My guest today is our lead coach at Model FA, Dominique Henderson. Dom is the Founder at DJH Capital Management, an RIA based in Cedar Hill, TX. He is also Head of Client Experience at Brewer Consulting. Dom runs a thriving YouTube channel where he covers personal financial planning topics (and occasionally guest-stars his family).
In this episode, we pull back the curtain on The Model FA to talk about the coaching arm of our firm. We believe coaching is essential to raising the bar on the firm’s level of success. Having experienced the benefits of coaching on both the giving and the receiving side, Dom dives deep into how the right coaching program can become the bridge between an idea and its physical incarnation as a thriving financial advice firm.
Don’t miss one of our favorite moments, when Dom challenges the listener to self-check if what he or she is looking to build would be best done on their own — or as a part of a bigger team. “If you are not coachable, what does it really say about your practice of selling advice to clients or would be clients?” We hope you will find some practical ideas to try — and walk away inspired.
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Dom Henderson: 00:05 Why do I want to build a business? Why do I want to do it on my own? Is this really what I want to do? I think that's a very important self-check for advisors because, as you alluded to earlier, I think the biggest thing is to decide if you want to do it on your own or decide if you want to do it in a team format because if you want to do it on your own, I think, obviously, it can be done, but times are changing, this industry's changing.
Pat Brewer: 00:32 We have Dom Henderson in the studio today. Dom is one of the lead coaches. He also runs his own RIA DJH Capital Management. Dom, super excited to have you on.
Dom Henderson: 00:43 Pat, it is a pleasure to be here today, man. Ready to chop it up with you.
Pat Brewer: 00:47 Let's do it. We are going to rock and roll. I think the most important thing for us to talk about today is the idea of coaching. Coaching can mean a lot of different things to a lot of different people, but I feel like it has some core components around accountability, community, really just making sure that you're put in a position where you can achieve the vision that you set out for yourself and somebody's there to kind of walk alongside you in that journey.
Pat Brewer: 01:16 What are your thoughts on coaching, having been a lead coach for Brewer Consulting and helping hundreds of advisors now with picking a niche and growing their practice? Talk me through it. What is the coaching experience like?
Dom Henderson: 01:28 It evolves on every iteration. I think that you have to be flexible as a coach. I played sports, most people played sports, but I think the aspect that I took away most with being an athlete that had a coach and even being a coach to my daughter that runs track is the ability to see in a person what their potential is without them really seeing it, and you're trying to bring that out.
Dom Henderson: 01:59 From the aspect of how I'm coaching advisors now, I'm seeing what their vision is or getting a picture of that, and wanting to provide the accountability, the community to carry out that vision. When I was being coached, I would still hope that I'm coachable, that I want somebody to do that for me.
Pat Brewer: 02:16 Yeah. Talk me through that process for yourself. I mean, obviously you started as a financial advisor. You've been in the industry for a long time now. You have your own practice, and over the past 12 months, you've worked into a role of greater responsibility. You're kind of my right-hand man, honestly, helping with a lot of the stuff that I either don't have the skill set for or I don't have the time for. I'd be curious to hear from you, what were some things that you were potentially working out in your own practice, and how have you seen your practice evolve and your experience be beneficial to other advisors?
Dom Henderson: 02:51 Cool. Yeah. I think in full transparency just because that's what this podcast is, I look at what we're doing and what other people are doing, and I'm grabbing ideas all the time. I don't have all these answers. I just see what people are doing, and what I think I'm maybe particularly gifted at is moving without... I always say don't let perfection be the enemy of the good. I try to move and... it's kind of like "ready, fire, aim" instead of, you know, so I think that's, needs to get out there on the table.
Dom Henderson: 03:24 But with my particular practice, I like the fact that serving clients in a way that was genuine to me was a very important thing on the list. Two decades in the industry, you can actually find yourself two decades in and not doing that. I think that was a primary reason for starting my firm, and then, call it at eight months before we met, I didn't want to spend money on what I felt wasn't expert advice. I had a hard time writing a check to a marketing guru that didn't serve in the financial services industry because they didn't have any context for what I was trying to do.
Pat Brewer: 04:06 Never walked a day in your shoes.
