Simplifying How Financial Advisors Connect With Clients With Derek Notman of Couplr
Updated: Apr 4
Derek Notman is the Founder and CEO of Couplr, a fintech company that offers lead generation solutions for financial companies and their advisors. He is a FinTech founder, certified financial planner, and co-host of the Rethink. The Financial Advisor Podcast. Derek is also the Founder of Conneqtor and Intrepid Wealth Partners. He was recognized as Wealthies Rising Star of the Year in 2022 by WealthManagement.com.
Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn:
Derek Notman talks about Couplr, how it helps people, and its ideal customers
The challenges financial advisors face
How Couplr helps people connect with financial advisors
Why Derek became a financial advisor and how he achieved work-life balance
The importance of teaching your kids entrepreneurship
Derek explains how AI is impacting customer experience
How to win more customers
Derek talks about Rethink. The Financial Advisor Podcast
In this episode…
People want help with their money and want to get the most out of it. So who's better to help them than a qualified financial advisor? But where can they get the support they deserve to connect and create a mutually beneficial relationship?
Many financial advisors fail in their first three years of practice. This is often because they don't know how to build relationships with their clients based on trust. For them to open up about their finances to get help, financial advisors have to be able to connect with them on different human and monetary dimensions — and that's where Couplr enters. Learn about Couplr as Derek Notman shares his journey in founding and running it.
In this episode of The Customer Wins, Richard Walker sits down with Derek Notman, Founder and CEO of Couplr, to discuss how they help financial companies and advisors connect with their clients. Derek talks about the challenges financial advisors face, how Couplr helps people connect with financial advisors, why he became a financial advisor and achieve work-life balance, and how AI is impacting the customer experience.
Resources mentioned in this episode:
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Welcome to The Customer Wins podcast where business leaders discuss their secrets and techniques for helping their customers succeed and in turn grow their business.
Richard Walker 0:16
Hi, I'm Rich Walker, the host of The Customer Wins where I talk to business leaders about how they help their customers win how their focus on customer experience leads to growth. Past guests have included Adrian Johnstone at Practifi and Cody Foster at Advisors Excel. Today, I'm excited to speak with Derek Notman, founder and CEO of Couplr with some of the coolest titles around including FinTech founder and my favorite dadpreneur. He's also a Certified Financial Planner and co-host of The Rethink Podcast. Now before I tell you all about Derek, today's episode is brought to you by Quik! the leader in enterprise forms automation, when the last step to earning your clients business requires filling out paperwork, don't ruin your relationship with a bad experience. Instead, get Quik Forms to make filling out forms a great experience and the easiest part of your transaction, visit quikforms.com to get started. And also before introducing today's guest I want to give a big thank you to Philipp Hecker, the CEO of Bento Engine for introducing me to Derek. Go check out Bento Engine's website at bentoengine.com where they empower financial advisors to bring better advice to more families. All right now let's introduce Derek. Derek Notman enter the financial services industry in 2006 and experienced a high level of success early on. Three years later, he started his own firm. In 2013, he converted his practice to a virtual model to gain life-work balance and better serve his unique set of clients. Today, he doesn't even take on new financial advisement clients because he's laser-focused on helping clients match up to the right advisor with his FinTech company Couplr. He has been recognized for his leadership, most recently as a Wealthies Rising Star of the Year in 2022 by wealthmanagement.com. And I can't wait to hear about my favorite job title of dadpreneur, because he was even mentioned by Richard Branson in a recent article about it. Derek, welcome to The Customer Wins.
Derek Notman 2:04
Rich. How you doing, buddy? Thanks a ton for having me. I'm looking forward to our conversation today.
Richard Walker 2:10
Yeah, thank you for being here. If you haven't heard this podcast before I talk with business leaders about what they're doing to help their customers win, how they built and deliver a great customer experience and the challenges to growing their own company. Derek, I want to understand your business Couplr a little better? How does your company help people?
Derek Notman 2:27
Think of Couplr as what would happen if eHarmony and Bumble got married and had a kid? Okay, that is Couplr. We are helping consumers connect with financial advisors for the right reasons at the right time in place. And we're using technology to enhance that and scale that of course, but you almost said it before. It's the customer experience. And it has to be centered around that customer, especially in a service-based business. So we're doing that differently at Couplr I'm going to remain a little mysterious about it on purpose since we're still a little in stealth mode right now. But we think we've got the best solution out there for this problem.
Richard Walker 3:11
Well, I'm really glad you didn't say Tinder, I can just imagine people saying I need a financial advisor, swipe, swipe.
Derek Notman 3:17
So it's funny you say that rich because I joke about that when I am presenting Couplr because most consumers are looking for an eHarmony-type experience. But they're getting Tinder. And it's terrible, right? It's just not how it's meant to be.
Richard Walker 3:31
Yeah. So who do you consider your customer at Couplr?
Derek Notman 3:35
We serve enterprises, we are a white-label, SaaS solution. So we are working with large man can be wirehouses, insurance broker-dealers, any other large financial institution, that's where we thrive best. And not just in the United States. We're outside of the country as well. But ultimately, we are serving the consumers, or potential clients of those companies as well as their advisor communities. So we really are serving three different customers at once.
