Brad Johnson: Anthony Pellegrino, welcome to the Do Business Do Life Podcast. Glad to have you here, man.
Anthony Pellegrino: Thanks for having me.
Brad Johnson: Or I should say I’m glad for you to have me here because we’re actually recording in your recording studio. This is a first-ever.
Anthony Pellegrino: Yeah. Yeah. You’re probably on-site in your own house, right? Your own element.
Brad Johnson: Yeah. So, as sheer coincidence would have it, we’re hosting an event in Chicago. We had a podcast to do. We’re like just swing by. You have a beautiful office, by the way, but this was part of the build-out. It was actually build a studio with inside your office.
Anthony Pellegrino: Correct.
Brad Johnson: So, we’re going to get to the why behind that later. That’ll be fun. But for those that don’t know Anthony, I figured I was trying to think like for a guy I’ve known over a decade now, we’ve really grown up in the business together. How do we take listeners that don’t know Anthony and just start this off on the right foot? And the more I thought about it, it was obvious and it had to start with the phone call.
Anthony Pellegrino: The call.
Brad Johnson: So, I’ll set this up and then I’d love for you to hear or you to explain your side of it. So, this was, for you listeners out there, this was many years ago. So, just think, picture a young Brad and this was in a previous organization and this was back in the days where I was grinding it out, cold calls. I think I had maybe one other team member on my side but worked with a few offices across the country. And so, one day I’m working past five, married to my wife, Sarah, had no kids at the time, so that was kind of our deal. Like a couple of nights a week, I’d just work a little late, do some catch-up, maybe even make some late-night phone calls to catch an advisor after hours and have the gatekeeper there. So, in those days, if it was after hours and instead of ringing to a voicemail, it would actually ring upfront to the reception. And then if that didn’t get answered, then it would ring to the rest of the office.
Anthony Pellegrino: It’s like a phone tree.
Brad Johnson: Yeah. So, literally, everybody’s phone would ring after hours and I happened… It had to be 5:45, 6 p.m., maybe 7.
Anthony Pellegrino: On Friday, right?
Brad Johnson: I don’t remember what day it was. It was a grind, pretty sure. I was a different man. I was there to grind. I was grinding at the place. And so, I remember sitting at my desk. The phone rings. I pick it up and there’s two guys on the phone. It’s you and your brother, Mike. And I don’t remember the exact open but it was, “Hey, this is Anthony and Mike Pellegrino. We got this piece of mail or got this voicemail you sent out and we wanted to check in on this event you’ve got coming up here in a few weeks.” So, anyway, so I’m answering the phone, pulling up Anthony Pellegrino: in the CRM, and literally there’s no notes. There’s one word, all caps, and it just says, “Whale.” That’s it but it’s like left message, “Whale.” And so, I had no other context but back in those days a whale was, “Oh, this guy does a lot of business, you know, top prospect, all that.” And so, the way we did it back then you would be assigned prospects of, you know, if you reached out, that was your guy for the next 30 or 45 days. So, my other buddy, Brad, by the way, for listening to this, you still owe me about 30 pack of Keystone for this phone call.
Anthony Pellegrino: This is true because I didn’t know which Brad we were ending up with. I thought it was you that ended up being him which worked out too.
Brad Johnson: So, there were two Brads and the other Brad had left you a message. He was gone for the day, but I was like, “Well, I’m here. Might as well do this sales call.”
Anthony Pellegrino: Yeah.
Brad Johnson: And then what proceeded was a 60-minute marathon phone call. The best thing I can compare it to was like a verbal sparring match where we were duck and we were weaving.
Anthony Pellegrino: It was fun.
Brad Johnson: I remember instantly in that phone call just like, wow, these guys, they’re super successful but they like to have fun. They don’t take themselves too seriously. And I just remember an instant rapport in that phone call.
Anthony Pellegrino: Sure.
Brad Johnson: So, let’s hear your side of it and then we’ll get into the rest of where your story went from there.
Anthony Pellegrino: It’s interesting too, Brad, just think the word “whale,” I mean, now you’re going back 13, 14 years ago but with all due respect to anyone, whatever type of business you’re writing, but 13, 14 years ago was $25 million of new production was considered a whale that here we are 13 years later not looked at as so much. Still per year, great business but whale, you know? So, yeah, at that time, I was pretty comfortable with who we were working with, that FMO at that time. So, I really had no reason to change. So, for me, I was like, “All right. Well, let me check these guys out.” You said a really nice marketing piece of it. Made a lot of sense, so I just wanted to fill you out. Yeah. I remember on the call that you were using some phenomenal takeaways. I’m like, “Well, I’m thinking about it. I’ll let you know,” and you’re like, “Let me know? Like, there’s only lawn seats left, so you’re not even going to make it into this event. We have to let you in.” So, it was one heck of a sparring match and it was fun. We’re both having fun with it. And the conclusion was we ended up attending. Went out to that New York event and met you guys, you and the other Brad and, yeah, it was a continuation of the call to where we end up working together and turn into a phenomenal friendship. Here we are 13-plus years later.
Brad Johnson: Yeah. I remember the Guggenheim Museum in New York was where we hosted part of it and I remember you actually stopping me mid-conversation, “Well, can I just stop you right there?” And I’m like, thinking to myself, “Uh oh, did I offend them?” You go, “That was a phenomenal takeaway course.” I thought we were literally dissecting the sales. But I do remember that was the only time we had that experience scheduled. So, I’m like, “Honestly, guys, that’s the only one that we’ve got.” So, I’d love to tell you, “Hey, if you can’t make this one, you’re really busy, come to the next one.” But it was just like a really fun conversation and I remember then you were even early. I remember one of the reasons you came out, you were exploring, “How do I start to…” You were obviously, I’m going to say, prolific as far as live seminars.
You were doing more than almost anyone at the time and we’ll get to where that’s evolved here a little bit but you are always one of the things that I remember even from that first call, you were always a student of the game where you were constantly challenging and like, “Hey, where is this thing going? Where is marketing going? How is it evolving?” And one of the conversations there was a gentleman that was driving a lot of business online. And it’s really cool to see how you’ve continued to evolve. And now you actually have a full-blown team member responsible for nothing but online lead gen.
Anthony Pellegrino: Director of Digital Marketing. Yeah. Brought a director of digital marketing. To your point, Brad, still, I still am a student of the game. I still maintain a thirst to what’s next? What’s next? Where’s this industry evolving to? And I think that’s what keeps you sharp. Some of the things you’ve taught me over the years and some really good books, I think Good to Great and money makes people lazy, right? I love a great quote by Bill Parcells. I was watching an interview, former New York Giants football coach and coach of Patriots, what have you. They’re asking about one of his players and he said, “You know what I told them? Don’t let good enough be good enough,” and that resonated with me. And really because once you start achieving success, you can kind of just descend a little bit and relax and we could talk more about that as we go on how my mindset changed to what we get into kind of a point about me burning out where I saw that happening.
But now I’m at a point where I never have felt better about the business, hungrier, happier and it’s kind of odd that all those things come together, right? Because typically, when you’re on burnout at grinding, grinding, go the other way, sometimes your happiness is the thing that can sacrifice and dwindle as a result of it. But, yeah, I’m a student of the game. Keep learning at everything.
Brad Johnson: Yeah. So, on that note, let’s give a short version of your journey through finance. You were fairly young into it then because you and your brother did incredibly well in the mortgage business. Then ’08, ’09 happened, and that imploded for everyone, which I think was kind of the door opening into the world of finance. And so, I’m trying to think that was probably a 2011, ’12 phone call sometime in there.
Anthony Pellegrino: Yeah. That was like probably 2010, I want to say ’10. It was probably 2010. Yeah. So, with us we had a successful mortgage business and at the time, I mean, we were just creating business. And even with that, it wasn’t like a traditional mortgage company. We were dealing with a lot of real estate investors. So, it was more about real estate investing in how you can leverage equity in one property, buy another, another, another. And we kind of aligned ourselves with some financial advisors. And we were referring business back and forth. Well, I found myself at a position when 2007, 2008 as the market started to crash, I found myself our industry was getting crushed. And I said, “Wait a second, I refer and I’m bringing the financial advisors we’re working with, I’m bringing them more business than they are on us. And in fact, just to a point, we were bringing them more business than they were generating for themselves outside of us. So, as the industry was collapsing on a mortgage and you said like, “Wait, we can do this.” So, we kind of stepped on the lily pad of safety as that industry collapsed, went all in on the financial side, attain all the proper licenses, what have you, and then just took off.
Brad Johnson: Wow. Well, the thing that I’ve always seen with you and your brother, Mike, because back in those days you two were kind of the side-by-side tandem. I now know he’s your COO, which is even it’s just really cool to see the dynamic you guys are running the business with. But you guys, the first time I met you, you kind of had that just grind, right? It’s like you were willing to grind. You were like whatever it takes. I know we brought the Enneagram into our community. For those that know the Enneagram, Enneagram 3, which is the Achiever, which is like wherever the board is, you’re going to be at the top of it. It’s your personality. And one of the things when we first connected you were grinding, were you doing triple digits seminars? Did you ever get to 100-plus seminars? Or was it just knocking on the door?
Anthony Pellegrino: Knocking on the door. It was in the 80, 90.
Brad Johnson: Yeah.
Anthony Pellegrino: 90 a year.
Brad Johnson: And your production was like that was the thing I saw is production-wise, you know, what new assets gather. You were always at the top of the board wherever you were at, you know, whatever organization you were at. And then there came a point and family dynamic, married to your beautiful wife, Roslyn, three boys at home. And I think as entrepreneurs, I’ve fallen victim to this. I know you’ve shared with me like, hey, this was a thing I had to work through. It was kind of the grind for the benefit of the family. Like, “Hey, I’m working so hard so I can provide for my family back home.” And you shared some stories where that just kind of started to like hits you upside the head of like, “Wait, am I truly looking at this through the right lens? So, I’d love like, I think there was one story where you tried to join the Chicago marathon but you were actually registered or something like that. So, I just love your take because I know there are a lot of advisors have kind of felt that red-line burnout. In the production, they were killing it but just out of whack, out of balance.
Anthony Pellegrino: Yes. You know, it’s funny because, Brad, if I look back, right, so in those days doing 90 seminars in a year as an individual to write $25 million of business to now where our company is doing less than that, I’m only doing half of those, mind you. So, maybe I’m doing 30 or 40 in a year and another advisor’s doing the other half but less than we were. And instead of writing 25 million, this year we’re pushing 250 million. So, you think about that, right? It’s a decade later, 10X the amount of production with literally less seminars than before it. So, there’s a dynamic there. But take it back to the early days, yeah, look, I’m just like many of the other advisors out there that start in the beginning, I had in my mindset 90% of financial advisors fail. What can I do? I was driven still and to this day driven by fear of failure, fear of failing. And I did whatever it took. And in the early days, yeah, I was working seven days a week that goes six days a week in the office, Monday through Friday, meeting with Saturday meetings, and Sunday mornings I would drive a 45-minute drive from the suburbs out in Naperville, Illinois to downtown Chicago and drive down for years, did a live radio show. So, it wasn’t prerecorded, right? It was live.
Brad Johnson: Wow.
