EP 37 | Dan Solin on The Art & Science of Creating Meaningful Business Relationships

03.17.21 | 0 Scale

Dan Solin is the President of Evidence Based Advisor Marketing and Solin Strategic, LLC. He helps advisors around the world connect with their ideal clients through evidence-based marketing solutions, website development, content strategy, and sales coaching services. He is the New York Times bestselling author of the Smartest series of books, a collection of investment, financial planning, and wealth-building books that have been endorsed by The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and Vanguard’s founder, John Bogle. His latest book, Ask: How To Relate To Anyone, helps readers understand the psychology and neuroscience behind creating deep, meaningful connections with anyone. A graduate of Johns Hopkins University and the University of Pennsylvania Law School, Dan regularly conducts workshops and presentations to advisors and advisory firms throughout North America.

Dan joins me today to discuss the lessons he’s learned while researching the psychology and neuroscience behind building relationships and meaningful connections with others. We discuss how creating meaningful business relationships is more about being authentic and building the ‘know, like, and trust’ factor and less about sharing analytical data and processes. Dan shares tips and strategies you can use to truly connect with your prospective clients. We discuss some of the common misconceptions advisors often have about why someone might hire them and why it’s crucial to emphasise your likability over your expertise in your branding and marketing.  We highlight the differences between cognitive trust and effective trust. We also discuss why your response time is critical to converting leads into clients, why most decisions are rooted in our emotions, and the importance of letting go of trying to control the flow and agenda of your sales meetings and, instead, leading them with the intention of getting to know your client better.

“We do business with people we like. If we like people, we trust them. If we trust them, we hire them.” – Dan Solin


This week on The Model FA Podcast:

  • Dan’s definition of evidence-based advisors
  • Strategies for deeply connecting with your ideal clients
  • Common misconceptions around the hiring process and the decisions a potential client makes
  • Putting emphasis on likability over expertise in your brand messaging and marketing strategies
  • How conversations over personal passions, interests, and hobbies create unique bonds
  • Why Dan believes many advisors hesitate to ‘put themselves out there’ to be relatable
  • Leaning into being vulnerable, authentic, and showing genuine interest in your client’s passions and hobbies
  • Understanding the difference between ‘cognitive trust’ and ‘effective trust’
  • The ‘Moment of Seduction’ principle of sales and how your response time impacts your ability to convert a client
  • The value of leading your initial sales calls with personal interest questions and letting go of trying to control the meeting flow and agenda


Resources Mentioned:


Connect with Dan Solin:

About the Model FA Podcast

The Model FA podcast is a show for fiduciary financial advisors. In each episode, our host David DeCelle sits down with industry experts, strategic thinkers, and advisors to explore what it takes  to build a successful practice — and have an abundant life in the process. We believe in continuous learning, tactical advice, and strategies that work — no “gotchas” or BS. Join us to hear stories from successful financial advisors, get actionable ideas from experts, and re-discover your drive to build the practice of your dreams. 

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Our Team:

President of Model FA, David DeCelle


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David DeCelle  0:48  

Welcome Model FAs, I am grateful that you are tuning into this episode. I am super excited for our guest today, Dan Solin. And before I introduce Dan, it's interesting how the world works. So one of our good partners, Dan Allison, has shared the stage with Dan Solin quite a bit and that's kind of how we collided initially. So to introduce Dan, Dan is the New York Times best selling author of the Smartest series of books. And his latest book is, and if you're watching this on the video, I’ve got it held up right here, Ask: How to Relate to Anyone. Dan also is a renowned speaker in the financial services industry. He does a lot of work for firms throughout the country, as well as the world I believe, specifically with DFA dimensional fund advisors. So we are extremely fortunate to have Dan join us today. I'm very excited about this episode; we're going to share with you exactly how to do a better job connecting with your clients and prospects and leveraging those conversations to ultimately build a relationship with folks. So Dan, welcome to the show.


Dan Solin  1:56  

Thank you, David, I feel extremely fortunate to be with you. Nice of you to have me.


David DeCelle  2:01  

Awesome. So I guess before we dive into the content around how to relate to folks and build relationships, for those folks who are tuning in, who may not have heard of you yet, tell us a little bit about how you got started and exactly what it is that you do.


Dan Solin  2:16  

So I've had a fairly long career, I was a lawyer in New York for many years, a jury trial lawyer. And at the end of my career, I had seen all the problems caused by brokers basically, and started trying arbitration cases representing investors. And then I decided prevention was a better idea than cures. So I started writing investment books to try to get people to understand how to avoid these problems and why I believed, based on everything I knew, active management was creating a lot of problems. So I became a wealth advisor with a PhD. A wonderful person named Eddie O'Neill, who's now an expert witness, he was an assistant professor at Wake Forest University. We formed a small firm, appropriately entitled Academic Wealth Management and merged that into a larger firm. And then I went off with Buckingham to be a national thought leader; spent a few years there. And then I started two businesses, one sole and strategic, where I coach advisors into how to be more effective communicators, what the evidence says about converting prospects into clients. And then I formed evidence-based advisor marketing, which says websites, graphic design, digital marketing, produces videos all exclusively for evidence based advisors.


