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EP 51 | Will Richardson on Connecting with Clients Through Uniqueness & Authenticity

06.24.21 | 0 Market Scale

Will Richardson is a 7-figure entrepreneur, business and sales mentor, and podcaster who has been a financial advisor since 2008. After graduating from the School of Business Administration at the University of Mississippi with a degree in Marketing, Will started his professional career selling knives for Cutco, an experience that landed him a job (and taught him how to work) in the financial services industry. Will hosts the Crusheration Podcast, where he shares the lessons he learned from his years of experience as an advisor — and inspirational life lessons for the benefit of people both inside and outside of the financial services industry.

 

Will joins me today to discuss how financial advisors can connect with people, both potential clients and fellow advisors, through creating video and podcast content. He highlights the value of sharing ideas and explains the formula for creating engaging content. He also describes the impact advisors make whenever they embrace imperfection, and underscores the importance of being unique in creating content and when asking for client referrals and introductions.

 

“The techniques advisors are taught don’t feel authentic. Be unique in the way you ask for client introductions, in the way you are, and in your common interest with others.” - Will Richardson

 

This week on The Model FA Podcast:

 

        What selling Cutco knives taught Will about working in the financial services industry

        What inspired Will to create content for other advisors and how it changed things for him

        How perfectionism stops many people from sharing their ideas and content

        Why Will’s podcast and video content aren’t necessarily about financial planning

        The factors that hold people back from asking for referrals and what financial advisors can do to ask for introductions confidently

        How Will uses LinkedIn to build a list of prospects and the importance of approaching clients with authenticity

        The difference between connections and creativity and the importance of finding different degrees of connectivity

        Conversation strategies when making an introductory call

        Will’s advice for financial advisors who are reluctant to ask for introductions

        How Will came up with the “Too busy crushing it” slogan and why it has become his mantra

        The importance of rethinking beliefs and how impostor syndrome can be a good thing

        The importance of listening and understanding on a deeper level, and why changing your mind doesn’t make you “wrong”

        Specializing and niching for specific kinds of clients

 

Resources Mentioned:

 

        Book: Think Again: The Power of Knowing What You Don’t Know by Adam Grant

 

Our Favorite Quotes:

 

        “Sometimes asking for referrals may feel too aggressive, but you deserve to be introduced to the client’s peers based on the work that you did.” - David DeCelle

        “Don’t worry about perfection. People connect with us when we’re not perfect, for imperfection makes us human.” - Will Richardson

        “You are unique and you have something to say; your life experience is different from any other person’s.” - Will Richardson

 

Connect with Will Richardson:

 

        The Crusheration Podcast

        Will Richardson on LinkedIn

        Will Richardson on Instagram

 

 

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.

 

Did you like this conversation? Then leave us a rating and a review in whatever podcast player you use. We would love your feedback, and your ratings help us reach more advisors with ideas for growing their practices, attracting great clients, and achieving a better quality of life. While you are there, feel free to share your ideas about future podcast guests or topics you’d love to see covered.

 

Our Team:

President of Model FA, David DeCelle

 

 

If you like this podcast, you will love our community! Join the Model FA Community on Facebook to connect with like-minded advisors and share the day-to-day challenges and wins of running a growing financial services firm.

 

FULL TRANSCRIPT

Will Richardson  00:00

You know, people say, oh, that person's crushing it, and I've just heard that phrase for years. And sometimes people get the wrong idea and say, oh, are you being cocky? It's like, it's not about that at all. It's actually, if we're focusing on that, and the results that we can get on behalf of our clients are inspiring other people, what does crushing it mean to you, and how can we help you get there? That's the way that I think about it. It's ridiculous. That's what makes it fun. It's over the top. It's a bit crazy. And it's also done with a spirit of humility.

 

David DeCelle  00:31

Welcome, Model FAs. Very excited to bring you our guest today, Will Richardson. So I've known Will for a while, actually; more so from afar, based on being in the industry together. But I've had an opportunity to get to know Will a little bit better here over the last few weeks and seeing a lot of his content, and just really love what he's doing. I think that you're going to be a part of a very valuable episode today. So without further ado, Will lives in San Francisco and hosts the Crusheration podcast. He has also worked in the financial services industry for the past 20 years, has had a very successful career, and he's recently fell in love with creating content and helping other advisors and other folks in general live the best version of their lives and make sure that they are confident in the value that they're delivering to their clients. So we'll give him a plug towards the end with all the social handles and whatnot, so that you can connect with him. But Will, really appreciate you joining. Welcome to the show.

 

Will Richardson  01:34

Dave, thanks for having me. I was excited when you reached out. And I mean, it's incredible what you built here with the podcast and all the other businesses. Man, you are absolutely crushing it. So honored to be here, and appreciative that you found me.