Anthony Pellegrino: And in fact, your point about the marathon, so first year we’re doing a radio show. The station, WLS, major station, hundred-year record, failed to tell me, “Oh, Anthony, for the live show you’re coming down for, be careful. You’re going to have to come down like 2 hours early.” So, came down. Police were directing me all every direction and I’m looking at the clock and I’m like, “This show starts in like 20 minutes.” The police officers directed me almost on Lake Michigan pretty much. I found a parking garage finally. I had about a seven-block run to get to the station. So, I’m booking, right, running, running, running. And I’m like, “Oh, perfect. I’m going to make it.” All of a sudden, I come around a corner and what do I see? A sea of people in color. It’s the Chicago marathon. And I’m looking at it. Now, the quarter of State Street and Lake, I’m like, “Oh my goodness, how am I getting to the NBC building there?” And I’m the type of person, my mindset is if a wall comes up, I’ll go around it over a bar through it. And that’s exactly what I did. So, I literally live show I hopped over the gate that they had, and I’m running with the Chicago marathon. I’m the only guy without a number on my chest. And it took me about a block and a half to kind of weave over running on an angle to get out and I made it up to do the show.
Brad Johnson: So, you were running with the current of people running down the street?
Anthony Pellegrino: Yes, I was. And, Brad, those days literally show would end, jump in the car, not even. Show ends, on the elevator ride down, phone calls are coming in, these leads. And my 45-minute car ride home, I’m working leads all the way.
Brad Johnson: From the radio show you literally just did?
Anthony Pellegrino: Did the show, phones ringing, coming in, they’re hot, right? Strike while it’s hot. So, people are calling and I would work those the whole ride home. Then I’d have it. I still have it in my phone where it saves that old number. The 800 line, it’s a radio lead. It’s still in here. And in the early days, yeah, listen, it be a Sunday afternoon, throwing a ball at kids. The kids were young, play with them outside. All of a sudden, that phone rings and I had to do what I had to do, right? There’s a lot of money spent on that radio. I’m in the early stages. Don’t want the business to fail. I literally have to sadly break from the kids and I’m running upstairs. Now, I got a little guy who’s trying to get the dad. I remember, Brad, I literally sometimes run in the master bedroom closet and I’m holding the handle with one hand so the kids trying to open the door, “Dad, dad,” and to sound and I’m sticking my face in between suits to talk to people because I don’t want them to hear the kids until my wife would grab them.
So, yeah, the beginning it was seven days a week, but God’s blessing and a tremendous amount of time, hardworking grind to the point that we then faced off for seven days a week to six, to five. Then I did for many years, I was just Monday through Thursday because I put myself in a position as I have three sons. They all play ice hockey. It’s just a blessing and a curse. It’s fun, very demanding, but I got to a point where I built the business that I can actually be involved and not miss anything. And to the point now that I’ve moved to another state and the success we’ve achieved in it, you guys have been instrumental in that Triad, you know, the company that you’ve helped us really build a business for scale that’s not relying upon me that I now living in Tennessee and my main hub of companies here in Chicago and come back up but it’s not dependent upon me or relied upon me. We’ve grown a team of 26 and we’re adding more frequently. So, I appreciate your help with that.
Brad Johnson: Yeah. It’s been awesome to see. I mean, what’s crazy is we had a whole decade run and most of that run, I didn’t work directly with you but we always, you know, whenever we saw each other at big events, we would catch up, give each other a hard time over the phone call. I mean, you’ve been in Triad two-and-a-half years and you wouldn’t be normally the guy that would come on and say, “I went from this to this to this.” That’s one of the things I love is you don’t have an ego. You’re not the guy that walks in the room saying, “Look at my new sports car or here’s how much business I did.” But just so the listeners can kind of hear the progress even the last two and a half years, what’s that look like as far as assets gathered? And then let’s kind of pivot to what I kind of call the entrepreneurial lie and how you started to disconnect from just grind, grind, grind, more money, more money in the bank account, more business versus that balance to where you were able to spend, I think, six, eight weeks in Nantucket last summer with your family unplugged. So, give me kind of the growth trajectory in the last few years and then let’s cross the bridge of how did you grow but also create more freedom because I think that’s the trade off a lot of offices, a lot of advisors out there like how do you do this?
Anthony Pellegrino: Yeah. Well, look, like many, I was just trying to continue to grow and for a long time we were doing 25 million and then 30 and 40 and 50 and then you feel like you got to a level doing, I was doing 65 million I believe as an individual and I always watch other people starting to do more than me, but they had a team. So, I stayed pretty prideful. I’ll be, “Okay. Well, they did more but there is summit advisors. I’m doing this with one.” Foolish, okay? So, you can’t do everything yourself. And I worked really, really hard to the point where I got that up, brought on like a service advisor or two, and still everything was running through me. So, I would begin my day pretty much 10 am and have back to back to back to back meetings and run out the door. Now, I’m at a point where in the early days, I would run out the door, set up my own seminars myself. People are waiting as I’m the guy that’s putting up banner stands and setting up speakers and got to a point where we hire people to do that.
But nonetheless, all that stuff is reliant upon me. 10 am, I’m working back to back to back to back meetings, running out the door at 5:45 to go drive and do that, conduct the seminar, walk in the door often 8:30, 8:45, 9 pm just in time to read a book to one of my three boys or two of the boys to say goodnight. And then the morning started and it starts all over again. So, Brad, I did that for years, years. And there’s a lot of sacrifice that was made to my family to do that. And you think, “All right. Well, I’m growing this business and sometimes the thing that you sought out to build becomes your biggest foe, right? Because now I build this thing that was relying upon myself. And I had a moment company that I was working with back then, you know, this FMO. I had incremental amounts of growth and it kind of steadily did its thing 30, 40, 50. But I was sacrificing me, right, my time with my family. Even my mind, it was like, “Gosh, can I continue to do this?”
Brad Johnson: Couldn’t turn it off even.
Anthony Pellegrino: I don’t turn it off, you know? So, I find myself at dinner sitting there and, yes, I’m physically present but mentally I’m like, “Where about this? Don’t forget about this stuff.” So, everything was coming to me. The funnel came here and I got to a point, you know, maybe it’s pride, not want to look bad but you don’t want to see your production go backwards. And I did this for like a decade. And I got to a point I forget that year I think we wrote a total of like 80, 87, or 91 million. And I walked across stage to get recognition at a kind of beginning of year event, recognizing all you’ve done for the prior year. And I remember the 6 seconds that I spent on stage, got recognized, I walked off, and literally I walked off the stage, walked to the bathroom, use the restroom, and then I kind of splashed a little water on my face, took a moment and literally I had a look myself in the mirror moment. True story.
And I’m at this Las Vegas casino hotel. I look at the mirror, I’m like, “I’m not going to do that again. I’m not going to spend an entire year almost killing myself with the constant grind to get to a point.” Okay. So, I finished this, on the top ten or five, whatever it is. I don’t want to do that. It’s not fair to me and my family. I even said to myself, “How many people in that room of 3,000, 4,000 people sitting there, I go down tomorrow, how many of those people really care if they’re coming to my funeral?” You know, and I had a moment. I said, “Going forward, this is about my family. This is about me. I’m going to change the direction when I needed help doing that. And that’s one of the things you do, again, were instrumental in helping me build a business that I started to take everything off of me. Now, Brad, true story. Pivotal moment at the end where my grandmother, 89 years of age just visiting her and you have people in your life that will tell you like it is, right, off straight shooters.
Brad Johnson: The ones that truly love you.
Anthony Pellegrino: The ones that truly love you, right? And my grandmother being one of those people, she’s like, “Anthony, you look tired. You know, you look a little drawn. How’s everything going?” I’m like, “I’m fine. I’m working a lot, but I’m fine.” And she’s like, “I’m a little worried about you.” I’m like, “Gram, don’t worry about me. I’m a machine. I got it. I’m a machine.” And she said, “Yeah, well, machines break.” It’s a hello light bulb moment to say, “You know what? She’s right, and I can’t keep this pace.” So, that’s when I said I have to do something and I didn’t know how. How do I scale? How do I remove myself and train and teach others and have them do other things where it’s not so reliant upon me? And how much is the business of 91 million going to go backwards to suffer in order for me to take a massive step backwards to have that giant leap forward? Well, with scaling and everything we put together with your help, I put ourselves in a position than that we went from 91 million to 171 million year-over-year with me doing a lot less of the production, relying on others, building the team.
The following year that we went from 171 to about 210 million, of that, I’ve written zero. So, I completely removed myself and this year we’re pacing north of 250 million while by the grace of God, living in one state, business in another. And to your point, yeah, we bought an amazing investment property, a second home in Nantucket. So, my family now we look forward to, last couple of years, we’re taking 6 to 8 weeks in the summer there and the business is now running as a machine. It’s that how I think I had two or three phone calls the entire six to eight weeks. So, that’s where we’re at but it didn’t happen overnight.
Brad Johnson: Man, I didn’t want to interrupt any of that. There’s so much wisdom in what you just shared and there’s a reason the new show is called Do Business Do Life. There’s a reason that that’s the biggest mission we’re on at Triad because it’s guys like you that have been lifelong friends, I guess, decade plus.
Anthony Pellegrino: Well, it’s not money.
Brad Johnson: We’ve been teaching.
Anthony Pellegrino: Right. Yeah.
Brad Johnson: Had I been to that cart shop back in the day, I would have given you better advice. Maybe we’ll get to that story too. But one of the things this mission why it’s so close to my heart and why at Triad, we call it the infinite game, it’s the game you never stop playing because when is business too good and when is life too good? When you’ve got that balance right.
Anthony Pellegrino: Yeah.
Brad Johnson: And I have seen unfortunately a lot of stories like you where you were like the golden boy. I mean, I’m not saying that for you. You were like the golden boy. It was like, “Here’s this guy, young, good looking, well spoken.” And that story of looking in the mirror after what should have been a pinnacle.
Anthony Pellegrino: And young career. Yes.
Brad Johnson: Instead, it was the pinnacle of burnout and grinding and missing family dinners and sporting events and all of that. And the truth is, if you build it right with the proper structure, you don’t have to do this tug of war between growing my business, sacrifice my life, or grow my freedom in my life and sacrifice my business to go backwards to your own way. So, let’s go into, and by the way, such stellar advice from your grandma. Like, how much wisdom was in machines break? Two words.
Anthony Pellegrino: Yeah. Two words and it was like a slap upside the head, tell it for someone who loves you more than anything and it’s like, “Okay. She’s right.” I couldn’t sustain a trajectory and I never thought it was, I thought, “Okay. You can either have these people talk about having a growth style business or a lifestyle business. Which one do you want?
Brad Johnson: Yeah.
Anthony Pellegrino: I never thought it was possible. And even if I believed it could be possible, I didn’t know how. How do I have both? Is it possible to have both, right? And how do you get there? What is the recipe? What is the roadmap, the architecture look like to make that happen? And again, the most challenging part is even if you have that, “Oh, wait, here’s what the roadmap is.” But if you’re already running at a pace, you’ve built this machine that’s doing 50, 60, 70, 80, 90 million of business, how much is that going to suffer for me to take off? So, when I follow that advice and here we are.
