of a CRM. So people are using Redtail or different types of financial advisor specific CRMs. It can be an overlay. It does a lot of things. But its core feature, if you will, and the reason why I think it could be really valuable for financial advisors is that you get to group your contacts into buckets. You can call it a bucket, whatever you want. So it could be tier 1 clients, tier 2 clients. It could be strategic partners, centers of influence, hot leads, like whatever you wanna call it. And then you assign certain time frame to each bucket. And it runs in the back of your e-mail. It’s not even any software to download. It runs in the back of your e-mail.
And you say, for example, for tier 1 clients, if I do not receive an e-mail from this person or I do not send an e-mail to this person over a span of 30 days, I wanna be reminded. I want it to pop up. And the reason why I think this is important is what I used to do was build into my systems my CRM. I don’t wanna talk to these clients every 30 days and it would schedule these reminders. Well, what it didn’t account for was I ended up going back and forth with that client ten days later or 20 days later, and then the reminder would pop up. And it was all out of whack, right? Because now, it’s like, “Here’s my reminder to talk to them but I just talked to them five days ago. And now, I’m not going to get another reminder for 35 days. So I have to change it.”
So, ideally, if you are communicating with your clients as often as you say you should or would like to be communicating with them. Then, you’re not going to get a lot of reminders. But I think it’s just great in terms of, in a way, how I have it set up is you can include team members’ e-mails. So, for my tier 1 clients, it doesn’t necessarily have to be me every 30 days. It can be me. It could be my chief investment officer. It could be someone from my state planning team. I typically wouldn’t include like the people who do paperwork, right? But, hey, if our best clients do not get any e-mails from us and they do not send an e-mail to us over 30 days, my assistant will get an e-mail, and then she’ll let me know about it. And then, I’ll figure out, “OK, do I wanna e-mail and does someone else need to e-mail them or reach out about something?” And then, I’ve got tier 3 clients that are every quarter. And so you can massage it and do what you want. But I think that by itself just really makes it impossible for you to not stay in touch with the people that you wanna stay in touch with at the frequency of your choosing.
[0:48:19] Brad: So Outlook, Gmail, it integrates with all of those?
[0:48:23] Derek: Yup.
[0:48:23] Brad: OK, cool. And so, I’m thinking what if I grab a contact on my cell phone or the office phone. It’s just monitoring e-mail in the back and forth there?
[0:48:33] Derek: It has an app.
[0:48:34] Brad: So it has an app where I’ll check up the app, just had a phone call, tap it, that client’s reset now another 30 days or whatever that I set?
[0:48:42] Derek: Yeah. It will not do it for your landline. But I would say, at least for me, it’s few and far between when I call a client or client calls me out of the blue, where we haven’t scheduled the time to talk. So, yeah, you’d wanna count for that. But I’ll do that in maybe five times a month, where we connected. I ran into him or a certain client gave me a call and I’ll update it like that. But it’s mainly for e-mail. So if you’re tracking, if you’re staying in touch with your clients, primarily over the phone, it might not be as valuable. But if it’s over e-mail, then it’s really incredible.
[0:49:20] Brad: So, is part of that your calendaring system? So it’s shooting e-mails to him with calendar invites for scheduled calls, it’s still going to pick up on that?
[0:49:29] Derek: Yes.
[0:49:30] Brad: OK. That makes sense. And I know a lot of our advisors also, if it’s a phone call of any substance, a lot of them are going to schedule or send out a recap e-mail, “Hey, here’s what we chattered about”, which then, again, it’d take care of that on that front.
[0:49:44] Derek: Yeah. And again, I don’t think that we need to be having like these epic phone calls with our clients every 30 days. I just wanna make sure they’re getting something from somebody.
[0:49:54] Brad: For sure. Anything else on that app or are we pretty much covered there?
[0:49:59] Derek: I mean, there’s a lot there. You can set up some great e-mail templates from within there. I use the buckets not only for scheduling reminders but also if you have clients that had different types of interests, you know, I’ll create a bucket just for wine tastings, and then I’ll fill it out and check the one that I want to send an invitation to. I use Doodle for scheduling the lunches and the wine tastings, because I think that there were a couple of times very early on when I was setting up some of these events. And some of my very best clients and the people that I thought would benefit the most from being there, the date wouldn’t work for them. So what I do now is I identify the people that if I’m going to do a baseball game and getting a suite at the baseball game, and I know that certain clients of mine are really into baseball, I wanna give them, to the extent that I have flexibility on the date, I wanna let them tell me what their availability is.