David DeCelle  3:37  

Awesome. So that kind of leads me into my first question. So when I had initially listened to your book, and then you were gracious enough to send me a hard copy of your book, which I very much appreciate; even though I listen to all of my books, I do want a badass bookshelf one day in my forever home. So I do buy all the books that I listen to as well. So I'll have a bunch of books with no creases in them. So appreciate you adding to the collection. So you've used the word evidence-based a couple times now, and I know a lot of what you discuss is based on the research and evidence as you say, you've collected over the years. Tell us more about some of the findings that you've come across. We'll dive deeper as we go. 


Dan Solin  4:23  

Sure, so let's just define what I mean by evidence-based because it is a term that kind of like beauty is in the eyes of the beholder, I think. What I mean is advisors who do not engage in stock picking, market timing, or trying to select the next high performing actively managed mutual fund. And it isn't really my research as much as my looking at other people's research, primarily all the research done by dimensional fund advisors relating to what's called rules-based investing; and I became convinced many years ago that the only intelligent responsible way to invest was not to try to beat the market. It's not to try to pick stock winners, not to try to pick outperforming mutual funds, but rather to basically capture market returns. And that's what I mean by evidence-based; you could call it index-based, and I won't get involved in the various kinds of evidence-base advisors, it may even be a straight index-based advisor. You can follow Fama French and believe that there are factors that are drivers of returns. There is a lot of good research on that, small and value, momentum and other factors. But I'm referring just kind ofwe represent clients who believe in rules-based investing.


David DeCelle  5:43  

Understood. Now I think there's two aspects of winning a client over if I'm an advisor, right? There's the data and your philosophy from a planning perspective, and then there's, well, they have to actually like you, if they're going to do business with you. So specifically, as it relates to connecting with these folks, I know I read a bunch in your book as to, pun fully intended with the subtitle of how to relate to anyone, how does an advisor go about actually connecting with the person across the table? Or, in today's day and age through the zoom meeting, how do they go about doing that, because I think you can have best looking charts or the best historical performance, and the best process, but if they don't actually like you, they're probably not going to do business. So what are some of the steps an advisor can take to truly connect with the person that they're meeting with?

Dan Solin  6:43  

So I think the basic misconception that advisors and perhaps people in other fields have is that expertise is what causes people to hire you. So advisors spend a lot of time on their websites and elsewhere touting their expertise; and you look at websites, and it's just filled with data and processes and all the things that they will do and can do for clients. But the research is quite to the contrary, as you kind of pointed out in your question, David. The research is, we do business with people we like. If we like people, we trust them; if we like and trust them, we hire them. So when I looked at the research, I said, well, everything seems to be backwards here. The orientation of every touchpoint, including websites, should be how do I present myself as more likeable. That should be the goal. And that's a basic premise that I was never aware of when I was a wealth advisor. And that's what kind of caused me to write the last two books, The Smartest Sales Book You'll Ever Read and Ask: How to Relate to Anyone was, okay, let's shift our focus from “I'm the greatest advisor in the world, I have all these credentials after my name,” to “I'm really likeable, you can trust me.”


David DeCelle  8:01  

So what you're saying is, it's not just in conversations with people, but it's their entire brand, including their website, and basically how they're perceived or how they're holding themselves out there to the marketplace. I guess what I would add to that is, especially with it being 2021, their website is simply a piece of the overall puzzle, right? It's not the end all be all, I think that if an advisor is doing a great job on their content, be it on LinkedIn, on Facebook, on Instagram, Twitter; the first three are the ones that I probably use the most. I think what I found, being able to connect with people is just holding myself out there with the things that I like to do. So, that ranges from reading books to working out to cooking to going to the shooting range; there all over the place. But what I find is that, you know, based on photos or videos or words, so to speak, that I post, people are going to choose what it is that they connect to. And if they have similar interests, they're just putting me in a different category; and that category is someone that they're beginning to like, and hopefully, ultimately trust. And what I like about having a multifaceted approach with a website, your social media, the content that you're putting out, and then you combine that with the actual conversations that you have; when someone ultimately does reach out to you and has some sort of business meeting, it's my belief anyways, that they're already like 80, maybe 90% of the way through their decision making process, because there was plenty of information that they could gather in advance simply by just Googling your name. So if you're featured in articles or blogs or any press releases, things along those lines, it just elevates your credibility; and if they can connect with you on one of your hobbies that is also one of their hobbies, it’s almost like your process and the fancy charts almost don't even matter, because they're already most of the way through their decision. But I guess with that being said, what's your take on that, Dan?


Dan Solin 10:12  

My take is I could not agree with you more. So this is our second time that you and I have interacted, right? So let me make some observations just to validate that. You are very likeable, and I liked you when I met you for the first time. I felt a connection with you, because in our exchange, you did exactly what you just said. Now, I asked questions, and that's the difference between me and most people who are so consumed with their own agenda. And so, oh, I want to be on your podcast, let me tell you how great I am. I've written all these books. That's my agenda. But when you ask questions of people, as I did with you, like, I know why you move to the city or St. Petersburg, where you're living, and I know about your hobbies, and you are willing to share with me things that made you exactlyI love the way you summarized it. But they made it very easy for me to relate to you as a person, not as a coach or as a podcast host. But just as a person. It's like, oh, he's a really nice person, he has very interesting hobbies. Like we share, I noted this morning, we share a preoccupation with a healthy lifestyle, right? Well, when you find that in somebody that creates a certain bond. And those are very powerful bonds, all the data is very consistent. We want to work with people with whom we share something in common; they look like us have the same hobbies, they share the same values, they engage in similar activities, whatever. So that transfer of focus from, oh, it's all about me to let me learn more about you, is critical to understanding who you are. So everything you said is accurate?