Brad Johnson: Yeah. I’ve heard the analogy. It’s like trying to build a car while you’re driving 70 miles an hour down the highway. It’s like you were trying to rebuild the car while you’re running incredibly fast, but there’s a few things there that I pull out. Number one, you set your ego side. You said and I think the really tough thing I see in this industry, for most advisors probably listening in, you are the survivor, right? You came into your captive group. Maybe you transitioned like Anthony did from a different industry but there were 20, 50, 100 in your opening class of advisors. And the reality is like it’s less than a 5% success rate. And all of it is based on your individual performance because it’s like, “I got to market, I got to do my seminars, I got to do my appointments. Oh, wait, new business? Well, shoot, I guess I’ll fill out paperwork too in the early days.” You’re doing it all and I call it becoming a victim of your own success because now you are so busy because you’ve actually marketed well, you’re helping and serving people so they’re now becoming clients.
Now, you’re creating this service work that you didn’t have the first couple of years. And what’s the hardest part I’ve seen of that individualized success versus team-based success, it’s a completely different skill set to be a great salesperson versus a great business owner and then great CEO. And there’s no financial advisor playbook, which is why we’re creating one, by the way, the four phases of scale. But if you go back let’s say that inflection point of this won’t only be Anthony, I’ve got to remove that constraint, maybe it was after this talk to yourself in the mirror and you were to give advice to the listeners out there like, “Hey, here was the first action I did or the first mindset shift that I had to start to go in a different direction where I could grow my business and it not all be on my shoulders.” What would be some tips that you’d give?
Anthony Pellegrino: Well, first, when you’re growing that quickly and that value, you’re right. You look behind you and say, “Okay. Now, we have this marketing machine coming, people, but, hey, you’ve got 4,000, 4,500 clients here that need to be serviced or you’re going to be losing a bunch of people.” So, I knew we had to hire the right talent. And if you hire the right people, I mean, success is inevitable, right? You bring in good people, train them up, love on a mentor, put your team at the top. And so, I would say that’s the first thing, getting people, great advisors to service our existing clients, and then removing myself from all those other daily tasks. So, someone shared a great book with me years ago and it was called The One Thing and I think you’re familiar with it.
Brad Johnson: Oh, yeah. Gary Keller. Yeah.
Anthony Pellegrino: So, he’s somebody who should get on the show.
Brad Johnson: Get a big show.
Anthony Pellegrino: So, that was something else that and truth be told, Brad, I never read the damn book. I never read it.
Brad Johnson: Why does this not surprise me?
Anthony Pellegrino: This doesn’t, right? Because I’m running so hard. I don’t have time to read it but what the overviews explain, “Hey, take everything else off of you and just focus on the one thing that you love most, that you’re passionate, that you’re best at and basically sub out everything else, and that’s when you can thrive.” So, that’s what I did. So, I said, “Okay. Without reading the book, I get that mindset. So, if I can have service advisors and planning department and this, that, and remove all these things from myself to the point where I don’t even emails. I don’t even read an email. Nothing’s coming to me. And that freed me up to just basically focus on rainmaking. I went from hating seminars and burnout to falling in love with them again because all I’m doing now, I’m focusing on filling our advisors’ calendars, making sure teams servicing their clients, building that out, serve, serve, serve.
And I find joy in watching our advisors thrive in their own lives as a result of many of those appointments come to meet. They’re going to them so they get to prosper and grow. And basically, between TV, radio, workshops, educational events, clients, educational events for clients to not just the general public, but all these different things that I enjoy doing that and I’ve taken everything else off of me. And that’s where I’m passionate on.
Brad Johnson: Let’s go down that path. I think that’s super helpful if there’s an advisor out there, and regardless of where they’re at, maybe they’re early on and they’re in that grind phase, which by the way, I think for pretty much any business and two-and-a-half years of the startup at Triad, there’s definitely been a grind phase. Now, we have 55 team members so they’re starting to be a foundation of a business. But early days when there was two or three or four of us looking at each other, it’s like, “This is overwhelming,” Or maybe you’re an advisor in that spot. Maybe you’re an advisor. They hit that 30, 40, 50, 60 million. Now, it’s like you kind of created your own prison around yourself, I guess, you were talking about. Or maybe you’ve actually started to scale the team and you’ve got multiple advisors. I think what’s interesting that you kind of started to tiptoe into, so we coach on three businesses within a business. You’ve got marketing, so that’s before the client acquisition. You’ve got sales, which is during.
And by the way, sales is not a bad word to me. It’s a transfer of beliefs in helping people. Those of you out there that hear sales and like get a little squeamish, that’s how we define it here. And then ops is take care and love on the clients. So, before, during, after. What I heard you say is essentially you fired yourself from the during which was the appointments. You fired yourself from anything operational and you really refocused into your desire zone versus your drudgery zone, which is I like the one-to-many marketing. Sometimes that’s called a rainmaker or manufacturing appointments for the team. And now you actually add more value to your firm because that’s your focus, which by the way, we’re getting into kind of live presentations a little bit, but you’re one of the most gifted presenters I’ve ever seen on the space.
Anthony Pellegrino: Well, thank you.
Brad Johnson: But now you’re manufacturing appointments. So, for those advisors out there that are thinking, “I hate seminars. Oh, another evening,” you kind of shifted the mindset of, “Now, I have no appointments during the day.”
Anthony Pellegrino: Yep.
Brad Johnson: “Now, my presentation days I actually have.” I believe you have more scheduled family time in the mornings. Sometimes you even do spa treatments, I think. Do you do that or am I making that up?
Anthony Pellegrino: That sums up. I’ll get a good massage once in a while. I get a horrible neck and shoulder so, yeah, I’ve seen that.
Brad Johnson: But now you’ve reorganized your day to really enjoy presentation day. You thrive. And so, let’s go through that shift. Was it just like you jumped in and said, “We’ll figure it out.”? Did you slowly ease yourself out of appointments so that you could focus on the presentations? How did that evolve?
Anthony Pellegrino: Well, here I will tell you, the mindset started with you brought in one of the partners that you work with, Michael Hyatt, incredibly gifted, talented individual on business building. And he said, “You know, Anthony, you can empower your team and step aside and watch it grow.” So, I took that mindset. I’m like, “Okay. That’s exactly what I’m going to do.” And if you overpay even for the right people, so if you’re paying 10%, 15%, even 20% above market to attract good people, good people want to be a part of a thriving business and if I’m willing to, look, you can’t just be cheap and steal people, right? So, you have to be willing to step up. And we did. So, we overpay to get the right people.
Now, my confidence went up to say, “Okay. I’ve got A-plus players that we’re bringing in here,” and as your business grows and evolves, you may outgrow people, right? And then you get to a point, it’s like, “Okay. You know what? Can I reposition this person for another position within the firm? Or can they still play a role? And if not, sometimes, unfortunately, you outgrow them but we have to keep evolving. So, I think it was that mindset of bringing in A-plus players only, step aside, watch it grow. And I made that transformation relatively quickly, right, because that’s the only way you can go from 90 to 171 million year-over-year is to really, well, I was dedicated. I was committed.
Brad Johnson: Well, it also is the lesson of when you focus I’m guessing when you are torn half between like you’re doing a 12 or 15-hour day because you’re on appointments all day and then you’ve got a seminar that evening, you’re exhausted at that point to where it’s almost like a laser. You focus the energy, it can cut through anything, you removed yourself. Now, you can dive full focus into the marketing aspect. My guess is your marketing evolved tremendously to manufacture more prospects for those advisors where had you been a foot on each side, there’s no way you would even have the energy.
Anthony Pellegrino: Yes. Truth be told, I try that. So, there was great partners of ours and some close friends, right, SHP Financial out of Boston. They were saying, “Hey, Anthony, here’s kind of a roadmap, so to speak, that we’ve been utilizing.” And I had like one foot in the door working their process, and the other foot was still doing what made us successful to begin with. And it was a struggle.
Brad Johnson: Which for those maybe not familiar, you kind of came from a very, what I’d call sales-heavy organization that was kind of do the seminar, sell the product as opposed to more of a holistic financial planning process. A little more intense as far as like the work involved. And so, you were kind of doing this in between.
Anthony Pellegrino: Yes.
Brad Johnson: So, what did that create or like looking back, what advice would you give yourself now?
Anthony Pellegrino: I think the advice I would give myself was don’t dabble a foot in each side here. Just go all in. And instead of tugging at the Band-Aid, rip the damn thing off all at once quickly because I danced for maybe a year and a half, about two years and I got to a point where I’m like, “No, I’ll just go all in.” And once I became laser focused and went all in, that’s what helped and it was like a rocket ship from there. And back to what you were saying, too, about my routine now, in the earlier days when I lived in Illinois, 8 minutes from the office, and now to the point where we moved to Tennessee and the companies here, now, thank God it’s only an hour in here so it’s a quick flight. Now, I may come up two days a week, sometimes three days, sometimes one day, and it may be every other week. And my wife, right, I was just talking to her about them like, “Honey, was this hard for you that I can go up to Chicago for two or three days?” And then she’s like, “To be honest with you, you were way more present now than you were then.”
And I love the opportunity that we can spend more together. Maybe we can work out together. We can catch up on stuff together. And I will get up breakfast with the kids in the morning. Drive. My youngest is eight. I drive him to school. My older guys, just started driving. It’s crazy. But I’ll go when I’m home, I drop to school, pick them up from school, go to football practice, hockey practice. So, even though, again, two separate states, I’m way more present, have way more time now with the family than I ever had previously but that’s also by design. Even that was a challenge. I remember calling you. Remember, I called you, I called Derek, and Shawn when I sold my home here and my guys, and they’re having a moment. I’m like, “Oh, my goodness, I built this business.” A lot of success my entire life. And it’s real. We sold it. I moved there, didn’t know what to expect, but I trusted the process, what we built, and it’s worked out.
Brad Johnson: Yeah. I mean, that was a massive life change, not just a business change. I mean, born and raised Chicago. It wasn’t like you moved to Chicago and built business like you grew up here.
Anthony Pellegrino: Yeah. 45, 46 years.
Brad Johnson: Yeah. I want to hit on something because besides the business success, I’m always admired Anthony, the husband and dad, and just one of the reasons we just became friends so quickly. Like you were just authentic, you were real. You didn’t walk into, I mean, if anybody deserves to have an ego walk in the room, your production would have warranted it had that been a thing for you, but it never was. And when we talk about do business do life, that’s both sides of the equation. And we’ve spent a lot of hours just talking about what it means to be a better dad because like your oldest is 15.
Anthony Pellegrino: He’s 16.
Brad Johnson: 16?
Anthony Pellegrino: Yeah.
Brad Johnson: And my oldest is 12 now. Why does it fly? So, let’s talk about that. Because I do, I see it a lot and I was fortunate. When I got in this business, I was 26. And because the way finance works, the running joke is it’s a bunch of old white guys, right? It’s getting more diversity but it’s not there yet but that was my clientele when I started and they were all probably averaging 45, 55, 65, and I remember our oldest was born, so I was 30. I actually hadn’t turned 30 yet. I was 29 and the advice I kept getting from my clients, “Soak it in. This will go so fast. It’ll be gone in the blink of an eye.” And all of it sounds so cliche.
Anthony Pellegrino: Yes.
