In this episode, host John Laurito interviewed Speaker, Storyteller, CEO, and Founder of Don Connelly and Associates, Don Connelly. They talk about what financial advisors should do to maximize their influence on their customers, how a leader should take on the many responsibilities of owning a business, and the importance of good leadership in any kind of organization. Don also shares how he started in his career and what he learned throughout the years. Tune in to find out why building trust is better than being liked.
Don Connelly is perhaps the financial industry’s most successful speaker, storyteller, motivator, and mentor to Advisors. His career on Wall Street spans more than 45 years. It includes positions as a stockbroker, financial planner, branch manager, wholesaler, national sales manager, and for nearly 19 years, company spokesperson, Senior V. P., and Senior Marketing Officer for an internationally renowned money management firm.
Don has lectured to tens of thousands of investors and financial services professionals in large cities, small towns, boardrooms, and universities. Audiences at England’s CambridgeUniversity, Harvard, Wharton School of Business, ChapmanCollege, and Pepperdine have all benefited from his presentations. He’s shared his wisdom with Investment professionals abroad in New Zealand, Australia, Spain, Canada, England, Ireland, and South Korea. He has given several presentations to the prestigious Million Dollar Roundtable in the past few years as both a main platform and workshop speaker. Each of his audiences is left with great ideas and a memorable experience.
As co-founder of Don Connelly 24/7 (www.donconnelly247.com), Don’s timely and provocative sales ideas are offered through an extraordinary learning center and mentoring program available to financial professionals 24/7. Don is a guru on managing client relationships and inspires financial Advisors to achieve great accomplishments. He educates, entertains, and motivates audiences with an extraordinary flair, using compelling storytelling and anecdotes.
Connect with Don:
[1:46] How Don got into what he does
[4:36] Importance of making people understand the concepts
[6:46] What he learned throughout the years in his career
[11:13] How to get comfortable with all the responsibilities in having a business
[13:45] On building and breaking trust
[18:10] Overpromising or under-delivering
[20:05] What makes somebody more influential?
[22:15] On thought-provoking questions that advisors ask
[26:36] The toughest obstacle that advisors face?
[30:44] Importance of good leadership in any organization
[33:00] Where to find more of Don?
[34:15] One piece of advice from Don Connelly
John Over the last two decades, I’ve been in an insatiable quest to learn everything I can about leadership, what makes the best leaders so good after running companies small and large over the last 20 years. Today, I speak on stages all across the world to audiences who are interested in that same question. My name’s John Marino. I’m your host, and I invite you to join me on this journey as we explore this very topic and what makes the best leader so good.
John Welcome to tomorrow’s leader! Hey, there tomorrow’s leaders, so this guy is a blast from my past. He is an absolute legend in financial services. Don Connelly, I met him recently when I was doing a keynote in Pinehurst, and he came up to me, introduce himself. I’m like, Wait a sec. The Don Connelly, the guy who I listened to in back when I was a brand new advisor and I used to listen to your audio tapes back then tapes. And he was just masterful and is masterful and taught me so much about the business. So I was super excited not only to meet him but right away. I’m like, OK, you got to do a podcast with me, so you’re in for a treat. Here is Don Connelly.
John All right, welcome to today’s episode of Tomorrow’s Leader, where we dove deep on all things leader-related to leading yourself and leading others. I’m John Laurito, your host. And I have a guest on this show that I am incredibly excited to share with you. This is a guy that’s impacted me personally for 25 or 30 years. Those in the financial services know this guy just by name. I don’t even have to do an intro, but this is the one and only Don Connelly. Don, welcome to tomorrow’s leader.
Don Thank you, John. Good to be here.
John So, Don, you have been just an industry shaper and just an influencer. And again, you know, I’ve told the story to many people because I’ve connected with you recently that as a new advisor in financial services, back in the 90s, I listened to Don Connelly tapes and listened to your messages, and you had such an amazing impact on me. A guy new in the business that didn’t really know much about financial services and especially not about helping influence people to make the right decisions and you help dramatically. So first of all, let me say thank you on behalf of me and the thousands and thousands of other people you’ve helped, I’m sure like you. It seems like you got a lot of you to have a lot of fun doing what you’re doing. You’ve been doing it for now. 45 plus years.
Don Fifty-three years. I kiddingly say I’m not. Retirement is not my goal. As long as I have my health, I’m in my mid-70s, I was going to keep on working life because I love what I do.