David DeCelle  12:04  

Well, I appreciate the validation, and also the kind words at the beginning. So thank you for that. So I guess one of my questions would be why do you think advisors don't put themselves out there to be relatable? What do you think is holding them back from doing so?


Dan Solin  12:19  

So first of all, there's a disconnect between advisors. So, I deal, as I mentioned, with evidence-based advisors; so these advisors, they're very sophisticated, they're very smart. They pay enormous amount of attention to little details concerning investing. And if you say to them, what role does evidence play in your investing philosophy, they'll all tell you it plays an enormous role in their investment. It's like 100%, let's say or 98%, is based on solid evidence. And then I say, what role does evidence play in the way you attempt to convert prospects into clients? Or with respect to my latest book, it's what role does evidence play in the way you interact with anyone? Personal...social...business; and I get a blank look. It's like they don't know. And I didn't know; I don't blame them. I didn't know there was evidence about how to engage with people in an effective way. So I felt, and most advisors feel, that it's my job to be entertaining, witty, charming, to try to impress people with my success. And until I got into some of the psychology and neuroscience studies, I didn't realize that that's totally counterproductive. Because the feeling is, you know, I'm an advisor, let's say, oh, people are coming to me for my expertise, they must be interested in me and who I am and why I do what I do and who else I serve, and all my success and all. The counterintuitive part is that nobody cares at all about us, they only care about their agenda. And they view us as a way to achieve whatever goals they have. And the only way we're going to find that out is by asking questions. So advisors have a lot of trouble putting their ego aside and saying, you know what, David, in this conversation, I'm just gonna focus on you. I don't have an agenda. My agenda is to find out what your agenda is and then to see if I can serve your needs. If I can, it's a fit. If I can't, I'll help you find somebody who can. That's the approach that works.


David DeCelle  14:26  

I agree with that. Going back to why advisors may not hold themselves out to be relatable. I think there's one strategy that's twofold. So when you're with someone, in some sort of meeting, you have two ears in one mouth; use them proportionately. So make sure that you're doing a great job asking questions, making sure you're doing a great job, not just hearing them but truly listening to them; and practicing that active listening, so you're repeating what they say, making sure that you're confirming the understanding, and you're just doing a great job asking questions. With that being said, I think that the way to go about relating to folks is a also twofold. Which is, let’s say that they’re interested in a certain topic of books, call it personal development. Well, when you send a follow up email to them, why not include a P.S. that says, I don't know if you've read this book yet, but it's by far my favorite personal development book. Feel free to check it out and let me know your thoughts; just something that shows that you're still thinking about them beyond that in person interaction. And then in addition to that, the second piece is, by connecting with them on those social platforms, you can hold yourself out there as to what it is that you like to do. So if you're connected with me on social media, you'll see that one of my hobbies is I love to cook, or I workout all the time, I like to eat healthythings along those lines. So people will connect with me on those various topics. But going back to the vulnerable piece, I feel like, and I'd like to get your take on this, Dan; I feel like advisors either don't want to put themselves out there to be judged by others, there's a certain vulnerability involved in that. And in addition to that, I feel like advisors are sometimes just too professional. Part of the reason why I want to do some rebranding with this podcast. And for those of you who have tuned into the other episodes, you'll notice that we added the after hours section, which is just the fun banter back and forth, and talking about funny stuff as a way to take the ties off and loosen up a little bit and have some fun and humanize each other. I feel like advisors, I've even worked with advisors, Dan, who, they don't want to go out and golf with their clients, or grab the proverbial drink. And it's like, why? I just don't get it. So I guess, what would be your take on what is holding advisors back from being vulnerable, specifically as it relates to making their personal lives a little bit more public, for people to connect with them on a deeper level?