I will now, before I host any wine tasting, I have a shortlist of maybe 15 or 20 people. I’m going to host a wine tasting event with this money manager or it’s going to be a straight client appreciation thing. “I really would love for you to be able to join us. Please let me know which of the following dates are available for you.” Are you familiar with Doodle?
[0:51:21] Brad: I’m not. Never heard of it.
[0:51:22] Derek: Doodle is just, it’s a survey that takes 20 seconds. You can pick 2 to 20, if you want. I mean, I usually use three or four, three or four dates and times, and they check, “Yes, I am free. No, I’m not free.” And then, I’ll be able to look at it and say, “OK, I asked 12 people. 10 of them can only make it on option number two and there was only six that could attend any other options. So that’s the one I’m going with.”
[0:51:48] Brad: This is just an app. Is this a website? How do you interact with it?
[0:51:51] Derek: Yup, that’s a website. And you get like a link. But I would say even more beneficial, the most beneficial thing that’s come out of that is that probably if anyone cancels when they were involved and they actually recognize and feel like you picked a date based on their availability, because they provided you options and that was the one that they could make it for, as opposed to, “Hey, I picked this date. Can you come?” And I think sometimes, if things pop up, there might be a handful of people that say, “Well, I can’t make it. But he was going to have it on that day anyway.” So it’s like I’m screwing the over.
[0:52:26] Brad: Yeah. They’ve got skin in the game. They helped basically create the event. So I like that. I’ll have to check that out. All right. So unless you’ve got any other killer apps the listeners need to know about? I was going to ask you about your buddy, The Pool Guy, that we talked on…
[0:52:44] Derek: Marcus?
[0:52:44] Brad: Yes, on our first phone call. Had some really cool, just for people out there creating content, whether it’s blogs, articles, things like that. So before we move on, any other apps out there that people should know about?
[0:52:57] Derek: Nah, I mean, I think those are the primary things that I would check out.
[0:53:00] Brad: OK. Cool.
[0:53:01] Brad: Well, if you wanna give us probably a free plug for your buddy, Marcus, but I know one of the things that you shared in our first phone call that I was like, “Wow, that’s brilliantly simple”, was how your buddy, The Pool Guy, with a marketing strategy very quickly became The Pool Guy pretty much in the United States of America. So just around content creation, how he did it, do you mind sharing the story?
[0:53:23] Derek: Yeah. So Marcus ran a pool company. Full disclosure, I mean, he’s a CADRE member now. We’ve become good friends. But I originally found out about him on Mitch Joel’s podcast. I heard him on Mitch Joel’s podcast. And he was about to file for bankruptcy in 2008 because most people pay for swimming pools using the equity that they have in their home. And that was a really difficult time for a lot of people to access that equity. And he was spending a lot of his time meeting with people that were not a good fit.
His marketing process was someone to reach out. They would say, “We’re thinking of buying a pool.” He would say, “Great. I wanna come to your house”, to have a three hour conversation with them. And he was only closing about 10% of the deals. And it wasn’t because he was a bad sales person, it was because they couldn’t access the funds. The lay of their land was not going to to accommodate what they wanted. They actually wanted a concrete pool and he only sold fiberglass pools. So he had stumbled onto this whole idea around blogging and figured he would give it a shot.
And he’s like, “I’m a pool guy. What am I going to blog about?” And he had the idea to start writing blogs, where the title of each blog post was one of the most frequently asked questions that he got from prospective pool buyers. So the very first blog post that he ever wrote was titled, “How much does a fiberglass swimming pool cost?” He was, at that time, the only swimming pool website in the entire world that addressed cost and pricing on his website. And people were typing in, “Should I”- you know, blog post number two or number eight or whatever number it was – “Should I get a concrete pool or a fiberglass pool?” And he wasn’t trying to steer them towards him. He was just saying, “Here’s why you might want either one.” And he accumulated this content and was able to, what he would say is – and what he does to this day even though he’s a silent partner in the pool company, which is the most traffic swimming pool company in the entire world – is he works with organizations and helps them create cultures of content producers and become the best teachers in their industry, so that people, when they have questions and they’re typing in them online, you’re the one that is constantly popping up because you’re providing the best answers to the questions most people have.