Brad Johnson: Everything changes when you become a parent, all of those things. But the truth is everything does change when you become a parent. And now I’m so thankful because I was kind of like it was drilled into me at a young age like don’t take this for granted, don’t miss sports games, make family dinner a priority, all of that. But I’ve also seen this business. It doesn’t turn off as amazing as finance is, it can eat you alive if you allow it to. And so, let’s just say you’re talking to a dad out there, maybe share the white tee story because that one hits home to me and you’ve got little ones. And if you can get like pass some of that wisdom down to that next generation or like guys that have kids our age where it’s like, “Hey, it’s never too late to change the path you’re going down,” but what advice would you give there on like that, how hard it was to balance? You’re building this business for them, but if it steals your time and you don’t actually get to see them, it’s like the worst trade off in the world. So, just speak to that, if you don’t mind.
Anthony Pellegrino: Absolutely. And for me, Brad, look, God made me this way, right? I’m a driven, type-A personality, drive, drive. So, you have to be careful. I think you have to be really conscious of that because I was running hard and doing that seven days and it’s 6 and 5 and overtime. But some of the justification of me working hard and doing that was justified. I’m doing this for family, right? I’m doing for this family. And I’d say to myself, when my kids were five and six and six and seven, because my first two are 15 months apart, that young guy came later, but six, seven-year gap. And I’d say I’m grinding, grinding, grinding. Okay. They’re four and five, five and six, six and seven and I’d say, “Okay. I’m going to do this to the half point, which is when they hit eight or nine,” because I said, “Okay. By first nine years, I’m going because then I’ve got nine years left with them in my home before off to school and I’m going to build this business to what then the first nine and then the next nine will be a lot more time shared justifying it that way. Well, I blink my eyes and all of a sudden, I’m like, “Wait, my son’s 12 and he’s 13.”
And then it went the other way. I’m like, “Wait, I only have three years left, two and a half years left.” So, that shocked me because like you, I feel very, very fortunate, blessed that I had a lot of clients who would share their wisdom, “Anthony, it’s going to go quick. Enjoy it.” And it was like one year out the other. Yeah. You felt like invincible. You had nothing but time. And then all of a sudden, your kids are 16, 15, going to be 9. So, speaking to somebody who’s doing it with younger kids now, just force the balance, you know, force the balance. The business, if you structured the right way, you don’t have to be, you know, the business isn’t so reliant and dependent upon you if you structured the right way. Structure it the right way early, and just make the time, make the balance. I think, Brad, that’s probably part of the reason now why I’ve got a freshman and sophomore and I’ve got whatever, really, if you think about it, two to three summers left with my oldest before they’re off to school. That’s why I am taking the last couple of years, 6 weeks, 8 weeks off and the Nantucket holidays, another 2 to 4 weeks. So, I looked at it and there’s basically three months out of the year that I am family, right? I mean, I’m making up for those early years but just get ahead of it and face it at a younger age, I think.
Brad Johnson: Yeah. That’s my favorite part about your journey is you’ve grown a business and unlocked more freedom for you and your family. And I think that is the entrepreneurial dream is build a business that serves your life. Unfortunately, oftentimes you build a business that becomes your life as an entrepreneur.
Anthony Pellegrino: Yes.
Brad Johnson: As we think through, I want to go to that last little piece you touched on, well, we didn’t hear the white tees.
Anthony Pellegrino: The white tees.
Brad Johnson: Yeah. So, tell me that because I think that’ll hit home with some people.
Yeah. So, look, early on, I ditched ties. I don’t want a tie. I like this look and feel so meeting with clients relaxed but still professional, right? So, no tie. So, I wear a white V-neck t-shirt, by the way, anyone watching this, please, please, if you’re wearing dress shirts, don’t wear the traditional white t-shirt that you can see it coming out. Please don’t do that. I see them, I’m like, “Oh, please stop.”
Brad Johnson: By the way, for those that don’t know, based on the last name, Pellegrino, Anthony’s Italian, has dressed impeccable from the day I met him and so you’re getting some serious fashion tips here. So, please continue.
Anthony Pellegrino: It’s in the bloodline. It has a grandfather that was a truck driver. You know, he literally drove a truck and worked at docks, yet he dressed impeccably, just well, people thought he was a mob boss. They go like, “He’s not really a truck driver.” No, he is but that’s how he dress so it’s in the blood. But I would wear a white V-neck t-shirt under so you can’t see it. And basically, my kids, you know, in the morning when they’re young and I’m leaving and they’d say, “No. White t-shirt. White t-shirt. White t-shirt.” And I’m like, “I don’t know what the heck they’re talking about.” And then when I come home from the office, the first thing they’d be is, “White t-shirt.” Now, I find myself on, let’s say, a Sunday, right, I’m home after radio stuff and I put on a Nike t-shirt and my kids would say, “No, no, no, white t-shirt, white t-shirt.” Brad, It didn’t hit me until years later. Years later, I’m like, “What the hell was their thing about the white t-shirt?”
Well, then it hit me. It’s like son of a gun. The last thing they saw me wearing while I’m home before I left because I had my white t-shirt on and do the stuff then I throw on my dress shirt over it and leave. When I come home, the first thing when I get home, I take that off and they see the white t-shirt. So, that hit me like, son of a gun, to them little kids, that white t-shirt meant dad’s home. So, that is one of the reasons I think that I carve out the time and again now incredibly blessed because I really, really get to spend a lot of time. You know, I have to tell you, it’s a blessing and a curse with hockey but literally from Labor Day to second week of December, almost we get for three and a half months straight, I was on a different city with one of my boys and hockey tournaments everywhere and just tons of bonding time, and it’s awesome. To be able to build a business that affords you opportunity to really connect and be with your kids and I’ve learned some great things from our community, with Triad, the whole do business, do life. I had a text thread going this morning with one of the advisors who – Chris Bowman sent me a text and I shot back to him. Can I share?
Brad Johnson: Yeah. Go ahead.
Anthony Pellegrino: So, he sent me a message and basically saying, “Hey, man, you look forward to seeing you soon and so I can appreciate some of stuff we’re doing.” And I said to him, he thanked me for some stuff I did for recently or shared with, and I shot back and said, “Hey, listen, thank you for some of the things you’ve done for me.” He had this part of his, for this year, says, “Our children get one shot at childhood. It’s what we make of it for them. I want to be more present.”
Brad Johnson: We’re on video here. Show that to the camera because I wanted to be captured on the…
Anthony Pellegrino: Yeah. So, for me, it’s not just about being in a business industry where we can have iron, sharpen iron, and get better and make more and produce more. It’s I want to be in an environment with like-minded people, you know, maybe Dad’s similar thinking family people. And I’m like, listen, some of the business stuff I help you with, do you have any idea how that one thing you said, what you wrote down is stuck with me and resonated? And I’ll remind myself that my kids get one shot at childhood. It’s what we make of it for them. Be more present. I mean, so that is the epitome of do business, do life.
Brad Johnson: And what’s cool about that, that was one of the champagne moments from that. So, one of things we did and I don’t even remember where this came to be. We were talking. So, champagne moment, and that’s whether you enjoy a glass of champagne or maybe it’s sparkling grape juice, whatever your thing is, but something with bubbles that pops the cork, right?. That’s a celebration.
Anthony Pellegrino: Sure is.
Brad Johnson: And this year it was really cool. Like, one of those pinch me moment to see our community both do a Do Business champagne moment, which is great. Hey, we’re running businesses. You should be going for growth and we’ll bring on more assets, growing the team but not at the expense of life. And so, we also did a Do Life champagne moment and it was just some of the most inspiring stuff. We had a couple of community members that they’re going to drop 60 pounds this year. And I’m like, “Yeah. What’s all the money in the world matter if you don’t have your health?” So, it was super inspiring. I want to hit something because you’re now talking a bit about the community and one of the things at Triad we wanted to do. I don’t want this to be a Triad commercial. It’s just us sharing life, right?
Anthony Pellegrino: Absolutely.
Brad Johnson: But one of the things that we try to do really intentionally is obviously we’re working with top performers, but growth minded, do business, do life sort people. I want our experiences. We don’t do events. We do experiences because I want my kids hanging around guys like you. As my buddy, Jim Sheils says, the Family Board meeting and I know we both benefited from that, he says he tried to create environments for his children and for his family to where the fun uncle. I will tell you, my kids hear a lot from dad to where it’s the point, “Oh, yeah, dad. We’ve heard that before.”
Anthony Pellegrino: Yeah.
Brad Johnson: But Anthony, the dude from Chicago, Nashville, you know, that’s a good time. He’s cool. He’s wearing a nice Italian jacket. Probably some fairy godmother. Would you say something, by the way, could be the exact same thing that I share with them but it’s like, “Oh, okay, fun uncle Anthony. Okay. Yeah, I’ll do some push-ups in the morning or I’ll read that book?” And that, selfishly, is one of the coolest things about this community is just great not only advisors, top performers, to great humans that I just want to be around. And so, for me, it doesn’t feel like work. It feels like, “Oh, the founders retreat this summer in Lake Tahoe, that’s going to be fun.” And, by the way, our families will be there because as an entrepreneur, like, it should be your choice, you know? Do you want to bring your whole crew? Awesome. Do you want to just do a little getaway with your spouse? Cool. You want to do a business retreat? Cool. Come solo, but it’s your choice. That’s not like for us to define. And so, I want to get to something. You actually coined the term in our community. It takes a village or at Triad we say it takes a pack and…
Anthony Pellegrino: And we run as a pack.
Brad Johnson: Yes. So, I’m going to set this up but I want you to share your kind of the mindset and what led to this. So, unfortunately, we had a community member join us, got put in a tough situation, had to move $200 million of assets in a 60-day period like literally re-paper everybody. And that was really unfortunate and kind of got thrown a little curveball on the way out the door. And Shawn, I believe, called you. This is like dinnertime 6, 6:30 at night.
Anthony Pellegrino: Close. It was almost worse. This was a Friday afternoon and it was like 4:41 pm. I just picked the boys up from practice after school. At practice, I just picked them up. I had two of the three boys in the car and literally is 4:41 pm on a Friday. And he said, “Hey, we have a situation going on.” Pfizer joined the team coming over with us and he’s in a position with, I think, TD Ameritrade. Charles Schwab. We’re in there kind of…
Brad Johnson: It was in the merger, this weird in-between merger where you can get a direct sort of relationship or something.
Anthony Pellegrino: Yes, basically, or TD was saying, “Nope, you can’t open any new RIAs on our platform. You have to go through Schwab.” And that created a problem because that advisor 210 million had his money with TD. All his clients were through TD, but it was like through a different company, right? So, they stopped, “Nope, can’t do it.” So, then Shawn’s like, “What do you think? You think you can help?” He knew that I had some relationships and contacts at TD Ameritrade Institutional. Great, great people. Great relationships.
And then, it’s Friday afternoon. He’s like kind of, “Well, we’ll think about it and come up with a plan and we’ll hit it next week.” And I’m like, “No, no, no, let’s do this now.” And he’s like, “Now?” I’m like, “Yeah, let’s do it now.” And it just flew off, fit my tongue. I say, “At Triad, we run as a pack,” and that got stuck, right? We run as a pack, let’s do it. So, we ended up, I called the guy in TD Ameritrade, where relationships patched. Shawn and I run. We patched in the other person, the advisor, and Zach and then we worked it together. And sure enough, they pushed it through and made it happen.
So, he ended up being able to still open the new RIA through TD Ameritrade institutional, not going through Schwab’s. They pushed debt through and it saved me a ton of anguish to have to go meet all those clients, are going to have to repay through over to Schwab, so.