Dan Solin  17:03  

So there's a lot to unpack there. And it's actually a complicated question, because first, we can't deal with people like they're all the same, right? So when we talk about advisors, there are extroverted advisors, there are introverted advisors. I think you and I talked before, I'm an introvert. So I'm very sensitive to other introverts. We don't like a lot of social interaction, certainly with a lot of people; we like it one on one. So we have to break down, who are we talking to? But the primary problemlet me just go backwards. It's not really being vulnerable. That sounds kind of threatening; like if I say to advisors, you have to be vulnerable, I think that would be difficult for them. My process does not involve being vulnerable, it involves being curious. It doesn't involve being interesting, it involves being interested. It doesn't involve speaking, it involves listening. It doesn't involve asking questions, it involves asking the right questions. It involves showing a genuine, sincere, authentic interest in other people. When I ask you questions, I'm genuinely interested in knowing why you get up at 4am and spend five hours doing what you do. I mean, to me, that's really interesting. First, I learned something from that. Like, I'm not learning a lot when I'm talking; I know what I'm gonna say. When you're talking, I'm learning a lot. I thought I was leading a healthy life; you've taken it up a notch, right? Like, I can't drink celery juice, it’s out of the question. But I do have avocado toast, that's as close as I come. But nevertheless, and I do have a very healthy drink. But the whole point is not as much being vulnerable as just having no agenda. And I have to pick up on one thing you said, which is the follow up email. I'm asked a lot about, you know, what happens? I have a meeting, then they ghost me, how do I follow up? And it isn't adding a P.S. that says, oh, you mentioned your interest in x. I thought you might be interested in that. In my view, that's the entire email, because we know scientifically, and this is what fascinated me about the research. My process is based on science not musing. So scientifically, we know that when you try to persuade anybody of anything, cortisol measured in the blood and saliva goes up. So part of my processes is you can't sell, you can't persuade, you cannot send a follow up email filled with the kind of cliches that I see all the time. Just checking in to see if you had any questions, if you do call me whatever,. All that is just sales with a very thin pretext. So my follow up emails are, you know, I happened to see this article on fly fishing. You mentioned that that's something that you are interested in; I just thought you might find it of interest. Best regards, David. That's my follow up. It's basically like tugging on the sleeve and saying, look, I'm still here. But there's no persuading involved. And my process is actually easier than what advisors are doing, because there is no effort to do anything other than show a genuine interest in the other person. That's when magic happens. It's very stress free.


Unknown Speaker  20:19  (not in audio recording)

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David DeCelle  21:09  

So I've tried to improve on that myself. So back when I was an advisor, and I'm still licensed now, just not managing a book of business, I just don't want to give up my licenses. So back when I was an advisor, I was at Northwestern, and I felt a lot of times, there's a lot of things that they do great, there's a lot of things I think they can improve on, just like any company. And I feel like what I appreciate from them is the sales acumen and tenacity that was taught, but it was almost to a fault. So I find a lot of times, Dan, that I would follow up about the follow up about the follow up about the follow up, and it would just fall on deaf ears. And since I've left there, and I'm in consulting now, I do almost what you just said; which is, try my best to add value in all of my follow ups. Because I want to be associated as someone who truly wants to help them and is adding value in every step that we take, so to speak. But what I still do is I'll still have that proverbial follow up somewhere in that email. And what I'm hearing from you is just remove that, because they can probably read between the lines without you having to type that into the email. And what you're alluding to is, I may have more success, just removing that actual follow up, even if it's included with a value add as well. Am I hearing you correctly?


Dan Solin  22:38  

You are I mean, think about it this way; there are two kinds of trust. The whole goal of interactions for advisors is to establish trust. If you called me and said, Dan, I just met with a prospect, and if there's one thing I know for sure is that prospect trusts me, I would say okay, you have a 99% chance of converting that prospect into a client, right? Once you establish trust. So the question is, how do you do that? And very few people understand that there's two kinds of trust, cognitive trust and effective trust. Cognitive trust is, I have the background and experience and expertise to help you. Every advisor I deal with has the background and expertise required to help clients and it's all over their websites. So they don'tmost people go to the website first. They don't just show up hoping for the best. So they believe that you have that. Effective trust is something very different. Effective trust is that kind of blind trust that we have in very few people in our lives, who we know could take advantage of us, but we trust them so much that we're confident they won’t. Our dentist, our accountant, often our car mechanic; people who have asymmetric knowledge. The dentist could easily say, oh, I have to remove this tooth or there's a deep cavity, you need a root canal. We're not going to be able to check the X-ray to see if that's right, but we totally trust them. So the goal of these interactions is to achieve effective trust. There's only one way I can find, based on the research, to achieve effective trust. That's to empower other people to talk about themselves and not persuade them of anything. If you do that you will achieve effective trust in a large percentage of people. But I do want to be clear, there are some people, I recall when I spent a year after I did the book, implementing my own process to just see if it worked. And in the previous five years, I had attracted $55 million of business. In the first year when I was implementing my new process based on research, particularly the neuroscience research, I generated $100 million in assets. I did it by just forgetting everything I had learned and just continuing to show a genuine interest in other people.


David DeCelle  24:55  

That's awesome. I love it. And let me make sure I got the terms correctly. Did you say cognitive trust and effective trust? Is that correct?


Dan Solin



David DeCelle

To me that's like different levels of trust. As I look at my client base, I feel like all of the people, I would go as far as to say that there's a cognitive trust, a connection. But there's only a handful of people where I feel like there's effective trust, if I'm understanding how you're talking about it correctly, where we can make a certain suggestion to a client, and if we have that effective trust relationship, then they're just running through the brick wall because we told them to. They're not asking any questions. Whereas the other ones want more information to back that up. So now being more aware of those differences, I think, I mean, that's helpful for me, and I'm assuming those who are listening, it'll be helpful for as well. And when we were in between our intro call for the podcast, and then obviously, today, as we're recording, we add some friendly dialogue via email. And I want to pose this question to you, live on this show, because I thought I was really good at this in terms of response rate. And you have to understand Dan, having not come across you before, like personally, knowing that you're well known in the industry, knowing that you're an author and New York Times bestseller, knowing that you've traveled around the world to speak, you're up here in my eyes. And yet, when we corresponded, your response rate is immediate. And there was a point in time throughout your career where someone had posed the question to you, why is it, Dan, that you've been able to be so consistent with getting booked for speaking gigs, or whatever projects or initiatives you had going on in your world? Like, why is that? What is your response and why do you think that's important?


