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Simplifying How Financial Advisors Connect With Clients With Derek Notman of Couplr

Updated: Apr 4, 2023

Derek Notman

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

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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Episode Transcript:

Intro 0:02

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 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 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 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 like, I can make more money selling cookies. Why would I spend time doing labor?

Derek Notman 16:12

That's brilliant. I mean, he's already got the mindset. I love it. Teaching kids early on, is so valuable. And hopefully we're going to set them up for more success, better work-life balance so they don't have to do those 80-hour weeks that we were doing.

Richard Walker 16:26

Yeah, I hope so. So Couplr being in stealth mode, do you have any customer success stories or examples of how you've helped people through the product yet?

Derek Notman 16:38

We do. But I can't really share them. We have some really large partners, domestically and internationally. And it's fun. One of the things that we're providing, as a value add is helping them understand the consumer helping them understand their own financial mindset, which is really important from a psychological perspective if you're going to start making a decision on to do something or not. So, yeah, I wish I could share more. But the way I joke about it is that there's competition in the sense that I'm in my own sandbox. But there's another sandbox on the other side of the playground that I'm in. And they're not really paying attention to me right now. And I want to keep it that way as long as possible.

Richard Walker 17:21

Oh, I totally understand. I really do. Let's switch gears, then. I have been really interested in AI for the past six months and testing out all sorts of different products and tools. And I'm looking forward to the future. I'm curious, from your perspective, both having a FinTech company, but being an advisor, how do you see artificial intelligence changing or impacting customer experience in your world?

Derek Notman 17:43

So I think we can learn a lot from it. And I think we can leverage it. But it's very, very important, in my opinion, that we use it to enhance human connection. If we are going to leverage AI to replace human beings, we've got a real problem. And I joked about this before, but it didn't work out so well when Skynet tried to take over the world. For those of you that don't know, that's a terminator two reference. So but I think there's a lot of learnings from AI machine learning that we can use to make products and services better, and enhance human connection. So that's where I see it, ultimately going. I think we get into some pretty dark water as soon as we start replacing humans. Sorry, if my dog is going crazy in the background there.

Richard Walker 18:32

I have thunder out my window just a minute ago.

Derek Notman 18:35

Oh, right on there you go. The joys of working remotely from home. Right. So yeah, I think we have to be really careful using AI to replace human beings. Because at the end of the day, I want to talk to another human being. I mean, how much do people like getting stuck with one of those automated phone systems when you're calling customer support or those bot chat things on websites? They drive me mad, I don't want that I want a really human being that I can actually explain my situation to?

Richard Walker 19:03

Yeah, can you imagine the day you're on hold listening, and then you're on the interactive voice response system, and it responds to you. You sound really angry right now.

Derek Notman 19:15

I'm calling back again, that's too creepy.

Richard Walker 19:18

I know. Well, it makes me think of something one of our customers who will remain nameless is doing they told us they have built sentiment analysis AI. So they're watching on Zoom meetings are some visual with their customers. And I'm just imagining like, a man and a woman are sitting at the table with their advisor demands answering all the other questions, but the woman's reacting and the sentiment analysis like no, she's not as happy about the risk as you are. Have you seen that or heard about that kind of stuff?

Derek Notman 19:46

I haven't seen it. And honestly, that scares me a little bit. I can see the value there. But ultimately, why isn't the advisor picking up on that? I mean, advisors should be masters of human psychology and those interactions we have to be we're in a lot of sales situations. So anyone that's in sales? I don't know if the computer can do that better. Maybe it can help people that aren't paying attention. I don't know.

Richard Walker 20:15

Yeah, maybe there's another P to the CFP psychology?

Derek Notman 20:19

Totally, totally. I mean, well, they're doubling down on that, for sure. There's a lot more psychology involved in the whole planning process, the CFP boards and putting some effort behind that, actually.

Richard Walker 20:29

Yeah, I agree with you. The financial advisement world is very much psychology. I remember my clients calling when markets were dropping, and it was about talking them off the ledge, like your money went nowhere. You're holding it for 40 more years. What's the problem? Yeah, you shared so much with us, Derek. And I've already taken a ton of value from this. I'm just wondering if there's one other lesson or secret that you might share with other leaders who want to win more customers, maybe especially financial advisors, since you were so successful there.