John Yeah. Well, so tell the audience a little bit about how you got into this because I kind of found it interesting. You and I were talking to Pinehurst and you were sharing the story because you had such a unique role. You’ve been with Putnam. I know that’s where you kind of, I believe, not started your career, but that’s where you became well known. How did you get started doing these tapes and kind of getting the messages out there? What happened?
Don Well, I started out as an advisor to the button for years. Then it became a branch manager for a competitive firm in Boston, and then it became the national sales manager for Small, what used to be a small mutual fund company. Today, it’s Columbia Threadneedle part, but it used to be colonial funds, which were around back in the mid-mid-to-late 80s. And when I got to colonial, I had been at wholesale, is working for me and they were from spread out from Maine to California. It was hard to get. We couldn’t get them together. It’s impractical. So I started doing as you remember cassette tapes and I would do a tape recorder and send it out to the wholesalers, really sales ideas and ideas I picked up from financial advisers I was talking to during the quarter, and one day I went to Putnam in 1988, much larger firm in billion company, and we did the same thing, but we began sending them out to advisors. So we literally John sent out, I think, eight or nine tapes.
Don The guys, as we knew it within the year, they became thirty-five thousand tapes a quarter because of the appeal. Was that me? It was. It was the subject matter. We all light our candles from somebody. I had a mentor. I had three mentors, actually, but my first, my greatest mentor told me people looking to become one of my case clients with an angel advisor. But buying anything from anybody, they’re not really looking for information. You’re looking for someone they can trust. And that became the gist of these tapes. It’s not what you know, it’s who you are and people are, you know, good client prospects, the scorekeepers, they’re looking at you. They’re focused on your authenticity and if they’re going to do business. And I was lucky enough to figure that, not to figure it out. I was taught this early in my career. If I’m going to do business with you, you have to like me, trust me. Think I’m smart. There’s nothing else. It doesn’t matter if I’m a rookie or veteran. Tyler Short doesn’t matter.
Don You don’t do business with people you don’t like. You own the business you don’t trust. So that became my focus. I think the arrow divide. I don’t want to ramble. The average advisor focuses on product knowledge. Mm-hmm. Let me tell you how many moving parts in a and I managed money account or in an ETF. Yeah, people don’t care. If you were an advisor who uses BlackRock or Templeton, no one cares. Yeah, they care about the relationship. They care more about the relationship than the products. Yeah. So answer. Your question, my mentor taught me that right from the beginning. So what I teach now, 50 some years later, is everything you need to know, but you weren’t taught and training. Well, it’s timeless. It hasn’t changed in 53 years.
John Yeah, I mean, and you bring up such great points because I remember and I’ve seen this for years and years, to your point, you know, there’s a lot of advisors and this isn’t just financial services. This is an industry that there’s the temptation to just want to show your knowledge and your share. You know, talk real high level and all this kind of stuff to impress people and you really don’t. And ultimately, people don’t do anything because they don’t understand it’s too complicated. What I found amazing was you took this really complicated business. Financial services are incredibly complicated as coming into the business. As an advisor, I was confused, but you made it. You helped people with the language of making something that’s complex into this simple, easy-to-understand concept or concepts. And that seemed like the magic for working with clients where you could take something that people didn’t understand. Use an analogy or story. Make it something that makes sense. I mean, how important is that in that role of the advisor or any kind of influence?
Don People don’t buy what they don’t understand now, and we talk our own when is a great book is made to stick by Chip and Dan? He thought he’d make your ideas stick. And there are the acronym successes of the second test. As you assess your ideas have to be simple, unexpected concrete, credible emotional stories, and stories. I forget her name. I was so sorry. She’s great, she said. Stories that are data with a soul. Yeah, we’re adding some soul to the data. Yeah. So all I did, all I do is take the facts and figures and transform them into a language people understand. And I have a guy who gave me a gift as a storyteller, so I use analogies and tell stories. Yeah.
John And you do a phenomenal job of that. It’s interesting because, you know, I see people that struggle with influence in people. So, you know, you look at clients that make bad decisions, they’re in bad markets or whatnot or short term long term decisions based on short term stuff. And ultimately, the advisor’s role is to change that client’s mindset or perception and view it from a different perspective. I mean, everybody’s got all these biases and cognitive biases. What is this? Maybe a tough question, but what have you learned as you’ve gone? I mean, you’ve spent so much time in this industry. I mean, is it the same now as it was in terms of how you talk to people as it was 20, 30 years ago?