Dan Solin 26:47  

So there's a principle of sales called a moment of seduction, which means exactly what you think it means. Namely, there is a moment where there's an opportunity to make a sale or consummate a relationship. There's a moment. And even though what you and I do, David, is not neurosurgery. Right? There isn't really a time sensitivity to it, when people reach out to you, you're on their mind at that moment. And there's a lot of data saying, the quicker you respond, the more likely you are able to get the business. I'm also just rationalizing my own neurotic type A behavior, which is always trying to be on top of everything and not having any particularly good sense of perspective, which is more a weakness than a strength. But I think the one key is I'm stunned by how many times I reach out to vendors, and they respond a week later, at which time I've already found somebody and we're already down the path of doing whatever I was going to do. So I think response time is critical. And thank you for bringing that up.


David DeCelle  27:59  

So I want to say it was published on January 11 of this year, your latest blog or article, whatever we want to call it, that actually shared an experience that you had with a vendor that was kind of straight into the point like, here's my fee, are you interested? I've come across advisors before that, they don't want to spend time with a particular person until they agree to paying the financial planning fee. Now I come from the world at Northwestern where we got comped on the back end, through the products that we were selling. So I was used to bringing someone through an entire process and putting together a plan for them, and then potentially having them say no and having “wasted” all that time. And then on the other side, specifically in the independent space, it's, hey, pay me a fee, and then we'll share with you all the value that we can provide, sort of thing. Is there a happy medium there? And if so, what is that in your eyes?


Dan Solin  29:00  

So I think there is a happy medium. I do get this question a lot from my own clients. First, it's very important to understand that as humans, we make decisions emotionally. We think we make them rationally like, oh, I just hired the best qualified advisor. But as you and I have discussed earlier in the podcast, we actually make them emotionally. I like this person and now I'm gonna rationalize after the fact that they're also the best qualified. They may or may not be, but we're making that decision emotionally. So to say to somebody who doesn't know you, look, prior to getting to know me at all, you have to pay me a fee, I think is a very bad idea. I would never do it. I mean, I need to get to know you. For the same reason, saying to somebody, I have an elaborate screening process, I need to review all your financial information before I meet with you, is also a bad idea. Because I don't know you yet. Why would I feel comfortable in trusting you with personal financial information? However, some advisors go too far the other way, which is, I'll do a financial plan free and then you can see what it's like to work with me. And if you find that helpful to you, then we'll work together; almost always, that does not work. People don't value what they get free. So I think on your web page, you should qualify people by saying our minimum is this, our demographic is this; then I would have almost no screening, set up a meeting, and just see what happens.


David DeCelle  30:31  

So let's say that an advisor has an introductory meeting with someone, it's a referral from a client, you schedule a 60 minute meeting with them; what percentage of time should be spent on learning about the person, basically getting them to like you, and how much of the time should be spent on what it is that you do and your process and things along those lines? And what should come first in that 60 minute session?


Dan Solin 31:00  

First of all, it's not like every interaction with every person is the same and follows a rigid format, because people react differently. For example, I like to start sessions with, tell me something, tell me about you. How did you become a coach? Where do you live? Just the kind of things I would talk to you about, David, if we met at a social gathering. I don't know you, you don't know me, so I'd like to learn more about you. However, I do recall, vividly, when I did this with an engineer who said, listen, Dan, I don't have time for chitchat. I have ten questions; I'd be really grateful if you would just answer my questions. Well, that to me is a huge win. My goal is not to impose something on anyone, I have no agenda. I said, great. Start with question number one. He did, we went through all ten questions, and then part of our process is quite rigid. At the end, I'd like my clients to utter these words, how would you like to proceed? So I said, how would you like to proceed; he said, I'd like to get started, because I answered his questions. And that's all he had on his mind. So in the general sense, it's letting go of trying to control the agenda, control the flow, not trying to steer the conversation, and just letting it go wherever it will go. And if at the end of that period, you never get to talk about yourself, you never get to describe what you do or how you do it, that's a really good meeting. The chances are that you will convert that client.


David DeCelle  32:32  

So I'm having flashbacks to when I was an advisor, and even now in our sales process, where in my mind it’s so well defined, thatand I'm trying to get better with this and be more self aware to be able to bob and weave and pivot, kind of as you alluded to. And going based on what they want to discuss and how they want to discuss it. But very early on in my career, you know, I like when people like me, so I like the mushy stuff at the beginning of the meeting, getting to know them and really connecting on a deeper level. And there were many instances where I just couldn't get someone to light up like I could with other people., and it would throw me off. And it would feel like it was more transactional to me. What I'm hearing from you is, it's not that it's transactional, it's that I wasn't doing a good job in that instance, being self aware of what was happening in that moment, to be able toI feel like with prospects and clients, you need to just meet them where they're at, as opposed to trying to get them to meet you where you're at. Like your job is to be, quite frankly, a chameleon in those meetings and mirror their body language and what it is that they want to discuss. And oftentimes, if someone was more transactional, as I thought it was at that period of time, I kind of made a decision to not work with them. Which, there could be some value in that because I want to make sure that I'm getting energy from the people that I'm meeting with, but it's also, if I'm doing a good job picking up on those social cues, there could have been a higher conversion rate with the people that I was meeting at that point in time.