And it got to the point where he would now get a call from a prospective pool buyer and it was, “I want you to read this 25-page e-book that I wrote”, or “I want you to go and check out these sections on my website.” And he calls that assignment-selling, which I’ve incorporated in both my wealth management business and in CADRE, where you are at a point where you don’t have to be super desperate, and you can make sure that you’re only going to end up having conversations with prospective clients who are a good fit for you. And he says, “I need you to do this.” And if they don’t do it, he doesn’t have a meeting with them. If they do do it, one or two things happen. The first thing that happens is they learn by reading on his website that they’re not a good fit for him. He doesn’t have to go to their house and talk with them for three hours to figure that out anymore. He provided them everything they need to know.
The second thing that happens is they do realize they’re a good fit and they schedule a meeting. And he got to learn where he knew like if somebody looked at 25 pages on his website and then still wanted to meet him, his close ratio would then be 90% and not 10%. And that just became a really great way of growing his business, saving that business. And now, he’s teaching a lot of other businesses how to do the same.
I will say, I will share a story as it pertains to maybe some financial advisors. I had done this to a certain extent in my wealth management business. But I found myself from time to time getting caught up in a situation where I would have a phone conversation with a referral, or a meeting with a referral, and we would have a great conversation. We hit it off and I like them. We had similar interests. And it was going great. And then, we would schedule the next meeting. And then they would let me know more about their financial situation and what they had going on and they had debt, or they had most of the money tied up in retirement plans. And they weren’t going to be a good fit for my practice. But I was already more or less emotionally invested in them at that point. I had spent time with them. I didn’t wanna let them down.
So for the past several years, when I get referred to a prospective client before I have that conversation, I wanna remove myself from – it’s kind of the same reason why a lot of high profile CEOs have gatekeepers, right? They know if they answer the phone, they might, like Michael Hyatt says this all the time, “I have my assistant deal with my e-mail because I’m going to say “yes” if people get their hands on me.” And so, I wanted to make sure that before I had that call, that they were going to be a good fit. So we ask them to fill out, complete a confidential client profile, they’re just checking boxes. But I’ll get a feel for whether they’re in the right spot for me in terms of their assets, in terms of their expectations, in terms of what they have going on. And, if not, they’ll get an e-mail from me, not suggesting a phone call but an e-mail from me suggesting one or two other firms that they may wanna work with.
So I don’t know if that’s going to be relevant for people listening, but I thought I would share that.
[0:58:39.3] Brad: I think that’s good. A lot of our advisors will have a minimum investment level, as I’m sure you do in your firm. And rather than just saying, “No, you’re not a good fit”, you’re politely declining but giving them options.
[0:58:51] Derek: Yup.
[0:58:52] Brad: It’s just going to lead to more goodwill back to you guys, if people feel good about it.
[0:58:56] Derek: And it’s one thing to have a minimum. And it’s another thing to have a minimum that you’re flexible on, right? So that you know your minimum is, you know, half a million bucks, and you can see that on a piece of paper before there’s been any kind of a bond or any kind of a connection with someone and say, “They don’t meet my minimum and that’s cool.” But then, you have a 45 minute call or meeting with somebody and it goes really well and you like them, and they only have $250,000 and you’re making an exception for them maybe when you probably shouldn’t.
[0:59:25] Brad: Well, and referrals are tough too because you already have that mutual acquaintance of somebody that was a good fit and you wanna honor that and respect that. So just having that extra step kind of protects you guys from getting into situations that aren’t a good fit for you or for the client really. You’re not going to best serve that client if they’re not fit for your model.
[0:59:43] Derek: Definitely. You’re right.
[0:59:45] Brad: We’ve got a few minutes left here which is this the most fun, not that everything up to here, Derek, hasn’t been amazing. But this is where I get some of my most insightful answers. So if you’re good for it, I’m ready to flip over to kind of the rapid fire questions here.
[0:59:58] Derek: I’m game.