Brad Johnson: Yeah, I just remember we felt pretty helpless because he was put in a tough spot. And I remember Shawn, Shawn’s version of his story, telling me I was on the call, but he basically said, “Hey, Anthony, so sorry. I know, it’s like getting into family time.” And then, immediately, with zero hesitation, you’re like, “Hey, at Triad, we run as a pack.” And what that tell, I mean, if you’re listening, that number one tells you ton about Anthony, just the way he carries himself. He’s there to serve, there to help others.
But that for us, I think was a pivotal moment at Triad. And this was over a year ago now and it reinforced what we wanted to build, which was a community that felt a lot more small, intimate, boutique, a lot more like a mastermind than a brokerage firm. And you said that. And then I noticed, it became like a mantra in our headquarters in Lawrence. It was like, at Triad, we run as a pack. It’s almost like Mel Gibson, Braveheart, driving a horse.
Anthony Pellegrino: Right, The Patriot.
Brad Johnson: But then it started to become a mantra when the advisors were talking to the other.
Anthony Pellegrino: Yes.
Brad Johnson: And they started to feel like I’m part of something here. And it’s different. We’re changing an industry. It’s not just about production. We’re trying to build businesses that create more freedom. And one of the things, as I looked, you mentioned the typical industry awards ceremony is parade across stage. There’s so much production you did next all that. What I found is as those things got really big, like I remember being at those, I mean, people would be in the back and they’re yawning and they’re like three or four hours of like, “Let’s never recreate this again.”
And I’m all for recognition. But what we did, and I’m going to give you credit, we said, “Hey, what if we created really meaningful awards for our community that embody what we’re about?” And I’m super– it was really cool. It was fun. This year, we created the Run as a Pack Award at Triad. We gave one away in June, where you were the recipient, Zach was the recipient because it was a perfect example of somebody, number one, you can’t give help to somebody that doesn’t ask. And Zach’s like, “Hey, I don’t know what to do, guys.” Like I’m in over my head here and have a community member like you raise your hand and say, “Hey, I’m here to serve. How can I help? At Triad, we run as a pack.” And we created this award. You each got one this year, but more importantly, you got a really cool T-shirt.
Anthony Pellegrino: Yeah. I don’t know. You guys at least have followed that somewhere around, I don’t know, in like Sedona. In Arizona, somewhat the wolf howling at.
Brad Johnson: For those that remember the office where Dwight wears the shirt with three wolves howling at the moon, it’s the infamous Howl at the Moon T-shirt. It can be purchased on Amazon. It’s got magical powers.
Anthony Pellegrino: Yes. Amazon probably bought at $3.99, right?
Brad Johnson: Oh, it’s an expense combined.
Anthony Pellegrino: It’s under $10.
Brad Johnson: No, they’ve cranked the price up.
Anthony Pellegrino: And by the way, funny story, that evening that we received the award and I got the T-shirt, the infamous T-shirt also. And look, the T-shirt was missing. And a very close friend of both of us, Derek Gregoire, all of a sudden, look, Derek went and stole the shirt, changed, and he had it under a sport coat. He’s wearing it around the event. He’s like, I deserve the wolf T-shirt, the Run as a Pack Award, so.
Brad Johnson: The running joke that he’s aware because we were supposed to be dressed club chic.
Anthony Pellegrino: Yes.
Brad Johnson: And we had grown up in Kansas and I don’t know what it is still, but Derek pulled that off. I think he had a sport coat with a wolf T-shirt underneath. So, that’s my new definition.
Anthony Pellegrino: That stolen wolf T-shirt. Hey, but going back to some, too, like, yes, of course, I want to help and that’s the mindset. The other part of that is, I don’t know, I grew up during the Michael Jordan era in Chicago. So, I was obsessed with Jordan. And truth be told, I don’t mind. I like being told no. No, you can’t do something. No, you can’t achieve this. You can’t. I like that.
Jordan had a phenomenal commercial towards the end of his career where it’s like slow motion. He’s talking. He’s like, tell me I’m bad. Tell me I’m no longer good enough. Tell me I’m old. And then, as he’s saying that, he jumps from the free throw line and dunks. And he’s like 37 at that age or something. And he’s like, tell me I’m too old. Tell me I can no longer fly. I want you to.
So, I develop that mindset in business and in life where, again, I’m going to figure out a way, right? So, that’s something else about me where I always, I need to feel challenged, right? Like, being told, nope, you can’t do it. No, you guys can’t achieve this. No, you can’t do that. That’s what prized me.
Brad Johnson: Well, I’ve seen it. Well, hey, you can’t get to your library, your show without going through the Chicago marathon. You felt that way.
Anthony Pellegrino: Yes. Yeah. And by the way, you know my passion for Jordan and you also gave me a little bit of crap that I made the mistake of all mistakes back in the day.
Brad Johnson: Okay, let’s go there. I think we’ve got time. So, I’m going to brag on you a little bit. So, let’s see. I’ve been in this business ‘07. So, what is it, 2023. So, what, 14th year in the industry.
Anthony Pellegrino: Yes.
Brad Johnson: And they say never do math publicly. So, I made a mistake. I think it’s my 14th year. So, 14, 15, somewhere around there, decade and a half-ish.
Anthony Pellegrino: For you.
Brad Johnson: And one of the things that was really cool growing up in the distribution model that I did, it was world-class direct response marketers, whether it was live events, radio, TV, it was people that knew how to manufacture appointments, not just sit here in their office waiting for a referral to walk in. So, a lot of that was watching public events, dinners, seminars, and I would guess I’ve watched 100 plus at this point in my career life. A lot of them, some of them recorded.
And I had the opportunity actually not that long ago to watch yours, and no, I’m not exaggerating, one of the most gifted presenters I’ve seen, and you’re a student. And there’s like a few things I’ve seen you do that a lot of advisors struggle with, number one, it’s this authenticity that just I feel like you’re talking to like in your family room to a group of people. The other thing I’ve shared with you is just the how. And I know you’ve got a philosophy. It’s not really as much what you say, it’s kind of the connection piece with the audience and you very intentionally try to focus on so much connection in your live presentations.
And part of that is this authenticity and this connection is your personal story, which kind of involves that Michael Jordan story. So, I don’t want you to put all of your secrets out on the Internet. But if we kind of talk like maybe high level how you open with a really personal story but also shares a lesson, I think there’s just so much that advisors can learn from your different style to how you present. It’s not about spreadsheets and math. And although you hit on some of that, it’s that connection and authenticity that almost attracts the audience to want to lean in and learn more. So, sorry, I gave you a lot, really big lead-up. But just kind of what are your thoughts around that that you’ve learned over the years?
Anthony Pellegrino: Well, I think, look, it’s when you walk into a room, you have to have the mindset that my main goal of this is I say to myself, connect, connect, connect. Because when you’re in the financial industry, you gain a plethora of knowledge and information over the years, and it’s constantly growing with all the financial stuff. So, you have to carefully walk into a room. I call it verbal vomit, where you just go in and spew all the knowledge you have and hope you’ve impressed them, that you’re so knowledgeable that they raise their hand or submit and say, “Okay, I should meet with you.”
And the opposite can happen. You can actually overwhelm them, confuse them, and I have a saying where confused minds say no. So, if you come in and just be yourself and speak, but genuinely, authentically connect. But there’s a lot of things too that, I don’t know, you just be yourself, but there’s time pauses, right? Maybe you’re making a real point. And instead of just racing through the next thing, sometimes that silence for a moment to let it hang and marinate for a moment can really drive the point home. Eye contact, communication, getting other people involved, really walking into the room, connecting with them is a lot.
And I’ll tell you, like one of the speaking coaches I’ve worked with over the years in the past talks about in the room, you often have the analytical thinker and then there’s the emotional thinker and decision maker, right? And often, that is a couple, husband and wife, they’re one or the other. So, it’s like if you come in here, really just analytical, you just alienated half of the room. Same on the other side. You can’t come in there just speaking to emotion.
So, I think you have to begin with some type of personal story, something that is personal about yourself. And if you can connect with them authentically, show who you really are and be vulnerable and you connect on the emotional side, then you get into some of the analytical, not too much, understandable, but enough that you show competence, comfort, all that together. And then at the end, you should also end on the note of on that emotional side, because then what happens is you’re reminding them at the end of why they liked you right off the bat. So, connecting on the emotional, feeling the middle with a lot of still some humor, right? But at the end, if you’re ending on that emotional, it ties it back together.
Brad Johnson: Thanks for sharing all that. And how many presentations of this stage in your career you think you’ve done?
Anthony Pellegrino: Oh, my goodness. At this point, probably over a thousand.
Brad Johnson: So, it’s kind of the old Malcolm Gladwell, 10,000 hours.
Anthony Pellegrino: Oh, yeah.
Brad Johnson: And so, this has obviously been an evolution. One of the things because we talked about being growth-minded, you actually have this little personal habit you do, which is as soon as one of your summers is over, you hop in, you drive home, you actually cut an audio to yourself. So, share that, because I think that makes a lot of people feel like, oh, he’s done a thousand of these, 2,000, however many for you, okay, I’m going to kind of dial it in. I got this thing figured out, but one of the learnings from you is you are constantly critiquing yourself. You’re constantly going back and said, “Oh, tonight, I felt a little off.” Share that if you don’t mind.
Anthony Pellegrino: Yeah, well, here, and by the way, whether you’re someone that’s done a thousand of them or 5,000, whatever, or even a couple hundred, the problem there, that can actually hurt you more than help you because if you’ve done a thousand and let’s say you’re a guy that does two, three, five, six seminars, and about eight in a month, whatever that is, you could actually literally sound like a wind-up doll, right? And now, mentally, you’ve got the whole thing early. You’re saying you’re just going through the motions, going through the motions. Guess what? The people feel that. They can read that. They sense that.
And going back to what you said, my mindset, it’s not just what you say, it’s how you say it, it’s how it’s delivered. And are you not just likable? Are you believable? Do you mean what you’re saying? You shouldn’t want to try to sell people? No, really, it’s having conviction, right? And I’m selling it. This is what I believe. I believe this so much that there’s a transfer of belief that happens, where it’s not, I’m trying to sell anyone. No, this is me. This is what I believe. I have conviction. I have passion about it. And if you like what we do, then we’re leaders and we’re going to help lead you. So, that’s kind of a mindset there.
And what I will do to your point, Brad, I’ll remind myself before I go and connect, connect, connect, remind myself do not speak at them, speak with them. So, it’s almost like an open conversation style. And you know, you’ll see it because you’ll see people when you’re saying something, they’ll lean in. You see a lot of head nodding. You see them engaged.
And to your point, to this day, I don’t care if you’re done, spoken over a thousand times. To this day, if I walk out and I know we had really good success, great results, what I do immediately, I get in the car on my drive back home or what have you, I’ll hit the record button on my phone. And as I’m driving, I’ll just say, “Hey, had a really great event tonight, 90% of the room scheduled meetings with us. By the way, here’s how I started.” I started off saying this, “Oh, I also mentioned this. I mentioned this. Oh, don’t forget at the end, remember you said this, don’t forget that.”
So, I’ll say that and I capture it. Why? Because it’s never going to be more fresh in mind as right then and then what I do, let’s say the following week or even a month later or a year later on my way driving to seminar, what do I play back? That. So, the last thing I said as I left the room, I record. And on my way to do it again, I listen back. I’m going to tell you right now, it’s so amazing because times I forget, I listen back to them. I’ll see my results down a little bit. But I’m telling you, it’s pretty amazing that whenever I do that, the results of the I, so.