 

David DeCelle  01:47

Love it. Appreciate that. And we're gonna get to that phrase that you just mentioned, crushing it, here in a little bit because I know that that's been a real big component of some of your branding and just philosophy in general. But before we do so, give us a sense of your background. So you've been in the financial services industry for 20 years. Did you start in this industry fresh out of college? Did you do anything before? Tell me a little bit more about that?

 

Will Richardson  02:12

Yeah, good question. So I grew up in Mississippi and graduated from Ole Miss in 2000. And, Mississippi is a great place, it’s just I didn't want to live there anymore. So basically got in my car and drove West and ended up in LA. And the first job I had was selling golf clubs, which is funny because I never played golf, still don't play golf. So that was interesting. And I think they wanted to offer me a higher-level position, but I talked them into the lower level one accidentally. They wanted me to go out on the road with them and do speaking and all this stuff, but I wound up convincing them I should be doing the telephone part, which was good. It was good training, but it's like, I only realized that later, I was like, I think they were offering me something different. But yeah, that was what I got started doing right out of college. And actually, selling Cutco knives in college, I know many people have done that, that helped me get my first job in financial services because they, in LA, they were like, sell us a knife. So I got them excited about some kind of fishing knife. That was the only reason they hired me.

 

David DeCelle  03:09

So I always am extremely intrigued when someone's had experience with Cutco, because I feel like that's like Sales 101. If you can sell knives, you can sell almost anything else, especially when you find something that you're truly passionate about. And for those of you listening, if you're super passionate about knives, I don't mean to diminish that. But you probably know what I'm getting at. So what were some of the things that you learned in that journey of selling knives, specifically in college, that you've been able to use today?

 

Will Richardson  03:41

I push myself more — first thing is this was just like, I don't know, 1998 or something. And I know my parents still have those knives. They send them in to get sharpened; we’re talking like 20 something years later, those knives are everything that Cutco says they are. The hard part, and it was a good training for financial services, is calling people that probably weren't thinking they were going to want to talk to somebody selling them knives that day; and getting a meeting with those folks and asking for referrals, all the stuff that we do now. I just remember that we went on this trip to Dallas. I mean, I wasn't anywhere near like the John Ruhlin level, but sold a few knives. So they invited me to this thing in Dallas, and it was interesting to see all the other people there. I think the biggest takeaway was I enjoyed it when people said yes, and it was worth it. It was worth going through all the people that said no; so I couldn't have had a better experience, even though I didn't realize at the time how meaningful it actually was.

 

David DeCelle  04:39

That’s cool. I also know, at least since it's been on my radar, I'd say over the last six to twelve months or so, you've had a pretty big uptick in your content creation. I'm talking, I at least see like a video or two, sometimes three, a day; and in our conversation you mentioned that you've been having a lot of fun with it. It's been something that has brought you some joy and happiness. And you're getting some good feedback, both in the advisor community as well as outside the advisor community. So I guess where did the thought of content come to play in your world? Where did that come from? And what's some of the things that you've noticed since you've begun doing that?

 

Will Richardson  05:22

Yeah, it's a good question. I mean, at first, it's a bit nerve wracking to put a video out there. And Jordan Montgomery, who I know you also know, he really encouraged me when I just posted a couple of things. And he sent me a podcast that somebody had sent. It was the Ed Mylett podcast is the guests was Billy Gene, the big time marketing guru guy. And I listened to it and what Billy Gene said is, he's like, look, people are going to ask you how you became successful. So show them the journey, make videos, show them the journey, don't worry about being perfect, make mistakes — and I don't. It's like, don't have a tripod, I'll just hold the phone right now. And the sound’s not good. There’s things to make it better, but part of what Jordan got me to do is to release one of the outtakes. Like, I fumbled and dropped the camera on the ground or something. Billy Gene’s point is people connect with us because we're not perfect, and that makes us human. And there were some experiences with the video I made about a frustrating experience I had with Tesla. That's where it all started, actually. And then I just started thinking, okay, what else could I talk about. I've always enjoyed engaging with other advisors. I've always thought that the content could have a broader audience. So I'm really testing it to see what happens. And it's an interesting place to be where it's a lot like doing a podcast — you put stuff out there, you give away your best stuff, and you do it because you want to do it. And one way or another, it winds up being beneficial, if nothing more than the learning that you get from it. And I think, speaking that you do, I bet you'd agree, the more you talk about an idea, the more you understand your own idea.