[0:59:59] Brad: All right. I know you’re quick on your feet. Your buddies tell me you are. So I think you’ll be fine here.
[1:00:03] Derek: All right. I do best when expectations are not high, so.
[1:00:07] Brad: Cool, all right. So one thing that just getting to know you over the last couple of calls here, you are a guy that I can tell just invest a lot in educating yourself, the groups you hang out in, the mutual acquaintances we have, it tells me a lot about the type of guy you are. So I’m curious, are there books out there that you’ve read that made a massive impact on you, who you are, your firm? And secondarily, I’ll give you two options on this one. Are there books that are your most gifted books out there that you’ve given a lot to friends or business acquaintances?
[1:00:39] Derek: Yeah. I think that my favorite book probably of all time is “Influence” by Robert Cialdini, and that’s probably one. You and some of the people listening have heard of before. And another older book that I’ve read a couple of times is “The Way of the Superior Man” by David Deida. That is not as business-specific, but it’s sort of like a combination of how most men who have masculine energy, which is 90% of men, and the other 10% have more feminine attributes. How a masculine man evolves over time and how our goal is to sort of die empty, that we continue to peel back the layers of our purpose of being here and find how we can leave impact. And we leave it all in the table, whereas feminine women, 90%, are the opposite.
Like they wanna die full and they wanna be full all the time, full of love, full of friends, full of stress, full of all kinds of stuff. And so, it’s a really, really great book that might not be something that a lot of your listeners have read. But I think it’s really good. So I would check that out as well.
[1:01:45] Brad: Cool. A gifted book or either of those ones you gift or are there others out there that you’ve gifted a lot?
[1:01:51] Derek: Yeah. Let me see. What’s my most gifted book? My most gifted book lately has been “The Obstacle is the Way” by Ryan Holiday. And another one that I give as a gift to all of my clients and friends who are getting ready to have a baby for the first time, there’s a book called “Manhood for Amateurs” by a guy named Michael Chabon, who I’ve never read any of his fiction books. He’s one who pulled a surprise, I think, for one of them about ten years ago. But it’s his only non-fiction. It’s a collection of essays about being a man, about being a father, a husband and a son.
[1:02:31] Brad: Awesome. One I should read.
[1:02:33] Derek: It’s cool.
[1:02:34] Brad: All right. When you hear the word “successful”, who’s the first person you think of and why?
[1:02:39] Derek: I would probably say my wife. And the reason I would say my wife is because Melanie had some different things to overcome while she was growing up. And we come from, you know, different backgrounds. And she was sort of steered in certain directions by her family. And she really had to be independent and really make a lot happen on her own to get her to where she was by the time we met and beyond. And so I just really respect and admire her resilience and her attitude in sort of all she’s done to not only get where she is, but all she continues to do for me and our boys and everyone else in our extended family network.
[1:03:29] Brad: Awesome. Well, she’s a partner on the CADRE side as well, right? You guys work hand in hand together.
[1:03:35] Derek: Yeah.
[1:03:36] Brad: Sounds like she stays busy. I know just having kids myself, that right there is a full-time job.
[1:03:41] Derek: Oh yeah. And we get some help with that too.
[1:03:45] Brad: Hey. If you’ve got some extra, send it my way.
[1:03:48] Derek: You know, Care.com has two rounds now. We found there our nanny. And our kids are now both in school so we don’t have a nanny. But we did have a full-time nanny and then somebody for 15 to 20 hours a week that would come over three times a week, five hours a day, cook dinner a couple of times a week, take dry cleaning, do some shopping, do our laundry, clean around the house. And she, at the time, was not somebody that was great with watching kids. And our nanny had said from the first time we hired her, she was a great nanny. But she said, “I’m not ever going to clean for you.” And that was fine. But then when our kids got older, we needed somebody else. And we went back to Care.com and had this amazing girl with us for about a year now.
And she’s like perfect hybrid. So she’s 15 to 20 hours a week. And some of that’s her playing with the kids or picking up the kids. Some of it’s cleaning. Some of it’s just sort of does everything. So it’s been a really great resource for us on a couple of different occasions.
[1:04:48] Brad: Very cool. There’s another tool that I can use right there. Now, the question is, do they serve rural Kansas?
[1:04:55] Derek: Yes. That’s the million dollar question.