Brad Johnson: That connection piece, it’s funny, I got the same advice when we were first starting the podcast and I remember somebody told me, radio’s talking at people, hand casting’s talking with people. And that’s one of the things I love about, like this is just a conversation. This is a conversation we’d have. We just happened to be recording it and sharing it. And I’m like, “Hey, I hope this impacts an advisor out there that’s listening in because I’d be having this conversation anyway because I geek out on this stuff.”
Anthony Pellegrino: Oh, yeah.
Brad Johnson: And it’s cool because that same concept works at a live experience. And I’ve seen a couple of things. I just took notes down here. You are nonverbals, and I don’t know, I think part of it is you being in time. So, I’m going to give you that, like the joke is Italians talk with their hands, like your natural mannerisms. But I’ve also seen you refine them in your presentation where you will literally engage the audience with your nonverbals. And you’re not on a stage where you’re behind some podium, kind of like hiding behind it. You’re literally out among the tables, the rounds. I mean, sometimes, you tap somebody on the shoulder, like if you can tell that they’re open to, they’re engaging with you, but you’re literally holding it, almost feels like a family reunion sort of conversation in those rooms.
Anthony Pellegrino: Yes.
Brad Johnson: And I think oftentimes when I’ve watched others, it’s kind of like they’re almost not comfortable with themselves. They’re stiff behind a podium. And I would just encourage, like just get out among the people and you’ll be amazed how that connection and those walls come down.
Anthony Pellegrino: 100%.
Brad Johnson: And any other tips you would add there because you truly are a master at it and just anything that goes through your ad as you’re presenting?
Anthony Pellegrino: Again, I mean, for me, it’s just trying to be genuine, natural, authentic, and real, great. But yeah, it’s amazing. Like, if you have a room that has, whatever, 50, 60, 80 people, even though those, like, you may have two or three tables in front, the middle, the back, I’m telling you, another thing I’ve noticed is if I don’t walk around and make my way back to those back tables, the numbers are lower.
Brad Johnson: Specifically in the back?
Anthony Pellegrino: 100%, 100%, because you don’t realize it. But having those tables that far back, yeah, I can see them, they can see me, but the connections that there is much to when I literally will walk around and walk up to tables and make eye contact with them and engage them literally yet, where you’re here including the entire room and everyone’s engaged versus sometimes, you’ll forget and maybe you just walk in back and forth, I have a hard time just standing once, but I can do that, right?
So, I like to be mobile and active. I spoke last night, and a woman told me, she’s like, “Your energy was amazing. You really drew me in.” And I had no hotel. She scheduled a meeting. So, the entire table did. But bringing that energy in involvement where they’re part of the room because I’m telling you if you speak, an hour is a long time, right? And if they’re in that back part of the room, again, I don’t care how big your screen is, I don’t care how loud your speakers are, you have to physically, as they would say, work the room. You’re moving around the whole room.
Brad Johnson: Well, like go back to college, most of the people sitting in the back row were there for a reason. Like, I kind of want to pull their hoodie out, kind of check out them with this. So, my guess is that tends to happen at seminars, too. So, making sure you’re literally pulling everybody into that conversation, correct? Another tip you gave me that I’ve heard kind of counterintuitive, there’s kind of two schools of thought. One is you’re the celebrity where you kind of walk on stage, do your thing, disappear in the back, like Elvis just left the building. And I think you’ve done that. But then you kind of shifted your mindset back to my goal is to connect. And if my goal is to connect, it’s not to be like out the door. And you’ve learned a few things just from a different approach at the end. So, can you share those as well?
Anthony Pellegrino: Yeah, look, early on, I’d heard people say, “Oh, hey, well, yeah.” I’m the celebrity. You’re almost the untouchable, right? So, I’ve heard people speak truly and this going back 15 years ago, over 14, 15 years, where it’s like speak and when you’re done, walk around at the door. Why? Because they didn’t want to take questions or what have you, right? So, in the earlier days, I did that and quickly said, “I don’t like that.” And I say, “You know what? I am going to try to take questions at the end.” So, now, you have to be careful because if you start, hey, are there any questions you have? That can open up a can of worms.
Brad Johnson: Right.
Anthony Pellegrino: And look, there’s some people who just want to be the jack. Yeah, they ought to be anyway. Yay! So, kind of a jack to everybody. So, I’m like, okay, and I like that. So, what I do is I’ll end and say, hey, listen, what I’m going to do, thanks again for coming tonight, I’m going to stop by each table and just answer any quick lingering questions that you may have, but I’m going to stop by real quick before I head out.
Now, number one, I told them I’m going to stop by to answer any quick lingering questions. So, the people that maybe are on the fence, they haven’t checked, yes, I want to come in for a meeting yet, and maybe they’re still on the fence. And if I would have walked out the door, I’m too big for this, I’m a celebrity, maybe they wouldn’t, right? But I also say I’m going to stop by quickly. And so, they also know I’m playing the seat. I can’t hunker down at your table for 15 minutes, 20 minutes because I’ve got six, seven tables to stop by.
So, what I’ll do is I do, hey, thank you so much for coming. Appreciate you being here. Any quick questions you have before I head out? Say it again. Oh, yeah, Anthony, I did have a question on this, this. That’s something else. I noticed if you were not to do that, that’s the difference of getting maybe 60% and 80% because you can take someone who’s on the fence, hasn’t fully decided. And maybe they had a question that was pretty simple.
I had somebody last night. It’s well, yeah, I was going to come in to visit with you, but I’m still working. And I’m like, “Well, if you don’t mind me asking, what’s your current age?” “I’m 62.” I said, “Oh, well, how long have you been with your company?” “I’ve been there 18 years.” I said, “Really?” I said, “Did you know that 90% of 401(k) companies allow you to do an in-service rollover? Even if you plan to work to 70, we can get, help roll some of that out.” “Really?” “Yeah.” “Oh, I didn’t realize it.” See what I mean? So, that’s the difference of taking a moment to stop by each table to engage and answer any quick questions. You’re already there. You already invested the time. You already invested the money.
Brad Johnson: What’s another 10 minutes for 25% better results?
Anthony Pellegrino: Not to mention by making that less touch, you can’t quantify the impact that has on the stick ratio of people that come out by taking that one last time because people say thanks for coming by.
Brad Johnson: And by stick ratio, they booked at the live event, do they actually show up to the office for the purpose of this?
Anthony Pellegrino: That’s right. I’m solidifying that they’re coming in as well because then I’ll say, even a couple of people, it’s I’ll see it, then they scheduled April 8. And I’m like, “Oh, that sound good. When are you coming in?” “Oh, yeah, next Thursday.” “Sounds great. Well, hey, our team looks forward to meet with you.” Well, that’s something else, is the question of transitioning, I make it very well known, when you come in to meet with our team, when you meet with our team, when you meet with our team. So, I’m letting you know, it’s not me, right? You’ll meet with us and I’ll still give you like, “Hey, can we?” And still, it’s very hard. I’m kind of quarterbacking everything. I still have involvement, but you will end up meeting with one of our fiduciary advisors, yeah. And we work as a team, team, team.
Now, I’m also helping remove me from the expectation that I’m the one, but it also gives them comfort. The guy they liked, the guy they connected with, the guy they’re scheduling to come visit with his team, he’s still quarterbacking and involved, which I am still involved with everything.
Brad Johnson: That last tip right there, words matter. We send out a lot.
Anthony Pellegrino: Yes.
Brad Johnson: But just the intentionality of removing the I, and by the way, that’s a lot of advisors because it’s back to that, oh, I’ve built this thing. It’s kind of my ego, like they need to meet with me. How were you able? Was it as easy as just one day? It was I at one event, and the next one it was we and team. Or was that like, oh, man, I took a couple of steps forward, a couple of steps back, and I had to slowly get myself there?
Anthony Pellegrino: Pretty much. It was one of those. That was a rip-the-Band-Aid-off moment. That was like, no, I have to. And it was just like, it’s when you meet with us, when you visit our team, when you visit our team, when you visit our team, when you meet with our team, and I’ll say it a few times, throw some kind of play in the seat and it has an impact. I thought it would, but it hasn’t. Look, somebody, go to Charles Schwab. They think they’re going to meet with Chuck. No. Remember, they were at a huge ad campaign, Talk to Chuck. No one’s talking to Chuck. Same thing, if I’m up there speaking, I’ve set the table that you’re going to meet with somebody else as an impact of that.
Brad Johnson: When is the last time you ran an appointment?
Anthony Pellegrino: Like, a real appointment?
Brad Johnson: Yeah, like a true first, second, like, all the way.
Anthony Pellegrino: Oh, my goodness. True first, second, whatever is that, it’s got to be at least three years.
Brad Johnson: And during that three years, what’s your growth been as a firm?
Anthony Pellegrino: That’s funny. And I hear, that’s another ego check or seeing yourself as the constraint there by fully removing myself. That is when we went from $87, $91 million to, year over year, $171, $210, pays it over $250. Those years was me getting out. Listen, from time to time, I had somebody like, no, no, no, I have to be with Anthony, be with Anthony. And I really pull the Heisman, like, I can’t do that.
A couple people, there’s less price to what I said, okay, I’m going to be in town that day, a high net worth person, but we get valued, everybody, but I said, okay, it just so happens that the high net worth client and I’m going to be in town, so I’ll tell you what? Put it on another advisor’s calendar and block me off for the first 30 minutes. And then, basically, I came in and it was you. You let me…
Brad Johnson: What? What’s your phrase? You blessed me. And I think you even did get…
Anthony Pellegrino: You get the holy water and hit up. No, I’m kidding, so just kidding. But no, it’s…
Brad Johnson: But like you swung by. You said, hey, like it was the relationship side. Hey, how are the kids? How are the grandkids? How was the last trip? And hey, I’m here. I’m not going anywhere, but you’re in great hands because now, here’s the truth. You’re building better plans by getting the hell out of the way. Like, how good was Anthony’s plan when he was running 15 appointments a day, giving a seminar that night, rinse, repeat consistently?
Now, as you built out the team, you’re actually doing better planning. Your advisors are loving more on the clients than you ever could buy yourself more time. And now, we’ve freed you up to actually help more retirees in the market you’re in because now, that is your skill set and that is where you can start to feed the calendar for your team.
Anthony Pellegrino: 100%, Brad. And as much as they connect with you, I know what’s best for them that my time being limited, I can’t serve you in the way that you deserve to be served, right? And kind of our mantra here, our mindset, our company’s language is we want to help clients live a life in retirement worthy of the sacrifices that it took for them to get there. Because otherwise, what was the last 40 years of getting up every day, going out to work, kind of weird…
Brad Johnson: Some Chris Smith language in there.
Anthony Pellegrino: Love Chris Smith. His language is phenomenal.
Brad Johnson: If you are listening to this episode and you have not gone back and listen to Episode 5 of Chris Smith, him and Anthony have done a ton of work together on the messaging, which I’ve seen you weave in to the radio, the TV, the seminars. And it’s thrilling good stuff. Once again, you’ve continued to be a student and evolved upon the work you’ve already done.