Richard Walker 4:11
So I have to imagine then, because before I became a financial advisor, I had a financial advisor, I bought a life insurance product in the 90s from Northwestern Mutual. And then for whatever reason I got a letter in the mail saying your new advisor is Joe Schmo, who I didn't know. And if your product had been around, I presume I could have gone on and said, here's who I need to be my advisor. Here's what I need from a relationship. Is that what you're thinking?
Derek Notman 4:35
Exactly. So money is very personal for us. And we tend to not discuss it. Heck, we tend not to even discuss it with our own families sometimes. So if we're going to open up and try to get help and advice and even implementation from an advisor, it's not going to be with just anybody. We have to trust that person. In order for us to trust them, we have to connect on these different human dimensions, before we're actually willing to open up about our financial skeletons and what we're truly trying to accomplish. So yeah, that's exactly how it worked. Because I'm not going to tell you about my money unless I actually like you and trust you, and all that kind of stuff. Forget it.
Richard Walker 5:18
I felt that pain. When I became an advisor, I was 26 years old, I looked super young, and I'm trying to win the respect and trust of people, it took six months to get my first client, and I'm finally rewarded with a $2,000 going into an IRA.
Derek Notman 5:36
Well, you're also you're talking about this other segment, we're serving advisors, that's the other thing. So I've been an advisor since 2006. And the number one reason advisors fail, is because lack of good lead gen. And so we have to be able to fix that too. And for the advisors sake, the advisors deserve better clients, they deserve people that actually want to talk and work with them. So it's a two-way street. It's not just customer-centric.
Richard Walker 6:02
Do you think that this is going to help brand-new advisors more or the top-performing advisors more? Or is it equal?
Derek Notman 6:10
I would say it's probably more towards advisors that are new and or in growth mode. So for example, I'm an advisor that 16 years in now, and I'm not taking on new clients. So I wouldn't use Couplr personally for my own firm at this point, because I'm not interested in growing. Now, if I decided that you know what, I want to take my firm to the next level, I would flip that switch on in a heartbeat. But for newer advisors who burned through their natural market in a couple of months, where are they going to turn to for leads where it's predictable, it's warm, it's inbound, it's not expensive? Because most of the solutions don't work the way that we weren't. Well, none of them work the way we work actually.
Richard Walker 6:52
Yeah. Okay, so don't share all the secret sauce. But I'm kind of curious if I was some client looking for an advisor, what kind of questions you asking me?
Derek Notman 7:01
So I have to be really careful here, because this is definitely secret sauce, black box type of stuff. But we are definitely coming at this from not just a financial perspective, but also psychology, human, different human elements. My background is going to be Indiana Jones. Right. I my Bachelor's degrees in archaeology and anthropology. I studied human beings. I just studied ones that were dead already.
Richard Walker 7:27
They didn't talk back much.
Derek Notman 7:28
Yeah, exactly. Right. But people connect with each other for typically non-financial reasons, initially, although there are the gold diggers out there. But there's people want a certain level of commonality, let's call it and the way that we're able to do that in a really meaningful way. And we're able to do it at scale.
Richard Walker 7:52
I'm really excited by this idea. And I was thinking about when I moved to Austin, Texas, trying to find a doctor. It's kind of the same thing. We're on social media, we're asking around who has this belief set? Who's thinking this way? Should we try this doctor? I wonder if you'll apply this in the future?
Derek Notman 8:10
Let's just say there are other verticals and silos I've already been identified. But we're gonna stick to the one we know best first.
Richard Walker 8:17
Yeah. All right, let's go back. Why did you want to do this? I mean, you had a successful financial planning practice, right?
Derek Notman 8:23
I've got the entrepreneur bug, I'm a dadpreneur, right? I wanted to be able to do other things. And I'm not satisfied, just sitting still. My wife even joke, she's like, you can ever sit still, you're always doing something or you're always thinking about doing something. So I've been through the tough days of being an early advisor, when I started, I started in Vermont, I had literally just moved there and did not know a single soul in the state, it was tough. It was really tough. And lead gen was the biggest problem for me and all the other advisors that I saw coming up through the ranks. And so I see that problem. I also see that not enough people are getting the financial advice, and help that they truly deserve and need. So after I found a level of success with my firm, got comfortable, like, okay, what's next. And that's where I took it to this next level. And it's funny I was looking at, I forget what the name of the report is, but I did a test and assessment when I was thinking eighth or ninth grade. And it said I was going to be a technologist at some point, which is really funny. It's like those career assessments that are gonna tell you what you're good at in the future. And technology was high on that thing, so I guess I'm just fulfilling something that was always there.
Richard Walker 9:39
Oh, that's funny. Yeah, your wife and my wife would get along probably because I always looking at new things, always excited about new things. I mean, I've started over 10 companies since I was 12 years old. I'm an entrepreneur at heart. Yeah. That's really awesome. I mean, you took a big risk to go out and build something new with this. So you've been on this journey for a long time, and I know you've been looking at life and work balance, what was the balance you were trying to achieve? I mean, why did you go virtual in your firm, even?