Dom Henderson: 04:07 Never walked a day in my shoes. What I thought was really, really cool when we first met up is the fact that CFA, CPA, so immediately, there was some respect there for the path that you had gone through. Then I went through the same path as everybody else. I saw the marketing. I was like, "All right, let's take a call, and let's see how this goes," and then here we are. My practice has been what I want to build. Just like anybody else coming through the door, what do they want to be able to build? What's important to them? What are their monetary goals personally? What type of person do they want to help?
Dom Henderson: 04:41 You go through all those iterations, and it's custom. I don't try to put anybody in a box or anything. I ask them a lot of questions to try to get at what they're trying to build, and then we go from there, so no different with my practice.
Pat Brewer: 04:54 Yeah. As far as coaching goes, what have you noticed that gives advisors the biggest impact in their business? Is it account? Is it adjusting? Do they just need information? Do they just need coaching? What do advisors need to actually get and sustain momentum so that they can grow and kind of build that, let's say, vision that they've set out for themselves if they even have one at all, or do you need help them with that?
Dom Henderson: 05:19 It's a hard question. I've thought about this a lot. I think if I was to say it in a sentence, just to embrace the process. Shortsighted focus on immediate results, instant gratification is going to trip you up in this business all the time. I often say that starting a business is hard, starting a financial services practice business is like running through two brick walls, and they became backed up. It's just difficult. If you're not prepared for that, you're going to be in for a lot of days of disappointment.
Dom Henderson: 05:49 Embracing the process, whether you get a client in the first month or the first six months. Have runway. My wife was working, in full transparency, and I had saved a lot, so I wasn't really, really hard-pressed to get a client immediately more than I was to say, "Okay, what's going on here? What's the method behind the madness, and how is this going to help me five years down the road instead of just three months down the road?"
Dom Henderson: 06:14 I think to have the mindset to embrace what's going to happen... and here's one thing I think is key for me to share is when I came to Brewer, it was an acknowledgement that I didn't know what the heck I was doing, so what's the point in paying when you don't know what the heck you're doing, and then try to input and keep on inserting your opinion and be like, "Okay, I want to take this part." It's like reading the Bible. You gotta read it in full context. You can't just choose the stuff that you want.
Pat Brewer: 06:43 Yeah, you grab one verse, and you're like, "No, I think I have a different interpretation of that."
Dom Henderson: 06:46 Yeah, it's like you don't get to say. I had that mindset where I'm just going to follow everything that is done and everything that had said to me. That's what I say at this point, I hope I'm still coachable because I think that's what you have to do. I don't know that you can come in here with two decades of experience, a graduate degree in finance, and all this other kind of stuff, letters behind your name, and be like, "Nah, I don't want to do that because of," whatever your reason is.
Pat Brewer: 07:12 Yeah, and most of the time the reason is because I feel uncomfortable, I want to hide or maybe I'm just not willing to do the things that are going to produce results.
Dom Henderson: 07:21 If we're being honest.
Pat Brewer: 07:22 Yeah, which is what this whole thing is about, right? You said it, not me. I mean, what I've seen in the results of our clients is initially they come in looking for help with marketing, and they get that. That's there to the nth degree, but the biggest breakthroughs that I've seen, especially in the ones that you've worked with, that I've worked with, that David on our team has worked with, is that shift, that subtle shift where they stop viewing their business as a way to just do financial planning and just meet with clients to, "Oh, wow. I'm actually trying to build an audience of humans that want to interact with me, and they're interested in my personal story and my beliefs and all the things that I have to share." That's kind of the shift that I think gets them into that bigger or longer-term mindset that allows them to grow.
Dom Henderson: 08:13 I would totally agree with that. Some of the best conversations I've had with clients, now going on almost two years in the program, is people that are like, "Yeah, I saw your YouTube videos with you and your wife, and they were great. We're really happy to be working with you." I like that part better than anything else. It's just been-
Pat Brewer: 08:32 It's the pay-off.
Dom Henderson: 08:33 It's the pay-off of that, and that doesn't happen unless, like you said, you don't take the time to invest in people. If you don't take the time to invest in people, you're just spamming people. You're just, you're on... By default, what we do when we're in sales is we're intentionally interrupting somebody. They're doing something. They got going on, and we're asking them for something. I think the notion around that is if you want the rule of reciprocity to evoke, you have to give something away. You have to give some value away. There needs to be something that you have that they want. I think at the guttural level, you just need to understand that, and that helps, I hope, to humanize the interaction with whoever you're dealing with.