Anthony Pellegrino: And Brad, to the point now where if I– one thing I want to hear about the seminar and then we’ll move to something else that I’m going to share with you, but I also have a saying is selling is not telling, advising is not telling, it’s asking thought-provoking questions in getting the people to really tell you, share what their concerns are, their biggest concerns and problems and what have you. And if you asked the questions, thought-provoking, they’ll tell you here’s my biggest concerns, here’s my biggest pain points. And then you can go as a financial advisor, create a plan that solves for their needs, their concerns, their pain points. And there is no self, right? You’re providing a solution to their concerns because if you just sit there, talk, talk, talk, talk, you can’t have a cookie-cutter approach like a wind-up dial. You have to do that.
One other thing, to the point now, let’s talk about Joe, right? Newer advisor, 24 years of age, spends what, nine months, I believe at Thrivent Financial, and here, call Aunt Betty 16 times and Uncle Lou, right?
Brad Johnson: I bet there’s a lot of Uncle Lous, whatever.
Anthony Pellegrino: Probably. There probably are. And yeah, and it was like, so we took somebody who had great skill sets, great personality, and drive, wanting to work hard and plugging them into the process that we follow, right? And many of the advisors, part of the Triad community follow to the point where it’s provable. It’s like, my goodness, here’s a guy that first full year in the business with us, we said, “Here, just shut up. Listen to what our style is, listen to how we run a meeting.” He’s like, “Great, I’m a student. What should I do?”
So, he sat in with one of our advisors over and over and over for a few months, listened to everything he said. You guys have done a phenomenal job of creating basically like a library of training videos, right? And I’m like, Joe, here, sit in this conference room and just watch the first meeting run over and over again, meaning two over and over again, to the point where we got up early and corrected any bad habits. And now, then I think you’re 30 million or so like, right, his first full year. He’s pacing. And he’ll do somewhere between 40 to 50. I think you can hit 50 million second full year and he’s a product of the process that we put together.
Brad Johnson: What’s crazy is in two years under Goldstone’s roof, he’s outperforming 99.9% of advisors that have been doing this their entire lives. He said a little bit earlier, kind of happened one foot and two different models. And one of the things I’ve seen a lot of founding advisors struggle with was kind of like this 20, 30 years of knowledge. How do I download that out of my brain into the young go-giver that’s 24, that’s got all the energy in the world? And what I’ve seen from you is you saw a firm on the East Coast, SHP, you mentioned them earlier. They had a very dialed-in first, second, third, a very holistic approach built on a CFP standard. You’re like, okay, I kind of grew up in the sales side of it. Like, hey, here’s your sales presentation. Do you want Product A, B, or C? And I saw you shift just before we started recording here today, yet literally, you hired him, this is dudes like an e-money guru.
Anthony Pellegrino: Crazy.
Brad Johnson: I mean…
Anthony Pellegrino: Trade it.
Brad Johnson: I’m guessing, Anthony wasn’t building plans like, yet can build it, right?
Anthony Pellegrino: Correct.
Brad Johnson: So, that’s what I just love, like as you start to look through the lens of a business owner, what’s the more efficient way to scale a business? Now, I remove myself from the planning because guess what? There’s guys out there that love planning and literally geek out on it and they’re coming to you like, “Hey, we got this new scenario. Anybody, I want to be assured. There’s a new tax planning law, I want to make sure you know about it.” But the other piece of that…
Anthony Pellegrino: Joey, I call him Joey. Yeah, Joey.
Brad Johnson: But I’ll always know him as Joey. But I remember meeting him and I’ve seen a lot of guys, if you’re an advisor out there, you’re young, you’re in your 20s, you’re just getting going, I see a lot of advisors at that age, they’re thrown in the deep end. They don’t know how to swim and they’re like, how do I not drown?
And what he instead had was a systematic model, a structured first, a structured way and closed the first to move into the second high level, you’ve got these problems we had covered. If you want us to build a custom plan to solve them, here’s step one, move the funds over so you can start to build the plan. But you just gave him the greatest gift that a 22, 23, 24-year-old advisor can get, which is a system and a framework that’s proven and that’s easy to follow if you’re willing to put in the work.
Anthony Pellegrino: Yes.
Brad Johnson: And that’s where the magic happens because removed the ego aside, that’s a lot of times just get in the founder’s way, right? And then put in the work at time that here is a duplicatable process, invested six months of shadowing, which is a true investment. But now, two years, 50 mil.
Anthony Pellegrino: Yes. Right. We’ve taken the learning curve and significantly reduced that because when I think what it took for me when I was doing everything, back-to-back meeting, meeting, running, let’s do this knots at every paperwork, everything, what it took for me to hit 65 million, how many years it took to do that as an individual, and now, to remove myself, build a team of power, and take everything off of them and just focus on your strengths and to get within two years of 50 million, where my high was 65 as an individual, it took a decade almost to get there. So, I love the speed at which we were shortening that learning curve. And in fact, a couple of things, he said, “Gosh, Anthony, I can’t believe, at my age, I’m already hitting these levels.” And I’m just continuing to believe in himself. You’re going to do this because he started here. He goes, oh, 30 millions, my goal myself.
Brad Johnson: Well, and you didn’t want it, okay, so one other thing we skipped. So, Brian was your first Joey, right?
Anthony Pellegrino: Yeah, yeah.
Brad Johnson: He did 80 and changed last year. I’m low. And he goes triple-digit.
Anthony Pellegrino: 114 and changed.
Brad Johnson: 114 million. Okay. So, we kind of broke this down. Marketing sales ops, the before, the during, the after, Brian now does not step out of the sales.
Anthony Pellegrino: That’s correct.
Brad Johnson: Channel, right? So, he’s just literally getting appointments on his calendar every day and the guy is just one of the most gifted connector. He can simplify things. He’s a whiteboard, like just hop on a whiteboard and it’s like, oh, this never made sense. Now, it does.
Anthony Pellegrino: Yes.
Brad Johnson: I believe Joey trained under Brian, not Anthony.
Anthony Pellegrino: Correct. So, Brian is a product of me, 114 million last year of business. Joey’s a product of him. So, there’s that evolution. But the other thing is go back to the thing I said earlier, that book, The ONE Thing, right? So, we got two points, (a) the one thing for Brian is to focus on meeting with clients. We’re now building a team under Brian in which he’s just doing that and he’s alone.
Brad Johnson: He’s literally in the background of the video right there on.
Anthony Pellegrino: Yeah, he is.
Brad Johnson: There’s the man himself, the legend.
Anthony Pellegrino: He’s walking out of the corner. See his manner is out there.
Brad Johnson: I hope that was captured on video.
Anthony Pellegrino: I don’t know. And truth be told, Brad, right now at this moment, one of the things we’ll do is I believe that if I can take the knowledge that I have and share it with other advisors to help them get better and better their lives and, quite frankly, be able to spend more family time, time with their kids. And that’s something that’s a feel-good thing for me as I’m sitting here right now. I’ve got two advisors that we’ll invite and come up, mentor with us. I’ve got two advisors from the…
Brad Johnson: You have two literally right here, Matt and Byron. When I walked in, I’m like, wait, Byron. And I would like to double-hit.
Anthony Pellegrino: When you see somebody…
Brad Johnson: Yes, you should be at Carolina when everybody in Chicago. I’m like, “Oh, shoot, they came in” because we’ve got the scale summit going on after this. So they just came in a day early to do a little check.
Anthony Pellegrino: Correct. And yeah, so we got an advisor who’s been in the business, I don’t know wherever Matt has, but at least a dozen years, a dozen-year advisor that’s sitting and shadowing with an advisor that’s in the game of two years, learning from him, the guy, this pays 50 mil.
Brad Johnson: By the way, Matt is no slouch.
Anthony Pellegrino: No.
Brad Johnson: He’ll probably do 30, 40, 50 million on the fixed side, another 2, 3 million target on the life side, and then, let alone how many assets.
Anthony Pellegrino: He’s incredibly successful guy. That’s also a tribute to Matt, puts his ego aside to say, hey, I can learn about some things. Matt’s crushing it. But my point is he said, hey, what’s this guy doing? This young guy, let’s take some learnings from him. And then Byron wanted his advisors check him out. So, point is, that guy, young guy, two years to this, already helping mentor, but that’s our iron sharpening irons that takes place here. We’ll have multiple events over the course of the year where other advisors will fly up here kind of mentor others either from…
Brad Johnson: That was one of the things and it’s easier in business when you’re small to be intimate and pour in, it’s tough as you scale and get bigger. And that was one of the things I’ve seen happen in the brokerage world that I grew up in a lot is everybody loved it when it was small and then it gets big and you feel like you’re just a number. And that was one of the things, like we intentionally did this year, we formed Triad Packs. We have to give the wink to you to name them, right?
Anthony Pellegrino: Yeah.
Brad Johnson: And now, we’ve got groups of four, six, eight. And one of the common themes we’ve seen is that, hey, I’d love to kind– it’s like, what do they call that when you’re doing it, an open house?
Anthony Pellegrino: Yeah. Except it’s kind of open office, right?
Brad Johnson: Yeah. And so, you’re walking through, you’re like, Oh, okay, cool. I like how Anthony laid out the lobby here. Oh, cool. He’s got the recording studio right off the lobby. So, it’s a little bit of wow factor when a new person walks through for the first time. But it’s just kind of success leaves clues, that concept of like, oh, I can take a little bit from that.
Anthony Pellegrino: Yes.
Brad Johnson: Learned some stuff of how he positions life insurance. Oh, look at Anthony’s layout. And these packs, one of the biggest requests was, “Hey, can we do at least one of these a year in person?” And we’d love to do this open office concept to where we can go do something fun, experiential, but also check out some of these office environment team structures, all that. It’s been really cool to see all that. The community has said, “Hey, can we do more of this?”
Anthony Pellegrino: Brad, that was huge because two years ago, one was posted in Boston. And what I like is I go on to other events in the past with FMOs and you go there, huge events, tons of people. And you have these speakers, you take all these notes and you come home, you’ve got all these ideas, and then you come back and you’re playing catch-up from being gone, right? And then you’re on to the next thing in the other parts of your business that are already in motion. And what happens to all those ideas and notes on the back part?
Brad Johnson: You find them two years later in your cabinet. Oh, oh, there was that one I did.
Anthony Pellegrino: Yes. This Leighton-based notepad and all that time and nothing was implemented. So, game changer. My view is I end up, if you recall, I brought 14 people, right?
Brad Johnson: Your whole team.
Anthony Pellegrino: My whole team. So, in lieu of just be an advisor and then all these ideas, flood of them, and try to explain your version, watered-down version, to them of what to do to that department, your planning department, your client relations, transport, whatever, you guys give us the opportunity to say, no, no, no, bring your team.
And then we have breakout sessions where the Account Specialist Transfer Department, they all meet other offices together and they’re iron sharpening iron, idea sharing, and then you’ve got the advisors meeting together and then the business owner, CEO groups meeting together, and then come together. It was transformational. I definitely attribute some of that to that hockey stick where it wasn’t just on an individual, but team, team, team.
And then going forward, I think on a monthly basis, they’ll all sync up for a Zoom call together and keep that going. Now, I is not relying upon me training these people. You guys are helpful where each department is kind of training themselves. What does that do for me? That frees up my time to focus more on the things I love to do, the marketing, the rainmaking, to fill calendars. And that’s how that Michael Hyatt, step aside, watch it grow, and have the business on autopilot. That’s definitely attributed to that as well.