[1:04:57] Brad: While we’re on that topic, just complete aside, John Ruhlin was the one that pulled this out. He actually uses a service like that for his employees. So that’s one of his value propositions to his employees. He actually pays to get their houses cleaned every two weeks. So I just thought that that was cool how he was like, “What are things that I really enjoy?” And I feel like it’s something that wasn’t necessarily a necessity when we got it. But it’s like something that everybody, once they have it, would just love. And so, I mean, same thing. We have someone that cleans our house. I’m like, “Wow, that could be a really cool value proposition to different relationships that you care about.”
[1:05:37] Brad: I’m surprised you’re that. I didn’t know John gave gifts that you couldn’t put your hands on.
[1:05:42] Derek: Yeah.
[1:05:43] Brad: Because, you know, I’m a big fan. We use John for a lot of our gifts for a lot of our clients and members. And I preach his stuff all day long. I didn’t know that he ever. I mean, I didn’t know that he ever thought it was acceptable to give a gift that was a service that would disappear just because he’s brainwashed me so much into how to be something that they’re going to use, incorporate the spouse, make it personal, all that. But that’s cool. I’m going to give him a hard time about that though.
[1:06:12] Brad: Well, I think, I don’t know if it’s actually a gift that he utilizes in his service. I think it’s a perk for his employees.
[1:06:20] Derek: Gotcha. Right. That makes sense.
[1:06:22] Brad: Hey, I bet, you know, he’ll probably roll something out next year where they can incorporate that too. I know he’s always thinking the stuff they can do.
[1:06:28] Derek: Yeah, definitely.
[1:06:30] Brad: Do you have a morning routine that’s consistent? Just out of curiosity.
[1:06:34] Derek: You know, I recently completely revamped my routine. And I, for the longest time, had been more of a night owl. And kids coming along sort of miss dad up a little bit. And I started doing some different things in the morning where I was putting into practice like Hal Elrod stuff, The Miracle Morning. And up until last year, my kids went to different places in the morning. And now, they are at the same school and they’re going to the same place at the same time. So, until then, I would wake up and I would hang out with the kids. That would be our quality time. Then, I would go to the gym and get a workout and I experimented with meditating and doing different things in the morning as well. And I just became super stressed out, where I was now not getting into the office until like 11:00 AM or 11:30 AM. And so it’s like 11:00 AM or 11:30 AM. I haven’t done anything yet. What’s going on here? And it would affect my productivity and my mood for the rest of the day.
So several months ago, I said, “Let’s take advantage of the fact that the kids are going to the same place in the morning.” I’m just going to get up and blow out of the house before anybody wakes up. And, at first, I was meditating and drinking water and doing some exercises and reading the bible and doing different things. And that didn’t work for me because I woke up and my mind was clear and I was ready to roll. I thought to myself, “Why am I delaying it?” Again, this is just for me personally. So I just got out of the house. I went in. I immediately started working. Heck, I would even get on e-mail and even like Facebook. And it would like charge me up and get me excited to tackle whatever I had to do next. I would do all that. I would kind of leave it on the table. And I would be done by two or three o’clock.
But what I started doing was I would started using meditation and some of the things that Hal talks about, meditation, reading the bible, some other things, around right after lunch. And I did it almost as a way to reset my day, where I eat lunch, I was maybe not as perked up as I was as soon as I wake up in the morning, I would do it as a way to hit the reset button on my day. I’d work for a few more hours. Then, I would go home and I work out at six o’clock at night now. And then, I come home, I hang with the kids for a couple of hours and my wife likes having me around at that time of the day to help out with the kids. As you can imagine, they’re a little more difficult than they are, like at 6:30 in the morning when they wake up and they’re nice and refreshed.
So, yeah, I completely, I’m a creature of routine and I have ADD. And it’s something that I need to be on a good routine in order to be productive. But my routine now is completely different than what it was a year ago.
[1:09:24] Brad: I think what’s cool about that is you experimented with different routines and you found the one that works for you. I’m curious, because you mentioned meditation, is there an app or a system that you use for meditation that you found that you like?