 

David DeCelle  06:55

Totally. And for those of you listening, we won't go into specific details, per se, but Will has had an amazing career and is very successful in our industry. And I chuckled, I want to say it was like a week or so ago, and I'll preface this by saying, so many people allow the idea of wanting to be perfect as it relates to their content to not get started. And someone that's at your level, who's impacted the lives that you've impacted over the last 20 years, who's made the money that you've made over the last 20 years, there was a video that you posted maybe two or three weeks ago, and I died laughing because it was just the perfect little fumble that I thought was fantastic, because everyone has it. I don’t know if you remember the video that you released where maybe like 30 or 60 seconds in it somehow switched over to slow motion?

 

Will Richardson  07:50

Oh, yeah.

 

David DeCelle  07:53

So I saw that, and maybe it's only for like five or ten seconds, but it was for basically the rest of the video. And I was just chuckling so much, because it just truly shows — I guess what my point is Will, is that a lot of times people will share the video, and they'll rewatch it, they'll hate it because they think they sound funny and they look funny, and they're probably the only ones that think it. And then they'll reshoot it again, they'll rewatch it. But the folks who are just shooting the video and putting it out there, I think are the ones that are going to learn the fastest. That's the last time that you're ever going to post a video that's unintentionally put to slow motion, right? So you got to kind of learn through those things, as opposed to expect that you're going to be perfect right off the bat. So it's been nice to see, in even just a short period of time, the progression of your content over the last few months and not overly caring, or at least it doesn't seem like you do, caring what other people think. It's not like you're doing like professionally made videos or anything like that. You're literally just holding the phone in front of you or you're just going ahead and setting up the tripod. You've been out by the Golden Gate Bridge, you've been on the hike, you've been in your home, you've been out at the car dealership, and doing all these things. For those of you listening, I think it does a great job of humanizing Will. I feel like it does a great job of showing your authenticity. So for those of you who are on the fence of hey, should I do content? Should I not do content? I would just say, just do it and don't be afraid to fumble. And also, Will, one thing that your videos aren't, is they’re not necessarily about financial planning? So you're not under any compliance scrutiny. I know a lot of people will hesitate and be like, oh, well, I can't talk about what I do because of compliance and no, you're talking about more so personal development, mindset, experiences, stories. And what's cool is a lot of your videos, most of which I would say have some sort of call to action at the end that hey, now that you watch this video, go and do this, whatever this is. So you're sharing your learning lesson, as well as motivating people to take that step to go through that same lesson that you went through, just hopefully faster and better because you prefaced it. So it's been really cool seeing the way that your content has been rolling out over the last few months.

 

Will Richardson  10:13

You know what, Dave, you brought up such a good point. And that is a couple of things. One, we're going to make mistakes. And that's what makes it good, and people are engaged by that. And the engagement happens because they realize that perfection intimidates, and perfection isn’t real anyway. You mentioned the slow-mo thing; I had no idea I did that a couple people told me. That was a pretty good video but you’d never know what was on it. But the other thing is, I want to encourage everybody listening, you are unique and you have something to say. You have something to say because your life experience is different than mine, is different than any other person. So if you think about it, there's something unique about you. And it could be something you're interested in; David, you may have some interests that you talk about on videos that you could talk about. Some people like golf, others talk about lessons they learned from fishing, or bowling, or almost anything. So I think a formula is okay, here's why I like to do this, and here's how it mentally prepares me for this. I think that's more interesting than if I were talking about financial services and things like that anyway, because that's what people expect. And when it's not that, they’re like, huh, that was different.

 

David DeCelle  11:23

So let's pivot slightly from content over to a topic that just kind of popped into my mind. I'm going to be catching you out of the blue here a little bit, but you and I both come from an environment in the financial services industry where, in order to grow our business, we asked for referrals. And then, as I transitioned from that environment, over to working with a lot of the independents of the world, I noticed a massive gap to where a lot of folks in the independent space don't ask for referrals every time they're meeting with a client. I feel like if you can combine those two somehow, it would be fantastic. Because, sometimes asking for referrals, depending on the circumstance, can be too forward and too aggressive. But in other instances, it's like, hey, you deserve to get introduced to their peers based on the work that you did. So like, what gives? Why aren't we asking? And I feel like it comes down to two main things, I want you to speak to a little bit and unpack. So number one, the confidence in the value that you're delivering to the client may be lacking? If you knew you had the best thing, why would you not ask to be introduced to more folks to make them aware of that? Number one, and number two, the fear of being too forward and too pushy and not wanting to have that kind of reputation, if you will. So my question to you is, would you agree that those are the two things that hold people back from asking for referrals: confidence and the fear of being too aggressive? And then the second part of that question would be, what do you suggest financial advisors do as a way to be able to confidently ask for introductions to the folks that they're already serving, as a way to grow their business in a predictable, sustainable, and profitable way?