Brad Johnson: Yeah, this is not rocket science. And one of the things we try to do at Triad is just listen, ask questions, listen, observe. And one of the biggest disconnects I saw, it’s like you were kind of explaining, it’s like the old game of telephone where you’ve got 10 kids on the line and you say one thing on one side and then pass the message. And by the time you get to the 10th kid, it’s like, wait, that’s not even close. That’s what our industry was doing, where it’s like, oh, fly all these advisors out, wine them, dine them, incredible steak dinners and great bottles of wine, trust me, I’ve benefited from any of those dinners and I enjoy them. But it was like this game of telephone where, hey, there’s these five marketing ideas. Oh, there was this CRM concept.
Now, three days later, rolling into a full calendar that stacked because you were out the week before, and by the way, I say this like from the kindness of my heart, the best advisors in the world are typically the worst ops people. The sales skill set and connection skill set very rarely translates to high organization-level follow-through.
Anthony Pellegrino: Absolutely, absolutely.
Brad Johnson: And so, you got the sales guy that’s maybe a little scatterbrained, a little ADD, which guilty.
Anthony Pellegrino: Right there.
Brad Johnson: Now, trying to explain an operation that takes 17 steps and it’s like everything is lost in translation. And on the flip side, I’ve seen the other side of that where the team members go out, they get trained on some CRM system. Now, they’re coming back feeling helpless because they’ve got their listed to-dos. And now, you’re like, well, Anthony is like jammed in appointments from 8 to 5, or hey, he’s got a speaking presentation tonight.
And so, not rocket science, no. One team, one experience, bring it all together, and every successful advisor that I have ever talked with has always told me I benefited from my peers, iron sharpens iron. We’re a little further down the path that I was. So, guess what? That same system works for your team too.
Anthony Pellegrino: Yes.
Brad Johnson: Why would you? Michelle, SHP COO, how many COOs has she mentored in her career? And now, it’s like, why wouldn’t she just create an avenue for that to happen really easily? Because guess what? Brad shouldn’t be training and Anthony shouldn’t be training the next COO in line. Should be somebody that’s lived that.
Anthony Pellegrino: Yeah, that’s their role, right? And if you guys are willing to put people together, they’re willing to share their knowledge and then they, as you would say, like geek out in a healthy way that our team looks forward to those meetings. They look forward to those Zoom calls. And again, that takes it off me to focus on continuing to grow the business and hence working on the business, not in the business to where they’re all training and learning from each other segment at each department. So, it’s been a huge benefit for our company.
Brad Johnson: Well, you as a business owner too, there’s another thing that I’ve seen. Your team is being poured into and invested in by you. We’re doing this one in Chicago, so it’s a short drive, but you flew the vast majority of your team to Boston.
Anthony Pellegrino: I did, hotels.
Brad Johnson: Yeah. And we try to do our stuff, DBDL. So, we also checked out a Red Sox game. So, it was the fun part then because I think oftentimes and this is if you’re a founder out there listening in, here’s a good thing to think about when it comes to your culture. Oftentimes, you get the fun piece, right? You get the trips, the cool experiences, the cool speakers. And honestly, your team can start to resent that. Yeah, right. It’s like, oh, Anthony always hits fun all over the place. He gets wined and dined. What about me? I’m back here slaving. I’m working my butt off to serve these clients. And so, I would just challenge you if you’re a founder listening in out there, how cannot I reward my team, empower my team, and where they see like, wow, they care, Anthony cares about– and he’s investing into my future.
Anthony Pellegrino: Yes. Look, when they’re included, you’re right, I mean, they’re, for all the right reasons, buying into the dream and they see it. It’s not just a singular thing, Anthony’s just worried about himself. It’s no, I see them thrive, dude.
Brad Johnson: Yeah.
Anthony Pellegrino: And I tell you, it is a compound effect, and it creates a buzz around the office. And again, they really get excited about it. And go back to, we put Joey having the advisors here, I really do feel continue to share what’s gotten you here, right? And I have another great book that I haven’t read yet and I’ll save a hack for people watching this in a moment about not having time to read books. But I met the author and the title of this book, shows a guy staying on the top rung of the ladder and he’s reaching to a ladder that’s coming down, and it’s called What Got You Here Won’t Get You There, right?
So, having an opportunity to have advisors throughout the year come visit with us to see if they can learn and take their practice to the next level is huge. And we give that opportunity to certain people come and visit. And I just think, I’m a visual learner so you can tell me, “Hey, there’s an office in Boston that they’re doing this, they’re doing this. You should check out.” Oh, they did this. And I’m thinking, how? How is that possible? What are they doing?
So, I’m a visual guy. You can tell me. I can hear about it. I can read about it. But if I see it, I’m like, okay, then the aha moment. I’m like, I’m seeing it take place. That’s what happened for us. Once everyone is seeing hands out, this is how their office operates, this is what each department does, this is what, you’re actually seeing it explained to you, not hearing about it, they can’t say enough about a scale summit-type event.
Brad Johnson: To me, that’s one of the biggest hacks. There’s a reason Tony Robbins does what he calls full immersion. And he’s going to become famous. He’s like, “Oh, it’s like 45 degrees in the room. I’m freezing to death. So, I stay wide awake.” And then he’s going for like seven in the morning to midnight.
Anthony Pellegrino: He’s crazy.
Brad Johnson: Now, I don’t recommend taking it quite to that level, but I will say there’s something in the immersion where oftentimes where I’ve seen advisors struggle or be frustrated, it’s like, man, it’s taken forever to train this person up. We’ve been trying to train him for a month, two months. The shortest hack from my experience is a full immersive experience, a day, day and a half, two days of literally rubbing elbows with somebody in your exact same position just a few years down the road. Maybe a little further in front of you.
But now, when they can see it and like, oh, okay, this is how I get in to fire light to do the dApp. Oh, here’s how I run these different scenarios inside of e-money or whatever the planning software is. And it’s this like immersive experience where they’re actually participating versus just like watching some video on some portal or something. Not that those aren’t also great, but it’s just the shortest. The shortest hack I’ve seen to accelerating growth is literally immersive experiences where they’re just surrounded by people that have just been there and done that.
Anthony Pellegrino: Yeah, you’re actually seeing it in action.
Brad Johnson: Well, my man, I think we set a new record. Well, we have. So, you’ll be proud to know as an Enneagram 3, we’ve got a new record for the longest episode.
Anthony Pellegrino: Come on, really?
Brad Johnson: I want to do business. Dude, I told you to fly, man.
Anthony Pellegrino: Yeah. So, real quick. So, I do want to just share for the guy who with all these books, but I don’t read, right? So, there is a little hack. So, there’s a company, I think everybody should check this out. It is called, I know the name of the dang company. It’s called the Productivity Game. Productivity Game. And what they do for those who don’t have time to read books because everyone’s so darn busy, you can sign up for this. And what they do is they’ll send you.
So, they’ll send you a weekly breakdown. So, for instance, the company reads the book. It’s called The Productivity Game. They read the book and then they send you a book summary. And then they also send you basically a core video message that will be typically somewhere between six to eight minutes.
Okay, here we go. This one’s eight minutes and 28 seconds and it’ll be a short video that kind of gives a highlighted summary, almost of like, I don’t know, like a cartoon style fashion or something, Productivity Game. And I get these, they put visuals. And what they do is they’ll break their book down where literally, in eight minutes, what would have taken, however longer, 200, 300, 400-page book, it’s broken down. And in addition to the video, they give you a one-page summary as well as a more detailed eight-page summary.
Brad Johnson: The Productivity Game.
Anthony Pellegrino: Productivity Game. And it’s a lot of business building books. This one is Stolen Focus. You get them every Sunday night. So, it’s like one-page PDF, and then they’ll have a multi-page. But again, it is a massive timesaver. For instance, this has like the six-pager that’ll break it down, saves a ton of time productivity.
Brad Johnson: I’ve seen apps that audio summaries. I’ve never seen one though where it actually does visuals with the book. So, now, you have to see in the framework.
Anthony Pellegrino: 100%. So, you get the six to eight-minute video with the framework. It’s literally like you’ve just read the whole thing. And then after I do that, I’ll give a quick glance that perhaps the one-page summary and between that, let’s say, I just saved the time to read a 200, 300, 400-page book.
Brad Johnson: In sly, which you just did, what movie was it, where it was like, why would you do eight-minute abs when you can do seven-minute abs?
Anthony Pellegrino: Dumb and dumber, right? Wasn’t it?
Brad Johnson: I don’t know. It’s not Dumb and Dumber because I would know that one. I want to say, it was like a Ben Stiller movie. Was it, what’s the story where he’s the gym owner? Was that Dodgeball?
Anthony Pellegrino: The whole mindset was eight-minute abs was out. I’m going to become a billionaire. How? Seven minutes, perhaps. Why would people do eight when they could do seven? So, thanks, buddy, man.
Brad Johnson: Well, as we wrap here, man, we have a ton. So, thanks for, as always, just overserving, sharing, being an open book. And one of the things that I’ve asked everybody so far, this is the Do Business, Do Life podcast. I would love to just wrap by asking you how do you define Do Business, Do Life.
Anthony Pellegrino: Do Business, Do Life for me is I’m living it, right? So, it’s having a balance to which you can still maintain a thriving business that’s not ended upon you without sacrificing the time for my family. So, it’s having a business that affords me the opportunity to be able to do all the cool things I want to do with my family.
On spring break, we just brought the boys to Costa Rica and we jammed so many adventurous things in there. And for me, it’s idea creation, those memories, or memory creation, it’s creating all those memories that are going to stick with my kids long after I’m gone. That, to me is doing life, right?
So, it’s not, you’re so successful, you left behind so much money. Forget that. It’s like the memories. I want my kids years after I’m gone to smile and tell their kids or grandkids about the stories that they were– the zip line over 300-foot drops or this and doing all these cool things. So, that to me is my Do Business, Do Life type of mindset.
Brad Johnson: Well, it’s super rewarding to me, Anthony, to like, number one, I’m not taking any credit. I appreciate the credit you’ve sent my way. But what I love is just how you’ve always shown up as just like one of my favorite people. The room lights up when you walk in and just this boundless energy. But I’ll tell you what I remember, this is going way back, everybody was always like, man, I just love that Anthony guy. And the reason being is because you love people and you just do. And you can’t fake that. And you’ve always like, done, it doesn’t matter if it’s the janitor taking up the trash, you’ll look him in the eye, “Hey, I really appreciate you taking care of that.”
And it’s cool to see how you’ve now built a business that’s created freedom so you can show up how you want to free your family. And that’s the most rewarding work that I could even be connected to in any remote way. And so, thanks for coming on here. Thanks for sharing. I promise there’s a lot of advisors out there that benefited from this conversation and looking forward to hanging. Thanks, man for this.
Anthony Pellegrino: And my mindset, I’ve heard this years ago, I’ve applied to my life is people will forget 90% of what you say, but they’ll remember how you made them feel. So, hey, same right back at you, man. I appreciate you having me on and appreciate that you came out and did it right here in our studio. So, always, always great time with you, so.
Brad Johnson: All right, my man. Well, we’ll cut this one off. Probably bring you back for another one. Appreciate it.
Anthony Pellegrino: Yeah, it sounds good. Thanks, man.