Don Justin Trudeau Twenty eighteen. And Davos said things have never changed so fast and they never change so slow again was a great quote. In my 53 years, everything has changed, the landscape changes daily. Two things have never changed. And I learned to focus on what doesn’t get if we focus on what changes John to change our map will get so much input during the day to influence our thinking. So I try to focus on things that don’t change in my business financial services that one thing I never change is, first of all, his mom and dad always have goals for the markets higher, low inflation, high or low, no matter who’s in the White House and what a barrel of oil cost and American goals, by the way, very simple. Americans want to do three things I want to educate our kids, pay their taxes, and retire the two of you and me as true of Elon Musk.
Don We just want to leave our kids better off than we were and retire comfortably. And that’s never going to change. Since 1990, we’ve had 20 presidents, two Republicans, eight Democrats. It doesn’t matter who’s in the White House, that’s what policy is. So I always focus on mom and dad’s goals. I try to keep books, keep them focused on the goals. Nothing can ever change how we’re going to make a living. We can’t wait for the market to come our way. So I try to urge people to run in the morning and put on their figurative blinders, focus on their client goals. Everything else is white noise and don’t listen to the white noise. Mm-hmm. Yeah. Easier said than done takes discipline, but that’s what it’s about.
John It does, you know, and one of the things that I know, I’m asked a lot of by business owners and again, that not even just in financial services, but how do they scale and build a business? You know, you’re talking about a business that’s really dependent on spending time with clients and giving advice. And there’s only so much of you to go around, and there’s a lot of people that want to create more impact and have more influence, whether it’s more influence on a small group of people or they want to have a larger influence on a larger group of people. What’s your advice to that person that might have kind of hit that ceiling of complexity in their business? They’re really not growing that much. I mean, you work with advisors that have seen the best of the best. What’s your advice on what they need to do?
Don Literally, it’s checking your ego at the door and going and asking for help. Zoe, somebody doing better than you or me, right? So let’s go find out what the big person’s doing. I have a friend named Dave Hubbard, who’s a very bright man. He’s a coach and an adviser as well. But he said, John, when I meet somebody who’s either failing or is very successful, I can figure out why with one question. What are you doing during the day? And the answer is probably the difference is profound. Yeah, the person who is failing is getting ready to get ready. The person that’s succeeding is totally engaged. In our industry to ensure services need a knee, we’re like doctors, we’re not talking to patients who are unemployed. So that’s what I tell people, you know, like per hour, Dave Harber, I try to divide, advises tourism two-thirds versus building a business, which is what you’re talking about.
Don Then there’s OK, my business is big enough. Well, I’m going to sell my business. Each phase, as Dave calls the most valuable activity. If you are building a business, I don’t get a shoe store or financial adviser, or a doctor. Your most important project is prospecting. It’s getting it doesn’t matter how many people you know, it’s how many people know you. How do you get your name? How do you brand yourself? That’s a whole topic for a different day. If your business is big enough, you say, OK, fine, now my priority is customer service. I’m going to give Ritz-Carlton service if we’re retiring its transition. But it’s focusing on what’s important. There’s so much to do. Running a business that gets her eye off the ball. We got to, you know, Eisenhower the Eisenhower box. I remember she remembers urgent, important Gordon, not urgent. The other four Eisenhower came up with that during the war. He said, Every time I get a phone call, it’s urgent to somebody else, unimportant to me.
Don So I try to focus on what’s urgent and important. Mm-Hmm. In the case of a business owner, we’re never taught how to run a business, Marilyn. No one teaches that kind of left to our own devices, and a lot of us aren’t businesspeople. That’s what The E-Myth is all about. Michael Girgis’s book E-Myth revisited about piano, tourist, intern piano just mean they can run a business. Mhm. So either going to hire those skills or learn those skills. Mm-Hmm. And my suggestion, as I said in the beginning, find out, who is doing it right and go ask them how they’re doing it.
John Mm-hmm. One of the things I know people deal with a big challenge is just the fact that their temptation is as their business grows, they’ve got more and more responsibilities, more and more decisions, more people, more services, more time, everything, just their plate gets overloaded and they keep taking on more and more stuff which ultimately clogs their business. How does somebody like that handle it? I mean, you’ve got a lot of people out there that are kind of running their business, either just themselves or maybe one other person helping them out a little bit. When is the time where you’ve got to just you’ve got to give up some control in order to grow? And how do you get comfortable if you’re not comfortable with it?