Pat Brewer: 09:20 Exactly. Yeah, because you have to be relevant to them. They have to have a need, and you have to be consistent enough to be able to be remembered so that they can either reach out to you or when you reach out to them, they know who you are so it's not awkward.
Dom Henderson: 09:32 Which is the coolest thing about it, I think, because the community of what we're building with the advisors that we have now, over 200 now in the program, is we are reinforcing that mantra or dogma, if you will, all the time with the way that we do the coaching program, with the way that we do the weekly group coaching and the accountability around that and the interaction. Actually, on my way down, I'm looking in the Facebook group. Yes, I was texting while I was driving. I was looking at people that were posting, and they're posting their videos. They're like, "Give me feedback," and I'm like, "That's so great." People are putting themselves out there. They're vulnerable. Some of these guys and gals have not sat in front of the camera or anything, and we're asking them to be like, go out there and do it, and they're doing it. It's really gratifying to see them make that incremental progress.
Dom Henderson: 10:26 Here's another thing. You can't be too attached to your ego where when people give you some objective feedback that you're so bothered by that and I-
Pat Brewer: 10:39 That you stop.
Dom Henderson: 10:39 Yeah, that you stop or you get discouraged or whatever, so I think it's cool. It's very cool what we're building, especially if you utilize that community.
Pat Brewer: 10:47 Hey, everyone, thanks for tuning into the podcast. If you like this content and you want to get more, you can go to modelfa.com and listen to podcasts, blogs, videos, other resources that are designed to help you grow and scale a profitable advisory practice. You can find this all at modelfa.com. We'll see you there.
Pat Brewer: 11:09 I mean one tip that I'll give to the listeners right now, because I do a lot of video, I obviously do audio the podcast, I have almost like an alter ego that goes out and records videos. It's not even me, so I'm not exposed, I'm not uncomfortable. It's another person that gets up there and gives that talk for three to four minutes, and then he shuts off and no longer exists anymore, so it doesn't have to be you on camera feeling super exposed. You can create some other camera personality. It still has to be your personality, but it's just another way to flip a switch in your mindset so that you don't feel like you're the one out there, you're exposed, and you're open to criticism.
Dom Henderson: 11:50 That's a good tip. For some reason, Beyonce, Sasha Fierce just flashed through my mind.
Pat Brewer: 11:54 There you go. Yup. Well, to each their own, right? What are your thoughts on an adviser who wants to go at it on their own or in a small team without coaching, without some type of a sounding board that isn't related to them, or if they only have a sounding board that's their wife or something like that, what issues do you see with that logic?
Dom Henderson: 12:17 Honestly? Good luck. I'm just going to be honest. No, seriously-
Pat Brewer: 12:23 It's your best Liam Neeson voice. "Good luck."
Dom Henderson: 12:25 That's what I thought too. I think that... no, I think.... so here's the requirements for what we would call the visionary entrepreneur that wants to go into financial services because I don't think it's any different than any other business.
Pat Brewer: 12:37 Yup.
Dom Henderson: 12:38 It's particularly harder. It's a specialized skillset in a very highly-regulated industry, but aside from that, I think what you have to imagine is you trying to impress upon the world, let's say, an audience of 250 people, that's a good practice, right, the way you think about financial planning. Insert that into somebody as almost like a discipline or an edict, and get them to believe it and want to pay you for it from no context. That's how hard it is. Just think about any idea like that.
Dom Henderson: 13:17 If you don't have a supportive spouse, if you don't have financial runway, if you don't have people that have done it before that are doing it with you, it's going to be... Good luck. It's going to be hard. It's hard even with those things, so imagine without that. That's what I would say an advisor that's trying to go at this that's just, saw... it'd be great. "I hate my advisor right now. I hate the situation I'm in. I'm going to start my own firm." You need to talk to somebody about that.
Pat Brewer: 13:46 The disgruntled paraplanner, yeah.
Dom Henderson: 13:48 Exactly. I've seen a lot of those in my day.
Pat Brewer: 13:51 Yeah. You gotta watch out for that. I feel like our program, it starts with the acknowledgement that it's hard. That's step one. This is one of the hardest industries in the world. We do it personally. We are advisors first. We are consultants second. Because it's hard doesn't mean that you can't do it. Everything that we've built inside of our program and our coaching platform is designed to make it less hard, but it doesn't stop it from being hard. I think that's the-
Dom Henderson: 14:20 Totally agree. Dialing back to, I guess this was August 2017, the very first mastermind we had in Dallas.