Dan Solin  34:09  

Well, the social cues I would have wanted you to pick up on in that scenario, like let's say you just can't get the conversation going. I mean, they're just not receptive at all. Well, keeping in mind that your goal is to find out what their agenda is, then you ask them, what would you like to talk about? What would be most helpful to you? How can we make this meeting as productive as possible for you? And then whatever they want to talk about, talk about. A very dangerous thing in life is to make assumptions. So we make assumptions based on how people look, what their job is, what their background is; we make all kinds of assumptions. So when people come in to see us, we're experts, we make assumptions about what they're interested in. We believe we know what they should be interested in. So I recall this very sad story of an advisor who told me this on himself, really. He'd spent the whole fifty-five minutes talking about himself, his background, his history; asked the couple, do you have any questions? The wife looked at the husband and said, do you think we have time to talk about a special needs trust, because that's why we're here? And so all this time had been lost, when the only thing on their mind was they had a special needs child and wanted to know how to look after that child. And so if the advisor had, instead of imposing his or her agenda, had just elicited from them what they want to talk about, that meeting would have gone really well.


David DeCelle  35:38  

I’m kind of having some aha moments as we're having this conversation. And what I love about this podcast so far, Dan, is I had a list of questions and I've only asked one of them, because we're actually having a conversation and going back and forth. And those are the best kind. So I'm thinking back through like sales calls with the Model FA, and there's certain calls that I'll share with them, hey, here's who we are. Here's our team, here's what we offer, here's all the resources that we have. And by and large, those folks don't often convert into clients. And I'm like, why aren't you converting into clients? Look at all this cool stuff, right? Look at how credible we are. Look at the types of people that we work with. And other times, and specifically I was on a sales call yesterday, it was an introduction from a referral partner of ours. And I made the conscious decision that I was only going to ask questions until the last three minutes of the phone call. And even that was a question. So, you know, I went through and just continued to ask questions. Hey, what is it that you want to chat about today? Why is it that you're looking for a coach? Share with me if you have a self evaluate why you're not where you're at. Why is that? And then continue to go down that path. And then at the end, I say, great, why don't I share with you how we work with folks briefly, and what that costs to determine if it makes sense to continue a conversation and schedule another appointment. I went over that in like, 45 seconds; here's what we charge, here's how often we meet, here are the resources that we provide. And I said, so based on that, does it make sense to invest some more time together? And he said, yes, I would love to, I've loved this conversation. And it's all the stuff that I feel like I know, in theory, but oftentimes, in that moment, I revert back to bad habits that I have from the past. And I'm fairly confident that this person will convert to a client, but it was just a matter of asking questions, and then doing some qualification at the very, very end, to make sure that what we charged was based on their budget. So it's, I feel like what I need to do better, I’m just kind of thinking out loud now, is, I plan my days the night in advance and say, okay, during my business development time, here's who I'm going to reach out to, so that during that time, it's just a matter of reaching out to them, not thinking about it. I feel like what myself as well as advisors can be doing is, in their planning, when they identify who they're meeting with that day, making the conscious decision to ask more than they talk. And same for me, ask more than I talk, and set an intention for every meeting. And I feel like your mind and their sales process will be a hell of a lot more predictable and quite frankly, fun. Because you don't feel like you're selling; you feel like you're just getting to know a bunch of people and having them decide on their own what it is that they want to do. So again, thinking out loud here, but a little self realization on my end.


Dan Solin  38:30  

So what do you think would have happened in that call? If after you ask those questions, you didn't spend 45 seconds talking about whatever your fees and whether it's a fit, you just said nothing?


David DeCelle  38:44  

I get angst when you ask that question, because I'm like, well, they have to know Dan. But I feel like what would have happened, and a little impromptu coaching, I appreciate it. I think what would have happened is they would have then asked the fees and what it looks like to work. So then my question becomes, after I asked my last question about whatever it is that we were talking about, what do I ask?


Dan Solin  39:08  

The question you would ask is, anything else you would like to talk about? I think what's interesting to me about advisors and coaches, and I put myself in the same category, right? Because the reversion to the mean is a real problem. We all are accustomed to presenting, not eliciting. We want to convey information, we don't want to elicit information. I think we vastly underestimate the intelligence of the people we're talking to. I mean, when is the last time you have been shopping for a service, that you couldn't figure out all the questions to ask that were relevant to you? Amongst them, what do you charge? Right? I mean, the assumption in the scenario you just did was, well, if I don't tell them this, they're not going to ask. I would have much more trust and confidence in the ability of them to say, yes, I do havewhen you say, what else would you like to talk about? If they have something on their mind, you just empowered them, as opposed to imposed on them. And if they say, no, I have nothing else to talk about, I think you've done a wonderful job of conveying everything. Then you end with, so how would you like to proceed? They're going to have an answer.