 

Will Richardson  13:11

You're spot on. Everybody thinks about it; and it’s any business. How do you find new clients or referrals in a great way? And you may be an attorney, or CPA or whatever, and that's valuable, and nobody does. A lot of times people think, perhaps the phone will ring, and in top advisors, that does happen sometimes where they'll get emails or random texts. That's happened a handful of times; that's not something I've experienced a whole lot. And I think the goal would be to make that happen more. The thing with prospecting, it's almost, it is a bit ironic. So the longer you're in business, the more successful you are, the less you need another meeting or another client. In other words, you're not going to miss payroll if this client says no. So to me, it's like we can project more confidence, because we don't need anything. It's like the people that stop because they don't have to, and I've done that. I get in and out of the habit, but it's actually fun if it's done in a way that feels good to you. I think the challenge in our world is some of the techniques that are taught in training, don't feel authentic to a lot of people; they do feel pushy, they don't feel like it's about the client. And I think people are afraid they're going to lose business. Oh, you kept hammering me for names, so we're never going to talk again. I think at the very least we can plant seeds. And I actually agree with what you said about confidence and bringing value. It took a long time for me to realize hey, I'm actually bringing value; I'm not out there just selling stuff. You don't get that feedback from clients that much. The feedback is that they stay with you. It's rare, where they're like, hey you’re awesome. At least that's been my experience. And so when I've asked people, it's always helped me to have a list of other people to make it easier. Here's a couple of people you know, Dave; by the way, I work with some other people at this organization, would it be okay to mention your name when I call them? That makes it a little bit easier. I mean, what we really want is advocates, people that'll just introduce us to people and copy us on a text message. I always say some of the biggest clients that we have came from what I was just describing: a name on a list. So it works. It doesn't have to be a super warm intro. I mean, it's great if it is. I think my point is, if we've been doing this a while, we've got an opportunity to go back and do a little bit, be more targeted with it. And if you're just getting started out, when you and I are getting started out, you don't have a choice. You just got to do it. And I think it's traumatic, because I will say that some of the things I did early on, I wouldn't do now because I don't have to. But I think there's a way to make it authentically you in those early years. And I think that's where the industry wants everybody to be the same. If you can be unique in the way you ask and the way that you are, or the common interests that you might share with people, I think it works better than if we're all robotically saying what somebody else told us to say.

 

David DeCelle  15:58

So can you repeat that language again? So just to recap slightly, you're in front of a client, you've actually put together a list of a couple folks that you think they know, you know that they know, so help me understand. And obviously, I know what this is, in terms of putting together a feeder list. But for the listeners who may not have done this strategy before, how are you finding these names? And can you go through that language again? And then I have a point to make once you're done.

 

Will Richardson  16:28

Yeah, yeah, great point. I think it's good to clarify that. I've always used LinkedIn, because that's a professional network, and you can see who people are connected to. Years ago, I would print out 30 pages of names, say here you go; but it was overwhelming, and occasionally people would circle ten names on that list. But that was more than anybody could really handle. So it became targeted in the sense that I want to know as many people as I can at one organization, I want to learn everything about that organization, I want to know their benefits, I want to know their lingo, I want to know their acronyms, I want to know how they talk — and the more experience I get, I can reference little details that I would only know because I've had experience working with others. And so what that says is, okay, you understand this better than me, and you're going to save me time. That's what we want to convey. And suppose I'm meeting with you and there's other people. Let's say you work at an accounting firm, a law firm, your doctor, doesn't really matter; then I'm going to go on LinkedIn, and I'm going to find people you're connected to. And if I can't, you might hide your connection to something, well, then I'll go and find other people at your company, on the company website, or I can do a search on LinkedIn — name of that company or the firm, whatever it is, and just find people in the city where you are that I know you work with. I’ve found ten names is a good amount, five to ten; this can be done via email, by the way, this can be done on a Zoom call, certainly can be done in person if we’re doing that anymore every again. So it's something like this. It's like, hey, Dave, I just wanted to run something by you if I could, and I totally get it if you're not comfortable with it. So what I was thinking is, nobody will teach you to say that, right? Because that's not aggressive. But when I say stuff like that, it makes people relax. So it actually makes it more likely you're going to get intros. I totally get if you're not comfortable. These five people on the list here, I know that you work with them, and we have a number of other clients here. We haven't had a chance to meet these five people yet. Would it be okay if I mentioned your name when I reach out to them? And then you're going to get feedback. Don't call him, I had a dispute with him once, or don't call this person. Oh, yep, she's great, we work together all the time. He's awesome. So they're going to give you that type of feedback. And usually what they're afraid of is, oh, I don't want them to think that I sicced somebody on them. So if you've already got the name, they can say, oh, yeah, he already knew about you. And also the higher up they are in the organization, the more confident they are; it's not the partner level people that freak out when you do what you said you're going to do and call. It’s the people that are in the middle usually. So it's another indication of, hey, you can aim higher; doesn't matter how old you are. You can call a partner, if you're 22 years old, there's nothing that says you can’t; you can do it. And I think that's something that helps us build confidence when we see that we can add value to people at the highest income and highest net worth levels just as well as we can for a new professional.