Don Well, the reality is running the business gets in the way of growing the business. I don’t care who you are, you can’t do both. Now, when I tell you, as a financial adviser, I had a friend tell me and I want to talk to our industry, but when I was earning in fees and $50000 a year, I didn’t need any help. I was fine. Once I got up to 250, I need an assistant. He was a very successful guy. So once I began or in a million dollars in fees, I had to make a decision. I either got to grow the business or run the business. In his case, my friend’s case, he’s affable. He’s loquacious, he’s a party guy, not a party guy. He is a good in-crowd. He’s a golfer. He hires someone to run his business. And he went on, just brought a new business. I think we have to. It has to be a Mr. Inside Mr. Moss outside.
John Yeah. So do you know when that time is? I mean, does that kind of smack in the face and you, you are clear on that? Or are you do you need to think ahead and plan? Do you need to add that extra person before you’re necessarily ready for it? So they help you grow? Are you responding to?
Don I’m not smart enough to think that I know when I run into a brick wall. Yeah, I know. I know intuitively, I’m not paid, you know, $15 an hour paperwork. That’s what the small business owner does. There was no great ad if he is a TV ad. May I speak to the president, please? Speaking, I speak to the head of marketing speaking right? I speak to your best sales aide speaking. Is that you just figure out, man, this is not what I’m paid to do. If you look at the hours you put your audience look through, the hours they spend with people they make, they make their money face to face. They work 80 hours a week. They’re earning maybe fifty dollars an hour. If they actually take the actual time, they’re together with clients or prospects, probably close to a thousand dollars an hour. Yeah. Well, figure it out. Yeah, you got to be face to face and you can’t do both. So, yeah, you know, when you get when you’re when you just when you, as you said, hit the wall you and may hit the wall. You yeah, you’re working hard, but you’re not going anywhere.
John So you talk a lot about building trust and how important that is, obviously. What are some of the things that people do that they don’t even realize are breaking the trust things?
Don It’s good. Trust is, first of all, trust is non-linear. It’s irrational. And imagine a fireman and you work, excuse me, a single young single mother in your town. She’s walking down the street. She’s holding an infant. She has to tie her shoe. She’s not going to hand the baby to a stranger. But she would hand the baby to a fireman, and she asks her why she’s I trust firemen. Why? Well, I don’t know. I just trust firemen. That’s the nonlinear dynamic of trust. It’s irrational. Why do we trust firemen? Well, the reality is, every story that ever read about a fireman is a hero story. They run to danger, though they’re at Christmastime for orphans and kids, firemen early are heroes. Most of us don’t have that kind of publicity. So we’ve got to build up trust slowly, we have to break down that wall. And I’ll tell you, our sister, if I may. The New York Times did a survey with NBC, and they asked the person in the street What the people in America? What percentage of trustworthy?
Don Oh, less than 30 percent. What about your family and friends represented trustworthiness? Oh, more than 70 percent. Well, that’s mathematically impossible. But the moral of the story is if I think I know you, John, I’m going to give you twice as much credit for being trustworthy as if I thought you were a stranger. Mm-hmm. So I start to trust you, and what we do to break that trust is dumb. We over-promise, use you casually say, you know, during I’ll call you this week and you don’t. No big deal. It’s a big deal because you failed to keep a promise. Mm-hmm. And lack of communication is a way to destroy trust. I just don’t trust really is is me not being able to predict John what you’re going to do?
Don Mm-hmm. If I can predict that John Kerry doesn’t do the right thing, I’ll trust you. Mm-hmm. Now is an accelerator, which is empathy. We empathize. We build trust faster. But I heard I think it was. Bob Dunwoody said it great. A great analogy. It takes maybe two years to build a building in New York City a year and a half. It takes ten seconds to implode it with dynamite. That’s trust. Yeah. One simple slip. It’s lying. The trust is more than it’s also doing the job the right way, going the extra mile really pouring your heart and soul into was not just lying is part of it. Hmm. But it’s not. It’s not performing up to snuff from phoning it in. Yeah. People start to distrust you a little bit.
John So let me ask you, which is, I know, a very, very common question and a big-time challenge for people that are now in this last couple of years of dealing with not being able to be in person with people there, maybe meeting new clients or prospects for the first time like this. That’s a whole different way and requires a lot of different skillsets and things to build trust. I mean, what’s what is somebody like that you? And maybe it’s a leader. I was talking to a CEO. It took over a company that’s a global company, and he’s trying to work with people that he’s never met before and probably won’t for some time. I mean, whether it’s a leader or a person or a financial adviser, how do they build trust in a virtual world like this?