Derek Notman 10:09
So my son was born in 2011. And very quickly, I realized, like, man, I'm not happy, I'm not there for my son, as much as I should be, I'm overweight, I'm stressed out, I'm not sleeping well, etc, etc, etc. And I'm like, this is not cool, this isn't gonna work, there's got to be a better way to run a business while also being a dad. And so that was the tipping point for me was to come up with a better way to run my business where I could be a present dad and grow up, watch my son grow up and participate in his life, teach him the awesome benefits of being an entrepreneur, but also still being able to scale my businesses. So it was a thoughtful decision to go into, because I think most of us just jump right into the game, whether we're on a career track or an entrepreneur track, or somewhere in between, and we don't even think about our question, and all of a sudden, we wake up and our work-life balance is way out of whack. You can even see my shirt today balanced advisor. I'm all about work-life balance. And that's what I even asked Richard Branson, about in Acts. So we have the article that you mentioned, but I also got to ask him a question live in a LinkedIn event. And I asked him about work-life balance, and if it's something that he found along the way, or always prioritize, and pretty much from early on, he prioritized it. Yeah, so it wasn't instilled in me early on. So it was just really important to do that. And since focusing on it Rich, I'm happier. I'm healthier, I have more time with my kid, and my businesses are thriving.
Richard Walker 11:47
is a crazy thing. So when I started my company, I worked 12-hour days, 80-hour weeks, just nonstop. And I did that for 12 years, I promised myself with my first child was born, which was what 2015 that I would slow down from 80-hour weeks to 40-hour weeks or 35-hour weeks, and I did it. It was super painful to do. I don't know, did you go through any of that guilt, and maybe even shame or anything else about not working as hard?
Derek Notman 12:13
I don't know if it was guilt or shame because I was doing the same thing working crazy hours. For me, it was more of this feeling of if I'm not working, I'm going to fail, I'm gonna go bankrupt, I'm gonna run out a client's or income or whatever. So I think that is what scared me more initially than anything else is that, if I just work harder, I'll be more successful. And what point is being successful if you have no time to enjoy any of it? So I'm sure there was some guilt about that. But for me, it really was more I was scared to death, that as the sole breadwinner for the family. And now I got a third mouth to feed that I was going to fail. I just like, oh, it still makes me nervous today.
Richard Walker 13:02
Well, and I suppose that's maybe why you're in financial services, because you're dealing with your own psychology around money, and how to build it and grow it and manage it, et cetera?
Derek Notman 13:12
Oh, no question. No question.
Richard Walker 13:14
So I'm curious. What did Richard Branson say in your in response to your question or?
Derek Notman 13:21
Well, in the question he did say, he's said, from a very early on, he really focused and prioritize that. And he included his kids and as much of his life as he could, he started Virgin Atlantic, from his houseboat in London, where he'd be working at his desk, and his kids would be crawling around on the floor next to him. And so he always made sure he was there and even said in his article that talked about me that people that weren't willing to meet him where he was at as also a dad, and prioritizing his kids were probably not people he wanted to do business with. And that really resonated with me and I tried to live the same way. There's enough business out there for all of us, no matter what you're doing. So maybe think about doing that with people that actually care about you, and you care about them. I mean, he even shared the example where he was mid-stage doing a presentation, his daughter called about some exam that she had passed, he stopped mid-presentation and took the call live, but that shows what the priorities are. And people flock around next. I think ultimately, especially if you're a parent, mom or dad, that resonates with you, you just get it, you know the kid is top priority. And it should be and if you show your children that I think they're probably going to be more interested in being an entrepreneur too.
Richard Walker 14:33
Yeah. I got one more question about dadpreneur. Are you teaching your kids entrepreneurship or do they have their own business or anything?
Derek Notman 14:40
100% So I've started that very early on, so my kids 11 now, when he was five or six, we did his first business where he was making his own dog treats for dogs that had arthritis and he did a business fair. He created a duct tape wallet company. We're actually we got Mark Cuban to see it and comment and send them a note back. So he's always thinking up to something with little businesses, but he's 11. So he tends to jump around a little bit. But yeah, he's always doing something. And it's been so much fun. We talk about business, we talk about the power of being able to be your own boss and the pluses and minuses of that, and just showing him what's possible, while also being an awesome dad, like I'm here, when he gets off the bus every day. I walk him to the bus stop, I go to his football practice, so I'm always there for the things that matter too.
Richard Walker 15:35
Yeah, that's so awesome to hear. And I really hope you inspire more dads to do that.
Derek Notman 15:41
We got to stick together as dadpreneurs we really do.
Richard Walker 15:43
Yeah, for sure. My son got in trouble for being too curious and damaging school property, he has to pay for it. I'm not paying for it. And so he's already raised 60 out of $100, selling cookies and making the cookies with his mom. And it's fun to see that excitement. And the funniest part, I said, hey, I'll pay you $10 an hour to do this labor of cutting trees with me. He's lik