 

David DeCelle  19:17

The point that I want to make there, because all that's great. It's partly how I grew my business as well, both as an advisor and in the consulting space now. And the couple things that were takeaways from me and kind of the point that I want to make is you can ask someone, hey, do you know anyone that would find this to be valuable? Well, what you're doing is you're asking a yes or no question. And what's the first word that most humans learned in their life? It was probably no. So their natural inclination may just say no, because it's going to require their energy and brainpower to then go through a Rolodex of 2–4–5–600 people, and they may not know exactly who it is that is going to be a good fit. Therefore they take the easy road and just say, no, I can't think of anyone. So what you're doing in that strategy is you're doing the work for you. There's another thing that you didn't mention, but I'm sure you do this, or you didn't mention it specifically the way I was taught it. So I want to hit on that. So Aaron Miller, who was in my office, who is one of my mentors throughout my advising career, he always used to say, don't focus on their connections, focus on connectivity. So as an example, if there's someone over at Amazon, who does fairly well, and they happen to be connected to Jeff Bezos on LinkedIn, they probably don't actually know Jeff Bezos. So taking a look at, okay, they work at the same company; cool. Are they around the same age? Do they work in the same department? Did they happen to also go to the same college? Do they live in the same area? Are they connected on LinkedIn and are they friends on Facebook? So finding different degrees of connectivity, because if you're taking 500 or 1000 of their connections, and trying to find five or ten of them, you don't want to waste the page, so to speak, by putting on a bunch of people that they don't actually know and then you miss the opportunity. So make sure for everyone listening, if you're going to use this strategy, which I think you should, you focus on connectivity, not just who's going to be a badass client for you, because they may not actually know that person. The other thing that I find in the independent space, which I just think is a missed opportunity, I feel like so many people so much do not want to be a salesperson. They want to be the advisor, which is fantastic, you should want to be a great advisor, but there's a component to building your business that you need to be a salesperson. Now you don't need to be a used car salesperson, based on the computation that they have, but you can make it easier for them to actually make that introduction by feeding them a name. And I find a lot of advisors, they're gonna want to wait for the COI, like the CPA, to put them in an email; they're gonna wait for the client to have that person reach out. And it just boggles my mind, why they're unwilling to pick up the phone and actually make that call. And the phoning language is pretty simple. It's, hey, Will, how are you? I'm doing good. How are you? Doing great. This is David DeCelle, friends of Jordan Montgomery's. Oh, yeah, right. And then they make the connection, and that’s all it is. And then you just say, I've been doing some work with Jordan lately, and I actually brought you up in one of our meetings recently. I'm his financial advisor, and we were talking about some other folks at the firm that he thought would just get along with me and vice versa. Wanted to hop on the phone, learn more about you and your situation, and specifically…, and then maybe you have a point or two about their firm or their benefits that you can hit on to your point, show your expertise to save them time, and just have an introductory call and see where it goes. But I feel like you'd be amazed at how different aspects of the industry are as it relates to their sales and business development activities. And I think that using that feeder list strategy can be an excellent component to go from zero to one referrals all the way up to three, four, or five referrals in one interaction.

 

Will Richardson  23:23

I love it. So first of all, Aaron Miller is a Crusher, you're 100% on that. That level of extra work is worth it. So would you spend an extra five minutes to put the right people on the list, or an extra ten minutes, an extra hour even? One thing that I've done before, how many meetings did I have over the year, how much income did I have, what did every meeting generate? Then you start to realize, hey, it's really important to get in front of new people, and it's rewarding. And what you just said, most people don't want to make that call and they don't want to ask. Actually, it seems to me that at a certain point, some people get this idea that have made it, I don't need to ask for referrals anymore, almost like they're above it. Well, that's silly, right? Don't we want to grow our businesses? Doesn’t everybody want to grow their business? And everybody that's in business, I've noticed they appreciate it. They’re like, yeah, you're getting after it, I get it. Anybody that's in business understands that. And they have a certain respect for it, even if they may not give you a new client, but they won't unless you bring it up usually.

 

David DeCelle

Totally.

 

Patrick Brewer  24:21

Hey, Model FA's. I know you're enjoying this conversation. But I wanted to take a quick break to talk to you about the Model FA Accelerator. This is a unique collaboration between us and you, where we help you build a financial advising practice that you can be proud of. We focus on the foundational concepts around how to pick a niche or a specialization, how to price your services, how to construct an offer that people are going to buy, and then how to market it and sell it in a way that will get people to sign on the dotted line and become clients of your firm, all while giving you the information to scale and set up workflows and operational processes that will allow you to reclaim your time and build a practice that doesn't run you. So if you'd like to hear more about that, go to www.ModelFA.com/accelerator or www.ModelFA.com. Hover over “Work With Us” and click on Accelerator. Hope to see you in the program.