Pat Brewer: 14:28 Yeah.
Dom Henderson: 14:29 It was, what, call it eight or 10 of us, and we're going through everything. I'm listening to people's perspectives, and I gleaned a lot. I remember I took notes and everything, and I was just like, "This is going to be really hard." This is what I said to myself, and I kind of had like a, it was like a self-check. I do this often. I call it motive review. I was like, "So why do I want to build a business? Why do I want to do it on my own? Is this really what I want to do?"
Dom Henderson: 14:57 I think that's a very important self-check for advisers because as you alluded to it earlier, I think the biggest thing is to decide if you want to do on your own or decide if you want to do it in a team format because if you want to do it on your own, I think, obviously, it can be done, but times are changing, this industry's changing. I've seen a particularly a lot of change in the last 10 to 15 years, and to be honest, if you're gonna get a CFP, they're kind of paying people 60 grand to go work at the Vanguard call center for CFP, so just having a CFP doesn't really distinguish you.
Pat Brewer: 15:30 No.
Dom Henderson: 15:30 You need to have some type of marketing hook. You need to have a reason why people want to work with you because this industry spends a lot of money making us all look the same and-
Pat Brewer: 15:39 Homogeneous.
Dom Henderson: 15:40 Yeah, and so just for you to say that "I'm going to be a financial advisor," that doesn't really mean anything to anybody. I got a chance to give a talk at my church, and people were... There was this subject about whether or not you lead with your faith and all this other kind of stuff, and I was like, "You just need to be able to do competent work."
Pat Brewer: 15:57 Yup.
Dom Henderson: 15:58 Nobody asked me about that. They asked me about what I know about financial services, so-
Pat Brewer: 16:03 Exactly.
Dom Henderson: 16:03 ... I think a lot of advisors that want to go off on these real what I'll call hip niches is fine, but at the end of the day, you need to be able to deliver a product, you need to be competent, and you need to have a way that you become relevant to the people you want to serve so that they eventually want to work with you.
Pat Brewer: 16:25 Yeah, it's an interesting time, I mean, with consolidation, the larger companies are able to create certain economies of scale with their marketing in some other areas of their business to make it harder to acquire clients just in general.
Pat Brewer: 16:38 A good thing for today's solo advisors, small practices, most of these larger companies have no idea what they're doing because I consult with them in varying capacities. I gave a speech at the CMO Forum for a large mutual fund company, and it blew my mind how little they're actually doing to acquire clients in the consumer market, but so there are massive opportunities, I think, for the small to mid-size adviser to have an-
Dom Henderson: 17:03 Absolutely.
Pat Brewer: 17:04 ... impact, especially through digital media especially for the next two to five years, but that does not detract from the fact that it's hard and that it requires a coordinated strategy and you need to make sure that your audience, your messaging and everything that you're doing is 100% congruent, or you run the risk of doing something out of order or not doing something that's critically important to the process and not getting the result that you want.
Dom Henderson: 17:27 Isn't it like what we tell our prospective clients and our clients is the reason why you're paying leveraging advice through me and my experience is so that you won't have to pay the opportunity cost of a bad decision?
Pat Brewer: 17:39 Yeah.
Dom Henderson: 17:39 It's the very same thing.
Pat Brewer: 17:41 Yeah.
Dom Henderson: 17:41 Right, so I think it probably-
Pat Brewer: 17:43 It's actually very, very similar.
Dom Henderson: 17:44 It probably benefits a lot of advisors to be receiving advice themselves so that they can constantly put theirselves in the shoes of the person they're marketing to.
Pat Brewer: 17:55 Yeah.
Dom Henderson: 17:55 Right?
Pat Brewer: 17:55 Well, you know my opinion on that. I'm a big believer in the value of advice.
Dom Henderson: 17:59 You are. You are.
Pat Brewer: 17:59 I am a big... That's why you're my financial advisor.
Dom Henderson: 18:01 You are.
Pat Brewer: 18:01 It's a cross for me.
Dom Henderson: 18:02 Your put money where your mouth is.
Pat Brewer: 18:03 I do. I pay for advice and any opportunity that I have because it helps me move faster and shortcuts the process. I would say there are a lot of people that like to try and do things on their own, but does that subconsciously manifest in the way that they communicate with their prospects? I say that it probably does.