Don Well, yeah, I heard a great analogy. So if you look at a tree, literally a large, majestic tree, you can see the height, you can walk around and feel the majesty. You look at a picture of a tree. You don’t have that same impact. Hmm. And they’re not looking at John Laredo in a Zoom call looking at a picture of John Laredo. Mm-hmm. Well, that’s different. So one way, as I said before, is empathy. I think if people say, you know what? Jeremy now understands me, gets me, Bill stressed a little bit faster. Yeah, but it’s this consistency over time. Time and time and time again. So it’s patience. It’s doing the way you’re supposed to do all the time. It’s slow and steady. Wins the race. Hmm. And it’s harder than virtually that. It isn’t in person. There’s nobody language. There’s no eye contact. I’m looking at where I look, where do I look here? That stuff is not conducive to building trust. But when I started 53 years ago, I co-called. That’s building trust virtually.
John Mm-hmm. Yeah. Well, it’s interesting. And you’re right. You’re absolutely right. The virtual world existed, and it just looks different now, but it would still exist back, you know, decades ago. You said something that’s interesting, and that’s the whole concept of doing what you say and not overpromising and under-delivering. Is there a way to just I mean, I know that and I’m with you 100 percent because if somebody tells me they’re going to call me on a certain day or whatever, even if it’s a little under the breath comment, I remember it? And I remember if they don’t, I notice it. I may not remember it on that day, but there’s some point it pops in my head and I say, Jeez, you know, that was a letdown. Is there is does it work the other way? I mean, is it almost to your advantage to try to throw some things out there just for the purpose? You know, I’ll give you a quick story real quick. And I just I remember this vividly when I was a kid and I was probably, I don’t know, I’m going to say maybe 11, 12 years old.
John And I remember it was a Saturday morning and my my my parents got a call. The phone rang and my dad said, You know, I wonder if that so-and-so or the realtor was exactly 10 o’clock in the morning. He picked up the phone. It was he who hung up the phone. He says we’re going to work with that realtor. And he said, because that realtor, I asked Tuesday, I said, call me at 10:00 a.m. on Saturday, and she called exactly at 10:00 a.m. And because of that, I know what type of person she is now. I don’t know if she intended, you know, Hey, I’m going to make sure I’m right on the button, but is there, you know, is there a lot of sense in that like, Hey, let me kind of throw something out there? Hey, I’ll call you Tuesday at seven and just to why not? Yeah, why not? Yeah, why not? You know, how often do you know the old saying is a sale begins after the sale? We have a relationship with one relationship we sell. What we’re trying to sell ourselves are ideas are products. Then we turn our backs on. People know, yeah, that that is bad. Staying in touch. It’s just a lack of communication skills we let with you. It kills marriages. It kills business relationships. Mm-Hmm. To communicate, communicate, communicate and be dependable. Yeah. Yeah, absolutely. And focus on your added value, not your basic value.
John So let’s talk about influence because that’s fascinating to me. And that’s the leadership. I mean, how do you influence people to do things they might not otherwise do without your help. And sometimes that stepping into discomfort at stepping outside their comfort zone, it’s going down a new path. Share a little bit about just your perspectives on what makes somebody more influential. And now what’s that all about?
Don Well, one word comes to mind immediately. That’s charisma. So let’s talk about two things. Aristotle’s if either of persuasion, remember ethos, pathos, ethos, logos if you want to be persuasive. First of all, you must establish personal, moral, moral credibility. Secondly, you must use strong rhetoric. And thirdly, you must get aroused the emotions of others. That’s persuasion. You establish credibility. You’re very strong rhetoric and you’re persuasive when I see true leaders. Generally, they’re good storytellers and good and charismatic. Gives me is an argument, can Kerry’s charisma be tight? John and knock us at the time he was at Harvard, I’m not sure where he is now, but wrote an article I actually turned to a book Yes, you can teach charisma and you got a book. I forget the author’s name now. Arthur rests his name.