 

David DeCelle  25:10

What advice do you have for advisors who may not be asking for introductions? And as an aside, I never ask clients for referrals; I don’t use the R word so to speak. I always ask for introductions, because if I walked into a room with you and a friend, and your friend is an advisor, and I consult for advisors, you're not going to say, oh, David, this is my friend, Joe. Joe, this is David; actually, Joe, you should work with David, he helps guys like you. That's not going to be the first interaction, you’re not going to refer me there on the spot, but you are going to introduce us. So when you ask clients to be introduced to folks in their world, that just has a totally different vibe than asking who they can refer you to. So just as an aside, before we transition slightly, for the advisors who may be reluctant to ask for introductions, based on the inability to understand the value that they truly do add to the client's lives, what advice do you have for them to build their confidence and believe in what they're doing and that it holds a very important place in their clients and prospects lives?

 

Will Richardson  26:22

That's a great question. I think that one thing is to think about the people you meet, and especially David, you brought it up earlier that people tend to think everybody's got it figured out. And they don't, right, people don't have it figured out. But it's good to tell them that, again, you've probably already done all this stuff. And it's amazing to me how often they haven't done anything. And think about where are you find people and the simple things that they may not have known about, and areas where you can help them; areas not even connected directly to your work, and certainly when they do become a client. So I think that's the focus; think about where your clients were before you met them, and where they are now, and how you helped them get there. I mean, that's the value that's been delivered, and they wouldn't become a client if they didn't see value, they just wouldn't have done it. So I think that's the key is to realize, hey, you've done good work for clients, even if they're not telling you you're great all the time. I think it's evident by seeing the progress that they've made.

 

David DeCelle  27:19

One of the things, I don't know if you do this, if not, I'd highly suggest it because it's just had an amazing impact on my life. And one of my friends is the one who prompted me to start this, which is when you post a lot of content, and you're trying your best to help people, whether it be in your industry or outside your industry, you get words of encouragement, and words of gratitude in return. So I know that a lot of the videos that you'll post, people are just saying really nice things. You probably get emails, text messages, from clients who are grateful for the work that you've done for them. So I think it's fairly natural for people to get in a rut at some point in their life and not have the confidence or the swagger to be able to go out and develop business and get introductions and things like that. But if you have a database, so to speak, or repository, I should say, to go back and look at all the kind things that were said about you, and all the thanks that you received. So what I do is on all my social platforms, Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, my text messages, anything nice that someone says, I immediately go on and I screenshot it on my phone, and I move it to a different album in my pictures so that if I'm ever feeling like I'm in a rut, or I need to get jacked up before a big meeting and re-instill some confidence in myself so that I show up the best version that I can, I go through and I scroll through all the kind things that have been said over the years. And I guess I'm curious to know, is that something that you do currently? Or what are your thoughts on that in general? Am I crazy?

 

Will Richardson  28:55

Yeah, it's a great idea. I haven't ever done that other than if somebody sends a note in the mail, I would put it in the nice people drawer; I've never gone and reflected back on it, as strange as that might sound. No, you're right. I don't do that, but I think it's a great idea to help you remember the value you're delivering. That's a great way to do it.

 

David DeCelle  29:13

How'd you come up with — so one of your slogans is the Too Busy Crushing It. So I know you got t-shirts. A lot of your social handles are surrounded or centered around that phrase, which we’ll give a plug here shortly. But I guess, where did that come from? How did that speak to you? And why is it something that has now become your mantra?

 

Will Richardson  29:39

That's a really good point. So, people will say, oh, that person's crushing it, and I've just heard that phrase for years. Sometimes people get the wrong idea and say, well, are you being cocky? It's like, it's not about that at all. It's actually, if we're focusing on that, and the results that we can get on behalf of our clients or inspiring other people, what does crushing it mean to you and how can we help you get there? That’s the way that I think about it. It's ridiculous. That's what makes it fun. It's over the top. It's a bit crazy. And it's also done with a spirit of humility. And I think that's what makes it work. When you start thinking about all the iterations, Crusheree, Crusheration, Crushtastic, and I'm just having fun with it. I mean, the, the business can be very lonely, and the connections we make with each other through resources, David, like this podcast and knowing people and connecting with people — I think that's everything. Because we can really listen to our brains and the negativity it feeds us without that, so crushing it, too busy crushing it, is a way to help us get connected back to our actual purpose.