David DeCelle  40:22  

I am going to implement that immediately and let you know how it goes. I got my next sales call, today is Thursday, for those of you who are listening, because obviously we record these in advance; so I have one on Monday, and I'll let you know how that goes.


Dan Solin  40:36  

Please do that, I’ll look forward to hearing that.


David DeCelle  40:39  

Awesome. Well, Dan, this has been frickin’ awesome. Before we wrap up this portion of the show, I do ask a staple question in all of these episodes, partly because I want to increase my reading in my library, or should I say, my listening because I choose to listen to books. And also I do want to promote learning beyond this podcast or other things for our listeners. So I will admit that I've seen the movie, I have not read the book. So your favorite book that you had mentioned when we chatted was by Michael Lewis, The Big Short; tell me why you picked that as your favorite book.


Dan Solin  41:17  

Well, I’m obviously interested in this securities industry and how it functions, and the depths to which people go to make money is really fascinating to me. I think Michael Lewis is a great author. I mean, I think all of his books are really excellent. But he really got into the characters of the people who made that huge, brilliant bat, and I just found the whole thing fascinating. I did see the movie, the movie was great. But I also like books by Malcolm Gladwell. I like books; I've always been socially awkward. I find social interactions challenging. When I started doing all this research and learning more about how the brain responds, and how it responds differently depending upon how I cue it up, it was just fascinating to me. So Malcolm Gladwell does a great job of challenging biases that we all have and of explaining human behavior. So the two of them are my favorite authors.


David DeCelle  42:16  

Love it. I appreciate you sharing that. And as the saying goes, typically the book is better than the movie so I will add that to my list to consume. So Dan, I appreciate you joining today. Before I close out the show and we head into the after hours section, all this stuff will be in the show notes, of course. But for those who are listening and looking to take some action right away on getting to know you a little bit better, where can they find you? How can they connect with you?


Dan Solin  42:42  

The book website is asked DanSolin.com. The book’s available on Amazon, you have to type in the subtitle or start typing Ask How to Relate to Anyone. My website where all our companies are listed, and our coaching, all the services we provide, is just DanielSolin.com. 


David DeCelle  43:02  

Awesome. Well, for those of you who are listening, I had an impromptu coaching session, me being on the receiving end today with Dan. So hopefully, there were some nuggets that you got from this episode, we really appreciate you tuning in. One thing that would be super helpful, so pun fully intended with the title of Dan's book, Ask; I do have an ask of those of you who are listening. It would be twofold. Number one is, if you did find value in today's episode, share it with someone. For every episode that we do, if we get each listener to share, it's going to impact the financial advisor community that much more. And there are certain episodes like this one, quite frankly, that may be relevant to people in other industries. So don't feel limited to just sharing it with your financial services friends. Another thing that would be super helpful would be if you left us a review on iTunes. We'd really appreciate that, that would help some additional eyeballs get on to our show, and ultimately deliver value to them. So as a thank you for doing so, if you take a screenshot of your review and you text it to me at 978-228-2338, again, 978-228-2338, you'll get an automated reply from that number. And that's really the only automation that it is. But other than that you'd be communicating with me. So just simply screenshot that review and say, this is from Dan Solin’s episode. Okay, make sure you mention Dan's name, because what I'll do is, for those of you who actually do do this, I will go ahead and send out one of Dan's books directly to you. So I'll get your address, make sure that I have that handy and be able to send you a copy. So however many people end up doing that, just put you in a little raffle and send out Dan's book as a thank you for doing so. And as far as connecting with me or Model FA, simply David DeCelle on Google. You'll see all my social links there; I’m probably most active on Instagram, which is just @David_DeCelle. And then of course our website, ModelFA.com. If we can be of service to you in any way, shape or form, happy to do so. And then with that being said, I'm always open to an introductory call, whether that's to potentially hire us or if you just have a question, I'll send you my fifteen minute calendar link. Always happy to be of service and chat with you. So thanks again for listening. And we are now heading into the after hours portion. That was awesome, man. I literally asked one question, Dan, that I had planned in advance, or I guess two, but the first one was just, tell us a little bit about your background. So that doesn't really count as a question in my mind. So the interviews I like the most are the ones that go like that. So I had fun today, man. 


Dan Solin  45:53  

Well I did as well, David, you did a really good job. I mean, we have a nice connection, there's good chemistry, and it just comes across. I did one recently with Jared Siegel at Delap, and I had the same feeling. I knew him and he was a client; it helps a lot when you know the person and I thought the Zoom call before was very useful. But you did a great job. You're an interesting person. You have a lot of life experience that you share. It isn't just a cold interview, so I enjoyed it as well. So thank you.