Don But in Iraq, I said there was 12 charisma learning Texas three and honorable nine of Rebel. I don’t know. You’re not too young to remember Ronald Reagan. Questions a very, very powerful Reagan won an election. He was losing the day before, he said, Before you go to bed tonight, ask yourself one question. My better off than I was four years ago when the election is so charismatic, John Kennedy said. Ask not what your country can do for you. Ask what you can do for your country. Hmm. So learning, I used to say to people as a financial adviser, it’s not my job to make you rich, my job to keep you from being poor. That really resonates, John. It’s true. It’s believable and charismatic. Yeah, people want to follow a leader. You come with me. I’ll make sure you’re never poor. Yeah, so. Yes, charisma, storytelling, personal interaction.
John So let me ask you on questions, and I love that I’m a big Ronald Reagan fan. What are some of the questions that you think get people either thinking differently? What are some of the questions you’ve heard advisors ask that are powerful, you know, thought-provoking behavior-changing questions?
Don I’ll tell you probably the greatest I’ve ever heard. It’s a friend of mine who is a very deep one on one of the probably the Typekit in the United States for assets under management. It is just an incredible person. And he says when most people talk about the process, the investments, the results. I focus on a person’s hopes and visions and dreams. So he says, and people can see and what brought you to see me today. Why are you here? He’s in Cleveland. People say, What is your personal financial vision? Well, my vision, our vision is at age 65, a home in Ohio, fully paid for a condominium in Tampa, fully paid for our kids, educated in enough money in the bank to live comfortably. And he simply asks if I can make your vision come true? Can we do business? How powerful is that? What’s the answer? That question? Yeah, yeah. Other questions that I really like. I ask people, Do you ever save for something really important?
Don Do you ever save something you really wanted to get and you got it? How did that make you feel? Because that’s what we’re doing here. Mm-hmm. Knowing our business partners think our temple, my opiate, not my temple myopia, we can’t see down the road. So to say to somebody your age or job, when you’re 65, you can no more imagine that jumping off the Brooklyn Bridge, you’ve got to put in modern-day terms. Mm-hmm. So that’s what I try to do is what’s the one that you ever say for something really important and did it? How did you feel about that? What’s the best investment you’ve ever made? Hmm. How do you want to be remembered? You’re gone. What do you want your wife and your kids to think about you? What do you want your legacy to be? Mm-hmm. John, decisions are emotional. They’re not objective. We’re objective because we’re financial advisors. We think in terms of numbers. I still live in our world. We live in a world of bias and emotion. They tell stories, listen to respond to stories. So you say to somebody, you know, we should get a portfolio is well-diversified with the point nine beta is one thing. How do you want your kids to remember it was something totally different? Yeah.
John Well, it’s interesting, too, because you know, that’s the differentiator. Most people are not asking questions, and they’re certainly not asking powerful questions like that. You know, I mean, I know many advisors that still spend the first 20 30 minutes just talking and not listening, not asking questions. And you know, honestly, I was trained that way back in 94. I mean, we’ve learned a script verbatim that was like 13 pages and no knocking that that was the way to do it at that time. And it worked. But I think I realized at one point in my career how backward that was because it wasn’t about me. It’s about getting to know that person and asking the right questions and asking them questions they hadn’t been asked before.
Don And you know, let’s say you’re trying to sell something. So let’s say you try to open an account as a financial advisor and mom and dad, come to your office and you make the presentation and they leave and get in the car. Do you think they talk about downside capture or ask delicate? What’s the one question that s mom? Yeah. Do you think they like you trust that guy? Do you like her? Yeah. You know, I don’t trust her that much. You can talk to you, but you’re going to get the account. Mm-hmm. I feel like you trust me and think you think your recommendations are spot-on for me. Mm-hmm. I don’t care if you use Dreyfus or Fidelity or you’re fighting the Merrill Lynch of the modern, the old, it’s all the same. It’s been the same forever. Mm-hmm. Mom and dad have never changed. Your grandfather journeys the same goals for his children that you’ve got for your children. The same goes, you are your great, your great grandfather, and your great children’s grandchild, the same goals you do. Mm. Americans are not trying to get rich, are afraid of being poor. Yeah, you want to retire comfortably? Mm-hmm. And it’s there’s no need to overkill that. Yeah, I can make that happen and we are good. That’s a business just. Can I trust you? It’s only clients only have one question Can I trust you? Hmm. That’s the only question. Any business has any business. Mm-hmm. I trust you.
John Let me ask you the other side of it. What do you see or hear as the toughest resistance or just, you know, obstacle that advisers are hearing her face? And what are their clients asking them or saying that’s been the toughest for them to deal with it? And what’s your advice on how to deal with it?