 

David DeCelle  30:39

Love it. So let's transition slightly over to your favorite book, which ironically, another one of our guests had suggested this offline. And I'd literally finished it last night, and you had responded to my story post on Instagram talking about a great book, and I happened to open up the notes for today's conversation and our intake form. You had noted that your favorite book is the one I just finished. So we should be able to have a pretty good dialogue here about it. So the book name is Think Again by Adam Grant. And if this is the first episode that you're listening to in our new format, the whole purpose of this segment here is to promote learning outside of our industry. I feel like when advisors are learning, they're either studying for their designations or their reading industry white papers, and they're consuming industry related knowledge, which, obviously, we need to stay on top of that stuff to be able to serve our clients best. But in order to serve ourselves best and our business best, I think it's imperative that we learn outside of our industry as well. So tell me what that book means to you and what some of your takeaways were.

 

Will Richardson  31:49

I'm not even finished with it; I've made probably six or seven videos from it. There's a bunch of things — the idea that I was just reading last night is about how to develop a different perspective. I mean, the big takeaway for that book is we've got to be willing to rethink things and not just become entrenched in our beliefs. We want to be able to say, hey, I was wrong, and that's okay. That doesn't mean I suck, that means that I'm learning. And that's the big thing. He talks about confident humility, and the imposter syndrome is something that can be positive, because the people that are the most confident in many cases aren't the most competent. You remember that part? It’s like, so sometimes the people that are the most competent, aren't that confident, and they actually have more to offer, if we find them and lift them up and listen to what they have to say. So that was a big takeaway. I'm curious what your thoughts were on that part of the book.

 

David DeCelle  32:45

Yeah, I find that some of the folks who are incompetent in whatever topic we want to discuss also tend sometimes to be the loudest and drown out everyone else. And I feel like folks need to do a good job of almost having a question contest back and forth to gain a full understanding around why people think certain ways about certain topics, where they got that information from, and be humble enough, and be open to changing their mind, if presented with a new set of facts or figures, or whatever it may be. And there's obviously a lot of fairly sensitive topics over the last year, which I think are perfect examples of people should be open to different perspectives, as opposed to just wanting to be right. I feel like people are just so stuck on being right that if they admit that their way of thinking was inaccurate, they're then going to basically admit to themselves that they were wrong. And they don't want to do that. So they just lean in even more, and it doesn't serve as a productive conversation. It’s not productive at all. And I feel like, I'm sure we've all heard the saying, you have two ears and one mouth, use them proportionately. So if we do a good job asking questions and listening, and trying to listen to understand as opposed to just listening, that the world in general could be a lot smoother and less combative with different sides of the aisle or different perspectives on whatever topic we want to pick. Those are some of my main takeaways, is just doing unbelievable job listening. I think what shows the most confidence is when you're willing to change your perspective based on being presented with a new set of facts or figures, and not doing so I think, quite frankly, is a sign of insecurity.

 

Will Richardson  34:40

100% and he uses a couple of terms about confirmation bias; you're searching for evidence that confirms your beliefs, and another one desirability bias. You look for evidence for your team to win even though they're probably not. Well, no, look over here, right? So that that to me was an interesting one. We want a certain viewpoint to be right, so we think that it is, and we attach our ego to stuff. David, you are not your beliefs; you're separate from those. And that's the key that he talks about, from distancing ourselves from what we believed in the past and saying, hey, I'm not that person anymore. I've learned; I don't think that way anymore. And he calls it thinking like a scientist, as opposed to the other ones, which is a preacher, a politician — there may be one more in terms of how you think about things that exist. He talks about one thing I love, is the idea that decisiveness is good to a point, but it's not everything. Making more deliberate decisions, and being willing to change your mind later is what he talks about, as opposed to stick in your belief no matter what while Blackberry goes out of business; that was a great example. It's like, we're not putting a browser on our phone, ‘cuz that's dumb.

 

David DeCelle  35:51

Look who's dumb now, when it comes to —

 

Will Richardson  35:54

Right, they had a chance. I mean, Kodak, Blackberry, so many examples of companies that never changed when that when the world changed around them, because they were entrenched in what worked before.

 

David DeCelle  36:04

Right, but even in the book, it mentioned how there were several different employees or executives that brought up the idea of adding a browser to the phone, as opposed to just having it be a text and email device, and they were constantly just shot down. So back to the other point, you got two ears and one mouth, use them proportionately. So rather than being too decisive and just shutting it down, it's, well tell me more about that. Why is that something that you think we should be integrating? Where are you getting the information from that you feel like the industry is heading that way? Just doing a better job, again, listening to understand so that you're not missing out on opportunities, or you're not missing out on — I don't view it as, if you change your mind that you're then wrong if you thought you were right before; I view that as you just learn something. So if people can just shift their mind; you're not wrong, you just had the opportunity to learn, and you should be grateful for that person or that situation that got you to think differently, because otherwise you would have been wrong the whole time. I think it has a lot to do with people's egos being too big too, and not wanting to change their mind just for ego sake.