David DeCelle  46:26  

I appreciate that. I've been on interviews before where, like on the receiving end, and they'll ask a question. And then they'll say, great, almost like they were reading the next question as I was talking. So being on the receiving end of that I'm like, okay, I can't have that vibe. So it's like, turn down all my notifications and whatnot, and make sure that there's no distractions that are pulling me away from it, that way I can actively listen. And I think one of the cool things that happened today was literally you coached me, and that's going to generate a bunch of revenue for us, because you I'm going to do better on my sales calls based on that impromptu coaching moment that we had. So part of the after hours session is (and I’m starting to smirk now for those of you who are just listening to the audio and not watching the video), I want to know some embarrassing things that have happened through your career. So you are clearly, if you're watching the video, Dan is very much more experienced than I am and has been in business a lot longer. So I would imagine if I have a bunch of embarrassing stories, I'm sure you have some as well, be it from speaking or client interactions or whatever. But when I say embarrassing story, what's the first one that comes to mind?


Dan Solin  47:35  

Well, where my brain goes first, when I hear that, is where do I start? Just thinking of all the screw ups I've had in my life. I think the one that I find most painful in retrospect, was when I was an advisor, I was asked by a senior partner in an accounting firm in the Midwest; he had read my investing book, and one of them I think, Smartest Investment Book, and they asked me to fly out and meet with them. They were a large client, large potential prospect. And I remember doing all the things that I subsequently learned was 100% guaranteed to turn off pretty much anybody. I had a lot of material, I went out, the two of them came, I did a data dump, I was filled with all the evidence-based stuff and all the research, they just sat there kind of staring blankly. I don't think I even asked them a single question. The meeting ended; I knew it didn't go well but I had no idea why. So that was one experience. That experience kind of spurred me to start thinking there has to be a better way. I'm going to start to do some research because I really screwed this up. Second time was when I started my speaking career; speaking is very intimidating, as you know, I mean, this is not easy. And it was a large group of people, and I had never really spoken to that large of a group of people. And I remember just doing, again, the equivalent of what I did with this couple, but in a very kind of hyper charged way, plowing through a talk. And I remember thinking, I felt I did terribly; I had that sick feeling that you have sometimes. I'll give you the third time. The third time was, I was working at a company and there were presentations being given. And one of the senior executives showed me this PowerPoint slide and asked me what I thought of it. And I'm a straightforward kind of candid person. I said, it kind of violates every rule I know about PowerPoint slides. I mean, it's like data dense, it had like 30 points, and it was on this huge screen, and nobody could understand it. And it was so tactless of me to put it that way that those three things stand out. I mean, the tackless one was, if you're trying to affect a change, there's a way to do it and a way not to do it; and I felt the way I did it was about as bad as you could come up with. It was spontaneous. I wasn't thinking and I regret it.


David DeCelle  50:08  

There's a book that I just finished, which was a suggestion from one of my clients, actually, and it's called What Got You Here Won't Get You There. And it's, you know, one of the main principles in there is, as you continue to go throughout your career and grow your business, you need to be asking for feedback from those around you. Sometimes we have blind spots, we have those scotomas that just totally, we don't see at all. So I did this talk. And it was one of the first talks I did; there was probably like, I don't know, 40, maybe 50 people in the room. And this was a few years ago, so I was 27 years old and brand new in business and had a lot of imposter syndrome. And so I gave my talk, and I asked for feedback from the guy and the girl who was actually a friend of mine from college who helped link it up. And it was interesting, because I actually got a few clients out of this talk. And when I asked them for feedback, both of them said the same thing, and it was such a blow to my ego. Because they said, honestly, the substance was good in terms of what you talked about, but you are totally different when you're just having a conversation compared to when you're talking to a crowd. Because I like to feed off of people through conversation, as opposed to like talking “at” people. And I was like, oh, crap, that just was like, oh, I thought I did well, because I ended up getting a couple clients out of it and whatnot, or a few clients. And it was just a blow to my ego. But it was also, since then, I've tried a lot through books and podcasts and taken action, trying to suppress ego and not have that which has been helpful; and just in turn being grateful for that feedback. Because since then, I've learned a lot and talks have gotten way better. So I have been dying to ask this question, because I don't think you've ever been asked this question before, and I can't wait to see your facial expression when I do. So. Have you ever heard of a “would you rather” question, Dan?


Dan Solin  52:06  

I haven't heard of it, but I think I could figure it out.


David DeCelle  52:09  

These are pretty colorful, man. So if you had the choice, would you rather walk around every single day with a bubble above your head that shares all of your thoughts that are happening in that moment? Or would you rather have to walk around naked for the rest of your life?


Dan Solin  52:31  

That's a real Hobson's choice. Yeah, so I'm a very private person. So now you've touched into something that I have two things that are both gonna cause me tremendous anxiety, but of the two, the bubble would be best. But I’d have to work hard at controlling my thoughts.


David DeCelle  52:52  

I knew that would be funny; that was funny to me. I got you to have a big smile on your face. So, I'm glad I asked that. Well, awesome, man. For those of you who stuck around for the after hours, hopefully there were some chuckles. Hopefully, there were some nuggets that you learned too, because the beginning portion there, there was still some good substance in there with what Dan was saying. So appreciate you all tuning in. And if you have any feedback, suggestions, or if you have anyone that you think would be a great guest, feel free to reach out to me directly, [email protected]. And until next time, hope you take action on what you learned. And we will see you on the next show. Take care.