Derek Notman 20:58

I think it's actually focusing on personal brand. This goes back to the human connection bit. But so we have social media, and blogging, and podcasting, and all of these things. But just be your genuine self and let your personal thought leadership comes through. It goes back to the whole people don't care how much you know, until they know how much you care. Show that you care by being you let people get to know you a little bit personally, who are you? What are your passions? What are you working on? Let them connect with you on those human levels, and then, you better be able to back it up for whatever you're doing. So I would say more people need to double down on personal branding. Like my son, I've already bought, like the URL for his website for his own personal brand in the future, at some point, the second he's old enough to get on LinkedIn, we'll get him on there. And just to start building that brand, because you never know when it might be a job. It might be an investor, it might be a new potential customer relationship, whatever it is, that personal brand is gonna go a long way. So that's what I spent a lot of my time on. And that's one of the ways I was able to connect with Richard Branson.

Richard Walker 22:10

That's awesome. Yeah, I think that's a great one. It is a hard lesson to learn. It took me a long time to feel comfortable in my own skin. And the more I've done it, the more success I've had, the better I felt.

Derek Notman 22:22

No question about it. You just have to get comfortable with being uncomfortable. And then eventually it just becomes natural.

Richard Walker 22:28

Yeah. So Derek, as we wrap this up, I do have another question. But how would you like people to find you or connect with you?

Derek Notman 22:34

LinkedIn is the best place to find me. I'm pretty active on there. You can follow me connect with me. I'm pretty darn good about getting back to any messages people send. So feel free to bug me on LinkedIn. It's no problem.

Richard Walker 22:47

Good. I can attest to that back by the way since we just met. Alright, so here's my last question, who is a leader that you're following or being inspired by today?

Derek Notman 22:57

Well, first person that comes to mind. I mean, there's a ton of great people in our profession. But Adam Holt, he's also a CFP. And he is the founder and CEO of Asset Map. Adam and I met virtually, during the pandemic, as we were both speakers at a conference, virtual conference, obviously, and we met and very quickly, we're like, Man, I like that guy. And just went from there. And we've had such a great relationship. I look up to him. He's a little bit older than me, he's got more experience in the FinTech world and an advisor space. And we kind of joke like he's the older brother that's a little bit more experienced. And I'm the younger brother that just says what's on my mind was sometimes I shouldn't cyber thing. So we balanced each other out a genuine great guy there to do the right things for the right reasons. But also just really fun cool in the nice guy to hang out with. So I definitely consider him a dear friend and mentor. And if you don't know him, definitely follow him. He's got a lot of good things to say.

Richard Walker 24:00

Well, and I have to ask one more question. You guys do The Rethink Podcast together, which is a great podcast. How would you describe that podcast? Who's it for? What's it about?

Derek Notman 24:11

So that's funny, that podcast we did it for a year before actually meeting in person. Yeah, and people listening to are like, you guys have met, right? No, never met. So it's amazing what's possible remotely, by the way, and he actually went remote with his practice before I did. But our podcasts, our audience is primarily financial advisors. And that is a pretty broad term when we define it. And then anyone in the FinTech space, the insurance with the wealth, space, all of that would be included, and we take a different take on it. We are asking thought leaders to rethink all sorts of really important topics. And then we have fun doing it. We ask some tough questions. We'd like controversy, and one of the ways we do it differently is we interview somebody, and then we record around it at a later or date, and we don't let them come back and say any other comments to it. So we just go at it, you know, around their interview, which has been a lot of fun. But it's been a great way to just think about things differently and how to help. It's a mentorship podcast at the end of the day. And we're trying to help our whole profession move forward by educating and just looking at things through a different lens.

Richard Walker 25:21

Yeah, listen to the episode with Libby about whether you should ask for referrals, meaning don't ask for referrals. And I love the whole shift in perspective. And then it was fascinating you guys talking about her after the fact?

Derek Notman 25:34

Exactly. That's what's so much fun about it. And they all know what's coming in, right, so they know what they're signing up for. But it's been a really fun ride so far. We've got some really big names coming up. I can't say yet. But we've got some pretty cool guests that are coming on, that'll help us grow a little bit. As fun. We've even had people that are not advisors at all listening to the podcast now, which has been really cool because as a consumer, you can listen to this and gain some insight to our profession and industry and probably be a little bit more empowered when you decide to go work with somebody.

Richard Walker 26:02

Yeah, this has been great, Derek. So I want to thank Derek Notman founder Couplr for being on this episode of The Customer Wins, go check out Derek's website at And don't forget to check out Quik! at where we take the work out of paperwork. I hope you've enjoyed this discussion, and we'll click the like button, share this with someone and even subscribe to our channels for future episodes of The Customer Wins. Derek, thank you so much for joining me today.

Derek Notman 26:30

It's been a pleasure Rich, thank you so much, and to everyone listening. Thank you very much as well.

Outro 26:36

Thanks for listening to The Customer Wins podcast. We'll see you again next time and be sure to click Subscribe to get future episodes.


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