 

Will Richardson  37:19

Oh, totally. So right now we're recording this; it’s 2021. So I look back, what did I believe in 2019? I believed I had to go the office every single day, no matter what; some of that was forced on me. What did I believe in 2011? Well, I probably believed that I was always going to be new in the business, and it was always going to be like really tough, or whatever; I was in my third year, then. So it's like, I have a totally different belief. Or another one is, when someone doesn’t become a client, I used to get frustrated and even think negative things that weren't true. And that's not really healthy. Sometimes it's just not a good fit. So now it's like, I actually don't want somebody to come on as a client that's not a good fit. And if they aren't, I'll transition them to somebody else; they're going to get taken care of from someone. It's just not always us. I think that's an ego thing, too, is like, I don't want to be all things to all people. When you're new getting started, you pretty much need to be casting a wide net. But I think the idea of specialization, David, is not one that everybody gets to, and I think that's an opportunity to really enjoy your life more, to focus on certain types of clients, as opposed to just because they're a client, you stick with them no matter what.

 

David DeCelle  38:27

Yeah, we're big believers in niching to a particular group of people for many reasons, as you alluded, to happiness and energy management, but also scalability. If you're making five different promises to five different people, over time that's going to bog down your practice management process. But if you say, hey, I work with business owners, here's my process; or I work with executives, here's my process; I work with retirees, here's my process; then that's way more scalable than I work with all these different types of people. Now let me try and think about what I promised them. You can't proactively deliver that client service or experience in a scalable way, when you're working with a multitude of different people.

 

Will Richardson  39:08

Exactly. In one perspective from that book, that I just read this morning, is the part where he talks about returning astronauts and how they see the world differently. And they see all the squabbles that we have as tiny; he talks about one of the astronauts was flying around the earth, that 90 minutes was all it took to get around the whole planet. So he looks at the continent of Africa and says it passed by just like a small city on an airplane. When we talk about a perspective shift, whatever it is that we're worried about, really isn't that big of a deal. And it helps us see that we're not as important as we might think, and neither is anybody else.

 

David DeCelle  39:45

Yeah, I remember that scene in the book, basically saying what you said. The world is much more connected than we may feel it is, when you take a step back and look at it from overhead. Well Will, this has been a blast. I appreciate you joining. So before we head into the after-hours portion, where do you like to connect with folks? If they are interested in chatting with you or taking a look at your content, where's the best place to reach out?

 

Will Richardson  40:12

I think probably Instagram is the easiest one. I mean, I'm on all of them. I'm not that active on Twitter, pretty active on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram. Instagram seems to be the easiest for people to find me; it’s WillToCrush, w-i-l-l-t-o-c-r-u-s-h. That's the same handle on just about all the other places too.

 

David DeCelle  40:36

Awesome. And can you tell us a little bit about your podcast and where they can find that?

 

Will Richardson  40:37

Yeah, so on Apple, whatever it's called, iTunes or whatever, the purple thing.

 

David DeCelle  40:45

Guy’s got a podcast and doesn't know where it is. See, you just start — you just start and you'll learn.

 

Will Richardson  40:51

Record that thing! Yes, so it's the Crusheration podcast, we've got a few episodes. The reason I mentioned Instagram is a lot of what we're doing is we start with a live Instagram video, and then we strip out the audio to put it there. So you'll be able to see a lot more videos on Instagram than the other places and then the podcast is the same content, but just audio only, just like we're doing right now.

 

David DeCelle  41:13

Awesome. For those of you listening, we appreciate your time. We do have two asks, as you may remember from prior episodes. Number one is, if you found some value in today's episode, go ahead and click the share button, and let's have some impact on more people than we otherwise would have. So as a way for me to ask for referrals or introductions, that's me going ahead and doing so. In addition to that, and iTunes review would be super helpful for visibility purposes. So if you go ahead and leave a review on iTunes, screenshot that once it posts, and shoot me a text message with that screenshot to 978-228-2338. Again, that's 978-228-2338; you'll get a quick automated reply, that will have a link for you to enter in your information. That way you can get added to my contacts. Beyond that text message, it's not automated, you're texting directly with me. So shoot me a screenshot with that review to that number and then also have the key word “Crushing It” so I know what episode this is in reference to. And what I'll do is for everyone who submits one, I'll go ahead and put you in the drawing to give you access to the digital component of our coaching program, the Accelerator Program. So that is just a small thank you from us. So we're going to be heading into the after-hours portions now. Will, buckle up, and we'll see you guys on the other side.

 

***

 

David DeCelle

That was great, man. I appreciate that.

 

Will Richardson 

Yeah, thanks for having me. It's been great.