Don Well, there’s a generational specific and specifically, it’s inflation. Today, this market’s on a sugar high as we speak on January 31, February 1st, but today’s date is marketed on a sugar high. Yeah, and it’s starting to pull back and people are really worried. Am I going to get caught in this? Mm-hmm. So that’s the. But the broader answer is it’s generational. Young people today are totally different than people my age. They don’t want to come to the office. They want to work virtually. They want to meet Starbucks. I think probably I’m guessing this, but I think it’s probably true. More than half of all new investors don’t use a financial adviser. They use Robinhood something similar. Mm-hmm. And do so until they get burned and then seek professional advice. Mm-hmm. But the skepticism, actually cynicism, I think, is part of it. You know, stories on Wall Street are not good stories. Mm-hmm. I think actually wait till things get better. It’s always it’s universal, eternal, and timeless. Yeah. And how do you? Here’s a bigger emotion. Greed? Sorry, what?
John How do you handle that? What do you say to that? Hey, I need to. Let me wait for things to settle because I’ve heard that.
Don I asked people three questions. I say I’m asking a question true or false? No one knew the exact same thing in 1752. It’s old. Every time the market’s gone down, that’s true in 50 years, it’s come back a sexual assault. Oh, it’s true. I say, well, every time it’s come back, it’s set a new high. True or false? Well, that’s true, too. Mhm. Question number three, how do so many people lose money in the stock market? We know what’s going to get down. We know it’s going to come back. This is how do you lose? Well, the answer is, of course, there’s a bigger motion agreed. So I’m here. I’m not here to manage money, I’m better at managing expectations. Let me as long as you’re my client and I will give you a hand. Hmm. And try to quell the fear is the fear of the unknown. Nothing I do, John. I don’t get I don’t want government. I don’t want to make this all about future planning, but I have.
Don I have an I tell a story. I said, we’re looking at my crystal ball and they tell you what’s going to happen in the next ten years. Then you’ll know. I said, Well, first of all, the minute you give me money, this company is going to go off a fiscal cliff. Almost, there’s going to be urban unrest. There’s going to be the longest war. And, you know, I’m going to win it with Siri and get in a war, and I’m you on and on and then stock market crashes and impeachments. Well, the Dow went from 12000 10 years ago to 36000 today. Everything I just mentioned happened in the last 10 years. If you knew one thing, you wouldn’t have guessed the 10 cents. Wow. So get your eye off, you know, get your eye off the journey. Get it at the destination.
Don Yeah. Ellen Abel’s in the late great up and down Wall Street with this column in Barron’s said to invest money in the market, look at your prices. Every day is like walking up a hill with a yo-yo. Watching the yo-yo, not the hill. Yo you being the headlines, the hill being the stock market. Yeah, you’re right after you get it on the hill. So it’s a matter of recency bias, which I’m sure you’re familiar with that term. Yeah, it’s dispelling recency bias.
John Well, I remember and there’s a great leadership lesson in this too. I remember one of the early tapes that I listened to was you telling a story about a client handling a client resistance or setting expectations about what’s going to happen, how the market’s going to drop? You’re going to feel like throwing a brick through my window. And when you do tie, check to it because we’re going to want to put more money into it. And I thought that was so brilliant because one, it was funny. It was an anecdote. It was a story. But it was also a great way to set expectations with people that, hey, here’s what’s going to happen moving forward, and it is going to be tough and there are going to be times you’re going to want to you’re going to be angry, going to be frustrated.
John And there’s so much magic in that because when you talk about leadership, you know, the best leaders I’ve seen are the ones that set the expectations. They, you know what? You’re going to go down this road. It is going to be hard. You’re going to take on this new role and responsibility. It is going to be hard and here is going to be the hardest part of it. And you get them prepared for that. And then all of a sudden, when that happens, it’s not that big of a deal. Oh, you know, Don, talk to me about this.
Don No, you’re absolutely right. When I see a company in trouble, in any industry, it’s a lack of vision from leadership. It’s a vision strong will make it. You do this together. If there’s no rudder, no Alice in Wonderland, which road do I take? Where do you want to end up? I don’t care where end up. It doesn’t matter what road you take. Yeah, right? It has to be a vision. Or you said, set expectations. Yeah, that’s to me. That’s the one definition of leadership. Mm-hmm. It’s creating a vision and saying, Hold my hand, we’re going to go. Here we go.