Dom Henderson: 18:18 It's overrated doing stuff on your own.
Pat Brewer: 18:20 Yeah, and you start to think that things are easy, and then when you're in a sales meeting with a prospect and you're explaining financial planning or your process, you're making it sound like it's easy or not that impactful, and that comes across subconsciously in the way that you communicate, and your prospect, guess what, is no longer interested in moving forward because you have made it seem easy, even if you didn't intend to because you don't value advice yourself.
Dom Henderson: 18:43 No, I totally agree with that. You just, I think at a gut level, what you're talking about is people being relatable. I mean, I've listened to my sales calls. That's something that we talk about in the program. I don't know how many people do it-
Pat Brewer: 18:55 Almost everybody should do that.
Dom Henderson: 18:56 ... but you have to continue to iterate on the process. Let's say you're in the first call with a prospective client. I always tell them it's the 80/20 rule. They should be doing 80% of the talking, you should be doing 20% of the talking. You should be mostly listening. It should not be about sales. It should not be about anything. You really get to, I think from the point you were making, when you start to take advice and you put yourself in the shoes of the prospective client, it so much humanizes the conversation because, look, they're coming to you for advice, they feel vulnerable. There's no reason to really dig in the knife at that point-
Pat Brewer: 19:33 No.
Dom Henderson: 19:34 ... and show all what you know. It's just so irrelevant.
Pat Brewer: 19:37 Agreed. Agreed. Now, one of the things that you obviously do is coach financial advisors through different marketing processes, business growth strategies, but also being an advisor yourself, have you seen any parallels between coaching an advisor and then the process that the advisor also has to help their client walk through as a coach for their finances? What parallels are you seeing there?
Dom Henderson: 20:01 Absolutely. Good question. I think, so the benefit of being a coach, and then taking what you see as being a coach, and then trying to implement that in your practice is the outside perspective. What I mean by that is when I see a hundred advisors in the program and I see somebody come through with the questions that they have with what they're trying to build, you can immediately start to put the pieces together in the puzzle.
Dom Henderson: 20:31 I think it's key for the advisor to stay open and to understand that they are seeking advice. Then on the flip side of it, when they are open, just like I was open when I was a first [inaudible 00:20:44] advisor in the program and I was listening to you, I then can put myself in the client's shoes. When I'm telling them, "Okay, you need to change this about your budget" or, "You need to change this about your investment advisor. Let me show you a different way to do this investment strategy," I think those two go hand in hand.
Dom Henderson: 21:05 Here's a good takeaway. If you are an advisor trying to sell advice, which is what you do, but you're not coachable, you don't have a coach, what does that really say? You really need to answer that question because if you want to give advice but can't receive advice or don't believe in and don't pay for it, it's kind of-
Pat Brewer: 21:28 It's a disconnect.
Dom Henderson: 21:28 Yeah, it's a disconnect. It's definitely disconnect. I think what you have to realize is subconsciously you're going to be setting yourself up for failure eventually.
Pat Brewer: 21:37 Yeah.
Dom Henderson: 21:37 I think, so one thing is, and I'll use this analogy, as a coach, although I can't necessarily go out there and high jump anymore, which is what I coach my daughter on, I can't do those moves, but I've done it before, so I use the experience, and if she implements, she will improve. But she would be very shortsighted to say, "Well, Dad, since you can't do it anymore, then you can't really coach me." She has to stay open. I think advisors have to do the same thing; otherwise, you're going to see their clients doing the same thing to them, that you're going to give them all-
Pat Brewer: 22:10 That's a good point.
Dom Henderson: 22:10 ... this advice to your clients, and they're now, they're going to implement what they want.
Pat Brewer: 22:13 It's going to bounce right off them.
Dom Henderson: 22:14 Yep.
Pat Brewer: 22:15 Yeah, so if I'm hearing that correctly, it sounds like in order to be an effective influencer of someone's behavior to help them get to a particular goal or set of goals, you yourself need to be open to someone else's counsel and be willing to hear certain things to change your own behavior or to influence your own goals-
Dom Henderson: 22:35 Absolutely.
Pat Brewer: 22:35 ... in order to get there.
Dom Henderson: 22:36 Absolutely.
Pat Brewer: 22:37 Dom, I appreciate your thoughts. Thank you for coming on the show.
Dom Henderson: 22:40 Great stuff, man. I enjoyed it.
Pat Brewer: 22:41 All right, take care.