[1:09:38] Derek: Yes. And so that’s changed a little bit too. At first, I started using Muse which you were it like a headband. And that was good for a little while. I got away from it for whatever reason. And now, I actually like using Tara Brach, some of her guided meditations, so www.tarabrach.com. It’s more of like mindfulness. So I’ve thought about and I’ve considered doing TM. And I still may try that at some point. But I really like her style because she’s talking you through like, “Now, feel the energy in your finger tips. And feel the breath hit your stomach.” And so, it’s not the kind of meditation where you are trying to clear your mind and not think about anything. It’s more like kind of the meditation where you’re just becoming more aware of your body and how you can calm yourself down. And get yourself into a relaxed state both during the meditation and beyond. So that’s sort of what’s working for me now.
[1:10:41] Brad: Cool. I’m no expert in meditation. But it’s something I’ve definitely experimented with the last, especially couple of years. And I think in today’s world of cellphones, and never turning off anything, and constant distraction, I just find it so valuable, it’s just ten minutes where you just, no distractions. And I’ve used Muse. What I found with Muse, it almost became the opposite of meditation because it was such a game. I was like competing every session, where it almost started to be the opposite of meditation.
[1:11:13] Derek: Interesting. I can see that. I never did that but I can see why you would think that. Like how many birds you collect.
[1:11:18] Brad: Exactly. It’s just all about those chirps that I was looking for. So about three people, three listeners will get that. Cool. Well, I know we’re right at the end. Let me, I’ll wrap with the question I ask everyone. What is the one piece of advice you can share with the listeners and the watchers out there that led to your success? You could just distill it all down to one thing.
[1:11:39] Derek: Yeah. I would say that because how we’re defining success now is probably different and this conversation is different than, again, the metrics that define success in the financial adviser community, and maybe there’s nothing wrong with that, right? But I would say that for me, personally, I’ve always been willing to question the status quo. I mean, I remember being a senior in high school and I was cutting school and leaving to go buy comic books as they were released. And I was running a comic book business. And I was making $3,000 a month as a 16-year-old. And I get pulled into the office for an intervention, if you will, with the principal and my parents.
And I just remember thinking, like, in terms of like the principal and my teacher, like I think I’m probably making more money than they are right now. I don’t understand why you’re telling me this is bad and why I need to be showing up at school. And so one of the things that triggered the change from the wealth management world as my only thing just to being one thing and then CADRE was I remember reading Gary Vaynerchuk’s book. It might have been “The Thank You Economy”. He just said, “Look, there’s all this great stuff you can do out there now from word-of-mouth marketing and social media. If you’re in finance or in law, you better really love what you do because you’re not going to be able to take advantage of any of this stuff.” And fortunately for us, that’s gotten a lot better, right?
And I was always sort of willing and I think it’s important for everybody always sort of willing to say “why can’t I do this?” And obviously, you’re not breaking any laws. But why do I have to sort of do what everyone before me has already done as there are different way they’ll approach it or there are different conversations that we can be having. So maybe like less pointed and more long-winded answers than we were looking for, but hopefully that helps.
[1:13:39] Brad: I think that was an awesome book into the conversation. It just shows you’ve always been an entrepreneur too. $3,000 a month and I mean, that was probably a lot in the ‘90s. So that was a lot of money back then.
[1:13:50] Derek: Yeah, yeah. Definitely.
[1:13:53] Brad: Well, Derek, this has been an awesome conversation. So, first off, thank you.
[1:13:57] Derek: Yeah, it was fun.
[1:13:58] Brad: Ton of ideas, a lot of energy for the conversation today. So, thanks for joining us today.
[1:14:03] Derek: Thanks so much, Brad. I appreciate it, man.
The information and opinions contained herein are provided by third parties and have been obtained from sources believed to be reliable, but accuracy and completeness cannot be guaranteed by Advisors Excel. The guest speaker is not affiliated with or sponsored by Advisors Excel. Results from the use of these concepts are no guarantee of your future success.
While client appreciation events may be permitted, such event should be reasonable and customary. All producers and investment advisors should be aware of any gifting limitations imposed by federal regulation, state regulation, insurance carriers, broker-dealers and Registered Investment Advisors, as applicable. Investment advisors are strongly encouraged to obtain pre-approval from the broker-dealer and/or Registered Investment Advisor with which they may be affiliated prior to implementing the concepts or strategies discussed in this interview.