John Exactly. And it’s interesting. You know, it’s and it’s a compelling vision. It’s a powerful vision. It’s clear, and everybody in the organization understands it and can articulate it. I mean, I go into businesses all the time and there are half the people that have no idea what the vision is, and some are spewing a vision that’s different than what I know the CEO is sharing.
Don So it’s been a UPS. I mean, UBS is FedEx, its headquarters. I can tell you from my little visit there, everybody there, there’s one thing absolutely positively overnight. It’s all anybody thinks about Herb Kelleher or he was alive when Southwest Airlines. Will we be the cheapest flight from Phenix to L.A.? Batting a salad makes us more expensive. We’re not going to do it. We’re going to be the cheapest flight period end of the story. Everyone knew that. Mm-hmm. Well, also leaders, can’t communicate because they can’t overcome the curse of knowledge. Yeah. So the message becomes ambiguous as to me, as you said, crystal clear ships here, Jack Walsh was like, the ship is here, the ship is going there. You get on a graph. Mm-hmm. This is what we’re going to do.
John Right. And people understanding what’s in it for them, you know, hey, when we get to this destination, ultimately, here’s what this looks like not just for the company, but for everybody here. I think the best leaders are great at really bringing that vision to life. Like, OK, I got it. I see where my role in this position right here connects to the big picture. And that’s where they’re rowing the boat.
Don That’s the team. Everybody’s job is to make your boss’s job easier. Yeah. Your boss’s job is to make their job easier. Yeah, exactly.
John Well, this is my friend. This has been fantastic. I know we’re coming close to the end here and I want to get a couple of things in. First of all, there’s a lot of people that want to find out, you know, what’s going on with you and with the company, and you’ve got a lot of stuff from speaking engagements, the online programs to coaching all kinds of stuff that you do share with the group, with the audience. A little bit about that and how they can get additional info.
Don Well, where I focus, I literally John, I said everything you need to notice to say that you weren’t taught and training is training us so product intensive. I never discussed the product. I don’t blink. Product knowledge is what I think of our success. Five percent is what we know. Ninety-five percent is who we are, right? Knowledge five percent. So I focus on soft skills. I focus on sticking to the basics, marketing ourselves, appropriately, forming long-term relationships, and mostly how to communicate. Be a world-class communicator, how to overcome the curse of knowledge. I do what, as you say, I do live. I do it virtually. I have two websites. Mm-hmm. So that’s I do a lot of webinars now because of the lockdown. Still, do some, some face to face meetings like you and I did it a while ago. Mm. Mm-Hmm. So it’s just it’s very simple. What I do is very simple. It’s not easy, but it’s simple.
John Mm-hmm. Beautiful. Well, we’ll have all that info in the show notes for anybody who’s listening that wants to see all the info undone and links to where you can go to get more info. Done. Leave us with one last bit of advice. You got people listening to this in all different countries, 66 different countries, and all different levels. You got some people that are in finance, you got business people and health care and technology. You got high-end leaders, you got people that are just getting into leadership. What are some final words of wisdom?
Don It’s not what you know, it’s who you are. If people are going to, you know when we form relationships in the same way we want to be the people we like and trust. So focus on your likability, I don’t how much time I have to insist we have a minute to answer this question. Yeah, I grew up in a small town in New England 76 years ago. This is a less civil society. We all do business with people we like. So I know what went on this. Your audience is like, we’ll take it to a new level. Follow the golden rule. Pay it forward. Simple acts of kindness. The others work on your trustworthiness. Never, ever over-promise about anything. Do what you say you’re going to do. Be honest and you’ll go viral. We all do business with people we like and people coming to see. You are not looking for information as much. They are looking for someone they can trust. So focus on your trustworthiness, your likability. The best thing. I love it. Just say to people, you and I together are better than you alone. Let’s do this together.
John Excellent. Well, thank you, my friend. I hope we get you back here. Another time will do kind of like a part two, maybe even a part three added value that we will talk about.
John I could chat with you forever, so I appreciate you joining the show and we’ll have you again another time.
Don Always a pleasure to see you, John.
John Thank you. Got it. And thanks everybody for tuning in today as always. Like subscribe, share. I always appreciate your suggestions on content as well as future guests. And of course, go down below. Give a five-star review and we’ll see you next time.
John Thanks, everybody. Thanks for joining us on today’s episode of Tomorrow’s Leader for suggestions or inquiries about having me at your next event or personal coaching reach me at John@johnlaurito.com. Thanks, lead on!